August 25, 2010

Southwest Drought?

Filed under: Droughts, Precipitation

As we have covered in previous essays, global warming alarmists insist that the southwestern United States is getting drier and will get substantially drier in the future due to the buildup of greenhouse gases. They bolster their claims by results from a relatively large number of articles in the professional scientific literature and countless comments in various UN IPCC reports. Throw in pictures of declining water levels at Lake Mead, some fountains in Las Vegas and golf courses in Phoenix, and just like magic, a scary scenario is produced.

As with virtually every other element of the climate change issue, the literature produces some surprises, and the drought in the Southwest claim runs up against some interesting realities. The latest article on this subject appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research and once again, the results are at odds with the popular perception of increased drought in the Southwest.

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August 19, 2010

The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 Part II

Filed under: Health Effects, Heat Waves

Last week we presented our analysis of the causes behind this summer’s record-breaking heat wave in western Russia.

We summarized the situation thus:

But global warming theory doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining why it’s so darn hot this summer in Moscow.

Long-term observations suggest a more basic cause—an unusual and unprecedented (at least since 1950) confluence of several naturally-occurring atmospheric circulation patterns that together combined to set the stage for extreme warmth. Add to that urbanization, changing forestry practices, and perhaps throw in a dash of global warming for good measure, and you take a situation that would otherwise be “very hot” and up it a notch to “record hot.”

Since then, another analysis has been released that concludes the same thing—actually, the new analysis is even less sympathetic to assigning any blame to global warming than even we were.

And surprise, surprise, the analysis wasn’t from some alleged fossil-fuels backed professional denialist group, but from the folks at the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce of the United States Government. These are folks who live and breathe atmospheric dynamics.

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August 12, 2010

The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010

Filed under: Health Effects, Heat Waves

The longer and deadlier the heat wave in western Russia becomes, the more frequently it is being linked to anthropogenic global warming.

But global warming theory doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining why it’s so darn hot this summer in Moscow.

Long-term observations suggest a more basic cause—an unusual and unprecedented (at least since 1950) confluence of several naturally-occurring atmospheric circulation patterns that together combined to set the stage for extreme warmth. Add to that urbanization, changing forestry practices, and perhaps throw in a dash of global warming for good measure, and you take a situation that would otherwise be “very hot” and up it a notch to “record hot.”

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August 9, 2010

Sea Level History Lesson

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

We are sure you’ve heard that sea level is rising? We conducted a web search on “Global Warming and Sea Level” and nearly 3.5 million websites are immediately located. And before you conduct the search yourself, you already know what you will find. The earth is getting warmer due to the buildup of greenhouse gases, the warmer sea water expands causing sea level to rise, and most of all, you will read all about the ice melting throughout the world pouring fresh water into ocean basins causing sea level to rise far more. Alarmists insist that the worst is just around the corner, and the sea level rise will accelerate or even quickly jump to a new level given some catastrophic collapse of large sheets of ice near the fringes of the polar areas. Coastlines will be inundated, the human misery will be on a Biblical scale, ecosystems will be destroyed … this goes on for millions of websites!

But things aren’t really so simple.

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August 2, 2010

Plant Productivity on the Rise in China (and Birds Love It!)

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Plants

We like birds and always have a special place in our essay series for good news about their future. A recent article in Acta Oecologica deals with bird diversity in China and the news could not be better, particularly given the results from three other recent studies from China that find that find that plant productivity—a primary determinent of species richness of China’s birds—is on the rise, quite probabily a result of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

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