Archive for February, 2014

Global Precipitation Mission ready for launch today

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

GPM-HIIa-ready-for-launch The GPM core satellite has been rolled out on its H-IIA launch vehicle to the launch pad at Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan for a 12:37 p.m. CST launch. It has a 1 hour launch window (12:37 to 1:37 p.m. CST).

The launch of GPM was delayed about a half hour due to slight concerns over a possible collision with the International Space Station, since its ~400 km altitude orbit will be very similar to the ISS.

Here’s the NASA TV coverage, which has some nice animations, spacecraft integration video, and will go live as launch approaches:

UPDATE: The GPM core satellite has reached orbit and the solar arrays have been deployed. So far so good.

Hypocrisy at the Anti-Defamation League?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I am calling out the ADL for not denouncing the widespread use of Nazi Holocaust imagery in public statements made by journalists, politicians, and even some scientists over the last 7+ years towards us global warming skeptics.

After years of ignoring statements like this one from Ellen Goodman (Boston Globe),

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future”. – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007

the ADL would appear to have decided (based upon their years of silence) that using Holocaust imagery is OK on one side of the global warming issue, but not the other. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I have been forwarded from a journalist this ADL statement, apparently issued yesterday:

February 25, 2014, Atlanta, Georgia … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced remarks by University of Alabama professor Roy Spencer who wrote on his blog that those who refer to him as a climate change “denier” should be called “global warming Nazis” and that they “are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause.”

He also claims those who advocate for policies to slow global warming are “like the Nazis” in that they are fascist and anti-capitalist. The post is also accompanied by an image of a swastika.

Shelley Rose, ADL Southeast Interim Regional Director issued the following statement: University of Alabama Professor Roy Spencer’s analogy of proponents of global warming to Nazis is outrageous and deeply offensive. This analogy is just the latest example of a troubling epidemic of comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust.

It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions.

Yup, I would sure have appreciated civil discourse from the other side for the last 7+ years, Ms. Rose.

And, your organization might have helped.

Ms. Rose, where was your organization when journalists, politicians, and even some scientists, chose to call us skeptics “deniers”?

We don’t deny either “global warming” or “climate change”. Yet, we are called “deniers”. Ms. Rose, do you have any inkling why the term “denier” (which is a lie) might be used against us, rather than the term “skeptic” (which is accurate)?

I think you know why.

For at least seven years, the Holocaust has been invoked, explicitly or implicitly, to malign the character of those like me who point out that global warming (1) might not be all the fault of humans, and (2) might not be a problem serious enough to warrant killing poor people through much higher energy prices.

Again, we do not deny global warming. We do not deny climate change.

Ms. Rose, I understand your desire to honor the memories of 6 million Jews murdered over several years during the Holocaust. But every ten years single year, 8 million children die from poverty.

Who will speak out for the much greater numbers who will die from poverty-related causes as we force expensive energy onto humanity through radical energy policies now being pushed in many countries?

You see, Ms. Rose, the path we are on threatens the lives of many more people than were murdered in the Holocaust. Therefore, I do not “trivialize the Holocaust”. In fact, I resent the implication I am trivializing it.

I am instead warning against a new holocaust, which has already begun as countries suffer the economic consequences of forcing high-priced, “concierge energy” on the masses.

So, I want to know where the ADL stands (for example) on Ellen Goodman’s “Holocaust denier” statement, above, as well as the daily barrage of similar “denier” labels we skeptics endure on a daily basis.

We didn’t start the fire, Ms. Rose. And your organization could have helped stop it.

DISCLAIMER: Any views expressed here are my own, and unless otherwise stated, are not those of my employer, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, or the State of Alabama.

3 Days till Launch of the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Core Observatory

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) core observatory is scheduled to be launched from Japan at about noon (CST) on Thursday, Feb. 27. It will be in a 65 deg. inclination orbit, providing the first mid- and high-latitude coverage of precipitation systems with a precipitation radar.
The joint Japan-U.S. mission will be used with a variety of other satellites already orbiting the Earth that provide passive microwave imagery of precipitation systems to provide nominal 3-hourly coverage of most areas on a daily basis. A major focus of the core satellite will be the measurement of light precipitation, especially at mid- and high-latitudes, facilitated with a dual-frequency radar (14 GHz and 35 GHz; the TRMM satellite has only the lower frequency).

Clearly, precipitation is a key weather and climate variable, and its measurement from space has always been a challenge. Radars are the most direct method, but spaceborne precipitation radars have a practical limitation on swath width, and thus global coverage and sampling. So, we use the radars to “train” our passive microwave retrievals using data from the wide-swath microwave imagers, like the GMI (GPM Microwave Imager, with frequencies from 10 to 183 GHz).

I am particularly interested in precipitation processes from the standpoint of precipitation being what regulates how much of our main greenhouse gas — water vapor — is allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere from evaporation. I still think positive water vapor feedback in global warming theory is not a done deal (climate modelers consider it indisputable, magnifying any warming influence by about a factor of 2), and the lack of significant feedback might explain why the tropics have not warmed significantly (and the upper tropospheric hot spot has failed to materialize). See our paper, How dry is the tropical free troposphere? Implications for global warming theory (1997 BAMS).

My very first research publication as a post-doc was on measuring rainfall over land, which appeared as a cover article in Nature (1983). I was very active in the field for about 10-15 years before measuring temperature (rather than precipitation) with microwaves became my main research focus, although I still interface with many of those in the precipitation retrieval business.

This video animation of the GPM core satellite launch and deployment of the instruments and solar arrays is pretty cool (the rotating antenna is the microwave imager…the radar is electrically scanning, and sits on the bottom of the spacecraft):

Update on Next U.S. Cold Air Outbreak

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Global NWP models continue to forecast another record-setting cold air outbreak for late next week. By Friday, the GFS model has below-zero temperatures knocking on the door in NYC, DC, and Boston, with below freezing temperatures extending well into Florida (model imagery courtesy of WeatherBELL):

GFS model surface temperature (T2m) forecast for 12 UTC, Feb. 28, 2014.

GFS model surface temperature (T2m) forecast for 12 UTC, Feb. 28, 2014.

Of course, as I’ve said before, an unusually cold winter doesn’t disprove global warming any more than an unusually hot summer proves warming. It’s just weather.

Time to push back against the global warming Nazis

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

NOTE: The Atlanta ADL issued a letter reprimanding me for casual use of the term “Nazi”. I responded, pointing out their hypocrisy when it comes to Holocaust imagery, since the incorrect term “denier” for skeptics is apparently OK with them (Hypocrisy at the Anti-Defamation League?). The resulting comments at their website were heavily in my favor and we could get no further comment from them.

Yeah, somebody pushed my button.

When politicians and scientists started calling people like me deniers, they crossed the line. They are still doing it.

They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.

Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.

I’m now going to start calling these people global warming Nazis.

The pseudo-scientific ramblings by their leaders have falsely warned of mass starvation, ecological collapse, agricultural collapse, overpopulation… all so that the masses would support their radical policies. Policies that would not voluntarily be supported by a majority of freedom-loving people.

They are just as guilty as the person who cries “fire!” in a crowded theater when no fire exists; except they threaten the lives of millions of people in the process.

Like the Nazis, they advocate the supreme authority of the state (fascism), which in turn supports their scientific research to support their cause (in the 1930s, it was superiority of the white race).

Dissenting scientific views are now jack-booted through tactics like pressuring scientific journals to not publish papers with which they disagree, even getting journal editors to resign.

Like the Nazis, they are anti-capitalist. They are willing to sacrifice millions of lives of poor people at the altar of radical environmentalism, advocating expensive energy policies that increase poverty. And if there is a historically demonstrable threat to humanity, it is poverty.

I’m not talking about those who think we should be working toward new forms of energy to eventually displace our dependence of fossil fuels. Even I believe in that; after all, fossil fuels are a finite resource.

I’m instead talking about the extremists. They are the ones who are sure they are right, and who are bent on forcing their views upon everyone else. Unfortunately, the extremists are usually the only ones you hear from in the media, because they scream the loudest and make the most outrageous claims.

They invoke consensus, which results from only like-minded scientists who band together to support a common cause.

This authoritarianism tends to happen with an over-educated elite class. I have read that Nazi Germany had more PhDs per capita than any other country. I’m not against education, but it seems like some of the stupidest people are also the most educated.

So, as long as they continue to call people like me deniers, I will call them global warming Nazis.

I didn’t start this fight, they did. Yeah, somebody pushed my button.

NOTE: A couple people in comments have questioned my use of “Nazi”, which might be considered over the top. Considering the fact that these people are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause — I think it is very appropriate. Again, I didn’t start the name-calling.

DISCLAIMER: Any views expressed here are my own, and unless otherwise stated, are not those of my employer, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, or the State of Alabama.

Exactly how DOES global warming cause -50 deg F in Minnesota?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

I received the following question from a loyal, frozen reader:

Uff da, Dr. Roy! Exactly how does global warming cause 50 deg. below zero in Minnesota? – Lars Olsen

Excellent question, Lars! Let me climb down out of my ivory tower and I will attempt to explain it to you….

You see, right now there is a little bit of open water in the Arctic Ocean that isn’t frozen over. This is a bad thing, because Beluga whales are known to surface in these waters where they produce emissions of a potent greenhouse gas, methane.
These methane emissions then drift over land. This, in turn, causes herds of caribou (which have a keen sense of smell), to start moving in a clockwise direction (in the northern hemisphere), transferring anticyclonic vorticity from the Earth to the atmosphere.
As every meteorologist knows, anticyclonic vorticity causes atmospheric high pressure to form, which drags cold air down from the upper atmosphere (kind of like in the Al Gore docudrama, Day After Tomorrow).

In response to this Beluga-Caribou Forcing, polar vortex butterflies start flapping their wings harder. These very rare creatures are seldom seen, but global warming-cooling theory suggests there are trillions of them.
polar-vortex-butterfly As they do so, the Polar Vortex® starts spinning erratically and moves southward.

Why southward, you ask? Silly Lars, every direction from the north pole is southward. Sheesh. Now quit interrupting…

What then makes the whole process really get energized, though, is the billions of polar bears that have died, and are no longer blocking the cold Arctic winds from plunging into Minnesota.

Concern over the billions of dead polar bears then causes humans to do stupid things to the environment (as part of their fundraising activities) which then causes the oceans to warm, if ever so slightly.

Scientists do not yet understand why humans behave in this way, but there is sufficient anecdotal and photographic evidence to conclude that they really do:

MJS polar p 0749, mjs, news, mjd.JPG

Finally, all of these effects, together, are believed to be part of a positive feedback loop:

Stupid people warming oceans leads to
=> less sea ice
=> whale farts
=> spinning caribou
=> polar vortex butterfly stimulation
=> reduced wind blocking (dead polar bears)
=> (more) stupid people warming the oceans…

…and the whole process starts over.

So there you have it. This is how global warming is believed to cause 50 below zero temperatures in Minnesota.

And that’s a fact, Jack.

Global warming to cause -50 deg. F in Minnesota next week?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

After this next storm system exits the Great Lakes in a couple of days, cold arctic air is going to gradually return to the Eastern U.S., and especially the upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

The 8-day forecast for Thursday night (next week) has -50 deg. F temperatures knocking on the door in Minnesota, and below-freezing temperatures pushing into northern Florida. Awesome GFS model forecast imagery (paywalled) courtesy of our friends at WeatherBELL:

Time to fire up your SUV, sacrifice the groundhog, or something.

Snowy NE U.S. gets a break

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This morning’s NASA MODIS image of the northeast U.S., true color (which I’ve enhanced a little…click for large version).

Lake Superior Freezing Time Lapse

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

I put together this time lapse of twice-daily images from NASA MODIS (flying on the Terra and Aqua satellites), between 11 Dec. 2013 and 15 Feb. 2014. This is the “721” enhancement, which better separates clouds (white) from snow/ice (blue). (Sorry, but it was too much trouble to put a date stamp on every frame).

Holy Megacryometeors!

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Here’s some video I took of large ice falling off a 1,500 ft. TV tower I live next to. This happens every few years after a snowstorm, and is mostly due to supercooled cloud water freezing to the tower and support cables (we didn’t have an ice storm…but did have 6 inches of snow). The falling ice sounds a little like a propeller plane coming in to land.

Best watched full-screen, with HD enabled, turn up your sound, and don’t miss the ending.