Sunday, January 04, 2009

Britain in grip of longest cold snap for 10 years

Britain is in the grip of the longest cold snap for more than 10 years as forecasters predict another week of freezing temperatures.

Cold, mainly dry and frosty conditions, which set in on Boxing Day, are likely to continue for at least seven days as the weather is dominated by a huge region of high pressure coming from the Continent. For this time of year, forecasters say it is likely to be the longest prolonged spell of cold weather - where temperatures barely rise above zero centigrade (32F) - since 1996. Usually long spells of cold weather occur around February when the effect of warming from the Atlantic sea is reduced. "We have another five to seven days of colder weather still to come which will make it the longest spell since 1996 at this early stage of winter," said Philip Eden, the Daily Telegraph weather correspondent.

"Usually prolonged cold spells happen in late January and February because the weather in early winter comes from the warm Atlantic sea rather than the cold Continent. "Over the last 20 years winters temperatures have risen quite substantially so we have perhaps forgotten what it is like to have this sort of spell of weather. "They have become less common." Not only has the weather been cold but for huge swathes of the country, it has been extremely dry. "Over a huge part of the UK it hasn't actually rained since the 13th of December," said Mr Eden. "Three weeks without rain at the this time is very unusual and again has not happened since around 1996."

More here

Cross country race canceled in Alaska due to -50 temps

Frigid temperatures forced organizers of the U.S. Cross Country Championship sprint race to cancel the event Saturday. Race organizers hoped to hold the sprint races on Sunday, if the cold snap that has gripped much of Alaska for the past week loosens its grip a bit. Forecasters, however, said the bitterly cold weather was expected to continue.

After several delays in which race organizers kept an eye on the temperature, the race at Kincaid Park was canceled mid-afternoon. Organizers watched as the mercury rose from 13 degrees below zero to about 6 below zero. In the end, it wasn't enough, said race spokesman John Quinley. The cutoff for running the race is 4 degrees below zero. Quinley said the event has been rescheduled for Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. start. Quinley also said the athletes were disappointed, but the temperature was still too cold and the sun was starting to go down. "They were disappointed," Quinley said. "They were primed and ready to ski."

Temperatures in Fairbanks were 40 below on Saturday afternoon. Forecasters said it would dip to 50 below over the weekend.

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'Global temperatures are unusually cool'

In a pair of recent columns claiming humans are causing a global-warming crisis, Ben Bova disparages mere "assertions" while saying people need to rely on "observable, measurable facts." While Bova's concern about Earth's climate is admirable, he should follow his own advice regarding assertions versus facts. Bova asserts Earth has a "rising fever." Yet the fact is that global temperatures are unusually cool.

For most of the past 10,000 years temperatures have been 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. The 0.6 degree rise in temperatures during the 20th century occurred from the baseline of the little ice age, which saw the coldest global temperatures during the past 10,000 years. Earth has a "rising fever" only if we pretend the little ice age was "normal" and ignore Earth's long-term temperature facts.

Bova asserts "the loss of sea ice in the Arctic is threatening the survival of polar bears." Yet the fact is that polar bear numbers have doubled since the 1980s. Moreover, Antarctic sea ice is growing and has been setting records for much of the past year. If "global" warming is causing receding polar ice, then why is Antarctic sea ice setting growth records?

Bova asserts "measurements ... show that the rise in global temperatures matches quite closely the increase in carbon dioxide." Yet the fact is that solar scientists at Harvard and other leading universities have published research in the world's leading scientific journals showing that temperatures match solar output much more closely than carbon dioxide, even in the 20th century.

Bova asserts that as a result of global warming "much of our crop land turns to desert." Yet, the fact is that global precipitation and global soil moisture have increased during the 20th century, and the Sahara Desert and other deserts around the world are in retreat.

Bova asserts we run the risk of a breaching a "tipping point" or a "greenhouse cliff where the global climate shifts too rapidly for us to protect ourselves from its drastic effects." Yet, the fact is that in a recent survey of more than 500 climate scientists from around the world, less than half agreed that "assuming climate change will occur, it will occur so suddenly that a lack of preparation could result in devastation of some areas of the world."

Bova asserts that in California's Yosemite National Park warmer temperatures are allowing mice and pine trees to live at higher altitudes than a century ago. Yet, the fact is that fossilized trees exist at altitudes above the current California tree line, showing that temperatures were significantly warmer 1,000 years ago than today. Plant and animal species are migrating to higher elevations only in comparison to the abnormally cold temperatures of the little ice age that ended just over a century ago. For most of the past 10,000 years, warmer temperatures enabled mice and trees to live at altitudes significantly higher than is possible today.

Global-warming activism is long on unsubstantiated assertions and short on objective facts. Only by comparing today's temperatures to the abnormal cold of the little ice are - and by completely ignoring the warmer temperatures that predominated during most of the past 10,000 years - can global-warming activists paint a picture of a planet suffering a global warming crisis. Moreover, sound science has thrown cold water on each and every one of the alleged global-warming crises, such as endangered polar bears, melting ice caps, etc., alleged to result from global warming.


Flashback: E Magazine Predicted Winter's Demise Last January

If media could be found legally liable for worsening the current economic crisis, mightn't they be similarly prosecuted for exaggerating anthropogenic global warming if it leads citizens, companies, and governments to waste money solving a problem that doesn't exist? Consider if you will a January 2008 cover story by E magazine which predicted the end of winter as we know it.Given the often record cold that has gripped the nation the last four weeks, "Losing Winter: As Climate Change Takes Hold, Our Coldest Season is the First Casualty" seems the perfect example of how dangerous -- and potentially costly -- the media's climate alarmism is
Since 1970, average winter temperatures in New England have increased 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In the U.S., 2006 was the warmest year on record, and 1998 is number two. The last eight five-year periods were the warmest since we began taking national records 112 years ago. During the past 25 to 30 years, says the National Climatic Data Center, the warming trend has accelerated, from just over a tenth of one degree Fahrenheit per decade to almost a third of a degree.

What? The warmest years on record in the U.S. are 2006 and 1998? I guess this author missed corrections that were made by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in August 2007 -- with assistance from Steve McIntyre, of course! -- which now show the warmest year in American history to have been 1934, and that 2006 has been knocked down to fourth.

Alas, facts are unimportant to these folks:
By the end of the century, temperatures in the Northeastern states are likely to rise by eight to 12 degrees Fahrenheit (at which time snow-covered days will have been reduced to half of what we traditionally experience). A 2007 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the Northeast predicted that, under some higher-emission scenarios, "Only western Maine is projected to retain a reliable ski season by the end of the century, and only northern New Hampshire would support a snowmobiling season longer than two months." Warmer weather and changing precipitation will result in a fundamental change to winter recreation and what the report called "the winter landscape."

How would some of you like to see your temperatures eight to twelve degrees warmer than they are at this minute?

Those in need of a chuckle should read the entire piece...if you can stand it.


Greenie housing restrictions to take a hit in Britain

GORDON BROWN is preparing to sweep aside planning controls in villages and market towns to allow the biggest rural housebuilding programme for a generation. Local authorities are to be controversially ordered to adopt a relaxed approach to the building of new homes in areas where planning permission has traditionally been refused. The government has concluded that protecting the environment should no longer be the overriding consideration when decisions are made about whether to allow development in areas where locals are struggling to afford homes.

Under reforms expected to be unveiled this month, councils will be told to:

* earmark new building sites in every village and hamlet where affordable housing is needed

* use sweeping powers to overrule normal planning curbs in protected areas

* provide incentives for farmers to sell land to developers

* create a generation of new communities on the outskirts of market towns, similar to Poundbury, the Prince of Wales's "model village".

The changes are aimed at helping the government to achieve its target of building 3m new homes by 2020. All the main political parties agree that the extra housing is needed, although the building programme is likely to be delayed by the recession. About 16,000 small towns, villages and hamlets across England, and dozens of market towns, could be affected by what is being described by ministers as a "fundamental shake-up" of rural planning policy.

The changes follow a government-commissioned investigation into housing shortages in the English countryside by Matthew Taylor, a Liberal Democrat MP. His report, published last year, was fiercely critical of "restrictive" planning policies in the countryside, which he believes are turning many villages in the most sought after areas of the countryside into exclusive enclaves of the rich and retired, as locals are priced out. In areas such as Teignbridge, Devon, characterised by "chocolate box villages", average house prices are 13.5 times the average income. .....

More than 6m people in Britain live in rural communities with populations of less than 3,000 where local authorities rarely allow new properties to be built. The government is expected to announce incentives for landowners to release sites for the new homes. In market towns, local authorities will be encouraged to consider sacrificing green fields to give newly built properties bigger gardens, instead of what Taylor describes as "useless grass strips" where there is no space for children to play or trees to be planted. The government is expected to argue that such fields are not normally accessible to the public and represent only a tiny fraction of agricultural land in England.

More here


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