A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

Figure 1. Lowest temperature records for Rockford, Illinois, since records began in 1905 (Source: National Weather Service http://www.weather.gov/lot/RecordColdJan2019#)

So far this summer, it has been hot here in the Portland area for a few days. But generally we have had remarkably nice weather. Not so elsewhere as cities from Anchorage, Alaska, to Washington, DC to London to Paris have sweltered in the summertime heat. Or so you are supposed to believe. In fact, most cities in the Northern Hemisphere have experienced bouts of substantial heat lasting a few days followed by long periods of near normal weather.

We are no exception. On June 11 and 12, Portland reached record daily highs of 97 and 98 F. Such records are not that uncommon, because records began at the Portland airport only 78 years ago. However the lamestream media that is so complicit in the climate fraud bills such occurrences as all-time record highs, when they are merely daily record highs.

If journalists were even half honest, they would point out that Portland set three consecutive daily record highs on June 30th and July 1 and 2 of 100, 105, and 102 F in 1942. And that followed the daily record highs of 101, 103, and 103 F on July 13, 14, and 15 in 1941. Those records still stand today, proving that nothing unusual is

Figure 2. Lowest temperature records for Chicago, Illinois since records began in 1871 (Source: National Weather Service).

happening now, despite our much improved standard of living, thanks in large measure to fossil fuels.

Hot weather is what we once called “Summer,” not “Global Warming,” “Climate Change,” “Climate Disruption” or whatever those selling hysteria call it today. The wordsmiths can call it “climate” if they want. But they then need to apply the same words to the extremely cold excursions that the climate of Anchorage, Alaska took in January of this year, when daily highs struggled to exceed normal lows. Of course, they much prefer headlines like this recent one in the Washington Post: “Alaska heat wave: Parts of state face hottest weather ever.”

Figure 3. Satellite measurements of surface temperatures on January 31, 2019, showing notable Urban Heat Island effects. Green areas are the coldest, dark blue warmer, and light blue still warmer. (Source: National Weather Service)

And while we are at it, let us not forget the absolutely remarkable cold snap that hit the US Midwest late in January. It was not the typical cold snap where a few daily record low temperatures were broken. It was historic cold. The normally restrained National Weather Service described it as an “Historic Arctic Cold Snap,” where Rockford, Illinois broke their previous all-time record low of -27 F by four degrees. It was -31 F in Rockford on January 31, 2019. It has never been that cold on any day since records began in 1905.

The same cold snap in Chicago was not quite as dramatic, but still equaled the coldest conditions recorded in the 1800s. It was -23 F on January 30, 2019 and that equaled the low recorded on the day before Christmas in 1872. As to record low maximum temperatures, Chicago reached a high of -10 F on January 30, 2019, tying the 19th century low max reached on January 25, 1897.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that the National Weather Service simultaneously observed, from one of their satellites, the well-known Urban Heat Island effect that makes urban areas a little warmer than the surrounding rural countryside (see Figure 3). This says that the direct Weather Service measurements of the extreme cold are surely biased to the warm side. In other words, it was colder than they reported, especially in comparison with measurements from more than a century ago when urbanization was far less extensive.

None of this says that the Earth is cooling or warming. It merely illustrates that we live on a fluid planet with vast oceans and atmosphere that are never in equilibrium. Remarkable variations from average behavior at a particular location are perfectly normal. Even longer term variations over decades are perfectly normal, because our climate is cyclical due to such effects as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The PDO is sometimes called the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and the AMO is sometimes called the Thermohaline Circulation, indicating that they involve warmer/cooler Sea Surface Temperatures and variable ocean salt content.

Here is the way that the celebrated meteorologist, Professor John Christy, describes climate variations:

The weather we really care about isn’t changing, and Mother Nature has many ways on her own to cause her climate to experience considerable variations in cycles. If you think about how many degrees of freedom are in the climate system, what a chaotic nonlinear, dynamical system can do with all those degrees of freedom, you will always have record highs, record lows, tremendous storms and so on. That’s the way that system is.”

Professor Christy is the Alabama State Climatologist and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Figure 4. National Weather Service explanation of why we get unusual cold (or warmth) in winter. For instance, when the circumpolar Jet Stream buckles south, it allows bitterly cold air to flow out of the Arctic across the US Midwest.

While the enormous complexity of our climate makes it very difficult to accurately forecast weather out more than a week or so and ludicrous to think we can do it out a century, we can observe the structural features that produced the extreme cold experienced in portions of the Midwest in late January. They were merely the result of the circumpolar Jet Stream buckling south to allow bitter Arctic Air to flow across the US Midwest. As the National Weather Service says in Figure 4, the “Polar Vortex” is nothing knew. It can be found in the scientific literature as far back as 1853.

The Weather Service explanation for the extreme cold last winter is also applicable to the extreme warmth in some places this summer.

Figure 5. GFS model representation of the 850 mb level (5,000 ft.) weather systems over both Western and Eastern Europe at mid-day June 29, 2019. Note the hot Saharan Air Layer that was covering most of France, some of England, and stretching as far north as southern Scandinavia. Meantime, far Eastern Europe and Russia, stretching all the way to the Mediterranean sea were unusually cool. (Courtesy of WeatherBell via Dr. Roy Spencer)

For instance, the hot weather at the end of June in Western Europe was the result of the Jet Stream buckling north over Western Europe, permitting the hot Saharan Air Layer (SAL) to shift north as shown in the 850 mb (5,000 ft altitude) GFS model for June 29 in Figure 5. As the Jet Stream moved north over Western Europe, it also sagged south over Eastern Europe, bringing unusually cool temperatures there. Temperatures varied by a phenomenal 45 degrees F from the hottest to coldest regions of Europe. This obviously has NOTHING to do with atmospheric CO2, which is close to uniform across the region.

The lesson from this story is simple. Journalists and their partners in crime are completely wrong about “Summer” being another word for human-caused climate change. The only question is whether these journalists understand enough science to fully comprehend the extent of their crimes against science.

Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at gordonfulks@hotmail.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has no conflicts of interest on this subject.

 

 

 

 

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