June 28, 2007

Hurricane Hysteria

Filed under: Climate Extremes, Hurricanes

Besides being darned good forecasters, the good people at the National Hurricane Center are also paragons of social sensitivity. Consequently, storms are given names reflective of the cultures through which they are likely to pass. Hurricanes in the Atlantic basin are given anglicized names or ones that are roughly familiar in both English and Spanish. Alberto, Bob, Gloria. In the Eastern Pacific, where storms frequently hit western Mexico, almost all the names are purely Spanish.

In this vein, we’d like to vote that this year’s “H” storm in the Atlantic be given the name Hysteria. As in caused-by-global-warming-hysteria. As in the perception that there’s been a tremendous increase in the damages caused by these storms caused by global warming.

The name should be “Hysteria,” because that’s simply, flatly, untrue.

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June 26, 2007

Mont Blanc Glaciers Refuse to Shrink?

If you have an interest in global warming and its effect on mountain glaciers, you will be thrilled to know that there are over one million websites on the subject. Even before you get to the first site, you already know what you will find. Burning fossil fuels increases atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the Earth is warming, mountain glaciers are in full retreat all over the planet, delicate ecosystems are in peril, and humans who rely on the freshwater from mountain glaciers better get creative fast. Recall that in the Gore film, a great deal of attention was paid to the diminishing “snows of Kilimanjaro” – Gore has made hay in Glacier National Park as well pointing to shrinking glaciers. Retreating mountain glaciers have become a poster-child of the global warming alarmists – no presentation on the subject is complete without one.

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June 18, 2007

Winnipeg River: Better than Ever

Filed under: Droughts, Floods, Precipitation

There is little doubt that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will generally cause the Earth to warm and alter precipitation patterns in various parts of the globe. Changes in precipitation and temperature will thereby impact hydrological systems, and the global warming alarmists love to show images of floods or dried-up streams to make the threat of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect look as bad as possible. Indeed, the global warming scare has deep roots in the drought of 1988 over the southeastern United States that created an anomalous low flow on the Mississippi River (recall headlines about the Mississippi River drying up?). If you have forgotten, the summer of 1988 also gave us the huge wildfires of the West (Yellowstone Park burned in that summer and fall) as well as Hurricane Gilbert, and those images of how global warming will impact us have lived on powerfully ever since.

The literature on how the enhanced greenhouse effect will alter streams and rivers shows us everything from floods to record-breaking low flows, and of course, both will be bad for humans and natural ecosystems. Floods are definitely bad, but in low flow situations, agriculture will be severely impacted, direct human use of water would need to be curtailed, and if the stream provides hydropower, the impacts can be severe in the energy sector.

Canada is a mid-to-high latitude, northern hemispheric land mass where global warming is expected to be far greater than in other parts of the world, and this warming will surely be felt by the streams across their country. An article has appeared in a recent issue of Journal of Hydrology entitled “Streamflow in the Winnipeg River Basin, Canada: Trends, Extremes and Climate Linkages” by Scott St. George of the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Arizona. The final sentence of the abstract caught our eye as he wrote “the potential threats to water supply faced by the Canadian Prairie provinces over the next few decades will not include decreasing streamflow in the Winnipeg River basin.” We knew immediately that we had a Winnipeg winner on the line! Let the world know that funding for his work was provided by Manitoba Hydro, the Manitoba Geological Survey, the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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June 12, 2007

A Kilimanjaro We-told-you-so

File this one under “we been telling you this for years.”

The headline of the University of Washington press release reads “The woes of Kilimanjaro: Don’t blame global warming.” The press release was prepared to announce an article in an upcoming issue of American Scientist magazine (linked to by the press release), by Phil Mote (University of Washington research scientist and State Climatologist of Washington) and Georg Kaser (glaciologist at the University of Insbruck, Austria)

The press release begins:

The “snows” of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro inspired the title of an iconic American short story, but now its dwindling icecap is being cited as proof for human-induced global warming.

However, two researchers writing in the July-August edition of American Scientist magazine say global warming has nothing to do with the decline of Kilimanjaro’s ice, and using the mountain in northern Tanzania as a “poster child” for climate change is simply inaccurate.

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June 5, 2007

Tropical Cyclones Decreasing in China?

Filed under: Climate Extremes, Hurricanes

The greenhouse crowd had a field day following the active North Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, and they continue to do their best blaming any unusual tropical storm activity on global warming. Katrina remains the poster child for the link between warmer conditions and hurricanes. In the Gore film, Al explains how simple it is – warmer water will generate more storms and storms that are more powerful (and then run the Katrina footage – it seems to work every time). However, the North Atlantic hurricane season of 2006 was somewhat of a dud, so the blame machine is more than ready to go in 2007. You may have heard that tropical storm Andrea formed weeks before the 2007 official hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) got underway, and now with tropical storm Barry, we have two storms early on, and of course, global warming is to blame.

Perhaps not.

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