Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blizzard Jonas caused by a slowdown of the Gulf Stream System?

Warmist Rahmstorf is an actual oceanographer so he writes a fairly scholarly paper, which I excerpt below, but his Warmist assumptions do intrude a bit. He says the AMOC is slowing down, which is quite contentious, and attributes that without evidence to global warming. Since there has been no systematic warming, what he says is not only contentious but wrong.

Mind you, he is on record as saying that even THOUSANDTHS of one degree in temperature change statistics mean something!  So by his criteria we are near the point of incineration!

And he admits that ocean temperatures off the U.S. East coast are anomalous -- which should lead him to the view that we are looking at a local effect, not a global one.  If he sees that he doesn't admit it.

But it's nice that he admits that he didn't foresee recent climate developments.  The test of a good theory is its ability to make accurate predictions.  His theory is therefore not a good one!

Blizzard Jonas on the US east coast has just shattered snowfall records. Both weather forecasters and climate experts have linked the high snowfall amounts to the exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures off the east coast. In this post I will examine a related question: why are sea surface temperatures so high there

I will argue that this warmth (as well as the cold blob in the subpolar Atlantic) is partly due to a slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), sometimes referred to as the Gulf Stream System, in response to global warming. There is two points to this argument:

(1) The warm sea surface temperatures are not just some short-term anomaly but are part of a long-term observed warming trend, in which ocean temperatures off the US east coast are warming faster than global average temperatures.

(2) Climate models show a “cold blob” in the subpolar Atlantic as well as enhanced warming off the US east coast as a characteristic response pattern to a slowdown of the AMOC.

Observed sea surface temperature change

A comprehensive analysis of the patterns of change in global sea surface temperatures since the 19th Century was performed by Dima and Lohmann (2010). The dominant pattern of change (technically these patterns are called EOF) is global warming – no surprise there. The second-most important pattern is more interesting

Dima and Lohmann concluded that the patterns shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 indicate a change in the AMOC, and they wrote: "The global conveyor has been weakening since the late 1930s"

(As a side remark, the IPCC in its last report ignored this result and claimed, rather puzzling to me, that there is no evidence for an AMOC slowdown.)

It is noteworthy that in 2015, the “cold blob” region actually registered the coldest sea surface conditions since records began in 1880 – whilst the globe as a whole was record hot!

A very recent study by Saba et al. (2015) specifically analyzed sea surface temperatures off the US east coast in observations and a suite of global warming runs with climate models. They find that the highest resolution climate model can reproduce observed temperatures well

They find that the region off the US east coast warms “nearly three times faster than the global average”.

Bottom Line

There is a strong case that the warm SST off the US coast and the cold blob in the subpolar gyre are linked, both being caused by an AMOC slowdown. This AMOC slowdown thus may have consequences for extreme weather in the US that I did not foresee in the past and only started to think about in the last year.

When Jake Gyllenhaal was snowed in in the New York public library in the film The Day After Tomorrow after an AMOC collapse, the physics may have been wrong, but perhaps there was a grain of truth in that snow storm after all.


Obama takes credit which is not his due

The big fall off your chair moment during President Obama’s State of the Union address came when he proclaimed:

“We’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth. Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

Sure, Mr. President. Take a bow for the smashing success of the very domestic oil and gas industry that you have tried to destroy.

Even Mr. Obama couldn’t carry this off. The smirk on his face as he sang the praises of an oil and gas industry was unmistakable.

Right after Mr. Obama boasted of these low gas prices, he reverted back to form, by sermonizing:

“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy” — by which he means fossil fuels. Then the hammer came down: “I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

So 30 seconds after toasting lower gas prices he pledges to find ways to make gas more expensive.

The irony of the Obama war against fossil fuels is that the shale oil and gas revolution in America has saved Mr. Obama. During his first term, all of the net new jobs that were created in America came from oil and gas as fracking took off in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama owed his reelection to the frackers, but instead he and his EPA have tried to shut them down.

The EPA has issued three regulations in the last year — the clean power plant rule, the methane rule, and tougher clean air statutes — that have begun to shutdown fossil fuel production in America — as planned.

How bad are these rules? According to Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, a major driller in North Dakota: “these rules and red tape are killing us. They are raising our costs at a time when oil prices are low and margins are already thin. This means layoffs of workers.” Mr. Obama seems to be doing exactly what the Saudi oil sheiks are trying to achieve: shut down fracking in America.

Mr. Obama won’t allow drilling on federal lands, he wants to raise taxes on oil and gas production, he won’t give the go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline or any pipelines for that matter, and he just handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the solar and wind industries from bankruptcy. Other than that, he’s pro oil and gas.

He also neglected to mention that the major reason that U.S. carbon emissions are falling is that cheap and clean-burning natural gas due to the shale drilling is becoming the number one source of electricity production in America. The lesson: free markets and innovation are almost always the best way to clean the environment.

If Mr. Obama’s vision of an American energy future is fulfilled, the price of oil and gas will skyrocket — again. He’d like that to happen. This is the only possible scenario that makes green energy financially feasible.

One last point about low gas prices. How come when oil prices rise the entire industry is accused of price fixing to gouge consumers. But if the industry has the monopolistic powers to keep prices as high as possible, why aren’t they doing that now? The answer is in the new era of shale oil and gas this a brutally price competitive industry — unlike in the past where the OPEC monopoly was able to fix prices. OPEC can’t manipulate prices now because the United States will soon be the world’s largest producer. All the more reason to let the domestic oil and gas industry flourish.

For now, Mr. Obama will unbelievably hog the credit for lower gas prices that he never wanted in the first place while he finds every way possible to make gas more expensive in the years to come. No wonder voters have grown so cynical of the political class.


Massive Winter Storm Blows Cold Air on Alleged Global Warming

Massive winter storm Jonas is bringing blizzard or near-blizzard conditions to much of the mid-Atlantic and the northeastern states this weekend. Early Saturday morning common snowfall rates were two inches per hour, with three inches per hour being seen in the New York City area. Roads across the entire region are quickly becoming impassable and the storm could pose a life-threatening situation to anyone caught off guard.

As the mammoth front blasts nearly the entire east coast, will global-warming alarmists take note of what are simply natural weather and climate fluctuations, or will it be business as usual — blaming man for climate change?

Saturday morning a blizzard warning was put into effect for more than 33 million people from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Connecticut, down through New York City, Washington D.C., and Virginia. At an amazing 28 inches, Terra Alta, West Virginia, was already deeply covered Saturday morning, as the snow was reaching out into other southern states such as Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee as well. Snow has also been reported in Alabama and coastal South Carolina.

Sustained winds in Delaware have peaked at 59 mph, with gusts to 85 mph at Assateague Island, Virginia and 73 mph in Lewes, Delaware. The combination of snow and strong winds is expected to lead to power outages, and major flooding is forecast for coastal cities throughout New Jersey and Delaware at high-tide times. Moderate flooding is expected in coastal cities all the way from as far north as New England to the southern reaches in North Carolina.

Thundersnow, a thunderstorm wherein snow is the primary precipitation, is likely to be experienced as strong wind gusts and the above-stated 2-3 inch per/hour snowfalls pound the Chesapeake Bay area and the Delmarva peninsula in Delaware.

The massive blizzard has hit the U.S. east coast at a time when global warming is being shouted from the rooftops. Mirroring a religious fervor, mainstream media outlets are spinning tales of melting polar ice caps that will leave whatever earth not covered by the rising the ocean levels completely scorched. If one’s only source of news were the main stream media and incessant “climate-change” soundbites from politicians, one might be tempted to believe the science has been settled on the issue. However, as The New American has pointed out time and again, there is no global warming problem.

For example, in his article “Hiding the Hiatus: Global Warming on Pause,” The New American's Senior Editor William F. Jasper notes that the satellite data shows that there has been no detectable global warming for the last 225 months — almost 19 years. This data, Jasper explains, is based on "lower troposphere temperature records for 99 percent of the globe, obtained from highly accurate microwave sounding instruments aboard a series of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellites."

The satellite readings, which have been available since the late 1970s, are more reliable than the surface temperature readings, which are by no means recorded everywhere on the planet's surface and are also subject to the urban-heat effect. Yet the surface temperature record does not show a global-warming problem either, though the readings have been adjusted upward, ostensbily to take into account areas where readings are not available, as explained in this article by Jasper, "Fudging the Global Temperature Record."

Prior to the era of modern weather stations, the temperature record was less reliable than in recent times. In The New American article "2015: The Climate Record That Wasn't," Charles Scaliger observes:

"Of course, no one has any idea what average world temperatures were in the pre-Industrial Age, since there were no satellites or modern weather facilities to monitor such data. The evidence seems to suggest that global temperatures fluctuated widely — between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age that followed, for example — but such matters are of small concern to climate-change zealots who are so frequently wrong but never in doubt. The Medieval Warm Period allowed the Vikings to settle in Greenland and grow a wide variety of crops. But with the arrival of the global-cooling cycle known as the Little Ice Age, most European settlements in Greenland were abandoned, though many of their churches and dwelling places stand to this day".

Yet such facts do not stop global-warming alarmists from falsely claiming that the temperature record shows that the Earth is hotter than ever.

In another article for The New American, Rebecca Terrell profiled multiple scientists who have discredited the global warming alarmism. The very existence of these climate realists and many others — who have been ignored or lambasted by the mainstream media for failing to toe the party line — exposes the lie that there is a scientific "consensus" in favor of the alarmism.

As the massive blizzard pounds the entire east coast, maybe enough snow will fall on Washington, D.C., to cause the White House, politicians, political pundits, and media outlets to take note. Planetary temperatures have fluctuated and always will. Right now it is bitterly cold and people would do well to stay indoors. Maybe while home waiting for Jonas to pass, a good way for people to use the time might be for them to write letters to their congressmen encouraging them to ignore the pseudo-science behind the climate alarmism.


New England’s Anti-Nuke Stance Is pushing up CO2 emissions

New England’s opposition to nuclear power is actually increasing its carbon dioxide emissions and harming the area’s attempts to fight global warming, according to a Wednesday report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

Nuclear power dropped from providing 34 percent to 29.5 percent of New England’s electrical power between 2014 and 2015. This was largely due to the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee reactor. IER calculated that the shutdown of this reactor caused New England to emit an additional 2 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2015.

Environmentalists predicted that when the plant closed, its electrical output would be replaced by wind and solar power. The plants output, however, was almost entirely replaced by natural gas, according to a blog post by the vice president for external affairs of the reactor’s company, Entergy. Vermont was the first state to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which produces the natural gas that it increasingly used to produce power.

A single nuclear reactor can prevent up to 3.1 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.  The Economist calls nuclear energy “the most cost-effective zero-emission technology.” The Wall Street Journal agrees that “[if] the world intends to address the threat of global warming and still satisfy its growing appetite for electricity, it needs an ambitious expansion of nuclear power.”

“Nuclear energy is good for the environment because it is the largest source of electricity that doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. In fact, nuclear accounts for 63 percent of the electricity from zero-carbon sources,” Mitchell Singer of the Nuclear Energy Institute told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Carbon dioxide emissions substantially increased when Germany decided to abandon nuclear energy in favor of solar and wind power after a nuclear disaster in Japan galvanized environmentalist opposition. They had to rely more heavily on coal plants to cover the power demand in the evenings when “green” energy doesn’t produce much power.


Feds Paying High School Teachers To Weed Out Global Warming Skeptics

The Obama administration is desperate to weed out young farmers who question the belief that humans are causing global warming.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will give $150,000 to North Carolina State University for an educational campaign to encourage high school teachers to use more global warming materials for their lessons. The idea is to convince young farmers and future agriculture professionals to pay more attention to global warming.

“Agriculture teachers have considerable influence over future agricultural and natural resource professionals, and adolescents may be less susceptible to worldview-driven biases,” according to the USDA grant write-up.

The NCSU program aims to recruit 40 high school teachers who will “integrate climate change topics into existing Agricultural Science curriculum” to reach 2,000 high school students over two years, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

“Education is critical among the agricultural community because although climate change threatens agricultural sustainability, skepticism of anthropogenic climate change runs high,” according to the grant.

Farmers have been some of the staunchest global warming skeptics, and liberal attempts to win them over have largely failed over the years. A 2009 survey of farmers in Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin found that less than half of them believed in man-made global warming.

For farmers, climate change is a given. These are people who pay close attention to the weather and know it’s highly variable from year to year. One year it’s too hot, the next it’s too cold, and they generally don’t see it as a man-made phenomenon. Farmers are immune to “snowmaggedon” headlines that spark debates among city-folk about how weather is linked to coal plants.

“A farmer in Iowa might deal with a 10-degree-Fahrenheit shift in average temperatures from year to year, so why worry about a 3- or even 4-degree shift over 100 years? As the old saying goes: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change,” Slate’s David Biello wrote in 2013.


Courts Save EPA’s Global Warming Rule … For Now

Federal judges refused Thursday to put a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping regulation to fight global warming.

The D.C. Court of Appeals’ ruling, however, will not stop the 26 states challenging President Barack Obama’s signature global warming rule from appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep it from being implemented.

“We are disappointed in today’s decision, but believe we will ultimately prevail in court,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement on the court’s’ ruling, adding that he would consider appealing to the Supreme Court for a stay on the rule.

Federal judges ruled against Morrisey’s coalition of states challenging the EPA’s rule. A panel of three judges said the deadline for states to comply with the EPA regulation is so far off, they don’t need to block the rule from being implemented while it’s being challenged in court.

Environmentalists who support the EPA’s rule called the ruling a “huge win.” Activists say the ruling means states will to work to comply with federal rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the court’s ruling is only a temporary victory for environmentalists. Federal judges did not rule on the merits of the challenge, and states believe they will ultimately be successful on that front.

“The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues,” Morrisey said. “We are pleased, however, that the court has agreed to expedite hearing the case.”

Opponents say states should not commit to going along with the EPA until a court has decided if the rule is legal or not.

“If the DC Circuit is not going to protect the American people from EPA’s overreach, it’s all the more important for state leaders to do so,” Tom Pyle, president of the free market American Energy Alliance, said in a statement. “The court’s decision doesn’t change the fact that states should not prematurely make commitments under these carbon regulations.”

EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) aims to cut CO2 emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030 by forcing states to come up with ways to cut emissions. The rule is expected to force coal-fired power plants across the country to prematurely retire, further crippling the coal industry.

Republicans and pro-energy groups have vehemently opposed the rule and even urged states not to submit an emissions reduction plan to the EPA until courts have decided whether or not the CPP violates the Clean Air Act.

“Doing so would send their citizens down a path toward higher electricity costs and fewer jobs, regardless of whether or not the rule is ultimately thrown out in court,” Pyle said. “State leaders should remain steadfast in their opposition to this unlawful regulation.”

Coal industry-backed studies claim the CPP could cost $366 billion over the next 15 years and severely cripple coal mining operations across the country.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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