Archive for December, 2014

Top 10 Climate Discoveries of 2014

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Top 10 lists are popular this time of year, so I gave in to the peer pressure. Here’s my Top 10 list of totally true climate stories of 2014. Kind of like that movie “Fargo”, which was not “based on a true story”, but was a totally “true story”.

10. Weather did not even occur before Henry Ford automated the production of the automobile. No, really, look it up.

9. Climate modelers discovered that the Earth is not warming nearly as fast as their models predicted. A multi-billion dollar effort is now underway to make the climate system warm even faster.

8. The Koch Brothers were discovered to be extraterrestrials out to destroy the Earth. If you haven’t heard that yet…you are one of the stupid people who were deemed to be not trustworthy enough with the information.

7. Global sea ice reached a near record maximum, due to a bust-gut effort by Exxon-Mobil which has been making ice cubes in China and shipping them to the poles.

6. Global warming causes cooling. This had always been expected, but it was finally proved by two French literature graduates who Googled it.

5. It’s Bush’s fault.

4. A viable replacement for fossil fuels was finally discovered: Solar Freakin’ Roadways. (If solar panels tilted toward the sun and kept clean are a good idea, then putting them on the ground and running over them with 10-ton trucks is even better!)

3. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists surveyed agreed that if the global warming issue (and their government funding) went away, their careers would end.

2. The 420th U.N. climate meeting in Lima, Peru, was finally made carbon-neutral with jet travel fueled by methane gathered from unicorn herds, and carbon offsets purchased from Al Gore which will go toward planting of 5.3 billion trees which never die.

1. Carbon dioxide (necessary for life on Earth) was discovered to be different from carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas). The full implications of this finding are still being investigated, but are not expected to interfere with continuing plans to increase energy prices and keep Third World people from becoming First World.

Storms are Normal: The Nuclear Weapons Equivalency

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

One of the popular (but incorrect) memes of the global warming movement is that storminess is getting worse. While attractive on an emotional level, there is little to no evidence that supports the meme.

Whether it be tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, or any other class of weather event, there is simply no convincing evidence that any of it is getting worse. Storm damage gets worse over time, of course, as wealth and infrastructure grows (there are more targets for severe weather to strike). But that’s not due to “climate change”.

What people don’t realize is the very large amount of energy which courses through the climate system on a continuous basis which drives all weather and storminess.

Approximately 240 Watts per sq. meter of sunlight is absorbed by the Earth continuously, which equates to 122,000 terajoules (trillion joules) of total energy every second over the entire Earth.

To give that number some perspective, it is the same amount of energy released by all nuclear weapons testing over 50 years…but instead released every 20 seconds.

That’s three times all previous nuclear testing every minute.

180 times all nuclear testing every hour.

4,320 times all nuclear testing every day.

And it’s all entirely normal, occurring whether humans live on Earth or not.

Most of that solar energy is absorbed at the surface of the Earth, which then leads to air currents carrying energy vertically and from one place (where more energy has accumulated) to another (where less energy exists)…especially from the tropics to the polar regions.

Water bodies, especially the oceans, store absorbed solar energy for a period of time, and can release it in large quantities because the near-surface water can overturn, making lots of energy available to the atmosphere.

Because of the orientation of land versus ocean, the spherical nature of the Earth, the Earth’s spin, energy storage by the oceans, and other features of the climate system, it is inevitable that there will be localized large differences in energy content of the atmosphere (which drives all weather) which then results in what we consider a severe weather event. Generally, the greater the temperature difference across a distance, the more the potential energy available for storm formation.

For example, the current surface temperature distribution over Asia exhibits temperature differences of over 150 deg F over a few thousand miles. This type of temperature gradient is what drives, directly or indirectly, almost all storm activity.

It worries me that an increasing portion of the public has the impression that storminess has any significance beyond what has been “normal” for thousands of years. The normal state of weather is to be stormy. Even if humans have caused an overall temperature increase of one degree in the last 50-100 years, it would be difficult to impossible to see such a small change reflected in weather when there is already so much energy available for storm formation. The current energy imbalance of the climate system is theoretically estimated to be about 1%. There is no way — given the chaotic nature of weather — to isolate such a small influence from natural variations.

Even a sunny, cloudless day is the result of storms, the rising air in which forces the air to sink over large regions, creating clear skies. In some sense, those clear skies are a necessary part of the storm circulation. Your sunny day is courtesy of someone else’s story day, hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

The final fate of most of the solar energy which was originally absorbed at the surface as sunlight is then emitted to space by “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere as infrared radiation. The cycle is complete, and the sun has (for all practical purposes) enough energy to keep the process going forever.

Why am I even bringing this up? Because I saw a news story about some people thinking the localized lake effect snow event in Buffalo last month was due to “climate change”. The claim is so ludicrous that one hardly knows where to start.

Unfortunately, the President’s new initiative to “educate” young people about climate will probably make matters worse, not better.

Europe to Greet New Year with Snow and Cold

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Over the next seven days you can expect many news stories coming out of Europe concerning an unusually cold and snowy weather pattern setting up that will hit southern and eastern Europe the hardest.

Up to two feet of snow will occur in some areas with balmy Portugal being the only European country to escape snowfall.

As the following total snowfall forecast map through January 1 shows, even southern Italy, Greece, and far northern Africa can expect snow (graphic courtesy of, click to enlarge):

Total snowfall forecast from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1, from the GFS model (courtesy of

Total snowfall forecast from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1, from the GFS model (courtesy of

As is usually the case, the cold air is flowing from northwestern Russia westward and southward into Europe, north of persistent broad low pressure that will form over the Mediterranean Sea. The seven-day average temperature departures from normal for Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 will run 10 to 20 deg. F below normal over much of Europe:

Seven day average temperature departures from normal (deg. C) for the period 28 Dec. to Jan. 4 (GFS model graphic courtesy of

Seven day average temperature departures from normal (deg. C) for the period 28 Dec. to Jan. 4 (GFS model graphic courtesy of

This cold weather will not be welcome by most, as energy prices haven risen significantly across much of Europe, partly due to reliance on expensive renewable energy sources.

Drought Stricken California Suddenly Green

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Heavy rains over the last few weeks have led to a sudden greening of much of California, as revealed in yesterday’s color satellite image compared to exactly 1 year ago (click for full size):

NASA MODIS imagery of central and northern California on Dec. 23 of 2013 and 2014.

NASA MODIS imagery of central and northern California on Dec. 23 of 2013 and 2014.

Many stations in Northern California have recorded over 20 inches of rain, and Folsom Dam has received a whopping 62 inches of rain this month. Lake Shasta, the largest reservoir in California, has erased almost half of its deficit below its normal level for this time of year.

Drought Relief: Shasta Lake Rises 10 ft. in One Day

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The latest in a series of Pacific storms hit California yesterday with high winds and over 6 inches of rain at Shasta Dam. A number of mountain stations that feed the reservoirs in N. California, which are at very low levels from the continuing drought, have registered over 10 inches of rain in the last week.

With yesterday’s heavy rains, Lake Shasta rose a spectacular 10.6 feet in one day, which added over 130,000 acre feet of water volume to California’s largest reservoir. That’s enough water to fill 65,000 Olympic size swimming pools.

The following graph shows that there is still a long way to go to reach even normal water levels on Lake Shasta:

Nevertheless, it also shows how the reservoir can recover in only one year, as it did from the 1976-77 dry period to the 1977-78 wet period, the result of rains from weak El Nino conditions.

The current El Nino conditions in the Pacific are contributing to the current wet and stormy period, which will need to continue before we can even begin to talk about the drought being over.

Greenpeace Desecrates Peru Archeological Sites

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

In yet another example of Greenpeace putting their ideology ahead of everything else, activists at the UN climate meeting in Lima, Peru have allegedly desecrated ancient holy Inca sites with banners, including the Nazca site. The actions are potentially criminal, as discussed in this video just released by

CFACT executive director Craig Rucker, who narrates the above video, tells me the story is pretty big news in Peru right now.

UK Braces for 60 kt Winds, 50 ft Waves

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

A strong low pressure “bomb” southeast of Greenland tracking eastward today will bring high winds and “phenomenal” waves to the west coast of the UK by Wednesday morning, with open-ocean winds exceeding 60 knots and wave heights as much as 50 feet or more.

The wave height field forecast for sunrise Wednesday shows what the Stornoway (Scotland) Coastguard is anticipating will be a “phenomenal” sea state (graphics courtesy of, click images for full-size):

Forecast wave height for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Forecast wave height for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

The sea level pressure and wind patterns for the same time show the location of the low pressure and high near-surface winds:

Sea level pressure and near-surface wind speeds forecast for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Sea level pressure and near-surface wind speeds forecast for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Some schools near the northwest coasts have been closed tomorrow in anticipation of the storm.

4 Ft. of Ocean Effect Snow Hits Japan’s Main Island

Monday, December 8th, 2014

A cold Siberian air mass flowing across the Sea of Japan has caused up to 4 feet of snow on Japan’s main island of Honshu, killing 6 people, and over 1,000 people are trapped by boulders and fallen trees on roads.

Today’s NASA MODIS satellite image shows much of the northwestern side of Honshu covered by snow:

While Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido frequently experiences ocean-effect snow, heavy snow extending this far south is unusual on Honshu, with the current snowcover extending even a little south of the latitude of semi-tropical Tokyo. Another round of heavy ocean effect snow is expected late this week in the same areas.

2014 a Record Warm Year? Probably Not.

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

As continual fiddling with the global surface thermometer data leads to an ever-warmer present and an ever-cooler past, many of us are increasingly skeptical that beating a previous “warmest” year by hundredths of a degree has any real-world meaning. Yet, the current UN climate meeting in Lima, Peru, is setting the stage for some very real changes in energy policy that will inevitably make energy more expensive for everyone, no matter their economic status.

But there are some very good reasons to be skeptical of the claim that 2014 will be the “hottest year ever”…at the very least from the standpoint of it having any real impact on peoples’ lives.

No One Has Ever Felt “Global Warming”

If you turn up your thermostat by 1 deg. F, you might feel slightly warmer in the few minutes it takes for the warming to occur. But no one has felt the 1 deg. F rise in global average temperature in the last 50 to 100 years. It is too small to notice, when we are routinely experiencing day-night, day-to-day, and seasonal swings of tens of degrees.

The Urban Heat Island Effect Has Hopelessly Corrupted the Land Thermometer Data
Most thermometers measure temperature where people live, and people tend to build stuff that warms the local environment around the thermometer.

Called the urban heat island (UHI) effect, most of the warming occurs long before the thermometer site actually becomes “urban”. For instance, if you compare neighboring thermometers around the world, and also compare their population densities (as a rough indication of UHI influence), it can be easily demonstrated that substantial average UHI warming occurs even at low population densities, about ~1 deg. F at only 10 persons per sq. km!

This effect, which has been studied and published for many decades, has not been adequately addressed in the global temperature datasets, partly because there is no good way to apply it to individual thermometer sites.

2014 Won’t Be Statistically Different from 2010
For a “record” temperature to be statistically significant, it has to rise above its level of measurement error, of which there are many for thermometers: relating to changes in location, instrumentation, measurement times of day, inadequate coverage of the Earth, etc. Oh…and that pesky urban heat island effect.

A couple hundredths of a degree warmer than a previous year (which 2014 will likely be) should be considered a “tie”, not a record.

Our Best Technology, Satellites, Say 2014 Will Not be the Warmest

Our satellite estimates of global temperature, which have much more complete geographic coverage than thermometers, reveal that 2014 won’t be even close to a record warm year.

In fact, the satellite and thermometer technologies seem to be diverging in what they are telling us in recent years, with the thermometers continuing to warm, and the satellite temperatures essentially flat-lining.

So, why have world governments chosen to rely on surface thermometers, which were never designed for high accuracy, and yet ignore their own high-tech satellite network of calibrated sensors, especially when the satellites also agree with weather balloon data?

I will leave it to the reader to answer that one.

UAH Global Temperature Update for Nov. 2014: +0.33 deg. C

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Version 5.6 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for November, 2014 is +0.33 deg. C, down a little from the October value of +0.37 deg. C (click for full size version):

The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 23 months are:

2013 1 +0.497 +0.517 +0.478 +0.386
2013 2 +0.203 +0.372 +0.033 +0.195
2013 3 +0.200 +0.333 +0.067 +0.243
2013 4 +0.114 +0.128 +0.101 +0.165
2013 5 +0.082 +0.180 -0.015 +0.112
2013 6 +0.295 +0.335 +0.255 +0.220
2013 7 +0.173 +0.134 +0.211 +0.074
2013 8 +0.158 +0.111 +0.206 +0.009
2013 9 +0.365 +0.339 +0.390 +0.190
2013 10 +0.290 +0.331 +0.249 +0.031
2013 11 +0.193 +0.160 +0.226 +0.020
2013 12 +0.266 +0.272 +0.260 +0.057
2014 1 +0.291 +0.387 +0.194 -0.029
2014 2 +0.170 +0.320 +0.020 -0.103
2014 3 +0.170 +0.338 +0.002 -0.001
2014 4 +0.190 +0.358 +0.022 +0.092
2014 5 +0.326 +0.325 +0.328 +0.175
2014 6 +0.305 +0.315 +0.295 +0.510
2014 7 +0.304 +0.289 +0.319 +0.451
2014 8 +0.199 +0.244 +0.153 +0.061
2014 9 +0.294 +0.187 +0.401 +0.181
2014 10 +0.365 +0.333 +0.396 +0.189
2014 11 +0.329 +0.356 +0.302 +0.252

As I have mentioned before, month-to-month variations in global tropospheric temperature can be rather large just due to variations in convective overturning of the atmosphere (storm activity). To demonstrate how large the changes can be, the following plot shows the daily temperature anomalies for November, 2014. Note that the tropical troposphere warmed by 0.5 deg. C in less than 2 weeks, presumably coming out of a less convective phase.


Despite this rise in late November tropical temperatures, note the extratropics must have cooled since both the NH and SH show downward trends. While this variability in tropospheric temperature might suggest just how dynamic the climate system is, it requires less than 10% variability in storm activity. In general, rapid tropospheric warming events occur during SST cooling (and vice versa), which is much weaker in magnitude owing to the very different heat capacities of water versus air.

The global image for November should be available in the next day or so here.

Popular monthly data files (these might take a few days to update):

uahncdc_lt_5.6.txt (Lower Troposphere)
uahncdc_mt_5.6.txt (Mid-Troposphere)
uahncdc_ls_5.6.txt (Lower Stratosphere)