Showing posts from January, 2016

Quakes on the Pacific Subduction Zone

There were two more earthquakes on the Pacific Subduction Zone yesterday about which the The New Yorker published a rather disturbing article suggesting massive destruction in the Pacific Northwest whenever it happens.  I am no expert but I'm arguing that as long as smaller quakes occur regularly it'll keep the pressure off the subduction zone preventing the big one from happening.  So far 10 earthquakes 4.8+  over the last 10 months on the subduction zone.  Sounds good to me.

The ones yesterday were

1-29   4.9 earthquake 272km W of Ferndale, California1-29   5.0 earthquake 256km W of Ferndale, California         
and a week ago
1-23    4.9 earthquake 154km W of Bandon Oregon and last month 12-28 4.83 earthquake 103km WNW of Eureka, California And these were reported in an earlier post, July of last year 3-25    4.9 earthquake 151km SSW of Port Hardy, Canada4-10    4.8 earthquake 163km W of Ferndale, California4-23    5.5 earthquake 253km W of Ferndale, California4-24    6.1 earth…

El Nino/La Nina and Global Warming

As I've explained, El Nino and La Nina, together called ENSO, are changes in global temperatures on top of the secular trend from the increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  As I've pointed out, and as described here, 2016 will almost certainly be an even hotter year than 2015.  

 Here is a graph that visualizes these trends

As NASAGISS director Gavin Schmidt said, The El Niño that we’re seeing is starting at the end of 2015, and so there hasn’t been enough time for that to really have an impact on the annual mean temperatures. So 2015 was warm even though there was an El Niño, and it would’ve been a record year even if you abstract out the El Niño affect, 2015 would’ve been a record warm year by a long chalk. And due to the aforementioned lag, 2016 could be even hotter yet. Prof Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, said in an interview with Carbon Brief, Given the strength of the current El Niño, we expect 2016 to be even warmer globally than 2…

The Big East Coast Snowfall

Global warming paradoxically increases the chances of large snowfalls, at least until the global temperature goes low enough to turn it into giant rainfalls.  As explained here, by Michael Mann
“There is peer-reviewed science that now suggests that climate change will lead to more of these intense, blizzard-producing nor’easters, for precisely the reason we’re seeing this massive storm — unusually warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures (temperatures are in the 70s off the coast of Virginia).” When you mix extra moisture with “a cold Arctic outbreak (something we’ll continue to get even as global warming proceeds),” as Mann points out, “you get huge amounts of energy and moisture, and monster snowfalls, like we’re about to see here.”When I was young living in Spokane, the air was dry and we had frozen-over lakes without snow on them.  Really cold air is dry air.  Warm air is wet, and global warming means wetter air.  There's a "sweet spot" where the air is not to cold n…

Best Case Scenario

In an earlier post, I described a global warming best case scenario.  If the world was able to bring down the emissions of greenhouse gases, we would have the chance to keep the rise in temperatures to below about 2.5 degrees Celsius.  Our extreme weather, the droughts, the floods, may get a little worse, but we should be able to handle it.  The next large task will be to figure out how to feed the 8 billion people that'll be on planet by 2050, but we should have the wherewithal to solve that just as the Green Revolution staved off demographic disaster in the 1970.

But there's one thing that won't be held off.  It's already on its way whatever we do about global warming.  And that's a significant rise in sea level, as I describe in a previous post: Goodbye Miami, goodbye New Orleans.  

The scientific evidence there suggests at least a two foot increase in sea level by 2030.  But events may be advancing dramatically.  As reported recently Glaciologists Tenney Naumer…

Merchants of Doubt

Jan and I watched the Merchants of Doubt last night.  It is a documentary based on a book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.  It is an amazing look into the operations of wealthy companies who are willing to sacrifice, literally, the lives of people to preserve their profits.

It begins with the public relation campaigns of the cigarette companies against medical research showing a connection between lung cancer and cigarette smoking.  It was there that all the tricks of the obfuscation trade were developed that were used again and again to fight against scientific research threatening corporation profits.

After cigarettes it was asbestos, then flame retardant chemicals in cribs getting into children's bloodstreams affecting their health.  Firefighters said the flame retardants didn't really help.  It's interesting that the flame retardant was initially proposed to save people who fell asleep while smoking cigarettes.  It was cigarette manufacturers who made cigarettes tha…

Are Alarmists Going Too Far About Global Warming?

Global warming denial is shifting to accepting that it's real, but not "civilization-threatening".  The Cato Institute is a prominent Libertarian think tank.  From the Cato Institute's official statement on global warming:
“Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975.  Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.” [11] There will be time to get things back under control.  Global warming people (like me) are "alarmists", exaggerating the consequences.

"Alarmist" means, I suppose, that we are like the boy crying wolf.  Or the chicken warning about the sky falling.  It is certainly true that I have described some verygrimscenarios which most assume that we will do nothing to stop greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.  But there was the recent Paris Confer…


Global warming has resulted in more atmospheric moisture and warming oceans.  This is a recipe for powerful hurricanes, or as they call them in Asia, typhoons.  So far EastAsia, in particular the Philippines and Taiwan have borne the brunt of the more powerful typhoons, a number of them category 5 storms, the most severe type.

It has been relatively quiet in the Atlantic the last few years but that may be over for 2016.  We have just experienced a monster El Nino which will weaken during 2016.  History shows us we may need to worry.  During the last time period with a weakening El Nino, 1998, we had 14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, three of them category 3 or greater.

Plan summer and fall trips to the South carefully later this year.