Icing The Hype
Apr 19, 2016
Climate Hustle Capitol Hill premiere sets off a media storm

David Rothbard

Climate Hustle is making news everywhere!

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Last Thursday, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing room of the U.S. House was the prestigious venue for the Capitol Hill premiere of Climate Hustle, and the room was packed.  “It is my hope that films like Climate Hustle can help unmask some of the bias and give the American people the facts,” Committee Chairman Lamar Smith asserted.

A pre-film panel discussion featured Governor Sarah Palin, University of Delaware climatologist Dr. David Legates, and film host Marc Morano, and was moderated by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. It also included a special video appearance by Bill Nye “the Science Guy.”

The panel will be seen exclusively during Climate Hustle’s one-night national theater event on May 2nd.

Governor Palin made a plea for the restoration of integrity to science.  “The science community needs to become less political” she said, “otherwise, it leads us to believe that so many things that [are] coming from scientists could be bogus.” Palin added, “If this is bogus, what else are they trying to tell us, trying to control us around, if they can’t do this one right?”

Media coverage was overwhelming. The event was reported on by more than 200 outlets!  Syndicated stories by Associated Press and APTV were picked up nationwide, and made the top of the Drudge Report. Other coverage included The New York Times, Washington Post, Time, CNN, Fortune, Boston Herald, UK Guardian, NBCNews.com, Breitbart News, Fox News, CBSNews.com, the New York Daily News, and many others.

An interview with Governor Palin led off Entertainment Tonight’s The Insider and showed clips of Climate Hustle’s trailer to a national television audience.

A social media brawl about Governor Palin and Bill Nye has also been spilling over everywhere. After Governor Palin stated flat out that “Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am,” the warming-compliant media rushed to prop him up.

Of course they forgot that CFACT comes to the fray armed with the facts.

Marc Morano reminded everyone that not too long ago Salon.com (totally pro-warming) said

“Bill Nye is not actually a climate scientist. He is a former mechanical engineer turned television entertainer, and now professional edu-tainer.”

And James Delingpole added in a column yesterday in Breitbart that, in his opinion,

when it comes to climate change - indeed the environment generally - Palin has a much more solid grasp of her subject than the overrated kid’s show actor.” Touche!

Climate Hustle lays out the facts and asks the tough questions the global warming campaign does not want any of us to think about.  Unfortunately for them the conversation has only just begun!

We can’t wait for May 2nd!

For nature and people too,

David Rothbard
President & Co-Founder

P.S.  Make sure to get your tickets in advance for the one-night national showing of Climate Hustle on May 2nd.  Click here for information on tickets and locations.  Make sure to bring a friend!


Apr 07, 2016
Global Sea Surface Temperatures Have Fallen Sharply …"Cooled Surprisingly”

Pierre Gosselin, No Tricks Zone

The oceans (SST) have cooled surprisingly over January to February 2016.

While during other El Nino events like in 2015/16 led to a time-delayed warming of the Earth’s atmosphere - as was the case this year, the global oceans have decoupled themselves from this time-delayed warming and are showing a surprising significant cooling from January to February 2016 when compared to the powerful 1997/98 El Nino event:

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Enlarged. The plot from BOB TISDALE shows the course of the SSTA during the powerful 1997/98 El Nino and from 2015/16. The monthly mean SSTA from multiple data suppliers show a surprising drop in global SST in February 2016. Source: Global Sea Surface Temperature Responses to the 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Nino Events.

The North Pacific, which since 2014 had been parked off the west coast and known as the warm BLOB, saw the greatest share of the global sea surface cooling. By December 2015 it practically disappeared:

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Enlarged. The plot from BOB TISDALE shows the course of the North Pacific SSTA during the powerful 1997/98 El Nino and 2105/16.

Global temperatures fell in March 2016

In March 2016 the global temperatures have shown a clear retreat after their three to four-month highpoint February 2016, time delayed after the El Nino peak at the end of October/start of November 2015. This has also been the case in the tropics as well:

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Enlarged . The plot shows the measured/calculated temperature deviation global (black curve) and in the tropics (red curve). After a peak in February 2016, global temperatures have fallen sharply as of 28 March 2016. Source.

Therefore it is fully possible that the global temperatures have already begun to gradually ease back from the previous month’s record high in February 2016, although this was not expected to happen until April: Record warmth in the troposphere in February 2016, Tropical sea surface starts to cool off.

“...With increasing cooling of the tropical sea surface, this means also a gradual cooling of global temperatures will set in by April 2016, which I described here:  ENSO update February 2016: El Nino leaving- La Nina arriving...”

Also see the unfalsified facts: “Global Warming” Reality Check February 2016: The global warming “pause” since 1997 continues- RSS 0.94.”

The water masses of the equatorial Pacific over the past months have released a considerable amount of energy into the atmosphere. From the end of October 2015 until the end of March 2016, the upper 300 meters have cooled strongly: by 2.6C.

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The plot above shows the course of the temperature anomalies down to 300 meters at the equatorial Pacific. The powerful positive deviations (orange) of the Downwelling-Phase reached their peak at 2.1C deviation at the end of October/early November 2015 and have fallen 2.6C to -0.5C (blue): El Nino leaves and La Nina arrives! Source.

We will have to wait and see to find out whether the global temperature anomalies will go negative already by the end of 2016, similar to what happened with the El Nino event 1997/98 - though the negative global temperature anomaly did not arrive until March 1999, which we saw in the UAH satellite data.


Apr 06, 2016
Frequency Of Warm Winter Days Declining In The US

Steve Goddard

The frequency of warm winter days in the US has been declining for a century. In 1954, almost one fourth of winter days in the US were over 60F, but in 2010 the percent of warm days just over 10%.

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Similarly, the frequency of hot summers days has declined. Warmth is becoming a thing of the past in the US.

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US Summer Afternoon Temperatures Declining Over The Past 85 Years

Summer afternoon temperatures in the US are declining even faster than winter afternoon temperatures

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The frequency of 100 degree days is also down 50% since the 1930s.

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The frequency of all time record maximums was much higher during the 1930s

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Even the EPA agrees.

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In the late 1970s, Leonard Nimoy did this special video. Back then we (including NCAR and the CIA) worried about cooling.


Apr 03, 2016
Collapse of the CAGW Delusion: Untenable Past 2020

Norman Page

Writing in Watts Up With That?, geologist Norman Page argues that the fear of unprecedented and dangerous global warming caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will abate by about 2020. Using sections of the Fourth Assessment Repot (AR-4, 2007) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Page points out that the climate orthodoxy does not know how to test for the reliability of the climate models it uses.

Using proxy data for solar variation, Page asserts that the IPCC erroneously attributes changes due to solar variation for temperature change caused by increasing CO2. As such, the models greatly over estimate future warming, or what he calls Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). According to Page, the short-term cooling that is expected to follow the current El Nino is greatly amplified by a long-term cooling caused by a decline in solar activity. We should be seeing this solar cased cooling by 2020.

Page concludes that the reputation of science is being damaged by establishment climate scientists who have made “two egregious errors of judgment in their method of approach to climate forecasting and thus in their advice to policy makers in successive SPMs [Summary for Policymakers]. First, they based their analyses on inherently untestable and specifically structurally flawed models which included many questionable assumptions. Second they totally ignored the natural, solar driven, millennial and multi-decadal quasi-cycles.: Under the current circumstances, useful forecasting is impossible.

“It is fashionable in establishment climate circles to present climate forecasting as a “wicked” problem. [A term used by mathematicians.] I would by contrast contend that by adopting the appropriate time scale and method for analysis it becomes entirely tractable so that commonsense working hypotheses with sufficient likely accuracy and chances of success to guide policy can be formulated.

“If the real outcomes follow the near term forecasts in para 3.3 above [a cooling, found in the article] I suggest that the establishment position is untenable past 2020.This is imminent in climate terms. The essential point of this post is that the 2003 peak in Fig 1 marks a millennial peak which is totally ignored in all the IPCC projections.”

No doubt some will dismiss the evidence presented by Page, simply because he is a petroleum geologist. But this would be similar to dismissing the evidence of plate tectonics presented by petroleum geologists.

[As demonstrated in the court filings by some scientists, the major evidence asserted by the EPA in finding the CO2 can cause dangerous warming cannot be found. Further, the models used by the IPCC, and relied upon by the EPA, greatly overestimate the warming of the lower atmosphere, up to 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). This is where the major greenhouse effect occurs, and any amplification of an increased greenhouse effect from CO2 should occur.]

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He describes why the Modern warming is cyclical and continues the downtrend ultimately leading to the next ice age. We are past the peak of the latest interglacial warming with a declining trend for the last 3500 years.

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Feb 05, 2016
Don’t be blown away by winter weather

By Anthony Sadar

Headlines hyping Snowzilla, Blizzard for the Ages, Snowcalypse, and such, make for good press and can be quite descriptive, but hyperbole seemed less necessary when I was a youth in the 1960s. And winter weather, even big snowstorms, seemed like just another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. (Like so many in the DC and NYC area did last month!) It never occurred to us kids to politicize such events. But today, many in the younger generation (that is, significantly younger than me) seem to know how to make political hay out of flakes of snow.

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The D.C. area endured a big weather event in January—more than two feet of snow in places and high winds… blizzard conditions! Weather so severe it reminded me of the kind of storm events much more common decades ago in the Northeast. Oh well, it is the middle of winter after all. Sometimes the white stuff falls, and falls hard.

For the champions of climate catastrophe, selective “unique” events like this recent blizzard translate into “extreme weather” surely brought on by manmade climate change.

Championing the claim of meteorological mayhem from people pollution is convenient for two reasons. First, it’s so hard to prove or disprove the long-term cause of any particular stormy episode; and second, every weather event is “unique,” so the mundane becomes the spectacular simply by designation. And, naming a storm (like Jonas) doesn’t make its genesis, development, and trajectory any more familiar.

In reality, the climate has not changed much over the years—at least not much for the promoters of global climate doom. Yet the disaster-monger tactics have changed somewhat, their hysteria has increased a bit, and much more money and politicking have been devoted to their dubious cause. The August 3, 2015 release of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and the United Nation’s late 2015 Paris climate confab are two of the most recent cases in point. But regardless of high-level machinations, the climate keeps operating as usual, changing in its substantially natural way.

No matter, trusting in the claims of climate catastrophists continues big time! After all, in essence what are far-ranging outlooks of global climate conditions—especially those fine-tuned for local areas? They are at best educated guesses by purportedly really smart people, and as such require trust by lesser entities, including other really smart people who don’t have advanced degrees in climatology.

So, it comes down to trust, and the fact that people will believe what they want to believe, or are compelled to believe.

Yet, what if there are some really intelligent, independent, scientifically-minded folks out there with some impressive credentials, a lot of real world experience, and a dash of objective common sense who question the ability of those other purportedly really smart people to be so utterly certain of their own prophetic powers? Would the input from the really intelligent, independent, scientifically-minded folks have any value in a free society, especially a society required to pay the bill for an enormously expensive gamble that the purportedly really smart people actually know what they’re talking about?

And, we certainly are paying the bill. The federal government alone has poured billions of our tax dollars into research directed at substantiating preformed conclusions that humans are responsible for disastrous climate change and that increased carbon dioxide ("carbon pollution") produces only bad effects. Mounds of money are used to prop-up wind mills and solar collectors in the hope of averting an airy adversary in the form of increased severe weather events. In addition, a boatload of our cash floats efforts to “educate” of the public and students from grade school through graduate school on the culpability of people for climate catastrophe.

Like the giant financial institutions, the “climate-industrial complex”—as former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency senior analyst Alan Carlin and others have dubbed it—has now supposedly become “too big to fail.”

But, are we investing wisely? Are there bigger issues out there in the real world that demand our serious financial attention and compassionate focus—issues that pose a bigger threat to humans and the ecosystem than some potential uptick in temperature levels or increase in snowfall depths? Two big threats topping the list are terrorism and abject poverty, both quite destructive to people and the planet, both within the means of our nation to greatly alleviate.

I am just one professional of the likely thousands that work in the atmospheric-science and related fields every day that see tremendous distortion by the news media, environmentalists, politicians, and even governmental bodies like the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of what is and is not known about the earth’s climate. So, I and many of my colleagues continue to challenge the final-form science of contemporary climatology foisted on an unsuspecting public. We advance arguments and insights not as partisan broadsides, but as continued pleas for more open-mindedness and tolerance in a discipline that absolutely necessitates such conditions for its optimal performance.

Be careful not to be blown away by severe winter weather or snowed under by an arrogant atmosphere of climate catastrophe. The bottom line is this: rather than spinning public perception by calling dramatic weather events products of humans living comfortably, as climate catastrophe champions do, authentic science requires that making unsubstantiated pronouncements is antithetical to professional practice. No amount of wintertime blizzard, political-year bluster, or endless consensus conceit will change that.

Anthony J. Sadar is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).


Jan 26, 2016
Warmest Evah?

Herb Stevens Letter in Providence Journal

Below is a letter to PROJO by Meteorologist Herb Stevens relative to 2015 warmest ever claims:

As projo readers recoil from the stunning headline “2015 Set Record for Heat”, there are several things that should be considered before folks start planting palm trees in Pawtucket.  The data sets upon which that claim is made come from surface thermometers, and are lorded over by NASA and NOAA.  There are more than 1,200 such thermometers in this country that comprise the USHN...United States Historical Climate Network.  Many of the records date back more than 100 years, when the instruments were initially sited in rural locations far away from the warming influences of cities and before American suburbs started their dramatic expansion in the mid 20th century.  Most of those same thermometers are now surrounded by roads, runways, jets, HVAC exhaust fixtures, factories, subdivisions, etc., all of which make the readings warmer than what natural forces would produce. 

A few years ago, an independent inventory of the USHCN instrument sites was done, and fully 89% of all of the thermometers were found to be non-compliant with respect to their siting.  In other words, only about 10% of the readings were not artificially warmed.  The U.S. has the best coverage of any country in terms of these instruments but even our network is plagued by instrument malfunctions.  More than 40 per cent of all temperatures have to be “infilled” because of breakdowns.  Those missing temperatures are replaced by numbers made up by a computer, further reducing the veracity of the data.  And then the matter of data manipulation has to be considered...that’s right, fudging the numbers.  Here is an article that summarizes the funny business that has been going on for decades among those who are the caretakers of the records.

When you consider that 70% of the planet is covered with water, where temperature records are extremely sparse, and thermometers only cover half of the globes’ land areas, the claim becomes very suspect.  Bad siting, persistent instrument failures supplemented by infilled data, and the systemic data adjustments that have been made for decades have turned the surface temperature record into a sewer.

There is an alternative, and that would be the satellite record.  Two global temperature data sets have been compiled since 1978 utilizing satellites, which are only prone to a fraction of the problems that the surface data suffers from...instruments do occasionally malfunction.  Back in the early 90’s NASA recommended that satellite measurements be used as the preferred method of measurement because it was the most accurate method.  Those same satellites have recorded much less warming during that time than the surface data,,,and show no net warming of the planet over the past 18 years and 8 months.  Not only has NASA has abandoned the use of the satellite-derived temperatures, some of their scientists have taken to YouTube to discredit that same data!

While 2015 was indeed a warm year globally, influenced greatly by a strong El Nino in the Pacific, it only ranks 3rd or 4th warmest in the 37 year satellite record.  Warmest EVER?  Stop the nonsense…

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The letter led to a note to the editor which Herb was asked about here is the letter and Herb’s detailed reply:

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General Accounting Office (GAO) report (September 2011) took NOAA to task for station siting issues:

“NOAA does not centrally track whether USHCN stations adhere to siting standards...nor does it have an agency-wide policy regarding stations that don’t meet standards. The report continues,

“Many of the USHCN stations have incomplete temperature records; very few have complete records. 24 of the 1,218 stations (about 2 percent) have complete data from the time they were established.” GAO goes on to state that most stations with long temperature records are likely to have undergone multiple changes in measurement conditions.

The report shows by their methodology that 42% of the network in 2010 failed to meet siting standards. Some of the stations that were worst offenders of siting quality have been removed since the non-governmental, all volunteer, not for profit surfacestations.org project photographic assessment of well over 1000 of the 1200 US climate stations in the USHCN network published its findings.

See also the working document here.

Brohan (2005) showed the degree of uncertainty in surface temperature sampling errors for 1969 (here for CRUTEM3). The degree of uncertainty exceeds the total global warming signal. ). His next step will be to attempt to splice/blend the data into the grids. Source here.

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Hollywood Fool of the Week

Hollywood liberals love to push progressive ideas especially environmental. They know very little but like the phony political, NGO and UCS environmentalists that doesn’t stop them. In many cases, for Hollywood or figures, we enjoy their on screen or musical talents but resent their using their celebrity to support the indoctrinationof the public by the media and politicians and of the students by the biased and failing education system driven by Common Core. Today we feature Leonardo DiCaprio who went as far as producing a movie, the 11th Hour.

Here is Leo showing how much he knows about climate and how many people saw his movie.

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Here he is pontificating in front of his hollywood fellow loons.

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Speaking of pontificating, here Leo is with the socialist Pope Francis, urging he be even more active in supporting the global phony climate scheme which has the goal of redistributing wealth and destroying capitalism as the UN has itself admitted.

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Jan 16, 2016
Reasons You Should Not Feel Lonely If You’re Questioning Whether Climate Change Is a Problem

President Obama proclaimed in the SOTU address “...If anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You will be pretty lonely because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

Yet just 23% of voters agree that the scientific debate is over and 46% believe change is caused by planetary or other factors while just 44% believe humans are to primarily blame according to an August 2015 Rasmussen poll. There is widespread and growing skepticism among scientists that climate change is man made and an issue though it should not surprise you that the scientists who are on the receiving end of the billions of dollars of government grants and support will voice support for the ‘theory’ even as every day facts emerge that prove it has failed. The military and other agencies carry out the administration’s will and are not experts in science and industry will sign on to any cause if they think it will improve profits. Finally most of the 200 nations signed onto the UN volunteering pledge because they believe that they will financially benefit.

ICECAP Aside: A post by Anthony Watts in 2008 reviewed a paper I had posted on Icecap.us which did a comparative analysis of CO2 versus other natural factors and temperatures. Other follow up papers have been done, peer reviewed and published since then and another set is under review for an upcoming book for Elsevier. They show natural factors drive climate changes. Here is a recap of the original work and a link to one of the updates.

Here is a story by Steve Goddard on Real Science on the Endless Stupidity at the New York TImes and here one on Twenty Years of the Same Climate Stupid.  And speaking of stupid, here is another in a series of stupid scientists - this one Bill Nye.

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The Heritage Foundation in their fact check of the SOTU found on the topic:

President Obama said feel free to question the science behind climate change but doing so will leave you “pretty lonely” because “you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

This “problem” of climate change is hardly one at all. Natural variations have altered the climate much more than man has. Proponents of global action on climate change will argue that 97 percent of the climatologists agree on climate change. There is significant agreement among climatologists, even those labeled as skeptics, that the Earth has warmed moderately over the past 60 years and that some portion of that warming may be attributed to manmade carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate and we’ve seen them plateau for nearly two decades now.

Even studies that have attempted to refute the 18-year pause in global warming show that the temperature trend is much less than that projected by climate models. And even though man-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the world has not experienced trends in the increased frequency or magnitude of extreme weather events.

Heritage research has shown that the statistical models that the administration relies on to quantify the economic impact of climate change are heavily dependent upon certain assumptions and extremely sensitive to very reasonable tweaks to these assumptions.  In fact, under some assumptions one of the models that the administration relies on suggests that there may even be net benefits to global warming. That’s right: benefits.

The climate data simply does not suggest that man-made global warming should be at the top of the list of public concerns. Most importantly, even if you do believe the planet is heading toward catastrophe, the Obama administration’s climate agenda will drive up energy costs by driving out affordable energy sources for no meaningful climate reduction. We could grind all economic activity to a halt, hold our breaths forever, and cut carbon emissions to zero in the U.S. - and still only wind up lowering average temperatures by no more than 0.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Politicians might want to start listening to those “lonely” climate voices and have an objective, scientific debate on climate change.

By Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow and Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer

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Thanks to Michael Mann, Andrew Dessler and Seth Borenstein, we can rate the candidates as to how independent the candidate are on thinking relative to climate change. Those at the top understand the scientific method while those at the bottom like the three authors haven’t a clue.

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Jan 04, 2016
An Unprecedented Warm Beginning to the Winter of 2015-2016?

By Dr. Anthony Lupo

Throughout the Fall season this year we’ve heard about the onset of a monster El Nino, one on par with the huge El Nino of 1997-1998. As fall has evolved the El Nino has certainly been a strong one. Typically, El Nino results in warmer temperatures for the eastern 2/3 of the country, and colder temperatures for the western USA. This December’s weather has certainly El Nino-like.

But, it should be noted that not all El Ninos produce the same weather patterns over the USA. El Nino influences the path of the jet stream, and this impact depends on the location and the shape of the anomalous warm water mass in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The El Nino of 1997-1998 was not as noteworthy for warm conditions in the eastern US.

As fall rolled into winter, December has been off-the-charts warm for much of the country. And this follows a very warm fall (September- November). Unprecedented we’re told, as surfers rode the waves Christmas day off New York and New Jersey. And there was unusual severe weather as well, as tornadoes and flooding rains occurred from Texas to Florida, and also up north as far as Michigan. This severe weather resulted in fatalities through the Christmas Holiday.

Of course, climate change has been fingered as playing as much a role as El Nino in the occurrence of this unprecedented weather. This means at least partly related to human carbon dioxide emissions, or that we may have brought this on ourselves. All the talk has been about how this is the “new normal”. Is this warm weather a prelude to our future? Many have asked the question across the nation.

Thus it is instructive to put Fall 2015 into a historical perspective. One could look at the “cumulative warmth” of each fall dating back to 1889, the date for which records are first available in our region. This quantity is simply the sum of each month’s temperature anomaly for a season. The monthly temperature anomaly was calculated using the 1889 - 2014 average for each month. This quantity is similar in concept to heating or cooling degree days. For Columbia, MO, Fall 1931was the warmest at +19.7 F. Fall 1963 was second at +15.5 F, while Fall 2015 was third at +15.1 F. Thus, for this region, Fall 2015 was the third warmest, unusual for sure, but not unprecedented. Then, looking at the statewide mean temperatures for the September to November period showed Fall 2015 was only the ninth warmest on record, while the same period for 1931 was only 4th warmest. This disparity between these two statistics means that the fall of 1931 and 2015 was consistently very warm but not uniformly so across our region.

Nationwide, the situation was much the same, warmer than normal temperatures were the rule. Examining Figure 1 (see PDF) shows that the surface temperature pattern for November 1931 (Fig 1 left) strongly resembled November 2015 (Fig 1 center) in form and magnitude. Note that the eastern part of the USA was very warm, while the western part was very cold compared to normal as shown by the size and color of the circles (Fig. 1 right). 

How about globally? Using the 500 hPa height field to compare global weather patterns (Figure 2), shows the 500 hPa height fields are similar for the Fall 1931 versus Fall 2015. The contours on this map can be thought off as the cumulative energy in the atmosphere up to that level. It should be noted that the height data for 1931 was constructed using surface records, as 500 hPa height measurements were not available at that time.  Figure 1 (see PDF) November surface temperature (F) for the USA (left), (center) by climate division for 1931 and 2015, respectively, and (right) the 2015 anomaly, where blue is cold and red is warm with the size of the circle corresponding to a magnitude.

Looking further at the regional temperatures for the start of winter in this area, the fall of 1931 was followed up by the warmest winter in the 126 year period of record for the state of Missouri by far (almost 2 F more that the second warmest winter). It is highly likely that our grandparents and great grandparents were also wondering where winter had gone.

Figure 2 (see PDF) shows the mean 500 hPa height (m) for September to November (left) 1931 and (right) 2015, the contour interval is every 60 m. Using the cumulative anomaly statistic, the winter of 1931-1932 produced a value of +26.4 F for Columbia, MO. The jet stream for December 1931 compared to December 2015 (to Dec 28th) (Figure 3) shows that similar conditions existed over the USA for both years, with a trough over the western US and ridging over the east. Normal conditions would show the opposite. Thus, it might be reasonable to expect that the winter of 2015-2016 could be one of the warmer winters on record if the pattern for winter is established. But, then again, Mother Nature may not cooperate!

Interestingly, the winter of 1931-1932 was not characterized by El Nino conditions in the Pacific Region, and conditions were what we would call ENSO neutral, neither El Nino nor La Nina. Again, the impact of sea surface temperature anomalies on the jet stream are influenced by their location and their shape. Figure 3 (see PDF) as in Fig. 2, except for the month of December.

But, November and December of 2015 have been quite wet as well for much of the midwest and south. Warm and wet conditions also characterized two other similar November and December periods. This was the years 1982 and 1895. The former was a strong El Nino year, while the latter was characterized by warm waters in the El Nino region (though not warm enough to be classified as El Nino). In Columbia, November - December period for 2015, 1982, and 1895 ranked as the 2nd, 6th, and 3rd wettest overall. 

Is it fair to say El Nino is contributing to this unusual pattern? Yes, it is likely. Is what we are experiencing unprecedented in our short period of climate records? The answer to that is no, it’s happened before. Also, since a very warm fall and winter pattern is rare, it is also fair to say that 2015 is not indicative of some “new normal”. In fact, to have six or more months (two seasons) in a row average so far above or below normal (more than two standard deviations) is very rare, occurring only three times (1931, 1976, 2012) in the 126 year period. The winter of 2015-2016 has two more months to go before it can be determined to join that crowd.


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