Hurricane Gonzalo Intensifying North of Puerto Rico

October 14th, 2014

Here’s the latest MODIS color image of Hurricane Gonzalo, currently a 110 mph (Category 2) storm (click image for full-size):

MODIS image of Hurricane Gonzalo mid-day Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

MODIS image of Hurricane Gonzalo mid-day Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

Gonzalo is forecast to strengthen, possibly to a Category 4 storm, before impacting Bermuda later in the week.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #11: Dust Over the Arabian Sea

October 14th, 2014

Clouds of dust blow southward out of Pakistan over the Arabian Sea today, as seen in this Terra MODIS satellite image (click for full-size):

Windblown dust over the Arabian Sea on October 14, 2014, as seen by NASA's MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite, October 14, 2014.

Windblown dust over the Arabian Sea on October 14, 2014, as seen by NASA’s MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite, October 14, 2014.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #10: Montreal, Quebec City, Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

October 14th, 2014

Spectacular fall color was captured in this MODIS satellite image yesterday covering Maine, New Hampshire, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (click for large version):

NASA Modis image from the Terra satellite of the region around Maine, on October 13, 2014.

NASA Modis image from the Terra satellite of the region around Maine, on October 13, 2014.


Canadians will be watching Hurricane Gonzalo this weekend, which is currently forecast to pass close to Nova Scotia.

Watch Out, Bermuda: T.S. Gonzalo Approaches Hurricane Strength

October 13th, 2014

The various tropical cyclone track models have Tropical Storm Gonzalo tracking very near Bermuda on Friday. Gonzalo should reach hurricane strength this evening.

Here’s the latest MODIS image, just in from early this afternoon (click for full size):

Tropical Storm Gonzalo, early afternoon October 13, 2014, from the Aqua MODIS imager.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo, early afternoon October 13, 2014, from the Aqua MODIS imager.

Here’s the latest track forecasts, from the South Florida Water Management District (right-click, “view image” for full-size):

Life as You Know It Will End if John Kerry is Wrong…OR Right

October 13th, 2014

John-Kerry
The silliness of some politicians never ceases to astonish me. I know, I know…I should be used to it by now. But repeating a lie like “2 plus 2 equals 37” doesn’t seem to convince me no matter how many times it’s repeated.

Or, maybe it’s the silliness of so many people who believe those politicians.

A few days ago, an article written about a speech Secretary of State John Kerry gave last Thursday opened with:

“Life as you know it on Earth ends” if climate change skeptics are wrong (according to John Kerry).

Well, given the catastrophically high cost of converting even 50% of our fossil-fuel based energy to renewables (if that’s even possible, since they are intermittent sources), most of us will be living in poverty if Sec. Kerry gets his way.

I’m sure he and his friends won’t be. But we will.

And it doesn’t matter if the world is in for serious warming or not. Life, as you know it, will end.

Besides, it’s already well known, based upon the IPCC’s own modelling, that you could eliminate the United States altogether and it would have an unmeasurable impact on global temperatures by the end of this century. Hundredths of a degree.

Is that the warming that Sec. Kerry is claiming will end “life as we know it on Earth”? Really?

So, why is Sec. Kerry persisting with this issue? Is there some political angle I am missing, separate from what is good for the country?

Hmmm?

Here’s a short video, in which I and energy policy experts describe how the premature push toward renewable energy on a large scale will increase human suffering:

Climate Change: A Meaningless Artifact of Technology?

October 13th, 2014

swemson120727Climate change, to the extent that such a thing exists, only matters if it is significant enough to affect humans or ecosystems. And even if it does exist, there is no way to know how much is natural versus human-induced. Contrary to popular belief, there are no “fingerprints” of anthropogenic global warming.

There is no question that weather variations affect us all. And there is no question that in certain regions, there can be multi-decadal changes which, as far as we know, have always occurred from time to time: e.g. Alaska warmed up in the late 1970s, and has mostly remained warm since. The Sahelian drought lasted decades…then went away. The Medieval and Roman Warm Periods were good for human prosperity.

Large year-to-year changes in weather are particularly common. Please don’t bore me with claims they are the fault of Exxon-Mobil.

Yet we are now wringing our hands over current temperatures which are arguably no different than during previous periods of human progress and abundance, 1,000 and 2,000 years ago. Even a modern Methuselah wouldn’t be old enough to remember back that far.

Hubert Lamb, who founded the UK’s Climatic Research Unit in 1972, had the proper perspective on climate, a perspective that is sorely lacking in the new crop of climate researchers who anthropomorphize everything they see in nature. Lamb’s books on past (natural) climate change show how humans have been affected by what I call “climate chaos” throughout the centuries and millennia.

Now to the point of this post: With huge variations in temperature or precipitation being the norm for most life on the planet, would anyone have noticed “climate change” if not for thermometer records which (after much fiddling) researchers have extracted warming trends so small that no one alive would ever notice? I doubt it.

Those who “see climate change out their window” apparently can’t separate their emotional response to weather events (which there is no long term change in) with real long-term change, which can’t be observed by humans looking out their windows.

Our satellite systems can monitor global temperature changes to hundredths of a degree. Interesting, but mostly irrelevant to life on Earth. Warming of the deep oceans, if it is even occurring, is only thousandths of a degree.

The satellite microwave radiometers that have been flying since 1979 have seen Arctic sea ice decreases, but Antarctic sea ice increases, with the global sea ice now running close to the long-term average. Would we even notice this if not for satellites?

We can measure change in the CO2 content of the air to better than 1 part in a million…but the increase in CO2 in the last 100 years amounts to only 1 part in 10,000. Does our precision with which we can measure change determine the significance of the change to life on Earth?

Admittedly, most glaciers have been seen to be retreating. But that’s been happening for at least 150 years, which is before humans can be blamed. Some of the retreating glaciers in Europe, Canada, and Alaska are revealing tree stumps…evidence of past warmth greater than the most recent centuries which similarly cannot be blamed on humans.

And why do we assume all change is “bad”? There has been a documented greening of the Earth due to modest warming, and especially to that 1 part in 10,000 increase in the life-giving gas, carbon dioxide.

I’m sure you can find parallels in a variety of environmental pollutants that technology has allow us to measure to infinitesimal levels of precision. This inspires the EPA to regulate pollutants to ever-decreasing levels which reduces prosperity, destroy jobs, and will likely cause more harm than good.

This seems to be the fate of our advanced society — we must find increasingly obscure things to fret over as we solve our major problems…hunger, disease, water-borne illness, infant mortality. But with real problems now appearing – renewed terrorist threats, Ebola — I fear we are straining gnats as we swallow camels.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #9: The Middle East

October 13th, 2014

Midday today (October 13, 2014) over the Middle East as seen by NASA MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite (click for full size version):

The Middle East as seen by the NASA MODIS instrument on October 13, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

The Middle East as seen by the NASA MODIS instrument on October 13, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.


Note the Anaam Agricultural Project in the lower right, near the Saudi Arabian/Jordan border, made up of many ~1 km diameter circular fields of irrigated crops.

NASA Satellite Shows Where Northeast Color Is

October 12th, 2014

By request, here is this afternoon’s MODIS pass over the Northeast U.S. showing the regions of most widespread fall color. I have added highways in Google Earth for those who are planning a drive on the Columbus Day holiday (click on image for full size):

NASA MODIS image of the Northeast U.S on October 12, 2014.

NASA MODIS image of the Northeast U.S on October 12, 2014.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #8: Ireland

October 12th, 2014

It’s a beautiful day in most of Ireland today, as seen by the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite (click for full size image):

Ireland on October 12, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.

Ireland on October 12, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #7: Chicago and Lake Michigan

October 12th, 2014

Chicago and Lake Michigan are seen in this NASA MODIS image from yesterday, October 11, 2014 (click to enlarge):

NASA MODIS image of Chicago and Lake Michigan, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

NASA MODIS image of Chicago and Lake Michigan, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.


Most of the fall color is from the corn crop vegetative die off as the corn kernels ripen.