24th July - Today's News

Heavy storms kill 7 in Poland

Cyprus heatwave warning to holidaymakers

The British tabloids have been having an August temperature prediction competition. First up is the the Daily Express with:
the chance of a heatwave by the second week of August is a distinct possibility with the mercury topping 90F (32C).
For once though they've been totally outdone by the Daily Mail who manged to invent the idea that:
Forecasters are predicting that temperatures will steadily rise over the next few weeks with the possibility of reaching 101F (38.5C) in mid-August.
But even they've been pipped to the ridiculous post by the Daily Star:
And temperatures could hit record highs next month, with forecasters predicting up to 104F (40C).
For the record, whilst it's quite possible we may see some high temperatures in August, current indications are that it'll remain mostly unsettled at least for the start of the month and there is most definitely nothing to indicate we may get anything close to such record breaking temperatures - indeed, I'd go as far as to say that at present it looks to be a meterological impossiblity.

Severe weather batters Northern Ireland

Could cosmic rays influence climate by charging up more frequent lightning storms? Not in my neck of the woods they don't! But seriously, it's an intriguing theory:
Their research suggests that the eleven year solar cycle causes a rise and fall in cosmic rays reaching the earth's surface and so causes a rise and fall in lightning activity. Less solar activity means higher cosmic rays flux and fewer lightning storms, whereas at times of maximum solar activity there are fewer charged particles in the atmosphere so it is more resistant to the smooth flow of charge and lightning bolts occur as the resistance suddenly breaks down.

This lightning effect is in turn affected by the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere, which depends on fossil fuel burning. The team explains that these two confounding factors also influence cloud cover and so depending on the specific point at which we are in the solar cycle the effect of particulates from fossil fuel burning may have a positive or negative effect on storms, cloud cover, and so the earth's ability to reflect away energy from sunlight.

When solar activity is close to its minimum cosmic rays will increase cloud cover and lightning, which will almost completely cancel out the warming effect of added greenhouse gases at that point in time.

In other words, a new explanation for why there's been no warming and if anything a slight cooling in the last few years. The deniers won't like that!

Nor will they like this: waning Pacific clouds suggest global warming feeds upon itself.

A self-perpetuating cycle, triggered by global warming, has appeared in weather data gathered from 1952 to 2007 over a 3 million-square-kilometer (740,000 square-mile) expanse of ocean off Mexico, Amy Clement of the University of MiamiScience. and colleagues wrote in this week’s edition of

But not to worry, because it turns out climate change is all down to nature after all. So that's all right then.

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