Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow in Cairo for the first time in 112 years

Al Gore must be there.  Gaia often thumbs its nose at him

WHEN you think Cairo you think heat and sand.  But something unusual happened there overnight - it snowed!  According to local reports it's the first time snow has fallen in the Egyptian capital in 112 years.

Incredible pictures show the normally sweltering city coated in white.  Egyptians took to Twitter to post their amazement in words and pictures.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority warned on Wednesday the unusual weather will drive down temperatures to between 5 and 15 Celsius.

Snow was reported on Mt. Sinai and Saint Catherine's monastery at the base of the mountain.

A powerful winter storm is affecting parts of the Middle East.

Sections of Israel saw heavy snow up to about a metre.  Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told The Times of Israel, "We're facing a rare storm the likes of which we've never seen."  The local meteorological agency said it was the worst snowstorm seen since at least 1953.

The Holy City was closed to traffic and the nation's military was called out to rescue some 1500 people stranded in vehicles.

Highways and roads to Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights and other locales were reportedly closed.  Ben-Gurion International Airport was forced to close for a period due to the snow and limited visibilities.

Other countries including Turkey and Syria also experienced widespread snow.


Biggest winter storm EVER to wreck holidays for millions in UK

CHRISTMAS will be ruined for tens of millions of people as the worst winter storms in recorded HISTORY rip through Britain, forecasters warned today.

Hurricane-force gales and torrential downpours will lash the country at the start of Christmas week, just as 18 million people take to the roads.

Even the 4.5 million planning to travel overseas will be caught in the 'total nationwide disruption' as airports, train stations and bus networks completely shut down at the busiest time of the year.

The shock warning came as a series of 'frenzied' storm systems - which have lined up in the south Atlantic - started to charge towards Britain.

Long-range forecasters said they will cause mayhem with 90mph winds and torrential downpours causing nationwide flooding and widespread blackouts.

The horrifying onslaught is expected to start as soon as next week as violent gales sweep in and torrential downpours bring the risk of flash floods.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: "We could be looking at the stormiest Christmas in living memory as a succession of Atlantic depressions sweep across the UK.

"There is the risk of persistent gales which could reach 90mph.  "There is also the risk of torrential downpours bringing up to two inches of rain in localised areas triggering the risk of floods.

"This looks likely to continue into the New Year and possibly into the second week of January when it will turn much colder with the risk of rain turning to snow."

Met Office chief forecaster Will Lang said fierce winds will begin to batter parts of the UK this weekend.  He added: "A vigorous depression is expected to run quickly northeastwards passing northwest Scotland on Saturday.

"As this happens, very strong south to southwest winds are likely to develop across much of the northern UK.  "It remains possible that more of northern England and parts of Wales could also be affected."

The grim warnings follow predictions Britain could be facing the worst winter in decades with a major big freeze due to hit in the New Year.

Experts say temperatures are likely to plunge in January with Arctic gales and blizzards sparking chaos until the spring.

Long range forecasts show that a high pressure `blocking system' drawing cold air in from the Arctic will wreak havoc with our weather, generating prolonged spells colder than in Iceland, Norway and Sweden and even parts of the Arctic region.

Long-range forecaster James Madden, of Exacta Weather, said: "An exceptionally prolonged period of widespread cold is highly likely to develop throughout this winter and last into next spring.  "It will be accompanied by snow drifts of several feet and long-lasting snow accumulations on a widespread scale.

"This period of snow and cold is likely to result in an incomparable scenario to anything we have experienced in modern times.

"There is also a high-risk scenario that we will experience a scenario similar to December 2010 or much worse at times (coldest December in 100 years), especially during the January 2014 period. "This is largely down to the period of low solar activity that we currently reside in, and how it intrinsically alters major factors factors such as ocean and jet-stream behaviour.

"This is likely to produce major disruption to the public transport network and school closures on a prolific scale, due to the adverse weather conditions that we are likely to experience in terms of consistent cold and major snow episodes, that will consist of snow drifts of several feet in depth."


Climate alarmists' search for proof going cold

Even China's coal-burning is offered to explain lack of global warming

By MARK LANDSBAUM / Register columnist

Recall global warming hysteria's halcyon days? Just 13 years ago, Dr. David Viner, senior scientist at Britain's University of East Anglia's climatic research unit, confidently predicted that, within a few years, winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event."  "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

Of course, that doesn't mesh with what happened. This past October, the UK Express headlined, "Worst winter for decades: Record-breaking snow predicted for November."

By the end of November, Brits were shivering, "as Britain faces snow, ice and plummeting temperatures," reported the Mirror newspaper. "Most of Scotland has been issued severe weather warnings for ice, and temperatures are expected to remain low, causing problems with snow and ice across the country." Winter yet lay ahead.

We shouldn't pick on Great Britain. There is plenty of global warming foolishness here at home. Recall James Hansen, global warming guru whose alarmist campaign was underwritten by his NASA paycheck. By the 2020s, Hansen predicted in 1986, the U.S. average annual temperature would rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit, or more, and up to 3 degrees by the 2010s.

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2010s and 2020s. It didn't get so hot. In fact, depending on which data set you use, it probably has cooled down for 17 years.

A recent explanation for this pause (if not reversal), was offered in a scientific paper blaming the El Ni¤o Pacific Ocean warming in 1997-98 for triggering the hiatus.

As the theory goes, El Ni¤o caused a large heat transfer from deep in the ocean to the surface, which cooled the waters below. Since then, according to the theory, heat has been reabsorbed from the upper ocean, in turn cooling the atmosphere. Maybe. Maybe not.

There's no shortage of inventive excuses for why things aren't so hot, including, incredibly, China's increased use of coal, even though "dirty" fossil fuel is supposed to increase, not decrease temperatures.

Implicit in this "where-did-the-heat-go" shell game is an inconvenient reality.

Climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., University of Colorado, Boulder, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Science, says, if correct, the ocean paper means, "the end of surface temperature trends as the icon of global warming."

If so, that's a game changer for the climate wars.  If surface temperatures lose their credibility (and we side with those who long have said that's the case), where will alarmists point to prove their point?

There always have been problems relying on land-based thermometers. For instance, where should thermometers be placed? How high off the ground? There are no worldwide uniform standards.

While airports, concrete and asphalt represent a scant percentage of Earth's surface, they are home to a disproportionate percentage of ground measuring stations. Does this matter? Consider the common sense knowledge that standing in a grassy field is cooler than standing on an asphalt runway. Not only are such locales hotter, they get hotter faster and hold their temperatures disproportionately longer.

Then consider that the preponderance of ground stations are located in developed countries, and a vastly disproportionate number of those are in the United States. Is Los Angeles a reasonable proxy for Peruvian farmland or the steppes of Russia?

Arguments against specious temperature measurements are too numerous to list here. But consider this:

Two separate satellite temperature data sets agree that whatever warming may have occurred peaked in  1998, and stopped around 2000. Ground-temperature records say 2006 or 2010 were hotter, and that the warming trend continues.

Worse yet, temperatures used by warming advocates collected from land-based thermometers are  continually "adjusted." They don't measure the temperature. They change it. As Australian climate watchers  David Evans and Jo Nova point out, "they are still changing the temperature record for the 1970s, 30 years  later, and always in the direction of making recent warming seem worse."

We are told to trust people, who never seem to adjust questionable raw data to lessen the alleged threat.

It's a tragedy that we can't trust the science because of agenda-driven scientists. But it is more than an academic exercise. Global warming alarmists' temperature claims have driven political agendas across the  world for decades.

The latest stampede to combat dreaded global warming says $100 billion a year must be paid by nations with  more money to nations with less. If you are suspicious that this is more of a wealth redistribution than a climate-cooling maneuver, congratulations. It is.

Meanwhile, U.S. government bodies, forever searching for revenue to feed their appetites, are imposing costly taxes to save us from nonthreatening global warming, while conveniently expanding their control. That's why President Barack Obama had no qualms in claiming that we have had 10 years of "accelerated global warming," even in the face of contradictory facts. Hold on to your wallets.


British government backs coal-based energy revolution

Business and energy minister Michael Fallon sets up working party to investigate "coal gasification" to take advantage of coal seams on Britain's coast

The Government has signalled its support for a new coal-based mining technique which could satisfy Britain's energy needs for 200 years.

Michael Fallon, the business and energy minister, revealed this weekend that, after a meeting with one of the providers of the technique, he has now set up a working party to investigate the process.

"Coal gasification" would take advantage of the major coal seams which run under the seabed off Britain's coast. By pumping oxygen and steam into the seams, gas is released from the coal which can be collected and used to supply the National Grid.

Sources close to Mr Fallon said that the minister saw "exciting potential" for the technique as it has a lower carbon footprint than burning the coal directly.

Mr Fallon's review came after a meeting with Algy Cluff, one of the pioneers of North Sea oil exploration in the Seventies, who is now the chief executive of Cluff Natural Resources. The business is listed on the Aim market and is looking at commercial models for extracting gas from the coal seams.

"Underground coal gasification (UCG) is in its infancy and I am keen to create a regulatory structure which helps those with ambitions to exploit our home-grown energy sources," Mr Fallon said.  "This can only be done if protection of the environment and health and safety remain paramount.

"The Coal Authority is in the lead as the freehold owner of the coal resource and the licensing body for the exploitation of coal. I am setting up a working group involving DECC [the Department of Energy and Climate Change] and the Coal Authority to assess the state of the UCG development and the licensing processes.

"It will also consider the interaction between UCG and other technologies such as shale gas and coal bed methane. I look forward to considering its findings."

Coal gasification is seen as less controversial than fracking as it takes place offshore, often many miles out to sea. Estimates by the British Geological Survey (BGS) suggest that because the coal seams are so thick there could be up to 17bn tonnes to be exploited.

"[It's] enough to last for several hundred years," the BGS says on its website.

"The gas contains both methane and hydrogen and it can be processed into a high quality diesel. This syn-diesel has greater environmental benefits than diesel derived from oil since it has a higher octane value and produces less nitrogen oxides and particulates when used."

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cluff says there is significant potential in the new technology. "It is now chillingly clear that the UK, once so blessed with energy, is heading rapidly from feast to famine," Mr Cluff said, referring to fears that Britain could be heading for an energy crisis because of the high levels of imported gas the country relies on.

"The coal lies around our shores - billions and billions of tonnes of coal.  "That coal is not only there but, thanks to the astonishing evolution of horizontal oil drilling technology, it can also be cheaply, quickly and safely converted into gas and piped ashore."


'Clean Air' Regulation Before High Court

For years, New York City insisted it did not have a pollution problem; the problem was the bad air coming in from New Jersey. But there is a federal remedy for just about every perceived wrong, and, in this case, it's the EPA and the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act to the rescue. The provision supposedly gives the EPA power to oversee remedies when alleged pollution in one state blows into a neighboring state. A state that significantly contributes to another state's failure to meet federal standards can be required to limit emissions by a commensurate amount.

Under the Clean Air Act, the regulation of air pollution was the primary responsibility of states and municipalities. The EPA's 2011 cross-state pollution rule, however, allowed the EPA to issue implementation plans immediately, instead of waiting for the states to develop their own. The EPA also promulgated a one-size-fits-all standard that doesn't recognize an individual state's contribution to downwind pollution.

More than a dozen states are now challenging these EPA mandates in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation. In a 2-1 ruling, the DC Court of Appeals struck down the EPA rule in 2012, holding that the Clean Air Act "did not authorize EPA to simply adopt limits on emissions as EPA deemed reasonable." The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday.

The EPA rule was intended to implement the Obama administration's anti-carbon agenda, so, naturally, Democrats decried the Court of Appeals' decision - more so because a Bush appointee wrote the majority opinion. But it's telling that the DC Circuit also denied en banc review (i.e., review by the entire bench).

So we're off to see the Supremes, who should note that not only does the EPA rule violate principles of federalism, but also that the DC Circuit rarely overturns EPA rules, showing how extreme were the rules being reviewed. But if arguments were any indication, the Supreme Court may grant "a healthy amount of discretion" to the EPA. That's bad news.


An Australian Green Party senator is a REAL watermelon

The ABC wins an admission from a Greens Senator that she was educated - as a guest - by a Communist regime long infamous for its brutality and oppression:

James Carleton: Tell me, you did study - correct me if I'm wrong - in Russia? The International Lenin School for around 6 months or so, when you were a member of the Socialist Party? Is that correct?

Lee Rhiannon: Yes. Yes. I've always been very open about my work and I've studied in many countries - political economy, Marxism."

Hold it there. How frightfully interesting. Caught on the hop, Senator Rhiannon admitted that she had studied at the International Lenin School in Moscow at the time when the communist neo-Stalinist (to use Mark Aarons' term) dictator Leonid Brezhnev ran the Soviet Union. The year was 1977 and Rhiannon (born in 1951) was in her mid 20s....

But the point is that Lee O'Gorman (as she then was) undertook a course at the International Lenin School - which was an exclusive institution in Moscow which trained willing comrades for political action and which was controlled and funded by a totalitarian communist regime which locked up dissidents in psychiatric institutions and was overly anti-Semitic. The Greens Senator did not break with the pro-Moscow communists until 1990 - when she was close to 40 years of age....

MWD is astounded, absolutely astounded, that few members of the Canberra Press Gallery - outside the News Corp stable, where Christian Kerr has done considerable research - have focused on what Lee Rhiannon did between the ages of 18 and 39. Yet there has been excessive focus on David Marr's unproven (and now revised) claim that Tony Abbott punched a wall at Sydney University when still a teenager. See MWD passim.

And then there is the matter of double standards. Imagine what ABC journalists would say if Cardinal George Pell confessed on RN Drivethat he studied at, say, the International Mussolini School in Rome financed by the French National Front. Just imagine.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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