Political Climate
Aug 19, 2016
Coastal areas take notice - models, factors, climatology, analog support for tropical trouble

The models are smelling trouble for the western Atlantic. It should not surprise you given the SSTAs, the less hostile MJO and the calendar.

Water is warm throughout the Atlantic Basin, warmest in the west.

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The MJO is becoming less hostile to convection. The green areas support outflow aloft, allowing thunderstorm clusters to more easily organize.

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In August (usually after mid-month), the activity picks up in the entire development region.

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Each of the global models develop storms. The scariest yesterday was the tropical storm friendly GEM. Overnight it was the GFS 06z.

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ANALOG SUPPORT FOR TROUBLE

The CPC Constructed analog which looks back at SSTA patterns 45N to 45S several seasons has not surprisingly 1998 ranked high still but has 1960 just behind. The WB Pioneer model which looks at SSTAs there and in higher latitudes but also at atmospheric and oceanic and solar factors has a mix of troublesome tropical years in the top 10 including 1969, 2003, 2004, 2005, 1960 is not in the top 10 but not far behind.

1960 was famous for Hurricane Donna, a major hurricane which produced hurricane force winds in all the states on the east coast from Florida north. The year in the top 10 for both was 2003. 2003 had Isabel which pounded the Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic.

Here is an NHC cliff noted recap of the highlights of Donna in 1960 and Isabel (2003).

Hurricane Donna 1960

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One of the all-time great hurricanes, Donna was first detected as a tropical wave moving off the African coast on August 29. It became a tropical storm over the tropical Atlantic the next day and a hurricane on September 1. Donna followed a general west-northwestward track for the following five days, passing over the northern Leeward Islands on the 4th and 5th as a Category 4 hurricane and then to the north of Puerto Rico later on the 5th. Donna turned westward on September 7 and passed through the southeastern Bahamas. A northwestward turn on the 9th brought the hurricane to the middle Florida Keys the next day at Category 4 intensity. Donna then curved northeastward, crossing the Florida Peninsula on September 11, followed by eastern North Carolina (Category 3) on the 12th, and the New England states (Category 3 on Long Island and Categories 1 to 2 elsewhere) on the 12th and 13th. The storm became extratropical over eastern Canada on the 13th.

Donna is the only hurricane of record to produce hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic states, and New England. Sombrero Key, Florida reported 128 mph sustained winds with gusts to 150 mph. In the Mid-Atlantic states, Elizabeth City, North Carolina reported 83 mph sustained winds, while Manteo, North Carolina reported a 120 mph gust. In New England, Block Island, Rhode Island reported 95 mph sustained winds with gusts to 130 mph.

Donna caused storm surges of up to 13 ft in the Florida Keys and 11 ft surges along the southwest coast of Florida. Four to eight ft surges were reported along portions of the North Carolina coast, with 5 to 10 ft surges along portions of the New England coast. Heavy rainfalls of 10 to 15 inches occurred in Puerto Rico, 6 to 12 inches in Florida, and 4 to 8 inches elsewhere along the path of the hurricane.

The landfall pressure of 27.46 inches makes Donna the fifth strongest hurricane of record to hit the United States. It was responsible for 50 deaths in the United States. One hundred and fourteen deaths were reported from the Leeward Islands to the Bahamas, including 107 in Puerto Rico caused by flooding from the heavy rains. The hurricane caused $387 million in damage in the United States and $13 million elsewhere along its path.

Hurricane Isabel 2003

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A well-organized but slow moving tropical wave that exited the African coastline on September 1st developed into Tropical Storm Isabel on the morning of September 6th. Isabel became a hurricane on September 7th and rapidly intensified to Category 4 hurricane strength on the evening of the 8th while the eye was located more than 1100 miles to the east of the Leeward Islands. This impressive hurricane reached Category 5 strength on September 11th, making Isabel the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Mitch in October 1998. The cyclone turned northwestward around the western periphery of the Atlantic ridge beginning on the 15th. Isabel began to weaken on the 15th as conditions aloft became more hostile, and it fell below major hurricane strength for the first time in eight days on the 16th.

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Although weakening, Isabel’s wind field continued to expand as hurricane warnings were issued for most of the North Carolina and Virginia coastline, including the Chesapeake Bay. Isabels large eye pushed ashore just after the noon hour on September 18th near Drum Inlet along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Isabel was the worst hurricane to affect the Chesapeake Bay region since 1933. Storm surge values of more than 8 feet flooded rivers that flowed into the Bay across Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. Isabel brought tropical storm force gusts as far north as New York State as it moved inland. The most intense hurricane of the 2003 season directly resulted in 17 deaths and more than 3 billion dollars* in damages. The large wind field toppled trees and cut power to more than four million customers.



Jul 23, 2016
Science or advocacy?

Students are learning energy and climate change advocacy, not climate science

David R. Legates

For almost thirty years, I have taught climate science at three different universities. What I have observed is that students are increasingly being fed climate change advocacy as a surrogate for becoming climate science literate. This makes them easy targets for the climate alarmism that pervades America today.

Earth’s climate probably is the most complicated non-living system one can study, because it naturally integrates astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology, geology, hydrology, oceanography and cryology, and also includes human behavior by both responding to and affecting human activities. Current concerns over climate change have further pushed climate science to the forefront of scientific inquiry.

What should we be teaching college students?

At the very least, a student should be able to identify and describe the basic processes that cause Earth’s climate to vary from poles to equator, from coasts to the center of continents, from the Dead Sea or Death Valley depression to the top of Mount Everest or Denali. A still more literate student would understand how the oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere - driven by energy from the sun - all work in constantly changing combinations to produce our very complicated climate.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s definition of climate science literacy raises the question of whether climatology is even a science. It defines climate science literacy as “an understanding of your influence on climate and climate’s influence on you and society.”

How can students understand and put into perspective their influence on the Earth’s climate if they don’t understand the myriad of processes that affect our climate? If they don’t understand the complexity of climate itself? If they are told only human aspects matter? And if they don’t understand these processes, how can they possibly comprehend how climate influences them and society in general?

Worse still, many of our colleges are working against scientific literacy for students.

At the University of Delaware, the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment and Research (MADE CLEAR) defines the distinction between weather and climate by stating that “climate is measured over hundreds or thousands of years,” and defining climate as “average weather.” That presupposes that climate is static, or should be, and that climate change is unordinary in our lifetime and, by implication, undesirable.

Climate, however, is not static. It is highly variable, on timescales from years to millennia - for reasons that include, but certainly are not limited to, human activity.

This Delaware-Maryland program identifies rising concentrations of greenhouse gases - most notably carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - as the only reason why temperatures have risen about 0.6C (1.1 F) over the last century and will supposedly continue to rise over the next century. Students are then instructed to save energy, calculate their carbon footprint, and reduce, reuse, recycle. Mastering these concepts, they are told, leads to “climate science literacy.” It does not.

In the past, I have been invited to speak at three different universities during their semester-long and college-wide focus on climate science literacy. At all three, two movies were required viewing by all students, to assist them in becoming climate science literate: Al Gore’s biased version of climate science, An Inconvenient Truth, and the 2004 climate science fiction disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow.

This past spring, the University of Delaware sponsored an Environmental Film Festival featuring six films. Among them only An Inconvenient Truth touched at all on the science behind climate change, albeit in such a highly flawed way that in Britain, students must be warned about its bias. The other films were activist-oriented and included movies that are admittedly science fiction or focus on “climate change solutions.”

For these films, university faculty members were selected to moderate discussions. We have a large College of Earth, Ocean and the Environment, from which agreeable, scientifically knowledgeable faculty could have been chosen. Instead, discussion of An Inconvenient Truth was led by a professor of philosophy, and one movie - a documentary on climate change “solutions” that argues solutions are pertinent irrespective of the science - was moderated by a civil engineer.

Discussion of the remaining four films was led by faculty from history, English and journalism. Clearly, there was little interest in the substance of the science.

Many fundamentals of climate science are absent from university efforts to promote climate science literacy. For example, students seldom learn that the most important chemical compound with respect to the Earth’s climate is not carbon dioxide, but water. Water influences almost every aspect of the Earth’s energy balance, because it is so prevalent, because it appears in solid, liquid and gas form in substantial quantities, and because energy is transferred by the water’s mobility and when it changes its physical state. Since precipitation varies considerably from year to year, changes in water availability substantially affect our climate every year.

Hearing about water, however, doesn’t set off alarms like carbon dioxide does.

Contributing to the increased focus on climate change advocacy is the pressure placed on faculty members who do not sign on to the advocacy bandwagon. The University of Delaware has played the role of activist and used FOIA requests to attempt to intimidate me because I have spoken out about climate change alarmism. In my article published in Academic Questions, “The University vs. Academic Freedom,” I discuss the university’s willingness to go along with Greenpeace in its quest for my documents and emails pertaining to my research.

Much grant money and fame, power and influence, are to be had for those who follow the advocates’ game plan. By contrast, the penalties for not going along with alarmist positions are quite severe.

For example, one of the films shown at the University of Delaware’s film festival presents those who disagree with climate change extremism as pundits for hire who misrepresent themselves as a scientific authority. Young faculty members are sent a very pointed message: adopt the advocacy position - or else.

Making matters worse, consider Senate Bill 3074. Introduced into the U.S. Senate on June 16 of this year, it authorizes the establishment of a national climate change education program. Once again, the emphasis is on teaching energy and climate advocacy, rather than teaching science and increasing scientific knowledge and comprehension.

The director of the National Center for Science Education commented that the bill was designed to “[equip] students with the knowledge and knowhow required for them to flourish in a warming world.” Unfortunately, it will do little to educate them regarding climate science.

I fear that our climate science curriculum has been co-opted, to satisfy the climate change fear-mongering agenda that pervades our society today. Instead of teaching the science behind Earth’s climate, advocates have taken the initiative to convert it to a social agenda of environmental activism.

Climatology, unfortunately, has been transformed into a social and political science. There is nothing wrong with either of those “sciences,” of course. But the flaws underpinning climate science advocacy are masked by “concern for the environment,” when climate is no longer treated as a physical science.

Climate science must return to being a real science and not simply a vehicle to promote advocacy talking points. When that happens, students will find that scientific facts are the real “inconvenient truths.”

David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. A version of this article appeared on the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy website.



Jul 14, 2016
When will Africa get healthy and prosperous?

When will its leaders focus on vital issues affecting its people, instead of lining their pockets?

Steven Lyazi

Africa is still battling “transitional periods,” from slavery and colonialism, to neocolonialism and eco-imperialism. Its wars, diseases and suffering will never end until we stop having greedy leaders who only care about their families, cronies and tribal members.

The continent has enough natural resources to bring peace, health and prosperity to nearly everyone. And yet 90% of Africans still lack electricity and basic necessities, while corrupt leaders who could help transform our nations embezzle billions and leave parents and children starving and poor.

From Rwanda and Liberia to the Sudan and Uganda, we see every day the horrible effects of war - crippled men, widowed women, orphaned children and frail old people, without hands and legs, with slash marks all over their bodies. They struggle as scavengers, collapse and perish from hunger and disease, while politicians get rich.

Meanwhile, environmental activists, western powers and UN agencies dictate what issues are important - and use them to keep us poor and deprived: manmade climate change, no GMO foods, no DDT to prevent malaria, using wind and solar power and never building coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants. This is a criminal trick that denies us our basic rights to affordable energy, jobs and modern living standards.

Earlier this year, in South Sudan, I saw thousands of starving people suffering from war wounds, malaria, meningitis, hepatitis, vitamin deficiencies, cholera and other diseases. Here in Uganda, I see hundreds trying to survive and recover from these diseases, heart attacks, diabetes, kidney failure and cancer, receiving little or no medication and terribly inadequate care in hospitals and clinics that are falling apart and don’t even have window screens or safe running water.

In January 2015, I was in Kampala’s Mulago Hospital caring for my friend and mentor, Cyril Boynes, who was dying from a stroke and kidney failure. The doctors and nurses tried to save him, but they had old, broken equipment and constantly battled electricity failures. Many times, the power went out, the lights and equipment stopped working, and people died before the electricity came back on.

For those who cannot fly to Europe for care, death does not distinguish between rich and poor, Ugandan or foreign. The same terrible facilities and lack of medicine affect everyone. In a world with so much money, technology and knowledge, there is no reason this should continue, year after year.

Before war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, there was some stability and a lot of nongovernmental organizations, companies like Ford Motor Company, private investors and other people arrived to do business. Many thought they could earn good profits, and some succeeded.

Some East African people in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, the Republic of Congo and other countries around South Sudan received new opportunities and skills. They were able to feed their families, send their children to school, pay medical bills and cover other expenses.

But today there is war and economic recession, oil prices have collapsed, and Ford and other companies closed their operations and left. Some 80% of the people again have no jobs. Their families are again impoverished and starving. 

In South Sudan, most people still practice primitive subsistence farming. A UN Development Program report says 90% of the land in South Sudan is suitable for agriculture, but less than 5% of it is cultivated. This is because oil was the primary source of income for the country, the economy has collapsed, and few farmers have modern equipment, fertilizers or seeds to make any profits.

If South Sudanese people have electricity at all, it is from small diesel-powered generators for homes, businesses and hospitals. It is not sufficient, it’s available only some of the time, and there is almost no electricity outside of Juba and other big towns. Few people have motor fuels either, for cars or farm machinery, and the land is too vast to be cultivated by hand hoe or animals.

Calls for us to live “sustainably,” use wind and solar and biofuel power, and never use fossil fuels, are a demand that we accept prolonged starvation and death in our poor countries. They mean desperate people will do horrible things to survive, even just another day.

In 2006, I met a lady in Mulago Hospital whose son was dying from malaria. The Congress of Racial Equality people I was with asked her if she knew that DDT could help prevent malaria, by keeping diseased mosquitoes from coming into their homes. She said, yes, “but DDT is bad for the environment,” so she opposed using it.

It is crazy how lies about this chemical have made mothers willing to let their children die, rather than spray it on their homes. Malaria has killed millions of people in Uganda and is still the number-one killer disease in Africa. Over 1,000 babies and mothers die every day from this disease. We protect the environment from imaginary problems and die from environmental diseases.

What good is having an environment without people, without me and you?

In 2010, 32 coal miners where shot dead in South Africa. They were protesting for salary increases, which the mine owners and South African government said they could not afford, because of the terrible world economy and low coal prices. Meanwhile, the miners’ families are starving.

Our government is planning to construct a pipeline from western Uganda to Tanzania. The project could employ over 15,000 people. Along with other oil operations, it will boost our economy and give us more critically needed energy. But some agencies and organizations oppose it because it would “contribute to global warming,” and they would rather see us remain poor beggars to the West.

Like these “environmental” activists, African leaders do not care about the well-being of our citizens. They are incompetent, greedy, callous criminals, driven by ideologies and a love of power over people.

They love their armies and fast cars, treat their own people like terrorists, and have betrayed our continent. They pay no attention to the most critical and fundamental needs and concerns of people who are jobless, poor, hungry, and at the mercy of diseases and the environment. They do not care that most of their people never have clean water, a decent home, enough food to live, or electricity for even one light bulb and a tiny refrigerator.

In 2007, Cyril Boynes organized a 332-kilometer (206-mile) people’s march from Kampala to Gulu, Uganda, to support using DDT to eradicate malaria. This year, I participated in a march from Gulu to Kampala, to remember those who suffered during the long war with Joseph Kony’s murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, to honor my mother, who walked 20 km every day so that her children could eat and live p and to promote health and prosperity for our country and continent.

When will that day come? When will politicians and activists who say their care about the world’s poor stop worrying about global warming, pesticides and GMO crops - and start helping us get the energy, food, medical facilities, technology, jobs and economic growth we need to improve our lives?
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Steven Lyazi is a student and day laborer in Kampala, Uganda. He served as special assistant to Congress of Racial Equality-Uganda director Cyril Boynes, until Mr. Boynes died in January 2015.



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