Recently in Climate Category

Last year, we set a record for sunspots that was last equaled in 1913. Sunspots are a good visual proxy for solar activity and the more of them, the hotter the sun and the warmer the Earth. This bears out as the Modern Warm Period started around 1914 or so. It peaked in the 1970's and Earth starting to really cool off now.

Last year, 77% of the days had no sunspots. Today, 2020 just hit the very same number. We had a flurry of spots at the beginning of the year but there have been very few since. Today, we tie the 2019 and the 1913 records.

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Glad I am not in Hawai'i

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It would be nice and warm but I can do without the tornados. From Cliff Mass:

Kona Low Hits Hawaii with Heavy Rain and Tornado Warnings
During another time you might feel very sorry for the poor folks vacationing on Kauai. Instead of enjoying their Mai Tais under sunny skies and modest trade winds, they are suffering from heavy rains, very strong southerly winds, severe thunderstorm, and unusual tornado warnings

The cause of this bounty of inclement weather? A very large Kona Storm.

A Kona storm (or Kona Low) is a low pressure center that develops to the west or southwest of the Hawaiian islands that bring moist, cloudy, or unstable air into the Hawaiian islands. Associated with low-level winds from the south to west, Kona lows can bring rain to the western and southwestern ("kona") sides of the islands that are normally rainshadowed by the terrain. Typically trade winds are from the east to northeast, thus the eastern/northeastern sides are typically the wettest.

Kauai is my favorite of the islands and am familiar with the places Cliff talks about.  Helpful hint: If you are there and looking for good authentic Hawai'ian shirts, go to the Costco. They have local goods for kama‘āina and not haole prices.

Cliff notes:

Kona storms like this typically occur 2-3 times a year and according to Kona Low expert, Professor Steve Businger of the University of Hawaii, they are often poorly forecast.

I am seriously thinking of planning some trips to Hawaii to work on this important problem 😋😁

Such a rough job. Feel sorry for the guy... Almost...

Now this will be fun - a cold blast

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I thought that we were supposed to be worried about the global warming? From Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass:

A Cold Wave and Some Lowland Snow Will Hit the Northwest Starting Friday
An unusual, and potentially damaging, mid-March cold blast will hit our region over the weekend. Cold enough that there are concerns about crops in eastern Washington, particularly cherries.

The sea level pressure and lower-atmosphere temperatures for 11 PM Friday (below) shows very cold air (purple colors) over BC and air cold enough to snow (blue colors) moving into eastern WA. Importantly, a tight low center is found along the northern Oregon coast. That will guarantee snow for someone west of the Cascades, depending on exactly the trajectory of the low.

More at the site - should be interesting... Got a lot starting to wake up out of dormancy here.

From Electroverse:

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE TOTAL SNOW MASS CURRENTLY RUNNING 300 GIGATONS ABOVE THE 1982-2012 AVERAGE

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Data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) reveals that the Total Snow Mass for the Northern Hemisphere has been consistently above the 30 year average for the majority of the season, and is now actually increasing its rate of growth.

GREENLAND SMB SPIKING AGAIN
Furthermore, on the back of substantial SMB gains over the past few years, the Greenland ice sheet looks set to continue that trend in 2020.

Crucial to the survival of a glacier is its surface mass balance (SMB)–the difference between accumulation and ablation (sublimation and melting). Changes in mass balance control a glacier’s long-term behavior, and are its most sensitive climate indicators (wikipedia.org).

On March 02, 2020 the world’s largest island added a healthy 5 gigatons to its ice sheet. According to climate alarmists, this simply shouldn’t be happening in a linearly warming world… but developments like this NEVER receive MSM attention, meaning alarmists are NEVER privy to the full and unalarming picture:

Much more at the site with links and citations. It looks like we are in for an extended period of cooler than normal weather. Prepare for it. Anyone who continues to promote the global warming scam is pushing a political agenda and not a scientific observation. It just ain't happening.

It's the economy stupid was the rallying cry of Bill Clinton in his sucessful campaign against Bush, G.H.W. It was coined by James Carville.  I really wish Carville was a conservative, the guy is a brilliant strategist. The Prime Minister of Canada could learn some lessons from him. From this Editorial by Lorne Gunter at Canada's Toronto Sun:

Now that climate crusaders have ruined the economy, what's their solution?
Who’s going to invest in Canada now that the blockades continue and the Teck Frontier mine has been killed?

Are the environmental activists and unelected, unaccountable Indigenous blockaders going to make up the hundreds of billions in lost economic activity they have cost our economy?

Are the rich, lefty, American foundations that fund this activism going to cough up the missing cash?

What are the “green” politicians who warn of “climate emergencies” and insist Canada live up to its Paris accord emission commitments going to do to put to work the tens of thousands of Canadians who have lost or will lose their high-paying jobs in the energy sector?

And the nuts and bolts:

When investors here and in the rest of the world see how feebly Ottawa has handled the blockading of our economy by a few hundred rent-a-mob, fringe players, they are going to decide Canada is not the place to risk their new auto assembly line, grain mill, distribution centre or yogurt plant.

The loss of Teck Resource’s Frontier oilsands project means a loss of 7,000 construction jobs (1,000 outside Alberta) and 2,500 operational jobs (about 600 in other provinces) for the mine’s 40-year lifespan.

Teck Frontier would have meant an additional $12 billion a year of GDP for Canada and upwards of $70 billion in revenues to three levels of government over the next four decades.

“Green” protestors who also demand more money for public education and health care need to ask themselves where are governments going to come up with the $70 billion in government revenues their eco-activism has cost from this one lost project alone?

Much more at the site - time to wake up from your dream people...

You choose - I'm going with Naomi

More at The Washington Post:

The anti-Greta: A conservative think tank takes on the global phenomenon
For climate skeptics, it’s hard to compete with the youthful appeal of global phenomenon Greta Thunberg. But one U.S. think tank hopes it’s found an answer: the anti-Greta.

Naomi Seibt is a 19-year-old German who, like Greta, is blond, eloquent and European. But Naomi denounces “climate alarmism,” calls climate consciousness “a despicably anti-human ideology,” and has even deployed Greta’s now famous “How dare you?” line to take on the mainstream German media.

Classical Newtonian mechanics at work in public discourse - for every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction.

A breath of fresh air. Greta has well-documented mental issues. She does not speak for me. She is a tool for the one-world globalists and when she realizes this, it will crush her. I really feel bad that she is being used like this.

These are nothing new - the idiots today think they invented it. From the London Daily Mail:

Fossils discovered in the Sahara reveal catfish and tilapia swam in rivers 12,000 years ago but died off from over fishing and climate changes

    • Experts found 17,551 identifiable fossilized remains in the Sahara near Lybia
    • Approximately 80 percent of the fossils belonged to catfish and tilapia fish
    • The remains had cut and burn marks on them, suggesting they fed early humans
    • The catfish survived longer than tilapia due to their accessory breathing organs

The Saharan environment in southwest Libya is a sandy, dry world, but fossil records show it was flowing with water and life some 12,000 years ago.

Paleontologists uncovered 17,551 identifiable remains on the Tadrart Acacus Mountains, with 80 percent belonging to fish that fed early humans during the Holocene period.

The remains show there was once an abundance of catfish and tilapia in the area, which died off from over fishing – the bones had cut marks and traces of burning.

Much more at the site. Our star is variable and we are only just beginning to understand the effects it has on our climate. The Modern Warm Period is winding to a close and everything points to a very quiet sun and colder weather here on Earth.

Submitted for your consideration:

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In the real world, not on their little screens. From Breitbart:

U.N. Seeks Climate Policy Advice from Mobile Video Game Players
The United Nations (U.N.) launched a push Thursday to engage mobile video game players around the world and ask their input and advice to guide its ongoing “climate change” policies.

Mission 1.5 is the title of the campaign that aims to, “bridge the gap between people and governments on ambitious climate action.” It is being developed by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP).

Unreal - how about unplugging the screen and going outside with a thermometer. Take some measurements and see what is actually happening. HINT: It is quite a bit different than what you are seeing in your "computer model".

Of which Carbon Dioxide (ie: plant food) is the rallying cry for a bunch of delusional . innumerate . useful idiots.
From United Press International:

Scientists say solar system affects Earth's carbon cycle
Scientists have discovered evidence that Earth's carbon cycle and global climate is influenced by periodic changes in the shape of Earth's path around the sun.

According to a new study, published this week in the journal PNAS, scientists found the evidence hiding in ancient layers of mudstone.

Chemical analysis of the ancient mudstone revealed links between past orbital changes and two major extinction events, the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event, around 201 million years ago, and the Toarcian extinction event, or Toarcian turnover, around 183 million years ago.

"Our work shows that for the 18 million years or so in between the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction and the Toarcian oceanic anoxic event, Earth's global carbon cycle was in a constant state of change," Micha Ruhl, assistant professor in sedimentology at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, said in a news release. "Periodic changes in the shape of Earth's orbit around the sun impacted on the amount of energy received by Earth from the sun, which in turn impacted climatic and environmental processes, as well as the carbon cycle, on local, regional and global scales."

The researchers here were looking at very long timelines. Our Modern Warm Period (1950's through 2006 or so) saw the ice caps on Mars retreat (here, here and here for starters) just as the ice on Earth has retreated. Now, Glacier National Park has begun quietly removing and altering signs and government literature which told visitors that the Park’s glaciers were all expected to disappear by either 2020 or 2030.

Anthropogenic Global Warming is a political movement and not a scientific one. The writings of a few scientists are being used to advance a one-world-government. A socialist tyranny.

Re-thinking their priorities

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Heh - that will get them to re-evaluate the rhetoric they are spouting:

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The people fighting "climate change" always want someone else to make the changes. They are doing "the good work" so they get to use their nice private jet airplanes.

Let the proles suck it up. Tip of the hat to Maggie's Farm for the link. More here: Global Warming's 50 Years of Fraud

Today is Groundhog Day - an interesting rumor from Anthony writing at Watts Up With That:

BREAKING: Punxsutawney to retire Phil the groundhog, replace him with Greta Thunberg
People send me stuff. A friend of mine (an insider in the groundhog committee bunker) tells me that due to the pressure they are getting from PETA (for groundhog abuse) that they will soon announce that they are retiring ” Punxsutawney Phil”, the famous weather prognosticator, and replace him with globally respected child climate forecaster Greta Thunberg.

Apparently, the behind-the-scenes argument for this is that since all “weather is now climate” on a daily basis, they can safely switch from a rodent-based weather forecaster to a brat-based human climate forecaster.

While PETA has been calling for an “animatronic” groundhog robot to replace Phil, the groundhog committee felt that wouldn’t be believable, and since the same sort of people that believe in the reliability of rodent-based weather forecasting, would also likely believe Greta Thunberg’s climate prognostications, the committee decided she would be a better and more believable fit than a robot.

This makes as much sense to me as anything else I’ve heard about climate alarmism.

This is not from the Babylon Bee.

Driving in the Pacific Northwet

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After yesterday's monsoon, Interstate 5 Northbound was closed because of a landslide.

Highway 9 was closed at the Whatcom County border because of flooding.

Now, one of the major border crossings into Canada is closed because of flooding. From the WA State DOT:

I will be glad when Winter is done with. I do love the seasons but...

And we hit flood stage

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Nothing major but still, above the 14 foot point:

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Stopped raining and looks like the rise of the river is tapering off - we will see though...

Glad I am not driving today

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Got this in my inbox - signed up for various alerts. From the WA State Dept of Transportation:

The rain has let up but it was a lot in a very short period of time. The slide happened about 30 minutes ago.

Pineapple Express

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Looks like rain for the foreseeable future - got another large system moving in. From Cliff Mass:

The Western Washington Swamp
If it were only a bit warmer, we might gators around here. After incessant rain, grass is like mush, water is ponding and accumulating everywhere, landslides have started, the rivers are flooding, and the aroma of wetness is everywhere.

Western Washington is more like a swamp than a high-tech center, and much, more precipitation is coming. A little over a month ago, some folks were talking about a progressive drought for our region. The drought talk has ended.

Some amazing statistics were noted by my colleagues at the National Weather Service this morning (see below)---nearly every day this month has rained and a number of observing sites will break their all-time record for number of days with rain in January. Quillayute, Hoquiam, and Olympia will all beat the record, Seattle may tie it.

And say hello to our little friend:

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Wind is gusting to 21MPH - electrical power is fine here, 600+ out in British Columbia. Time to batten down the hatches...

Quite the blow

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It is coming out of the South and my home is shielded by a large bluff so I do not get the full effect but I am seeing 15MPG gusting to 23.

Some numbers: Snohomish PUD (mine) has 508 customers without electricity. Puget Sound Energy (to the south and the north) has about 100. Pacific Power has four customers in Oregon reading by candlelight. BC Hydro (coal actually) has about 150.

Loud gusting wind but no real significant damage - great news. I know around here, the crews have been doing a wonderful job trimming the trees near the power lines. A little infrastructure maintenance goes a long way. Talkin' to you California.

If one forecast doesn't get you, the other one will - from the National Weather Service:

Rock, meet hard place. I was driving North to Home Depot for supplies for this weekend and saw that the water in the irrigation ditches was the highest that I had ever seen. Sample size of two years for what that is worth but still...

It has to happen sometime - a new fresh face to be the advancing figure of the globalist state masquerading as climate change. Thunberg will be dropped like a stone in to a well. Spash. Gone. From Reuters:

'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist Greta says ahead of Davos
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said “you have not seen anything yet” before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change.

The 17-year-old, who launched the #FridaysforFuture movement that has sparked worldwide protests, denounced a lack of government action to cut heat-trapping emissions before it is too late.

“So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

Brushfires? The Australian brushfires were caused by the environmentalists preventing people from doing an annual brush burn to keep the fire load down. (fire load is the availability of combustible materials - you want to maintain a low fire load). These burns were done yearly by the Aboriginal people well before the whites came. The colonists saw the logic of this and kept burning. The environmentalists stopped the burning, the fire load increased every year until they had an unseasonably hot year and then Ka-Boom.

We have a precident with the Great Yellowstone fires of 1988 - earlier, small fires were allowed to burn unimpeded but this policy was changed in 1960's and the fire load built.

The US has changed its policy although some states refuse to see the wisdom (cough California cough). The world needs to be able to cherry pick ideas that have proven themselves to be science based and useful. Not subscribe to some random rhetoric.

Thunberg's fifteen are well over - she needs to go back to her special-ed classes and leave the world stage.

The Planet is doing just fine. The people are fscked but the Planet is fine.

And we have snow

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Looking at 2-3 inches accumulation tonight - it let up for a while but it is starting to come down with a vengence.

Cliff Mass puts it at 2-3 inches for the area:

Serious Snow Threat Tonight for Puget Sound (and a lot more)
The latest model output supports the threat of serious snow tonight for our region.

The UW's highest resolution forecast model shows substantial regional variations, with the heaviest lowland snow from Seattle northward, with far less over Tacoma. But there is uncertainty on the exact location of the snow band...so keep that in mind. Seattle will face 2-5 inches if this forecast is correct. Road temperatures are now near freezing...so this is going to stick in places where SDOT and WSDOT have not pretreated or where plows are not active.

Hunker down for a day or so.

Blow ye breezes

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22MPH with gusts to 34 - not exactly weather for kayaking but a good stiff breeze for sailing. Or hunkering down in some safe harbor with a mug of soup, a nice warm cabin and a book. Take your pick.

Dodging a bullet - snow

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Looks like the snowpocalypse is just going to be a light dusting. Very glad. From Cliff Mass:

Snow is Coming Today to Western Washington, But Not Too Much for Most
I am going to go against one of the rules of the click-baiting online world. I am not going to even hint there is going to be a big snowstorm over Puget Sound land. Yes, most of you will see some flakes, but for most the ground will be barely whitened.

As we shall see, a highly transient Arctic Front/convergence zone will bring a few hours of snow showers, with totals ranging from a few tenths of an inch near the Sound to perhaps 1-2 inches in the far eastern suburbs.

I am going to show you some forecast snow totals....but keep in mind there is lot of uncertainty regarding the exact distribution of snowfall.

The latest super-high resolution (1.3 km grid spacing) UW WRF forecast (below) for 24-h snowfall (through 4 AM Monday), shows light snow (~1 inch( over NW Washington, with 2-4 inches over the northeast Olympic Peninsula. Most of Seattle is around 1 inch, with some heavier snow east of the city. LOTS of snow in the Cascades.

Going out for a walk at Barnum Point - an exposed area with high bluffs shortly. Might be interesting. We both have good senses of self-preservation. Very windy - gusts up to 22MPH.

The winter storm

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An update from Cliff Mass:

The Detailed Snow Forecast for Sunday and Monday
We are now close enough in time that we can apply some of our most powerful prediction tools to the snow forecast problem for Sunday/Monday. Plus, we are close enough so that uncertainties have lessened.

Before I talk about that, let me note that as expected the Cascades are being hit very hard with a large snowfall, with Snoqualmie Pass receiving about 2 feet of snowfall during the past day. Snoqualmie was closed for a while, and both Snoqualmie and Stevens require chains at this time.

And Mount Baker is having some great skiing conditions - from their snow report:

Well, this is starting to sound like a broken record, but we had an amazing powder day at Baker yesterday, and today looks to be another great day with more fresh snow! We've received over 100 inches of snowfall in the past 9 days! It should be another snowy and cold day today with fun conditions, so come enjoy a classic Baker pow day with the family! 

Sounds like fun - wish we could take off and do some cross country skiing but we both have a lot on our plates for the next week or two.

Ho. Li. Crap. Cold weather

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Forecast analysis from Cliff Mass:

The Coldest Air in Years Will Hit Western Washington
This is a lot of discussion about snow, but there is something we should keep firmly in mind: the arctic air that is going to reach western Washington will be the coldest in years. Backed by strong winds in some areas, this cold will not only test our housing infrastructure (freezing pipes), but will be life threatening to those living outside or for the unprepared in higher terrain.

Highs on Tuesday will be in the 20's. And, it gets better:

And then there are the winds!  According to the high-resolution models, northeasterly winds, with gusts to 40-60 mph, will hit NW Washington, resulting in wind chills below zero.

Interesting times. I am not worried about the farm, I have not had running water there for months. Still need to get the well people out to fix it but I am only there for - at most - overnight so no water is not a hassle. Down here should be interesting. Plus, I am scheduled to give a presentation to our local arts group that next day on the 15th.

Our climate - a bit of reality

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Zero hysteria and some actual numbers from Watts Up With That:

The Climate Decade that Was: Failed Predictions, Tour De Paris, and the Gretas
As we step into a new decade, here’s a look at the climate drama that just ended.

The 2010s were dominated by the failure of doomsday prophecies, the adoption of a fantasy climate agreement, unexpected weather trends, and the beginning of the climate emergency cult movement that reminded many of the overpopulation hype of the 1970s and 1980s.

Al Gore Prophecies
Al Gore’s legacy of lies continued to spill into the second decade of this century. Contrary to his predictions in the famous climate documentary An Inconvenient Truth, polar bear populations increased, the Arctic and Antarctic remained relatively unaffected, and no major coastal economy was threatened by rising sea levels.

Gore would have had nightmares when the Canadian authorities in 2019 pondered culling polar bears because of their excess numbers caused trouble for residents in Nunavut.

No Snow Australia
Australia may be embroiled in historic wildfires—mostly caused by arson—right now. But climate scientists were caught red handed when their predictions of a snow-free Australia failed by massive proportions in the past decade.

The reason was obvious. The warming was not as pronounced as it was forecast to be, and snowfall in Australia is controlled by regional weather patterns. Moreover, there has been no significant change in the number of very hot days since World War I.

More at the site. The author closes with this little bit of truth:

One could go on and on with more amusing and interesting drama that took place in the past decade, but let us end it here. Cheers to the next decade, a decade that may very well end with global cooling doomsayers dominating our news headlines.

Why? Look up into the sky. See that bright, fiery ball? It’s in a cooling cycle.

Plain facts - not computer models.

The brush fires in Australia

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The blame? The environmentalists. From Christopher Monckton of Brenchley writing at Anthony's:

Bush bull
This will be a long posting, because it is necessary to nail the childish myth that global warming caused the bushfires in Australia. The long, severe drought in Australia, culminating in the most extensive bushfires in recent history, ought to have aroused sympathy for the cattle-ranchers who have lost their livestock and the citizens who have lost their homes. But no. Instead, those who profiteer by asserting that global warming is the cause of every extreme-weather event have rushed to state – falsely – that an “overwhelming scientific consensus” (to cite the Greens’ website) blames the incidence, extent, duration and severity of the drought and bushfires on the somewhat warmer weather caused by our having increased the atmospheric CO2 concentration by about 1 part in 10,000 from 0.03% to 0.04% by volume.

Nearly all of the news media have taken the line that capitalism in general and the non-socialist governing coalition in particular are to blame. Nearly all have failed to mention the true causes of the current firestorm.

Like Lord Monckton said when he opened, this is a very long post but he is an excellent writer and he lays out the real reasons for the fires with historical evidence that these fires are not a new thing. The aborigines used controlled burns to clear out the fire load years before any settlers moved there.

In 1642 Abel Tasman wrote of the smoke in the sky and the scorched trees wherever his expedition landed. Captain James Cook described the same conditions in 1770. This deliberate burning created the grassland landscapes that dominated pre-European Australia.

Just go and read the whole thing.

Mt. Baker snow

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From the Mt. Baker snow report:

What an incredible storm we are experiencing up here at Baker! We have received over 50 inches of snow since Friday night, but are in the midst of a temporary warm-up right now and it’s rained to mid mountain.

Snow levels are expected to drop to 3000’ tonight with continued snowfall and temperatures are forecasted to drop to 1000’ by Wednesday!! Given this scenario we are expecting to receive snow at cool temps Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday with significant snowfall measured in feet forecasted for Friday at low snow levels.

Very good news. Also, an update from Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass

The Lowland Snow Threat
I would not run to the food store yet. But there is a significant chance for some light lowland snow over portions of western Washington during the week.

Uncertainty is still high, but sufficiently cold air will be in place to allow snow to reach sea level for substantial portions of time. The issue is getting precipitation during those cold periods.

Much more at the site. What global warming?

Happy happy joy joy

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From local meteorologist Cliff Mass:

Massive Snowfall and Heavy Precipitation Will Pummel the Cascades This Week
This is going to be a week of superlatives over the region, as heavy precipitation will produce both river flooding and a huge snowfall over regional terrain. Enough snow so that skiers and ski areas will be jubilant, and enough water that fears of lack of drought this summer will be far less.

Much more at the site - making sure that my radio batteries are charged, take the generator out for a test run and thankful that I already have a month or two of food stockpiled.

Much more at the site - should be "interesting" to say the least...

A quiet Sun

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Our sun had a few spots last week from the next cycle but it has been very quiet. How quiet? From Spaceweather:

CENTURY-CLASS SOLAR MINIMUM:
On the sun, 2019 is ending the same way it began--without sunspots. The sun has been blank for 281 days this year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913 (311 days). This means we are experiencing a century-class Solar Minimum. Forecasters expect these low sunspot counts to continue in 2020. Happy New Year!

No sunspots = quiet sun

Quiet sun = cooler climate on Earth (and the other planets - Mars' icecap is growing)

Global warming? Still waiting for conclusive proof and not the results of some new computer model. CO2 is plant food.

And we are back to normal

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The waters of the mighty Stillaguamish river are back to normal after this week's pineapple express:

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Quite the disturbance in the force...

What a difference nine hours (and a pineapple express) makes - the mighty Stillaguamish River at Arlington:

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From 13,000 Cu. Ft. / Second up to 22,900 Cu. Ft. / Second. The trend line is starting to flatten out but no end in sight.

Took the pups for a walk this afternoon along the banks of the Skagit river and it was several feet higher than usual.

Rainfall - local river

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Yesterday's rainfall did not take long to manifest in the local river:

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No sign of slowing down and more rain in the forecast.

Climate change - Cliff Mass

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Once again, Cliff Mass is the absolute voice of reason in a herd of shrieking moon-bats. From today's post:

A Science-Based Approach to Dealing with Climate Change in Washington State
Sometimes I muse about it--if I were in control of Washington State's response to global warming, what would I do? What would a rational, science-based approach look like, devoid of the hype and politics that is hindering progress today?

I would start by noting few principles:
1. The implications of global warming for the Northwest is serious (more extreme rainfall, warmer temperatures, less mountain snowpack, rising sea level in place) but it won't be existential and changes will initially be relatively small, accelerating later in the century.

2. Scientists and politicians must communicate the truth--the best estimates of our science. Exaggeration and hyping impacts "to get people to do the right thing" is both unethical and counterproductive. It produces unnecessary fear or turning away from the problem.

3. The effort MUST be bipartisan. Nothing major is ever accomplished by one party, something particularly true of our divided state and nation. We must not mix political goals (e.g., social engineering) with dealing with what is essentially a scientific/technical problem (increasing concentrations of one gas).

4. Few people are willing to sacrifice today to stop global warming tomorrow (including climate scientists with huge travel-related carbon footprints). Thus, all steps should provide benefits in the short run or not produce large additional costs.

5. Global warming and its impacts will be solved with science and technology.

Very rational and well thought out - read the whole thing.

We are now at 270 days with no sunspots (77% of the total year). The last recent record was 2008 with 268 spot-free days and before that, we have to go back to 1913. I had written about this two days ago here: And it is a tie - sunspots

Stock up on firewood and warm clothing - the next couple of years might be an interesting ride.

And it is a tie - sunspots

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From Spaceweather:

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Last time we had so few sunspots was in 2008 - another solar minimum. What makes things really interesting is this from Paul Dorian writing at Watts Up With That:

Deep solar minimum on the verge of an historic milestone
The sun is currently in the midst of a deep solar minimum and it is about to reach an historic milestone. So far this year the sun has been blank (i.e., no visible sunspots) for 266 days and, barring any major surprises, it’ll reach 269 days early next week which will be the quietest year in terms of sunspots since 1913 when the sun was spotless for 311 days. In fact, the current stretch of consecutive spotless days has reached 29 and for the year the sun has been blank 77% of the time. The current record-holder in the satellite era for spotless days in a given year is 2008 when the sun was blank for 268 days making the 2008-2009 solar minimum the deepest since 1913.

Solar minimum is a normal part of the 11-year sunspot cycle, but the last one and the current one have been far deeper than most. One of the consequences of a solar minimum is a reduction of solar storms and another is the intensification of cosmic rays. The just ended solar cycle 24 turned out to be one of the weakest in more than a century – continuing a weakening trend that began in the 1980’s – and, if the latest forecasts are correct, the next solar cycle will be the weakest in more than 200 years.

And back to Spaceweather:

COSMIC RAY UPDATE: Something ironic is happening in Earth's atmosphere. Solar activity is low--very low. Yet atmospheric radiation is heading in the opposite direction. Cosmic rays percolating through the air around us are at a 5 year high.

Take a look at these data gathered by cosmic ray balloons launched by Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus almost weekly since March 2015:

20191214-cosmic.jpg

Radiation levels have been increasing almost non-stop since the monitoring program began, with recent flights registering the highest levels of all.

What's happening? The answer is "Solar Minimum"--the low point of the 11-year solar cycle. During Solar Minimum (underway now) the sun's magnetic field weakens and allows energetic particles from deep space to penetrate the Solar System. As solar activity goes down, cosmic rays go up; yin-yang.

When cosmic rays hit the top of Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles and photons that rain down on Earth's surface. This is what our balloons measure--the secondary spray. We use X-ray and gamma-ray detectors sensitive to energies in the range 10 keV to 20 MeV. This type of radiation, which you can also find in medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners, has increased more than 20% in the stratosphere.

But it is all the fossil fuel use that is causing this... Right?

Our sun is entering a period of low output and we are set to experience a cooling trend on Earth.

Rain incoming

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Cliff Mass has a way with words here:

The Northwest Weather Machine Shifts Gears
You can tell something has changed.

A look at the latest wave vapor satellite image (which shows the amount of water vapor in the middle to upper troposphere) leaves one's mouth agape, with a HUGE plume of water vapor (light color) inundating the entire West Coast. This doesn't look like the pineapple express, more like the pineapple train yard.

Emphasis mine - here is the satellite image:

20191211-satellite.jpg

Mt. Baker is pretty happy too:

Wednesday December 11 - Pre-Season Update
Everyone's snow dancing is working! It has started snowing on the mountain and the latest forecasts are calling for 20+ inches of new snow between Wednesday and Saturday morning. Given this forecast and the snow we already have on the ground, WE COULD BE OPEN AS EARLY AS TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK!

With the way the snow is coming in, we should have a good idea of where we are sitting by this Saturday afternoon and will hopefully have more details on a possible Opening Day. Looking further out, the snow is expected to return towards the middle-to-end of next week, which could set us up with a nice refresh for the weekend and Santa Photos on the 21st and 22nd!

This all depends, of course, on how the weather unfolds, so stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date info on Opening Day.

Great news for the store. Ski season is our second best time of the year.

Excellent rant from Cliff Mass - read the whole thing, not just my excerpt:

Promoters of Climate Anxiety
There is a special place in the underworld for those who promote anxiety, desperation, and terror in the most vulnerable. A place where the infernal warmth is particularly torrid.

And one does not have to spend much time looking for candidates for this netherworld--the front page of the Seattle Times will do fine.

On Sunday, our local tabloid featured a story about fearful/desperate folks dealing with their apocalyptic fears about climate change.

Like I said, go and read the whole thing - he links to the various fear-mongering in the media and excoriates them for what they are. Good stuff. The 70+ comments make for good reading.

And it is closed for the season - SR-20

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From the WA Department of Transportation:

SR 20 North Cascades Highway, between Diablo and Mazama, closing to vehicles until 2020
A snowy forecast means State Route 20 North Cascades Highway will close for the season at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11. This is the latest road closure date in more than a decade.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews close this stretch of SR 20 every year once snow fills the avalanche chutes that line the highway, which poses a safety risk to travelers and road crews.

Road closure points
The closure points start at milepost 134/Ross Dam Trailhead and at milepost 171/Silver Star Gate. When significant snow begins to fall, WSDOT crews will move the western closure point back to milepost 130/Colonial Creek Campground and the eastern closure point to milepost 177/Early Winters Campground. These weather-dependent changes usually happen in January. Signs along SR 20 are posted in advance of the closure point and updates on the WSDOT website will reflect where the road is closed.

Winter recreation on SR 20
Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationalists can access the closed portion of highway during the winter season. Users should park in designated parking areas to allow plow drivers the space they need to clear snow around the closed stretch’s access gates.

WSDOT closes this stretch of highway due to avalanche risk, so anyone using this area should check forecasts and be aware of quickly changing conditions in the mountains. Travelers can also check conditions with North Cascades National Park before trips to this area.

And that is it for the season. Yes, this is the latest date for closure in a decade but if you go back a few more years, this is not an unusual date by any means. Last week I posted this:

The current statement is that this is the latest that the pass has stayed open in the last decade - climate change.

Actually, if you look at the numbers, you can see that it closed on January 3rd, 1990 with December 8th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th and many other dates past today. This is the effect of weather, not climate.

In other news, Mt. Baker is looking at maybe opening next week:

Tuesday December 10 - Pre-Season Update
After some anxious waiting, we are finally seeing snow headed our way!

The forecast is looking positive; we should see a fair amount of new snow hit Mt. Baker Ski Area over the coming week and based on the forecast we have the potential to do setup early next week with a good possibility of opening as early as middle of next week! This depends, of course, on how the weather unfolds, so stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date info on Opening Day.

November has been an unseasonably dry month - time for the jet stream to shift back to its normal path and deliver us some moisture... R. U. Listening?

Our quiet sun

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From Space Weather:

ONE WEEK FROM A SPACE AGE RECORD: 2019 is about to set a Space Age record. So far this year, the sun has been blank (no sunspots) for 262 days, including the last 25 days in a row. If the streak continues for only 7 more days, 2019 will break the Space Age record for spotless suns.

Presaging another Maunder Minimum?

The Maunder Minimum, also known as the "prolonged sunspot minimum", is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

The term was introduced after John A. Eddy published a landmark 1976 paper in Science. Astronomers before Eddy had also named the period after the solar astronomers Annie Russell Maunder (1868–1947) and E. Walter Maunder (1851–1928), who studied how sunspot latitudes changed with time. The period the husband and wife team examined included the second half of the 17th century. Two papers were published in Edward Maunder's name in 1890 and 1894, and he cited earlier papers written by Gustav Spörer. Due to the social climate of the time, Annie's contribution was not publicly recognized.

And what is so important about sunspot numbers? Sunspots are a great proxy for solar activity - the more spots, the more active the sun is. The more energy it is giving off. The warmer we are. Little Ice Age anyone?

Heading towards a record low - sunspots

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We have already beaten the record for 2009 at 261 days with no sunspots. 2008 is the next goalpost - there were 268 days with no sunspots and we have 23 days left in this year.

As an example, there were zero days without sunspots in 2015, 2013 and 2012. This is an incredibly deep solar niminum.

Sunspots are an excellent proxy for solar output - the more sunspots, the warmer it is on Earth (and all other planets - we can see the Martian icecaps grow and shrink). Another aspect of the quiet sun is that the lower solar output means more cosmic rays hitting earth. The solar wind acts as a shield when it hits our magnetic field. Here is an excerpt of the neutron count from 1965 through current recorded at the Oulu Observatory in Finland:

20191208-oulu.jpg

Heading towards some cold cold weather...

March 2020

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