Sierra Expecting 10 Feet of Snow in Next 10 Days

January 3rd, 2016 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
Suomi satellite color image of Pacific storms lining up on January 2, 2016.

Suomi satellite color image of Pacific storms lining up on January 2, 2016.

With the Sierra Nevada snowpack above normal in this El Nino-fueled winter, we now enter what is usually the peak stormy season for the West Coast when El Nino gets in full swing.

As suggested in the above satellite image, a series of Pacific storms will bring more rain and abundant mountain snows, with totals ranging up to 10 feet over the next 10 days, and widespread amounts over 4 feet (GFS model graphic courtesy of

GFS model forecast of total snowfall in the next 10 days, ending January 13, 2016.

GFS model forecast of total snowfall in the next 10 days, ending January 13, 2016.

While the California drought is far from over, the coming storms are a good sign that the snowpack might be headed for a more comfortable 150% of normal come April 1, which is what will be required to bring reservoirs close to a normal level after the snow melts.

The snows will not be restricted to California, as almost all mountain ranges in the West will also be receiving substantial new accumulations over the same period.

70 Responses to “Sierra Expecting 10 Feet of Snow in Next 10 Days”

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  1. Ľƽ̨ says:


  2. mpainter says:

    Now, if they had more reservoirs in California, they could cache all of that snow and lessen the severity of the next drought, drought #82 of the last millennia.

    • JohnKl says:


      You still haven’t learned the depth of intellectual depravity, incompetence and outright indifference to native Californians displayed by it’s legislature. If they build more reservoirs it only means they’ll have to dump more water into the ocean later to save the Delta Smelt, some sub-species of fruit fly or an as yet unidentified sub-species of flora or fauna that requires urgent government action by a legislature probably all to willing to create crisis for political ends.

      Have a great day!

  3. Martin says:

    Dr Spencer, do you think we might get some rain or snow in Europe as well? Last year was extremely dry (and hot) here!

  4. Alan says:

    If by some chance there is so much precipitation this winter that we go from drought to flooding, that will also be used as proof of ‘extreme weather’ and ‘climate change’…

  5. Curious George says:

    Is there an “official” definition of El Nino, and/or its consequences?

    • Aaron S says:

      Here is the existing definition for an El Nino. However, I do think it is interesting how each event changes the understanding about the climate impact (consequences). Much more to learn.

      • mpainter says:

        You may have heard that the term El Nino was coined by the fishermen of Peru. But, many have not, so I’m going to hold forth on this subject.

        Offshore Peru is the greatest fishery in the world in terms of tonnage of landed catch. This is due to the upwelling off the coast, which is the most prolific occurrence of upwelling on the planet. The upwelling brings deep ocean nutrients to the surface and provides the base of the food pyramid. But sometimes this upwelling slackens, and the pelagic fish populations decline and so does the catch.

        This usually occurs around the height of summer, which happens to be Christmas time in the antipodes. Thus the term El Nino, which refers to the Christ Child (el nino = the boychild). Now this is slightly blasphemous irony, because the slackening of the fish catch is a time of dearth and forced idleness among the fishing fleet. This is when hungry pelicans starve and beg for food, seabirds and other species depending on seafood decline and perish.
        In other words, Merry Christmas.

        Thus the original El Nino. By this, we see that it was not based on conditions in ENSO 3/4, but immediately offshore Peru, ENSO 1/2. This is the region that needs to be watched, because this is where the meridional ocean overturning happens…or falters and stops, and that is your El Nino. The NOAA has blundered again, imo, when they focus on ENSO 3/4. They should be watching 1/2.

      • Curious George says:

        Thanks for the definition. I did not know that El Nino is a moving target; the anomaly is “based on centered 30-year base periods updated every 5 years” – so we may get an El Nino one year, but the next year the base changes – and the last year’s El Nino disappears.

  6. thefordprefect says:

    thanks for the weather report.
    Here is our weather report: it is very warm with rain. The spring flowers are beginning to bud.

    Is this relevant to climate change?

    • mpainter says:

      Yes, its a very bad sign. Evacuate your family and make your will. If you live near the coast, or a river, order about 100 yards of sand and a gross of sandbags. Be sure and stock up on plenty of emergency rations, and don’t forget drinking water. Reinforce the interior walls of your home so that you can survive a succession of force 5 hurricanes and tornadoes. Don’t answer the doorbell, it could be a desperate climate refugee who is looking for loot. Get inoculated against malaria, typhus, dengue fever and yellow fever, rabies and hoof and mouth disease. Watch out for invasive species, these can be vicious. Above all, do not panic and lose your head, but stay calm.

      • douglasECotton says:

        Even better – stick your head in the sand and do nothing. This is only a computer model prediction after all and we all know how they have all been corrupted.

        Ignore all those pesky warnings and think of la-la land – where everything is bright and sunny and nothing ever changes.

        • mpainter says:

          Well, you can always wring your hands and make fearful exclamations. If that is your thing. But atmospheric CO2 is entirely beneficial and the more, the better. Plants thrive on it.

          • lewis says:


            Why is it that only the weeds seem to thrive on increased CO2?

          • douglasECotton says:

            Sounds like too much inhalation of the stuff has affected you.

          • mpainter says:

            Why don’t you do something useful? Here is a suggestion: go look up the CO2 content of exhalation and report back here and share your new found knowledge with your fellow bloggers.

          • DouglasECotton says:

            Something useful? With pleasure.

            “Human beings absorb oxygen from the air when they inhale and release carbon dioxide into the air when they exhale. Inhaled air contains 21% oxygen and 0.035% carbon dioxide. In contrast, exhaled air contains just 16% oxygen and 4% carbon dioxide.

            CO2 is an odourless and tasteless gas that is only detected by human beings due to its negative characteristics: feeling unwell, lack of concentration and deterioration in performance.”

            Note the last sentence, you should stop inhaling it.

          • mpainter says:

            Tell that to the plants.

          • douglasECotton says:

            You’re not a vegetable perhaps?

      • boris says:

        And all that preparation will be helpful when the Earthquake hits!

      • Jim H says:

        You failed to mention or suggest the writer purchase guns and ammo. That might prove helpful too, you know, just shoot your way out.

    • RichardLH says:

      Ask your grandparents. There is a well known 60 year cycle to the data. UAH is showing what could be a nearly perfect half sine wave of just that you know. Just saying.

      • Norman says:


        Since you seem to be well studied in the sciences, what do you propose is the cause of a 60 year cycle in temperature data? Unless a valid mechanism is proposed it is hard to conclude such a real cycle exists even if it appears to be.

        • jerry l krause says:

          Hi Normal,

          The mistake that Alfred Wegener and those who cited evidence that suggested continents drifted, was that they accepted the challenge to explain how continents could drift. Newton stated he could not offer an explanation of the cause of gravity, but the evidence was enough to convince him that gravity did exist. While there is evidence that a 60 year cycle might exist, it is wrong to suggest it does not exist until there is observational evidence to the contrary.

          Have a good day, Jerry

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @Jerry…”The mistake that Alfred Wegener and those who cited evidence that suggested continents drifted, was that they accepted the challenge to explain how continents could drift”.

            Apparently they were wrong:


            Plate tectonics only made sense to me when I had to write a geology exam while studying engineering. If you failed to regurgitate the paradigm it could cost you dearly on the exam.

            The giveaway to me was how earthquakes could be pin-pointed to a distinct local while a plate of several hundred miles slid under another. One would expect hundreds of quakes all along the plate face.

            Here’s another that thoroughly and very scientifically debunks the evolution paradigm.


          • mpainter says:

            Gordon, stay away from that site, those people are kooks, believe me. They crank out kookscience.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @mpainter…”Gordon, stay away from that site, those people are kooks, believe me. They crank out kookscience”.

            m….appreciate the warning, and I will keep it in mind. However, the two articles I have cited are based on excellent science. They are well cited and well analyzed.

            I am basing my opinion on having studied plate tectonics as part of a geology course and from having read considerably on DNA and cell theory. A course I took in organic chemistry helped me get started, and although I am no expert, what is claimed in the evolution articles follows what I have read.

            My views on plate tectonics and evolution were not influenced by the articles. I had already arrived at similar conclusions based on other readings on the subjects.

            Perhaps you could read them and offer an opinion as to why you might disagree.

            I know I am a bit off-topic here but I feel it’s important for people to get it that the controversy going on in climate science extends to other disciplines.

          • jerry l krause says:

            Hi Gordon,

            I have one question and please do not fail to answer it as you have not answered the straightforward question I asked you 1/4/2016 at 10:17am. This question is: Do you merely doubt that continents drift or do absolute know that they do not?

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @Jerry L. Krause…”Do you merely doubt that continents drift or do absolute know that they do not?”

            Jerry…sorry I missed your initial question.

            Obviously, I only doubt that they drift. Then again, anyone who claims they definitely drift is playing with a belief system.

            The thing that impressed me in the article I posted recently about drift was the detail to which they went to question the theory. They supplied ample evidence, along with citations, to question the theory.

            One of the interesting bits of evidence was a comparison of the geology between parts of continents that are claimed to have been connected. In many cases the comparison was not there.

            When I studied continental drift in a geology course at university the basis of the theory was primarily shapes and the mid-ocean Atlantic Ridge. It was claimed there were convective currents under the mantle rising below the rift and spreading along the sea floor.

            The article to which I linked supplies a convincing, detailed argument to rebut that theory.

          • jerry l krause says:

            Hi Gordon,

            Good answer. However, despite the volume (length) of the article and its many references. There are all the observed evidences that Wegener and others and then much later other scientists observed other evidence they could not explain by any idea except that continents have drifted and are drifting. I must admit I did not wade through the volume of the article to which you referred, but what I did see was a questioning of the validity of plate-tectonics and what I did not see was any idea of a theory (paradigm) capable or replacing the paradigm (a word you seem to like instead of theory) of plate-tectonics.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • jerry l krause says:

            Hi Gordon,

            See my fingers are not working well today. And I just had another thought for you to consider. Newton claimed the evidence of ocean tides supported his reasoning about gravity. Do you consider he was wrong in this claim because some places semi-diurnal tides are observed and other places only diurnal tides are observed?

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @jerry l krause “Do you consider he was wrong in this claim because some places semi-diurnal tides are observed and other places only diurnal tides are observed?”

            I would not know where to begin with that one, Jerry, and I am certainly not going to challenge Newton. However, having studied engineering I’d want to know what gravitational forces were at play.

            We have gravitational forces from the Sun and those from the Moon, as well as the gravitational force exerted by the Earth. Is it possible that the combined forces could produce the phenomena you describe, depending on the relative positions of the Sun and Moon and the position of the ocean affected relative to both?

            My limited understanding is that a diurnal tide has one high tide and one low tide per day whereas a semi-diurnal tide has two lows and highs.

            Based on all that I’d claim Newton was right. Tides cannot happen without gravitational forces. It would seem the difference between a diurnal tide and a semi-diurnal tide is in relation to resultant forces of which gravity is a major contributor.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @jerry l. Krause…”what I did see was a questioning of the validity of plate-tectonics and what I did not see was any idea of a theory (paradigm) capable or replacing the paradigm ”

            Jerry…they did talk about vertical lift mechanisms as opposed to the horizontal movement of plate tectonics. They seemed to think that offered a better explanations of orogeny (mountain building).

            Everest has a band of sandstone near the top that is called the Yellow Band. It obviously originated in an ocean environment but it appears to have been pushed straight up intact rather than folded as would be expected with continents colliding. Also, some mountains chains are far too inland to have been caused by plates colliding.

        • Aaron S says:

          It seems that theee are infinite solar periodicities in the literature. Im curious about this subject so wanted to see what the thought about this suggested link are.

        • TedM says:

          If a 60 year or near 60 year cycle exists then it exists irrespective of whether you can explain it or not. Your lack of lo0gical explanation may well be an example of your own ignorance.

    • donald penman says:

      Here is my weather report in Lincoln UK. Jan 1st max 6c min 1c Jan2nd max 8.7c min 6.6c Jan 3rd max 8.3c min 6.1c and it is foggy this morning Jan 4th and a chilly 4.5c as I type this. I wonder sometimes if it is the met offices and there desire to keep people depending on there weather forecasts that is corrupting science why not just take it as it comes.

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    Checking a few places where the color is “sort of purple” the NWS forecasts are saying “inches” and not “feet.”
    The color scale is close to a double; that is, the top color for 48″ looks a lot like the color for 16″.
    If the purple color is correctly for 48 then the run-up from red — about 10″ — is abrupt.
    This can happen but unless it is during the 3 days past next Sunday the Weather Service folks appear to be using a different model.

    Or I’m missing something. What?

    A friend lives at South Lake Tahoe. It doesn’t look like more than 10″ there. I can’t give her a hard time about that — We have about 16 on the ground. Got 3″ today but that appears to be it.

    Happy New Year!

  8. AZ1971 says:

    Dr. Spencer, isn’t the forecasted Jan-Mar blocking high over the northern parts of Canada and Arctic what’s responsible for sending much of the old, thick sea ice through the Fram Strait and thus leading to less extent during the summer melt season?

  9. Gordon Robertson says:

    I’m in the west coast of Canada (aka the Wet Coast) near Vancouver and it has been colder than normal as well as wet recently. It’s normally the Vancouver area that has mild winters while the rest of Canada freezes but for the last few days we’ve had Arctic Air descend upon us with temps as low as -5C.

    I have seen little evidence of an El Nino, global warming, or climate change. The oceans are not rising around here either so there must be parts of the planet where the water is sitting higher than it is here, according to alarmists. I know that’s physically impossible except at one end of the El Nino area, but things that don’t make sense in physics seem to make sense in alarmist climate science.

    Reminds me of a yarn by Mark Twain. He was talking about the length of the Mississippi which he was told is so many miles long. Of course, the Mississippi is a meandering river, meaning it curls and curves all over the place making it much longer than an equivalent straighter river would be.

    Twain reckoned that based on it’s reported length, and given it’s source, it should hit the Gulf of Mexico and shoot straight out over it.

    Twain also claimed there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. NOAA has recently been applying statistical methods in climate models to hard data from thermometers to erase the warming hiatus announced by the IPCC since 1998. NASA JPL, not GISS, has done a statistical analysis from Argo buoys in the oceans to arrive at a similar conclusion.

    Ain’t it fun when people calling themselves scientists go back in the historical temperature record and rewrite the record to what they think it ‘should’ have been.

    • jerry l krause says:

      Hi Gordon,

      You wrote: “I have seen little evidence of an El Nino, global warming, or climate change.” In the previous paragraph you cited evidence of the present abnormal weather a little north of Vancouver BC. Is not this abnormal weather associated with the abnormal weather termed the El Nino?

      Have a good day, Jerry

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Jerry…”In the previous paragraph you cited evidence of the present abnormal weather a little north of Vancouver BC”.

        I reread what I said in the previous paragraph and all I saw was a reference to Arctic air. The Arctic is at least 1000 miles north of Vancouver and we get spells of Arctic air descending each winter for short periods.

        I was not claiming the Arctic air as being abnormal. It’s frigid for 11 months of the year in the Arctic.

        I think what you took from my comment was my denial of an El Nino. Not so. I was claiming the warming claimed to be associated with an EN was not apparent in Vancouver.

  10. lewis says:

    Science will support political goals when the scientists are in the pay of the politicians. Thus we find those scientists who aren’t in the pay (controlled) are berated, even attacked, for having independent thoughts.

    Then our children go to public school where they are taught the scientific method in science class, while in all others they are taught in the political method and beliefs of the left.

    Happy New Year
    Go Clemson Tigers

  11. dave says:

    “Mark Twain” was a “Baconian”, that is to say he opined that the statesman Bacon was the author of the plays attributed to the actor Shakespeare. He did not believe this originally, but was persuaded by the Captain of the river steamer on which Twain learned the treacherous twists and turns of the Mississipi River.

    Twain wrote an hilarious piece about the conversations they had while Twain was at the wheel. Thus (roughly):


    Shakespeare had little knowledge of the Greek poetic meter…LOOK OUT for that SANDBANK!..whilst Bacon learned…You blind IMBECILE…put the wheel to PORT! PORT I SAID!!! …learned from his tutor at Inns of Court…Will you KILL us????

    • boris says:

      Mark Twain also noted that the truth does not need to stand in the way of a good story!

      • mpainter says:

        I think James “boil the oceans” Hansen would agree 110%. He does not let truth get in way of anything, including his science.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          @mpainter…”I think James boil the oceans Hansen would agree 110%. He does not let truth get in way of anything, including his science”.

          As an astronomer, Hansen seemed to idolize another astronomer, Carl Sagan. Don’t know if you got Sagan in Oz but he talked a bit like Elmer Fudd. He became a TV personality, doing documentaries, like David Suzuki did in Canada for CBC. Neither allowed truth to get in the way of fact if it provided entertainment.

          Of course, Hansen was out to apply Sagan’s theory that a runaway greenhouse effect caused the atmosphere on Venus, therefore the same must apply to Earth. He allowed himself to become dated on that theory however since current astronomers like Andrew Ingersoll have discounted that theory due to the extremely high surface temperatures on Venus.

          Sagan used to drive me off the deep end with his de facto inferences. When referring to the Big Bang, he would state “When the Big Bang occurred…”, saying it as if he was there to witness it.

          Hansen reminds me of that too.

          • mpainter says:

            I remember Sagan, indeed, and his “nuclear winter” which had a good run in the early eighties and made Sagan a big deal media type for a year or so. His “nuclear winter” was the forerunner of today’s climate bugaboo. Interestingly, if you check out Sagan’s Wikipedia bio, it says nothing about “nuclear winter”. I always held my nose when Sagan came along.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Boris…”Mark Twain also noted that the truth does not need to stand in the way of a good story!”

        I think former US president Nixon probably read a lot of Twain. When caught in an outright lie, he claimed that a lie is not always a lie.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @Dave…”Mark Twain was a Baconian…”

      Dave…found the original of my Mark Twain story…naturally it’s different than I remember but better than my memory.

      I read his adventures as a cub-pilot on the Mississippi years ago. He sure went into a lot of detail accompanied by good humour as in your quote.

  12. richard says:

    look at what agriculture does each year, that is the gauge of a good or bad climate- so far, so good,

  13. An Inquirer says:

    Back to the topic of the post: I have been curious about the definition of drought as used in various websites and blogs. Certainly a drought in the Sierras and imply a rainfall level that would not be a drought in Kansas. I have heard that “drought that is a condition that could be expected to occur only 10% of the time.” Interesting . . . by that definition, we could expect 10% of the U.S. — or any large geographical area — to be in drought at any one point in time.
    The Drought Monitor at UNL explicitly uses reservoir levels as a factor in determining drought conditions. But that makes drought dependent on population and economic growth because more people and more water use means more draw on the reservoir. Indeed, “Drought is caused by not only lack of precipitation and high temperatures but by overuse and overpopulation,” according to David Miskus, a drought expert and meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
    To make drought a function of population and economic growth means we will have increasing droughts even if climate does not change! That outcome does not sound scientifically sound to me.
    I suspect that the Palmer index is a better measure of drought — rainfall and temperatures are factors, but not population and economic conditions.

    • mpainter says:

      Agreed, if population and other anthropogenic factors are included in the definition of drought then there is no basis for comparison with past conditions. Plus there will be interminable dispute of how to weight anthropogenic factors, etc. until the point is reached that no intelligent discussions can be made on the topic. But how do you keep the idiots out of science?

      • Dan Pangburn says:

        Humans have no significant effect on climate. Discover what does at

        • Doug*C says:

          But your section “Possible explanation of why CO2 change has no significant effect on climate” can be reduced to the basic fact that radiation reaching the surface of any planet with a significant atmosphere is not the primary determinant of the temperature. See

      • DouglasECotton says:

        Tell them to stop inhaling CO2.

        • James Bond says:

          Hi DouglasECotton aka Dr.No aka Alfred E Newman,

          Since CO2 comprises 4 or more percent of your lungs gasses inhaling 400 ppm will likely go unnoticed. In your case, CH4 will likely prove a problem. An aging Asian wheelchair bound doctor may find flatulence an issue and all the ginseng in the world may not be a match for time and the fraying of the silver cord. At last M has developed an herbal concoction perfectly suited to your likely gastronomy. It seems sad that MI 5 and British intelligence labs should be reduced to hawking plant extracts, but you should take advantage of any limited time offer. Of course if you still choose to pass as DouglasECotton we have an Aussie expat special as well.

          Have a great day!

    • richard says:

      last world wide drought was back in 1934.

    • JohnKl says:

      An Iquirer,

      California has enough reservoir capacity to cover 20 million people in a state containing almost 40 million. Please provide a time in recent decades when california has not either been in a drought or recovering from one and supposedly waiting for reservoirs to magically refill themselves back to capacity. In the few brief times when Californians actually accumulate sufficient water districts will often release so called second use water into the oceans. I’ve seen this myself. One time the LA river was 3/4 full with such water on it’s way to the oceans. More recently 1.6 million acre feet of water was simply dumped to the sea to supposedly save the Delta Smelt. You can find articles on this fact on the Internet and while I have provided links to such articles in the past everyone should know about this issue by now. Creating additional reservoir capacity, proper disposal and use of saved water, removing legal barriers to commercially available desalinization plants would seem like obvious first steps. Obvious steps of course to individuals seeking to solve the problem and allow resources to flow to the public. Unfortunately, the political system and far too many individuals are not interested in solving the problem, but in using the problem to pass restrictive legislation designed to punish law abiding citizens with water regulations, raise the cost of abundant resources, and waste what resources have been accumulated ( aka the Delta Smelt ). Please let me know if anyone actually wishes to resolve the issue they will probably label you a drought denier!

      Have a great day!

      • Vincent says:

        It’s an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, sacrificing millions of dollars worth of farm produce in order to save from extinction a very small species of fish, seems a very admirable and compassionate thing to do. Better than spending billions of dollars on decorative diamonds, perhaps.

        On the other hand, the fish can easily be saved from extinction by allowing them to flourish in man-made fish farms, so the real question that should be addressed is the long-term effect on the ecosystem of the reduced fresh water flowing into the delta and bays. Are other species in danger of extinction? What are the ramifications of the reduction of fresh water flowing into the delta? Everything is connected in some way. Changes do not occur in complete isolation. There are always flow-on effects.

        Perhaps we don’t know the extent of the flow-on effects, just as we don’t know what the effects of increased CO2 levels will be.

        If a large meteorite, or an extensive and prolonged series of volcanic eruptions, cause the extinction of a large number of species, we accept that because we know it’s a natural event, just as that first combination of complex molecules that resulted in the first form of life about 3.5 billion years ago, was a natural event.

        However, if mankind’s activities cause any extinction of other species, or cause the climate to change ever so slightly, as a possible effect of our burning fossil fuels, then that is really bad and wicked. (wink).

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Vincent,

          Thanks for a thoughtful reply. You closed:

          “However, if mankinds activities cause any extinction of other species, or cause the climate to change ever so slightly, as a possible effect of our burning fossil fuels, then that is really bad and wicked. (wink).”

          This statement seems far to absolutist and not rational. let me explain. If Bubonic Plague bacteria disappeared and became “extinct” frankly I would be very happy at the news and thank anyone involved in bringing about it’s demise. This bacteria likely mutated from some beneficial symbiotic bacteria to a deadly pathogen. For me it doesn’t serve a useful purpose and would be glad to see it go. Many varieties or sub-species, depending on who you ask, mutated to fill some niche but are not necessary for the survival of the morphological type. Humans in addition to having helped bring various animal varieties to extinction ( the passenger pigeon comes to mind ) also breed new varieties. If the world lost the Chihuahua some might cry, others wouldn’t care and may find them a pest. In any case, the only reason they exist to begin with is because humans have bred them and kept them around. Likewise lentils are found only under human cultivation not in the wild.

          Coyotes are the only so-called species in North America that has expanded it’s range from the South west to much of the continental U.S. since humans have populated the continent. They’re very good scavengers. Lately they’ve been supposedly observed mating with wolves in regions previously outside their range. If the new larger wolf/coyote variety replaces the previous coyote form will it be some kind of injustice? I don’t think so.

          As to slightly altering the climate as a result of burning hydrocarbons that’s already been done. Everyone on this website played a role as well. None of us are hydrocarbon virgins. Humans have altered their climate for thousands of years. Compare the dry Mediterranean Greece with the green verdant land it once was prior to the introduction of non-indigenous goats to the land and you will see what I mean. England used to be largely forest but is now largely pasture land due to the large amount of deforestation practiced during England’s growth as a maritime power and the need for wood to build ships. On the US east coast Maine used to be forest prior to English and Dutch settlers. Later the forest was cut down and farms replaced them. Today it has been reforested. Which is better? When? Why?

          Egypt and much of the Northern horn of Africa used to be green and productive. Poor human resource usage changed that. Over 3/4’s of the plant species in Singapore resulted from human alteration of the natural flora. Is that good or bad? The San Fernando valley where I grew up used to be dry dirt with barely any vegetation in the 19th century. In the 1940’s orchards filled the valley. Now it’s a suburb. Good? Bad? You tell me? Human action isn’t by definition wicked. Nor is human alteration of the environment by definition bad. If you think so why?

          What temperature do you think the planet must be to be moral? Do you really think this way?

          Have a great day!


          • Vincent says:

            JohnKl says:
            January 5, 2016 at 2:53 PM

            “Human action isnt by definition wicked. Nor is human alteration of the environment by definition bad. If you think so why?
            What temperature do you think the planet must be to be moral? Do you really think this way?”

            Hi John,
            Of course I don’t think that way, hence the (wink) at the end of the last paragraph. I was being sarcastic. It could be helpful if there were ‘smiley’ options available on the forum.

            I was trying to get across the absurdity of the notion that the human race can live in isolated bubbles on this planet and not influence the environment. We’re products of the environment and have unavoidably changed it in the past as we developed from tribes into nations, as you’ve pointed out, and we continue to change the environment today as we progress even more rapidly with our economic development on a much grander global scale than in the past, striving to achieve an Australian standard of living.

            As I’ve mentioned before, I have no worries about the effects of the current and projected levels of CO2, because I think the positive effects of increased plant growth, which can be demonstrated, are likely to be at least as significant as any speculative, negative effects of rising CO2 levels, which cannot be clearly demonstrated.

            However, there is an issue of general pollution associated with the burning, as well as the mining and extraction of coal, oil and gas. There is also an issue of eventual scarcity of these resources if the economic development of undeveloped countries continues as planned.

            Therefore, I think it’s good and sensible that we develop efficient, clean, and renewable energy alternatives well before the crisis of a shortage hits us. It might be better to overreact than to underreact. Ultimately, our future is limited only by our energy supplies and our imagination.

            The sun offers the potential of virtually unlimited energy. There are problems because of the stochastic nature of the energy supply from the sun, in any given area, but problems exist in order to be solved. We shouldn’t just give up.

            Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Vincent,

            Good post. You stated:

            “The sun offers the potential of virtually unlimited energy. There are problems because of the stochastic nature of the energy supply from the sun, in any given area, but problems exist in order to be solved. We shouldnt just give up.”

            Agreed. However, hydrocarbons like methane (CH4) ( 80% of natural gas ) are constantly being produced by the Earth are in regards to human use unlimited. It simply takes effort to obtain them. Frankly, the market provides new solutions every day. If people wisely transition to natural gas, solar and clean alternatives the economic transition can happen easily. The pollution problem largely revolves around particulates which can be reduced by choosing cleaner fuels and where economically feasible solar, wind, etc. Natural gas has the added benefit of being among the best when it comes to CO2 that the greenies fear as well.

            Have a great day!

  14. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    This looks like good news for Californians to end their drought.

  15. hunter says:

    It seems clear that the effect of an El Nino is to move heat out of the ocean and ultimately out of the atmosphere.