Thursday, September 17, 2009

Climate Change We Can All Believe In

And now for something completely different:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: a perfect food storm
Opens September 18

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The forecast calls for implausibility
N.Y. Times: A Yummy Forecast
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Fairly inventive and exceedingly manic
Bob Mondello, NPR: Puts Fun In The Forecast
L. A. Times: Sun won't shine too bright for 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs'
Boston Globe: A bit bland, but still fun
Orlando Sentinel: Unexpected delight
Miami Herald: Do not see without eating first
UK Telegraph: 4 stars

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

August 2009 Second Warmest on Record Globally
Global Ocean and Southern Hemisphere Temperatures Break Records

Images (click to enlarge): August 2009 global temperature departures from normal, history since 1880, and table of departures by hemisphere from National Climatic Data Center

The National Climatic Data Center preliminary analysis for August 2009, released within the last 2 hours, shows that this was the second warmest August on record globally, and the warmest for both the world's oceans and the Southern Hemisphere (land and ocean combined).

Here are some highlights for the month:
  • Global land and ocean combined average temperature: 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th Century average, 2nd warmest August in history behind 1998. The last below-average August was in 1978.
  • Ocean temperature alone: 0.57°C (1.03°F) above average, warmest August ever
  • Southern Hemisphere land alone and total Hemisphere: warmest August ever
For the season June-August (summer in Northern Hemisphere):
  • Global land and ocean combined average temperature: 3rd warmest on record
  • Ocean temperature alone: warmest on record
For the year to date, the combined land and ocean surface temperature tied with 2003 as the 5th warmest January-August on record.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WaPo Blog Policy Promotes Climate Astroturfing

One of the unintended consequences of commercialized blogging is that it creates whole new areas of conflict of interest for the traditional media attempting to make the transition to the online world. The high-fiber media have always been subject to the possible interference between the business side and the editorial side of publishing. In a recent example, WaPo publisher Katharine Weymouth absolutely, positively, in no way interfered with an article being written for the newspaper's Sunday magazine:
Post Magazine Killed 'Depressing' Story.
No. Really. All just a coincidence.

The online arena provides a new dimension, however. Among the usual denialist rants in response to a recent pathetic Climate Despot style hack job at the online WaPo's weather blog was this little fact-free gem by one "gpp1111" (spelling and grammar preserved):
What is of most concern is how skeptics of the global warming theory are treated. I have in the past made comments on blogs only to find that people had researched who I was. They don't answer my questions or debate the facts, what they want to know is who is making the argument. I have been accused of being paid by the fossil fuel companies (I wish I was), many supporters of the theory seem to think any contrarians must have alterior motives (than just the truth). To be called Holocaust deniers, flatlanders and such, using disparaging comments, ad hominem attacks, must be similar to what other skeptics experienced in 1930's Germany, skeptics of you know who. Have not noteable scientists who support the theory called for Nuremburg style trials. Science is not supposed to have consensus. Consensus is a political term. Many/most scientific discoveries have come from contrarians. It is dangerous to promote consensus on any subject by simply savaging your opponents (or trying to do so). Fortunately the truth has its own power. Mother Nature is weighing in on the subject. Some alarmists are now agreeing that temperatures might fall for the next 20 years (but they say this gives humanity more time to prepare for the inevitable warming and just wait and see how hot it is going to get once the 20 years of cooling is over). The past ten years of cooling temperatures show that "natural forces" are more powerful than man made ones. It never crosses the alarmists minds that perhaps these same natural forces that are making the earth cooler also made it warmer from the late 70s to the 90s. Delaying cap and trade legislation now is critical because it will be even more difficult in the future to pass it when cooler temperatures (and the resulting shorter growing season) are felt by people throughout the globe.
The initials gpp are fairly generic, but some determined Googling against the referenced web site along with a good memory for names and an extensive bookmark list turned up some interesting connections, especially a comment earlier this year at Chris Mooney's Intersection blog:
Re Geoffrey Pohanka

Mr. Pohankas’ web site, which his name linked to, doesn’t identify him. However, anyone living in the Washington DC area is familiar with the name Pohanka, which is a family that owns a number of automobile dealerships in the area. And guess what, Mr. Pohanka is the president of the Pohanka Lexus auto dealership and a member of the Pohanka family that owns these dealerships.

Mr. Pohanka, as one whose family is heavily invested in the automotive dealership industry, thus has a vested interest in denying global warming as the automobile industry is one of the major contributors to the production of carbon dioxide and other carbon emissions. Because of course, measures to alleviate such production will probably have a negative effect on that industry. Nice try Mr. Pohanka but its pretty hard to hide from Google.
Apparently Pohanka had no problem appearing in public when he was recently interviewed on the PBS Nightly Business Report, where he was identified as the president of Pohanka Automotive Group, whose 14 dealerships in the Washington, DC area had sold 800 cars under the Cash for Clunkers program and was awaiting $3 million from the government in payments.

Under the WaPo's "free speech" policy, gpp1111 is just another grassroots guy/gal from Woodbridge or Wherever, whereas in reality he has a vested interest in policies that allow him to sell more high-profit SUVs and trucks while he feeds at the public trough for stimulus money and the WaPo rakes in more revenue (originally typed "profits" here, but braincheck overruled, considering the state of the publishing business) from one of its major remaining advertisers.

Nothing to see here, folks, just free speech at work.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

U.S. Has 30th Coolest August, 34th Coolest Summer

Images (click to enlarge): August and summer 2009 average temperature ranks from National Climatic Data Center

For other seasonal weather posts, see here.

The National Climatic Data Center posted its preliminary analysis of August temperatures on Thursday. Continuing a trend of cooler-than-average temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast, August was the 30th coolest on record, and meteorological summer (June-August) was the 34th coolest. Unlike July, however, when records were set in 6 states, no statewide records were set. The coolest states relative to average were:

Missouri 11th coolest
Kansas 12 coolest

On the other hand, several Northeastern states were in the top 10 warmest:

Delaware 8th warmest
New Jersey 8th warmest
Maine 9th warmest
Rhode Island 10th warmest
Connecticut 10th warmest

For the U.S. as a whole, the temperature of 72.2°F was 0.6°F below the 20th Century average.

The summer average of 71.7°F was 0.4°F below the 20th Century average. In the top 10 coolest summer category were:

Michigan 5th coolest
Wisconsin 7th coolest
Minnesota 7th coolest
South Dakota 7th coolest
Nebraska 8th coolest
Iowa 9th coolest

In the top 10 warmest category:

Florida 4th warmest
Washington 8th warmest
Texas 9th warmest

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.