Global Warming News - December 2008
Real News Stories To Share With Global-Warming Skeptics
On December 7th, the 'Watts Up With That?' blog, carried a story entitled "Early Snowfalls in Europe Hit Historic Levels". The information for the article came from the UK Snowboard Club which was reporting about events which had occurred within the previous 48 hours. Among the items were reports that the snowfall was so great in parts of Europe, that it closed roads, brought down power lines, and even led to the cancellation of some Swiss rail services. A 20-year record snowfall in the Italian Dolomites produced 5 feet of snow (and it was still falling), which was as much snow as they received all of last winter. The Pyrenees and elsewhere in Spain, received record pre-season accumulations in November which continued to grow in December as the snow kept falling. Anthony Watts said of these stories, "Anecdotal for certain, but these keep piling up."
Snow in the Pyrenees - late November.
On Monday, December 22nd, Xinhua News was reporting that freezing weather was keeping a grip on much of China and it was moving south. The cause was a cold wave that came from Inner Mongolia. Some areas of Inner Mongolia reported lows of -45C. It was the second cold wave this winter.
Yantai and Weihai, two port cities in eastern Shandong Province, had heavy snow, and highways were closed. Ferries crossing the Bohai Sea Strait to connect both cities with Dalian, in Liaoning Province, were cancelled because of strong winds. The cold wave also generated snow in Tianjin, near Beijing, and six other cities in Hebei Province, another neighbor of the national capital, according to weather services in Tianjin and Hebei. Nine freeways passing through Hebei which had been closed by snow over the weekend were reopened on Monday.
Cold wave hits Weihai China - Dec 22.
The Tianjin weather service said the snowfall Saturday night had stopped by early Sunday. The city's Hangu District on the coast had the most snow. More than 900 passengers were stranded at Tianjin Airport which closed at 9 p.m. Saturday, canceling about 100 flights. The airport remained closed on Sunday. Ground services arranged lodging for 800 passengers, and used buses to transport another 100 passengers to Beijing by train to take flights there. The airport reopened late Monday after firefighters and armed police cleared the runways of ice, according to an airport source.
Snow skipped Beijing's downtown, but it brought bone-chilling winds through the capital on Sunday, December 21st, driving the temperature to minus 12 degrees Celsius. The city's low was minus eight degrees Celsius on Monday. Nearly 1,000 vessels were stranded in Shanghai Port between Sunday and Monday as wind speeds reached 24 meters per second at the mouth of the Yangtze River, according to the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration. Some ships drifted from the berths as their cables broke due to the strong wind. Ship collisions occurred more frequently than normal. The traffic could not start until the wind weakened, it said, adding that no casualties were reported.
The impact of the cold wave was also felt at offshore waters near Xiamen, a port city in Fujian Province, east China. There are two ferry services plying the sea waters between Jinmen, an outlying isle off Taiwan, and Xiamen. The ferry line that runs from Wutong dock in Xiamen was closed on Monday, while the other ferry line running from Dongdu dock was in service for most of Monday, but was forced to be pulled out of service at 3 p.m. A source of Xiamen General Checkpoint, which oversees the ferry service on both lines, said he could not give the exact date for the reopening of the two shipping routes.
Snow removal at Yantai airport - Dec 22.
On December 22nd, Beijing experienced its coldest day in 57 years, with the highest temperature of the day at -8.8C. The low temperatures were accompanied by strong winds which ripped off part of the metal roof on a university's gymnasium, and the thermal insulation layer of a hotel in Beijing.
Radio station FM 91.5 CKPR said that December delivered colder than normal temperatures to the Thunder Bay region of Ontario in 2008, according to Environment Canada. The government’s weather agency confirmed that Thunder Bay saw temperatures 3.5-degrees colder than the average. The normal mean temperature for December is -11.6 C, but last month the temperature was -15.1 C. That was the coldest December there since 2000. It was even chillier in other parts of the Northwest, they said. Dryden, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Kenora were all about five degrees colder than normal, while the average temperature in Pickle Lake last month was -21.9 C. [Pickle Lake is the most northerly community in the Canadian province of Ontario that has year-round access by road. It is located 530 kilometers north of Thunder Bay.]
Snow in Ontario Canada - Dec 21.
Nanaimo, the second largest city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, saw records broken for snowfall and temperatures in December. The month saw 118.4 centimetres of snow fall, breaking the 111-centimetre record from December 1964 and also far surpassing the 1996 snowfall of 95.2 centimetres. On December 20th, the temperature fell to –20 C, tieing the all-time record low for the month as well as the all-time lowest temperature set on December 30th, 1968. “It’s the coldest air we’ve seen in a few years,” said David Jones, a meteorologist for Environment Canada. Two other records were broken this December. On December 15th, a temperature of –15.7 C broke the 1964 record for that day of –8.9 C. And on December 13th a dump of 37 centimetres of snow broke that day’s previous record of 10.7 centimetres set in 1975.
Canadians got their first "White Christmas" in nearly four decades. Dreams of a white Christmas became a reality pretty well across Canada. Environment Canada had been predicting the first cross-country white Christmas since 1971 after several storms battered most of Canada in the week leading up to the holiday. While the national weather forecasting agency didn't make an official declaration on whether snow had indeed blanketed Canada from coast to coast, many of its regional offices reported snow on the ground for Christmas.
"We're covered. Definitely a white Christmas here," Environment Canada meteorologist John McIntyre said from Vancouver. At the Vancouver airport, where many travellers were stranded because of the weather, 27 centimetres of snow fell on Christmas Eve, setting a weather record. "It's the greatest (amount of) snow on the ground for Christmas ever," said McIntyre. "The airport has 41 (centimetres) on the ground." Snow blanketed pretty well all of Ontario, said Environment Canada meteorologist Ria Alsen in Toronto. The only question mark in Canada's most populous province was in the southern city of Windsor, where only trace amounts of snow were recorded at the airport, Alsen said.
Stanley Park, Vacouver - Dec 25.
"We should be white everywhere. The province has been cold and we've had snow over the last week, so that keeps us nice and white." In neighbouring Quebec, the weather agency had issued wind and snow warnings for small pockets of the province. Montreal received a dump of 20 centimetres of snow earlier in the week and while rain threatened to wash it away, there was still some on the ground for Christmas. For the Maritime provinces, the question of whether it was truly a white Christmas might come down to timing. In most places there was snow on the ground for Christmas Eve.
"It was officially a white Christmas, but rapidly disappearing," said Dermott Kearney, an Environment Canada meteorologist in Gander, N.L. It was a mixed bag of weather. The province's southern coast received between 22 and 30 millimetres of rain while other regions saw a variety of weather warnings, from heavy snowfalls, blizzards and powerful winds to hazardous wind chills. Back on Canada's other coast, residents were bracing for more snow.
The month of December opened with the season's first major snowstorm which "blasted" much of Illinois, according to an article at USA Today. Gusty winds accompanied the snow, stranding passengers at Chicago airports and leaving ice-slicked roads blamed for two deaths before tapering off on Monday, December 1st. The heaviest snow fell on Sunday and early Monday across a stretch of central Illinois roughly along Interstate 74 from west of Peoria to east of the Bloomington-Normal area. Icy roads led to two fatal accidents, one just outside Champaign and the other near Lincoln, Illinois.
The residents of Houston, Texas were treated to a rarity with snow on Wednesday, December 10th. The last previous snow fell in Houston on December 24, 2004. Although it was less than an inch of accumulation, the children were excited of course. The snowfall actually tied a record for the earliest snowfall in Houston ever. The previous record was set December 10th, 1944.
Snow in Houston - Dec 10.
It also snowed in New Orleans for the first time since Christmas, 2004. Before that, the last recorded snow was in 1989. Since 1850, snow has fallen in "measurable amounts" (rather than traces) just 17 times in the city. And of those 17 snowfalls, the December 10th, 2008 snowfall was also the earliest ever recorded in the season. As much as 6 inches piled up in Livingston Parish.
And in Beaumont, Texas, on the same day, an upper-level storm system dumped as much as 2 inches of snow on some parts of Southeast Texas, causing icy roads and power outages. Four bridges in Port Arthur were closed due to ice. In Houston, air travelers were delayed while workers at the city's two major airports de-iced planes. "Beaumont has had 2 inches of snow, and that's the highest snowfall ever recorded in the month of December," according to Sam Shamburger, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It is the earliest snowfall ever recorded in Beaumont. The previous record for the earliest measurable snowfall was December 22, 1989."
According to UPI, December was shaping up to be "one of the harshest months this winter", according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Alex Soskonowski. They said that December 11th was noted by CNN as being a big weather day, with only 10 states out of 50 not issuing some kind of weather advisory.
A major ice storm hit the northeast on December 12th, knocking out power to more than a million homes and businesses in New England, Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The storm encrusted some parts of the region with ice that was an inch thick. Tree limbs and powers lines continued to collapse under the crushing weight of the ice even as crews with chainsaws worked to clear debris that blocked roads and slowed recovery efforts. A warm afternoon sun created some melting, but winds gusting at 25 to 30 miles per hour continued to knock down branches and utility wires.
On December 13th, AccuWeather.com was reporting blizzard conditions across Montana with snow and wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, creating near zero visibility. One report out of an area near Fairfield Montana, described the blizzard as the "worst storm seen in decades." The report stated winds were so strong Friday night that a person could barely stand. The winds downed branches, damaged roofs and caused power outages.
Blizzard in Aberdeen, South Dakota - Dec 14.
Blizzard conditions were spreading across the northern Plains, while snow was being forecasted to fall from the Pacific Northwest to the Intermountain West throughout the rest of the weekend. Snow in the Northwest had dropped to below 500 feet in elevation, so places that rarely have snow were receiving some. Temperatures were being forecast to plummet 20 to 40 degrees over the same areas impacted by the blizzard following the snow. The dangerous subzero cold with gusty winds would bring AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures as low as -50 degrees.
Forecast for dangerous cold on Dec 15.
On December 15th, the Seattle Times reported that the temperature of 19F set a record. The previous low of 20F was set 44 years ago. "We get cold weather but this is definitely not normal for this time of year," said meteorologist Johnny Burg, noting that temperatures were averaging 10 degrees colder than the 36-degree temperatures typically seen in December. The cold followed snow that had fallen on Saturday night, December 13th. West Seattle, King County's rural regions and Snohomish County bore the brunt of snow-and-ice-related accidents and road closures. To the south, the snow and ice were so bad in Portland that transportation officials required chains on all metro highways and briefly shut down Interstate 5.
Figid temperatures blanketed much of the U.S. on Tuesday, December 16th. New England was still trying to recover from the ice storm blackouts and now found itself in the second day of a bitter cold wave making repairs more difficult. New Hampshire utilities reported roughly 113,000 homes and businesses still without power, down from a peak of 430,000. Central Maine Power said about 10,700 customers were still in the dark and a spokesman said it expected to have power restored Wednesday. About 77,000 customers were still waiting for service in Massachusetts, state officials said.
Temperatures were 20 below zero and lower across the northern Plains, and a band of snow, freezing rain and sleet stretched from Kansas and Nebraska along the Ohio Valley to Maine. Dozens of schools closed in Kentucky and Tennessee because of slippery roads. Authorities in Lincoln Nebraska, blamed some 20 accidents on the weather. Police in north Texas had to close some highway overpasses because they were so slippery with ice.
Some of the sharpest cold was in northern Minnesota, where Hibbing bottomed out at -32F and International Falls dropped to -28F. In the middle of the state, St. Cloud fell to -24F, breaking its old record of -21F set in 1963. Winter weather advisories were in effect across much of the Midwest, and from Texas to New England. Even Southern California was warned of temperatures falling into the mid-30s. The day before, thermometers had read -31F in Glasgow Montana, and the wind chill was to 45 below. The Texas Panhandle had lows in the single digits, and Goodland Kansas, registered a record low of -10F.
Snow in Crested Butte, Colorado - Dec 16.
The cold wave and storms that accompanied it had been implicated in at least 14 deaths. An avalanche in Colorado killed a Ski Patrol member, and exposure probably killed an 87-year-old man found outside his Montana nursing home. Weather-related traffic accidents were blamed for three deaths in Oklahoma, one in Illinois and two each in Minnesota, Missouri and California.
There were record cold temps in several areas of Montana according to the Great Falls Tribune. White Sulphur Springs reported 29 degrees below zero to the National Weather Service, which was way beyond the previous daily record low of 17 degrees below zero set in 1922. Other towns breaking records were Lewistown with -25 degrees (24 below was the previous record), and Dillon with -16 degrees (the last record low was 15 below zero). Fort Benton and Boulder tied previous record lows of 23 and 20 degrees below, respectively, and Havre and Great Falls are both on their way to shattering previous records as well.
Also on December 16th, residents of Flagstaff, Arizona "brought out their skis, shovels, hats and gloves" according to KVOA News 4 in Tuscon. With a foot of snow already on the ground, it was expected to get deeper by the end of the week. The National Weather Service said a stronger storm that would hit northern Arizona on Wednesday could bring the total to three feet.
Snow in Arizona - Dec 16.
Meanwhile, as heavy snow blanketed areas from northern Arizona to Colorado, on the West Coast, sub-freezing temperatures followed rain and snow in Southern California prompting evacuations, triggering a school roof collapse, and causing at least two traffic deaths according to the L.A. Times.
Big Bear California (approximately 70 miles east of Los Angeles) saw nearly 24" of snow on December 16th. It was the first major snow storm of the season. Meanwhile, 2" of rain fell in Beverly Hills, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service. "This is atypical for this time of year, a very cold Alaskan storm that carries significant rain," Seto said. "As it moves through, temperatures are going to be significantly colder than normal." The storm was a dramatic break from the prevailing weather pattern, where frigid, dry air from Canada, which normally flows from West to East, plunged south along the Pacific coast, colliding with warm, moist air over the ocean. It was a "jet stream on steroids," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
Snow in Big Bear California - Dec 16.
The strong arctic blast dumped snow over a large swathe of southern California and closed three major freeways, stranding thousands of motorists. The storm's combination of frigid air, powerful winds and heavy precipitation dropped the snow level to an unusually low 2,000 feet, with at least 20 inches of snow in Wrightwood, 5 inches in the hills above Malibu and 6 inches or more in Palmdale, where all major routes from Los Angeles were blocked. three of the region's key north-south routes -- Interstate 5, Interstate 15 and the 14 Freeway -- along with numerous mountain roads and desert highways.
The closures caused traffic nightmares for drivers trying to get in or out of Southern California. The severity of the storm caught many by surprise, leaving them stranded on the side of freeways, at rest stops and trying to stay warm inside their cars along snow-packed roads around Big Bear. By about 1:30 p.m., traffic had ground to a halt along the northbound 14 at Sand Canyon Road as frustrated motorists tried to exit the shuttered freeway or pull onto the shoulder. Palm trees were doubled over in the lashing winds, and drivers wrestled to keep their vehicles in lanes.
The same storm provided Las Vegas, Nevada with a rare snowfall that snarled traffic and caused delays or cancellations of flights. Snow blanketed the ground and the tops of roofs, marquee signs and palm trees. Many flights to McCarran International Airport were delayed or diverted elsewhere while at least 10 flights were delayed or canceled at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration canceled all flights bound for Las Vegas from departing nationwide. Although snow is common in the foothills and hills around Las Vegas it is rare on the famed strip.
The 3.6 inches of snow at the weather service office two miles southwest of McCarran International Airport set a record for the most snow ever in the month of December in Las Vegas since the beginning of official records in 1937, the weather service said. The office is the official recording station for weather in the Las Vegas Valley. Measurable snow has only fallen on four other occasions since 1937 in December, the weather service said: 2 inches on Dec. 15, 1967; 0.4 inches on Dec. 5, 1972; 1 inch on Dec. 6, 1998; and 1.3 inches on Dec. 30, 2003.
Snow in Las Vegas - Dec 17.
Not all areas of the Las Vegas Valley had snow accumulations because a mix of rain and snow fell much of the time. Also, warm ground temperatures kept the snow from sticking in some areas, the weather service said. Downtown Las Vegas and the northern parts of the Strip saw snow, but little to no accumulation. However, 1.7 inches of snow was measured on The Strip at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" sign. Areas of heaviest snow measured between 3 to 6 inches, with local amounts of 8-plus inches in Henderson, the weather service said.
The AP reported that temperatures were forecast to drop below zero on Wednesday, December 17th in at least 12 states in the Midwest and West. A band of snow and sleet fell from Minnesota to New Hampshire. Dozens of schools were closed in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee, as well as some in Illinois. Up to a half-foot of snow had fallen in parts of Kentucky.
More than 300 flights were canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and about 50 were canceled at Midway Airport, said Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham. In parts of Oklahoma, snow froze overnight and left a glaze of ice on roads, said John Pike, a weather service meteorologist. The weather service posted winter storm warnings for the Ohio Valley and parts of the Southwest — where New Mexico had numerous school closings, including Albuquerque.
The first day of winter (December 21st) brought with it an article from the New York Times about the "fierce winter storms and unusually cold temperatures [that] blanketed much of the northern half of the country." Frigid temperatures had plummeted to as low as 40 degrees below zero in northern Maine overnight, according to the National Weather Service. And residents in Portland, Oregon were waking up to a storm dumping as much as 2 or 3 inches of snow an hour. Thundersnow — in which thunder and lightning accompany heavy snowfall — was predicted to occur over parts of Maine’s Atlantic coast, bringing with it between 12 and 18 inches of snow.
In New Hampshire, heavy snow fell on the 16,800 customers still without electricity since ice storms knocked out power on December 11-12. Another foot of snow was expected, making restoration work challenging. Gusty winds were expected to lead to blizzard conditions in portions of Iowa, southern Minnesota and northern Illinois. Homeless people filled shelters in Chicago, where the morning low was 6 below zero, with a wind chill down to about 29 below. Snow fell over Boston and in western Massachusetts, where deep drifts accumulated. The region already had about a foot of snow on the ground, and up to 10 additional inches were expected.
Yakima resident skis to church - Dec 21.
On the West Coast, Seattle - known for its rainy winters - got socked with 4 to 7 inches of snow. Even more unusual, temperatures remained below freezing for three days straight and were only predicted to rise into the 20s. The result was an icy, slippery film on the region’s roads, making travel treacherous. Residents were warned to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. “The roads are really bad in most areas,” said Jay Albrecht, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “We don’t have a large number of snow removal trucks, because it normally doesn’t snow as much.” Another storm system was fast approaching from the Pacific Ocean and was expected to bring additional snow to the region that evening, while the earlier storm left deep snow in the mountains of Washington and was moving on to pummel Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
In Minneapolis, bitter cold conditions led officials to cancel the 2008 Target Holidazzle parade on December 21st. Organizers said it would be safer for spectators and participants to stay inside. It's the ninth weather cancellation in the parade's 17-year history. The Holidazzle parade is canceled if the temperature with the wind chill is 20 degrees below zero or colder.
In Dallas-Fort Worth area on December 21st, a cold front sweeping across North Texas caused temperatures to fall into the upper 20s and high teens by daybreak, with wind chills dipping into the single digits at some reporting stations. At 8 a.m., the National Weather Service reported it was 18 degrees in Denton and Decatur; 19 degrees at McKinney, Sherman/Denison and Fort Worth Meacham Airport. In spite of a lot of sunshine, the forecast high temperature was barely into 40s with a brisk north wind, followed by plummeting temperatures after sunset to the upper teens, the coldest of the season.
U.S. temperatures - Dec 22, 9:40 AM EST
In the Pittsburgh area on December 22nd, along with school closings and delays, some drivers found they weren't going anywhere because of the cold weather. Temperatures were in the single digits, but the wind chill made things feel even colder. Channel 4 Action News meteorologist Erin Kienzle reported some areas felt 10 or 20 degrees below zero because of the wind chill. Kienzle said the normal high for this time of year is around 38 degrees, but the high temperature wasn't expected to top 19 degrees. As a result, the low temperature took a toll on cars, especially those parked outside overnight. The AAA told Channel 4 Action News' Amber Nicotra that they had been responding to calls starting at 7 a.m. By noon, the Association said it had serviced more than 700 phone calls in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, about double the amount of calls seen on a typical winter day.
In Chicago, temperatures hovered around the zero mark for the second straight day. High winds, blowing snow, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills of -30F greeted Chicagoans on Monday, December 22nd. CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reported that people were already tired of the winter and were gearing up for what looks like a long, cold season. The wind chill was way below zero for the second night in a row. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather and a wind chill advisory for northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. The mercury fell to minus -4F degrees on Sunday night. The cold created slick conditions on the roads early in the day. CBS 2's Kris Habermehl reported dozens of accidents, creating backups and even closing the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway.
On December 29-30, Barron County Minnesota was hit with a storm that brought 9.0-10.5" of snow putting the region way ahead of the average snowfall for this time of year, according to the 'Chetek Alert'. During the month of December, 31.2 inches of snow fell in the Rice Lake area. A year ago, the month of December saw 26.5 inches of snowfall in Rice Lake (also above average for the region). According to Michelle Margraf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the average snowfall for December in Eau Claire (the closest climate site where averages are determined) is normally 10.4 inches. The average yearly snowfall for Eau Claire is 50.4 inches. "This is the fourth snowiest December on record for Eau Claire," said Margraf.
Much of the snow can be attributed to the cold weather that has plagued the region. The Rice Lake Air Center reported 16 days in December that were below zero. "We've been so cold this year because the jet stream (the border between the warm and cold air) which usually sits over our region has been found well south of Minnesota for much of the winter-as far south as Oklahoma at times," said Margraf. "This has allowed very cold air from Canada to stream into Minnesota, leading to a very cold start to the winter."
According to In-Forum.com, December was cold and snowy in the Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota region. December 2008 saw record-breaking snowfall, which made it not only the snowiest December on record, but it was the snowiest month ever recorded as well. It was also bitterly cold. The month of December finished with an average temperature of just 5.9 degrees F, 6.6 degrees below the monthly average of 12.5 degrees. Twenty-three of the 31 days in December had temperatures below average. Twenty days saw temperatures below zero, with the coldest being -24F, recorded on the last day of the month. Of those 20 days with below-zero temperatures, four saw both the low and high temperatures remain in negative territory. With an average temperature of only 5.9 degrees, December was also the coldest month in 2008 besting January 2008 by 0.6 degrees for that honor.
The Grand Forks Herald was reporting record December snow in parts of North Dakota. Bismarck’s December total was a record 33.3 inches, more than any month on record. It topped the city’s previous mark of 31.1 inches set in March 1975. Minot also reported a record for the month. The North Central Research Extension Center said the city had 24.2 inches of snow, topping the record of 17 inches set in 1916. Juanita Grosz didn’t bother to measure the depth of snow at her home in Garrison, northwest of Bismarck. “It doesn’t matter — I just know that it’s a lot,” Grosz said. “Everything is solid white; there isn’t a track anywhere.” Grosz, 68, has lived in North Dakota all her life. She said she’s heard some grousing in town about the heavy snow and bitter cold after years of mild winters. “This is something that is normal and we should have had all these years, but we haven’t,” she said. “People just forget that we get this kind of weather.”
St. Cloud Minnesota recorded the snowiest December since 1969. It was also the coldest since 2000, according to a new report. It was also the fourth snowiest December on record, St. Cloud State University meteorologist Bob Weisman said in his monthly weather summary. A total of 23 inches of snow was recorded in St. Cloud, more than 14 inches above normal. There were 11 days with measurable snowfall, including 6.1 inches from a major storm on December 30th and snowfalls that set daily records on December 14th and 20th. The month was also significantly colder than normal, Weisman said. The average temperature in St. Cloud was 8.5 degrees, which is nearly 6 degrees colder than normal. That ranks as the 15th coldest out of the 128 Decembers on record in St. Cloud. On Decembe 15th the temperature never climbed above zero, Weisman reported. The following morning, the low temperature dropped to 24 degrees below zero, setting a record for December 16th.
Coldest Winter Start Since 2000:
According to Jesse Ferrell of the WeatherMatrix Blog (owned by AccuWeather.com), temperatures for the period November 16th through December 8th, were significantly below normal. He produced a screen print with a map representing a large percentage of the country's northeast quadrant, showing the "departure from normal" temperatures in degrees F. As you can see in the image below, all of the numbers are negative meaning that the temps were below normal. "Now that's impressive!", says Ferrell. "Clearly below normal over the entire area, with parts of the Appalachians in double-digit departures from normal!"
Click on image to enlarge
AccuWeather's Joe Bastardi said, "I went through the data yesterday and yes, since November 15, this is the coldest [winter] start in the targeted areas since 2000." The targeted areas to which Bastardi refers include the cities of Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York City and Boston.
650 Scientists Dissent Man-Made Global-Warming:
A 233-page report issued by the U.S. Senate documents how more than 650 international scientists dissent over man-made global-warming claims, and continue to debunk the notion of “scientific consensus” in 2008. The report was released on December 11th, 2008 and is available in its entirety HERE (PDF format). The report is the work of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Minority Staff), and is an update of the 2007 report, which cited 400 scientists who disputed man-made global-warming claims in 2007. The report points out that "the over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers." The report proceeds to list a number of "inconvenient truths" that man-made global-warming advocates were forced to endure in 2008 (i.e., peer-reviewed studies, real world data, analyses, and developments which contradict the theory of man-made global-warming). The report also presents quotes from many notable scientists, such as the following...
“I am a skeptic... Global warming has become a new religion.” --Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.
“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly... As a scientist I remain skeptical... The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface
system.” --Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.
”Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history... When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” --UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.
“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds... I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” --Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported
International Year of the Planet.
“So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming.” --Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace member.
“Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time.” --Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo. Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth.
Sea Ice Disappears Overnight
Anthony Watts, at his blog 'Watts Up With That?', stumbled upon an interesting development at the NANSEN arctic sea ice site. The title of his blog post "Something Is Rotten In Norway - 500,000 sq-km of sea ice disappears overnight" says it all.
While preparing to do a post about how sea ice area and extent had returned to very near normal levels, Watts was "shocked" to discover that "overnight" [Dec 10-11], huge amounts of sea ice "simply disappeared". He created a blink comparator of the graphs that were posted at the NANSEN web site "before and after" (see image).
NANSEN sea ice "anomaly" -- Click to enlarge.
There is no mention on the NANSEN website as to this change. So either it is an automation error or an undocumented adjustment. Either way, since this is for public consumption, NANSEN owes the public an explanation... This could be a data processing error, though if so, it is so blatantly obvious to anyone who follows the NANSEN presentation that it immediately stands out. Many people commenting on this blog and others also saw the change without the benefit of my handy-dandy blink comparator above. That fact that it occurs on a weekend could be viewed as suspicious due to fewer eyes on the website, or an indication that they have sloppy quality control there at NANSEN... --Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That?, December 13 2008
Watts says that after contacting NANSEN, the response he received created more questions than it answered...
The ice area calculation has been too high since about 22 October, causing too steep slope of the 2008 curve. We corrected for this yesterday and recalculated the ice area for 2008. The slope of the 2008 curve should now be correct and can be compared with 2007 and the previous mean monthly ice area. --Stein Sandven, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Although Watts declined to state what questions he might have, the following are questions I have. The slope of the graph was "too steep"? Why was the slope too steep? 'Who' decided the slope was too steep? Is NANSEN simply reporting data points on a graph, or something else? If the data points on the graph are "calculated", then what caused the calculation change? If the "calculation" was too high "since about 22 October", then why did the graph show changes going all the way back to approximately September 5th? Is someone "massaging" the data? Why does the NANSEN data now more closely resemble the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) data? Did someone at NANSEN "like" the NSIDC data better? Can we trust the information coming out of NANSEN?
And speaking of sea ice, in early 2008 the global-warming alarmists were pointing to the record loss of sea ice in 2007 and making predictions that 2008 would be far worse. "There won't be any ice at the North Pole", they cried. "You'll be able to sail across the Pole without seeing any ice at all", some said. But their predictions were way off the mark. As you can see from the graph below, ice melt was far less than in 2007...
AMSRE Sea Ice Extent - Click to enlarge.
Myers: Manmade Global Warming Theory 'Arrogant':
According to Jeff Poor at Business & Media Institute, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers has never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate. Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist, explained on CNN’s December 18th “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming. You can watch the short Lou Dobbs segment below...
“You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant,” Myers said. “Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big – I think we’re going to die from a lack of fresh water or we’re going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure.” Myers is the second CNN meteorologist to challenge the global warming conventions common in the media. He also said trying to determine patterns occurring in the climate would be difficult based on such a short span. “We have 100 years worth of data, not millions of years that the world’s been around,” Myers said.
Global-Warming Becoming A Low Priority:
Dennis Avery of the American Conservative Union Foundation, wrote a piece on December 3rd in which he shows how the attitudes of countries around the world are beginning to change negatively towards global-warming, particularly in light of the worldwide financial crisis. Avery says that China effectively killed a new Kyoto Protocol before the Poznan conference in Poland even began, when it "attached a ransom note to its Polish meeting RSVP." The Chinese suggested that they might go along with a new global-warming pact if the world's rich countries agree to hand over 1 percent of their GDP - about $300 billion per year - to finance the required non-fossil, higher-cost energy systems the West wants the developing countries to use.
China, India, Brazil, and Mexico had already demanded in July that the developed countries cut their own emissions by 80–95% by 2050, which is very unlikely. The EU had boasted of trying to set an 80-percent cut in its emissions, but that now looks impossible. Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Greece are part of a “blocking force” saying they can’t afford to give up coal and oil during a financial crisis (especially when the only alternative is imported Russian gas). German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who helped create the Kyoto Protocol, now says that drastic cuts in CO2 emissions are “ill-advised climate policy.” She’s building (26) brown-coal power plants instead, and re-thinking the German promise to scuttle its nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, India is importing about 50 million tons per year of high-sulfur, Appalachian coal from the US, which it sees as an under-priced energy resource. While New York and Philadelphia import low-sulfur coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, India wants to buy not just Appalachia’s coal but the mines that produce it. So much for "clean coal technology".
Avery further suggests not to spend too much time worrying about a new climate treaty however. Global temperatures are doing their best to tell us that CO2 isn’t very important after all...
AP Article Indicative of Global-Warming Hysteria:
A number of news sources, both on the Internet and in the more traditional media, all came to the same conclusion when they described an article on global-warming from the Associated Press as approaching "hysteria". Entitled 'Obama Left With Little Time to Curb Global Warming', the December 14th story by Seth Borenstein seemed to strike many in the media, as well as a number of scientists as being simply irrational. A quote from John Hinderaker at the PowerLine Blog sums it up...
In the face of the current cooling trend, global warming alarmists have naturally gotten more hysterical than ever. This Associated Press article is typical: "Obama Left With Little Time to Curb Global Warming." Personally, I think Obama has a much better chance of walking on water than changing the weather. --John Hinderaker, Throw Another Log On the Fire, December 14 2008
The AP article in question makes some claims that are decidedly questionable, and some that appear to be nothing more than personal opinion, including the following...
When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid... The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it... "We're out of time," Stanford University biologist Terry Root said. "Things are going extinct"... The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has already pushed past what some scientists say is the safe level... Gore called the situation "the equivalent of a five-alarm fire that has to be addressed immediately." --Seth Borenstein, Obama Left With Little Time to Curb Global Warming, December 14 2008
Hinderaker correctly points out some obvious errors in the article which he says, "displays a remarkable level of ignorance on the part of the Associated Press." Among the errors he refers to is the claim that the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. He says "global temperature records are nowhere near accurate enough to rank years." However, he quotes revised NASA data for the U.S. which suggests the following ranking of the 10 hottest years: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939. Also, global-warming has not been "accelerating". Rather, there has been a global-cooling trend over the last 8-10 years.
Hinderaker also reproduces a graph from a report issued by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) which shows 3,000 years of temperature history acquired from proxy data (see image below). According to the graph, we are only now managing to approach the global surface temperature which was the average over the last 3,000 years following the Little Ice Age which ended in the mid-19th century (i.e., 1850s). In other words, the global surface temperature has been much higher than it is today, and without any help from the CO2 emissions of mankind.
3000 Year Temp. Record from Proxy Data
Global-Cooling Is Part Of Global-Warming?:
In reference to the same AP article cited above, Paul Joseph Watson & Steve Watson at PrisonPlanet.com share the incredulity of many who are now learning that the current global-cooling trend is actually a proof of man-made global-warming. Huh?
An Associated Press article has stunned some readers by suggesting that an ongoing global cooling trend is actually indicative of how quickly the planet is succumbing to man-made global warming. The bizarre statement appeared in a panic-inducing article that emphasizes man-made warming fears and highlights how president elect Obama must tackle them with new laws including a carbon tax “cap-and-trade” system. --Desperate Double Speak: Global Cooling Is Part Of Global Warming, December 16 2008
They then go on to quote the article written by Seth Borenstein...
Mother Nature, of course, is oblivious to the federal government’s machinations... Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it’s thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming. --Seth Borenstein, Obama Left With Little Time to Curb Global Warming, December 14 2008
This kind of babble is absolute nonsense. "A slightly cooler year... actually illustrates how fast the world is warming." What...? Did I miss something? How does that work? It is more than "ironic" to speak of "a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line" -- it is actually mathematically impossible. First of all, how can temperatures be "steadily rising" if this year was cooler than last year? But let's give Borenstein the benefit of the doubt, because he uses the word "trend" rather than speaking of absolute temperatures. Regardless of that, his statement still makes no logical sense.
Let's consider "trend" for a moment. A "trend line" is created by analyzing data (in this case temperatures) and determining if it is increasing, decreasing or flat. Let's assume for a moment that we had 10 straight years of global temperature increases followed by one year of temperature decrease. Mathematically, the trend line for the first 10 years would have to be adjusted downwards (even if only slightly) when the 11th data point is added to the set. Worse yet, if the first data point is eliminated from the set because you are perhaps only interested in a 10-year rolling average, the trend line would have to be adjusted even further downwards.
"Ironically" enough, Seth Borenstein fails to say anything in his article about the fact that global temperatures have been trending downwards not just for one year, but for 8 (or 10 if you include the unusually warm el Nino year of 1998). This failure on the part of Borenstein, is indicative of either deception or ignorance. Not only that, but the deception or ignorance must be expanded to include the AP's editorial staff (assuming that somebody actually reviewed Borenstein's article before it was published).
So let's stop and think for a moment about what this means in terms of "climate change". Climate is commonly defined as the weather averaged over a long period of time. The standard averaging period is 30 years (but other periods may be used). Let's use the 30-year standard, and consider a 30-year rolling average. There have been 8-10 years of global temperature decrease out of the last 30. That means that nearly (or fully) one third of the data points have been acquired to categorically state that "global-cooling" is in fact occuring. In any case, the "trend line" has clearly been decreasing and not "steadily rising" for the last 10 years. We are indeed experiencing "climate change", and the "trend" is towards "global-cooling".
2008 Cooler, But World Still Warming:
Here's another idiotic headline -- this time from the Australian Broadcasting Service. If 2008 was cooler than the year before, then the world is NOT "still warming". It is cooling. D'UH! How stupid can these people be? Oh, excuse me. Again, the reporters are talking about "trends"...
The past 12 months have been cooler than previous years but longer-term trends show the world is still warming due to climate change... "The global temperature is likely to rank around the 10th warmest year" on record, says World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Director General Michel Jarraud. "The trend for warming is still very much there," he says... --2008 Cooler, But World Still Warming, Australia Broadcasting Service, December 17 2008
Note that Michel Jarraud says that 2008 is "likely to rank around the 10th warmest year on record". Oh really? You mean it wasn't the 2nd warmest year on record? If the temperatures only dipped for one year, why wasn't 2007 the hottest year on record? Ohhhh!! Maybe that's because temperatures have been dropping for 10 years, and last year was the 10th year that temperatures have dropped. Well, that makes sense to me. You can forget that stuff about La Niña. That's just a cover for the real "deniers"... the ones who deny that the sun is mainly responsible for earth's climate.
Climate Scientists In Denial:
An article at RedOrbit.com acknowledges that the average global temperatures for 2008 should come close to 14.3C, the coolest since 2000 and 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07. The article says the prediction was based on preliminary estimates to be released by the Met Office [UK]. However, climate scientists say this doesn’t mean that global warming is on the decline. "Absolutely not," said Dr Peter Stott of the Met Office's Hadley Centre. "If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends," he said during an interview with Britain’s 'The Guardian' [emphasis added].
"You can bet your life there will be a lot of fuss about what a cold year it is. Actually no, its not been that cold a year, but the human memory is not very long, we are used to warm years," he told The Guardian... Compared with two hundred years ago, 2008 would be considered a "scorcher". [EDITOR'S NOTE: Two hundred years ago the earth was in the closing years of the 'Little Ice Age' which officially ended in 1850. During the 'Little Ice Age' there were at least two periods of reduced solar activity as evidenced by the observation of fewer sunspots. The first is known as the 'Maunder Minimum', which occurred from approximately 1650-1710. The second was known as the 'Dalton Minimum', which occurred from approximately 1790-1830. It should also be noted that 2008 began with a lack of sunspot activity, which has continued mostly unabated throughout 2008. The last time a solar sunspot cycle was delayed this long, was at the beginning of the Dalton Minimum.]
December's only sunspot activity - Dec 11-12.
The RedOrbit.com article quickly glosses over a surprising fact: "Alternatively, in the current climate there is a roughly ten percent chance of having a year this cool" [emphasis added]. In other words, according to the computer models of the 'climate change' gurus, the odds were 90% against 2008 being so cool. (So much for the climate change models.)
The Met Office figures were obtained with help from a variety of measurements from satellites, ground weather stations and buoys. The data was then jointly compiled by the Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. In March, climate scientists from Kiel University forecasted that natural variation would conceal the 0.3C warming predicted by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the next ten years. They said that global temperatures would remain constant until 2015, after which they would begin to rise again at an accelerating rate [emphasis added].
In other words, the current global-cooling trend we are experiencing is "concealing" the actual global-warming that is taking place as "predicted" in the IPCC "forecast". The on-going warming trend won't become "apparent" again until the year 2015 when the current cooling trend ends (or so they hope). This "spin-talk" is the language of global-warming fanatics and political hacks. The current trend is global-cooling but they just can't bring themselves to admit it. They speak as if they can predict with absolute certainty that temperatures will again rise, and in what year. Nothing but sheer baloney.