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Showing posts from April, 2010

30th April - Today's News: Melting Icebergs Cause Sea Level Rise and More Warming

For all those who argue that melting sea ice won't cause sea levels to rise, think again. A new assessment has found that melting icebergs in polar oceans causing sea level rise globally - albeit only by a hair's breadth. Literally. Meanwhile, melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic according to new research.

Part of Alaska inundated by ancient megafloods - around 17,000 years ago (ie during the meltdown from the last glacial maximum, but before the Younger Dryas)

Monster tornado chaser armada set to rumble - and you can read the Vortex2 team's blog here

Astronomers find loads of ice on big asteroid

Korea shivering with unusual cold - and it looks like being just as cold in Britain this weekend, with Sunday in particular seeing many places fail to reach double figures. Indeed, models are current predicting a maxima of just 6c in Evesham!

28th April - Today's News: Reduction in Arctic Sea Ice due to Siberian Winds?

New research suggests that winds from Siberia reduce Arctic sea ice cover - not global warming. Meanwhile, according to a Russian scientist, Arctic warming likely to reverse whilst a colleague warns that Arctic research may be threatened by global cooling!

Massive Southern ocean current discovered

Rain leaves 8,400 people homeless in southern Brazil

Scientists study glaciovolcanoes

In Thailand, no respite in sight to hot weather - which has seen maximum temps just short of the record set in 1998. All thanks to Mr El Nino.

In Nevada, spring storm hits hard whilst northern NY, New England storm drops a foot of snow.

But in Britain, warm weather to make way for Bank Hoilday tradition ..... rain. And more to the point, it's turning much cooler. Hmmm, maybe those Russians are right after all!

And finally, much reported in the media today, are Noah's Ark remains 'discovered' on Mt Ararat? No. But you have to admire their level of logic: find wood carbon dated to 4,800BP…

27th April - Today's News: Was There an Ash Cloud: Setting the Record Straight

The Scottish Daily Record has summarised the disingenuous and false claims perpetrated by the Mail on Sunday, and being a shorter piece, I thought I'd quote it in full and offer comment:
THE volcanic ash cloud that grounded planes across Europe was "close to undetectable", aviation chiefs have admitted.No, that's not what they said. See below:
British airspace was closed on April 15 by NATS, the air traffic control service, who were following a UN policy.It is not UN policy, it was based on ICAO guidelines which were set because the airline industry had not provided data to provide a better ash concentration limit.
They based their decision on theoretical weather models from the Met Office, who predicted the cloud would cover a vast area.The decision was based on real time observations of ash clouds, although models did also predict how the clouds would extend. Later observations showed these predictions to be highly accurate.
However, the main Met Office research plan…

26th April - Today's News: Mississippi Tornado Kills 10

On Saturday, 10 dead in Miss. after tornado, storms hit South. And on Sunday, as Mississippi digs out from storm, so rural areas searched after Yazoo, Mississippi tornado and it's being speculated that recent epidemic of twisters could mean an 'ugly May' - although I suppose that's good news for the chasers who last year had a pretty poor season. The first British 'teams' should have just flown out there.

Media disinformation and nonsense continue in the wake of the disruption caused to airlines by the Icelandic eruption, with the Daily Mail claiming that volcanic plume over UK was only 20th of safe flying limit, although the safe flying limit was zero ....... ; that the ash was not visible (it was - and we have the photos to prove it) and repeating the lies about the flight ban being based on Met Office computer models (they were based on observations- which did however show the model predictions to be highly accurate). They also of course ignore the aircr…

24th April - Today's News: Severe Outbreak of Contralitis Over England

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Like Sept 11, volcano plane ban may hold climate clue But who cares about climate, look what they've done to my skies! One of the worst outbreaks of contralitis I've ever had the misfortune to see - in stark contrast to last Saturday's entire cloud free day. But I do think the populace are starting to wake up. I'm not the only one noticing this:

This was taken about 7am this morning from my front door.

Here's a piece from earlier in the week: Iceland volcano creates bluer skies, rips away veil of contrail haze.

The only other news to report today is that in Colorado, rain, snow closes courthouses, snarls traffic

And global warming may be causing evolutionary changes in bird migration

23rd April - Today's News: Ash Fallout Continues

The fallout from Iceland continues (literally - there is still ash in the skies over Britain) as flights resume but ministers face call for inquiry into 'shambolic' air ban. The effects of the resumption of flights has been extremely noticeable these past 3 days with a huge amount of obvious manmade cloud developing through the course of the day. At least then it's had that benefit: to awaken people to the impact air traffic has on our skies.

Meanwhile, RAF Typhoon training halted as ash found in engines whilst the US military fears volcano could harm jets. And there are suggestions that the reason a Washington-Moscow flight strands passengers in Azores after emergency landing was because of ash - though this by no means confirmed.

Then, just today, we hear that once again Scottish airports disrupted by ash chaos - a news story which also includes mention of a couple of rumoured cases of commerical airliners over Britain experiencing problems due to ash. The Daily Ma…

21st April - Today's News: Flights Resume Over Europe Despite Continuing Ash Threat

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After BA's jumbo gamble flights have resumed over Britain - and both obvious contrails and less obvious thinner wisps of cirrostratus return to cloud our skies.

However, the threat of new, larger, Icelandic eruption looms. And whilst experts back CAA, the crux of the problem does - as implied by my headline yesterday - lie with the airline industry. Simply put, because they have never conducted proper tests to determine whether aircraft may safely fly through lower concentrations of ash, the ICAO rules have been, very clear: aircraft must avoid all ash. Hence the blanket flight ban. Interestingly, the ICAO have held plenty of seminars on the subject - including a volcanic ash workshop last June which specifically dealt with the risk of an Icelandic eruption affecting air traffic across NW Europe and the Atlantic. I guess the industry leaders were too busy wining and dining and boasting of their incomes the size of a small African nation to care. Heads should roll. Start…

20th April - Today's News: Met Office Falsely Blamed for Airline Industry Incompetence

As first flights in days leave Scottish airports, a new volcano ash cloud prompts fresh flight doubts.

Meanwhile, some airlines and the media are after a scapegoat and they've found a totally innocent one: Met office blamed for unnecessary six-day closure - complete nonsense of course since the Met Office were simply passing on direct observations of actual volcanic ash, and predictions (which proved very accurate as it happens) as to where the ash would spread. They're as guilty for this as they are for the Cumbrian floods last October.

An anonymous opinion piece in the Telegraph states:
The decision was based on a computer model operated by the Meteorological Office's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, which suggested there was a cloud of ash covering northern Europe. This prompted a warning from the Met Office, which triggered the wider European ban, via Eurocontrol, the Brussels-based air traffic control centre. However, the model is no more than that - a mat…

19th April - Today's News: Ash Disruption Continues

For the first time in our history, the MBA have cancelled a workparty due to volcanic activity - but don't worry, not because of OTT health and safety concerns, simply because the organiser is stuck abroad and can't get home .... Current projections suggest the ash cloud will be denser over Britain tomorrow and Wednesday, but with the situation slowly improving thereafter.

This morning, airlines hit back at ban as planes are grounded until 1am Tuesday (and I'm certain over Britain that will again be extended). But whilst ash test flight plane checked at Cardiff airport, I would rather trust non airline experts. For example, the Finnish air force warns of volcanic dust damage in fighter jets whilst in the UK the Met Office reported more ash at varying levels in a test flight on Sunday than they'd seen last Friday. The Met Office also issue regular ash observations and advisories as well as running a useful blog citing latest reports. In situations like this, wh…

17th April - Today's News: Webcams Show Iceland Volcano Activity Increases

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Well, what can I say. The Icelandic eruption continues to dominate the weather news and is likely to for a while yet. As previously mentioned, upper level winds are swinging round to come down over Britain more direct from Iceland, and with high pressure over us, any ash carried here will stick around - I expect reports of settling ash from all part of Britain by the middle of next week, as well as increasingly spectacular sunsets (yesterday's wasn't that special in my opinion, though there was still a nice red glow on the horizon when I photographed the crescent Moon and Venus:


My commiserations to the millions of people around the world whose travel plans have been disrupted by this - in some cases quite considerable. I've seen one report of people due to fly back to Britain from Hong Kong who have been told the earliest they're likely to get a flight now is 6th May! With flights in/from Britain and other parts of Europe unlikely (in my opinion) to resume until n…

16th April - Today's News: Volcanic Dust Continues to Cause Problems in Europe

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Nice clear skies in Evesham today - not a single manmade cloud to be seen. Not sure if the slight haze on the horizon is volcanic ash or not - hopefully, unlike last night, it'll be clear at sunset tonight. With upper level winds likely to swing around to come more directly from Iceland next week, if the eruption continues we may see a at more ash heading our way.

Obviously, disruption caused by the eruption continues to dominate the news:

Europe flights could be grounded into weekend by ash

Volcanic ash to reach ground level across UK

Iceland volcano from space

Limited Scottish flights resume after ash fears

Volcanic ash unlikely to cool planet

This image, acquired on 15 April 2010 by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1000 km away. The ash, which can be seen as the large grey streak in the image, is drifting from west to east at a height of about 11 km above …

15th April - Today's News: European Air Travel Suspended After Icelandic Eruption

Well the big breaking story today is the eruption at Eyjafjallajoekull hundreds evacuated after eruption as Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights and also halts flights in northern Europe. And the BBC have also explained why a cloud of ash has grounded flights.

It's a good few years since this last happened and it's causing major disruption for the world's busiest airports. Worth noting too that this eruption may go on for some time so more problems likely. So far, no indication that nearby Katla is going to erupt, but that possibility remains.

Interestingly, a cold front looks set to cross Iceland tomorrow before pushing down towards the Scottish Highlands, where any rain or snow may well prove dirty with ash.

One upside is that we should get some good atmospheric effects, especially vibrant sunsets, over the coming days. Also worth looking out for a Bishop's ring.

Also as a result of this, I've found this useful (unofficial) realtime map of European f…

14th April - Today's News: Arctic Ice Cap Shrinking

On Devon Island, in the Canadian Arctic, we currently have the 2nd largest ice cap in the northern hemisphere (after Greenland). But for how long? We've been monitoring it for nearly 50 years and it seem this massive arctic ice cap is shrinking, study shows; rate accelerating since 1985. Is this just a short term blip? If anything, over centennial timescales we would expect it to be growing relative to the mid Holocene due to slight changes since then in Earth's orbit, reducing summer insolation.

Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere, Peruvian glacier split triggers deadly tsunami. However, as with any particular extreme weather event, there is no reason to think this specific event was caused by global warming - large parts of glaciers do break away for other reasons.

It was thought that Iceland's volcanic eruption winding down - misleadingly so it seems, since this morning we hear that new Iceland eruption causes glacial flooding. The new vent has opened under the i…

12th April - Today's News: Scottish Highlands Record Britain's First 20c of 2010

Spring is in the air ..... yesterday saw the first 20c recorded in Britain this year. Interestingly though, it was only sites in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands - nowhere in England and Wales, nor low level Scotland, has reached 20c as yet. Not often that happens, though such temperatures in the Highlands in April are by no means unusual. Officially 20.4c at Castlederg, NI, is the highest figure although it's reported that Cromdale in the East Highlands may have reached 22.1c. What a day for all those lucky to be on the hill under clear skies and with loads of hard neve at higher level!!! Am I jealous? P*ssed off? You bet!

Scotland basks in sunshine - what a difference eleven days makes!

Meanwhile, bookies cut odds on record summer.

Still, not quite so warm here as it is in India, which also saw it's highest temperatures so far this year as heatwave sweeps north India, Bengal; Ganganagar hottest at 44.8c

However, in Australia, Melbourne's record warm run …

10th April - Today's News: Lightning Makes Mushrooms Multiply

Eschenbach's Challenge

On the 31st March, Willis Eschenbach posted an informative item on WUWT in which he answered various self posed questions regarding climate change and his personal opinions on the matter. He also challenged other scientists to likewise answer the questions. I only noticed after Walt Meier from the NSIDC repsonded. I'm no scientist, and I rather doubt Willis or Wattsyor anyone else on WUWT has the slightest interest in what I think, so I'll just run through them and post my answers here. If nothing else it'll be interesting to see if my view change in years to come.

Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?Yes, I certainly am and always have been. Indeed, why else would I be so against the despoliation of remote landscapes by windfarm developments? The great John Muir once said "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity..." an…

9th April - Today's News: Above Average Hurricane Season Forecast

8th April - Today's News: More Die in Rio Mudslides

Brazil begins recovery after Rio de Janeiro floods but breaking news suggests that at least 200 buried in Rio mudslide which happened today.

The Guardian has a good round up today of the current situation in SE Asia (much reported on here in recent weeks): drought turns southern China into arid desert - and, according to one Chinese expert, human error has worsened effects of drought.

In North Wales, they've begun snow clearing on Snowdon railway - the track is one of the few places where snow does tend to accumulate and linger most years, though this winter there's been rather a lot more fall than usual.

Nepal and China agree on Mount Everest's height. It's 8848m - of which the top 4m is snow (quizzers take note!). Now all they need do is agree on a name ..... Nepalese Sagarmatha (from which the National Park takes its name) or Tibetan Chomolungma ..... I've always favoured the latter.

In Scotland, review of rail services urged to deal with snow and ice

As the …

7th April - Today's News: At Least 95 Killed in Rio After Heaviest Rain in Decades

Flooding in Rio de Janeiro State kills scores - currently at least 95 reported dead after the heaviest rain to hit the city in 50 years. Images of the flooding here. As usual, mudslides were a big part of the problem. With flat ground at a premium, the poor build their shanty settlements on steep slopes, denuded of the trees that might otherwise have reduced the risk if such landslides.

Today, another major quake hits Sumatra whilst Baja California's 7.2 quake prompts an exodus.

Arctic winter ice recovers slightly despite record low year - which does not mean that there is no long term trend in reduced ice cover, especially in summer! Whatever certainly bloggers may want you to believe. But it does mean that some recent alarmist claims made in the media about the ice all disappearing within a few years are also nonsense. Which we all knew anyway.

In NW Queensland, residents brace for flood evacuation with some rivers at record levels after recent heavy rainfall from Cyclone …

3rd April - Today's News: Nigerian's Concerned Over 'Acid Rain'

It was a very good Friday for those lucky enough to be up in the Highlands yesterday - deep snow and perfect clear skies. Sadly, conditions aren't so good today and Monday looks wet, though Sunday may be pretty good. As for the ski resorts, well 'awesome' blue skies and fresh snow could see ski-ing last till May.

Always interesting to see a non European country's take on the issue of global warming and anthropogenically induced climate change and in Nigeria they are directly attributing an unusual Harmattan and fear of acid rain to global warming (I think more likely it's the effect of El Nino) - and it's perhaps worth quoting some extracts (not sure also how long the link will remain open):-
THE DELAYED harmattan, characterized by the dusty haze and unusually harsh heat that has enveloped most parts of the country in the past two weeks is obviously one of the debilitating effects of the much-feared global warming.

Coming in mid-March as against the December-Ja…

2nd April - Today's News: Latest on 'Clovis Comet' and Lake Aggasiz

Bill Napier has a new model for his variant on the 'Clovis Comet' theory - was a giant comet responsible for a North American catastrophe in 11,000BC? But, at the same time, river reveals chilling tracks of ancient flood - providing new evidence that Lake Aggasiz drained into the Arctic precipitating the Younger Dryas by switching off the THC. I guess the question now is how well do these theories compliment or contradict one another? Could an impact(s) have caused the drainage? Stay tuned .... this one could run longer than the K/T Extinction debate.

More details about rail passenger's seven hour ordeal and in Northern Ireland, centres open for victims of storm

Why Earth wasn't one big ball of ice 4 billion years ago - no, not because of much higher CO2 levels (though they were still higher than today) but because there were no continents and thinner clouds around meaning the Earth absorbed more radiation than it does today. Well, that's the latest theory, an…

1st April - Today's News: Passengers Rescued From Snowbound Scottish Train

No April Fools here today, too much serious news around. Starting again with the problems across much of Britain caused by the unseasonably severe weather:

Snow strands passengers on train near Inverness

Also in Scotland, thousands without power overnight - and reliable reports suggest that in some parts of the Highlands up to 2ft of level snow has fallen to low levels. So no surprise that once again Scottish ski resorts snowed in. The hills could well be lethal with avalanches this weekend.

Teenager killed as school trip coash crashes in heavy snow

Heavy snow cuts off 20,000 homes in Northern Ireland

And it's not just the snow, with homes evacuated as North Wales hit by huge waves and flooding

For the record, we did have a few wintry showers here in Evesham yesterday, with a bit of sleet and small hail.

The other big news is that Professor Phil Jones has been exonerated of any wrong-doing by the first 'Climategate' enquiry, though as the Washington Post puts it 'Climate…