Count Floyd rides again

We were fortunate to live close enough to Canada in the ’80’s that we could watch SCTV each week, a 90 minute mockery of Canadian TV put on by Second City, Toronto contingent. They were an incredibly talented bunch — John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Howard Ramis, Martin Short. One character was Count Floyd (Joe Flaherty), the host of Monster Chiller Horror Theater. Dressed like a vampire from Transylvania, he would howl, look at the camera and say ‘scary kids, scary’. The films were invariably terrible and not scary, so the Count was reduced to saying things like “Vow, kids…vasn’t it SCARY vhen the vaitress put ketchup on those french fries?”

Which brings us to the predictions about the late hurricane season– https://luysii.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/where-are-the-hurricanes-2013-edition/ As late as early August, when very little had happened (see the previous link) NOAA was predicting an above average Hurricane season — http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130808_atlantichurricaneupdate.html. Scary kids, scary

Well, we know what happened. A better way to measure how severe a hurricane season actually was, is something called ACE (Accumulated Cyclonic Energy). It essentially multiplies the the square of the maximum wind speed of hurricanes and tropical storms by the time the storm stays strong. (Why the square? Answer at the end). It’s a much better indicator of seasonal strength than the number of named storms, which are gamed to make the predicted numbers. Several tropical storms this year lasted less than a day with wind speeds under 45 miles an hour.

The ACE this year was the 6th lowest (35) since 1951. The range is 17 to 250, and the median is in the 90s.

It’s been a bad year for the Climate Change crowd. Global mean temperature has now entered its 18th year without any increase. So what used to be called Global Warming has been rebranded as Climate Change.

Even worse, a recent event could have been scripted by the Onion: “Ship carrying Climate Scientists to Antarctica to Publicize Sea Ice loss due to Global Warming trapped in Sea Ice. Rescue by helicopter is Planned.” I’m not making this up.

Addendum 3 Jan ’14 — Now the Chinese Icebreaker to which the climate scientists were brought by helicopter is also stuck in the ice. Life imitates the Onion. Al Gore — call your office.

Addendum 4 Jan ’14 — Clearly the affair was partly (or entirely) a publicity stunt as reporters from the BBC and the Guardian were members of the expedition. Fox News apparently wasn’t invited.

Addendum 5 Jan ’14 — A picture is shown of a Green Party Senator elect in Australia doing calisthenics on board the Russian ship. Certainly, all scientific expeditions must have a politician of the Green persuasion on board — in order to be free of any sort of bias.

Addendum 7 Jan ’14 — The Times covered the event quite fairly in today’s Science section. They say the ship was ‘carrying scientists and adventure tourists’– no mention of the press or the Green senator from Australia. Skeptics are quoted fairly ‘they pointed out that a group whose journey was meant to highlight the effects of global warming was trapped by a substance that was supposed to be melting’ All this in the first paragraph, not buried later on.

Then lots of technical detail was added, in particular that comparing the two poles is really comparing apples and oranges — the North pole being open ocean surrounded by land while the South pole is land surrounded by open ocean. They do note that Antarctic ice is increasing in some areas and decreasing in others, but the net increase is 1%/decade. No figures are given for the % of Arctic ice loss.

Here’s a link from Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/18/arctic-sea-ice-shrinks-record-low. Look at the figure showing the extent of ice for each month and its standard deviation over a 30 year period. The maximum extent occurs in March and the standard deviation range is between 14.5 and 16 for the past few 30 years. The minimum extent occurs in September and ranges between 5 and 8 — 2012 was a record low. This year will come in (according to their chart) at the low end of the range (but within it). So it doesn’t look as though maximum Arctic sea ice extent has budged in the past 30 years. The September range has always been twice that of the the March range. Whether this is cherry picking the data I leave up to you.

The question could easily be settled, and hopefully someone has done it, simply by integrating the area under the curve for each year and plotting the results vs the year. A trend should be obvious.

Addendum 8 Jan ’14 — The leader of the expedition (Chris Turney) was given space to defend its purpose in the current Nature vol. 505 p. 133 ’14. The 19 comments so far are brutal. Have fun.

Closer to home, after seeing a movie the day after Christmas, we went to a bar for some food. Playing on the zillions of flat screens (they must be pretty cheap now) was something called the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsetta Bowl. I’m not making this up either.

The wind velocity is squared because kinetic energy is mass times velocity squared.

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