Tweak the Sun’s Rotation, and We’re Not Here

Watch the Sun rotate for over a month brought to you by SDO. Since the Sun rotates once every 27 days on average, this movie presents more than an entire solar rotation. From March 30 through Apr. 29, 2011, the Sun sported quite a few active regions and magnetic loops. The movie shows the Sun in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light (capturing ionized iron heated to about 600,000 degrees), color coded to appear gold. The movie is based on a frame taken every 15 minutes being shown at 24 frames per second, with very few data gaps in this almost two-minute movie. Source Solar Dynamics Observatory

Another fresh reminder we owe our existence to the sun along with the climate in which we evolved and adapted. The Forbes article is Early Sun’s ‘Goldilocks’ Rotation Rate May Be Why We’re Here  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Our early Sun’s rate of rotation may be one reason we’re here to talk about it, astrobiologists now say. The key likely lies in the fact that between the first hundred million to the first billion years of its life, our G-dwarf star likely had a ‘Goldilocks’ rotation rate; neither too slow nor too fast.

Instead, its hypothetical ‘intermediate’ few days rate of rotation guaranteed our Sun was active enough to rid our newly-formed Earth of its inhospitable, hydrogen-rich primary atmosphere. This would have enabled a more habitable, secondary atmosphere composed of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and oxygen to eventually form.

If it had been a ‘fast’ (less than one day rotator), our Sun might have continually stripped our young planet of its secondary atmosphere as well. However, if it took more than 10 days to rotate, it might not have been active enough to strip Earth of its hypothetical primary atmosphere.

Such ideas were recently bandied about in oral presentations at last month’s the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Vienna.

Earth’s very first atmosphere would have been too hot and too thick, more like Venus’ present-day atmosphere, Theresa Luftinger, an astrophysicist at the University of Vienna, told me. No known organisms could have evolved under such an atmosphere.  A secondary atmosphere cannot evolve in the presence of a primordial atmosphere , says Luftinger.

It’s the star’s magnetic dynamo that drives its magnetic fields. And these magnetic fields, in turn, interact with the star itself, creating an interplay of extreme stellar activity.

“So, the quicker the star rotates, the higher the interaction between the magnetic field and the stellar body ,” said Luftinger.

Faster rotation means higher extreme ultra-violet and x-ray activity, Helmut Lammer, an astrophysicist at Austria’s Space Science Institute in Graz, told me. This would lead to atmospheric stripping and water loss on earthlike planets around an active young star, he says. 

Our Sun is now a very slow rotator at 27 days. But that wasn’t always the case. As for why some stars seem to inherently rotate faster than others?

Astrophysicists suspect that initial conditions within star-forming clouds cause newborn stars to have different rotation rates.

Researchers are able to roughly pinpoint the Sun’s early rotation rates by studying the isotopic ratios of neon, argon, potassium, and uranium here in Earth’s crust. That is, elements which have atoms that have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons. The researchers also considered such isotopic ratios from decades’-old Venus surface samples taken by Soviet Venus lander missions.

 

 

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Arctic Ice Flash Freezing

CAA2018262to266

Four Days in Nunavut

Previous posts described how the Northwest Passage was treacherously laden with ice this year.  The image above shows the flash freezing in this region over the last four days.  Sept. 19 the CAA ice extent (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) was 320k km2, close to its annual minimum.  Yesterday MASIE showed 450k km2,  a 40% increase.

ArcticIce20180923

The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents totalling 4.74M km2 yesterday,  124k km2 above the 11 year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive).  NOAA’s Sea Ice Index is 119 k km2 lower, 2007 was 462k km2 lower, and 2012 1.2M km2 less ice extent.  A dip on day 252 to  4.43M km2 will certainly be the daily minimum for the year.  With typical refreezing to month end, we can expect the September monthly average will exceed 2007 by at least 300k to 400k km2.

 

 

algore_ice_gone_by_2013

 

 

Why Teenagers Are Not Supreme Court Justices

The current skirmish is between those who want to disqualify Brett Kavanaugh and those who want to confirm him to the Supreme Court bench. At issue is a claim by a woman that the nominee harassed her when both were teenagers. Presumably she will tell her story to the Senators and he will tell his, and unless something unforeseen is disclosed, the claim will end up being unprovable and undisprovable.

At that point we should remember why teenagers are not candidates for adult responsibilities. It is widely accepted that most of us at those ages have brains not fully developed, especially regarding morality. The inability to foresee consequences of risky behaviors is a classic adolescent failing. Every parent struggles with granting freedom to youngsters to take decisions and bear the consequences, all the while hoping they and others survive the mistakes and learn to be responsible adults. Are teenagers accountable for their actions? Absolutely, as we see reckless teenage drivers causing damage, injury and sometimes death, ruining their own and other lives.

In the current context, with an all-out, full-court press by desperate Democrats to prevent another originalist Justice, this accusation at this time has clear political motivations. That doesn’t say nothing happened between the two teenagers; her animus against him seems more than distaste for his legal position, though I could be mistaken about that. Teenagers are infamous for taking chances, pushing the envelope, testing the rules and advice provided by their elders. With the uncertainties about the recalled incident, when and where and who was present, there is no way for us to know what happened.

Martin Luther King said it well, and in fact there is progress unacknowledged by social justice warriors.  Today’s surveillance for racial bias is extremely sensitive, and yet the demand for such incidents far exceeds the supply.  In addition we now have conflicts over male and female sexual encounters, and some presume that women are always the victims and men the trespassers.  Case by case, it comes down to personal integrity and character of the individuals involved.

What we do know is that judges are qualified by the character they have displayed over a lifetime of service in their families, communities and in the courtroom. That character is only partly formed in adolescence, but can be examined and known by adult behaviors. What matters is not a single incident, but the pattern exhibited over decades. On this basis, Brett Kavanaugh is supremely qualified and his confirmation should not be derailed.

 

Arctic Ice Made Simple

People are overthinking and over-analyzing Arctic Ice extents, and getting wrapped around the axle (or should I say axis).  So let’s keep it simple and we can all readily understand what is happening up North.

I will use the ever popular NOAA dataset derived from satellite passive microwave sensors.  It sometimes understates the ice extents, but everyone refers to it and it is complete from 1979 to 2017.  Here’s what NOAA reports (in M km2):

If I were adding this to the Ice House of Mirrors, the name would be The X-Ray Ice Mirror, because it looks into the structure of the time series.   For even more clarity and simplicity, here is the table:

NOAA NH Annual Average Ice Extents (in M km2).  Sea Ice Index v3.0 (here)

Year Average Change Rate of Change
1979 12.328
1994 12.011 -0.317 0.021 per year
2007 10.474 -1.537 0.118 per year
2017 10.393  -0.081 0.008 per year

The satellites involve rocket science, but this does not.  There was a small loss of ice extent over the first 15 years, then a dramatic downturn for 13 years, 6 times the rate as before. That was followed by the current plateau with virtually no further loss of ice extent.  All the fuss is over that middle period, and we know what caused it.  A lot of multi-year ice was flushed out through the Fram Strait, leaving behind more easily melted younger ice. The effects from that natural occurrence bottomed out in 2007.

Kwok et al say this about the Variability of Fram Strait ice flux:

The average winter area flux over the 18-year record (1978–1996) is 670,000 km2, ;7% of the area of the Arctic Ocean. The winter area flux ranges from a minimum of 450,000 km2 in 1984 to a maximum of 906,000 km2 in 1995. . .The average winter volume flux over the winters of October 1990 through May 1995 is 1745 km3 ranging from a low of 1375 km3 in the 1990 flux to a high of 2791 km3 in 1994.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261010602/download

Conclusion:

Some complain it is too soon to say Arctic Ice is recovering, or that 2007 is a true change point.  The same people were quick to jump on a declining period after 1994 as evidence of a “Death Spiral.”

Footnote:

No one knows what will happen to Arctic ice.

Except maybe the polar bears.

And they are not talking.

Except, of course, to the admen from Coca-Cola

Ontario to Scrap Green Energy Act

Update September 21, 2018 at bottom

Global News reports on today;s proposed legislation: Ontario PCs introduce legislation to scrap Green Energy Act.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Doug Ford‘s Progressive Conservative government has introduced legislation to put an end to the province’s Green Energy Act.

The legislation was tabled just before 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday. A formal announcement was made by energy minister, Greg Rickford, and infrastructure minister, Monte McNaughton.

“The Green Energy Act represents the largest transfer of money from the poor and middle class to the rich in Ontario’s history,” Rickford said.

Killing the former Liberal government’s Green Energy Act — passed in 2009 when Dalton McGuinty was premier — was a major campaign promise for Ford.

He said that the GEA had resulted in fewer manufacturing jobs in Ontario and that regulations around renewable energy projects had led to higher electricity prices for consumers.

The move comes after the PC government had already introduced legislation cancelling hundreds of wind energy projects approved under the act.

Scrapping the GEA will likely mean major changes for the province’s energy sector.

For example, under the GEA, municipalities were essentially barred from disallowing renewable energy projects – such as wind farms – from being built within their territory. Many people opposed to these projects criticized this section of the GEA, saying it prohibited local communities from deciding their own futures.

The GEA also gave special powers to the minister of energy to green light certain projects, such as transmission lines, without conducting a full economic review prior to approval.

But proponents of the GEA, including former energy minister George Smitherman, who helped pass the legislation, have called the GEA and renewable energy projects in the province a big success.

Meanwhile, Liberal interim leader, John Fraser, says cancellation of the GEA could see Ontario move backward on renewable energy when compared to the rest of the world. He also fears scrapping the act could mean job losses

“My biggest concern this afternoon is jobs. What’s going to happen to people’s jobs in this industry that we’ve built up – tens of thousands of jobs,” Fraser said.

But the PCs say this isn’t true.

They say that the GEA was responsible for the “disastrous” feed-in-tariff program that contributed significantly toward skyrocketing electricity prices and that the bill’s repeal is necessary to prevent “unneeded” renewable energy projects being approved in the future.

“We believe the people of Ontario should have the final say about what gets built in their communities,” McNaughton said.

Update September 21, 2018

Some news reports have given more air time to reaction from greens.  Lorrie Goldstein at Toronto Sun instead goes into more detail why the Ontario Green Act is a failure: Good riddance to toxic Green Energy Act  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

By scrapping the Green Energy Act, passed by former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty in 2009, Premier Doug Ford is ending one of the worst legislative disasters ever inflicted on the people of Ontario.

The GEA is largely responsible for Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity prices.

It’s the reason we’re paying outrageously high prices for green energy the Liberals didn’t need in order to eliminate coal power, which was actually done using nuclear power and natural gas.

The jobs the Liberals promised under the GEA never materialized, according to former Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter in his 2011 annual report.

The GEA made Ontario’s energy grid less efficient because it required the province to buy expensive and unreliable wind and solar power from green energy developers under 20-year contracts, before purchasing other forms of energy.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported in 2016 that Ontario electricity consumers had overpaid $9.2 billion for green energy, because the Liberals ignored the advice of their own experts on how to price it.

Under the GEA, the Liberals abdicated from the proper role of government, which is to balance public and private interests.

Instead, they became cheerleaders for the wealthy green energy lobby.

Citizens opposed to green energy projects imposed on their communities faced the impossible task of fighting the industry and the Liberal government.

Ford is right to scrap the GEA.

The tragedy is that the economic damage it caused under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals will be felt for decades to come.

 

Carbon Credits Backfire

One of the favorite climate policy prescriptions is to apply carbon pricing either by a direct tax or by requiring purchase of carbon credits or offsets.  Now comes a report of unintended consequences, namely that rising prices for carbon credits have increased the demand for coal, the most disliked of all fossil fuels.

From Bloomberg Why Higher Pollution Costs Aren’t Denting Coal Demand in EU  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

If you thought the surging price of fossil-fuel emissions in Europe would hurt coal demand, think again.

The highest prices for carbon credits in a decade have also lifted natural gas, discouraging power stations from making the switch away from coal. As a result, demand remains strong for the dirtiest fossil fuel in the continent that’s doing the most to clean up its economy. Coal prices as a result reached their highest in five years on Tuesday.

Gas futures would need to plunge by more than 20 percent before coal-fired power stations become uneconomic to run, based on current market prices for fuel and electricity, according to Georgi Slavov, head of research at broker Marex Spectron.

“This is highly unlikely” through at least November, Slavov said. “There are no plausible scenarios which support pricing out of coal.”

Demand for coal in China and India is drawing in cargoes that otherwise would land at plants in Europe from the Netherlands to Germany. The Dutch front-year contract recovered from losses early in the year to rise almost 13 percent, climbing alongside gas and oil.

Gas-fired generators, Chinese importers of liquefied natural gas and storage sites in mainland Europe are all competing for the same shipments, stoking the cleaner fuel’s rally. There simply hasn’t been much spare gas supply to allow switching from coal because of carbon’s price surge.

Global coal imports are set to reach a record 1.01 billion tons this year, exceeding 2013’s level, which was just below 1 billion tons, according to Guillaume Perret, founder and director of Perret Associates Ltd., a London-based research company.

“The coal market is now facing a structural shortage” of investment, including in mines and logistics, Perret said.

 

clean energy backfire2

How Goes the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels

The first objective in the Great Green Transition is to stop the use of Coal, Climate Enemy #1. An update report on that front comes from Vijay Jayaraj, Aug 18, 2018, at Townhall The Dawn of Climate Realism: Coal Surges Amid Climate Rhetoric  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Many countries have been at the crisscross of warfare between anti-coal establishments and the traditional coal industry. Despite the elite-empowered and politically motivated worldwide campaign to phase out coal, demand for coal is on the rise!

Coal has been “enemy No. 1” for the climate establishment. In fact, it would seem that the entire global warming movement is hinged upon the singular aim to eliminate coal from use.

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) is a notion that cites a popular scientific hypothesis and concludes that the global temperatures have risen, or will soon rise, to dangerous levels in the post-industrialized era due to human activity.

The proponents of CAGW believe that the primary contributor to this increase in temperature is the combustion of coal and the subsequent release of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

However, peer-reviewed scientific journals by hundreds of scientists render many of these claims dubious at best. Here are just three of them.

Firstly, contrary to the claim that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of global warming, global temperatures have not risen proportionately to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. In other words, an increase in carbon dioxide emission has not resulted in an increase in temperature.

Secondly, most of the current “consensus” on climate change is based on forecasts from computer climate models. But the wide divergence between observed temperature and model predictions makes it apparent that the models were programmed incorrectly to be over-dependent on carbon dioxide concentration to predict temperature changes.

In what was a major embarrassment to United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), top climate scientists admitted these flaws in the climate models when they failed to reflect real-world temperatures during the last 19 years. The same was widely publicized and even testified to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology.

Thirdly, contrary to the claim that recent warming is historically unprecedented, today’s temperature levels are similar to the temperatures the earth experienced in the first and eleventh centuries. Also known as Roman Warm Period and Medieval Warm Period, these were times when, though as warm as today or warmer, the earth’s ecosystems flourished. The notion that “today’s temperature levels are at unprecedented levels” is completely false.

Despite these (and many more) straight-forward evidences against the CAGW hypothesis, the climate establishment continues to advocate for the ban of coal and coal-fired power plants. Global climate treaties like the Paris Agreement were set out to target and close down coal plants in developing countries.

But to their surprise, coal use is rising.

This financial year, Coal India—India’s largest state-controlled coal mining company—saw its first-quarter profits jump 61 percent and its coal production rise 15.23 percent. India has a long-term vision to increase its coal output and has been vocal about “carbon imperialism”—a term it uses to define the attitude of the anti-coal climate establishment.

In 2017, coal accounted for 60.4 percent of total energy consumption in China. The country’s coal production outputs for the first seven months of 2018 was 1.98 billion tons, 3.4 percent higher than the same period last year. China’s coal imports surged this July and hit a record high (29 million tons), beating the previous highest recorded monthly volume import (January 2014).

But the surge in coal is not just limited to Asia.

Russia’s coal production of 410 million tons was its highest since the Soviet era and is expected to reach 420 million tons this year. The coal industry is set to expand in the coming years with massive infrastructure upgrades.

U.S. coal output reached a 16-year high in 2017 (701 million tons), after a change in leadership that saw the lifting of heavy restrictions on coal from the previous administration. Coal output in 2017 was 40.8 million tons higher than in 2016, and India was the top importer of U.S. coal in Asia (13 million tons).

The trend continued in 2018, and the month of April recorded the highest coal export in five years. U.S exports to India reached 6.2 million tons in just the first half of 2018, which is nearly the entire export (6.8m tons) to India in 2017! And coal is expected to do fairly well in the U.S. despite the disruption from the natural gas boom.

The situations for coal in India, China, and the U.S. are prime examples of the coal industry’s strength. It can also be said that the climate rhetoric has failed to break the world’s dependence on coal. And for good reason. Coal remains among the cheapest, and technically simplest, sources of the abundant, affordable, reliable electricity indispensable to the modern industry and technology that are indispensable to lifting and keeping whole societies out of poverty.

Leaders across the globe understand the indispensable role of coal in their economies. They are also beginning to understand the exaggerated nature of climate-change dangers promoted heavily in the mainstream media.

The climate establishment’s doomsday prophecies failed to come true in the last 20 years, which saw global temperature remain largely stable. Arctic ice remained stable, global agricultural outputs increased, more people rose out of poverty, and the forests in Europe grew instead of shrinking.

Clearly, there is no reason why the coal industry should slow down, and it won’t. Overblown climate-change rhetoric is leading rapidly to the downfall of the climate establishment, and nations are moving past it at a rapid pace.

Postscript:

 

cap n trade

Outbreak of Fake Hurricane Reports

Inspired by the Weather Channel’s reporter faking the strength of winds, social media is going viral with numerous videos expanding on the theme.  A compilation can be viewed above.

The watershed video from Weather Channel (pun intended) inadvertently showing people walking around normally in the background.

 

Arctic Ice Recovery Update Sept. 17

ims2018252to259

One week ago on day 252 MASIE reported the lowest daily extent of the year at 4.43M km2.  One week later the image above shows how the ice edges have refrozen and extended.  Note also the significant snowfall both in Canada and Russia

Mid September we can see the long predicted collapse of Arctic ice is postponed for yet another year.  The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents above 4.5M km2 for the month of September.  A dip on day 252 to  4.43M km2 will likely be the daily minimum for the year, since 200k km2 of ice has been added in the last week.  The graph also shows that 2018 is presently 96k km2 above the 11 year average ice extent, 350k km2 more than 2016,  472k km2 more than 2007, and 1.2M km2 (a full Wadham!) more than the record setting 2012.

ArcticIce201809016

Interestingly, in September until yesterday NOAA’s officially referenced Sea Ice Index (SII) was showing more ice than MASIE, by about 200k km2.  That means the SII September monthly result will continue the plateau in Arctic ice since 2007.

The table below shows ice extents in the various basins comprising the Arctic Ocean for day 259 for 2018 and 2007 in comparison to the 11 year averages (2007 to 2017 inclusive).

Region 2018259 Day 259 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007259 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 4622484 4526053 96431 4150314 472171
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 560233 471483 88750 515813 44420
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 163790 150187 13604 48053 115737
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 467586 270891 196695 311 467275
 (4) Laptev_Sea 27262 140510 -113248 238846 -211584
 (5) Kara_Sea 235 23504 -23268 52498 -52263
 (6) Barents_Sea 0 23798 -23798 7420 -7420
 (7) Greenland_Sea 83223 203153 -119930 329643 -246420
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 40128 29596 10532 32287 7841
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 346993 274872 72121 237669 109324
 (10) Hudson_Bay 6051 7085 -1034 4355 1697
 (11) Central_Arctic 2926584 2929894 -3309 2682144 244440

Presently, 2018 is about 100k km2  or 2% above average, and 472k km2 or 11% more than 2007.  The Eastern Arctic shows surpluses in East Siberian, Chukchi, Beaufort, and CAA.  The Western Arctic shows deficits in Laptev, Kara, Barents and Greenland seas.  The Central Arctic is matching average, while East Siberian sea ice is 73% above average.

As reported previously, the Northwest Passage through Nunavut was closed this year due to excessive and thick multiyear ice blocking the way.  The chart below shows the conditions as of Sept. 14.
20180914180000_wis38ct_0010229536

It won’t get any better than this for yachts attempting the passage west, since more than 3/10 (green) ice conditions blocks their progress.  A post at the Northwest Passage blog S/V CRYSTAL Escape from Prince Regent Inlet  explains how the passage is closing.

przez-lc3b3d-w-stronc499-wolnej-wody-300x225

Breaking through the ice corridor, already close to the shore, we suddenly saw something unusual. Static ice so far began to flow very rapidly towards the shore! In this way he closed the road ahead of us and – which is much worse – cut off our retreat. We turned back and rushed to escape. It was the only option.

We drove the gas to the top, and the free water in front of the bow disappeared in her eyes . Giant ice floes moved towards the shore like in a river stream. We jumped out of some of the channels with maybe a meter of side wall, and the path behind us disappeared after a few dozen seconds.

After about thirty minutes of such a crazy slalom we got to the water so slow that the danger of being closed and pressed to the shore was averted . That was good news for us. The bad news was that this time we were unable to get out of Prince Regent Inlet. It was waiting for the next chance . (note: the log is translated from Polish)

Update September 19, 2018

Here is the latest ice chart showing that in Franklin strait, all the green conditions (<3/10) are now gone, while red and brown are taking over.

Bottom line: They succeeded to get out and are now docked on Greenland coast.

algore_ice_gone_by_2013

 

 

Hurricane Science Expert Q&A

Here is a briefing on the state of hurricane science regarding any discernible effects from humans burning fossil fuels.  Hurricane Florence raises questions about link between climate change, severe storms  Storm expert David Nolan explains what we know and what we’re still trying to figure out.

The questions are posed by NBC News, a source of many stories promoting climate alarm/activism. The answers are from David Nolan, professor and chair of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and a noted expert on hurricanes and tropical weather. Excerpts are in italics with my bolds.

Just where are we with hurricane science? What have we learned, and what questions remain to be answered? And what about the role of climate change in the formation and propagation of severe storms?

Q: The National Hurricane Center today upgraded Florence to a Category 4 storm. What exactly does that mean?
A: It means that, by their best estimate, there are wind speeds somewhere at the surface of 130 miles per hour or greater. This estimate comes from a combination of satellite images, and, in this case, from NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] aircraft that have been flying in Florence this morning.

Q: How many categories are there?
A: The categories go from 1 to 5.

Q: Could there ever be a Category 6?

A: No. Fives themselves are very rare. And reaching higher speeds — like 170 or 180 mph — is extremely rare. So it doesn’t make sense to make a category for something that will still be extremely rare, even if it happens a little more, like once every five years instead of once every 10 years.

Q: What in general dictates whether a Category 4 storm will turn into an even more destructive Category 5?

A: The conditions that are most favorable are warm ocean temperatures, like above 85 degrees [Fahrenheit], and light winds in the larger environment around the storm. Storms become category 5 in only the most favorable conditions.

Satellite images show three Atlantic hurricanes, from left, Florence, Isaac and Helene.Satellite images show three Atlantic hurricanes, from left, Florence, Isaac and Helene.NOAA

Q:  Is severe weather getting more severe and more frequent?

A: Whether or not severe weather is actually getting more severe is not clear. It is clear that the most extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency, and this is consistent with our understanding of how global warming will change the weather.

Q: Some hurricanes seem to hit land and then quickly dissipate, causing little damage. Others, like Harvey last year, give way to heavy rainfall and flooding. What determines which course a storm will take?

A: There are two factors. First, whether or not the storm keeps moving inland steadily, or whether it lingers near the coast. This is determined by the steering patterns of the larger atmosphere around it, as the hurricane is essentially carried along by the even larger weather systems around it.

Second, it depends on the kind of terrain the storm is over. In the case of Harvey, the land [in and around Houston] is relatively flat and smooth and also still near the Gulf of Mexico, so Harvey did not dissipate quickly.

Q: You said climate change seems to be changing global weather patterns to make extreme rainfall events more frequent. Can you explain exactly what’s happening?

A: The main reason is that warmer air can hold more water vapor. So when air rises and forms clouds and then rain, more water is released and then more water falls to the ground as rain.

Q: But there’s no evidence that climate change is making hurricanes more frequent?

A: There is not. Unfortunately, the existing modern records of hurricanes are only of good quality for about 60 years. Because hurricane activity varies so much from year to year, then it’s not long enough to say for sure if there is a clear trend upward due to global warming.

There has been an enormous amount of research on whether TC numbers or strength will increase in the future because of global warming. But the results of those studies are mixed and sometimes contradictory, so we can’t make a conclusive statement yet. (TC refers to tropical cyclones (hurricanes) that occur each year, in each ocean.)

Q: What exactly is the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone?

Q: Physically, they are the same thing. They are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and in the Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the West Pacific and cyclones around Australia and India.

Q: What causes these storms to form, and what makes them move as they do?

A: Hurricanes form when areas of disturbed weather — rain and thunderstorms — over the ocean start to organize into a swirling pattern. As the winds increase, they extract more and more energy and water from the ocean, thus getting stronger and larger. As for their motion, they are carried along by the larger weather patterns around them, the usual lows and highs that most people often see on weather maps.

Q: How big can hurricanes get?

The areas of hurricanes with significant weather (winds and rain) are usually about 200 miles across. Some can be larger, as much as 300 miles. Some are quite small, only 50 miles.

Q: Do they always swirl in the same direction?

A: In the northern hemisphere, they rotate counterclockwise. In the southern hemisphere, it is the opposite. They get their rotation from the Earth’s rotation, which has an opposite sense whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Q: You’re an expert in the use of computer modeling to study hurricanes. What have you learned from your research?

A: Most of my research has been about hurricane formation. We’ve used computer models to understand the physical processes by which hurricanes form. There are many “disturbances” over the oceans every summer, but most of them do not become hurricanes. We want to understand why some of them do.

Q: How does computer modeling work?

Computer models attempt to simulate the motions of the atmosphere. The first step is to assemble a digital “image” of the weather right now, much the same way that a camera image is made up of pixels of many different colors. But next, it uses the laws of physics and mathematics to determine how each part of the atmosphere will change with time, as they are influenced by the other pixels around them.

Q: Any new findings?

A: Our work showed the importance of moisture in the middle levels of the atmosphere, around 10,000 to 20,000 feet, in the regions where hurricanes tend to form. Higher-than-average moisture is much more favorable for hurricanes to form.

Q: In addition to computers, aircraft and satellites, are there any new tools that hurricane scientists are now using to facilitate their research?

A: The new generation of satellites, such as the new GOES 16 which recently became operational, are excellent. They make it much easier to see what is going on in these storms. The other developing advance is the use of drones. There are large drones, such as the NASA Global Hawk aircraft, which is about the size of a corporate jet and can fly over a hurricane for 24 hours straight. And there are small drones that can be dropped into a hurricane out of one of the NOAA aircraft, and can get much closer to the ocean’s surface than the NOAA planes (with people in them) are allowed to fly.

Q: What’s next for hurricane science ?

A: Many scientists these days are trying to better understand “rapid intensification,” which is when a hurricane’s winds increase by two or more categories in a single day. But there has been a lot of progress on that, and the computer models have become pretty good at predicting this, just as they are for Hurricane Florence right now.

The other very popular topic is how hurricane activity will (or will not) change with global warming. While everyone seems to think it will make it worse, there is no proof of that yet.

Q: As a hurricane researcher, is there some scenario that keeps researchers up at night?

A: I think it does make us more aware that bad events can and will happen. But we also understand that the chances of it happening to any one place is also very small.

Q: The National Weather Service website has a list of common misperceptions about hurricanes. What do you think are the most common ones people have?

A: I’m not sure about most common. But one that I think is most dangerous is that many people have the perception that they have experienced hurricane conditions before. Many people experience fringe effects of a hurricane and think they have been through a hurricane. Real hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 75 mph or higher) are actually much worse than people realize.

Summary

In theory, global warming (for whatever causes) should produce more moisture and extreme rainfall. In practice there is no evidence that this has happened.  It is also not clear that extreme weather events are more severe than in the past, or that hurricanes are more frequent.  The idea of a category six hurricane is an alarmist fantasy, akin to the notion of a geologic period called the “anthropocene.”  “Climate Change” is still something we see in the rear view mirror, not a causal agent in nature.

Arctic Ice Growing Again

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Mid September we can see the long predicted collapse of Arctic ice is postponed for yet another year.  The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents above 4.5M km2 for the last two weeks.  A dip on day 252 to  4.43M km2 will likely be the daily minimum for the year.  The graph also shows that 2018 is presently close to the 11 year average ice extent, 233k km2 more than 2016,  266k km2 more than 2007, and 1M km2 (a full Wadham!) more than the record setting 2012.

Interestingly, in September NOAA’s offcially referenced Sea Ice Index (SII) is showing more ice than MASIE, by about 200k km2.  That means the SII September monthly result will continue the plateau in Arctic ice since 2007.

As reported previously, the Northwest Passage through Nunavut was closed this year due to excessive and thick multiyear ice blocking the way.  The chart below shows the conditions as of yesterday.
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It won’t get any better than this for yachts attempting the passage west, since more than 3/10 (green) ice conditions blocks their progress.  A post at the Northwest Passage blog S/V CRYSTAL Escape from Prince Regent Inlet  explains how the passage is closing.

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Breaking through the ice corridor, already close to the shore, we suddenly saw something unusual. Static ice so far began to flow very rapidly towards the shore! In this way he closed the road ahead of us and – which is much worse – cut off our retreat. We turned back and rushed to escape. It was the only option.

We drove the gas to the top, and the free water in front of the bow disappeared in her eyes . Giant ice floes moved towards the shore like in a river stream. We jumped out of some of the channels with maybe a meter of side wall, and the path behind us disappeared after a few dozen seconds.

After about thirty minutes of such a crazy slalom we got to the water so slow that the danger of being closed and pressed to the shore was averted . That was good news for us. The bad news was that this time we were unable to get out of Prince Regent Inlet. It was waiting for the next chance . (note: the log is translated from Polish)

Bottom line: They succeeded to get out and are now docked on Greenland coast.

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