Articles Tagged "Art Horn"
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Wednesday, January 2nd 2013, 7:11 AM EST
When I was a television meteorologist sometimes a hurricane would destroy an area, tornadoes would strike with little or no warming, winter storms would bury cities in snow, floods would inundate communities and temperature records would be broken. People accepted these events as the normal variability that has always confronted and confounded humanity.
Not so anymore. Now when a minimal category one hurricane strikes it’s called “a super storm.” When Washington D.C. is digging out from under two feet of snow it’s given a name like “snowmageddon.” When drought hits the farm belt it’s said to be consistent with predictions that say in a warmer world dry conditions will become more severe. In today’s world virtually any weather event that causes any interruption in the flow of daily life is proof that weather is becoming more extreme due to global warming. Is there really more extreme weather in a warmer world?
When I start a semester teaching meteorology, one of the first things my students learn (hopefully) is that it’s temperature contrast across the earth that drives weather. They learn that the greater the temperature contrast between the poles and the equator, the harder the atmosphere works to equalize that contrast. The way this work is done is with stronger storms. Stronger storms do a better job of transporting heat from the tropics to the polar regions, therefore reducing the contrast in temperature across the earth. In a sense the storms are the earth’s safety valves helping to reduce the pressure so the pipes don’t blow!
Sunday, November 4th 2012, 12:27 PM EST
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy people with no meteorological training at all are climbing high atop media soap boxes, proclaiming that Hurricane Sandy is part of a “new normal” of extreme weather. Robert Puentes, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program said “Since we keep seeing large scale storms — the derecho this summer, Irene, Isabel — it may be wise for transit and infrastructure planners and officials to think of these as part of a new normal,” This claim is based on the often repeated warning that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing the weather to become different than it was in the past, therefore creating a “new normal”. In other words, in the past the weather was “normal”, now because of the way we make energy, it is different and it’s our fault and we better do something about it, i.e. control the weather.
The Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York city have no training in meteorology or hurricanes but made statements implying that Sandy was the result of climate change. Governor Cuomo said “These are extreme weather patterns. The frequency has been increasing”. He has not done his homework with respect to hurricanes. Research by Dr. Ryan Maue shows that global hurricane activity has not increased since 1978 and has declined since the early 1990s. Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo quoted Dr. William Gray, the famous hurricane forecaster from Colorado State University, who predicted the current period of increased North Atlantic Hurricanes back in the 1980s. Dr. Gray said the increase will be due to changes in the ocean warming and cooling cycle know as the AMO. Hurricanes are not new to New Jersey or New England. They have been wreaking havoc on these regions since colonial times and before.
Sunday, September 30th 2012, 3:52 PM EDT
There is more frozen ocean surrounding Antarctica than has ever been measured. That’s right, after all the shouting and hand waving about the new record low amount of sea ice in the Arctic this summer, Antarctic sea ice has ballooned to a new record high. Mother Nature does seem to have an interesting sense of humor when it comes to the freezing of sea water. Back in 2007 the amount of sea ice left over at the end of the summer in the Arctic at the top of the world was the lowest since the satellite measurements began in 1979.
At the same time the amount of sea ice surrounding Antarctica at the bottom of the world set a new record for the most sea ice. That record large amount of ice got almost no attention, all the talk was about how little ice was left in the Arctic at the end of the melt season. Advance five years later to 2012 and the same thing has happened again. We have record low ice extent in the Arctic and record large ice extent surrounding Antarctica. Who knew that Mother Nature has such a bemusing sense of humor!
Saturday, September 1st 2012, 12:07 PM EDT
On Monday, August the 27th 2012 the headline read “Arctic Ice Melts to record Low: US Researchers.” The New York Times rolled out “Satellites show sea ice in Arctic is at a record low.” These headlines claim this is yet another sign that man made global warming is real and is a threat to our future. Most people that read these headlines will not understand what is really behind them. Briefly, the amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean varies significantly through the year. Due to the tilt of the earth’s axis of 23.5 degrees from the vertical, the Arctic Ocean freezes solid in the winter when sun is below the horizon for months and the temperature plunges to 40 to 60 degrees below zero and colder. In the Arctic summer the sun is above the horizon 24 hours a day.
The temperature climbs into the 30s and the ice melts until the fall when the sun gets lower and lower in the sky and eventually disappears into the dark of winter again. Given this large variation in Arctic sunlight and temperature through the year, there has always been a cyclic change in the amount of ice in the Arctic. The claim is that because there has been less ice in the Arctic Ocean at the end of the summer in recent years, this is proof of man made global warming.
Tuesday, August 7th 2012, 6:16 AM EDT
The night was almost four years ago. Candidate Obama had defeated John McCain. This victory was to introduce a new and magnificent period of “hope and change” to America. The bad old Republicans and their money grubbing ways had been swept into the past. The changes to come would be breathtaking! There would be so much hope and so much change that, according to the new President his election signaled that “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”. Whether he actually believed what he said or not, the statement was intended to impress. This proclamation was nothing more than a corpulent bloviation meant for the teary eyed, gullible people who might believe such things were possible. To even imply that his election to the Presidency could in some way stop the oceans from rising was a comical statement worthy of the best of Saturday Night Live. I’m afraid to some it actually had real meaning.
Abundant, accessible and affordable energy is the glue that binds civilizations together and enables them to adhere to policies that encourage growth and prosperity. In his three and one half years as President, Mr. Obama has categorically shown that he is totally opposed to expanding our abundant, accessible and affordable energy industry. He blocked the building of the XL pipeline. He promised to open up offshore drilling sites off the east coast and then threw up all kinds of road blocks to prevent it. His EPA is actively at war with the coal industry and is doing everything it can to shut the whole thing down.
Sunday, June 17th 2012, 6:21 AM EDT
It is strange for me to see the president of the United States actually working against making this nation stronger. I must confess I’ve never seen anything like it. It feels different and it is different. Ever since he took office, president Obama has worked fastidiously to close electric generating facilities that use coal. The rhetoric in his speeches about his belief in man made global warming and his commitment to funding so called “renewable energy” projects is disconcerting. Of course it’s his operatives at the EPA that are the actual troops on the ground carrying out the mission. If he were somehow re-elected to a second term, the unreported and unprecedented war on fossil fuels will continue unabated.
Friday, May 4th 2012, 7:36 AM EDT
Maine Annual Temperatures 1895-2011
On May the 2nd Huffington Post published a story by Shoshana Zuboff titled “When Global Warming Ate My Life”. In the story she describes how she and her husband moved to a small town in Maine to escape the busy world and raise their two kids in a protected environment where they would learn “respectful down-to-earth values”. That all fine and good, I spent some of the best years of my youth in Maine and still return there as often as I can. It is a wonderful place. After describing the idyllic life they enjoyed there for many years she then goes on to say that on one fateful night, “global warming crashed our party in paradise”.
On a summer night in 2009 a lightning bolt struck her through a window and set their home on fire and burned it to the ground. Obviously she is very lucky to be alive. It was a tragic event that might have been prevented by lightning rods on the roof. I don’t know if they had them or not. The idea of the lightning rod is to take control of any lightning bolt that comes near a home.
Monday, April 16th 2012, 5:13 PM EDT
In 1949 George Orwell published his now legendary book 1984. The book told a story about a world run by three super governments. Those governments had complete control over the lives of the people who lived in them. In the county of Oceania where the story takes place “The Party” was the absolute ruler and made all laws and wrote all “truth”. The Party would simply write whatever it wanted to about anything so as to keep control over everything. All private property had been confiscated. There were no privately run companies. All of the so called truth was published and broadcast from the “Ministry of Truth”. In reality whatever truth was really out there was never published or broadcast. In effect there was no real truth, only convenient truth. The truth could be changed from day to day even hour to hour depending on how the Party wanted the “truth” to serve them.
There are interesting parallels in today’s world. Just because some of the warnings Orwell sounded back then didn’t appear to materialize in 1984 doesn’t mean he had the wrong ideas. His timing was just a little off. For instance today the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA (can you say The Ministry of Truth) declared on Monday, December the 7th (Pearl Harbor Day) that carbon dioxide represent a serious health threat to all Americans. The justification for this declaration came from a 2007 Supreme Court decision calling carbon dioxide pollution and is therefore covered by the Clean Air Act.
Friday, February 24th 2012, 8:00 AM EST
The historical temperature record shows that the earth has warmed about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1850. But does that warming prove that we caused it? Some politicians in Washington say adding more carbon dioxide to the air is closing the window at the top of the atmosphere and allowing less heat to escape to space. The answer as to whether this is true or not is not going to come from looking at how much the earth has warmed up in the last 150 years. This planet has warmed and cooled so many times in the past that the current temperature trend is just a repeat of what has happened many, many times before. There are simply too many natural temperature cycles caused by too many forces of nature that will mask any underlying forcing mechanism. Thankfully there is a new way to find an answer. With the advent of the satellite era in the 1960s a revolutionary method of how to evaluate our possible impact on climate was born.
The satellites have the advantage of being free of all the effects that make surface temperature measurements so unreliable in evaluating our impact on climate. They can measure the entire irradiance of the earth from their perch high above the atmosphere without the problems ground based thermometers have. Problems like changing thermometer technology over the last 150 years. Problems such as urban sprawl spreading into the countryside warming long-term temperature readings that once were cooler when they were in a rural setting. Problems such as the uneven distribution of thermometers around the world and the lack of them over the oceans. The satellites are free of all of this and have been measuring the amount of long-wave radiation (heat) escaping from the atmosphere into space since the mid 1970s. The satellites know the size of the window and how much heat is getting through.
Wednesday, February 1st 2012, 4:01 AM EST
I have given many lectures about the myths, misconceptions and outright lies in the global warming arena. After an hour of graphs, charts and pictures detailing how a tiny trace gas, carbon dioxide, has no relationship to whatever warming and cooling has occurred I get the inevitable statement from someone in the audience. “How can you deny that man made global warming is real when 97 percent of climate scientists agree that it is true?” At this point I have to explain that the 97 percent figure is not what it appears to be.
Let’s start with where this number comes from. One of the most quoted sources is the result of an online survey that was published in 2009 by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman from the University of Illinois. The survey was sent to 10,257 scientists. It was intended to be very easy to respond to and was supposed to take only two minutes to complete. As a result 3,146 scientists responded to the survey.
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