Rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, early Monday morning, meaning thousands went without electricity for periods of time as temperatures fell into the teens near Dallas and 20s (about minus 5 degrees Celsius) around Houston.
Austin’s electric utility Austin Energy told residents the outages may be longer than usual, prompting angry social media replies from Texans who said they’d been without power for five or more hours.
“Typical events allow short durations of each outage, but outages are longer if the ERCOT grid requires — which is what we’re seeing in today’s event,” Austin Energy wrote on Twitter.
The utility advised residents to keep their keep their thermostat set to 68 degrees or lower, and to avoid using their oven or washing machine. Businesses were likewise advised to minimize operations to conserve energy.
Following the historic snowstorms of the past few weeks, Japan has been hit again: at least 13 people died and more than 250 were injured as record snowfall blanketed regions along the Sea of Japan coast, according to the latest report by the nation’s Disaster Management Agency.
Among those to have lost their lives were three people in Fukui Prefecture, and four in Niigata Prefecture, all reportedly while trying to remove the snow which topped a whopping 3.13 meters (10.3 feet) in some areas.
According to Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA), at least 10 monitoring stations along the Sea of Japan set new all-time 72-hour snowfall records late on Jan. 10, and many more busted all-time low temperature records, including in Furue, Kamigoori, and Kuzakai–with the latter logging a bone-chilling -24C (-11F).
The major winter storm that hit the Eastern United States on Wednesday and Thursday probably prompted some people to ask, “What happened to global warming?”
But although it’s becoming increasingly clear that climate change does have an effect on storms, the relationship can be complex and, yes, counterintuitive. “There were these expectations that winter was basically going to disappear on us,” said Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at AER, a company that provides information to clients about weather and climate-related risk.
Although winters are becoming warmer and somewhat milder over all, extreme weather events have also been on the increase, and especially in the Northeastern United States, as Dr. Cohen pointed out in a recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. From the winter of 2008-9 until 2017-18, there were 27 major Northeast winter storms, three to four times the totals for each of the previous five decades.
Normally between 3 to 4 typhoons form in the Pacific in July. Up to 8 have formed in the past, e.g. on 2017 and 1971. But this year July failed to see a single typhoon form – the first time this has occurred since 1951.
by P. Homewood, February 10, 2020 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat
Britain is facing further mayhem over the next 48 hours in the wake of Storm Ciara which battered Britain with winds of up to 100mph causing widespread flooding and travel chaos.
Hundreds of flights were grounded, motorways and main roads shut and trains cancelled and delayed in the wake of a storm that threatens further disruption.
The Met Office warned that ‘exceptional’ gusts of up to 70mph would strike again on Monday and issued snow and ice warnings for large swathes of northern England and almost all of Scotland. The south of England will also be hit for a second day by heavy winds.
Gusts of 97mph were recorded at the Needles off the Isle of Wight while Manchester Airport was buffeted by winds of up to 86mph.
Though the media like to tell their audience that man-made climate change is leading to more extreme weather, the data don’t support it. In fact, one could easily argue that Japan’s climate is more agreeable today.
No trend in long-term annual precipitation
Over the past 100 years, for example, annual precipitation has not trended in an particular direction over the long term, showing rather some cyclical attributes:
There have been six hurricanes in total, including three major ones, Dorian, Humberto and Lorenzo. Coincidentally both numbers are the same as the average since 1950.
According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, many hurricanes were missed in the earlier decades. Systematic aircraft reconnaissance began in 1944, but this only covered half of the Atlantic basin, until daily satellite monitoring started in 1966.
by J. Curry, Sep; 9, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
I used to be concerned about ‘consensus enforcement’ on the topic of climate change. Now I am concerned about ‘alarmism enforcement.’
Ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, any hurricane causing catastrophic damage has been seized upon by climate alarmists as evidence of the horrors of global warming.
As if the record-holding hurricanes from the 1920s through the 1950s never happened.
The catastrophic damage to the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian is no different. The ‘official’ statement from the alarmist contingent of climate scientists appears to be this article in the Guardian, by Mann and Dessler:
Unfortunately for the alarmists, there are several factors that are getting in the way of the public promotion of the Mann/Dessler narrative:
Alabama-gate: President Trump’s insistence on defending his erroneous statements about the forecasts for Dorian impacting Alabama. A good article summarizing all this was co-authored by one of my former students at Georgia Tech, Brandon Miller [link].
After the Alabama National Weather Service office made a statement that Alabama was not at risk from Dorian, NOAA issued a statement defending President Trump [link].
A WaPo article describes this latest development [link], and the subsequent outrage among scientists and NOAA employees (past and present.
This whole situation is taking the oxygen out of the room in terms of discussions regarding Dorian and global warming. Gotta wonder if this was the strategy?
Warming temperatures and changes in ocean circulation and salinity are driving the breakup of ice sheets in Antarctica, but a new study suggests that intense storms may help push the system over the edge.
A research team led by U.S. and Korean scientists deployed three moorings with hydrophones attached seaward of the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica’s Ross Sea in December of 2015, and were able to record hundreds of short-duration, broadband signals indicating the fracturing of the ice shelf.
The “icequakes” primarily took place between January and March of 2016, with the front of the ice sheet calving into two giant icebergs on April 7. The day the icebergs drifted away from the shelf coincided with the largest low-pressure storm system the region had recorded in the previous seven months, the researchers say.
Results of the study are being published this week in Frontiers in Earth Science.
R. P. Dziak, W. S. Lee, J. H. Haxel, H. Matsumoto, G. Tepp, T.-K. Lau, L. Roche, S. Yun, C.-K. Lee, J. Lee, S.-T. Yoon. Hydroacoustic, Meteorologic and Seismic Observations of the 2016 Nansen Ice Shelf Calving Event and Iceberg Formation. Frontiers in Earth Science, 2019; 7 DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00183
Politics versus science in attributing extreme weather events to manmade global warming.
If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I was scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Jun 12 [link]. The subject of the Hearing is Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.
Late on Jun 10, I received an email telling me that the Hearing is postponed (as yet unscheduled). Apparently the Committee finds it more urgent to have a Hearing related to holding the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress [link]. Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.
So I spent all last week working on my testimony (which is why there have been no new blog posts). I hope the Hearing will eventually happen (Michael Mann is also scheduled to testify).
Hurricanes and climate change constitute a major portion of my testimony. You may recall my recent series on Hurricanes & climate change [link]. Specifically with regards to detection and attribution, my bottom line conclusion was:
“In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. Manmade climate change may have caused changes in hurricane activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations. But at this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.”
With the devastating Dayton, Ohio tornadoes fresh on our minds, it is useful to examine exactly why (modest) global warming has produced fewer – not more – of such events.
The simple answer is that tornado formation requires unusually cool air.
Very few thunderstorms produce tornadoes. In the hot and humid tropics, they are virtually unheard of. The reason why is that (unlike hurricanes) tornadoes require strong wind shear, which means wind speed increasing and changing direction with height in the lower atmosphere.
These conditions exist only when a cool air mass collides with a warm air mass. And the perfect conditions for this have existed this year as winter has refused to lose its grip on the western United States. So far for the month of May 2019, the average temperature across the U.S. is close to 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.
Although many meteorologists and climatologists confirm that there is no data suggesting global warming is causing more frequent and intense tornado and hurricane activity, there is a small but influential alarmist group who claim otherwise. And it’s no surprise who the click-baiting media parrot at maximum volume.
Landfalling hurricanes downward trend
At the 5:45 mark, Joe presents a chart depicting the frequency of US landfalling hurricanes since 1900:
Seasonal #hurricane forecast from @ColoradoStateU predicts slightly below-average season: 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes & 2 major (Cat 3+, >=111 mph) hurricanes. Primary reason for slightly below-avg forecast is anticipated continuation of weak #ElNino.
We anticipate that the 2019 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly belownormal activity. The current weak El Niño event appears likely to persist and perhaps even strengthen this summer/fall. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are slightly below normal, and the far North Atlantic is anomalously cool.
Our Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is below its long-term average. We anticipate a slightly below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean. As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.
PROBABILITIES FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE LANDFALL ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING COASTAL AREAS:
1) Entire continental U.S. coastline – 48% (average for last century is 52%)
2) U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida – 28% (average for last century is 31%)
3) Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 28% (average for last century is 30%)
PROBABILITY FOR AT LEAST ONE MAJOR (CATEGORY 3-4-5) HURRICANE TRACKING INTO THE CARIBBEAN
(10-20°N, 88-60°W) 1) 39% (average for last century is 42%)
Things often calm down after January 1 during El Nino years….but not this year…with the U.S. West Coast from central California to Washington State about to be pummeled by a series of storms. Rain, snow, wind? Plenty for everyone.
A view of the latest infrared satellite imagery shows an amazing line-up of one storm after another stretching way into the Pacific. A traffic jam of storms.
Let’s examine our stormy future, using a series of sea level pressure forecasts from the UW WRF weather forecast models (solid lines are sea level pressure, shading in lower atmosphere temperature).
In the whirlwind that is 2018, there has been a notable lack of high-end twisters.
We’re now days away from this becoming the first year in the modern record with no violent tornadoes touching down in the United States. Violent tornadoes are the strongest on a 0 to 5 scale, or those ranked EF4 or EF5.
It was a quiet year for tornadoes overall, with below normal numbers most months. Unless you’re a storm chaser, this is not bad news. The low tornado count is undoubtedly a big part of the reason the 10 tornado deaths in 2018 is also vying to be a record low.
While we still have several days to go in 2018, and some severe weather is likely across the South to close it out, odds favor the country making it the rest of the way without a violent tornado.
If and when that happens, it will be the first time since the modern record began in 1950.
Sediment cores from Western Lake provide a 7000-yr record of coastal environmental changes and catastrophic hurricane landfalls along the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle. Using Hurricane Opal as a modern analog, we infer that overwash sand layers occurring near the center of the lake were caused by catastrophic hurricanes of category 4 or 5 intensity. Few catastrophic hurricanes struck the Western Lake area during two quiescent periods 3400–5000 and 0–1000 14C yr B.P. The landfall probabilities increased dramatically to ca. 0.5% per yr during an “hyperactive” period from 1000–3400 14C yr B.P., especially in the first millennium A.D. The millennial-scale variability in catastrophic hurricane landfalls along the Gulf Coast is probably controlled by shifts in the position of the jet stream and the Bermuda High.
I’ve updated a plot of Florida major hurricane strikes since 1900 with Hurricane Michael, and the result is that there is still no trend in either intensity or frequency of strikes over the last 118 years:
Les côtes de Flandre n’ont pas toujours été aussi paisibles qu’aujourd’hui, et je n’oublie pas le raz-de-marée du 31 janvier 1953 qui toucha les Pays-Bas et notre littoral, faisant plus de 1800 morts et des dégâts considérables. (photo : à Ostende).
Pêchés dans diverses chroniques et ouvrages (notamment “La Flandre mystérieuse” de Saint Hilaire), j’en ai fait une compilation qui n’a bien entendu aucune prétention scientifique ou historique, mais ces événements avaient laissé une trace dans la mémoire populaire, trace qui a hélas fortement tendance à s’effacer.
J’y ajoute quelques événements survenus en France et aux Pays-Bas, dont on peut raisonnablement penser au vu de leur localisation, qu’ils eurent des conséquences sur nos côtes
Even before Hurricane Florence made landfall somewhere near the border of North and South Carolina, predicted damage from potentially catastrophic flooding from the storm was already being blamed on global warming.
Writing for NBC News, Kristina Dahl contended, “With each new storm, we are forced to question whether this is our new, climate change-fueled reality, and to ask ourselves what we can do to minimize the toll from supercharged storms.”
The theory is that tropical cyclones have slowed down in their speed by about 10 percent over the past 70 years due to a retreat of the jet stream farther north, depriving storms of steering currents and making them stall and keep raining in one location. This is what happened with Hurricane Harvey in Houston last year.
But like most claims regarding global warming, the real effect is small, probably temporary, and most likely due to natural weather patterns …
All around the world the climate druids are at work.
Show me the error bars
Once upon a time a scientist talked about thirty year trends and anachronistic things like “confidence intervals”. Now, thanks to the discovery of Unscience, any noisy, random short data is fair game to be declared undeniable climate change. Periods of flooding also qualify, as do periods of nice weather, though strangely no one mentions those. Where are the headlines? If climate change caused drought on the East Coast of Australia, it’s also causing average rain and good crops in Western Australia.
In terms of scientific data analysis we don’t get that many droughts or six-day-August-heatwaves to analyze. They’re complex phenomena caused by multiple factors and we only have short records. This makes them ideal to be oversold to hapless folk as a “sign” of climate change.
One of the main difficulties with tornado records is that a tornado, or evidence of a tornado must have been observed. Unlike rainfall or temperature, which may be measured by a fixed instrument, tornadoes are short-lived and very unpredictable. If a tornado occurs in a place with few or no people, it is not likely to be documented. Many significant tornadoes may not make it into the historical record since Tornado Alley was very sparsely populated during the 20th century.
Much early work on tornado climatology in the United States was done by John Park Finley in his book Tornadoes, published in 1887. While some of Finley’s safety guidelines have since been refuted as dangerous practices, the book remains a seminal work in tornado research. The University of Oklahoma created a PDF copy of the book and made it accessible at John Finley’s Tornadoes(link is external)
What’s wrong with comparing Super Storm Sandy’s devastation with projected sea level rise? They are two different things! One is a storm surge, the other an incremental change in either sea level or land subsidence (sinking) or both. For one we can evacuate the immediate area where landfall is forecast to hit in order to save lives. For the other, we have the time to build dikes and barriers like those in England and Holland, or flood-proof, or move. Super Storm Sandy is not unprecedented, and neither are extremely stormy and erratic periods of climate with catastrophic storms, like the Grote Mandrenke — The Great Drowning of Men — of the Little Ice Age. Let me set some perspective.
For those that are sure there’s global warming driving tornadoes and other severe weather events, here’s some inconvenient news. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. has updated his tornado loss data via his Twitter account. He writes: