Frozen in Time
Apr 08, 2008
Snow World - What a Year for Snow in Unusual Places

By Joseph D’Aleo on Intellicast

For years, I wrote stories on weather and climate on I will be doing weekly stories on the weather there again starting today. The first summarizes the unusual snowy winters of 2007 in the Southern Hemisphere and 2007/08 in the Northern Hemisphere. It snowed in places where snow is rare or unheard of, and many all-time snow records were set in other places used to snow in winter.

Since the article was penned last week, St. Johnsbury, Vermont came in with a new seasonal snow record at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium with 139.1 inches, just eclipsing the mark of 139.0 inches set in 1968-69. According to Mark Breen the Museum’s meteorologist, records go back to 1894, and the observing site is essentially the same throughout the period of record. It has been an amazing winter there Mark noted.  The snowiest winter season - December, January, and March - with 119 inches, the snowiest December of record - 54.1 inches, the only winter with two months exceeding 40 inches of snowfall, and one of the longest continuous snowcover seasons (they still have 15 inches of snow at the stake).

Also all the way acrosss the country to the northwest, Spokane, Washington found their seasonal total move into second place all-time with 89.4 inches, second only to 1949-50. Stowe, Vermont is pushing 400 inches and Vail, CO 420 inches with another storm brewing. In fact in all these places additional snow is very possible before they put away their snow sticks.

Photo of Vail this week courtesy of Tim Kelley. See larger image here.

In the middle, Minnesota saw a major snowstorm with up to 32 inches of snow that the Minnesota Climatology Working group wrote about here, with another snowstorm on the way.

Visible satellite of the recent snowfall 1:15pm CDT on April 7, 2008. There are clouds obscuring the snow over the right side of the photo. Courtesy Grand Forks National Weather Service.

Across the Atlantic, the UK is getting an unusual April snow. Britain saw its worst April snowfall for nearly 20 years yesterday. Up to three inches of snow fell in parts of southern England and temperatures were below freezing in many places even at midday. The Arctic cold snap meant more misery for passengers at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, where British Airways cancelled more than 100 flights. Both Heathrow’s runways briefly closed for de-icing. Gatwick’s runway closed for two hours to clear snow, with 55 flights abandoned.

See the Intellicast story “Snow World - What a Year for Snow in Unusual Places” here. 

Apr 06, 2008
Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United States

By David Archibald at the ICCC

Do we live in a special time in which the laws of physics and nature are suspended? No, we do not. Can we expect relationships between the Sun’s activity and climate, that we can see in data going back several hundred years, to continue for at least another 20 years? With absolute certainty. In this presentation, I will demonstrate that the Sun drives climate, and use that demonstrated relationship to predict the Earth’s climate to 2030. It is a prediction that differs from most in the public domain. It is a prediction of imminent cooling.

The sun reverses magnetic polarity with each solar cycle, and sunspots of the new cycle start forming before the old cycle has completely died off. The average length of a solar cycle is 10.7 years. Solar Cycle 23 started in May 1996, rising to a peak of 120.9 in April 2000. For Solar Cycle 23 to be of average length, Solar Cycle 24 should have started in January 2007. The first sunspots of a new solar cycle appear usually at more than 20 degrees latitude on the Sun’s surface. According to the last couple of solar cycles, the first sunspots appear twelve to twenty months prior to the start of the new cycle. With the first sunspot of Solar Cycle 24 seen on 4th January, 2008, Solar Cycle 24 may start from late 2008 to mid-2009.

See larger image here

This graph is another pointer that we are heading back to the weak solar cycles of the 19th century, with 19th century type winters to accompany them. Solar cycles 10 to 15, from 1860 to 1917, had an average of 66 months from the first spotless day to solar cycle minimum. This was a time of considerable glacial advance in the European Alps. Since then, solar cycles have averaged half that at 33 months from first spotless day to solar cycle minimum. So far, solar cycle 24 is plotting on the 19th century line. With the first spotless day on 27th January, 2004, and if the 66 month observation holds, then solar minimum will be on or about July 2009. This would make solar cycle 23 thirteen years long.

Combining the rural US data set we saw earlier and the projected temperature response to the length of Solar Cycle 23, this graph shows the expected decline to 2030.

See larger image here

The temperature decline will be as steep as that of the 1970s cooling scare, but will go on for longer. It can get worse than a repeat of the Dalton Minimum. Ken Schatten is the solar physicist with the best track record in predicting solar cycles. His work suggests a return to the advancing glaciers and delayed spring snow melt of the Little Ice Age, for an indeterminate period. He told the American Astronomical Association Meeting in 2003 that based on his model “The surprising result of these long-range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a “Maunder” type of solar activity minimum - an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity.” See this full paper that makes the case for the role of the sun in driving climate (with some US city data and forecasts) and for the folly of being so concerened about carbon here.

Apr 05, 2008
BBC Keeps on Denying the Sun’s Influence on Climate

By Warwick Hughes

Here is a recent email headed “Black Propaganda continues at the BBC” from JohnA informing Richard Black of the BBC about the degree of bias in BBC reporting on climate issues. (Can I just add here my humble effort ”Exactly where Lockwood and Frohlich are wrong” ?)


I note your latest attempt in your continuing campaign to ignore and demean the considerable and growing evidence of natural influences on climate change, and especially on the cosmic ray/solar cycle hypothesis of Svensmark et al. Last time you raced out of the blocks with an article entitled “No Sun link’ to climate change” about a paper then yet to be published, and couldn’t be bothered beyond leaving a few voicemail messages to contact Dr Svensmark for a response. The paper of course was by Lockwood and Froelich: Then of course, you didn’t bother reporting that reply from Svensmark because we don’t want the license payers unnecessarily confused with a solid rebuttal, would we Richard? Especially since that paper by Lockwood that you trumpeted was rife with errors.

Here’s the reply from Svensmark. Here’s another from Ken Gregory and here’s another from Anthony Watts.

Obviously you won’t spend any time reporting on them, because life’s too short isn’t it Richard? After all, what with burning up all of those carbon credits to visit glaciers calving perfectly naturally, and polar bear populations stridently not declining but growing strongly, there’s no time for nuanced scientific reporting is there?

Now we have yet another example of your tawdry one-sided reporting with this one: ”“No Sun link’ to climate change” (by the way, are you minimizing your carbon footprint by recycling the titles to articles?). This time its a letter to a little known and little read environmental science journal - so we’re a long way from any expertise in statistics or solar science, aren’t we?  This time the two scientists are Sloan and Wolfendale, and would you believe it! They come to the same conclusion as the one you want to hear!

Read more of this powerful letter here.

Apr 03, 2008
Dust Plays a Role In Climate Change

By Robert C. Cowen , Christian Science Monitor

Scientists know that dust affects climate. Tiny particles create veils that reflect sunlight and cool the atmosphere. Dark particles absorb sunshine and warm things up. But as scientists look deeper into the dust-climate connection, they find that they have underestimated its importance. Research published April 3 in Nature reveals the tight linkage between atmospheric dust flows and Antarctic temperatures during ice ages over the past 800,000 years. A research review published March 23 in Nature Geoscience online shows that black carbon particles in the atmosphere have a more powerful global-warming effect than any of the greenhouse gases except carbon dioxide. And these particles are 60 percent as effective as CO2 itself. That’s far more powerful than the estimate in last year’s report of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The good news is that black carbon particles such as diesel soot or wood-stove smoke only stay airborne for weeks. (It takes a century to get rid of today’s CO2 emissions.)(Icecap Note: Not true: Lifetime of CO2 is more like 5-7 years) This fact offers an opportunity for instant payback, say study authors V. Ramanathan at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and Gregory Carmichael at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. In an announcement from Scripps, the authors note that commercially available technologies exist to cut back soot emissions substantially. Using them would rapidly reduce black-carbon warming.

Meanwhile, Fabrice Lambert at the University of Bern in Switzerland and colleagues are taking advantage of an unbroken 800,000-year climate record in an Antarctic ice core to track dust flows into the region. They find what they call “a significant correlation” between dust coming into the region and Antarctic cooling. They suggest that the 25-fold increase in dust inflow they see during glacial times relates to stronger South American dust sources. Also, less rainfall during those times allows dust to stay airborne longer than when more abundant rain washed it out. It’s what the research team calls “a progressive coupling of the climates of Antarctic and lower latitudes” during glacial times. Read More here.

Mar 31, 2008
The Two Theories of Climate Change

By Jim Clarke, Clarke’s Climate

The amount of money flowing into the study of man-made climate change has multiplied time and again over the years, solely because man-made climate change has been perceived as a crisis.  The study of natural climate change, on the other hand, has not enjoyed a similar windfall.  In fact, those insisting that natural climate variability is still dominant have had a very difficult time getting funding at all.  Natural climate change is not considered a problem requiring a solution, so governments are not interested.  Meanwhile, the scientific community has been downright hostile to those arguing against the AGW theory, for they threaten to kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

The AGW theory is based on human knowledge of every process of the sun-earth-atmosphere system.  It attempts to create a mathematical calculation for everything that happens in this system and then calculate how all of those different equations interact with each other when set into motion, creating what are called ‘feedbacks’.  There are two major problems with this technique: we do not understand everything that is happening (by a long shot), and the feedbacks are not always products of the equations, but are based on assumptions that govern the equations.  In other words, the supposed crisis is based on positive (warming) feedbacks and the positive feedbacks are based on assumptions.  There is little evidence that these positive feedbacks actually exist in nature and growing evidence that negative (cooling) feedbacks begin to dominate in a warming world.

The NGW theory recognizes that humans are playing a role in climate change and the increasing CO2, all else being equal, will tend to warm the atmosphere.  In the NGW theory, however, the amount of warming is not expected to be any greater than the ‘direct’ warming produced by a doubling of CO2, which is probably close to 0.6 degrees centigrade.  In other words, there are no assumptions about huge positive feedbacks in the NGW theory. Also, the NGW theory includes processes for which there is a large amount of physical evidence, but no well defined mathematical equations to describe what is happening.  The reason is that we do not know exactly what is happening in the depths of the oceans, in clouds, the sun and with cosmic rays.  What we do know is that all of these things have an affect on global climate change.  For example, we do not know why the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) shifts every 30 years or so, but we do know that each phase has a significant impact on the number of El Nino’s that occur, and El Nino’s have a significant impact on global climate.  These facts are ignored in the AGW theory for reasons I do not quite understand.

The bottom line is that the AGW theory ignores real world evidence in favor of incomplete equations and unsupportable assumptions.  One the other hand, the NGW theory weighs all evidence and tries to avoid assumptions about processes; well aware that there are physical processes occurring which we do not yet understand and for which we can not write equations.  Instead, the affect of these processes is determined by the available, real world evidence.  Read more here.

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