Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Everybody Talks About the Weather...

Mark Twain famously observed, "everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it".  Some time in the last 20 years, undoubtedly driven by the climate change hysteria, we seem to have lost the historical perception that weather changes.  As the saying goes, "climate is what you expect,  weather is what you get".  It's mathematically impossible to predict weather over long periods of time for large areas; a discovery by Edward Lorenz during computer modeling of weather systems was one of the origins of what came to be called Chaos Theory.  Chaos theory frequently ends up focused on the behavior of systems of partial differential equations, and their "sensitive dependence on initial conditions".  A whole popular vocabulary sprung up around this: think of the butterfly effect - the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings today affects the development of a storm a thousand miles away in a week. 

The partial differential equations that describe the behavior of fluids, like the atmosphere and water - the equations of fluid dynamics - are inherently unsolvable.  It's like 18 equations in 20 unknowns (IIRC).  The only way to solve a system of these is to assign initial conditions to some of the equations, creating a boundary condition.

The US Drought monitor shows that our friends in the middle of the country, from Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee west through much of the bread basket of the US are suffering a serious drought.  The map shows the broad reach of the severe to exceptional drought.  Friends and family in this region are relaying temperatures in the upper 90s to over 100.  I don't need to tell you these are extremely unusual events up there.  Just as strangely, here in the Silicon Swamp, the summer has been mild and wet.  Yes, it gets into the lower 90s here, but days like yesterday, when it starts raining early and stays cloudy all day, our high was 85.  The month of June had an average high temperature almost a full four degrees cooler than average, and a rainfall one and half inches wetter than average. 

The vagaries of weather.  Strange that it should be hotter in Hoosieropolis than Florida, but it has been.

I've quoted Dr. Ryan Maue at Florida State University before, a young Ph.D. studying tropical weather systems.  I dropped by today to see if there was anything going on in the tropics to be aware of, and found this interesting item:
March 2012: Another record falls... La Nina causes record suppression of global tropical storm numbers ...

The last two calendar years saw a total of 146 global tropical cyclones, the lowest 2-year total in records since at least 1970. In the past 24-months, including ongoing Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity, there have been a total of 141 global tropical storms. This is also a record low.
The lowest number of storms in two calendar years and in 24 continuous months.  Bear this in mind the next time you come across someone saying that global warming or whatever they call it this week is causing more hurricanes and more severe hurricanes, direct them to Dr. Maue. 

This, too, is the vagaries of weather. 


Cheesy said...

Polar shift is a documented event that has happened in the past and can account for change in the weather. Unfortunately man can do nothing about it.
Global warming is a scam to relieve people and wealthier nations of their money.

Penny Pincher said...

It's a pity that Al Gore doesn't walk his talk. I understand he has a private jet and a fleet of gas guzzlers, and his electric bill at his mansion is enormous. Oh, but it's global warming, so give all your money to Al Gore, that'll fix it.

One time some other customer at the tire place where I get my oil changed was excoriating me for not believing in global warming, his car became finished, and he drove off... in a HUMMER. Jeezopete. I just looked at the clerk and said, "...Yep. He's off to fight global warming in his Hummer."

I practice some "green" things just to save money. But if someone is going to tell me I need to pay some enormous tax or have austerity because of carbon or global warming, and then they drive off in a Hummer, they can kiss my ever-loving petunia.

Graybeard said...

Polar shift is a real thing, but the time scales are huge compared to weather systems. I think we can say that for recorded human history it has been the same.

Borepatch does a really good job at exploding global warming bull crap; I've only done a few pieces on it. The take home thing to remember is that even if we shut down all of modern life and returned CO2 emissions to 1880s levels, using the greenies' own numbers and methods we wouldn't change things at all.

Add to that the fact that when you remove all of the adjustments done to the temperature series you remove all the warming. You're left with the realization that it is "man-made" global warming, and the men that caused it are James Hanssen at NASA and a few others who dorked with the temperature record over and over until it gave the results they wanted.