Craig James


May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Water, Water (Almost) Everywhere by CRAIG JAMES Can you believe Lake Michigan has nearly three trillion more gallons of water in it than at this time last month? With the wet spring we have had, the lake has risen seven inches since mid April, which translates to 2.73 trillion gallons more water. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Michigan is still about two inches below last year at this time and 16 inches below the long-term average for May. Lake Michigan is an amazing 47 inches below the highest level of record set back in 1986, but it is 13 inches higher than the lowest level of record set in 1996. Lakes Erie and Ontario are above average for this time of year. In fact, Lake Ontario is up 18 inches from last year and is now six inches above its long-term average for May. Lake Michigan is expected to come up another three inches by mid June; Lake Superior may rise another four inches, while the eastern lakes should remain nearly unchanged. The total increase of water in the five Great Lakes in the last month is over 11 TRILLION gallons! Farther south, the Corps of Engineers is releasing water through spillways on the Mississippi River to prevent another flood the magnitude of the 1927 flood, which is the worst flood ever recorded for that river. The water is flowing at the rate of 1.5 million cubic feet per second through the river between Arkansas and Mississippi. Last Sunday, May 15, the Grand River in Grand Rapids was flowing at just 7.6 thousand cubic feet per second. An engineer has calculated that at the rate the Mississippi is flowing, the water could completely fill the Superdome in New Orleans in just 50 seconds. Opening the spillway will release enough water to submerge about 3,000 square miles of land under as much as 25 feet of water. This will take the pressure off the downstream levees protecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the numerous oil refineries and chemical plants along the lower reaches of the Mississippi. However, it could mean ruin to many of the farmers who grow crops in the flooded area. The government tells us there is little inflation. However, […]


May 12, 2011 // 0 Comments

Garbage in, garbage out by CRAIG JAMES Okay… back to the subject of why I am skeptical of the idea of dangerous global warming. I have shown you in an article a couple of weeks ago how just the addition of CO2 into the atmosphere will not produce significant warming. The significant warming scenario comes only from computer models. These models are tuned to bad data, make false assumptions and when tested have proven to be wrong. I’ve written several times about why I believe there are problems with the surface-based temperature data and why I believe the satellite observations are better. We don’t have the data available for the month of April yet but for March, the global temperatures were 0.10°C below average based on the satellite observations but 0.57°C above average in the surface observations. Since the computer models are fine-tuned using what I think is erroneous surface temperature information, it is no wonder their forecasts show too much warming in the future. More importantly, the computer models are constructed using false assumptions about the atmosphere. Current manmade global-warming theory asserts that our climate is dominated by positive feedback. The IPCC postulates that a small increase in temperature from CO2 is multiplied two, three, four times or more by positive feedbacks. An example of positive feedback would be the following: If the global temperature warmed and the warming caused clouds to evaporate, this would allow more sunshine, which would allow temperatures to warm even further. Clouds are always treated as a positive feedback in the computer models, but even the National Science Foundation has stated we don’t know for sure whether cloud feedbacks are positive or negative. We don’t currently know if they ultimately warm or cool the earth. Positive feedback from water vapor seems to play an even bigger role than clouds in the computer models producing large amounts of warming. The theory is that in a warmer world, there would be more evaporation, thereby producing more water vapor in the air. Studies show that the increased water vapor in the air would double the warming from what it would be if the water vapor did not increase. Has the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increased? Not according to NOAA’s […]


April 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Greenhouse Effect In last week’s article I gave you the basic overview of what I think the science really says about human induced global warming. Let’s start this article by taking a look at the poorly named greenhouse effect. I think there are several things about our atmosphere most people are not aware of. The first is that the energy from the sun, short wave radiation, does not heat up the air. About half of the solar radiation is reflected back into space from clouds, water, ice, etc while the other half is absorbed by the ground. As the ground absorbs the short wave radiation, it heats up and emits what is called long wave radiation back into the atmosphere and this long wave radiation is what heats the air. Some of this long wave radiation passes through the atmosphere back out into space but most is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules and clouds, then re-emitted in all directions. Much of the re-emitted radiation goes back to earth while other greenhouse gas molecules and clouds absorb some of this energy only to re-emit it again. The effect of all of this is to warm the air. Without our atmosphere, the earth would average about 50 degrees colder than it is now. However, at no time does the atmosphere act like a blanket or a greenhouse and trap heat. When someone says CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere they don’t understand what is actually occurring. Nothing is trapped. The energy courses through the system without being trapped within it and this process, poorly labeled the greenhouse effect, is absolutely necessary for life as we know it. If the amount of energy leaving the top of the atmosphere equals the amount of energy being added to the atmosphere from the sun and the greenhouse gases, the earth’s average temperature will remain unchanged. Many natural processes such as a change in the amount of cloud cover or volcanic eruptions disturb this balance and the earth is always cooling or warming slightly at any time. It seems to be rather intuitive then that if you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, you will increase the temperature of the atmosphere. The question is, how much? There are currently […]

WORDS on WEATHER & CLIMATE—April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Emperor Has No Clothes by CRAIG JAMES During the winter, I had the opportunity to give four separate presentations on global warming to a class of adults at Calvin College. This led to an opportunity at the end of March to give a presentation on global warming to students in the honors dorm at the college. I think the talks were very well received and over the next several weeks I’d like to give you some of the information in my articles. Back in 1975, I taught a class at Grand Valley State University on weather and climate and I very clearly remember showing a film produced by the Public Broadcast System (PBS) called “Snowblitz.” There was fear at the time that the Earth was heading for another ice age in the near future and that this onset could happen in the span of a decade or less. My, how times and attitudes have changed. Now, of course, the prevailing view is that of dangerous warming. You have probably heard statements like the following. The first is from John Holdren, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the Obama Administration. He is known as the “Science Czar.” In an interview with the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) on February 18, 2011, he stated: “People are seeing the impact of climate change around them in extraordinary patterns of floods and droughts, wildfires, heat waves and powerful storms.” The second is from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, who on February 22, 2011, stated in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “The science is clear. Climate change will continue unless drastic measures are taken to stop it.” The problem is there is no evidence to support either of those statements. They are political statements, not scientific statements. In future articles I will report on recent studies that show no support for the idea that there have been any extraordinary weather patterns around the globe and that the severe weather events of the past decade show no connection to any human-induced warming. Also, the idea that you can stop climate change is absurd. It would be like stopping the rotation of the Earth. Anytime you hear someone say “the science […]


April 14, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CRAIG JAMES Our first 70-degree day this season also turned out to be the first 80-degree day of the season. The thermometer hit 85 degrees on Sunday, April 10. It hasn’t been that warm since mid September and it was also a record high temperature for the date. On average, the first 70-degree day in our area occurs in the last half of March. However, back in 1950, the first 70-degree day did not occur until May 3. It was a very cold spring that year but temperatures were in the mid 60s during the month of January for a topsy-turvy winter and spring. The earliest we have seen a 70-degree day was March 3, 1983, although in 1999 the thermometer hit 69 on February 11. The months of December, January and February are the only three months when the temperature has never hit 70 degrees in Grand Rapids. I guess that is a more comforting thought than the fact that the months of June, July and August are the only three months when we have not seen any snowflakes. As I have written several times already, this looks like a very active spring for severe weather. Our area has been fortunate so far in that all of the severe weather has occurred around us and not here. On April 4, there were over 1,300 reports of wind damage in the southeastern United States in a 24-hour period, making it the greatest number of wind damage events (not tornadoes) ever reported in one day. Keep in mind, however, these records only go back to 1950. Last Saturday evening, the 9th of April, an EF3 rated tornado three quarters of a mile wide with winds between 136 and 165 mph damaged at least 60 percent of the town of Mapleton in the western part of Iowa. Fortunately there were no deaths, but this is the same region of western Iowa where four Boy Scouts died in a tornado that struck a scouting ranch in June 2008. Some of you may remember the severe weather that occurred in our area on April 11, 1965, which was a Palm Sunday. There were 47 tornadoes in the Midwest that day with 271 fatalities and 1,500 injuries; 1,200 of […]

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