Earth ChangesS

Life Preserver

US: More Rain Dumped on Corn Belt, Planting Behind Schedule

Corn Belt planting behind schedule 2009
© AccuWeather

For the second consecutive year, a cool, wet weather pattern has delayed corn planting in the nation's breadbasket. Corn planted after the middle of May is more vulnerable to summer heat and may not reach maturity before the first frosts arrive. Much of an area from Missouri to Ohio has been very wet during the month of April with rainfall running 120-200% of normal.

One difference between last spring and this spring is that all of the Midwest was running behind schedule last year at this time, while this year, it's mostly the area from Missouri to Ohio and Michigan. The northwestern corner of the Midwest corn belt is actually running ahead of schedule, as of late April. The cool, wet pattern is forecast to last another 1-2 weeks across the Midwest. By the middle of May, corn planting from Missouri to Ohio may be running as much as three to four weeks behind schedule.

Magic Hat

Australia's BOM backs down on warming at Antarctic bases

Bureau blows hot and cold over Antarctica warm-up as Bureau of Metereology backs down from a claim that temperatures at Australia's three bases in Antarctica have been warming over the past three decades
Australia Antarctic station stamp
© unknown

With weather stations like the ones below, it might be a bit hard to separate the real temperature signal of Antarctica from your local UHI. I wonder how much more cooling would be evident in the data had the weather stations been placed away from the "living pods"?

This picture on a postage stamp from Australia, celebrating the Australian Antarctic Territory in 1997, may help settle the issue. Note the Stevenson Screen near the "living pod" on the right.


Al Gore, global warming and truth

I voted three times for Al Gore, twice for VP and once for President. I don't regret the first two votes...

The former Vice President spoke before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week. It was not his shining hour. Some of what he said was hyperbole. Some of what he said is just not true. And he, or one of his staff, should surely have known the limits he was transgressing.

For example, when speaking about Arctic ice, he said this:
"New research, which draws upon recently declassified data collected by U.S. nuclear submarines traveling under the Arctic ice cap for the last 50 years ... has told us that the entire Arctic ice cap may totally disappear in summer in as little as five years."
What he might have added was that Arctic ice has only been measured for 30 years, and that it is recovering at the fastest rate ever recorded (from an extreme melt over the past 18 months) and it is more or less (within a standard deviation) back to normal now.


US: Fairfield digging out from snow

Montana 2009 April May snow storm
© Roy FolsomEast Glacier Park

Temperatures warmed up on Friday and the winter storm system finally moved out of Montana, but not without leaving mounds of record-setting snow behind.

Many small towns and schools even closed due to severe driving conditions and road closures over the past few days.

The community of Fairfield was one of the hardest hit by the spring snow; business was back to normal in Fairfield today after over two feet of snow caused the town to shut down Wednesday.

Mayor Lillian Alfson said, "It was drifting so bad it was dangerous to come in and out and they had closed the highway, from Vaughn this direction anyway, so coming into town was dangerous so we just wanted people not to unless it was an emergency."


US: Up to 4 feet of snow in Montana closes highways

Helena, Montana - A storm dumped as much as 4 feet of snow on northwest Montana and piled it in drifts 12 feet high, blocking major highways Wednesday and isolating an entire town.

Many schools were closed in the area along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Officials said all roads in and out of the town of Browning -- just east of Glacier National Park -- were closed Wednesday.

A foot of snow fell in Browning during the night, bringing the total since the storm started Monday to 4 feet, the National Weather Service said.


Antarctic Ice Increasing

You wouldn't think so if you read recent press reports. Just like this time last year, the global press is bombarding the public with alarming reports coming from the bottom of the world. From the Discovery Channel on April 28th, 2009 "Huge Ice Shelf Breaks From Antarctica, Fractures." From National Geographic News on April 30th, 2009 "Giant Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapses." From Reuters on April 28th, 2009, "New York City-sized Ice Collapses off Antarctica."

Exactly one year ago, similar stories circulated, and if anything, they were more alarming. On March 25th, 2008, the BBC reported "Antarctic Ice Hangs by a Thread," a result, they stated, of "unprecedented global warming." But these reports, both last year and this year, are talking about the same ice shelf - the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an insignificant bit of floating ice that is located on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Didn't it break up last year? How many times do we recycle the alarm over the seasonal melting of the same few thousand square miles of floating ice (ice that floats cannot contribute to sea level rise), off a continent that exceeds five million square miles in area?

Cloud Lightning

Brazil: 60K homeless, 14 dead in floods

Sao Paulo - Officials say floods and mudslides from heavy rains in northeastern Brazil have killed at least 14 people in the last month and driven tens of thousands from their homes.

Regional Civil Defense departments report that at least 62,600 people are homeless in five northeastern states.

Maranhao has been the hardest hit, with some 40,700 people living in shelters and six dead.

Evil Rays

The Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapse: Media recycles photos and storylines from previous years

Those masters of disaster are at it again, and it appears our friendly scientists at that National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) help this story along each year.

Thanks to WUWT reader Ron de Haan who spotted this on Applied Information Systems:
Wilkins Ice Shelf annual collapse
© unknown

It seems that not only is the photography recycled, so is the storyline. It seems to happen every year, about this time. Note the photos show shear failure and cracks, not melted ice. Shear failure is mostly mechanical-stress related, though ice does tend to be more brittle at colder temperatures.


Global Warming Ruled a Religion by British Judge

A fired British executive is suing his former employer on the grounds that he was unfairly dismissed due to religious views - his belief in global warming.

According to the Independent:
"In the first case of its kind, employment judge David Sneath said Tim Nicholson, a former environmental policy officer, could invoke employment law for protection from discrimination against him for his conviction that climate change was the world's most important environmental problem."
The judge ruled that Nicholson's extreme green views fit the definition of "a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003." So strong were these "beliefs," that they "put him at odds with other senior executives within the firm." The 41-year-old told the employment tribunal that, as head of sustainability at Grainger plc, Britain's largest residential property investment company, he constantly tangled with fellow-executives over the company's environmental policies and corporate social responsibility.

Alarm Clock

Flashback United Nations Climate Change Conference - European Update

The United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks of this week in Poznan, Poland, and in anticipation of this great event, we have examined three research papers published recently in top journals that give us insight into the climate history of Europe. Given the results of these papers, we doubt they will receive any press attention from the massive media delegation covering the climate conference.

First up is from a paper forthcoming in Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics by three scientists with the Atmospheric Physics Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Italy's University of Trento; the project was funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund. The authors turn their attention to the northern European city of Verona, and they note a special opportunity there to reconstruct temperatures at a very high resolution going back 250 years. Andrighetti et al. note "after a careful search of both published and unpublished data from early observations, dispersed in various archives and libraries, under the guidance of historical information, data covering almost completely the period 1741 - 2006 were found, which provided the basis for the analysis presented in this paper." However, they state "After careful evaluation, measurements covering the period 1741-1768 appeared to be affected by too many discontinuities, gaps and possible ambiguities in the interpretation of data." They conducted many statistical tests on the remaining 1769-2006 data, and in the end, they were highly confident that the resulting time series was reasonably accurate.