Daily Wisdom

July 12, 2008

Global Warming News - June 2008

Real News Stories To Share With Global-Warming Skeptics

United States:
In the first week of June, Colorado road crews from Chaffee and Gunnison counties were trying to clear Cottonwood Pass on Chaffee County Road 306. Joe Nelson, Chaffee County road and bridge supervisor, said workers were using a front-end loader and motor grader to attack the snow. "We will go as far as we can," Nelson said. "But we will know more about how far by the end of the week." The two counties coordinated efforts. The road links Chaffee County with Taylor Park in Gunnison County, and the summit is 12,126 feet in elevation. Nelson said he was a little worried about deep snow drifted on the road above the timberline. Chaffee County crews were expected to reach the timberline within the next few days. After an inspection of the road in mid-May, Nelson reported heavy snow would hinder snow removal and delay opening. The road then was buried under more than 18 feet of snow in most places. In addition there was a cornice - a snow cap on the leeward side atop the pass - 75 feet deep with a 30-foot overhang. The pass was finally opened on June 12th.

Cyclists at Cottonwood Pass Colorado - June 20.

On June 3rd, the forecast for Aspen Colorado was 1-3 inches of snow on Wednesday, June 4th according to the National Weather Service. Thursday's forecast was for snow in the morning, turning to rain, but then returning to snow in the afternoon with additional accumulations of 1-3 inches possible.

On June 4th in Wyoming, Bureau of Reclamation water operations manager Mike Beus said that May precipitation was very close to normal, but cold temperatures continued to delay runoff. “Slow melt describes our situation right now,” Beus said. “We have significant snow left at the upper elevations. With any luck, when we fill the lake we’ll still have some snow left and inflows left,” Beus said, referring to Jackson Lake. “This is the wettest and latest winter we’ve had on Togwotee Pass, compared even to 1997 and 1999,” Beus said.

On June 6th, Seattle residents were enduring chilly temperatures. The rain, cloudy skies and chilly breezes capped a week of unusually cold weather for the first week of June. The temperature got all the way to an October-like 54F. A year ago, during the first week of June, Seattle's temperatures peaked at 84 degrees.

Unusually cold temperatures for Oregon and Southwest Washington brought a record cold temperature to Portland on June 6th. Thick snow fell in the Oregon Cascades and a snow warning was in effect until 10 p.m. “It’s just incredible what we’re seeing up there,” said KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino. Though snow does sometimes fall in the Cascades even as late as August, June snow is rare. Meanwhile in Portland, the record low temperature was 56F, which beat the previous record low for June 6th of 57 degrees, set in 1999. "It's one of the coolest June 6ths we’ve ever had here in the Rose City," he said.

On June 9th, the Cattle Network Weather Report indicated that "below-normal temperatures" were prevailing throughout the Plains states, resulting in "a slower-than-normal development pace for most crops". As for the Corn Belt, cooler, drier air was trailing a cold front which stretched from Michigan to Missouri, and "summer crop development continues to lag the normal pace in much of the Midwest". The forecast was for "below-normal temperatures" to "prevail through week’s end from the Northwest into the upper Midwest".

On June 10th, the National Weather Service in Pendleton Oregon issued a snow advisory for late season heavy snow through the night in Wallowa County and the Blue Mountains. Snow levels would be down to near 4,000 feet. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches were expected in the southern Blue Mountains, with 4 to 6 inches expected in the northern Blue Mountains. Some of the higher peaks above 6,000 feet were expected to see accumulations of 5 to 8 inches. Record low temps were set at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Hoquiam and Bellingham with highs of only 55F, 54F and 54F respectively.

Snow in Oregon's Blue Mountains - June 10.

A man who intended to spend only the day hiking, froze to death on Mount Ranier after being caught in a blizzard that injured two others in his party, including his wife. Park rangers said the three had previous experience on the mountain and had set out Monday for a day hike to Camp Muir at 10,188 feet, but were trapped in the blizzard on the way back down. Park rangers learned of the emergency at 3:30 a.m. when the hikers were able to get through on an emergency call. By then, they were "stuck in a blizzard with 70-mph winds and 5-foot snowdrifts," Mount Rainier National Park spokesman Kevin Bacher said. At 7:15 a.m. one of the distressed hikers made it through the blizzard to Camp Muir. He was suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. But the man told rangers: "I think I can lead you back to where we were." The man and the rangers found the woman and the other man. The woman, who is a physician, was frostbitten and hypothermic, and the man was unconscious. Rangers were able to get the party back to Camp Muir, and a shelter there, but the unconscious man died.

Spokane Washington saw record low temps and snow. It is the latest Spokane has seen snow since records started being kept in 1881. Forecasters expected 5 to 10 inches of wet snow above the 3,500-foot level in the Cascades with lesser amounts down to 2,500 feet. A Transportation Department spokesman said it's been about 30 years since a snowplow has had to clear Stevens Pass in June. The "winter-that-never-ended" broke the state snowplow budget by at least $9.1 million, and crews were forced to plow when they are usually mowing grass. Mount Rainier set a record for June snowfall with 33 inches, breaking the previous record of 22 inches. The odd late snowfall also prompted an avalanche warning in mountain backcountry.

Spokane Snow - June 10.

Also on June 10th, snow hit western Montana, snapping tree limbs and pulling down power lines as the cold and wet swept out of Alaska. “We had a call for a snowplow out on Highway 2 west of town,” said a dispatcher at the Flathead County Sheriff’s office. “You usually don’t get calls for snowplows on the 10th of June.” A couple inches of snow blanketed the northern Flathead Valley by noon, and upward of 4 inches covered the roadway near Marion, where they wanted that snowplow. The National Weather Service issued heavy snow warnings and snow advisories throughout western Montana, with predictions of continued winter weather through the following day. Forecasters predicted some valley areas could be buried beneath as much as a half-foot before the storm blows out, “and we’re talking feet up near the Continental Divide”, said Peter Felsch, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

In Glacier National Park, where highway contractors had hoped to complete repairs during the spring months, plows were continuing to work against 35-foot drifts and dangerous avalanches. The contractors were promised the Going-to-the-Sun Road until June 13th, when the route would be opened (weather permitting) to tourist traffic. The cold and blustery spring, however, had left the road crews with unfinished business, and the public too, had to wait for access. “There’s still a few more weeks of work,” said park spokesperson Melissa Wilson, “and now it’s snowing again up there. We’ll just have to wait and see.” Park officials, meanwhile, had planned a 75th Sun Road anniversary party atop Logan Pass, scheduled for June 27th. With the new snow however, those plans were in jeopardy.

Glacier National Park - July 2.

The snow that hit the Northwest broke some records. Unofficially, 40 inches of snow fell from June 10-12 at Badger Pass, Montana, while 1 to 2 feet blanketed several other locations in western Montana, northern Idaho, and the mountains of Wyoming. Even on Montana's high plains, Great Falls netted 6.8 inches on June 11th. That is the first recorded June snowfall in Montana in almost a decade and the latest in 50 years. Temperatures were more than 30 degrees F, 17 C below the average high of 73 F, 22 C in Missoula. Record snowfalls fell across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. Three feet of snow allowed the Aspen ski resort in Colorado to reopen in June for the first time ever.

Although the snow in Idaho wasn't much, it set another record. According to Roy Patten, the University of Idaho’s Parker Farm supervisor, it was the first time in more than a century that a measurable amount of snow was recorded at the farm during the month of June. The Parker Farm was the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ first research farm in the Moscow area. Its weather records date back to 1900, Patten said. Idaho State Climatologist Russ Qualls, a University of Idaho professor of agricultural engineering, said Wednesday he reviewed weather records after watching the previous day’s snowstorm. Records from Moscow dating back to February 1893 showed June during the 20th century was snow free. Two reports of trace amounts of snow were reported on June 15, 1895, and June 5, 1899.

In Maine, the remains of a 122-foot snow-woman created in February, were still evident on June 10th. A dirty pile of snow 25 feet tall still survived to remind viewers of what was once "the tallest snow-woman in the world". Folks at the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, who used 13 million pounds of snow to create "Olympia" the snow-woman, expected her to be gone by June 9th. Her predecessor, "Angus, King of the Mountain", who was 10 feet shorter, melted by June 10th in 1999.

Snow-woman Olympia in February & June.

On June 13th, Oregon Public Broadcasting ran a story about the impact of the cold weather on crops. Dark skies and cold temperatures in the region were more than a nuisance. The inclement weather delayed crops around the Northwest and the nation. Growers said it was the coldest spring in over a decade. Alan Schreiber described one of his okra plants this way: "It’s like four inches tall and it has two leaves. But you see even though we haven’t had any freezing temperature this can not stand cool weather. It’s a very warm season crop. It can not handle this cold temperature so we are in the process of losing our okra. Who ever heard of it being too cold to grow a crop in June in Washington?" Across the Northwest crops that should have been knee high were barely off the ground. Schreiber continued, "It’s almost like you can’t even talk about anything else until you talk about the impact of the cold weather. So this is impacting everyone and the longer it goes the grouchier all of us get."

On June 14th, Idaho farmers were complaining about their beet crops. Stacey Camp, Mini-Cassia district agriculture manager for Amalgamated Sugar Company, said cold, windy weather was a contributing factor in reducing by nearly 10 percent the number of acres the company's factory would harvest. "It's the worst spring I've seen as far as trying to get a crop up and keep it going," Camp said. Many beet crops were lost this spring when frost and hard winds set in, killing the young plants. Some farmers replanted, only to have the same thing happen again. "By then it's so late in May that the grower has to make a decision: Is it worth it for me to try to grow beets again, or should I put in another crop?" Camp said. After losing the beet crops, he said, many growers decided to switch to other crops like wheat, barley, corn or beans.

On June 16th, fisherman Don Kleiner posted a blog entry at Maine Outdoors entitled "Cold June Days". He said...

The last couple of days have been cold, overcast and foggy with the occasional rain shower or stretch of drizzle. Yesterday and today I have come home from my morning striper trip and started a fire in the woodstove to feel warm. In fact on my afternoon trip yesterday I wore an insulated underwear top and was glad to have it on as the evening wore on.

This change in weather has certainly affected the stripers in a big way. The water temperatures have fallen a few degrees and this morning the warmest water was in the main channel, the shallow coves where the water temperatures are usually warmest were at least three degrees colder... The stripers have developed lockjaw with the cold water. Hopefully it will only last for a day or two. They have to eat sometime. Don’t they?

On June 22nd, Alcona County Michigan was forced to get out the snowplows one more time. After 33 years in the business, it marked a first for Alcona County Road Superintendent Harold Truman. But it wasn't for snow. His agency dispatched snowplows to scrape 3 inches of hail from roads near Mikado. Hailstones up to 1-3/4 inches in diameter were reported in Morenci in Lenawee County, 1-1/4 inches in diameter in St. Clair County and an inch in diameter at Eastern Market in Detroit.

On June 4th, employees of the Lafarge Construction Materials Quarry in Nova Scotia built a snowman using what remained of the winter white stuff. The snowman was outfitted with the standard safety gear -- hardhat, glasses, gloves and luminescent vest.

Lafarge snowman - June 4.

On June 6th, Mount Washington Resort on Vancouver Island in British Columbia recorded a low temp of -1.7C with a light snowfall and a grey blanket of cloud and rain covering most of the Island. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement saying that snow could fall over higher elevations of southern B.C. An unseasonably cool low-pressure system moved over the South Coast, and the forecast over the next few days was for temperatures in the mid-teens C, and a chance of showers.

On June 8th, it was being reported that the Vancouver Triathlon was forced to cancel the swimming portion of the event shortly after it began...

For the first time in the 20-year history of the International Triathlon Union’s Olympic distance age group World Championship, 55-degree water and a nasty, 5-foot wind chop forced race directors to cancel the swim for two-thirds of the field... With race officials citing safety concerns, ...many competitors were pulled out of the moiling gray waters shivering with hypothermia. In fact the numbers of rescue workers in Boston whalers and kayaks, and lifeguards on surfboards appeared to be overmatched by the numbers of triathletes requiring rescue...

As rough as conditions were Saturday, they were much milder than the torture suffered by contestants in Thursday’s Junior World Championships. On that day, the ill effects of equally cold and turbulent water were amplified by freezing rain that local meteorologists labeled the “coldest June day in 50 years” in Vancouver. Several Junior Worlds competitors, with freezing fingers unable to unbuckle, completed the final run with their bike helmets on.

Hypothermia knocks out Triathlon swimmer - June 8.

Also on June 8th, a story in the StarTribune of Minneapolis-St.Paul revealed that two young canoers had set out on April 28th to duplicate the 2,250 mile trip of Eric Sevareid and Walt Port in 1930 from Chaska, Minnesota to Hudson Bay as told in the book, "Canoing With the Cree". The trip of Sean Bloomfield and Colton Witte, two 18-year-olds, started on a cold and snowy day, and apparently after 6 weeks the weather had not improved much. The boys encountered near-freezing weather, brutal head winds, large waves and long, boring stretches of paddling on Lake Winnepeg. They were on pace to reach Hudson Bay "still locked in sea ice" in another week or so. Lake Winnipeg's shore was still covered with snow so they stopped for a snowball fight. The boys paddled while wearing almost all the clothes they brought along, plus gloves.

On June 17th, southern Ontario residents "awoke to the horrifying reality of having to turn on their furnaces". A breeze from the northwest made it feel even colder all day, and a drenching afternoon rain in many areas only made it worse. The forecast for the rest of the week was for overcast skies and cooler than usual temps. The high was just 18C on the 17th and was predicted to only reach 17C on the 18th.

Scientific Opinion:

Earth's Biosphere Booming: On June 7th, Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe and author of The Deniers, wrote another article in the Financial Post, entitled "In Praise of CO2". In the article, Solomon describes how earth's biosphere is benefiting from the increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The article begins as follows...

Planet Earth is on a roll! GPP is way up. NPP is way up. To the surprise of those who have been bearish on the planet, the data shows global production has been steadily climbing to record levels, ones not seen since these measurements began. GPP is Gross Primary Production, a measure of the daily output of the global biosphere -- the amount of new plant matter on land. NPP is Net Primary Production, an annual tally of the globe's production. Biomass is booming. The planet is the greenest it's been in decades, perhaps in centuries.

According to Solomon, ecologists realized in the 1980s, that satellites could track Earth's production of plant matter, and enlisted NASA to collect the data. Ecologists would no longer need to rely on rough estimates or anecdotal evidence regarding the health of the ecology: "They could objectively measure the land's output and soon did -- on a daily basis and down to the last kilometre."

The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth's vegetated landmass -- almost 110 million square kilometres -- enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

NASA Measures Photosynthesis: Along similar lines, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center produced an animation depicting "the 10-year average from 1997 to 2007 of SeaWiFS ocean chlorophyll concentration and land Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data on a rotating globe." What the animation shows is essentially 10 years worth of SeaWiFS data. From the web site...

The SeaWiFS instrument aboard the Seastar satellite has been collecting ocean data since 1997. By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. A measurement of photosynthesis is essentially a measurement of successful growth, and growth means successful use of ambient carbon.

Apparently, photosynthesis is just fine, which suggests that Earth's plant life is maintaining successful growth, and is therefore successfully using ambient carbon. To see the animation, click on the image below...

Click for animation - 14.6MB Download (MPEG-1 video)

For the oceans, dark blue represents warmer areas where there tends to be a lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas which support life. The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land. On land, vegetation is shown in green. The darker the green, the denser the vegetation. Browns and beige indicate a lack of vegetation.

Worst Spring In 90 Years: University of Washington Professor Cliff Mass, an atmospheric sciences professor, published his new "barbecue index". Said Mass, "I've gotten a lot of calls about how unusual this weather's been... In roughly 90 years, this is the most unpleasant year for being outside and having a barbecue." Mass and meteorologist Mark Albright found proof after reviewing warm spring days since 1894. They tallied the number of spring days above 60 degrees. "Sixty degrees is a very important temperature," Mass said. "Most people are fairly comfortable being outside."

Mass found that most years in western Washington State have about 42 days of warm weather between March 11th and June 10th. This year, there have been only 23 days with temperatures above 60 degrees. Not since the spring of 1917 -- when there were only 18 days of warm weather -- has there been so many chilly spring days, Mass said. The first nine days of June are supposed to average about 68 degrees, but this year temps averaged 57 degrees, as measured in downtown Seattle. That's the coldest ever since records started in 1891. Five Western Washington sites including the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Bellingham all broke records for having daily high temperatures that are very low. "Our high temperatures this month are closer to our average low than our average high," meteorologist Dennis D'Amico said.

Climate Models Produce Too Much Warming: When researchers observe natural changes in clouds and temperature, they have traditionally assumed that the temperature change caused the clouds to change, and not the other way around. If cloud changes actually cause temperature change, this can ultimately lead to overestimates of how sensitive the Earth's climate is to our greenhouse gas emissions. This seemingly simple mix-up between cause and effect is the basis of a new paper that will appear in the Journal of Climate. The paper's lead author, Dr. Roy W. Spencer, believes the work is the first step in demonstrating why climate models produce too much global warming.

Dr. Roy Spencer
Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is the U.S. science team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite. He was a space scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in 1989, when he teamed with Dr. John Christy to develop a system to measure global climate trends using microwave sensors aboard NOAA satellites. Spencer and Christy were awarded NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1991.

Spencer and his co-author, principal research scientist William (Danny) Braswell, used a simple climate model to demonstrate that something as seemingly innocuous as daily random variations in cloud cover can cause year-to-year variation in ocean temperature that looks like -- but isn't -- "positive cloud feedback," a warmth-magnifying process that exists in all major climate models. "Our paper is an important step toward validating a gut instinct that many meteorologists like myself have had over the years," said Spencer, "that the climate system is dominated by stabilizing processes, rather than destabilizing processes -- that is, negative feedback rather than positive feedback."

The paper doesn't disprove the theory that global warming is manmade. Instead, it offers an alternative explanation for what we see in the climate system which has the potential for greatly reducing estimates of mankind's impact on Earth's climate. "Since the cloud changes could conceivably be caused by known long-term modes of climate variability -- such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or El Nino and La Nina -- some, or even most, of the global warming seen in the last century could simply be due to natural fluctuations in the climate system," Spencer said.

The paper's two peer reviewers, both climate model experts, agreed that the issue is a legitimate one. Spencer knows that the new paper will be controversial, with some claiming that the impact of the mix-up between cause and effect will be small. "Our work has convinced me that cause and effect really do matter. If we get the causation wrong, it can greatly impact our interpretation of what nature has been trying to tell us. Unfortunately, in the process it also makes the whole global warming problem much more difficult to figure out."

Political Opinion:

At the end of May, Charles Krauthammer wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece entitled "Carbon Chastity". The Op-Ed column starts off as follows...

I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems -- from ocean currents to cloud formation -- that no one fully understands. Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Read the rest of the article HERE


At 7/12/2008 6:43 PM , Anonymous R.A.M. said...

Hawkeye, "Global warming fanatics" will NEVER allow FACTS disputing their "corn ball" THEORIES to get in their way! Just ask their messiah al gore, who has made literally MILLIONS scaring America into part of the economic mess we are in by using food, (corn, soy), to burn in vehicles, thus driving up food costs, when EVERYONE should know ethanol is NOT working!

At 7/12/2008 7:53 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I get it... "corn ball"... ethanol... good one! The Dems better wake up. Recent polls suggest 70% of Americans are in favor of opening new areas for drilling (including off-shore drilling, etc). That "Drill Here, Drill Now" campaign has been pretty effective.

(:D) Best regards...

At 7/12/2008 8:16 PM , Blogger Barb said...

I'm no expert,but we had to wear long pants and jsckets to the 4th of July Parade,this year.

At 7/12/2008 8:17 PM , Blogger Barb said...

And Jackets ,too.

At 7/12/2008 8:25 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

My condolences. You guys really had it bad this year. A long cold winter and spring, eh? That can't be good for the energy bills!

God Bless...

At 7/12/2008 8:39 PM , Blogger Beerme said...

One thing's for sure: Weather Happens.

We have a saying in Michigan-and most other states probably have it, too-that if you don't like the weather just wait a few minutes, cause it'll change.

Nice article, oh sharp-eyed one!

At 7/13/2008 11:20 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Thanks... and God Bless.

(:D) Best regards.

At 7/13/2008 11:47 AM , Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

I am always amazed at your research and posting so much great info. This should be on the front page of the New York Times. Ha! The truth would hurt to much.

Keep up the good work. I am your number one student.

At 7/13/2008 4:33 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Ms RW,
Thanks! But nobody can tell a good story like you. You've got me beat by a mile when it comes to spinnin' yarns!

(:D) God Bless & Best Regards...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home