Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cold Winters: Arctic Sea Ice.

The importance of Arctic sea-ice in Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation is well established. The driving force of the circulation of the atmosphere is the pole to equator temperature gradient, flows being modified by geography and the spin of the Earth. However the impacts of the radical reduction in Arctic sea-ice that have been seen in the last decade are only now being fully appreciated, with ongoing research details are becoming more clear. Amongst these impacts there is the prospect for a contribution of reduced sea-ice to colder winters in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cold Winters: Siberian Snowfall.

Though observed global temperature trends continue to
warm with no observed reversals (according to NOAA,
globally it was the fifth warmest December–February (DJF)
period), public perceptions were clearly influenced increasing
skepticism towards global warming (e.g., New York Times
Feb 10, 2010; Wall Street Journal Feb 16, 2010). Therefore,
we would argue that attribution of the harsh winter weather is
critical to the debate of anthropogenic climate change.
Cohen et al 2010.

The winter of 2009/10 was very unusual. It was dominated by a low index Arctic Oscillation (AO), the value for February being -4.27 (NOAA), the lowest since records began in 1950. The winter was dominated by this negative AO and the consequently weak polar vortex, which allowed cold Arctic air masses to spill out into mid latitude regions causing extensive disruption due to cold and snow, while inflowing air warmed the Arctic. Cohen et al 2010 provides an explanation of why this happened.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

BBC: Frozen Planet.

On Wednesday 26 October at 09:00pm the BBC will be showing David Attenborough's latest documentary. Entitled "Frozen Planet."
The seven part series, four years in the making, will examine life at the poles, needless to say it will cover the changes being wrought by climate change on the ecosystems at the poles. This is an aspect which whilst touched upon in posts by blogs like Arctic Sea Ice Blog,, Patrick Lockerby, and other amateur enthusiasts following the demise of the Arctic, doesn't seem to be represented in a dedicated biology oriented blog.

Radio Times magazine has a lengthy article about the series in which Attenborough is quoted. The final episode of the series is particularly about the changes that will be touched upon in earlier episodes. The final line is:
Can we respond now to what is happening to the frozen planet?
Radio Times asks Attenborough how urgent our response to climate change should be. He replies:
As urgent as it can get, this is a mouse trying to move a mountain.... It has to exert every sinew to try and shift this huge boulder. So it's no good saying 'Well, it would be quite nice if we shitfed the boulder' - you've got to use all your energies and say, 'Look, this is really important.
When asked if he's convinced that global warming is man made Attenborough replies:
In one sense it is irrelevant, in that whatever the causes we cannot ignore what is happening. But I have no doubt that it is man made. 
This looks to be an epic and informative series at a vital time of vast climate change in the Arctic, but will it change anything. Will humanity keep the foot on the accelerator and drive right past this bleedin' obvious warning sign? Attenborough says he's pessimistic, I am too, but you won't find me arguing that case anywhere. Humanity can achieve great things when people have faith in their actions, I won't undermine the efforts to make humanity change path.

I'll continue to do what I can. I don't drive or take holidays abroad anymore, I get the bus to work. The heating doesn't go on unless it gets stupidly cold (i.e. not at all most winters). I've started a blog, so that the genuinely undecided can see a growing number of voices crying alarm at what's going on.

We can all only do what we can do. At least then if this process does turn out to be as bad as it may well be and future generations ask why we let it happen, we can say we acted, we did not stand silently or idly by. We can refer such questioners on to the deniers.

What will the deniers say?

Cold Winters: Low solar activity.

Research shows that there is very likely a role of solar forcing in the occurence of cold winters in Northwestern Europe. Mechanisms remain somewhat unclear, although as we seem likely to be entering a period of low solar activity, possibly similar to the Maunder Minimum that caused the Little Ice Age, there should be ample chances for observation to pin down the causal linkages involved.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cold Winters: Opening comments.

On 20/9/11 a UK paper, The Daily Express, published a story stating that a long term weather forecaster predicted another unusually cold winter for the UK. This is part of a general mood in Britain with many people seeming to expect colder winters on the basis of the last two winters.

Shifting Sun-Earth-Moon Harmonies.... WTF!

There's an, ahem, interesting page and paper at What The F**K's Up With That? Never was a humorous acronym so apt. ask the community to start thinking carefully about what can be learned from rotating multivariate lunisolar spatiotemporal phase relations shared by Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP) and terrestrial climate records, while seizing the same opportunity to highlight critical omissions in “classic” works on alleged solar-barycentric terrestrial influences (section II).
The material reads like it was put together using SciGen. A site that allows you to compose gibberish of an equal order, like this.

I've skipped through the document and it seems to be a extreme case of Gerlich and Tscheuschner's leaving the disproof of the Greenhouse effect as an exercise for the reader. Von Neuman once said "With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk." From the graphs this appears at face value to be an extreme example of that. But frankly I can't be sure as it's hard to discern a structured argument.

Have WTFUWT been had by a practical joke?

Monday, 10 October 2011


There's been a study recently that is being touted (e.g.) as showing that AGW denialists are more scientifically literate than those who accept AGW.

Matters arising from D'Aleo 3: The 1940s and the present.

The warming of the 1940s was not like the current warming. There are differences in observations and the model evidence supports the idea that while the 1940s was an outcome of natural variability, whereas the recent warming is externally forced.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Matters Arising from D'Aleo 2: The AMO & PDO.

Regarding the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). D'Aleo claims it "Looks like an awfully good fit. There is very little, if any, global warming." I've already pointed the following out to him. The Center for Atmospheric Research suggests that the major part of recent ocean warming in the AMO is due to global warming, once the global warming signature is removed the AMO is rather a small effect. So that source suggests that if warmer ocean waters due to the AMO are substantially responsible for loss of Arctic sea-ice, then it is global warming that is causing most of the warming.