Words on Weather & Climate

Words on Weather and Climate — December 16, 2010

December 16, 2010 // 0 Comments

Forecasting Climate  by CRAIG JAMES  When it comes to forecasting the climate, many people say that since forecasters can’t get the weather forecast right for the next couple of days, how can they get the climate forecast right for the next 100 years? (They surely weren’t talking about my forecasts, were they?) The response given by the climate alarmists is that they don’t have to forecast each day’s weather correctly. Over time, the weather averages out and just predicting the long-term trend of warmer or colder is not as difficult as predicting how much snow will fall from the next snowstorm. Therefore, we can have confidence in the climate forecasts out to the year 2100 and beyond. I don’t buy into that response and here’s why. We pretty much know and understand all of the physics behind the atmospheric processes that control the short-term weather forecast. We can even construct computer models that do a fairly good job of representing how the atmosphere works over short time periods using the seven basic mathematical equations of motion for fluids. There are some approximations that have to be made when using these equations, but they work fairly well out to a couple of days. However, they do start to break down as they are run forward in time due to a lack of sufficient data and the inherent chaos of the atmosphere. Once we get out beyond a couple of days, there are additional complicated forces that begin to have an impact on the forecasts, and it is these forces we don’t understand very well and can’t even begin to adequately model in our computers. These natural forces include such things as whether the Atlantic or Pacific oceans are in their cold or warm phase, whether there is an El Niño or La Niña in progress, how temperature changes affect cloud cover, cooling or warming from aerosols, solar influences, and many others. An example of a natural force that over a long period of time affects the motion of fluids but has no effect in the short term is the Coriolis effect. The Coriolis effect is what causes our winds to rotate counter-clockwise around a low-pressure system in the northern hemisphere and just the opposite, or clockwise, in […]

Words on Weather & Climate — March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

Spring? by Craig James What a great way to start out the month of March. It was certainly windy and gloomy this past weekend but prior to that, every day from the 2nd through the 8th had 93 percent or more of possible sunshine with three of those days receiving 100 percent of possible sunshine. Compare that to February when only one day had 100 percent of possible sunshine and on 17 days, we received no sunshine at all. Since the snow cover was slow to melt, golf season didn’t start quite as early as last year when I golfed on March 6. I did practically have to use a hammer to get the tee into the still partially frozen ground and there was ice in one of the cups, but hey, it beat sitting indoors and writing a newspaper article. I was able to golf all the way to December 2 for golf in 10 of the 12 months of 2009. Last year, we hit the first 70 degrees of spring on March 17. Looking at the last 116 years of records, it turns out we have a 51 percent chance of reaching 70 in March, and a 74 percent chance of hitting 60 degrees. That means in one out of every four months of March, the temperature never gets as warm as 60. That’s depressing. With all of the cold weather in the southern states this year, the tornado season has gotten off to a very slow start. In fact, it looked as if we were going to see the only month of February on record with no tornadoes reported in the entire country. However, according to the National Weather Service, a weak tornado that lasted all of three minutes was spotted, in of all places, California on the 27th to spoil the record. There have only been twelve tornadoes so far this month. Since we are on daylight saving (not savings) time now, it is staying light until 8 p.m.. Astronomical spring arrives on the 20th this year, which is of course when there is equal day and equal night across the globe. However, if you look at sunrise and sunset tables you will see on that date we have 12 hours […]

Words on Weather & Climate — February 25, 2010

February 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

Climate Data, Part II by CRAIG JAMES If you didn’t see my article from last week, I showed this chart from NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies supposedly showing about .8 degree C (1.4 degree F) warming across the globe since 1880. I think this chart is pure fantasy. Here is more on why. Last week I wrote about the United States Historical Climate Network (USHCN) and the problems with bad location of thermometers on or near tarmacs, next to buildings, on paved driveways and roads, in waste treatment plants, on rooftops, near air conditioner exhausts and more. In addition, there are problems with the adjustments made for the urban heat island effect, changing thermometer locations and thermometer calibration. This article looks at the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). Back in the 1970s, there were about 6,000 climate-reporting stations in the GHCN, but that number had dropped to around 1,500 in 1990 and to a little over 1,000 now. That is the entire number of land-based surface observations used in calculating the global temperature. Temperature readings are still taken at most of the original stations, but for some reason, they have been deleted from the database. A computer expert by the name of E. Michael Smith has done an exhaustive analysis of which stations have disappeared from the record and how the remaining data has been manipulated. You can read the details at his website at chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/agw-basics-of-whats-wrong/. To summarize, it appears that stations placed in historically cooler, rural areas of higher latitude and elevation were deleted from the data series in favor of more urban locales at lower latitudes and elevations, which are of course warmer. Consequently, readings after 1990 have been biased to the warm side not only by selective geographic location, but also by the influence of the urban heat island effect. For example, guess how many climate stations are now in the GHCN database for California? Just four! They are San Francisco, Santa Maria, Los Angeles, and San Diego. These are all coastal, urban and low-elevation stations. All of the high-elevation, rural and cold thermometers have been eliminated. In Canada, the number of reporting stations dropped from 496 in 1989 to just 44 in 1991 with only one—that’s right, just one—station north of […]

Words on Weather & Climate—February 11, 2010

February 15, 2010 // 0 Comments

More IPCC goofs by Craig James First, a quick update on the Climategate article I wrote a couple of weeks ago. The Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England had many emails and documents either leaked or hacked that appeared to suggest ways of hiding data and avoiding freedom of information requests. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office just recently released a statement that said the University did break the law but no prosecution would occur because the requests were made beyond the six month statute of limitations. However, the University has said it will now release the raw climate data requested, but oops… much of it has been destroyed. What? Isn’t that like saying we know we broke the law but you’ll just have to trust us that our conclusions are valid even though you can’t check them? Last week I wrote about some of the charges recently made about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding conflict of interests with its chairman and the ignoring of peer reviewed data skeptical of human induced warming. I hadn’t planned on writing further about this but so many additional items have come to light that I just had to do a follow-up article. This story is beginning to sound like a soap opera. The IPCC is a political organization charged with compiling peer-reviewed scientific research so that world governments can make policy regarding global warming. Not only has it come to light that much peer-reviewed information has been selectively ignored but many of the IPCC’s conclusions were drawn not from peer reviewed scientific research at all but from opinion papers from activist organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Here are a few examples: 1. A WWF report is cited twice as the only supporting proof of IPCC statements about coastal developments in Latin America. 2. When discussing mudflows and avalanches linked to melting glaciers, the IPCC relies on two sources, an unpublished paper and a WWF document. 3. When the IPCC advises world leaders that “climate change is very likely to produce significant impacts on selected marine fish and shellfish” it doesn’t call attention to the fact that the sole authority on which this statement rests is a […]

Words on Weather & Climate—December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

Is weather more severe?  by CRAIG JAMES  Before I get to the main topic of this article, I’d like to point out what an amazing and severe turn to winter there has been across Canada and the United States this month. For the seven-day period of Sunday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 12, there were 815 new snowfall records, 304 low temperature records, and 403 lowest maximum temperature records set in just the United States alone. On Sunday, Dec. 13, the temperature hit 51 degrees below zero with a wind chill of 73 below zero at Edmonton, Canada, for the coldest December day on record. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Jordan, Montana recorded a low temperature of 40 degrees below zero, which was 46 degrees below average. The only warm weather in the country this month has been in Florida. Los Angeles and Phoenix were close to 4 degrees below average for the first two weeks of December, and even Honolulu, Hawaii was nearly 2 degrees below average. It has been very wet in New Orleans. For the first two weeks of the month, over 24 inches of rain were measured in that city, making it the wettest month on record. Valdez, Alaska received 77 inches of snow in four days on Dec. 14 through 17. They are so used to heavy snowfall there that schools stayed open! And that brings me to the main point of this article: Has the weather gotten more severe? Are there stronger storms than in the past due to global warming? My answer to that, at least in regards to tropical storms and tornadoes, is definitely a resounding “NO!” Let’s take a look at tropical storms first. Complete coverage of tropical storm activity across the globe has only been possible since 1979 when satellites began monitoring these storms. Between 1944 and 1978, in order for there to be an estimate of a tropical storm’s strength, a reconnaissance aircraft had to fly into the storm or a ship had to be near the center. Prior to 1944, there were no aircraft flights into storms, so the only reports came from ships or when a storm made landfall. The National Hurricane Center believes many storms were not recorded prior to these aircraft […]