Global Warming News - Feb 2009
Real News Stories To Share With Global-Warming Skeptics
February opened in Europe with icy temperatures and snow. On February 2nd, south-east England saw the worst snow in 18 years, with all London buses pulled from service. Heathrow Airport was closed. In Paris, flights were delayed and snow caused several road accidents. Snowfalls also snarled traffic in several parts of Spain, including the Madrid area. Up to 20cm of snow fell in parts of Switzerland, while part of the road around the San Bernardino tunnel was closed. A storm disrupted ferry travel from the Spanish port city of Algeciras to Morocco.
UK snow - Feb 2009.
France's road traffic agency urged motorists to cancel non-essential journeys, with roads difficult and in a small number of cases impassable around Paris and in the east near Strasbourg. Despite a dozen road accidents in the Paris region there were no injuries, officials said. Flights were delayed by at least half an hour at Paris' Orly and Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airports. One of Orly's two runways was closed. Air France canceled a third of their short and medium haul flights from Charles de Gaulle Airport during the morning, but said long haul routes would not be affected. In Italy, three people died and 500 people had to be evacuated from their homes amid adverse weather conditions.
With some parts of London already blanketed under 8 inches (20 cm) of snow, forecasters were predicting a foot (30cm) of snow for south-east England and 20 inches (50cm) for the north-east, as another band of snow was approaching. Most Surrey schools were closed, with more than 450 shut in Essex, and 255 closed in Berkshire. Leicestershire and Rutland gave pupils at 200 schools the day off. Thousands more were closed across Wales, London, north-east England, East and West Sussex, Kent, Norfolk Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk, where snow-ploughs were out on the county's roads for the first time in more than 15 years.
UK snow - Feb 2009.
In North Wales, two climbers were killed on Snowdon. The mountain saw heavy snow all weekend. The men were reported missing on Sunday night, February 1st. A rescue team found their bodies on Monday morning. All flights at Heathrow Airport near London were cancelled until 1700 GMT and customers whose flights were cancelled were being advised not to come to the airport. The airport was closed after a plane slipped off a taxiway due to the snow and icy conditions. Passengers aboard the Cyprus Airways flight were unharmed. Speaking at a press conference at 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "We are doing everything in our power to ensure services, road, rail and airports are open as quickly as possible, and we are continuing to monitor this throughout the day."
On February 3rd, parts of the UK struggled with another day of disruption. With snow continuing to fall, more than 6,000 UK schools were shut, including 578 in Wales, 450 in Hampshire, 428 in Birmingham, 400 in Essex and 350 in Leicester and Rutland. Authorities had already announced that nearly 40 schools in Wales would remain closed on Wednesday, February 4th. Wales and south-west England bore the brunt of the snow. South-east England saw further delays on roads and cancelled trains and flights, while "gritters" (road sanders) struggled to reach some areas in the Pennines. Forecasters were warning more heavy snow could fall later in the week.
UK snow - Feb 2009.
Snow turned to ice with temperatures dropping as low as 17.6F (-8C) in parts of southern England overnight following the storm. That was colder than Nuuk, the capital of Greenland which was 34F (1C) at the time. The Met Office issued an extreme weather warning to motorists across the UK to beware of icy roads and drifting snow while rail and air passengers were advised to check with their operators before travelling. The business community estimated that the freak weather could end up costing the already recession-hit UK economy £3 billion amid predictions that the chaos could last all week.
On February 7th, Scotland was hit with more snow causing driving delays, but skiers said the conditions were "phenomenal". Roads were closed across northern Scotland and forecasters said the snow would continue throughout the day. The Forestry Commission of Scotland warned people to stay away from forest areas in the north east due to the heavy snow on trees. They were particularly concerned about cross-country skiers. About 12.5in (30cm) of snow fell in Aviemore overnight, while there was 2.5in (6cm) in Aberdeen, and the snow was still falling. Southern Scotland experienced snowfalls of about 4in (10cm) in Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway.
Scottish skiers - Feb 7, 2009.
On February 8th, more snow and ice pushed Britain's cold spell into a second week, after Saturday night's temperatures dropped to the lowest of the winter so far. The mercury fell to -15 degrees celsius at Dalwhinnie in Scotland, beating the previous low of -13, recorded in December. Temperatures were well below zero across the country, as the freezing conditions claimed three more lives over the weekend, including that of a six-year-old boy who fell through the ice on a pond in the village of Streethouse, West Yorkshire. The boy became trapped beneath the ice, and divers were sent in to pull him out. He was taken by air ambulance to a hospital in Wakefield, but died soon afterwards.
On February 9th, almost 100 schools were closed or partially closed in north east Scotland as bitterly cold weather continued to cause problems. More than 80 schools were closed in Aberdeenshire, and a handful in Moray, Shetland and Aberdeen, where temperatures fell to -12C overnight. In the highlands, temperatures were the coldest since 1986, where Aviemore recorded -18C, and Altnaharra was down to -15C.
Snow in Scotland - Feb 9, 2009.
On February 16th, heavy snow damaged a 150-year old cedar tree in a National Trust garden in Gloucestershire. The Cedar of Lebanon is the centrepiece tree at Hidcote Manor Garden, in the Cotswolds. The tree lost three big limbs in the heavy snowfall. Other trees also lost branches, including Atlas Cedars and evergreen holm oaks. John Rippin, deputy head gardener at Hidcote Manor, said: "The main tragedy is the Cedar of Lebanon, which is the centrepiece for the old garden. It actually pre-dates the garden. It was designed by Lawrence Johnson, who designed the central axis of the garden to line up with the cedar."
150 year-old UK cedar damaged - Feb 16.
In early February, Jammu and Kashmir shivered in sub-zero temperatures, and the night-time temperatures showed a downward trend. The Kargil and Leh districts, in frontier region of Ladakh, reeled under extreme cold as the night-time temperatures dipped to -18.6 and -11.8 degrees Celsius, respectively, on February 9th the MET office said in Srinagar. Kupwara in northern Kashmir was the coldest place in the Valley with minimum temperature dipping to -5.5 degrees Celsius.
In Jammu, a man was found dead who was suspected to have died from the cold. The body of one Nazir Guroo (30) was found on the road at Bemina in Jammu, raising the death toll to five this season. Fresh snowfalls were seen in many parts of the valley. In Himachal Pradesh, cold conditions continued in higher reaches while in the plains mercury rose marginally. At Keylong, the lowest temperature was recorded at -11.9 degrees Celsius while it was -2 degrees in Kalpa. In Srinagar, the night-time temperature dipped to season's lowest of -2.7 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam hill resort and Qazigund in south Kashmir also also experienced cold nights with minimum temperatures dipping to -4.5 and -1.5 degrees Celsius respectively.
Florida saw below average temps for the first week of February. Most of South Florida saw temperatures plunge into the mid- to upper-30s. Inland areas near the Everglades experienced near freezing conditions. The National Weather Service says all the nippy weather was not that unusual, but a bit abnormal for February, as it more commonly arrives in January.
Kentucky ice storm - Jan 29.
Over a quarter of a million people in Kentucky remained without power after a devastating winter storm pummeled the state with ice and snow late in January. National Guard troops went door-to-door, checking on families in the areas worst hit by what Governor Steve Beshear called "the biggest natural disaster that this state has ever experienced in modern history." Emergency personnel said up to 6,500 residents had to leave their homes for other shelter across the state as conditions deteriorated. The storm was blamed for at least 16 deaths at that point, and authorities expected people would be without power for "a couple more weeks". Many of the deaths resulted from carbon monoxide poisoning after residents pulled power generators inside their homes to keep warm.
President Barack Obama finally declared Kentucky a disaster area on Thursday, February 5th in the wake of the deadly ice storm, ordering federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts. Governor Steve Beshear had sought the major disaster status earlier in the week. The storm was blamed for 27 Kentucky deaths. The storm initially cut power to more than three-quarter of a million homes and businesses, a state record.
Kentucky ice storm - Jan 31.
On February 9th, California was hit with another storm, with rain at the lower elevations and snow above 2500 feet. Wind gusts, blowing snow and poor visibility were encountered in the mountain passes and canyons. Frazier Park northwest of Los Angeles had already gotten 4.5 inches of snow when the article was written. Winds were clocked up to 35 mph at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Icy bridge in California - Feb 9.
On Friday, February 13th, a fast-moving snowstorm hit Nebraska. Some parts of Nebraska saw 10 inches of snow and drifts up to 3 feet as the storm moved east across the state. The storm forced schools and businesses to close and events to be cancelled. At its peak, the storm was dropping 1 to 1-1/2 inches of snow per hour on eastern Nebraska.
On February 16th, snow closed I5 in California at Gorman around 4 a.m., and it was expected to remain shut indefinitely. At lower elevations, the storm produced drenching rains which forecasters said might be the worst of the season, triggering fears of mudslides. Most areas were under a wind advisory for gusts up to 45 mph, but gusts up to 60 mph were expected in the mountains. In the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, blowing snow was creating near-whiteout conditions. Several inches of snow accompanied by strong winds had already fallen in the Tejon Pass and Grapevine areas, and 2 to 3 feet of snow was expected at the higher high elevations. "This is going to be very dangerous, with the winds and the snow," said Stuart Seto, a National Weather Service specialist in Oxnard. "Near whiteout, zero visibility."
Snow in California - Feb 2009.
The same storm dropped more than 2 feet of snow in portions of the Sierra Nevada, which had skiers and farmers rejoicing. The latest snowfall was just in time for the Presidents Day weekend, traditionally one of the busiest periods of the season for Lake Tahoe ski resorts. Skiers and snowboarders packed the slopes Saturday after a string of storms left up to 6 feet of snow at Tahoe since Sunday and the best ski conditions this year. "I haven't seen this many people with powder up to their waist in a very long time," said Rachael Woods, spokeswoman for the Alpine Meadows resort just north of Tahoe.
On February 17th, an article in The New Hamphire (the student publication of the University of New Hampshire), talked about the excessively snowy winter there this year. According to the article, USA Today noted that this winter was already the snowiest in New Hampshire in 135 years. UNH suspended all operations a full day in advance of alarming reports of an oncoming snowstorm, which dropped 12.2" of snow, bringing the year-to-date total to 71.3"
CO2 Satellite Crash A Setback: On February 24th, a NASA satellite crashed into the icy waters near Antarctica. The $278 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was designed to monitor how CO2 enters and exits the Earth's atmosphere -- hoping to yield a picture of a rhythm that is much like taking a breath. Forests and oceans absorb the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, while burning fossil fuels and decaying plant and animal life put more back. There is a delicate balance between the two processes that shifts with seasons and weather patterns -- plants, for example, pull in more CO2 in spring than in winter, when many lose their leaves.
Loss of the U.S. satellite comes at a time when some recent scientific studies have suggested that the world's oceans and forests are losing their ability to absorb CO2, said Scott Doney, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Doney called the crash yesterday "a substantial setback." He said, "There have been some studies in the North Atlantic and the Southern Ocean that suggest the ocean is becoming a less effective 'sink'." [Editor's Note: A "sink" is like a sponge that absorbs. A "heat-sink" absorbs heat. A "CO2-sink" absorbs carbon dioxide.]
But while scientists have a basic understanding of the carbon cycle, they can't account for all the CO2 humans produce, said Scott Denning, a professor at Colorado State University who worked on the NASA project's science team. "The basic idea is that between the oceans and the land, about half of the fossil-fuel carbon dioxide is being taken up and not going into the air," he said. "We need to understand that better to predict what's going to happen in the future." The satellite that crashed was supposed to help scientists do that. It was 9 years in the making.
Japanese Scientists Diss IPCC: A report from Japan's Society of Energy and Resources says "recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity". Most of the five researchers who contributed to the report disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Not surprisingly, the report has received little attention from the U.S. press, which has bought into the man-made global-warming hype...
...the press has accepted the basic threat of [global] warming and is now prepared to address the cost and feasibility of various solutions. --Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review, 26 January 2009
The five researchers essentially debated one other in the report, which highlights the differing views of the five prominent scientists. All but one of the scientists disagreed that global warming is the result of human activity.
Contributing to the report were: 1) Syunichi Akasofu, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, and former director of the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center, 2) Shigenori Maruyama, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, 3) Kiminori Itoh, professor of Physical Chemistry at Yokohama National University, 4) Seita Emori, head of the National Institute for Environmental Sciences, and 5) Kanya Kusano, director of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).
Remarkably however, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside. One of the five contributors compared computer climate modelling to "ancient astrology". Others castigated the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and they declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ended. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned for the report concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis. The only researcher to agree with the IPCC's assertion was Emori, who is himself a member of the IPCC.
JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. For a translation of key passages from the report you can go HERE.
Alarmist Ratchets Up Fear: NewsBusters commented on a Reuters story HERE, that "despite evidence to the contrary" one alarmist is declaring that the climate is heating up "far faster than scientists had predicted". The Reuters article quotes a Chris Field, whom they refer to as a "top climate scientist" and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. According to the Reuters article...
Field said "the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious" than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC's fourth assessment report called "Climate Change 2007." --Global Warming Seen Worse Than Predicted, 14 February 2009So let's stop and think about that statement for a moment. Field refers to something he calls "the actual trajectory of climate change". But with what parameter or unit of measure does Field calculate such a trajectory? Clearly it cannot be global temperature, since global temps have actually declined over the last ten years. Perhaps the article itself will give us a clue as to what Field is alluding...
[Field] pointed to recent studies showing the fourth assessment report underestimated the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years. "We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal," Field said. --Global Warming Seen Worse Than Predicted, Reuters, 14 February 2009
So there we have it. Chris Field measures the "trajectory of climate change" in direct correlation to the amount of man-made greenhouse gas emissions that enter the atmosphere. This is an elegant and novel approach. Rather than use an appropriate and meaningful unit of measure like temperature to guage global-warming, we can now simply use man-made CO2 emissions as a measurement. The genius of this method of course, is that it eliminates any incongruities one might encounter with actual temperature data.
Naturally, the impact of "climate change" according to Field is frightening. The article's author says Field suggested that "the continued warming of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions could touch off large, destructive wildfires in tropical rain forests and melt permafrost in the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that could raise global temperatures even more." Scary stuff that CO2.
Unfortunately however, Chris Field is NOT in fact "a top climate scientist" after all. According to the NewsBusters article, a simple Google search revealed that he "isn't even a climate scientist at all"...
Chris Field is a professor of biological sciences whose shtick is pushing something called "global ecology." Field has no more expertise in predicting future climate patterns than, say, a proctologist performing brain surgery. --NewsBusters, 15 February 2009
Alarmist Attacks Doubting Media: John W. Delicath, director of the Left-leaning Media Matters Action Network, in an article at the Huffington Post, did a hatchet-job on those in the media who have had the unmitigated gall to "cast doubt" on "the reality" of climate change...
To hear certain cable news figures tell it, the existence of winter weather raises doubts about the reality of global climate change. Can the Earth's climate really be getting warmer if it's still snowing, they ask. Such a simplistic non sequitur might be funny were it not for the melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels, and the misinformation imparted to viewers by those entrusted to inform them [emphasis added]. --John W. Delicath, Media Snow Job: Weather Events Used to Cast Doubt on Reality of Climate Change, 13 February 2009[Editor's Note: Since I am one to use snowfalls and record cold temps to "cast doubt" on "the reality" of global-warming, I was personally offended by the statements of John Delicath -- NOT. In fact, I am amused to find myself in the company of Lou Dobbs, et al., who were the focus of Delicath's rant. My use of snowfalls and record cold temps is not so much to disprove the idea of global-warming, as it is a form of satire. Nevertheless, it has been argued convincingly that even this anecdotal evidence is building against global-warming.]
Unfortunately, what Delicath doesn't say (or doesn't know), is that the polar ice caps melt every summer and then re-freeze every winter. Yes, in 2007 the Arctic polar ice cap melted a little more than usual, but in 2008 it didn't melt as much as 2007. And so far in 2009, total global sea ice has returned to the same levels seen at the end of 1979 when data collection first began (see HERE).
What Delicath also doesn't say (or doesn't know), is that sea levels have been rising for 20,000 years since the end of the last glacial maximum, or "ice age" (see HERE). And that was long before man-made emissions of CO2 would have had any effects on sea level. Not only that, but the rate of sea level increase has actually been slowing over the last 8,000 years or so (see HERE).
Click to enlarge.
From a geologic perspective, sea level rises have almost flat-lined. Furthermore, it appears that the rate of sea level rise has continued to decrease in the last two years (see HERE, and note the 60-day smoothing line).
Click to enlarge.
When Delicath talks about "the misinformation imparted to viewers [or readers] by those entrusted to inform them", he undoubtedly cannot appreciate the utter irony of his statement. It is the left-wing "journalists", the media-hacks, and the political "water-boys" like Delicath who continue to impart misinformation, dispense propaganda, and ignore REAL science, in an effort to promote their liberal-socialist agenda. And they do it with such an attitude of arrogance and elitism as to gag a maggot.
Gore Changes Presentation: Former Vice President Al Gore is removing a dramatic slide from his global warming presentation. The New York Times reports that Gore used a graph from a disaster research center in Brussels to illustrate that human-driven climate change is, "creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented."
But the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), which came up with the raw data, says no such direct correlation can be proven: "Justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Climate change is probably an actor in this increase but not the major one... We need to be cautious when interpreting disaster data... and remain objective scientific observers."
Gore's decision to remove the slide came following an address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago (AAAS). Two days after the talk, Mr. Gore was sharply criticized for using the data to make a point about global warming by Roger A. Pielke, Jr, a political scientist focused on disaster trends and climate policy at the University of Colorado. Mr. Pielke noted that the CRED stressed in reports that a host of factors unrelated to climate caused the enormous rise in reported disasters. Among such factors is the "development of telecommunications, media and increased international cooperation [that] has played a critical role in the number of disasters that are reported internationally."