There’s extreme weather thanks to the polar vortex. We learn that January’s global temperatures were not a record, and air pollution scales are tipped toward India. Also, a well-known climate change denier has been embarrassed by corporate funding tied to his research. Finally, NYCPCC has issued a dire warning, and ice has shut down the Great Lake-effect snow. Let’s go Around The World.
Yeti Still Stomping On Eastern and Central US
Decoded Science (DS) and The Weather Channel (TWC) have diverged in their descriptions of the current weather over the eastern United States. TWC is naming storm after storm. DS prefers to think of the storms as interconnected, caused by an unusual repositioning of the polar vortex from northern Canada to southern Canada and the eastern US. DS has named the ongoing severe weather event Yeti.
Yeti has produced a series of pulses of precipitation along its southern boundary. Most recently, icy precipitation shut down the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is now affecting parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas with a mix of sleet and freezing rain.
Yeti’s Historic Cold Outbreak Of Air From Siberia
The pronounced loop in the jet stream associated with Yeti is allowing air to traverse a path from Siberia across Canada into the US. This is the coldest it can ever get in the central and eastern US, and temperature records have fallen faster than gas prices. Here is a sample of some of the temperature records set:
- Dallas: Yesterday (February 23) was the latest date on which the temperature did not go above freezing.
- Lynchburg, Virginia: Reached an all-time record low of -11 on February 20.
- Cleveland, Ohio: Set a new record low for the month of February at -17 on February 20.
- Erie, Pennsylvania: Tied the all-time record low of -18 on February 15.
The cold is so widespread that if you threw a dart at the eastern US away from the immediate Gulf coast and Florida, you would hit a spot with new daily records.
Global Temperatures For January Did Not Set A New Record
For the first time in many months, the January average land and sea temperatures were not the warmest ever recorded — only the second warmest.
The most interesting part of the recent report is the change in the mix of temperature anomalies from warmer oceans to warmer land temperatures.
Decoded Science will have a full rundown of January temperatures worldwide on Thursday.
Who’s Got The Most Polluted Air? Surprise, It’s Not China
Three of the four most polluted cities in the world are now in India; New Delhi tops the list. The pollution is so bad that recent research shows that an average Indian lives three years less than he would if he breathed clean air.
The recent stopover in India by President Obama dramatized the problem: He is estimated to have lost six hours of life due to his brief visit.
Wheat and rice yields are starting to show the effects of pollution, and though the Indian government pays lip service to the problem, they are plunging ahead with an economic plan that includes doubling the use of coal in the next five years.
Anyone think that will solve the problem?
Well-known Climate-Change Denier’s ‘Research’ Explained
The oil industry loves Wei-Hock Soon, known to his friends as Willie. In fact they have loved him enough to give him over a million dollars to fund his research. Not surprisingly, that ‘research’ shows that global warming is a hoax and anyway the fossil fuel industry has nothing to do with it.
Willie Soon has been called to testify before Congress and is often cited by those with vested interests and those who are simply misguided in their beliefs to show the other side of the climate change debate. That’s one scientist, whose background is in aerospace engineering, against virtually every qualified meteorologist. But it has been enough to prop up the proposition that the planet is not warming at an alarming rate.
Now it turns out that Willie has published work in many journals that require disclosure of possible conflicts of interest without disclosing his funding by the fossil fuel industry.
In the end, the question is not whether the fossil fuel industry can find someone with a PhD who will say what they want to hear, but how long they will cling to the idea that burning fossil fuels does no harm the way the major tobacco companies clung to the notion that smoking wasn’t harmful.
New York City Panel On Climate Change (NYCPCC) Presents Dire Scenario
The NYCPCC, in its 2015 report, reviews evidence for climate change and the likely outcomes. They conclude that the debate has essentially ended; the question is not whether the earth is warming but how much.
In the worst case scenario, they find that sea level could rise six feet by the year 2100. They leave it to engineers and politicians to decide what to do if that happens.
Great Lake Effect Snow Shut Down
85% of the water of the Great Lakes is now covered with ice, and the percentage is likely to grow as Yeti holds the midwest in its icy grip. The flow of air over open water creates Lake Effect snow, so the process is mostly shut down for the year.
Even areas of the larger lakes, Superior and Michigan, which often stay open for most of the winter, are now ice-covered.
Last year ice on Lake Superior lasted well into June, and this year those brave enough may have to wait even longer to have a swim that’s unimpeded by an encounter with a chunk of ice.
Winter In The Central U.S.
It’s still winter in the central U.S. – but spring can come on fast. Are there any signs of springtime where you live?
Decoding Science. One article at a time.