A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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The biggest unnoticed storms in the world cause sudden Polar Vortex havoc

 Sudden Stratospheric Warmings

Who knew? The polar vortices are the two strongest and largest “storms” on the planet. These continent scale storms are 600 miles across with winds raging at 300km per hour. Simon Clark is doing (or has done) a PhD in polar vortexes. He describes how  each winter they form high over the poles. These are stratospheric, circling far above jet streams and planes. The tight circular pattern keeps the coldest air corralled. But every now again, the neat circle falls apart. In the polar stratosphere sometimes temperatures warm in days by stupid amounts, like 50 degrees C. It’s called a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) and one started around Christmas time.

As Clark describes it, these are easily the most violent weather events on the planet.  (They sound fascinating). As with unbalanced centrifuges, when things unravel,  as the high speed system unravels, the arctic cold could spin off anywhere — this week it’s the US, but Europe and Russia are often targets too. There is a lag involved — after an SSW it may take two weeks for things to hit the fan on the surface, so to speak. Generally, when an SSW hits it presages a brutal [...]

Far Southern Ocean cools. Kiss Goodbye to polar amplication around Antarctica

A map of the sea surface zone that has cooled since 1979 — from 56S – 72S . It’s a pretty big area. Click to enlarge.

For years the IPCC have said that warming would be amplified at the poles. They warned us things would heat up twice as fast, which would melt sea ice. The oceans surface in turn would switch from being reflective white to a dark absorbing deep blue. Enormous amounts of energy would then flow into the ocean instead of being reflected back out to space. The more it warmed, the more it would warm — unleashing a devastating feedback loop.

As the Arctic warmed, the merchants of doom were keen to tell us how how right they were and this was evidence of man-made warming. But in the Antarctic exactly the opposite trend was taking place.

Mike Jonas has done what the IPCC should have been doing — investigating the trends in the Sea Surface Temperature in the polar latitudes with satellite records. In the latitude band from 56 to 72 degrees south the oceans have cooled, not warmed. The models don’t even have the sign of the trend correct. At the latitudes where [...]

#DataGate! First ever audit of global temperature data finds freezing tropical islands, boiling towns, boats on land

What were they thinking?

The fate of the planet is at stake, but the key temperature data set used by climate models contains more than 70 different sorts of problems.  Trillions of dollars have been spent because of predictions based on this data – yet even the most baby-basic quality control checks have not been done.

Thanks to Dr John McLean, we see how The IPCC demands for cash rest on freak data, empty fields, Fahrenheit temps recorded as Celsius, mistakes in longitude and latitude, brutal adjustments and even spelling errors.

Why. Why. Why wasn’t this done years ago?

So much for that facade. How can people who care about the climate be so sloppy and amateur with the data?

HadCrut4 Global Temperature, 1850 – 2018.

Absurdity everywhere in Hadley Met Centre data

There are cases of tropical islands recording a monthly average of zero degrees — this is the mean of the daily highs and lows for the month. A spot in Romania spent one whole month averaging minus 45 degrees. One site in Colombia recorded three months of over 80 degrees C. That is so incredibly hot that even the minimums there were [...]

Study shows we can save the Arctic with ship pollution?

Shipping tracks, cloud patterns over the ocean. | Photo NASA.

Ships leave a trail of sulfur dioxide in the sky behind them which seeds clouds and causes cooling. At the same time, black soot drops out on the arctic ice, absorbs sunlight and causes warming. So which effect is bigger? Scott Stephenson et al tried to figure out that out and the cooling effect won.

The researchers also factored in global anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas concentration trajectories, adopted by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), at a level closely aligning with today’s trends, along with global economic output that will drive the transport of goods.

“We attempted to fully integrate the interactions between the various components of the climate system in ways that have not been done before,” Stephenson says.

The main result was that the cooling effect won out over the warming effect in the simulations, to the tune of about one degree Celsius.

 Zowie. One real degree of Arctic cooling sounds like rather a lot — even undoing greenhouse gas warming as well as soot based warming.

The cooling effect stops if we clean the smoke stack and remove the [...]

Bombcyclone — “a bad storm with good branding”

” The Bomb Cyclone isn’t a winter hurricane — just a bad storm with good branding” — Vox

A “Bombcyclone” off the East Coast of the USA is verging on, or has broken a record for the fastest drops in pressure. It’s now at 965mb. It’s not a bomb, nor a cyclone, just a common winter storm. Though this one is a bad one which has already dumped snow on Florida- “most snow in three decades”.  The hastag #BombCyclone is exploding.

Also known as a Blizzard, the National Weather Service forecasting winds as high as 70 miles per hour (113 km per hour), and more than 3,300 flights have been cancelled. — Reuters

BombCyclone, NE USA, Jan 4th.

Record breaking?

Rarely do you get to see such perfection w/ the structure of a winter storm. Running out of adjectives for this one. Our blizzard has dropped 54 mb’s in 24 hours, making it not only a “meteorological bomb,” but one of the fastest stengthening winter storms in modern history. — @WeatherOptics

Roy Spencer explains the Bomb term:

 The term “bomb” was coined by meteorologist Fred Sanders in 1980 to refer to a non-tropical low pressure [...]

Last record-breaking winter with snow hits Canada, US, before “nobody knows what snow is”

UPDATE: Record breaking snow falling in upstate New York. Pennsylvania.

 The airport in Erie, Pennsylvania, has had a whopping 65.1 inches of snow from this lake effect event — the highest snowfall total from any event on record in Erie. (Heavy lake effect snow is produced by cold Arctic air moving over relatively mild water temperatures in the Great Lakes.) — World News, ABC (US) News

40,000 people in Cleveland lost power overnight.

New York City may have coldest New Year’s Eve since 1960s… — ABC News

Great Lakes, via NOAA

In freak conditions, Canadians (and many people in the US too) are getting a chance to enjoy record cold for the last time before climate change makes winters unbearably mild.

Extreme cold in Toronto smashes 57-year-old temperature record

Temperatures observed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport bottomed out at -22 C [-7.7F]  this morning. The previous record for this date was set in 1960, when it hit -18.9 C. [-2F]

Tristan Hopper does some first class bragging about the cold: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg: A guide to how damned cold it is

Vancouver is as [...]