Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 4.4 - Colorado

© US Geological Survey
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 02:50:17 UTC

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 08:50:17 PM at epicenter

40.682°N, 107.577°W

5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program

18 km (12 miles) N (353°) from Craig, CO

34 km (21 miles) NW (308°) from Hayden, CO

39 km (24 miles) S (185°) from Dixon, WY

211 km (131 miles) W (275°) from Fort Collins, CO

246 km (153 miles) WNW (296°) from Denver, CO

Cloud Lightning

Claudette weakens, but hurricane forms in Atlantic

Pensacola Beach, Florida - A quick-forming tropical storm blew into the Florida Panhandle on Monday and quickly lost steam while the first hurricane of this year's Atlantic season took shape over the open ocean on a track for Bermuda.

Sustained winds near 35 mph after coming ashore a few hours earlier as the first named storm to hit the U.S. mainland this year. Claudette made landfall near Fort Walton Beach early Monday less than 12 hours after forming over the Gulf.

Claudette was headed across Alabama toward northeastern Mississippi, bringing heavy rains. It was not expected to cause significant flooding or wind damage.

Near Panama City, a man in his mid-20s died after being pulled from the surf on Sunday afternoon. A Panama City Beach police dispatcher could not immediately provide more details Monday. The Panama City News Herald said another person was reported missing at sea after his boat sank off Shell Island.


Longer term Solar Minimum - Dalton or Maunder

Many scientists are believing a Dalton like solar minimum appears a real possibility given the recent solar behavior. Even David Hathaway of NASA has recently conceded that 'possibility' to the New York Times here.

I received this email from Dr. Richard Mackey of Australia, a solar statistician expert and peer-reviewed author on solar climate factors. I thought you might find his comments and insight interesting. In it he discusses the extreme scenario that the current solar cycle, the longest in at least 150 years and with more sunspotless days (689 days as of today - more than double the number in the cycles the last half century) during this transition could be telegraphing.

Astronomer Emeritus Dr. William Livingston and Associate Astronomer Dr Matthew Penn have for many years been measuring the magnetic field strength of the Sun's magnetic fields. See for example this post. WUWT in June this year published a report by them concluding that, broadly speaking, over the last 15 years the magnetic field strengths of sunspots were decreasing with time independently of the sunspot cycle. A simple linear extrapolation of the magnetic data collected by their special observatory (the McMath-Pierce telescope) suggests that sunspots might largely vanish in five years time. In addition, other scientists report that the solar wind (a large proportion of the Sun's output of matter in the plasma form) is in a lower energy state than found since space measurements began nearly 40 years ago.

In answer to the question: Why is a lack of sunspot activity interesting?, Livingston and Penn answer: "During a period from 1645 to 1715 the Sun entered an extended period of low activity known as the Maunder Minimum. For a time equivalent to several sunspot cycles the Sun displayed few sunspots. Models of the Sun's irradiance suggest that the solar energy input to the Earth decreased during that epoch, and that this lull in solar activity may explain the low temperatures recorded in Europe during the Little Ice Age".


Livingston and Penn in EOS: Are Sunspots Different During This Solar Minimum?

Leif Svalgaard writes to inform me that Livingston and Penn have published their article recently in EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.
EOS Livingston and Penn
© unknown

As WattsUpWithThat readers may recall, we had a preview of that EOS article here.

Livingston & Penn write in the EOS article:

For hundreds of years, humans have observed that the Sun has displayed activity where the number of sunspots increases and then decreases at approximately 11- year intervals. Sunspots are dark regions on the solar disk with magnetic field strengths greater than 1500 gauss (see Figure 1), and the 11- year sunspot cycle is actually a 22- year cycle in the solar magnetic field, with sunspots showing the same hemispheric magnetic polarity on alternate 11- year cycles.

The last solar maximum occurred in 2001, and the magnetically active sunspots at that time produced powerful flares causing large geomagnetic disturbances and disrupting some space- based technology. But something is unusual about the current sunspot cycle. The current solar minimum has been unusually long, and with more than 670 days without sunspots through June 2009, the number of spotless days has not been equaled since 1933 (see here).


US: Interior Alaska gets hit by early August frost

Fairbanks - An early frost hopscotched across the Tanana Valley destroying unprotected garden produce and flowers wherever it touched down Wednesday morning.

The helter skelter pattern left Linda Dolney at Ann's Greenhouses scratching her head.

"It was really weird," she said. "We had nine flats of marigolds out, and just a few flowers in the middle got it."

The cole crops in Dolney's garden, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, are OK, she said. "But the tender crops like squash, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants that were not covered were mostly zapped," Dolney said.

Her neighbor wasn't so lucky. The temperature at his place dipped to 28 degrees, and everything in the garden was devastated.

"Even the potato plants were nipped," Dolney said.

Although Wednesday night's forecast was for warmer temps, Dolney wasn't taking any chances and left the protective plant covers on.

Gretchen Kerndt of Basically Basil, off Herried Road, said Wednesday morning's frost is the earliest she has ever seen.


Global Warming ate my data, We've lost the numbers: CRU responds to FOIA requests

The world's source for global temperature record admits it's lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia - permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data.

The CRU has refused to release the raw weather station data and its processing methods for inspection - except to hand-picked academics - for several years. Instead, it releases a processed version, in gridded form. NASA maintains its own (GISSTEMP), but the CRU Global Climate Dataset, is the most cited surface temperature record by the UN IPCC. So any errors in CRU cascade around the world, and become part of "the science".

Professor Phil Jones, the activist-scientist who maintains the data set, has cited various reasons for refusing to release the raw data. Most famously, Jones told an Australian climate scientist in 2004:
Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.


Eric Steig Professes Ignorance

On Feb. 26, I wrote a post on Climate Audit, "Steig 2009's Non-Correction for Serial Correlation", commenting on the Jan. 22 letter in Nature by Eric Steig et al. On Feb. 28, I sent Steig and his 5 co-authors an e-mail alerting them to my post and its content.

On Aug. 6, Steig and co-authors published a Corrigendum in Nature replicating my findings, but without mentioning my prior post. I wrote the editors of Nature a letter complaining that if the Corrigendum was received after Feb. 28, it would constitute plagiarism under Nature's definition as "when an author attempts to pass off someone else's work as his or her own." My letter to Nature, together with my e-mail to Steig and co-authors, is in Comment 60 of the Climate Audit thread on the Steig Corrigendum.

On Aug. 10, Steig wrote Nature Associate Editor Michael White the following letter, with a copy to myself:

Bizarro Earth

Eric Steig and the International Man of Mystery

Real Climate has defended Steig against a plagiarism complaint from Hu McCulloch, covered by Pielke Jr here and Jeff Id here. Hu's original post is here and the most recent Climate Audit discussion here. Hu's complaint is here.

Note: Hu's email to the Steig coauthors is here. Steig was not the only recipient. All Steig authors were copied - Stieg, D Schneider, Rutherford, Mann, Comiso and Shindell.


Eric Steig Corrigendum to Antarctic Warming

US. federal policy defines plagiarism as follows:
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
Here is a discussion of the topic from Penn State, where Michael Mann of Steig et al has an appointment.

In an entirely unrelated development, Steig et al have issued a corrigendum in which they reproduce (without attribution) results previously reported at Climate Audit by Hu McCulloch (and drawn to Steig's attention by email) - see comments below and Hu McCulloch's post here.

They also make an incomplete report of problems with the Harry station - reporting the incorrect location in their Supplementary Information, but failing to report that the "Harry" data used in Steig et al was a bizarre splice of totally unrelated stations (see When Harry Met Gill). The identification of this problem was of course previously credited by the British Antarctic Survey to Gavin the Mystery Man.

Bizarro Earth

Scars linger from killer Montana earthquake of '59

© AP Photo/Matthew BrownIn this Aug. 13, 2009 photo, Wyatt Carpenter, 19, of Los Angeles, looks at the scar left by a rockslide triggered by the Hebgen Lake Earthquake on Aug. 17, 1959. 28 people died in the disaster, including 19 campers whose bodies are still buried in the rockslide debris.
Gallatin National Forest - Just before midnight under the moon's gray light, the world tilted and tore off a Montana mountainside. Sliding rock buried 19 campers alive, their bodies never found, and 80 million tons of rock and trees tumbled into Madison River Canyon, leaving rubble piled more than 200 feet deep.

The Aug. 17, 1959 earthquake that caused the slide in southwestern Montana remains the largest ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains.

Five more campers drowned when displaced air whooshed down the canyon and swept them into the Madison River. Survivors reported the wind generated by the slide was so strong it ripped off their clothes.

Ten miles away, 15-year-old Martin Stryker was shaken awake in his tent. Woozy with vertigo, he told his two younger brothers to stay put and then went outside. The first thing he saw was a tree fallen on the family's car.