Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Are leaves redder this year? A sign of a hard winter to come?

October 13, 2013

Autumn in this part of the world (Sweden at 58.7000° N) is always a riot of colour. A kaleidescope with every possible shade of yellow and brown with a small splash of red. Never quite the dominating reds of New England but glorious in the late autumn sunlight. But this year I felt that there was much more red around than “usual”. A purely subjective perception of course and one which I put aside as being just the vagaries of visual memory.

Autumn October 13, 2013

Autumn October 13, 2013

But yesterday the local paper reported that this was a perception being shared by many others. Trees and bushes did seem to be redder than usual. And “reds”were  varying from deep rusts and maroons to bright scarlets and bleeding crimsons. But science did not really know why the colours might vary from year to year – just that they did vary.

Is it due just to how the weather has been through the summer?

Or is it because of the weather anticipated for the winter?

The three main pigments that color leaves are, chlorophyll (green), carotenoid (yellow, orange, and brown), and anthocyanin (red). Chlorophyll and carotenoid are always present in leaf cells. More sunlight means more chlorophyll and green summers. The reducing sunlight in autumn reduces the chlorophyll allowing the yellows and browns of carotenoid to show through more strongly. But high levels of sunlight may lead to an increase of anthocyanins.

In photosynthetic tissues (such as leaves and sometimes stems), anthocyanins have been shown to act as a “sunscreen”, protecting cells from high-light damage by absorbing blue-green and ultraviolet light, thereby protecting the tissues from photoinhibition, or high-light stress.

This summer of 2013 started late after a long winter and a very late spring. The number of sunshine hours have not been unusually high nor the amount of rain unusually low. Temperatures have not been particularly noteworthy. So just the number of sunshine hours seems inadequate as an explanation of the greater levels of red I perceive.

The Daily Green: Unlike the ever-present yellows that simply become unmasked when chlorophyll recedes, red pigments are actually created as a tree is going dormant. But why would a tree expend energy to produce a new pigment just as it’s hunkering down for the winter? And why do some trees make red pigments, when others don’t? Further, the reds of New England are so famous in part because they are unique to the new world. Why are European autumns so predominantly yellow? 

…… yellow trees are those that colonize open land first – so-called pioneer species that are tolerant of direct sunlight. Those that turn red are species that follow in the succession of species that come to dominate a landscape, and they tend to benefit from more protection from the sun. It’s not that the red leaves lack the yellow pigment; the red pigment is an addition, and in fall it is so intense that it masks the yellow, just as green does in summer. Those pioneer species are less susceptible to light damage, 

But why are European trees more yellow? It could be that falls there tend to be warmer and cloudier, so there was never any selective advantage for trees to evolve red pigments that would be protective of the sun.

According to the U.S. Forest Service:

A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp but not freezing nights seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays. During these days, lots of sugars are produced in the leaf but the cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevent these sugars from moving out. These conditions-lots of sugar and lots of light-spur production of the brilliant anthocyanin pigments, which tint reds, purples, and crimson. Because carotenoids are always present in leaves, the yellow and gold colors remain fairly constant from year to year.

So I don’t really know why the leaves look redder this autumn.  But I think trees may be better predictors of weather than we give them credit for. There are some signs that Europe may be in for another hard, long winter this year. Perhaps the trees already know this and are busy storing nutrients in their roots. Therefore they need more anthocyanin to allow them to do this.

The trees already know what to expect this winter. At least, that’s what I would like to think!

Phailin came and Phailin went: Alarmists and Warmists disappointed

October 13, 2013

Cyclone Phaelin came and it has now gone.

The Greens around the world are somewhat disappointed that many thousands have not died.

It was a very severe cyclone when it hit (windspeed 200km/h) but it did not reach the classification as a Super Cyclone (>220km/h windspeed).

It was a massive evacuation and that itself was somethiing of an achievement. More than 600,000 (and maybe as many as 1 million) moved or were moved out of harms way. 7 are known to have died in cyclone related events (falling trees in the main). Damage reports have yet to be assessed. Some fishermen are known to be stranded. The military is mobilised and stands ready for rescue and rehabilitation.

The Indian Meteorological community got it about right. But there were those who predicted that it would not only be a Super Cyclone at 220km/h but would be a Super Dooper Cyclone with winds up to 315km/h.

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Friday said Phailin is now expected to break the Indian Ocean intensity record set by the 1999 Cyclone in which at least 9,000 people were killed in Odisha.

Alarmists started criticising the preparations and the evacuations and suggested it would be worse than 1999 where at least 15,000 (unofficially 45,000) died. The Global Warmists at Huffington Post almost seemed to want the loss of life to be as high as possible so that they could blame Global warming (but note that they manage to blame any untoward weather event on Global Warming)

India should rename this meaningless obfuscation and call attention to global warming immediately. .. The anthropogenic global warming caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases is making the oceans warmer, which in turn is causing more frequent and more intense cyclones/hurricanes and floods.

Needless to say the Environ-Mentalists at Greenpeace were also hoping for a major disaster

Intense and destructive storms are likely to occur more frequently as global warming intensifies, Greenpeace said Saturday. “Such intense and destructive storms are likely to become more frequent in the future as global warming intensifies.  India member Biswajit Mohanty. According to the organisation, cyclone Phailin which is expected to hit the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is likely to be the strongest such to affect India in 14 years, since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.

The Green Brigade conveniently forget that a Super Cyclone is generated in the Bay of Bengal every 10-20 years. It is a natural phenomenon known for at least the last 200 years. The super Cyclone of 1970 killed over 500,000 people. And the lessons learned since 1999, the major evacuation and the other preparations made seem to have achieved their objective and minimised the loss of life.

It was a severe storm and has surely caused some significant damage. But it is something which happens regularly and not anything unprecedented. It was not a Super Cyclone.

And it was nowhere near the major disaster that Alarmists, Greenpeace, Global Warmists and Environ-Mentalists were hoping for.

Cyclone Phaelin makes landfall – Severe storm but not a Super Cyclone

October 12, 2013

UPDATE!

Saturday: 11:30pm IST: It has been some 3 hours since Phaelin made landfall as a Severe Cyclone but without the wind-speed to be classified as a Super Cyclone. The full effects will now not be known till morning but it would seem that up to 1 million people may have moved – or been moved – out of harms way.

It is too early to give way to optimism. But fingers are crossed that the evacuations and advance preparations have been successful and that fatalities will be orders of magnitude lower than in 1999 or 1991.

==============================================

Phaelin made landfall at about 8:20pm local time just south of Gopalpur, Odisha. The cyclone has slowed down and has veered a little Westwards. Windspeeds at landfall were reported to be around 200km/h.

Apart from 7 reported killed due to falling trees in the high winds, damage reports are not yet available.

Phaelin Landfall Googlemaps

Phaelin Landfall Googlemaps

Cyclone Phailin will test Indian preparedness

October 12, 2013

UPDATE!

Saturday 12th, 6:30pm Indian Standard Time: Landfall is expected at any time now. So far some 600,000 people have been evacuated or have moved out of harms way. It has been the largest evacuation in India for 23 years.

______

The Bay of Bengal is no stranger to severe weather and severe cyclonic storms occur almost annually. However super cyclones (corresponding to an Atlantic Category 5 Hurricane) occur every 10 -20 years. Fatalities (direct and indirect by subsequent disease) have been huge in this heavily populated area. Super cyclones are defined as having wind speeds in excess of 220km/h and the current Cyclone Phailin is on the edge of that level with winds currently at about 210km/h. The Indian Meteorological Depratment expects the wind speeds to stay at the 210-220 km/h level.

ToI: Foreign agencies claimed Indian authorities are underestimating Phailin, quoting London-based Tropical Storm and US Navy’s joint typhoon warning centre as forecasting winds up to 315 kmph. Indian agencies, however, said wind speeds are much lower.

Super or Severe Cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall this evening (about 6pm local time Saturday 12th October) somewhere along the Odisha coast. Warnings have been issued and about 200,000 have been asked to evacuate their coastal homes. Relief personnel and police are on alert. The Army has been deployed in some areas. Some 200 tourists have been assisted to leave the area and tourist bookings have been cancelled for upto a week.

Large improvements in the early warning and relief infrastructure have taken place since the catastrophic death toll in the super cyclone of November 1970. But Cyclone Phailin could be the biggest test for Indian preparedness since 1999.

Major super cyclones the region have been:

The projected path of Tropical Cyclone Phailin towards India as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 10, 2013.

Yahoo News: Experts say that the enormous and powerful storm, with maximum sustained winds of more than 160 mph (260 km/h), will bring a “catastrophic” storm surge, the water that a storm’s winds push in front of it and that inundate a coastline as the storm makes landfall, said Hal Needham, a climatologist at Louisiana State University. The storm surge is expected to reach heights of 20 feet (6 meters), Needham told LiveScience. The storm is likely to be “as bad or worse” than a cyclone that followed a similar trajectory in 1999, called Odisha cyclone for the area it hit.

Times of India: Touching wind speeds of 210-220 km an hour, Cyclone Phailin is set to hit the Odisha coast between Paradip and Kalingapatnam with full fury on Saturday evening, whipping up a storm surge up to 10 feet above the tide level posing a threat to low-lying villages.

Anticipating the cyclone’s fury, the state government began Odisha’s biggest ever evacuation of shifting more than three lakh (300,000) people out of harm’s way as chief minister Naveen Patnaik promised there would be zero casualties. The evacuation is expected to be complete by Saturday morning.

Met sources said the cyclone’s exact landfall is likely to be around the popular beach destination of Gopalpur and coastal Odisha as well as inland areas are expected to receive heavy rainfall likely to last till Sunday.

Although the Met is not categorizing Phailin as a “super cyclone” as it is yet to cross the 220 kmph barrier, there is little doubt that Odisha was bracing for a battering with the storm reported just 400 km south east of Gopalpur at 9pm on Friday. ….

….. Ganjam district is likely to be worst-hit. Other coastal districts falling within 75 km radius of the eye of the storm would also be impacted. “The exact landfall destination of the cyclone can be known once it comes nearly 200 km from the coast. Phailin’s movement however indicates that the situation would not be like the 1999 super cyclone during which the storm lay stationery over the coastal areas for nearly 24 hours and caused a sea surge of about 30 ft. This time 10 ft high wave is expected. More so, the expected landfall area being hilly, the impact of the cyclone would be less and weaken quickly,” IMD Bhubaneswar centre director Sarat Sahu said.

Not leaving anything to chance, the state government began evacuating people from coastal districts of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada. Those who refused to leave their homes were forcibly taken to safer places. “There are 247 cyclone shelters and 10,000 concrete schools identified to house the villagers. We want to complete the evacuation by Saturday morning, particularly in Ganjam district which is likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone,” special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

The central government has dispatched 10 helicopters, four Cheetah helicopters and two MI-17 and AN-32 planes to help the state government in rescue and relief operations. The government’s measures notwithstanding, thousands of people from the coastal region were rushing to railway stations and bus stops to escape the cyclone.

Oktoberfest is hardly over and snow arrives in Bavaria

October 11, 2013

Oktoberfest only ended last week and 20cm of snow has already fallen in Southern Germany. A few weeks earlier than “normal”. But not to worry. Global Warming is here. Climate models cannot be fooled by little things like local weather and reality.

snow in Bavaria, 11th October 2013 photo DPA

Snow in Bavaria, 11th October 2013 photo DPA

The Local: Winter has arrived in southern Germany with the first heavy snowfall hitting Bavaria on Thursday night and Friday morning. 

The snow caused traffic chaos in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area – a popular ski resort. Schools and kindergartens were closed, a police spokesman said on Friday, while authorities advised people to stay indoors.

Trees which have collapsed under the weight of the snow are also posing a danger for drivers and pedestrians. On one stretch of road out of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 15 trees blocked traffic. 

But the early winter weather also brought happier scenes with the first snowmen being built. Snow has also fallen in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg.

NoTricksZone reports:

Meteorologists warned us that snow was on the way and would fall below the 500 m elevation in southern Germany and elsewhere. Moreover, they warned us that this winter could be one of the worst in 100 years for Central Europe. ….. 

Online Die Welt here writes:

‘It began to snow in the Bavarian capital of Munich yesterday evening at about 6 p.m. Many of my meteorologist colleagues had believed this to be improbable,’ said meteorologist Dominik Jung: ‘This year winter has struck early and unusually severely. South of Munich up to 20 centimeters of snow was able to pile up.’”

Die Welt adds that schools have been closed in some localities, 22,000 households in Austria have lost power, trains have come to a standstill, and traffic has been in chaos.

Frost is expected to spread across southern and middle Germany this weekend, reports www.wetter.net,Temperatures down to -4°C are expected under clear skies in some local areas.

 

 

2013 monsoon begins withdrawal across India – Bumper crops after a “good” monsoon year

September 30, 2013

The official 4 month monsoon season ends today and the rains will withdraw across India over the next 3 months. Though monsoon statistics are usually focused on the 4 months from June to September, many parts of the country get significant rainfall during the withdrawal. For example the South-East coast will get significant rainfall during December. The entire monsoon cycle lasts about 7 months and the withdrawal has started. Over the 4 months rainfall has been 5% higher than the long term average and this would class this monsoon as a good monsoon.

Conventional wisdom has it that a “good” monsoon year adds 2% or more to GDP growth while a “bad” monsoon (>15% less than the long term average) can reduce the GDP growth by over 2%. Many industries are directly affected by agricultural growth. Not only fertlisers and pesticides but even farm vehicles and equipment. A good monsoon even impacts consumer goods which the rural population are waiting to get their hands on. With the slowdown in the economy many in the now lame-duck government are hoping for a monsoon boost without any action on their part and in time for the benefits to show before the general election next year. In any event, the monsoon or divine intervention cannot be blamed by ineffective politicians seeking reelection. But there is little doubt that a good monsoon has an enormous “feel-good” effect.

The monsoon is now withdrawing – perhaps a week or so behind its normal schedule (which means that some precipitation will continue to occur in Central India after the official season is over).

Withdrawal of 2013 monsoon September 30th source IMD

Withdrawal of 2013 monsoon September 30th source IMD

Crop yields are expected to be at record levels after this good monsoon.

Reuters: Grains production this summer is likely to be just short of an all-time high, according to a preliminary government forecast on Tuesday, leaving plenty for exports and helping to boost growth and trim inflation ahead of elections due by May. A heavy monsoon has ensured bumper harvests even though rice output could be lower than last year as rains were patchy over the rice-growing areas of some eastern states. The monsoon waters 55 percent of farmland without irrigation.

“Growth in agriculture … will rebound this year because rains are good,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters as he announced the output forecast, which is usually conservative. “Today’s estimates are the first projections for 2013/14 and invariably we have seen that final estimates are 5-10 percent higher than the first estimate,” Pawar said.

Total output of summer-sown grains is likely to be 129.3 million tonnes in the current crop year from July, Farm Commissioner J.S. Sandhu said on Tuesday, just below the record 131.3 million tonnes of 2011/12 and up 0.9 percent on last year. Bumper output should mean India can continue exporting crops such as cotton, corn, rice and sugar.

Output of oilseeds, which could trim India’s imports of edible oils, should rise around 15 percent. Production of lentils – another foodstuff that India imports – should be up 3.2 percent.

Rice production is seen at 92.3 million tonnes against 92.8 million tonnes in the previous year. That marginal fall in rice output is not a great concern as India’s stocks are 21 million tonnes, more than double its target for September 1.

The government is relying on a bumper harvest to push agricultural growth and help the wider economy, as well as provide ample supplies of rice and wheat to support food subsidy programmes and cool double-digit food inflation. …… 

Hurricanes hardly (h)ever happen!

September 11, 2013

Irresistable.

Lack of hurricanes helps climate change skeptics

Hurricanes have been largely absent this year.

For the first time in 11 years, August came and went without a single hurricane forming in the Atlantic. The last intense hurricane (Category 3 or above) to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma, in 2005. According to Phil Klotzbach, head of Colorado State University’s seasonal hurricane forecast, accumulated cyclone energy is 70 percent below normal this year.

Hurricanes have become a major part of the public relations campaign for radical action on climate change. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard last fall, the left quickly dubbed it a “Frankenstorm,” and nearly fell over itself attempting to claim that the intensity of the storm was a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s not so surprising. Despite decades of effort, the environmental movement has largely failed to persuade the American public to accept the draconian restrictions that stopping climate change would entail, and linking hurricanes to climate change may be their best chance to change all that.

A look at the science, however, tells a somewhat different story. While the overall number of recorded hurricanes has increased since 1878 (when existing records begin), this is at least partly due to an improved ability to observe storms rather than an increase in the number of storms.

…… Similarly, the increase in damages from storms over time has less to do with their increased frequency or intensity than with the fact that we have gotten richer. Had Hurricane Sandy swept through New Jersey 100 years ago, it would have done far less damage simply because, back then, there was less of value to destroy. These days Americans are not only wealthier, but we are more inclined to build closer to the water, due to subsidized flood insurance. When University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke looked at the numbers, he found that correcting for these factors completely eliminated the supposed increase in hurricane damage.

Unsurprisingly, then, a leaked draft of the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (due to be released later this month) downgraded the likelihood of a connection between past temperature rises and extreme weather events. According to the report, there is “low confidence” in any association between climate change and hurricane frequency or intensity. …….

Read the article

Arctic Ice is increasing, Antarctic ice is high and breaking records, warming is missing while Carbon dioxide is still increasing –

It must be difficult for a rational being to believe in the global warming hypothesis — it requires an abundance of faith and a minimum of critical thinking!!

Global warming missing in South America

September 1, 2013

It’s only weather of course but the current winter in South America affords no evidence of global warming. The heat – if it is there – is extremely well hidden.

  1. It is cold that is far more deadly than warmth;
  2. it is only the availability of affordable energy which can help us ward off the cold;
  3. And it is only conventional energy sources (fossil, nuclear and hydro) whic are both available and affordable

Snow grips South American countries
Chile cold snap deaths total 16
Cold snap kills nine in Argentina

Peru snow state of emergency extended to more regions

The Peruvian government has extended to nine more regions a state of emergency called to cope with unusually cold weather and heavy snowfall. At least two people have died and 33,000 others have been affected by the cold spell, local officials say.

Tens of thousands of animals have frozen to death over the past week. President Ollanta Humala has travelled to Apurimac, one of the worst-hit areas, to oversee the distribution of emergency aid.

The state of emergency would be in place for 20 days, an official statement said. 

The heaviest snow fall to hit Peru in a decade has killed tens of thousands of llamas, alpacas, cattle and sheep, and left farmers destitute. A man died when the roof of his hut caved in under the weight of the snow in southern Carabaya province but the circumstances of the second death were unclear. Three people were rescued on Saturday from the same region after their home was cut off by snow. Rescue workers said the three, two girls and an elderly woman, were suffering from frostbite and snow blindness.

The cold front has also hit Peru’s south-eastern neighbour, Bolivia, and Paraguay, where a combined total of five people have died.

A woman walks along a snowy road on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia on 25 August 2013

A woman walks along a snowy road on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia on 25 August 2013 (BBC)

Farmers’ Almanac caldron “toils and troubles” and predicts a bitterly cold winter

August 26, 2013

How exactly the Farmers’ Almanac makes its predictions is a closely guarded secret. But they tend to be right around 80% of the time.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac’s secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818.

For all we know the Farmers’ Almanac caldron may also contain some or all of the ingredients used by Macbeth’s favourite soothsayers. Certainly the climate caldrons (models) being used by the soothsayers of the IPCC could do with some new ingredients since what they use (eye of Mann and toe of Hansen) don’t seem to work.

IPCC Caldron

Poison’d entrails, venomous toad, Fillet of a fenny snake,

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, 
    Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,….. 

Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf; 
    Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf 
    Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark; 
    Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark; 
    Liver of blaspheming Jew; 
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew ……

…. Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips; 
    Finger of birth-strangled babe ….

and not forgetting a tiger’s chaudron and the whole thing cooled with baboon’s blood!

The FA forecast for the coming winter for the US has just been published under the name of Caleb Weatherbee:

Caleb Weatherbee is the official forecaster for the Farmers’ Almanac. His name is actually a pseudonym that has been passed down through generations of Almanac prognosticators and has been used to conceal the true identity of the men and women behind our predictions.

FA Forecast 2013 winter

So, what’s in store for this winter? The “Days of Shivery” are back! 
For 2013–2014, we are forecasting a winter that will experience below average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation. A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England. Coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains on east into the Great Lakes. Only for the Far West and the Southeast will there be a semblance of winter temperatures averaging close to normal, but only a few areas will enjoy many days where temperatures will average above normal.

Precipitation-wise, the Southern Plains, Midwest, and Southeast will see above-normal conditions, while the rest of the country will average near normal. With a combination of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation the stage will be set for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Central and Northern New England to receive lots of snow. Farther south, where the thermometer will be vacillating above or below the freezing mark, Southern New England, Southeast New York, New Jersey, and down through the Mid-Atlantic region will be seeing either copious rains and/or snows.

And yet, the Pacific Northwest (or is it “northwet?”) where indeed wet weather is almost a given during the winter months, the overall winter season could average out drier than normal.

Significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, we are “red-flagging” the first ten days of February for possible heavy winter weather. More importantly, on February 2, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey’s Meadowlands—the very first time a Super Bowl will be played outdoors in a typically cold weather environment. We are forecasting stormy weather for this, the biggest of sporting venues. But even if we are off by a day or two with the timing of copious wind, rain, and snow, we wish to stress that this particular part of the winter season will be particularly volatile and especially turbulent.

And mid-March could bring a wave of storminess stretching almost from coast to coast, bringing a wide variety of precipitation types as well as strong and gusty winds.

Late spring, early autumn this year?

August 26, 2013

This morning it feels like Autumn is here. Frost has not quite reached us but it is not very far away. The mist is rising thickly as the sun rises. And the deer are in the garden cleaning up all the fallen apples:

From my window 26th August 2013

From my kitchen window 26th August 2013

This year spring came about 3 weeks late.

SMHI defines spring in Sweden as the first day – after 15th February – of 7 continuous days with temperatures between 0 and 10 °C. The “normal” onset of Spring is as below:

  • Malmö: 22nd February
  • Stockholm: 16th March
  • Östersund: 11th April
  • Kiruna: 1st May

Admittedly I am at a latitude of 58.7057° N.  Spring should have come around 12th March and we are going to be around 3 weeks late (at least).

In calendar terms, spring should last from March till May  and summer from June till August. But the onset of Autumn is defined by SMHI – in meteorological terms – as the first day of the first occurrence of 5 consecutive days with an average temperature of less than 10°C.  Normally this should be around 25th September. But it looks like that it might also be around 3 weeks early.

So while it has not been a bad summer it seems summer may be about 5-6 weeks shorter than “normal” this year.

Many consecutive years of long winters and short summers will probably be the precursors of the coming of the next ice age. And these days I find it more relevant to look for signs that the next ice age (either a little ice age or even the end of the inter-glacial) is coming. It is no longer relevant or worthwhile to be looking for signs of man-made global warming!


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