Tag Archives: climate change

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.

The short (but useful) life of Gabrielle

In an appalling use of the definition of Tropical Storm we now have Gabrielle. Recall that to be a Tropical Storm winds must exceed 38 mph. Many such storms were predicted, and like a high school wrestler taking diuretics and laxatives to make weight Tropical Storm Gabrielle was born today between 000 and 300 Greenwich Mean time. Winds have been no higher than 40 miles/hour, until its demise today between 1200 – 1500 GMT when its winds sunk to 35 mph and it became a Tropical Depression. It is about to cross over the island of Hispaniola (fortunately not its Haitian western end). It lasted about as long as Tropical Storm #6 Fernand.

At least they are not calling it a Tropical Cyclone, which they did in previous years, linguistically correct but semantically confusing it with the much worse Cyclones in the Pacific (which have a different definition).

It’s one way to make what increasingly appears to be a defective model work. For more details see — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/where-are-the-hurricanes-2013-edition/

Addendum 10 Sep ’13 — Gabrielle has strengthened in the past few hours, and is now a tropical storm again, with winds 2 mph over the minimum. I’m surprised they didn’t rename it so they could count it twice.

Where are the Hurricanes — 2013 Edition

When Sandy hit last year, the air was filled with dire predictions that this was just the start, and that global warming (which seems to have morphed into climate change, since although among the hottest on record, there has been no INcrease in global temperature in the past 16 years) was at it’s root.

So you can have it both ways — it’s hot, but it also isn’t getting warmer. [ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 108 pp. 11790 – 11793 ’11 ] “Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008. Furthermore, global surface temperature declined .2 C between 20005 and 2008.”

More to the point an article in Science 2 October ’09 pp. 28 – 29 (sorry I don’t have the volume number — it should be 326 if my calculations are right) noted this. The most interesting part was the response of the climate modelers, who reran their simulations 10 times for a total of 700 years, and found 17 episodes of stagnating temperature lasting a decade or more. The longest period of stagnation was 15 years, and I think we’re now at 16 years. The modelers would have had more credibility if they’d published this when their models first came out.

I’m not sure if they’ve run the models again to find periods of stasis longer than 15 years. They should.

Update 30 Aug ’13 — The hiatus in warming is quite real, and this week Nature published a paper online trying to figure out why this might be so. It has to do with La Nina. All very lovely, but this mechanism wasn’t contained in the model, so why should we trust it. Here’s the link — http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12534.html The editorial [ Nature vol. 500 p. 501 ’13 ] says “Although a prolonged hiatus in warming does not necessarily contradict prevailing theory, this one came as a surprise” — I’ll say.

Which brings us to the current hurricane season. There haven’t been any, and none are in sight. Historically mid August to mid September is the time of greatest likelihood of hurricanes. The graph of hurricane likelihood peaks sharply here– see this link http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/tropical-atlantic-hurricanes-gulf/16915197. On 25 August we’re nearly at the top of the curve.

What we’ve had so far are a bunch of very piddling tropical storms. They are defined has having winds of from 39 to 73 miles an hour — more than that is a Hurricane. We’ve had 5 complete tropical storms — here are their durations in days — 2, 1, 3, 3, 2, and their peak winds 55, 40, 55, 50, 35, 40. Less than impressive. Not even close to hurricane force.

Fernand (tropical storm #6 was born today 25 August 5PM), and I doubt it will last long, as it’s about to make landfall in Mexico. (Update 26 August 8:30 AM — Fernand we hardly knew ye. Downgraded to a tropical depression presently — maximum winds 35 mph, barely over 12 hours after being upgraded from same. Just like a teenaged wrestler taking diuretics and dieting to make weight, the people deciding what is and what isn’t a tropical storm, will count Fernand as a tropical storm so their predictions will work out just the way they want.)

So we’ve had predictions of more frequent and more violent hurricanes, and of continued rises in global temperature — neither of which have happened (this year for hurricanes and the past 15 – 16 years for global temperature).

Let’s assume that we have no hurricanes at all this year, and a few more of the piddly tropical storms we’ve seen so far. They fit the definition, but are unimpressive. The average northeaster on the Jersey coast is worse. Also, if anyone knows, how long does the wind have to be above 38 miles an hour for something to be called a tropical storm? I can’t seem to find this anywhere.

A variety of responses are possible. The most scientific would be to re-evaluate the models, or run them for longer periods, to see just how likely such behavior actually is (e.g. could the models even predict it).

The absolute worst would be to explain the absence of the hurricanes by global warming. This would make global warming what Karl Popper called an unfalsifiable theory, something inherently not scientific. A theory that can explain everything, explains nothing. Ditto for a theory that makes an incorrect prediction, doubles back and predicts the opposite.

As Neils Bohr said “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

Where are the hurricanes?

For the past few years, every time there was a severe storm, tornado, or a hurricane the global warming crowd would inform us that this was to be expected from global warming and that it would only get worse as things heated up.   The term climate change came into use, because, up until this year there had been no significant change in earth’s temperature for a decade, and some sea surface temperatures were actually cooler.

Well, he who lives by the model, dies by it.  This year we finally have a very hot year, so the hurricane season should have been horrendous.

There has been 1 hurricane, and it is now 14 August, smack in the middle of the season. Even the few storms we’ve had have been puny.  Here they are

Alberto — A tropical storm which formed off the coast of S. Carolina, and held even this weak category for a mere 54 hours from 19 – 21 May

Beryl — A tropical storm – again off the Carolinas, lasting all of 39 hours

Chris — Another tropical storm — but hardly tropical, as if formed in the ocean North of Maine, and lasting 2 days

Debby — Tropical storm  lasting 3 days — at least it was what a normal person would call tropical, occurring in the Gulf of Mexico

Ernesto — Tropical storm — lasted from 1 to 7 August — I don’t think it ever made it to a hurricane.  Jaffar (see comments) said it did become a hurricane just before landfall — thanks Jaffar

Lastly

Florence — Tropical storm — lasted 2 days, mostly near Africa, never got halfway across the Atlantic

Pretty small beer.

As of 14 August  — they’re watching something about 1500 miles East of Florida, which the predictions show turning around and heading toward Spain.

So the global warming model is 50% right this year — hardly confidence inspiring.

Tropical Depressions have maximum winds under 39 miles/per/hour

Topical Storms have winds between 39 and 73,

Category 1 Hurricanes have winds between 74 and 95 mph