# Wobbles in the Barriers: Arctic Oscillation (4)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 4:22 PM GMT on October 14, 2013

Wobbles in the Barriers: Arctic Oscillation (4)

This is a continuation of my series on the Arctic Oscillation / North Atlantic Oscillation. Links to background material and previous entries are at the end.

In the last entry I suggested that if you were on a bridge overlooking a swiftly flowing creek then you would notice that twigs floating in the water did not move across the current. They are carried downstream along the edge of the current. The purpose of that comparison was to demonstrate how fast-moving, concentrated flows have the effect of isolating one side of the creek from the other. This is true in the creek, and it is also true about jet streams in the atmosphere.

One way to understand the Arctic Oscillation is to think of it as the variation of an atmospheric jet stream. For the Arctic Oscillation the jet stream of interest is the southern edge of vortex of air that circulates around the North Pole (see previous entry). Air inside the vortex often has characteristics different from air outside it. Intuitively for the Arctic, there is colder air on the side toward the pole. If you look at trace gases, like ozone, they are different across the edge of the vortex. The takeaway idea is that the edge of the vortex is a barrier. It’s not a perfect barrier, but the air on one side is largely separated from the air on the other side. In this blog, I describe the difference between a strong and a weak vortex – which is the same as the difference between the positive and negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation.

Figure 1: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). Compare this perspective to Figure 1 in previous blog. This represents a strong, circular vortex centered over the pole, which encloses cold air, represented as blue. The line surrounding the cold air is the jet stream or the edge of the vortex.

Figure 1 shows an idealized schematic of the North Pole as viewed from above. This is the strong vortex case, when there is exceptionally low pressure at the pole. Low pressure is associated with counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere. This direction of rotation is called cyclonic. This strong vortex case is the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation. During this phase, the vortex aligns strongly with the rotation of the Earth, and there are relatively few wobbles of the edge of the vortex – the jet stream. I drew on the figure two points, X and Y. In this case, the point X is hot and the point Y is cold. It is during this phase when it is relatively warm and moist over, for example, the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Figure 2 compares a strong vortex and a weak vortex. In both cases, the circulation around a central point is counterclockwise or cyclonic. However, in the weak vortex case, the vortex does not align as strongly with the rotation of the Earth and there are places where the edge of vortex extends southwards. The vortex appears displaced from the pole; it is not centered over the pole.

Figure 2: Examples of a strong, circular vortex and a weak, more wavy vortex. See text for a more complete description.

Whether the vortex is stronger or weaker is determined by the atmospheric pressure at the pole. In the winter, an important factor that determines the circulation is the cooling that occurs at polar latitudes during the polar night.

What determines the waviness or wobbles at the edge of this vortex? The structure at the edge of vortex is strongly influenced by several factors. These factors include the structure of the high-pressure centers that are over the oceans and continents to the south of jet stream. One could easily imagine a strong high-pressure center over, for example, Iceland, pushing northward at the edge of the vortex. This might push a lobe of air characteristic of the middle latitude Atlantic Ocean northward. Since the edge of the vortex is something of a barrier, this high-pressure system would distort the edge of the vortex and, perhaps, push the vortex off the pole. This would appear as a displacement of the vortex and its cold air over, for example, Russia. If the high grew and faded, then this would appear as wobbles of the vortex.

Other factors that influence the waviness at the edge of the vortex are the mountain ranges and the thermal contrast between the continents and the oceans. The impact of mountains is easy to understand. Returning to the creek comparison used above, the mountains are like a boulder in the stream. The water bulges around and over the boulder; the air in the atmosphere bulges around and over the mountain ranges. The Rocky Mountains in the western half of North America are perfect examples of where there are often wobbles in the atmospheric jet stream.

Figure 3: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). This represents a weak, wavy, wobbly vortex displaced from the pole. The vortex encloses cold air, represented as blue. The line surrounding the cold air is the jet stream or the edge of the vortex. (definition of vortex)

Figure 3 shows an idealized schematic of the North Pole as viewed from above. This is the weak vortex case, when the low pressure at the pole is not as low as average and the pressure is much higher than the strong vortex case of Figure 1. This weak vortex case is the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation. During this phase, the alignment of the vortex with the rotation of the Earth is less prominent, and there are wobbles of the edge of the vortex – the jet stream. In this case, the point X is cold and the point Y is hot. It is during this phase where it is relatively cool and dry (but potentially snowy) over, for example, the eastern part of the United States.

These figures help to explain the prominent signal of the Arctic Oscillation discussed in the earlier entries (specifically, this blog). That is, when the vortex is weak and wobbly, then there are excursions of colder air to the south and warmer air to the north. This appears as waviness and is an important pattern of variability - warm, cold, warm, cold.

The impact of the changes in the structure of edge of the vortex does not end with these persistent periods of regional warm and cold spells. The edge of the vortex or the jet stream is also important for steering storms. Minimally, therefore, these changes in the edge of the vortex are expected to change the characteristics of how storms move. Simply, if the edge of the vortex has large northward and southward extensions, then storms take a longer time to move, for example, across the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. In the positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation they just whip across. In the negative phase, the storms wander around a bit. A more complete discussion of this aspect of the role of the Arctic Oscillation will be in the next entry. (Note use of dramatic tension and the cliffhanger strategy of the serial.)

r

Previous entries:

Barriers in the Atmosphere
Behavior
Definitions and Some Background

August Arctic Oscillation presentation

CPC Climate Glossary “The Arctic Oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases.”

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

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##### 607. schwankmoe
 Quoting 602. Patrap:Fukushima readies for dangerous operation to remove 400 tons of spent fuelPublished time: October 23, 2013 19:34 Edited time: October 24, 2013 11:53“The worst-case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse,” Consolo said. LOLWUT?
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##### 606. Patrap
 Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels In 44,000 Years, Study FindsPosted: 10/24/2013 2:01 pm EDTFrom LiveScience staff writer Douglas Main:Plenty of studies have shown that the Arctic is warming and that the ice caps are melting, but how does it compare to the past, and how serious is it?New research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years."The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is," Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters, in which the study by Miller and his colleagues was published online this week. "This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."The study is the first to show that current Arctic warmth exceeds peak heat there in the early Holocene, the name for the current geological period, which began about 11,700 years ago. During this "peak" Arctic warmth, solar radiation was about 9 percent greater than today, according to the study.Miller and his colleagues gauged Arctic temperatures by looking at gas bubbles trapped in ice cores (cylinders drilled from the ice that show layers of snow laid down over time) taken from the region, which allows scientists to reconstruct past temperature and levels of precipitation. They paired this with radiocarbon dating of clumps of moss taken from a melting ice cap on Canada's Baffin Island. Their analysis shows that these plants have been trapped in the ice for at least 44,000 years, and perhaps as long as 120,000 years. Taken together, that data suggest temperatures in the region haven't been this high since perhaps as long as 120,000 years ago, according to the study.The Arctic has been heating up for about a century, but the most significant warming didn't start until the 1970s, Miller said in the statement. "And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning," he added. "All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming."
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##### 605. Patrap
 One sure thing Al Gore has over MP is that he actually served America 10 times over from Serving in Nam, to VP.Australia PM Tony Abbott is a self proclaimed climate change denier.Gore added that the only way to deal with climate change was to put a price on emissions, in stark contrast to Abbott whose new government is moving to repeal the previous administration's carbon pollution tax.
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##### 603. Neapolitan
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##### 602. Patrap
 Fukushima readies for dangerous operation to remove 400 tons of spent fuelPublished time: October 23, 2013 19:34 Edited time: October 24, 2013 11:53Fukushima operator TEPCO is getting ready for its toughest and the most dangerous clean-up operation. In November it will try to remove 400 tons of spent fuel from plant’s Reactor No. 4. But even a little mistake may result in a new nuclear disaster.The operation is scheduled to start in the beginning of November and be completed by around the end of 2014. Under normal circumstances, the operation to remove all the fuel would take about 100 days. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co) initially planned to take two years, but reduced the schedule to one year in recognition of the urgency, as even a minor earthquake could trigger an uncontrolled fuel leak. During this period TEPCO plans to carefully remove more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies, packing radiation 14,000 times the equivalent of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, from their cooling pool. The base of the pool where the fuel assemblies are situated is 18 meters above ground and the rods are 7 meters under the surface of the water. TEPCO’s first task is to remove the debris from the Reactor No. 4 fuel pool. Then, one by one, the fuel rods will be removed from the top store of the damaged building using a crane suspended above the crippled reactor. Previously a computer-controlled process, this time it has to be done completely manually. And this is what makes this removal operation extremely dangerous. The fuel rods must be kept submerged and must not touch each other or break. “The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton,” fallout researcher Christina Consolo earlier told RT. Should the attempt fail, a mishandled rod could be exposed to air and catch fire, resulting in horrific quantities of radiation released into the atmosphere. The resulting radiation will be too great for the cooling pool to absorb as it simply has not been designed to do so. In the worst-case scenario, the pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and cause an explosion many times worse than in March 2011. “The worst-case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse,” Consolo said. Reactor No. 4 contains 10 times more Cesium-137 than Chernobyl did. This lets scientists warn that in case of another nuclear disaster, it will be the beginning of the ultimate catastrophe of the world and the planet. “It will be one of the worst, but most important jobs anyone has ever had to do. And even if executed flawlessly, there are still many things that could go wrong,” Consolo said. The World Nuclear Report, released in July 2013, said “the worst-case scenario” will require evacuation of up to 10 million people within a 250-kilometer radius of Fukushima, including a significant part of Tokyo. Although some experts are skeptical, TEPCO is confident the operation will be a success. Last year two fuel rods were successfully removed from the pool in a test operation, but back then rod assemblies were empty and posed a far smaller threat. The operation will be just one installment in the decommissioning process for the plant, and is forecast to take about 40 years and cost \$11 billion. TEPCO, responsible for the clean-up, is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the nuclear disaster, but with the crisis over radiation-contaminated water at the plant, it has been criticized for its ad hoc response to the disaster. In August TEPCO pleaded for overseas help to contain the radioactive fallout, after 18 months of trying to control it internally. The Japanese government was also ordered to take a more active role in controlling the overflow of radioactive water being flushed over the melted reactors in Units 1, 2 and 3 at the plant. Three of the Fukushima plant’s nuclear reactors were damaged by an earthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11, 2011, which led to a nuclear disaster. The plant has been accumulating radioactive water ever since. The government imposed a 20-kilometer ‘no-go’ zone around the plant area.
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##### 601. MisterPerfect
 24 October 2013 - Al Gore wades into Australia debate linking bushfires and climateAFP - Environmental activist Al Gore has likened Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's insistence that wildfires are not linked to climate change to the tobacco industry claiming smoking does not cause lung cancer.The former US vice president and Nobel laureate was commenting after Abbott this week dismissed UN climate chief Christiana Figueres' assertion that there was "absolutely" a connection between wildfires and rising temperatures.Australia has been battling massive bushfires west of Sydney for more than a week in unseasonably hot and dry weather that has inflamed debate about whether there is a link to changing climate conditions.Abbott argued that fires were simply part of Australian life and accused Figueres of "talking through her hat", but Gore said climate change clearly brought about more extreme weather."Bushfires can occur naturally, and do, but the science shows clearly that when the temperature goes up, and when the vegetation and soils dry out, then wildfires become more pervasive and more dangerous," he told ABC television late Wednesday."That's not me saying it, that's what the scientific community says."Gore said Abbott's stance that climate change had nothing to do with the fires was similar to politicians in the US who received support from tobacco companies, and then publicly argued the companies' cause."It reminds me of politicians here who got a lot of support from the tobacco companies and who argued to the public that there was absolutely no connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer," he said from the United States."For 40 years the tobacco companies were able to persuade pliant politicians within their grip to tell the public what they wanted them to tell them, and for 40 years the tragedy continued."He urged the Abbott government -- which plans to abandon an industrial pollution tax in favour of a "direct action" scheme to plant trees and set up an emissions reduction incentive fund for business -- not to bend to the will of "special interest" groups, which dismiss climate science evidence."The energy companies, coal companies particularly, have prevented the Congress of the US from doing anything meaningful so far about the climate crisis," he said.Gore added that the only way to deal with climate change was to put a price on emissions, in stark contrast to Abbott whose new government is moving to repeal the previous administration's carbon pollution tax."The meaningful way to solve this crisis is to put a price on carbon, and in Australia's case to keep a price on carbon," he said.http://www.france24.com/en/20131024-al-gore-wades -australia-debate-linking-bushfires-climate
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##### 599. cynyc2
 Here is a tidbit from Scientific American:Arctic Warming Unprecedented in Last 44,000 Years.
##### 598. schwankmoe
 how dare you 'average' the data and 'remove noise'! 'data trends' are a communist islamo-fascist lieberal invention aimed at fooling us all. the ice age is coming this way! any day now...Quoting 596. Birthmark:Nope. Temperatures have risen in all but one data set.That particular data set over emphasizes ENSO, among other inaccuracies. This can be seen by adjusting the temperature trend for known short term influences.19981998GISS 0.176�0.099 �C/decadeNCDC 0.153�0.081 �C/decade CRU 0.117�0.075 �C/decade RSS 0.118�0.083 �C/decade UAH 0.176�0.099 �C/decadeSo, after removing the noise of solar variation, ENSO, and volcanic activity it becomes apparent that the temperature trend is upward at about the same rate it has for the last three decades.Of course, that can't fit into a sound bite...and it's also all science-y. LOL
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##### 597. schwankmoe
 Quoting 588. iceagecoming:Police said about 20 people entered the Irving building and refused to leave when asked by management. They caused a disturbance by throwing glitter and other items inside the building and blowing whistles, police said.Four of the activists locked themselves together by placing their arms in a steel pipe and chaining them to a bar inside, according to Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonaldThe four attached to the pipe contraption remained seated in a circle on the floor in the lobby area.OMG, such terrorism! those terrorists need to be stopped! it's like 9/11 all over again.
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##### 595. Neapolitan
 Quoting 589. iceagecoming:What!OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”LinkThe Economist as climate science reference? Sweet.You know, I'd call it "wishful thinking", but it seems to be all of the former and none of the latter. So, "wishing" it is, then.
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##### 594. goosegirl1
 Quoting 589. iceagecoming:What!OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”LinkGo back to the link on 571 and read carefully, lest ye look silly.
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##### 593. Neapolitan
 Quoting 584. Pipejazz:GiovanniDatoliGiovannaDatoliWhich is which???One and the same, and not the real name of either. Best to ignore and move on... ;-)
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##### 592. Neapolitan
 Quoting 590. iceagecoming:Canberra wineries hit by coldest October morning everDate October 18, 2013 Kirsten Lawson and Hamish Boland-RudderNH and SH ouch!LinkAmazing, ain't it? Record cold snapping to record heat, back and forth at a moment's notice. I think Dr. Masters refers to it as climate change-induced weather whiplash. And that's about as succinct a description as I can think of. Wouldn't you agree? So thanks for posting that...
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##### 591. JohnLonergan
 Quoting 587. Birthmark:The "present" in your graph is for 1950. I hate to break bad news, but it's warmed considerably since then.Yeah, a lot has happened since 1950, including PAGES2K.Green dots show the 30-year average of the new PAGES 2k reconstruction. The red curve shows the global mean temperature, according HadCRUT4 data from 1850 onwards. In blue is the original hockey stick of Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1999 ) with its uncertainty range (light blue). Graph by Klaus Bitterman.
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##### 590. iceagecoming
 Canberra wineries hit by coldest October morning everDate October 18, 2013 Kirsten Lawson and Hamish Boland-RudderNH and SH ouch!Link
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##### 589. iceagecoming
 What!OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”Link
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##### 588. iceagecoming
 Real climate Alarmists (eco-terrorists) on the job.PortsmouthBy JASON SCHREIBERUnion Leader CorrespondentThis photograph from the website of the Trans and Womyn's Action Camp shows protestors bound together in the office of Irving Oil in Portsmouth Monday morning. PORTSMOUTH - Five activists protesting shale gas exploration in Canada were arrested Monday morning after refusing to leave the local corporate offices of Irving Oil Corp.Police responded to Irving's office at 190 Commerce Way just before 11 a.m. after the company called to report the activists were on the property and had made their way inside the building.Police said about 20 people entered the Irving building and refused to leave when asked by management. They caused a disturbance by throwing glitter and other items inside the building and blowing whistles, police said.Four of the activists locked themselves together by placing their arms in a steel pipe and chaining them to a bar inside, according to Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonaldThe four attached to the pipe contraption remained seated in a circle on the floor in the lobby area.
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##### 586. Patrap
 Quoting 508. MoltenIce: That's awfully warm for springtime.I went to Perth last year in December, the weather was really pleasant apart from the occasional showers.TemperatureMean Temperature 80 °F - Max Temperature 91 °F 74 °F 91 °F (2013)Min Temperature 68 °F 58 °F 46 °F (2008)Cooling Degree Days 14 Growing Degree Days 30 (Base 50)Weather History for Sydney, NWWednesday, October 23, 2013 — View Current Weather Conditions
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##### 583. iceagecoming
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
##### 582. iceagecoming
 Quoting 569. JohnLonergan:Reversing climate change even more difficult than it might soundA thousand years might not be enough time to completely undo all the changes.It’s often said that teenagers feel invincible. Even if they were to get hurt, a little medical treatment would quickly have them feeling right as rain. It only takes one significant injury to disabuse a person of that notion, one example that some part of their body will never quite be the same again. An injury can serve as a constant reminder that being a bit more careful would be prudent.That, if you haven't guessed, is a metaphor for our approach to climate change. We're acting a bit like a "what, me worry?" teenager when doing damage that can be lasting. Even if humanity were to completely stop emitting carbon dioxide, it would take thousands of years for natural processes to bring the concentration in the atmosphere back down close to where it was before the industrial revolution began. But surely we’ll develop the technology to augment those processes by artificially removing CO2 long before then, right?Well, maybe, but there are complications. One problem is that the climate system is sluggish and builds a sort of momentum that limits what intervention can accomplish. Another is that the rate of temperature change determines the impact it has on ecosystems (as well as our own ability to adapt). We’d want to limit the rate at which we lowered the concentration of CO2 and cooled the planet, or we'd do as much damage as we did while driving it up.A recent study by Andrew MacDougall at the University of Victoria explores what that cooling might look like by using a climate model and a simple scenario—take the greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere at the same rate we put them up there. The goal was to find out whether the model could return to a pre-industrial climate by the year 3000, the end of this millennium.Continue reading >>Yes it does take many years, and ain't no way we gonna stop it.But on the plus side, the last glaciation created theright environment for the Irish Cave Bear to become the polar bear we have today. Always changing!by C Turner - ‎2000 - ‎Cited by 43 - ‎Related articlesMany small deposits of Eemian age, including the stratotype, are found right across the North European plain. ..... these deposits in the series of Thames terraces, which ..... include similar information from fossil Coleoptera ... HippopotamusLink
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##### 581. JohnLonergan
 Part 2 of Gambling With Civilization on Paul Krugman's blog this morning:"The 50th anniversary issue of the New York Review of Books is out. My review of Bill Nordhaus is one of the pieces."The comment section is an excellent presentation of views on the subject of economic and political responses to climate change. It is really time to switch these issues, debating science is a waste of time and time is running out.
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##### 580. Daisyworld
 Quoting 578. goosegirl1:[...] I suppose perhaps Galileo felt the same (not that I am comparing myself to him :)))Not to worry. Galileo's conundrum is usually beyond the comprehension of most denialists anyway."I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them."- Galileo Galilei, in a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, 1615
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##### 579. iceagecoming
 Quoting 555. KEEPEROFTHEGATE: October snow likely this week from the Midwest to the Northeast.minnesota-snow Temperatures at the World Series in Boston Wednesday could be some of the lowest in series history Snowflakes are possible in Chicago on Tuesday Later this week, low temperatures will bottom out in the 30s as far south as MississippiThe coldest air of the season is poised to sweep across the central and eastern USA over the next few days. In fact, most of the nation to the east of the Rockies should see well below-average temperatures for the remainder of the week and into the weekend.Temperatures will be more typical of mid-November than mid-October.Thermometer readings dipped below freezing in Chicago Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
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##### 578. goosegirl1
 Quote from 572 **Of course, that will give the denialists another point from which to cackle, "it hasn't warmed since."**This is precisely why I feel that, no matter what action is taken, the end result will be the same. Humans will argue endlessly over what they believe to be true. Physics and chemistry will not be influenced in the least by all the arguments and the global temperature will do it is forced and influenced by human activities. But somehow, I still feel obligated to point out the obvious when someone waves "pause in warming" as their banner. I suppose perhaps Galileo felt the same (not that I am comparing myself to him :)))Link
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##### 577. JohnLonergan
 Deniers convention in Mexico:
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##### 576. JohnLonergan
 From THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKSGambling with CivilizationPaul KrugmanAlthough this is a review of William Nordhaus' recent book, The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World, it reads more as a strong endorsement of William Norhaus' support of direct action, such as carbon tax, cap and trade, regulation or geo-engineering, to combat climate change. Krugman presents Nordhaus' arguments pro and con on each.The review is fairly long, but well worth the read.
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##### 575. JohnLonergan
 Sou asks the question of the day:Talking to contrarians. Why do you do it? Or why not?My short and "boring/mundane" article a couple of days ago generated a lot of interesting discussion, some of which related to the hows, whys and wherefores of directly engaging with people who reject climate science. I hope the people I quote here don't mind my doing so. Let me know if you do.What are you hoping to accomplish?Don Brooks asked a question, which a lot of us ask ourselves whenever we respond to contrarian comments:...what is it that you're hoping to accomplish by engaging with the contrarians?What are your experiences? Read on at HotWhopper ...
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##### 574. JohnLonergan
 Action on climate is a duty above politicsAs at least 56 bushfires rage across New South Wales in the worst fire disaster to hit the state in nearly 50 years, The Age endorses the sentiments of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has expressed the nation's ''sorrow and sympathy for all who are suffering''. Likewise, we support Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's tribute to the brave and tireless work of firefighters and police. With one life already lost, and probably more to come as the infernos indiscriminately continue to take their toll, this is indeed a human tragedy.Given the scale and terrible consequences of the fires, and the fact that NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has declared a state of emergency, it might have appeared unnecessarily churlish of the Greens' deputy leader Adam Bandt to criticise the Abbott government's policy on climate change. Mr Bandt says that the Coalition is dismantling Australia's global-warming action in the face of scientific opinion that global warming and its associated dangers are increasing. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has accused Mr Bandt of scoring political points from the fires.The Age believes Mr Bandt has a valid point. Rather than politicising on his own behalf, his criticisms draw necessary attention to the Abbott government's own politicising: the swift fulfilment of its election promises to downgrade the prominence of science in general and the effects of climate change in particular. As we wrote a month ago, ''It is reasonable to fear that science and the science portfolio are being sacrificed to politics.''It is not just Mr Bandt who is concerned. The Climate Institute's chief executive, John Connor, says there are high risks in disregarding the nexus between the advancement of climate change and the growing severity and frequency of bushfires. An analogy may be drawn with the responsibility of government to respond to road safety issues as they arise. When causes of tragedies on our roads are identified, it is not politicising the issue to demand they be tackled.Read more:
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##### 573. Xandra
 From Doug Craig's blog: New study: Humans are too selfish to save the planet for future generationsAccording to Bryan Walsh in Time, "A new study shows that human beings are too selfish to endure present pain to avert future climate change."Walsh asks: "You want to know what the biggest obstacle to dealing with climate change is?"Answer: Time.Walsh explains, "It will take decades before the carbon dioxide we emit now begins to have its full effect on the planet's climate. And by the same token, it will take decades before we are able to enjoy the positive climate effects of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions now. (Even if we could stop emitting all CO₂ today, there's already future warming that's been baked into the system, thanks to past emission.)"Our money now more important than our children's lives laterWalsh writes, "But we will feel the economic effects of either emitting or restricting CO₂ right now, in real time. While we can argue about the relative cost of reducing CO₂ emissions now -- just as we can argue about the economic effects of climate change in the future -- it should be clear that any attempt to restrict CO₂ emissions enough to make a dent in future climate change will cause some present-day economic pain."The global economy is still so dependent on relatively inexpensive fossil fuels that a quick transition to renewable sources would likely be costly in the short term. (See Naomi Klein's 2011 piece in The Nation for a fairly clear-eyed view of what truly radical climate policy would mean.)"What that means, in effect, is that climate policy asks the present to sacrifice for the future. Human beings tend not to be very good at that kind of planning, even when their own future selves stand to benefit -- a study this year found that just 10% of Americans have saved enough in a 401(k) or individual retirement account to put themselves on a track to retire."When it comes to climate change, the worst effects will be felt years after many people today are long gone. From a self-centered perspective, that makes strict climate policy like saving for a retirement you know you'll never live to see."Sorry kids"So it shouldn't be surprising that a new study in Nature Climate Change confirms the fact that the kind of long-term cooperation demanded by effective climate policy is going to be even more challenging than we thought."American and German researchers led by Jennifer Jacquet of New York University put together a collective-risk group experiment that is centered around climate change."Go here to read how the experiment worked and what they concluded.
##### 571. goosegirl1
 Why should anyone explain a "pause" if there hasn't been one? Enough already.Link
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##### 570. JohnLonergan
 Australian prime minister denies 25 years of research linking climate change to bushfiresAs New South Wales experiences raging bush fires, Tony Abbott ridicules the link to climate change...In making his statement, Mr Abbott has dismissed out of hand the work of scientists going back more than 25 years showing that as temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions go up, so do the risks of bushfires. Christiana Figueres' hat is stuffed with evidence....What's been happening to fire weather?A study last year in the International Journal of Climatology looked at the FFDI data from 38 sites around Australia from 1973 to 2010. None of the sites showed a reduction in fire danger and 16 of them showed that fire weather had increased significantly. While the study was not set up to find a link between human-emissions and bushfires, the study said the trends were "consistent with projected impacts of climate change on FFDI".The study, carried out by scientists from the NSW government, the CSIRO and the Bureau of meteorology, also found that the most distinct increases in fire risk were in spring and autumn, meaning the fire season was getting longer.In 2007, a study by scientists at the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and a government-backed bushfire research centre also found that Australia was experiencing more dangerous fire-prone days. The study found:Increases of 10-40% between 1980-2000 and 2001-2007 are evident at most sites. The strongest rises are seen in the interior portions of NSW, and they are associated with a jump in the number of very high and extreme fire danger days.The study also pointed out there was a strong correlation between increased risk of fire and periods of drought. Times of higher bushfire risk also tended to happen during periods of El Nino, which in Australia is associated with hotter temperatures and less rain.Professor Roger Jones, a co-ordinating lead author for a chapter in the next major IPCC report looking at climate impacts, has written about his own study into fire danger trends in the state of Victoria, which has already had a flush of damaging bushfires. He found that " fire danger in Victoria increased by over a third after 1996, compared to 1972-1996."Professor Jones, of Victoria University, also points out that recently observed changes in fire risk are already at the "worst case" level predicted for the year 2050 by a previous study. He writes:We can't consider severe fires as one-offs that happen every few decades. If they're becoming a systemic part of our environment we have to consider this really seriously. There will be a financial cost and a human cost, and we will see it repeated, if we don't plan ahead.
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##### 569. JohnLonergan
 Reversing climate change even more difficult than it might soundA thousand years might not be enough time to completely undo all the changes.It’s often said that teenagers feel invincible. Even if they were to get hurt, a little medical treatment would quickly have them feeling right as rain. It only takes one significant injury to disabuse a person of that notion, one example that some part of their body will never quite be the same again. An injury can serve as a constant reminder that being a bit more careful would be prudent.That, if you haven't guessed, is a metaphor for our approach to climate change. We're acting a bit like a "what, me worry?" teenager when doing damage that can be lasting. Even if humanity were to completely stop emitting carbon dioxide, it would take thousands of years for natural processes to bring the concentration in the atmosphere back down close to where it was before the industrial revolution began. But surely we’ll develop the technology to augment those processes by artificially removing CO2 long before then, right?Well, maybe, but there are complications. One problem is that the climate system is sluggish and builds a sort of momentum that limits what intervention can accomplish. Another is that the rate of temperature change determines the impact it has on ecosystems (as well as our own ability to adapt). We’d want to limit the rate at which we lowered the concentration of CO2 and cooled the planet, or we'd do as much damage as we did while driving it up.A recent study by Andrew MacDougall at the University of Victoria explores what that cooling might look like by using a climate model and a simple scenario—take the greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere at the same rate we put them up there. The goal was to find out whether the model could return to a pre-industrial climate by the year 3000, the end of this millennium.Continue reading >>
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##### 568. JohnLonergan
 Risk of Amazon Rainforest Dieback Is Higher Than IPCC Projects, Study SuggestsOct. 21, 2013 — A new study suggests the southern portion of the Amazon rainforest is at a much higher risk of dieback due to stronger seasonal drying than projections made by the climate models used in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If severe enough, the loss of rainforest could cause the release of large volumes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It could also disrupt plant and animal communities in one of the regions of highest biodiversity in the world.Read More ...
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##### 567. RevElvis
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##### 566. RevElvis
 Nuclear Plant Starts Up On India's Tsunami-Vulnerable CoastA controversial nuclear power plant situated on a stretch of India's southeastern coast that was hit hard by the 2004 Asian tsunami has begun supplying the grid with electricity, officials say.The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, a joint project with Russia located at the country's southern extremity in Tamil Nadu state, was connected to the grid on Tuesday, The Indian Express reports.The newspaper says the start of operations at the plant — built at an estimated cost of \$2.4 billion — was timed to coincide with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to Russia, which ended on Tuesday.The plant was completed after six years of delays and numerous protests, says: "Public rallies against Kudankulam, the first two units of which are not covered by any liability law, increased after the meltdown of , the worst civil atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Concerns over the extent of liability equipment suppliers will have to bear in case of an accident is stalling India's deals with Areva SA (AREVA), General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co., impeding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's goal to boost the nation's nuclear generation capacity 13 times by 2032."NPR.org
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##### 565. JohnLonergan
 Fox News defends global warming false balance by denying the 97% consensusFox News claims bias is balance, exemplifies the five characteristics of scientific denialismA study published earlier this year in the journal Public Understanding of Science found that consumption of politically conservative media outlets like Fox News decreases viewer trust in scientists, which in turn decreases belief that global warming is happening. This is in large part a result of disproportionate representation of the less than 3 percent of climate scientists who are 'skeptical' of human-caused global warming, as well as interviewing climate contrarian non-experts, for example from conservative fossil fuel-funded think tanks.Last week, I reported that studies of media coverage leading up to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report revealed that Fox News and other politically conservative media outlets continued this practice of false balance. Fox News was particularly guilty, representing climate contrarians in 69 percent of their IPCC stories.Continue >>
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##### 564. JohnLonergan
 Lowering approval ratings of climate science denialist lawmakersA new poll sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters finds that calling attention to a Congress member's climate science denialism has "an important impact on the incumbents’ approval ratings and ratings on key personal dimensions." A polling memorandum by Hart Research Associates "presents the key findings from a series of surveys ... to measure the impact of television advertising about the denial of climate change science by four incumbent Members of Congress." The results show: ■The ads affect the way constituents view incumbents who deny climate science, not only with regard to this specific issue, but also in terms of the incumbents’ broader professional and personal standing among constituents. ■In all the test areas, the ads raise awareness of the degree to which the incumbent is out of step on the issue of climate change. ■In all but one of the test areas, the ads have an important impact on the incumbents’ approval ratings and ratings on key personal dimensions.Continue reading →
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##### 563. Patrap
 Cover me when I runCover me through the fireSomething knocked me out' the treesNow I'm on my kneesCover me, darling pleaseCONSENSUSConsensus: 97% of climate scientists agreeTemperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.
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 Quoting 558. JohnLonergan:Anthony Watts guide to conspiracy theoriesMethinks Anthony Watts doth protesteth too much.Is it me or does Anthony Watts, proprietor of the not paid for by the Koch brothers website WattsUpWithThat, certainly gets prickly when the name of the blessed brothers, whose combined wealth is, let's say, more than enough to live on, is mentioned? It just seems a bit funny, that's all. If he has no interest in defending them, then why bother. Are there no more important things to worry about, such as which bit of nonsense is going to plop into the in-box at Watts Towers from, for instance, his eminence Chris Monckton?Apparently not. The spittle is sprayed in this piece at WUWT today. I leave it to you to read but either Watts is unable to understand the written word or he is adopting a level of ignorance he does not possess for his own literary effect. I suspect such a tactic is not in his arsenal so actual inability to read for comprehension is the likeliest explanation.Especially when it is claimed that Fox News uses sock puppets to comment on their own threads. And the Koch brothers are themselves into climate change denial to the tune of \$67million since 1997 (it is alleged - I don't have the money for fancy lawyers). And again.LinkMichael Mann, whose fault is to do some science and come up with an unexpected answer, is a target of Watts. That's why Watts sarcastically says:But while Anthony Watts looks for conspiracies amongst the real climate scientists, he clearly doesn't read the comment threads on his own site. Or even the articles on his own site. I won't bother tracking it down but I can't remember how many times I have seen Lord Monckton accuse someone or other in the climate science community of fraud. That requires a conspiracy because it has to be planned ahead. And these accusations are repeated ad nauseam on WUWT by contributors and commenters. How often do you read that it is all about the grant money? How often do you read that it is about a great hoax? How often, Anthony, can you accept those kind of comments and not accept that conspiracy ideation is something that many WUWT readers actually share? It isn't hard to find. But you do have to open your eyes and learn how to read English. And that, dear reader, is something Anthony Watts seems to have trouble doing.SO hows yer buddy, GS?
 Quoting 560. JohnLonergan:One year after Sandy - ignoring climate change at our own perilIt’s been one year since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the eastern coast of the United States, affecting twenty-four states and devastating parts of New Jersey and New York. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Millions were left without power. As many as 100 people died; most of whom drowned as the storm surged in Staten Island and Queens. At \$65 billion, Sandy was the second costliest storm in US history.Today, communities that were reduced to rubble are steadily recovering. And yet, one year later, policymakers have yet to address climate change, which undoubtedly contributed to the strength, magnitude and danger of Sandy. There is little discussion of rebuilding in a way that better prepares us for the ravages of future storms. And after Washington’s most recent shameful display of deadlock and dysfunction, it would be wishful thinking to presume that Congress will act on this issue anytime soon.One Year After Sandy—Ignoring Climate Change at Our Own Peril, Op-ed by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation/Washington Post, Oct 22, 2013Sup Nea. You know your cover is blown with this one don't you?
##### 560. JohnLonergan
 One year after Sandy - ignoring climate change at our own perilIt’s been one year since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the eastern coast of the United States, affecting twenty-four states and devastating parts of New Jersey and New York. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Millions were left without power. As many as 100 people died; most of whom drowned as the storm surged in Staten Island and Queens. At \$65 billion, Sandy was the second costliest storm in US history.Today, communities that were reduced to rubble are steadily recovering. And yet, one year later, policymakers have yet to address climate change, which undoubtedly contributed to the strength, magnitude and danger of Sandy. There is little discussion of rebuilding in a way that better prepares us for the ravages of future storms. And after Washington’s most recent shameful display of deadlock and dysfunction, it would be wishful thinking to presume that Congress will act on this issue anytime soon.One Year After Sandy—Ignoring Climate Change at Our Own Peril, Op-ed by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation/Washington Post, Oct 22, 2013
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##### 559. overwash12
 Quoting 549. georgevandenberghe:Wonder how many (more) deniers will come out of the woodworkif we have a Mt Pinatubo scale eruption which would create a dramatic sharpcold shock for a couple of years,( followed by a quick reversion tothe slow warming trend of recent decades.) Wonder how many AGW sheep jump on the bandwagon also! Ha Ha!
##### 558. JohnLonergan
 Anthony Watts guide to conspiracy theoriesMethinks Anthony Watts doth protesteth too much.Is it me or does Anthony Watts, proprietor of the not paid for by the Koch brothers website WattsUpWithThat, certainly gets prickly when the name of the blessed brothers, whose combined wealth is, let's say, more than enough to live on, is mentioned? It just seems a bit funny, that's all. If he has no interest in defending them, then why bother. Are there no more important things to worry about, such as which bit of nonsense is going to plop into the in-box at Watts Towers from, for instance, his eminence Chris Monckton?Apparently not. The spittle is sprayed in this piece at WUWT today. I leave it to you to read but either Watts is unable to understand the written word or he is adopting a level of ignorance he does not possess for his own literary effect. I suspect such a tactic is not in his arsenal so actual inability to read for comprehension is the likeliest explanation.Especially when it is claimed that Fox News uses sock puppets to comment on their own threads. And the Koch brothers are themselves into climate change denial to the tune of \$67million since 1997 (it is alleged - I don't have the money for fancy lawyers). And again.LinkMichael Mann, whose fault is to do some science and come up with an unexpected answer, is a target of Watts. That's why Watts sarcastically says:But while Anthony Watts looks for conspiracies amongst the real climate scientists, he clearly doesn't read the comment threads on his own site. Or even the articles on his own site. I won't bother tracking it down but I can't remember how many times I have seen Lord Monckton accuse someone or other in the climate science community of fraud. That requires a conspiracy because it has to be planned ahead. And these accusations are repeated ad nauseam on WUWT by contributors and commenters. How often do you read that it is all about the grant money? How often do you read that it is about a great hoax? How often, Anthony, can you accept those kind of comments and not accept that conspiracy ideation is something that many WUWT readers actually share? It isn't hard to find. But you do have to open your eyes and learn how to read English. And that, dear reader, is something Anthony Watts seems to have trouble doing.
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