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Better Earth

NOAA: July Temperature Below-Average for the U.S.

July 2009 US cold records
© NCDC/NESDIS/NOAA

From NOAA/NCDC

The July 2009 temperature for the contiguous United States was below the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The average July temperature of 73.5 degrees F was 0.8 degrees F below the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in July averaged 2.90 inches, which is 0.14 inches above the 1901-2000 average.

Bizarro Earth

Global Warming propaganda reaching the bottom of the barrel

In his recent column in the Calgary Herald, Prof. David Mayne Reid marched out a squad of seven straw men to explain why "so many" people do not "accept climate change data." Among the reasons the professor suggested were fear of unpleasant truths; a genetic incompetence at managing slow-motion disasters; short-term economic thinking; selfishness; ignorance; excessive humility about the ability of humanity to affect the climate; and misinformation campaigns that buy people off.

Reid offers no evidence in imputing such base motivations to those who disagree with him, dismissing the need to back up his claims with hauteur worthy of Marie Antoinette when he says "I am not going to bother refuting such silliness." Naturally, with the profound egotism of the ivory-tower academician, he does not allow for any possibility that people might disagree with him for perfectly valid reasons, and that they could be both honest and sincere in holding a different interpretation of climate data.

With all due respect for the professor, I'd like to offer up five reasons that people might not accept the catastrophic modelling exercises and horror stories that he seems to have confused with actual climate change data.

Document

Holocene Fluctuations in Arctic Sea-Ice Cover

Reference

McKay, J.L., de Vernal, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Not, C., Polyak, L. and Darby, D. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chuckchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45: 1377-1397.

Background

Writing about the Arctic Ocean, the authors say that over the past thirty years "there has been a rapid decline in the extent and thickness of sea-ice in summer and more recently in winter as well," but they state there is "debate on the relative influence of natural versus anthropogenic forcing on these recent changes." Hence, they decided "to investigate the natural variability of sea-ice cover in the western Arctic during the Holocene and thus provide a baseline to which recent changes can be compared," in order to help resolve the issue.

Magnify

Signs that the Mainstream Climate Debate has Lost Touch with Reality

Image
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
Speaking in Korea at the World Environment Forum 2009 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has given a speech that is remarkable for its over-the-top rhetoric and also its disconnect from anything resembling reality. He starts with an apocalyptic warning:
If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters.

Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest - even violence - could follow.

The damage to national economies will be enormous. The human suffering will be incalculable.

Meteor

Skywatchers set for meteor shower

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The tails of the Perseids point back to a "radiant" in the constellation Perseus
They can appear anywhere in the sky
Composed of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle
Skygazers are getting ready to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on Wednesday.

The Perseid shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

As this cometary "grit" strikes our atmosphere, it burns up, often creating streaks of light across the sky.

This impressive spectacle appears to originate from a point called a "radiant" in the constellation of Perseus - hence the name Perseid.

Bizarro Earth

Update: Big quake hits off India's Andamans, no tsunami

Andaman Islands map
© Reuters/GraphicsA massive magnitude 7.6 quake struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands, triggering a tsunami watch for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Monday.
Port Blair, India - A major earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands early on Tuesday, but a tsunami alert for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh was later canceled.

There were no reports of a tsunami or of any casualties from the tremor, officials said. It coincided with a 6.5 magnitude earthquake that jolted Tokyo and surrounding areas of Japan. There were no reports of major casualties from that quake either.

"We all ran out as fast as possible and have not gone back inside, fearing another quake. Everything was shaking, we are all very, very scared," Subhasis Paul, who runs a provision store in Diglipur island in North Andaman, told Reuters by telephone.

Attention

July's weather: Chilly USA, torrid globe

July 2009 US cold records
© NCDC/NESDIS/NOAA

Oh, the humanity.

As if global warming proponents don't have enough to worry about already, with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Fox News and the Heartland Institute, now Mother Nature has thrown them yet another curve: July 2009 was officially the coldest July on record in six U.S. states, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Specifically, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Not one of the coldest, mind you, but the absolute, rock-bottom, chilliest on record. Records go back to 1895. Meanwhile, four others - Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky - had their 2nd-coldest July ever recorded.

What does this mean for global warming? Does this confirm it's a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi? Well, Fox News ran a headline last week that the cold summer is putting a damper on global warming fears. Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute is sponsoring another conference next May in Chicago.

But "Whoa Nellie" as Keith Jackson used to say. While the Northeast USA was indeed chilling out in July, take a look at these statistics, courtesy of the University of Alabama - Huntsville: For the world as a whole, July was the 2nd-warmest ever recorded, the Southern Hemisphere had its 2nd-warmest month ever (compared to seasonal norms), and it was the 2nd-warmest month ever recorded in Antarctica (again compared to seasonal norms).

Target

US: Tomato fungus appears in Wisconsin

tomato blight
© Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer ProtectionThis blighted tomato plant is from a home garden in Dane County. Late blight has also been found at a Rock County vegetable farm.

Wisconsin potato growers are on alert for a highly contagious fungus that has been found on tomato plants throughout the state. Officials worry that the fungus - which caused the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century - could make the leap to potatoes and threaten the local crop.

As of Friday, Wisconsin had at least eight confirmed cases of the late blight fungus on tomatoes in Dane, Rock, Portage and Langlade counties - including at least one commercial vegetable farm, said Amanda Gevens, a plant pathologist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin Extension. An additional 20 to 30 suspected cases are being investigated in several counties, she said.

The fungus first appeared earlier this summer in the Northeast, possibly carried by infected seedlings at garden centers. It has spread to other parts of the country since, rapidly killing tomato plants in its path. Spores are carried by wind, rain, people, machinery and wildlife.

In other states, the fungus quickly made the leap to potatoes, which is why Gevens met with Wisconsin potato growers this week to explain the signs and to prepare growers for a potentially devastating crossover. Wisconsin - the nation's third largest potato producer behind Idaho and Washington - last year harvested 2.3 billion pounds of potatoes.

"It has now landed in the center of commercial potato production in Wisconsin, so the risk is great," Gevens said.

Pumpkin

US: Nebraska tomatoes over a month late ripening

green tomatoes
© unknownThis year, the prize of gardening — a juicy tomato, ripe by the Fourth of July — has remained stubbornly green and hard.

Talk about frustration.

By now, many vegetable gardeners would be layering fat slices of tomatoes on a plate and eating them like watermelon.

But not this year.

The prize of gardening - a juicy tomato, ripe by the Fourth of July - has remained stubbornly green and hard.

"This is as slow as I've seen it, and I've been growing tomatoes since 1972," said Bob "The Tomato Man" Green.

A Sarpy County farmer, master gardener and longtime competitor at the county fair, Green has 67 plants - 27 varieties - this year at his farm outside Springfield, Neb. And they just aren't ripening.

Blame it on the cool weather, he said. Tomatoes need warm days and warm nights to ripen. So far, though, much of eastern Nebraska is running about 4 to 6 degrees below normal for July.

People

China landslide buries unknown number of residents

Beijing - A massive landslide triggered by a deadly typhoon toppled at least six apartment buildings burying an unknown number of residents in eastern China, a state news agency said Tuesday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the landslide in the town of Pengxi, in Zhejiang province's Wenzhou city, was triggered by heavy rains carried by the storm Morakot, which has already killed six people and left three missing in mainland China.