Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

US: July makes a thunderous arrival in Rhode Island

Rhode Island rains
© The Providence Journal / Kris CraigRushing water flows down Congdon Street in Providence during Wednesday’s heavy rains.
Welcome to the first day of July - - which brought more rain than the entire month of June.

Severe thunderstorms rumbled into Southern New England beginning at daybreak on Wednesday and continuing at 11 a.m. for a second round, clustering together over the southernmost tip of Rhode Island with wave after wave of heavy rain and lightning strikes.

Roads flooded and left motorists stranded in their swamped cars. Lightning struck houses from Westerly to Coventry. Torrential downpours - - at times about an inch an hour - - overwhelmed drainage systems, forcing street and highway closures in parts of South County. The rain gauges used by engineers at the Department of Transportation showed 4 inches of rain fell in just two hours in Charlestown - - approaching levels of a hundred-year storm, said department spokesman Charles St. Martin.

Evil Rays

No climate debate? Yes, there is

In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama saluted the House of Representatives for passing Waxman-Markey, the gargantuan energy-rationing bill that would amount to the largest tax increase in the nation's history. It would do so by making virtually everything that depends on energy - which is virtually everything - more expensive.

The president doesn't describe the legislation in those terms now, but he made no bones about it last year. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008, he calmly explained how cap-and-trade - the carbon-dioxide rationing scheme that is at the heart of Waxman-Markey - would work:

"Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket . . . because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas, you name it . . . Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money, and they will pass that [cost] on to consumers.''


Sunspot Minimum Moves to At Least December; June in Northeast like 2008 in UK

solar flux
© Jan Alverstad

Despite an active start to the month and a rather steady stream of cycle 24 microdots, the official sunspot number for June came in at 2.6 below the 3.5 needed to make November 2008 the solar minimum. This means it can't be earlier than December, 2008. It seems unlikely unless the sun goes back into a deep slumber as it did last summer and July stays at or below 0.5 (the value of the month it will replace in the 13 month average), December 2008 won't be the sunspot minimum with a 13 month mean of 1.7. Only three minima since 1750 had official minima below 1.7 (1913 1.5, 1810 0, 1823 0.1). Of course modern measurement technologies are better than older technologies so there is some uncertainty as to whether microdots back then would have been seen.

Bizarro Earth

US: The Irish Potato Famine Fungus Is Attacking Northeast Gardens And Farms Now

© Cornell UniversityLeaf lesions due to late blight
Home gardeners beware: This year, late blight -- a destructive infectious disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s -- is killing tomato and potato plants in gardens and on commercial farms in the eastern United States. In addition, basil downy mildew is affecting plants in the Northeast.

"Late blight has never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S," said Meg McGrath, associate professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.

One of the most visible early symptoms of the disease is brown spots (lesions) on stems. They begin small and firm, then quickly enlarge, with white fungal growth developing under moist conditions that leads to a soft rot collapsing the stem.


Real Climate's Misinformation

Real Climate posted a weblog on June 21 2009 titled "A warning from Copenhagen". They report on a Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Congress which was handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen in Brussels the previous week.

Real Climate writes:
"So what does it say? Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago - such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice. "The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007″, says the new report. And it points out that any warming caused will be virtually irreversible for at least a thousand years - because of the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere."
First, what is "physical climate science"? How is this different from "climate science". In the past, this terminology has been used when authors ignore the biological components of the climate system.


Next generation questions for global warming

As with all scientific hypotheses, global warming will have to stand up under scrutiny over time. As there is no recognised clearinghouse that presents objections and answers in a structured fashion, this leads to scattergun efforts where multiple objections are raised and only partially addressed in the same forum. Popular websites such as Grist, RealClimate and Skeptical Science have tried to offer responses to some 'skeptical' talking points, but there is no forum for exchanging views and referencing papers outside the rather impenetrable associations of individual specialties, which in any event limit their discussion to issues within the specialty.

Those supporting an activist solution to the threat of anthropogenic global warming complain (sometimes loudly) that they are forced to answer the same 'primitive' objections repeatedly, only to see them resurface shortly thereafter, something that I am sure is frustrating. It's a pity that a central resource can't be agreed on and that an exchange of both views and peer-reviewed papers cannot be established.

There is a new generation of skeptical arguments advanced against the theory of anthropogenic global warming. I hope they win--not because I am on their side, but because I want very much for the Earth not to face a serious threat--we have enough of them already. So far, it appears to me that this new generation of counter claims is not receiving individual attention, but is rather being classed in with earlier skeptical arguments.

So let me try and articulate some of them here and ask for a response.

Cell Phone

The Lying EPA

"A suppressed EPA study says old U.N. data ignore the decline in global temperatures and other inconvenient truths. Was the report kept under wraps to influence the vote on the cap-and-trade bill?

"This was supposed to be the most transparent administration ever. Yet as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on the Waxman-Markey bill, the largest increase in U.S. history on 100% of Americans, an attempt was made to suppress a study shredding supporter' arguments.

"On Friday, the day of the vote, the Competitive Enterprise Institute said was releasing 'an internal study on climate science that was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency.'"

You can read the EPA document here.

All this, of course, makes "official" what this commentator and others, many of whom credentialed meteorologists and climatologists, have been saying now for YEARS.

There is no global warming. The warming that began around1850 was an entirely NATURAL cycle, a response to a mini-ice age that had begun around 1300. There was and is no proof that the presence of so-called "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide had anything to do with the warming that occurred, nor that human activity contributed to it.


Global Warming Is a Fraud

As the years pass and data accumulate, it is becoming evident that global warming is a fraud. Climate change is natural and ongoing, but the Earth has not warmed significantly over the last thirty years. Nor has there been a single negative effect of any type that can be unambiguously attributed to global warming.

As I write, satellite data show that the mean global temperature is the same that it was in 1979. The extent of global sea ice is also unchanged from 1979. Since the end of the last Ice Age, sea level has risen more than a hundred meters. But for the last three years, there has been no rise in sea level. If the polar ice sheets are melting, why isn't sea level rising? Global warming is supposed to increase the severity and frequency of tropical storms. But hurricane and typhoon activity is at a record low.

Every year in the US, more than forty thousand people are killed in traffic accidents. But not one single person has ever been killed by global warming. The number of species that have gone extinct from global warming is exactly zero. Both the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets are stable. The polar bear population is increasing. There has been no increase in infectious disease that can be attributed to climate change. We are not currently experiencing more floods, droughts, or forest fires.

In short, there is no evidence of any type to support the idea that we are entering an era when significant climate change is occurring and will cause the deterioration of either the natural environment or the human standard of living.


US: Senator Inhofe Calls for Inquiry Into 'Suppressed' Climate Change Report

A top Republican senator has ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming.

The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming. Carlin's report argued that the information the EPA was using was out of date, and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

"He came out with the truth. They don't want the truth at the EPA," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a global warming skeptic, told FOX News, saying he's ordered an investigation. "We're going to expose it."

The controversy comes after the House of Representatives passed a landmark bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, one that Inhofe said will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate despite President Obama's energy adviser voicing confidence in the measure.

Bizarro Earth

At least 15 earthquakes hit Taiwan's Hualien region in single day

At least 15 earthquakes hit the Hualien region of East Taiwan Sunday, with the heaviest measuring 5.6, the Central Weather Bureau said. The most serious tremor hit at 5:34 p.m. and was felt across most of Northern Taiwan, though no immediate damage was reported.

A total of 14 quakes had their epicenter located at a distance roughly between 16 and 21 kilometers northeast of the Hsiulin Earthquake Monitoring Station. An additional temblor, at 5.52 p.m., hit 21.4 kilometers south of Nan'ao in Ilan County, in an area on the east coast not so far from the Hualien area.

The Central Weather Bureau explained the high number of quakes as a rarely seen series of small quakes leading up to the main tremor, and followed by aftershocks.