Is global warming causing the polar vortex?

by Judith Curry

In a word, no.

And now for the 2nd question: Does the massive cold air outbreak blanketing much of the U.S. disprove global warming?

Same word: no.

The media are mostly  in stupid mode over this one.

Cliff Mass provides a good overview, the punch lines:

The bottom line:  the claims that greenhouse warming causes more cold waves like we have seen  this week really seems to be without any basis in observational evidence or in theory.  The media needs to stop pushing this unsupported argument.

It is SO frustrating that every major weather event causes such claims and counterclaims to be aired, with many media outlets unable to do the minimal research that would allow them to give the public more dependable information. 

All this bogus reporting has done substantial damage, with many American’s believing that global warming is already causing our winter weather to become more extreme, while the observational evidence suggests no such thing.  One day some sociologists will study this situation and the psychological elements that drove it.

The arguments in favor of an AGW impact on the cold air in the U.S. come from Jennifer Francis (see this previous post).

If nothing else, the ‘polar vortex’ has stimulated some good cartoons:

pic.twitter.com/5RRfhArUB6

  
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 I can’t wait for this Movie! pic.twitter.com/LZpo8bAX9R

 
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I am currently sitting in Atlanta Hartfield Airport, trying to get to New York City tonite, flights are still messed up.  The more interesting challenge may be getting out of NYC tomorrow nite.  In any event, in a few weeks I will be able to discuss what promises to be an EXTREMELY  interesting meeting in NYC.

332 responses to “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?

  1. “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?”

    No. Global Warming has been to busy working overtime increasing sea ice inAntarctica, so his friend Climate Change had t do the Polar Vortex job.

    • ah yes you see, global warming has different effects in the Southern Hemisphere, compared with the Northern, as its at the bottom.

    • Mother Earth has maintained a well bounded Temperature for ten thousand years and Mother Earth will maintain a well balanced temperature with the same bounds in the next thousands of years. A small amount of a trace gas cannot change this well balanced cycle. CO2 only makes green things grow better and that can only be good.

    • Warm Wet Water Does cause more snow and cold.

    • Peter Lang wrote:
      What are they and what is the basis for them. Neither you nor anyone else has provided a persuasive case that GHG emissions are or will do more harm than good,

      Clearly you haven’t read Nordhaus’s latest book, have you?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      This should be fun. He he.

    • Appell is 15 minutes ahead of our time.

    • David Appell wrote (to the choir, instead of as an answer directed to me in the tree where I replied to his comment. Perhaps he is playing games, since I doubt his integrity]).

      Clearly you haven’t read Nordhaus’s latest book, have you?

      Yes I have. Have you? If so, what exactly are you referring to. Make your argument clearly and then it can be debated.

      I’ve read it, and have quoted parts and posted on it in previous threads. Go back and read them if you want.

    • David,

      I haven’t read his latest book, but as I recall, Nordhaus is an economist. Meaning it is probably safe to assume he uses projections from GCM’s as his starting point for theorizing economic impacts.

      In other words, he accepts as fact what is little more than unproven supposition.

    • timg56,

      He is an economist, but he has been working with climate change related analysis so long that he must have (and has based on his writing) a fairly good understanding on, how to use results from climate science. He does not want to contradict IPCC, but he is able to use the information provided in the IPCC reports applying his own judgment in how to do that.

    • Pekka,

      Guess I should read his book to determine what information he is using. Somehow I get the sense he selected projections of 3C or higher and 10 ft to 10 meters of SLR.

      Extrapolating incurred costs from 10 ft SLR would look pretty scary. Doing so from 10 inches, not so much.

      This is exactly the area of the debate that I am a sceptic of. The degree of evidence for negative impact has been negliable, while at the same time no discussion occurs on potential positive impacts from those non-sceptical. It’s all bad. Very, very bad.

    • You seem to have a totally wrong impression of Nordhaus. You couldn’t err much more.

    • Pekka,

      Bet I could. Err much more that is.

      Now it looks as if I’m going to have to read the book.

    • Timg56,

      Meaning it is probably safe to assume he uses projections from GCM’s as his starting point for theorizing economic impacts.

      In other words, he accepts as fact what is little more than unproven supposition.

      You are correct. He uses the IPCC and orthodoxy as his base assumptions on climate and calibrates his temperature change projections to those of the main climate models. Then he applies economic projections of population growth rate, economic output and GDP growth rate, total recoverable fossil fuel quantity, rate of change of fossil fuel use, and importantly discount rates and a host of other economic variables.

      In my opinion his economic analyses are very illuminating – but given his input assumptions. That is where the debate needs to begin, IMO.

      Nordhaus makes it very clear what his beliefs about climate change are on the first page of the book:

      […] global warming is a major threat to humans and the natural world. I will use the metaphor that we are entering the Climate Casino. By this, I mean that economic growth is producing unintended but perilous changes in the climate and earth systems. These changes will lead to unforeseeable and probably dangerous consequences. We are rolling the climatic dice, the outcome will produce surprises, and some of them are likely to be perilous. But we have just entered the Climate Casino, and there is time to turn around and walk back out. This book describes the science, economics, and politics involved-and the steps necessary to undo what we are doing.

      That is a succinct statement of what he believes and the context in which the book is written. However, they are simply his beliefs. I suspect he has ‘been got’ by the climate orthodoxy mafia. The same climate mafia who want to destroy careers of academics who question the basis for some of their extreme beliefs.

      But what his personal beliefs are doesn’t matter. I can read and appreciate the economic analyses and the assumptions that underpin them and debate those. I think he does excellent work and I can separate facts, good analysis, and the assumptions he uses in those analyses from his personal beliefs.

      For those wanting to refer back to the previous discussion on the “The Climate Casino” see excerpts and discussion in a number of comments and sub threads starting here (Dec 30): http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/29/scientific-uncertainties-and-moral-dilemmas/#comment-430873

    • ” … Neither you nor anyone else has provided a persuasive case that GHG emissions are or will do more harm than good”

      David Appell | January 8, 2014 at 12:56 am |
      Clearly you haven’t read Nordhaus’s latest book, have you?

      So the economist Nordaus has up and settled the physics and meteorology etc.
      Fantastic.

  2. “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?”

    Here are some more questions extending from the above:

    1. Will global warming cause us to descend into the next ice age?

    2. Will global warming delay or speed up the next sudden climate change?

    3. Will it make the next sudden climate change have worse or less severe consequences (e.g. is sudden cooling bad, but sudden warming not so bad?).

    4. What are the probabilities on consequences (impacts) and timing of the next sudden climate change?

    • So, A Polar Vortex walks into a bar…..

    • … The bartender asks, what’ll ‘ya have?

      Polar Vortex says, I’ll have a margarita in Cancun.

    • It seems to me the current theory of CO2 warms the planet unconditionally and even with multipliers, the answer is it ought to delay an ice age. Meanwhile, I’m with you. I think the whole system is complex. And unfortunately, in general the planet runs a lot colder, and is not so supportive of life (even snowball earth nearly killed life, perhaps, but was also necessary for complex organisms). So the long term view should be to increase the retention of heat. The short term view is the damage that heat can do to current populations. If CO2 stopped the next ice age (say 10K years form now), but caused the next 500 generations hardships, would it be worth it?

      Who knows. The future, technology, understanding, what people will become, is not possible to say.

    • Except we could have stopped the next ice age with a score or two ppmv of CO2 — as James Hansen says, with a chlorofluorocarbon plant — if we wanted to . We had several millennia to decide…. Instead, we are wildly overshooting the target, several millennia early (too early, actually). And without really thinking about it.

      In other words, your argument fails.

      • No, David Appell, your argument fails as it invariably does, because you dodged the questions. The questions were about: what are the probabilities? What are they and what is the basis for them. Neither you nor anyone else has provided a persuasive case that GHG emissions are or will do more harm than good, nor that there is any justification for wasting enormous amounts of the world’s wealth on the silly, ideologically driven. schemes that have next to no chance of making this slightest difference to the climate or sea levels.

        You fail every time you dodge the question that was asked. And every time you dodge and weave and write such nonsense, you further convince me that you and the alarmists do not have a persuasive case to support the irrational actions they advocate.

  3. Climate wilding is an extremely bogus contention of the alarmists, but is extremely plausible to hoi polloi. It’s all about the fear and guilt, you know.

    A sad and destructive chapter in the history of human events.
    ============

  4. Do I sense a new psychology post in the works? Multiply climate disorder and monopolar disruption syndrome?

    • I’ll call your model based evidence (sic) and raise you one with two data based evidence.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2197/abstract

      Long records of the latitude and speed of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet stream since 1871 are presented from the newly available Twentieth Century Reanalysis. These jet variations underlie the variability associated with patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and have considerable societal impact through variations in the prevailing westerly winds. While the NAO combines variations in the latitude and speed of the jet, these two characteristics are shown to have quite different seasonal cycles and interannual variability, suggesting that they may have different dynamical influences.

      In general, the features exhibited in shorter records are shown to be robust, for example the strong skewness of the NAO distribution. Related to this is a clear multimodality of the jet latitude distribution, which suggests the existence of preferred positions of the jet. Decadal variations in jet latitude are shown to correspond to changes in the occurrence of these preferred positions. However, it is the speed rather than the latitude of the jet that exhibits the strongest decadal variability, and in most seasons this is clearly distinct from a white-noise representation of the seasonal means. When viewed in this longer term context, the variations of recent decades do not appear unusual and recent values of jet latitude and speed are not unprecedented in the historical record.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50880/abstract

      Arctic amplification;Rossby waves;blocking;sea ice
      [1] Previous studies have suggested that Arctic amplification has caused planetary-scale waves to elongate meridionally and slow down, resulting in more frequent blocking patterns and extreme weather. Here trends in the meridional extent of atmospheric waves over North America and the North Atlantic are investigated in three reanalyses, and it is demonstrated that previously reported positive trends are likely an artifact of the methodology. No significant decrease in planetary-scale wave phase speeds are found except in October-November-December, but this trend is sensitive to the analysis parameters. Moreover, the frequency of blocking occurrence exhibits no significant increase in any season in any of the three reanalyses, further supporting the lack of trends in wave speed and meridional extent. This work highlights that observed trends in midlatitude weather patterns are complex and likely not simply understood in terms of Arctic amplification alone

    • Sorry captdallas,

      That was suppose to be a reply to Gates’ January 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Reply.

    • captdallas 0.8 or less | January 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm
      Do I sense a new psychology post in the works? Multiply climate disorder and monopolar disruption syndrome?

      Nah – Bipolar Vortex Disorder.

  5. R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

    “The bottom line: the claims that greenhouse warming causes more cold waves like we have seen this week really seems to be without any basis in observational evidence or in theory.”
    _____
    Ignorance reigns supreme on this, from many quarters. the “polar vortex” of course is not caused by the level of GH gases, but is really caused by the rapid cooling of the atmosphere over the pole in the late summer/early fall and begins to form right around the fall equinox every year. Here’s a great wind profile that shows this year’s vortex forming in 2013, right about the beginning of September:

    What does happen, and seems to be occuring more and more regularly is large plantary scale Rossby waves of high pressure and high temperature moving up from lower latitudes and pushing, squeezing, nudging, and sometimes outright disrupting the polar vortex. The plantary scale Rossby waves move at stratopsheric and even mesopsheric heights, and in the extreme, when they disrupt the vortex completely, this can lead to a major SSW event– causing warming over the pole and massive outbreaks of cold air at lower latitudes.

    The connection between SSW events, plantary scale Rossby Waves, and increased GH gases is an interesting one, and comes about through the natural large scale circulation of air from tropics to the pole that takes place, known as the Brewer-Dobson Circulation. Climate models have long predicted an enhancement to this circulation as a result of increased GH gas concentration, and this enhancement has been confirmed by obvervations. An enhanceed Brewer-Dobson has a direct relationshiop to both enhance plantary scale Rossby waves moving from equator to the pole, but also in other side effects such as a diminshed wind profile in the QBO, which has also been observed.

    This alteration of the Brewer-Dobson circulation, greater frequency of SSW events and the “squeezing”, offsetting, and outright disruption of the winter polar vortex and that effect on the weather at lower latitudes are all areas of very leading edge climate research.

    • “Climate models have long predicted an enhancement to this circulation as a result of increased GH gas concentration, and this enhancement has been confirmed by obvervations.”

      Got a link to the observational data and the papers please?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Good post. I have read parts of the papers on this topic that you linked to a while ago.

    • dennis adams

      Gates
      “What does happen, and seems to be occuring more and more regularly is large plantary scale Rossby waves of high pressure and high temperature moving up from lower latitudes and pushing, squeezing, nudging, and sometimes outright disrupting the polar vortex”

      I presume you can provide observational data which proves that this is occurring more frequently than for the period 1500 to 1900.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      tallbloke,

      I’ve posted a response to your request for research to back up some of my statements. It is stuck in moderation because of too many links, so we’ll see how soon it is released.

    • “causing warming over the pole and massive outbreaks of cold air at lower latitudes.”

      This applies only to the North pole?

    • Gates, I have been looking at this since your excellent article last year and it certainly seems plausible that SSW events are a method of releasing extra heat to space and may increase in the future.

    • Isn’t it true that this phenom is caused by warming from any source? I would also be interested on thoughts about this push of warmth to the poles impact on outgoing SW. That is, spatial “sensitivity” variations.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Gates, I have been looking at this since your excellent article last year and it certainly seems plausible that SSW events are a method of releasing extra heat to space and may increase in the future.”
      —-
      You are not the first to have this thought. Capt. Dallas and I have discussed this many times. Seems plausible, as we know that a lid can begin rattling on a pot as it begins to boil, releasing a bit of energy when doing so.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      ““causing warming over the pole and massive outbreaks of cold air at lower latitudes.”

      This applies only to the North pole?”
      —–
      SSW events do occur over the South Pole but are far weaker and less frequent.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Isn’t it true that this phenom is caused by warming from any source? I would also be interested on thoughts about this push of warmth to the poles impact on outgoing SW. That is, spatial “sensitivity” variations.”
      —-
      SSW events are not caused by warming from any source, but specifically by descending air over the pole, cause by planetary scale wave breaking. The AO always goes very negative during these events as the high pressure over the pole reverses the prevailing westerlies to easterlies and pushes colder air out to lower latitudes.

      Also, I take it you mean outgoing LW?

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      The north pole, as I’ve said on many occasions, functions like the radiator and thermostat in an automotive water cooling system. When there is an increase in energy entering the ocean sea ice extent is reduced which replaces sub-zero ice surface with near-zero water surface and, more importantly at times, allows more evaporative cooling to take place as well. This makes the pole’s role as a radiator much more effective. This is the same principle of a thermostat in standard automotive water cooling system. Hotter water from the engine causes the thermostat to open wider allowing more hot water to reach the radiator where the heat is dumped out of the system.

      It’s not really rocket science. One (of many) phuckups from the climate boffin bandwagon was not anticipating how fast Arctic sea ice would reduce. This caused an overestimate of the amount of warming elsewhere. It’s really simple and not hard to understand. The cooling system is working exactly like anyone with a lick of common sense and maybe a bit of engineering talent would surmise that it would. Climate boffins, problematically, seem to have a common sense deficit disorder.

    • One (of many) phuckups from the climate boffin bandwagon was not anticipating how fast Arctic sea ice would reduce.

      Suuuuure…. it’s not the fault of those who are actually CAUSING the Arctic to melt, it’s the fault of the modelers for not being able to predict it — because we all know that had they predicted it, the world would have sat up straight and said, gee, I guess we really MUST decrease our carbon emissions.

      What bulls*it.

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      Your reply is incoherent, Appell. Calm down and try again.

      It’s a matter of fact that climate models were too low on rate of Arctic warming and too high on warming elsewhere. The model makers are most certainly responsible for flaws in their models. There was no unanticipated anthropogenic activity that caused the models to err.

      Start from the facts and see if you can make a reasoned response for a change. Exactly how am I wrong about Arctic sea ice acting like a thermostat in an automotive cooling system. C’mon. You’re supposedly a scientist. Start acting like one and do some unbiased critical thinking.

    • a) I am not a scientist, and (b) I’d like to know how it’s somehow the fault of models for melting the Arctic. Or are you trying to slip out of your own responsibility?

    • I think you may be conflating the stratospere-troposphere coupling in models with effects of Rossby waves. We’ll see. In any case, your links don’t demonstrate a mechanism through which inreased GHG’s can force Rossby waves.

    • dennis adams

      Gates

      Score 1 for Earth’s homeostatic mechanisms and innovative approaches to keep us in equilibrium. Just like the last few billion years. Of course you have yet to show this is a new phenomena not present in the last 500 years.

    • Paul Vaughan

      “Climate models have long predicted an enhancement to this circulation as a result of increased GH gas concentration, and this enhancement has been confirmed by obvervations.”

      The linked article doesn’t prove anything about the role of “GH gas concentration” in circulation:

      Decreasesing stratospheric water vapor after 2001: Links to changes in the tropical tropopause and the Brewer-Dobson circulation

      http://acd.ucar.edu/~randel/H2O_after_2001.pdf

      There’s no sensible reason to strain credibility like this.

    • Paul Vaughan

      “Climate models have long predicted an enhancement to this circulation as a result of increased GH gas concentration, and this enhancement has been confirmed by obvervations.”

      The linked article doesn’t prove anything about the role of “GH gas concentration” in circulation:

      The signature of the stratospheric Brewer‒Dobson circulation in tropospheric clouds
      http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/Li_Thompson_JGR_accepted.pdf
      http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ost/climate/STIP/37CDPW/37cdpw-yli.pdf

      There’s no sensible reason to strain credibility like this.

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      David Appell | January 8, 2014 at 12:59 am |

      “a) I am not a scientist, and (b) I’d like to know how it’s somehow the fault of models for melting the Arctic. Or are you trying to slip out of your own responsibility?”

      The models didn’t cause the melting. Pay attention. Read slowly for comprehension while I repeat in numbered points so you can respond by number.

      1) Climate models failed to predict how fast Arctic sea ice extent would reduce.
      2) Climate models failed to predict how slow the global temperature would rise.
      3) Arctic sea ice functions like the thermostat in an automotive cooling system. By opening more water surface to the frigid cold of space heat escapes the planet faster.
      4) Climate models failed to incorporate the planetary cooling system described above in 3 which explains why they showed the Arctic warming faster than expected and the rest of the planet warming slower than expected.

      Please respond by number of the point(s) you have a problem with and why. Thanks.

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      Corrected.

      4) Climate models failed to incorporate the planetary cooling system described above in 3 which explains why the Arctic warmed faster than modeled and the rest of the planet warming slower than modeled.

    • @tallbloke | January 8, 2014 at 5:09 am |

      I think you may be conflating the stratospere-troposphere coupling in models with effects of Rossby waves. We’ll see. In any case, your links don’t demonstrate a mechanism through which inreased GHG’s can force Rossby waves.

      Last time the subject came up, I did some Google research and found Sudden Stratospheric Warming: Causes & Effects by Randall Gates Simpson, a self-described amateur, at the Arctic Sea Ice Blog. His theory speculation is that SSW events are caused by extra-warm stratospheric air originally lifted from the Taklaman Desert. I haven’t had time to dig into the subject, but if he’s correct, this would be an ideal location for increased pCO2 to affect SSW events: it’s well known that the biggest effect of an increased “greenhouse” effect will be felt in cold, continental, winters. Well, here’s a desert, far enough north to be cold and dry, but far enough south to get considerable sunlight, even in winter.

      It’s plausible (to me, pending further research) that an increased “greenhouse” effect might well change the behavior of this pattern, by providing, on average, a larger pool of warm air for uplift.

    • look here for papers that link warm wet polar water to snow and cold.

      http://web.mit.edu/jlcohen/www/papers.html

    • Doug Badgero

      Thanks for the reply R Gates. Yes, I did mean outgoing LW……..thanks for that also.

  6. Judith Curry wrote:
    Is global warming causing the polar vortex?
    In a word, no.

    You didn’t provide any argument against Jennifer Francis’s science.

    Judith, anymore you seem to automatically take the contrarian/denialist side, no matter what the particular issue. That might get you some media interviews (frankly, it does seem calculated to do so), but I can’t see how it gets you any credibility in the scientific community as someone who does thoughtful science.

    As you should know, scientists don’t make their reputations on hit-and-run blog posts like this…..

    • k scott denison

      And Francis’ observational data is where?

    • Are you really incapable of looking at her Web site?

      “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes,”
      Jennifer A. Francis and Stephen J. Vavrus
      GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L06801, doi:10.1029/2012GL051000, 2012

      http://marine.rutgers.edu/~francis/pres/Francis_Vavrus_2012GL051000_pub.pdf

    • k scott denison

      Simulation output from NECP/NCAR is observational evidence? Not the way I read it.

    • Yes, it is, in the professional judgement of the editors and scientists who reviewed the Francis and Vavrus paper in GRL.

      Is there some particular reason why I should believe that you know better than they do?

    • Yes, it is, in the professional judgement of the editors and scientists who reviewed the Francis and Vavrus paper in GRL.

      This is bad. Really bad.

      Simulation is not observation. It never will be. Not knowing this, or confusing the two, isn’t just poor form, it’s absolutely damning.

    • Simulation is not observation. It never will be.

      Climate science is not an experimental science.
      Thus, you take what data you can get, and you do with it what you can.
      Reanalysis is one way of doing what you can.

    • David

      Your 8.21

      From the paper;

      ‘This study focuses on evidence linking AA with an increased tendency for a slower progression of Rossby waves in 500-hPa height fields that favor
      the types of extreme weather caused by persistent weather conditions, such as drought, flooding, heat waves, and cold spells in the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes.’

      I observed in my article ‘The long slow thaw?’ (a thorough examination of the British climate by looking at thousands of records from 1200 to 1700AD)

      —— ——–
      “It is notable how often rain is mentioned in the records, together with a huge amount of catastrophic weather events- and the frequency with which periods of intense cold or heat are juxtaposed, all indicating a highly variable climate.”

      “Due to its geographical location British weather is often quite mobile and periods of hot, cold, dry or wet weather tend to be relatively short lived. If such events are longer lasting than normal, or interrupted and resumed, that can easily shape the character of a month or a season. Reading the numerous references there is clear evidence of ‘blocking patterns,’ perhaps as the jet stream shifts, or a high pressure takes up residence, feeding in winds from a certain direction which generally shape British weather.”

      —— ——
      David, This comment regarding persistent weather conditions is nothing new at all. Persistent weather conditions and extreme events (in Britain) were far more frequent and serious than today.

      What observational evidence can you provide that contradicts my comments?
      tonyb

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      David Appell said on January 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm
      “Judith, anymore you seem to automatically take the contrarian/denialist side, no matter what the particular issue.”
      ______

      Yes, she does seem to do that. Perhaps Judith believes there’s already more than enough good science on the other side, so the place for her to contribute is the contrarian/denialist side. Or she may just like being different or siding with underdogs. Regardless, if she doesn’t move toward balance, I fear her credibility is going to suffer,

    • David,

      Depending on Dr Francis’ work does your credibility no good. For one it has been challenged by another group of researchers (having gaping holes blown through it would be a more accurate discription) and for another, the best response Dr Francis has managed to come up with has been a personal attack against the lead author of referred to research.

      A hypothesis does not proof make. At most, that is all Jennifer Francis has.

  7. Steven Mosher

    Judith I think Dr. Francis’ argument is a bit more nuanced than Global warming causes the polar vortex. R gates gives a fair summary

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      I’ve not spoken directly with Dr. Francis about the connection of her research to the enhance Brewer-Dobson circulation that’s been observed, but would love to hear her take on it. It’s pretty specialized, but has connections (or should I say teleconnections) to many other areas of research. Few people realize the scope and speed at which a plantary scale Rosbby wave can affect an entire hemisphere. While air is descending over the pole during a big SSW event, disrupting the Polar Vortex, it is simultaneously rising over the equator– a teleconnected event spanning some 9000 km!

    • that’s nothing, a tree called YAD06 teleconnected the whole globes temperature.

    • Steven Mosher

      I think ive said it b4 but I really liked your write up on ssw

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Thanks Steven. That post was bit rudimentary, and I really need to update it to include more on the Brewer-Dobson circulation connections. The topographically forced wave breaking section also needs to be refined a bit as my understanding has changed quite a bit.

    • “Dr. Francis’ argument is a bit more nuanced than Global warming causes the polar vortex. ”

      I would hope so, because, of course, seasonal deficit of energy at the poles causes polar vortices.

      And the asymmetric arrangement of mountains and oceans surrounding Arctic guarantees that the northern jet streams will wobble more than the relatively symmetric Antarctic.

      Oscillation of the zonal index is nothing new.

      And those of us old enough to recall 1979 ( the coldest ever North American winter ) know that the ‘Polar Vortex’ can meander southward – AND stay entrenched for months – without any need to invoke global warming.

  8. R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

    Here’s a nice animation of the plantary scale Rossby wave that moved up toward the northern latitudes and has sequeezed the polar vortex to its current elongated shape. Watch it come up from over Eastern Asia beginning around Dec. 25, and explode upward toward the north over the next few weeks:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/intraseasonal/temp10anim.shtml

    • Clearly the temperature differences between the arctic and equitorial regions are greater in the north in Dec as shown in the animation. The southern hemisphere seems extremely quiet by comparison. Do we see these strong waves in the south in July? If so, are Rossby waves as or less dramatic in July due to the larger percentage of ocean in the Southern Hemisphere?

    • Nice, thanks for the link.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Good question Pete. The southern branch of the Brewer-Dobson circulation is generally weaker than the northern branch, but also there are other topographical reasons why there is less planetary wave breaking in the SH. We do see some minor SSW events in the SH in the SH winter (July-August), but they are seldom as strong. Simply put, there is less energy being advected to the SH than the NH, even at stratospheric and mesospheric levels, and thus, less energic wave breaking when it does occur.

    • R. Gates, “Simply put, there is less energy being advected to the SH than the NH, even at stratospheric and mesospheric levels, and thus, less energic wave breaking when it does occur.”

      There is also about half as much mass transferred to the SH which would include aerosols, CFCs and ozone. There is a whole lot of stuff going on in the stratosphere to mesosphere that has never gotten much press.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “There is also about half as much mass transferred to the SH which would include aerosols, CFCs and ozone. There is a whole lot of stuff going on in the stratosphere to mesosphere that has never gotten much press.”
      ___
      Yep, hard to get the press interested in actual science. “Enhanced Brewer-Dobson Circulation causes more frequent Polar Vortex Disruption” is not nearly as sexy as “Polar Vortex Swallows NYC!”

  9. So, will the movie compete with Sharknado by featuring Polar Bearicanes?

  10. Happy global warming Americans!

  11. The polar vortex has been caused by the growth of green house fruits. Obviously the practice of growing fruits, especially Pisum sativum, under glass is quite dangerous.
    The polar vortex obviously moved into the USA because it was desperate for a pea.

    • Heh, I think I know what the climate vortex means.
      It’s an economic term meaning ‘going down the gurgler.’

      vhttp://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

  12. Geoff Cruickshank

    R Gates
    That animation says it is 10hPa temperature and anomalies. I’m not quite sure what that means frankly. Can you help? Just don’t quite see how a temperature anomaly can “explode upwards” or “squeeze the polar vortex”.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Geoff,

      First of all, I can appreciate the difficulty visualizing these very large scale effects. The 10 hPa is a measure of the geopotential height, or, roughly translated, an altitude in the atmosphere. 10 hPa is at stratospheric levels. Large planetary scale waves form (spanning many thousands of miles). Like ocean waves breaking on a beach (also releasing energy by the way), these planetary waves can “break” and spread out rapidly across the atmosphere. In the animation I posted, a wave broke over Eastern Asia (a common place by the way this time of year) around the 20th or so of December and rapidly spread out to the north. That motion to the north is critical as that tells you that the momentum for this wave was coming from the south to the north. As you watch the wave spread northward (is is an area of high pressure and higher temperatures from decending air) it literally runs up against and “squeezed” the colder lower pressure polar vortex, causing it to spill down into lower latitudes.

    • Geoff Cruickshank

      Thank you.

    • Close but no cigar this time.The excellent app earth.nullschool.net was showing signs around Dec 21.at 10 hPa

    • Yes, of course I did. Who wouldn’t?

      PS: Thanks for visiting my site.

  13. Used to be called a “cold front” in the old days, before perfectly natural weather events were co-opted for propaganda purposes. Superstorm Sandy, named snow storms, extreme weather, dirty weather, hotpocalypse, snowpocalypse.

    For every weather event there’s a dozen or more climatologists busily spinning ad hoc explanations in a bid for fame and glory…

    • k scott denison

      Yeah, why else add a name to winter storms? Makes for great media. Same weather, different year, but much scarier if we give it a name!

    • American children will no longer know the meaning of ‘Arctic Blast’.
      ==============

    • My understanding is our Canadian friends did not care for the term “Alberta Clipper” for very cold air coming to the USA from Canada. Perhaps “Polar Vortex” is meteorological political correctness.

    • “American children will no longer know the meaning of ‘Arctic Blast’”
      .
      Kim, you slay me. :-)

    • Living in Calgary, I love the term “Alberta clipper.”

      As in “Nice little winter ya got there. Pity if sumim were to happen to it.”

    • Used to be called a “cold front” in the old days, before perfectly natural weather events were co-opted for propaganda purposes. Superstorm Sandy, named snow storms, extreme weather, dirty weather, hotpocalypse, snowpocalypse.

      Where is the data on the number of such episodes as a function of time?

    • Where is the data on the number of such episodes as a function of time?

      Why should he make the data available to you, when your aim is to find something wrong with it?

    • Does the data exist or doesn’t it?

    • I’m sure he’s **consulting with all the meteorological services – about 150 members of WMO – and will ask them if they are happy to release the data.**

      And I’m sure that you can see what a huge task that is.

    • I see — you don’t have any data at all. But I’m sure that won’t stop your opinions….

    • Those were quotes from Phil Jones, Dave (when he was asked for data).

      I thought you’d recognize them, but since I’m communicating with someone who tweets that Antarctic ice is decreasing while adding snide remarks, and apparently doesn’t know the difference between southern hemisphere summer and winter, I guess I set the bar too high. :) Cheers.

    • TerryMN: Of course I recognized the words. What makes you think anyone supported them then, or now?

      That is to say, you weren’t being very clever.

    • Does the data exist or doesn’t it?

      If it doesn’t then how can you be so sure that such episodes have in fact increased?

    • Let’s look at this from a positive view point.

      That the media is paying so much attention to weather events is possible evidence that most things are right with the world.

    • Don’t be a numbnut David,

      “Where is the data on the number of such episodes as a function of time?”

      One does not have to produce a paper acceptable to Nature to understand that cold weather events similar to last week have occured before. I’ve lived in Minnesota, Wisconson, Conneticutt and Upstate New York. There is nothing exceptional about what is happening now. The only differences have been to rename an “arctic cold front” or “air mass” a “polar vortex” and for people, particularly politicians, to over react. My engineering assistant grew up in North Dakota. She was saying that as a kid they would not let you get on the school bus on really cold days if you didn’t have a blanket.

      It really is laughable the way people react to the weather these days.

  14. Clearly the media buzz over the polar vortex is all part of an evil plan to raise taxes. Fortunately the people who engage in these dastardly plots leave subtle clues to their real intentions which can be discovered by resort to advanced analytical techniques (a.k.a. the internet anagram server).

    Polar Vortex => Pro Tax Lover

    QED

  15. k scott denison

    In 1974, Time Magazine quotes scientists as saying the vortex is caused by global cooling. Now, according to Time, Gates et al, it’s due to global warming.

    Leaves one speechless. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s just part of weather, eh?

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Yes, we should trust Time Magazine in 1974 versus 40 years of advancement in science and massive coverage by incredible satellite data.

      The Polar Vortex is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but its displacement might indeed be caused by increasing GH gas concentrations, and those effects on planetary scale Rossby waves and the Brewer-Dobson circulation, for reasons given in my long post above.

    • Do you really think science doesn’t change in 40 years?

      In 1974, how many genes did scientists think were in the human genome?
      What did they think about the universe’s expansion?
      How many quarks had been discovered by then?

    • k scott denison

      Do you really think the scientists in 1974 didn’t think the same way you are now? “Yes, we KNOW now that the world is cooling, unlike those 40 years ago who knew nothing!”

    • k scott denison

      History is full of scientists who were sure they were right. Fortunately there are others who continue to be convinced they (and others) aren’t right and continue to look deeper for new and better understanding.

    • Do you really think the scientists in 1974 didn’t think the same way you are now?

      Scientists in 1974 had far, far less data than those of today, especially data gained by satellites.

      Do you really think more data doesn’t aid understanding?

    • History is full of scientists who were sure they were right.

      If you actually read the Francis and Vavrus paper, you’ll see that the only scientist who is sure they’re right is J Curry.

    • That must be why the certainty increases as the models diverge from reality…..

    • What divergence from reality?

    • There it is.

      Did you know that the Royal Society took Al Gore’s tables and Michael ‘Piltdown’ Mann’s Hockey Stick into the meeting with GWPF.

      We are going to feel sorry for these people sooner or later. Of course, I’ve been saying that for years.
      ===============

    • David Appell

      Do you really think more data doesn’t aid understanding?

      Frequently not.

      Witness for example, the impact that two additional decades of data demonstrating increasing disagreement with model predictions have produced among the political hacks at the IPCC – greater confidence in those predictions.

      “Global warming” is a religious commitment, and it demonstrates the same immunity to data.

    • Donna LaFramboise, in a link by Edim lower in the thread, speaks of the religious underpinnings of this sociological ‘divergence from reality’ that belief in CAGW represents.
      ======================

    • Words,words, words. big words Gatesy, but thank you for the nice graphs.
      SSW
      Sudden stratospheric warming. There is in fact no suddenness about it. It is weather pure and simple.
      I takes time to happen and was predictable and predicted by weather outlets up to 2 weeks in advance although the warning to the public was quite inadequate.
      In fairness Joe Public never listens anyway, so both are to blame.
      Descriptions abound as to the waves which are purely descriptive of proceeding events, not causative in any shape or form.
      Just like Hurricanes which happen on average up to 12 times a year in the tropics you have big ones and little ones. A big “cold front or polar vortex hit Siberia last year going through Europe down to Italy.
      Did Joe Public care? Heck no, NIMBY we say here, not in my backyard.
      We get hot and cold fronts in Australia as well.
      There is no difference in the frequency of Southern and Northern events, Just a cold front in the Southern Hemisphere has less land to hit and less people to notice. So its weather not climate change.
      Its normal extreme weather which happens every 20 to 40 years, Heck it might happen 3 years in a row.
      Won’t that be good in a bad sort of way [Odds 1 in 400 to follow this event ]

    • David Appell

      Do you really think the scientists in 1974 didn’t think the same way you are now?

      Scientists in 1974 had far, far less data than those of today, especially data gained by satellites.

      Do you really think more data doesn’t aid understanding?

      Now that I reflect on it a bit more, your DA question is even more interesting.

      If 40 years of increasing data, “especially data gained by satellites”, have truly aided understanding in a meaningful way, then that aided understanding must certainly be incorporated into the GCMs that uniformly predict our doom while (equally unanimously) failing to predict the parameter that is their raison d’etre (GAST).

      So, do tell, how many of those GCM model runs that you use to hardsell your personal politics actually demonstrate the increasing instability of the Polar Vortex, and more frequent Coldmageddons?

      They don’t predict GAST, they don’t predict Arctic sea ice decline well, or Antarctic sea ice increase at all. They can’t handle clouds worth a crap and therefore it isn’t surprising that they are otherworldly in their precip prognostications. Regional temp predictions are laughable. But they must have got the Polar Vortex right, right?

      Uh huh.

  16. Not stupid, political. there is a difference.

    “Leaders” would be honest about the motives of the AGW that certainly include the MSM advocacy and support like the “Polar Vortex” and a hundred other common distractions.

    Too close to the bone truth for Dr. Curry….hence the “stupid mode” description.

    • There are probably only a couple of people in Minnesota that don’t think that joke is funny, A weatherman Paul Douglas, some St Thomas prof Abrams and possibly WubHubTelescope. No one gets punched in the face for wishing for warmer weather when the high is -15 F or colder.

  17. The point of your post is clear from the UAH Dec anomaly reading:

    2013 0.27

    It is the second hottest December, tied with 1987, 26 years ago.
    The hottest December was 2003 at 0.37, 10 years ago.

    It’s not exactly a barn burner even though it is the second hottest.

    • Until the large differences between UAH and RSS (lately ~ 0.2 for the lower troposphere) are ironed out, it is not clear if EITHER dataset is trustworthy lately.

    • “The Original Temperatures Project.” Scientific. Watts Up With That?, January 6, 2014. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/06/the-original-temperatures-project/
      Presentation of the Original Temperatures project. Contents:
      1. Introduction
      2. Methods
      3. Adjustments of temperature data
      3.1. Adjustments: HISTALP – by the Austrian ZAMG
      3.2. Adjustments: ECA&D – by the Dutch KNMI
      3.3. Adjustments: The BEST project
      3.3.1 BEST / Austria
      3.3.2 BEST / Denmark
      3.3.3 BEST / Hungary
      3.3.4 BEST / UHI
      3.3.5 BEST prefer unadjusted data
      4. Results from original temperature data

  18. Generalissimo Skippy

    First, we have analysed the probability of cold UK winters (relative to the hemispheric mean temperature) as a function of the open solar flux, using the December/January/February means of the observed Central England Temperatures (detrended to allow for the effect of the rise in hemispheric mean temperatures). Secondly, we have analysed the probabilities of future evolution of open solar flux by looking at cosmogenic isotopes data from times which appear to match the present day, using the assumption that the end of the current grand solar maximum is imminent [3, 4].

    By combining the results of these two probability analyses, we find that the solar effect on the probability of relatively cold winters is that they are likely to increase in frequency during the next century, if all other factors remained the same. The observed occurrence frequency, for all four thresholds considered, was zero for the decade prior to the recent low solar minimum (1998–2008), but over the next 50 years, the predicted occurrence of cold winters rises back towards the observed average occurrence for the whole 350-year CET dataset.

    However, as stressed above, this analysis assumes that all other factors which can modulate UK winter temperatures remain the same, which is unlikely to be a valid assumption. In addition to giving global-scale warming (e.g., [58]), anthropogenic climate change yields regional changes [20] arising from the dynamical response of the climate system [59], such as changes in ocean circulation [60], sea-ice loss [61, 62] or stratospheric circulation [63]. This reflects the wide range of phenomena that can influence the North Atlantic jet stream and its associated effects on UK winter climate, as described by the NAO. The jet stream exhibits pronounced variability on inter-annual to decadal timescales, some of which may be forced by oceanic [64] or stratospheric [65] variability. Transient events such as volcanic eruptions (e.g., [66]), beyond and including the winter warming effect [42–45] and quasi-periodic variations such as ENSO [67, 68] can also have an influence. However, a large fraction of the variability will reflect the chaotic’ climate noise’ of internal atmospheric variability [69, 71]. All of the above contribute to the great scatter seen in figure 4; nevertheless some, if limited, forecast skill remains and can be used because of our analogue forecast of solar activity based on cosmogenic isotope data.

    We stress that we have studied the winter UK temperatures relative to the hemispheric means, δTDJF, rather than the absolute temperatures δTDJF. Thus our results show how the postulated solar effects might contribute to an increase in the number of anomalously cold UK winters in times when global mean temperatures are rising. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/3/034004/fulltext/

    The polar vortices result from forces generated in the spin of the planet. The westerly winds spring up away from the relative quiet of the axis of spin. The storm tracks are constrained to the poles or spiral off the vortices dependent on relative SLP in polar and sub-polar regions

    Look penguin.

    There is currently high pressure over the Antarctic.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/viewer/index.shtml?type=mslp-precip&tz=AEDT&area=SH&model=G

    Pushing storm fronts further north.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      In the NH the complex patterns of winds push further south with high pressure over the Arctic.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The connections are complex of course – but I suspect pressure change is relate to UV/ozone interactions.

      e.g. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034008

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “The polar vortices result from forces generated in the spin of the planet.”
      ___
      The actual NH winter “Polar Vortex” results from rapidly cooling air as the winter night begins to set in early September, as evidence by this chart:

      Unless you’d like to suggest that the spin of the planet somehow changes dramatically about the 1st of September every year. The Polar Vortex is temperature induced and disappears in late spring/early summer at the latest, and sometimes earlier if it has been disrupted by an SSW event.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The polar vortices are a constant – stronger in winter and weaker in summer.

      That seems to be what your picture is showing?

      ‘A polar vortex (also known as an polar cyclone, polar low, frigid twister, or a circumpolar whirl[1] ) is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near either of a planet’s geographical poles. On Earth, the polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere. They surround the polar highs and lie in the wake of the polar front. These cold-core low-pressure areas strengthen in the winter and weaken in the summer due to their reliance upon the temperature differential between the equator and the poles.[2] They usually span less than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in which the air is circulating in a counter-clockwise fashion (in the northern hemisphere). As with other cyclones, their rotation is caused by the Coriolis effect.’ Wikipedia

    • General Skippy does posit the other plausible explanation, though both are ignored/denied by the IPCC

  19. One day some sociologists will study this situation and the psychological elements that drove it.

    Actually, the phenomena have already been studied quite a bit.

    Just a quick read of Climate Etc. on any given day will show solid evidence in support much of the theories which has been offered by way of explanation.

    • If you were capable of reading ClimateEtc dispassionately, you would have noticed that the single unifying theme among skeptics is doubt that man can effect Catastrophic Warming on the Earth.

      Edim, below, with a link to Donna LaFramboise, shows the path that psychologists will follow in understanding the extraordinary popular delusion that CAGW is. It’s about fear and guilt, belief in prophecy, and the urge to fame, treasure, and power amongst modern shamans.
      ====================

    • “the single unifying theme among skeptics is doubt that man can effect Catastrophic Warming on the Earth”

      If it was just doubt we wouldn’t see the following kind of craziness:

      Denying that the CO2 rise is human caused
      Denying the greenhouse effect
      Denying the temperature records

      These are symptoms of something more than “doubt”.

      It’s called denial.

    • Skeptics have a broad range of viewpoints from which they doubt catastrophe. It is the plethora of viewpoints which highlights the difference between them and consensus alarmists. It is the paucity of vision of the alarmists which have led them into the dead end in which they have crashed.
      ================

    • iolwot said;

      ‘…Denying the temperature records’

      Which countries and over what time scale would you say the temperature records are highly reliable?

      tonyb

    • The paucity of vision of the alarmists is enhanced by fear, guilt and belief in prophecy, stoked also by the urge to fame, treasure and power. There is the madness.
      =======================

    • Skeptics* have a broad range of viewpoints because their rejection of science causes them to have no grounding. Without a grounding in science they wander aimlessly trying to make sense of everything unconstrained by such things as evidence.

      It is in the same way the cause of the broad range of beliefs among creationists. Following the rejection of the mainstream biology and geology consensus (consensus isn’t science apparently!) all they have to go on is whatever they can make up themselves, which like climate skeptics tends to be geared towards a certain answer.

      *Many skeptics, not all skeptics.

    • Alarmist modelers, even with a grounding in science, wander aimlessly trying to make sense of everything without the constraints of evidence.
      ==============

    • Creationists say the same thing about biologists because they can’t explain some detail.

      Misses the bigger picture.

      Who predicted the warming over the last few decades? It wasn’t the skeptics.

      Why is the earth still heating up? (skeptics haven’t caught up with that one yet)

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Kim says: “If you were capable of reading ClimateEtc dispassionately, you would have noticed that the single unifying theme among skeptics is doubt that man can effect Catastrophic Warming on the Earth.”
      —–
      My view is different. I think the characteristic most skeptics at Climate Etc have in common is old age. This is a key characteristic because after a point ( say around age 50) advancing age typically is accompanied by growing fear of loss … loss of health, loss of good looks, loss of physical fitness, loss of reproductive fun, loss of status, loss of family and friends as they pass away, and the inevitable loss of one’s life.

      It should come as no surprise that fear of loss manifests itself in the desire to keep things the way they are. Older people don’t want change, and who can blame them when change for them so frequently means loss. Unfortunately, fear of change also makes the elderly suspicious of things that are new or different. Man-made climate change is new and different.

    • Heh, Max, not so OK, curses his own future, if he lives long enough.
      ===============

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      I know I will not escape the losses that come with age. I’m already losing interest in rap music. But I will do what I can to postpone losses. Saving for rainy days might be a good ideal. For example, I plan on practicing celibacy for a while, so I will have something left when I’m older.

    • Max

      Racism laws-tick
      Sexism laws-tick
      Ageism laws…..

      I must assume from your frequent comments on the subject that the US is the only country in the Western World not to have ageism laws and you back that lack of knowledge with wild stereotyping.

      tonyb

    • Ha, ha, ha, ha. Use it or lose it, Max.
      ===========

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      Max_OK, Citizen Scientist | January 8, 2014 at 9:22 am |

      “old age. This is a key characteristic because after a point ( say around age 50) advancing age typically is accompanied by growing fear of loss … loss of health, loss of good looks, loss of physical fitness, loss of reproductive fun, loss of status, loss of family and friends as they pass away, and the inevitable loss of one’s life.”

      What a crock of schit. That’s entirely in your imagination and when you actually do get to that age you’ll discover you were wrong. The things you mention are a part of life except those which are just wrong. Loss of reproductive fun? Hell that’s a worry that goes away and the fun remains. Sex without possibility of pregnancy. No waiting for kids to fall asleep or waking them up. No jobs or children to drain your energy. Reproduction is not fun it’s a consequence of having the fun. You lose family and friends from your own birth to death. Some of my grandparents passed away before I was old enough to form memories of them. Friends have died from all manner of things. Suicide and car accidents in my teens and increasingly from disease. That’s just a part of life.

      Living in fear changes nothing, Max. It just makes the present less enjoyable. Carpe deim!.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Tony, says
      “you back that lack of knowledge with wild stereotyping”
      _____

      Tony, it’s not stereotyping to point out aging means loss.

      It’s not stereotyping to say fear of loss affects one’s thinking.

      Now, you may be able to fear loss without fearing change, which is what I hope to be able to do. But my experience with the elderly makes me skeptical.

      If you have no fear of loss with age, I would like to know your secret.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Generalissimo Skippy says
      “Loss of reproductive fun? Hell that’s a worry that goes away and the fun remains.”
      ______

      I forgot about Viagra. But there is no equivalent drug for women, so you will have to admit I’m half right.

    • max

      Your stereotyping of age is as hackneyed as your stereotyping of sceptics. I assume you don’t really seriously believe your portrayal of either grouping.

      tonyb

    • Generalissimo Stiffy

      If anything I need anti-viagra. I’m not sure how many men experience ED but I’m definitely not one of them. I can’t really tell if my sex drive is diminished at all. I think it’s increased because I no longer have a job or kids that drain vital energy and lots of free time.

      Obligatory topical part: Maybe it’s global warming that’s responsible for more heated reproductive behaviors.

    • Generalissimo Cougar

      With an as yet undetermined appendage Max in Oklahoma writes:

      “I forgot about Viagra. But there is no equivalent drug for women, so you will have to admit I’m half right.”

      Sadly no, you’re not even half right. Viagra does the same thing for women. Global warming may also heat them up of course.

      Study Finds Viagra Works for Women

      There’s also hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen to be specific. There’s also testosterone replacement for men. Before taking read the label carefully and don’t take the wrong one or you might end up all physically and mentally confused like Max_OK. Taking the wrong side in the climate wars has a similar effect to taking the wrong hormone. It makes women hairy and aggressive while making grow mantits and become impotent. I mean just look at Oreskes and Mann if you have any doubts.

      Global warming has very far reaching unintended consequences indeed.

    • I never had an interest in rap music. It’s an old-age thing. Stuff sounded like crap to me.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      climatereason | January 8, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      max

      Your stereotyping of age is as hackneyed as your stereotyping of sceptics. I assume you don’t really seriously believe your portrayal of either grouping.
      ____

      No, Tony, I’m serious. I define the elderly as people over age 50, because their lives are more than half over. Not all elderly people are climate skeptics and not all climate skeptics are elderly, but I believe there is a large overlap between these groups. And as I have explained, I believe fear of loss is at the root of the skepticism of the elderly toward man-made climate skepticism.

      You seem to be very sensitive about this subject. Please understand I am not criticizing you for your age and I do not know whether your age affects your views on climate change. I would ask you, however, to consider it might.

    • Generalissimo Dustfart

      Warning: Beware puerile originator.

      Hey Max, a lot of scientists are old farts. 97% of them belong to the “climate consensus”, right? Is it your position that there are no old scientists in the 97%? How old is Hansen, by the way? I’m not yet 60. He’s older than me right? And wow. Phil Jones is 4 years older than me. Peter Glieck and me born the same year. And oh big wow Al Gore is 8 years older than me.

      I think your theory about skeptics being mostly old people doesn’t apply to old scientists.

      Let’s try general public in the US. Gallup can usually help here.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/153653/americans-worries-global-warming-slightly.aspx

      Nope. Not really.

      Age Group … Cares a lot% : cares some : cares little : no care

      18-29 35% care a lot
      65+ 28% care a lot

      In fact, Max (pay attention this is a teaching moment). From same Gallup poll: 16% of Republicans care a great deal about global warming and a whopping 42% of Democrats.

      There’s your great predictor. People who like a nanny state like their nanny to be very concerned about global warming. It’s never been about science. It’s always been about politics. Well at least as long as old guy yours truly can remember it’s been politics not science.
      There’s a theory that explains the much smaller appeal differential with age first stated by Winston Churchhill:

      “If you’re young and not a liberal you have heart. If you’re old an not a conservative you have no brain.”

      Don’t worrry Max. Young liberals grow a brain quite often. Takes longer in some than others is all. Good luck with yours.

    • Max,

      While it is not they only way you demonstrate it, your regular comments referring to age highlight what an idiot you can be. At a minimum they show you haven’t a clue on the subject. And offering opinions when one is clueless is one form of idiocy.

    • Max,

      I believe fear of loss is at the root of the skepticism of the elderly

      May I suggest looking to God. Pick whichever one you like. Most provide reason not to fear the end of earthly existence. Hell, some even say you get to go around again. Upon further consideration, you may even be proof of that, as your reasoning abilities are on par with that of a turnip.

  20. This is a well known weather phenomenon which has been happening for many thousands of years. Hansen’s ( I think it is) “loaded dice” is nothing more than the worst kind of propaganda. Why worst? Because it’s clever. Can’t be falsified the way they frame it. lIke the rest of this dog and pony show…

    • How can Hansen’s claim not be verifiable…. Six sides makes for pretty clear probabilities….

    • Pokerguy….as you say this is, “a well known weather phenomenon that has been happening for many thousands of years”.

      This event isn’t even close to the all time classic event of 1899, which brought about the grandaddy of all cold waves when ice formed on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Was the 1899 event caused by GH gases? Of course not, it was natural variability. If it has happened in the past, and more frequently in many of our colder winters (mid 70s for example), why is this event so special?. It is nothing more than a media event promoted by politicians, the alarmist media and computer modelers with no sense of history.

    • If it has happened in the past, and more frequently in many of our colder winters (mid 70s for example), why is this event so special?

      Your data for the mid-70s?

      What suspicious is that almost all of the recent “pause” has been happening in the winter, as the data here shows:

      http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/12/are-large-artic-melts-causing-part-of.html

    • Weren’t you around then? Here is just one of hundreds of sites where you can see the polar votex in 1976 over New York City, which is much farther south than this latest event when it was located over Michigan.

      http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/iln/climo/summaries/winter76-77/cold1977.php

      There was so much ice on the Ohio River that year, shipping was greatly curtailed for a month. There were snow flurries into the northern suburbs of Miami.

    • David….I hate to do such simple research for you but you should find find this article of interest: http://www.nwas.org/digest/papers/1977/Vol02No4/1977v002no04-Wagner.pdf
      Notice how the abstract sounds as if it was written today.

    • Data for one winter, 1976-77, is not proof of any trend. And this paper doesn’t even give it’s own citation.

      So, again — where is the data?

    • I take it you weren’t around then and that you have no familiarity with what used to be called the Long Range Prediction Branch of the National Meteorological Center from NOAA. If you actually looked at the entire article you would see temperature deviations for several other severely cold winters that obviously weren’t caused by GH gases. What would be your criticism of the first article I posted? As I said, there are many other articles about the polar vortex being displaced quite far to the south. Was the cold outbreak of 1899 a product of GH gases? You have surely heard of that winter haven’t you or are you one of the many who prefer computer models to real historical events? I suspect any further dialogue with you about actual data would most likely be futile.

    • Actually I was around then, and who says greenhouse gases weren’t influencing weather then? And what data says such winters occurred then but don’t now?

    • How can Hansen’s claim not be verifiable…. Six sides makes for pretty clear probabilities….

      “God does not play dice with the climate”.
      Seriously, the connection between distributions of anomaly data and extreme weather events is spurious, at best.
      Even warmists are distancing themselves from Hansen’s paper.

  21. “Polar vortex” sounds new and compelling. I’ve long thought warmies should write the advertising for energy drinks and abdominal exercisers.

  22. I figured the CAGWers would be touting the cold as “extreme” weather caused by global warming. But I guess it just sounds too stupid.

    • The Washington Post is loaded today with articles and comments that “the weather is not climate”. It is funny to remind them that the many postings to the contrary regarding heat waves are then less valid.

    • daly,

      The Post’s Capital Weather gang are quite good. Most of what I’ve read has been informed and reasonably centered. That is they can’t be classified as an alarmist fountain.

  23. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground was on Democracy Now today, and explained it that global warming can cause more meandering of the polar vortex, because the melting of sea ice means the pole is on average warmer now, and the vortex gradient is weakened, meaning it is less of a barrier to the coldest air moving south, and this is an example of what happens when it meanders. Is a polar votex caused by global warming? No, it is always there. Is its probability of meandering helped by global warming (especially relative Arctic warming)? Yes, this is plausible, just mechanistically.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Actually – warmer should lead to lower SLP pressure at the pole – pulling the storm tracks in.

    • A weaker temperature gradient leads to a weaker jet-stream which has more of a tendency to meander.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      There is some basic meteorology here – the strength of the ‘jet stream’ increases with lower pressure at the poles. The circumpolar winds are constrained closer to the poles and intensify.

    • The pressure gradient and winds are higher at higher elevations and there a warmer pole reduces the pressure gradient by increasing the polar pressure.

    • Yes, it is also the negative phase of an Arctic Oscillation which means a surface high pressure. This has a similar effect as a weakened polar vortex which is defined by the jet stream winds.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Go away springer – you are boring everyone for no purpose other than to pathetically trying to needle me. With such frequency – I wonder if you might really need a new hobby.

      Sorry Jim – where were we. You were talking about higher pressure – but the mechanism is mighty unclear. Warmer increases convection leading to lower SLP.

      And I like to get to relatively precise descriptions with some actual science thrown in.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The vortex is pretty variable seasonally. We have what is called the polar front – the location of which is pressure dependent – with vortice shedding off the front into lower latitudes.

      Something like the NASA arctic cyclone above.

    • GS, I think that the AO is independent of the temperature, but is related to the amount of mass trapped in the vortex. The higher surface pressure, or negative phase, means more mass and less stable.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      I think the NAM and SAM are related to top down modulation by stratospheric temps changing with UV/ozone interactions – as in the Lockwood study I linked somewhere.

      But density and pressure are temperature related form first principles.

      But please some actual science or actual data – or I can’t continue.

    • GS, by definition the surface pressure measures the mass in the column. The polar vortex relies on the temperature gradient. The difference from winter to summer is a weakening of the polar vortex and temperature gradient. Global warming is a trend towards the summer state, not so healthy for the vortex, and more in favor of a meandering jet stream.

    • Jeff Masters has written about this …

      From January 7, 2014:
      In theory, the 1.5°F increase in global surface temperatures that Earth has experienced since 1880 due to global warming should reduce the frequency of 1-in-20 year extreme cold weather events like the current one. However, it is possible that climate change could alter jet stream circulation patterns in a way that could increase the incidence of unusual jet stream “kinks” that allow cold air to spill southwards over the Eastern U.S., a topic I have blogged about extensively, and plan to say more about later this week.

      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2605

      From April 25, 2013:
      However, a number of papers have been published since 2009 theorizing that the record loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years may be significantly altering Northern Hemisphere jet stream patterns (I list eleven of these papers below.) Many of these studies show a link between Arctic sea ice loss and an increasingly negative AO and NAO index in winter. Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers has authored several of these papers, and wrote a very readable explanation of the theory linking Arctic sea ice loss to extreme weather in the mid-latitudes for our Earth Day 2013 microsite. Her post was called, “The Changing Face of Mother Nature.” The most recent technical paper connecting Arctic sea ice loss to extreme weather was a March 2013 paper by Tang et al., “Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss”. The paper argued that unusual jet stream contortions in winter have become increasingly common in recent years. The scientists found a mathematical relationship between wintertime Arctic sea ice loss and the increase in unusual jet stream patterns capable of bringing cold, snowy weather to the Eastern U.S., Western Europe, and East Asia, typical of what one sees during a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. They theorized that sea ice loss in the Arctic promotes more evaporation, resulting in earlier snowfall in Siberia and other Arctic lands. The earlier snow insulates the soil, allowing the land to cool more rapidly. This results in a southwards shift of the jet stream and builds higher atmospheric pressures farther to the south, which increases the odds of cold spells and blocking high pressure systems that can cause extended periods of unusually cold and snowy weather in the mid-latitudes. The research linking climate change impacts in the Arctic to more extreme jet stream patterns is still very new, and we need several more years of data and additional research before we can be confident that this is occurring. But if the new research is correct, the crazy winter weather we’ve been seeing since 2009 may be the new normal in a world with rapid warming occurring in the Arctic.

      http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2393

      Jeff Masters on Democracy Now:
      And when you reduce the temperature difference between the Equator and the poles, you tend to slow down the winds of the jet stream, and you tend to allow this sort of meandering behavior. And this difference in temperature between the Equators and the poles has been growing less and less in recent years because we’ve been losing so much Arctic sea ice. That allows the sun to shine more intensely up there, because now you’re exposing open water, which is dark, absorbs more sunlight, heats up the area, melts more ice, in kind of a vicious cycle, and increases the warmth even more. So, all this kind of makes sense that it could be the fact that warming in the Arctic is altering jet stream behavior.

      http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/7/weather_whiplash_as_polar_vortex_brings

  24. Here’s an interesting chart that shows how the global temperature changes, then CO2 changes in the same direction.

    • By “global temperature” you really mean “surface temperature,” right?

      Do you realize what a tiny slice of the climate system are surface temperatures? Strictly speaking, the surface, being 2-dimensional, can’t hold any heat at all…. So why use it as a metric of global warming?

    • David – it is lower trop. So it isn’t really the surface. CO2 lags the temperature. What you said does not change that.

      If there is only heat absorption with no warming, what’s the big deal?

    • And David – the surface is a “big deal” because that’s where we live. All the hysteria USED to be about how WE were going to experience higher temperatures. I can see why you want to continually move the goal posts, but after a while, you just come across as another chicken little.

    • jim2, that only shows that in warmer years the surface is less effective at absorbing all the manmade CO2, which is as expected.

    • David, it shows that warming occurs first, then CO2 follows – not the other way round. Why doesn’t CO2 lead if it’s the driver? Just asking. I mean if temperatures have risen by some mechanism other than CO2, then part of the rise of CO2 is just outgassing from the oceans. The devil is in the details I guess.

    • jim2 wrote:
      And David – the surface is a “big deal” because that’s where we live.

      By the same token, almost all of us live on the land surface, not the water surface, and it is warming far faster than the global surface — see the CRUTEMP dataset, http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/crutem4vgl.txt

    • jim2 wrote:
      David – it is lower trop. So it isn’t really the surface. CO2 lags the temperature.

      False. (Actually, laughably false.)

      Humans are burning carbon-based fuels regardless of any surface temperature.

    • jim2, you really ought to do some math instead of using those eyeballs of yours.

    • It’s true. Actually, laughably true.


    • jim2 | January 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm |

      It’s true. Actually, laughably true.

      jim2 so desperately wants that all of science be overturned that he has turned into someone that sees apparitions in the data and uses those ghosts as evidence to convince himself of his righteousness.

      Meanwhile those of us know the difference between weather-related regional phenomena and significant global climate changes just let the mathematical models of reality guide us to the truth.


      Consider this parable. At one time, Essex and McKittrick contrived an analogy where they compared the global temperature to the T-Rex dinosaur. Somehow they thought that it was incorrect for scientists to use global temperature and so they fabricated a phantom monster called T-Rex to indicate that the climatologists were out-of-control with their mathematical models of reality.

      Well guess who is under the illusion of the T-Rex haunting their every move now?

      It certainly ain’t the consensus.

  25. So with ice levels increasing dramatically through the 60s and 70s the cold air would have stayed north bac then? Or are some mechanistic plausibilities more equal than others?

    • What data shows ice levels “increasing dramatically” in the 60s and 70s?

    • “David Appell | January 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
      What data shows ice levels “increasing dramatically” in the 60s and 70s?”

    • A YouTube video isn’t data — it’s a video.
      So where’s the data?

    • The early satellite record should be available still in the original 1990 IPCC report. With my limited rural internet I can’t get it down now, but if you get the original doc, you should see increasing ice extent graphed before the usual high startpoint around 1978. Has anybody denied this increase? It seems to be ignored rather than denied. As to why it’s ignored…

  26. Generalissimo Skippy

    So there have been a few references to actual pier reviewed science – one by Appell – although we might hope for a more balanced accounting – and a few animations or gifs from moderately reputable sources. SAM the climate dog is always fun.

    Other than that we have the usual litany of tribal talking points from the usual suspects.

    What is it? If someone ‘proved’ current conditions in the US were totally manmade – something so unlikely that the chance of me winning ‘Miss America’ looks positively glowing by comparison – that we would have to buckle down – dismantle the global economy – and all repent like our lives depended on it? Fat chance of that.

    Don’t we know from various dependable sources that the background rate of warming is at most 0.08 degrees C/decade? Not an existential threat anytime soon. Of course – climate is a wild and angry beast – and this may all change any time. Ironically – it may have nothing to do with us.

    • Well said General

      (though your links to Wally B are giving me bad dreams)

    • (combined with links to AMOC)

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      It goes round… an round… an round.. an round.

      Too much information on the workings of your fetid imagination springer. So why don’t you go away and think very hard of original and relevant to say? Too hard?

    • Sorry
      Philosophers say it is all in your head, psychiatrists also.

    • “…it may have nothing to do with us.” Nothing? Aw c’mon, we’re more important than that… Our conceit is pretty funny.

  27. stevefitzpatrick

    Judith,

    “In a word, no.”

    And that is about as much as needs to be said. Outbreaks of extreme cold (and also relative warmth!) are normal for the northern hemisphere in winter. People need to try to get past this. I suspect there will always be someone shouting ‘global warming; we are doomed’. How unfortunate.

    • stevefitzpatrick wrote:
      Outbreaks of extreme cold (and also relative warmth!) are normal for the northern hemisphere in winter.

      Simple question: where is the data that supports this claim?

  28. Cold on the top and warm on the bottom is what causes swirling vortices.

  29. R Gates that”s a very interesting animation. Curious why you think GHG’s could be responsible, do you have any data on that linkage .Lastly, can you suggest a link to a good read on Rossby Waves.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Steve,

      I do not think that GH gases cause either the Arctic Vortex or cold outbreaks when the vortex is disrupted. What I do think is that the frequency and intensity of disruptions to the vortex could increase as the Brewer-Dobson is enhanced and more energy is being advected toward the pole. Thus, to the extent that the models and observations are correct and increasing GH gases do enhance Brewer-Dobson circulation and thus more vigorous planetary wave breaking, then GH gases could be related to more frequent winter vortex disruption.

      See: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008JAS2712.1

  30. Funny stuff:

    “In 1974, Time Magazine blamed the cold polar vortex on global cooling.

    ‘Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds —the so-called circumpolar vortex—that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world.’

    Forty years later, Time Magazine blames the cold polar vortex on global warming

    ‘But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely. Right now much of the U.S. is in the grip of a polar vortex, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a whirlwind of extremely cold, extremely dense air that forms near the poles.’”

    http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/01/07/time-magazine-swings-both-ways/

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      It was 19 degrees F when I got up this morning in sub-tropical south central Texas. That’s a pretty phuckin big “polar” vortex that extends into the sub-tropics. Laughably big in fact. Climate change bandwagoneers are certainly entertaining in their rush to make up ad hoc explanations to cover up mistaken forecasts of global warming. Like the Keystone Cops with lab coats.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “That’s a pretty phuckin big “polar” vortex that extends into the sub-tropics.”

      Indeed, quite an elongated or “squeezed” vortex caused by high pressure on both sides, seen very clearly in this excellent chart:

      http://tinypic.com/r/1zbqi4y/5

  31. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    For those so inclined to science as opposed to talking points, here’s some great research on the Arctic Vortex and Rossby waves:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/93JD02556/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=true

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Well – it’s a start. A little old. Only amazing papers last 20 years. And the world shattering significance of vortice shedding escapes me.

      One usually likes to quote a bit or reference in support of a point you are making. At least that’s the way it is supposed to work.

  32. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    Here’s an excellent resource with nice graphic to start to conceptualize the vortex, SSW events, Rossby waves, the Brewer-Dobson Circulation, etc, all in one handy graphic:

    http://arise-project.eu/atmospheric-dynamics.php

    Bookmark it!

  33. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    For those who may have missed it, here’s an excellent chart showing the “squeezed” or elongated polar vortex at 10 hPa:

    http://tinypic.com/r/1zbqi4y/5

  34. It is not clear to me whether polar vortex or the current extreme version, is a new phenomena or has happened before. However Judith is an atmospheric scientist so I accept her opinion.

  35. “All this bogus reporting has done substantial damage, with many American’s believing that global warming is already causing our winter weather to become more extreme, while the observational evidence suggests no such thing. One day some sociologists will study this situation and the psychological elements that drove it.”

    It’s hard to believe but it seems that after centuries of scientific progress we’re basically back at: “Oh my god, look at this extreme weather! It must be our fault! We have sinned! Let’s make enormous sacrifices to appease the weather gods!”

    • Great comment Kirk Olsen! There is nothing new under the sun.

      What some people don’t realize that that while science may advance and we may have more data – human nature remains the same. Sometimes people can ignore data and proofs that are right under their noses because their beliefs are at risk if they don’t ignore them. If the first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie – then ignoring data, misinterpreting data, destroying data, changing data, etc. are all in play.

  36. dennis adams

    This is what Gates’ Rossby Waves have done to our Lighthouses along Lake Michigan. Hire them for the next special effects movie.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2534548/Michigan-lighthouse-transformed-giant-icicle-freezing-storm.html

  37. Generalissimo Skippy

    The driving force behind the Rossby wave is the change in Coriolis force with latitude, the so-called
    β-effect. In a barotropic atmosphere the Rossby wave is such that the absolute vorticity (η), defined as:

    η = ζ f (4.1)

    is conserved. In (4.1) ζ is the(geostrophic) vorticity and f is the Coriolis parameter (a measure of the Earth’s vorticity). The mechanism which makes a particle oscillate back and forth between latitudes can be understood as follows (see Figure 4.2). A particle starts from point A with a given value of the horizontal wind speed and with ζ = 0. As it travels north f will increase and, in order to conserve the absolute vorticity, ζ will have to decrease. The particle will experience an anticyclonic curvature which will deviate it from its original direction.’

    http://www.met.wau.nl/education/MWS/waves/modules/module4/Chapter%204.pdf

    We have all seen Rosby waves – in synoptic charts as cold fronts move through – on satellite images as swirling masses of cloud.

    In a simplified representation.

    But more realistically – repeated from above for convenience.

  38. Looks like a human induced climate destabilization. Only a matter of time until another shift. Clock is ticking.

  39. “record ice loss in the NH ”

    That was 2012 and likely a fluke. This past summer was cold and had a continuation of the long term downtrend in ice. The extra warmth that we now see in the Arctic every autumn leads to somewhat interesting results elsewhere if the patterns are right.

    Lots of cold and snow in Siberia, a strong Aleutian low, a strong east Pacific ridge in response, strong troughing and snow in central Canada all through December which set us up nicely for this past event. The event is purely weather like everything else, particularly the phasing of the northern and southern stream lows timed with the descent of the vortex. But some of the preceding conditions may be influenced by Arctic warming. It is all interconnected in various subtle ways.

    • well there was that other fluke in 2007. Lets hope there are no more flukes.

    • There is a lack of data and two points don’t make a trend.

      But some of us are old enough to recall this year:

      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?year_last=2013&month_last=11&sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=1203&year1=1978&year2=1979&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=250&pol=reg

      Clearly, that winter ( the coldest North American winter on record ) incurred a lot of ‘polar vortex wobble’.

      But it also had the largest amount of Arctic sea ice for the period of record since then:

      Blaming wave amplification on lack of Arctic ice when it clearly occurred at an even greater extent with a surplus of Arctic ice should have those who are still thinking asking questions.

      Of course, meteorologists could have told you a lot about the fact that most ‘Arctic Air Masses’ form over the land of Siberia, Canada, and Greenland ( positive water vapor feedback, and all ) and not over the Arctic Ocean.

      They could have also told you about the ‘Index Cycle’ wherein zonal and meridional flow are at odds with one another. Zonal flow tends to amplify gradients, meridional flow tends to weaken gradients ( because of exchange ).

      There is a negative feedback between the two states, and 78/79 notwithstanding, neither state is likely to persist.

      Reminds me of this quote from Wallace and Hobbs:

      “Many of the fundamental questions concerning the nature and causes of climate change are still largely unresolved because of our incomplete quantitative understanding of many of the physical processes that enter into the global energy balance and for lack of definitive observational data on which to test various theories. Under such circumstances it is far easier to propose new climate change hypotheses than it is to substantiate or disprove old ones.”

  40. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Is Judith Curry the victim of a hoax?

    We now have evidence the polar vortex doesn’t exist.

    The polar vortex is nothing more than a hoax, a liberal mainstream media hoax designed to sell global climate change, according to Rush Limbaugh. Rush explains that the media needs to lie to us each and every day about climate change and global warming so they created the polar vortex.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/01/07/limbaugh-solves-weather-mystery-polar-vortex-is-a-liberal-mainstream-media-hoax-designed-to-sell-global-climate-change/

    • Can’t he just look outside? isn’t that what they usually suggest? Can’t he see the huge polar vortex from his window?

      http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-67.25,47.06,768

    • I don’t listen to Limbaugh very ofter, but I did have him on while driving through the Illinois tundra the other day, and heard this bit. As usual, if a progressive wants to know what a conservative thinks or says, their only source is another progressive.

      They have been trained, no matter what, never go to the actual conservative source. And never, ever think for yourself about it. We will tell you what you need to know, and what you need to think. It’s good to see two of our progressive drone denizens following their intellectual marching orders.

      Oh yeah, what Limbaugh actually said:

      “Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week. Actually, there is a piece. I’ve got a piece in the Stack that actually makes the case that all of this frigid, chilling cold is due to global warming, strange as it may sound, it says. Other wackos are saying it’s a great example of climate change, but regardless, the agenda is that we’re responsible, we’re causing it, we have to pay the price. And so any weather extreme now is said to be man-made, and therefore it fulfills the leftist agenda on this.

      Now, in their attempt, the left, the media, everybody, to come up with a way to make this sound like it’s something new and completely unprecedented, they’ve come up with this phrase called the ‘polar vortex.’ If you’ve been watching television, they’ve created a graphic, all the networks have, and it basically consists of a view of the planet if you are right above the North Pole. They put this big purple blob, or blue blob, or red blob, depending on the network you’re looking at, over the entire North Pole, and they call that the polar vortex. It actually sounds like a crappy science fiction movie to me, but anyway, that’s what they’re calling it. It makes it sound like the jet stream is being forced lower across the United States.

      See, normally the polar vortex stays up there in the polar region, but something is causing it to dip down like it’s never happened before. We’ve never had arctic air blasts before. And remember, now, the key to all this is you have to understand one of the fundamental concepts of man-made global warming is ice melting at the poles. One of the ways they have always sought to convince you that the world is warming is not the climate where you live, but rather where you aren’t, where you can’t see what is really happening. So they tell you the ice is melting at the North Pole and the South Pole. And then they publish pictures, which are fraudulent pictures of poor little polar bears stranded on three square feet of ice that you are told used to be the North Pole.

      Whatever it is that keeps the polar vortex vortexed in the Arctic Circle is vanishing, and that cold air is coming to us. Normally it stays up there. But now it’s down here. How did it get here? That’s the deepening mystery. That is the crisis. That is what is man-made. Man is destroying the invisible boundaries that keeps that air up there. How did it get cold in previous winters? Well, it got cold in previous winters, but, see, as far as most people are concerned, this is as cold as it’s ever been in their lives. Well, but, Snerdley, I’m just telling you their technique. Forget truth. The truth and the Democrat Party, the truth and the American left never intersect.”

      Limbaugh isn’t claiming the existence of a polar vortex is a hoax. It’s the sudden inflation of the term in the media, and the instant attribution that he is complaining about. This is rhetoric, not a science dissertation. But he gets the science no more wrong than many of the warmists around here. And he’s funnier.

    • Too long, didn’t read Gary,

      here’s all you need to know, straight from the horse’s mouth:

      Limbaugh: “Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week.”

      He thinks the media invented it! That’s his words! couldn’t be clearer.

    • One could do a word search to see when the term first appeared and how often it was used before this year.

      Since I’m one of those “old” guys Max is always referring to, but not too old to have started having memory issues, I still recall the terminology previously used to describe such weather events.

  41. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Judith Curry asks: Is global warming causing the polar vortex?

    Judith Curry answers her own question: No
    ________

    Certainly the polar vortex existed before man-made climate change, so obviously it can occur independent of man’s activities.

    I will ask a question that compliments Judith’s question.

    My question: Could man-made climate change influence the polar vortex?

    My answer: I don’t know. Furthermore, I doubt anyone does know.

    In a word, no

    • Max,

      “Certainly the polar vortex existed before man-made climate change”

      It most certainly did.

      They simply referred to it with a different name(s).

  42. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Judith Curry complains “All this bogus reporting has done substantial damage, with many American’s believing that global warming is already causing our winter weather to become more extreme, while the observational evidence suggests no such thing.”
    _____
    This reminds me of the bogus reporting on Climategate, lies that would have the public believe global warming is a fraud cooked up by crooked scientists with an evil agenda.
    Well, what comes around goes around. It’s karma.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Maybe it’s “what goes around comes around” rather than “what comes around goes around.” Now, I’m feeling dizzy.

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      Max in Oklahoma is happy that people are mislead with false information so long as the false information is copacetic with the agenda he favors.

      Amazing but true.

    • I have been encouraging people I know (offline and online) to really consider that the recent extreme events are due to human climate change. Polar vortexes included.

      I think climate skeptics have been getting off onto such a bad bunch o lies recently wrt to ships stuck in ice that it’s only fair to redress the balance in small way.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Generalissimo Etcetera said on January 8, 2014 at 7:59 am
      Max in Oklahoma is happy that people are mislead with false information so long as the false information is copacetic with the agenda he favors.

      Amazing but true.
      ______
      I’m more than happy, I’m delighted. I’m delighted that those who spread lies about Climategate are experiencing karma.
      _______

    • The natural variability in the frequency of extreme events is so large that it’s not possible to tell from observations whether AGW has made any difference in that (except perhaps when we consider frequency of hot or cold days on a fixed scale rather than relative to the average of latest 5-10 years). Thus we cannot tell empirically whether anything has changed or to what direction. That does not tell that the likelihoods have not changed, we just don’t know the answer either way.

      Models are good enough to tell that changes are possible, but not understood well enough to tell whether likelihoods have really changed. There are plausible explanation for many specific changes, but in most cases there are also plausible explanation for cancelling effects.

      The dilemma with all this is that we’ll know about a possible change only when it has been true for long. That’s also the conclusion of IPCC work as reported by SREX and AR5. Scientists study these issues and they get some results, each independent group mostly different and often contradicting results. Unfortunately none of these results is definitive enough to help us in deciding what’s happening with extreme events.

    • Pekka, your grandchildren will understand that the weak warming effect and strong fertilizing effect of AnthroCO2 is all to the good.
      ===================

    • Kim,

      I cannot predict how the uncertainties will be resolved, neither can you. Your predictions of that are worth nothing.

    • We shall see about that, won’t we, Pekka. You have certainly bought into the prophecy of catastrophe. Shall I call your belief worth nothing? Well, I do.
      ==================

    • I have stated repeatedly that the only rational approach is to use the best available understanding to estimate likelihoods and properties of alternative futures. Then the decisions must be made using approaches for decision-making under uncertainty. One part of that is that the worst outcomes are given a higher weight than their estimated likelihood, and the good outcomes a smaller weight. Higher and smaller do not mean infinite and zero, only what the words say.

      Transferring that into quantitative numbers is a very difficult task, perhaps impossible. Thus something intermediate between a quantitative cost-benefit analysis and purely qualitative arguments must be devised. That’s where most improvement can be expected in medium term if enough emphasis is put into that. William Nordhaus is one example of scientists who have worked on that foe years. We cannot trust his wisdom alone, and we cannot create a common view from what he, Richard Tol and Isaac Stern have done so far, but it should be possible to improve on the present understanding.

    • ‘worst outcomes are given a higher weight than their estimated likelihood and good outcomes a smaller weight’. Baby steps, Pekka, but you are putting your toes on the problem.
      =====================

    • And please, Stern is a sick joke.
      ========

    • Max,

      Dr. Curry should be called out for always worrying and commenting on the low hanging fruit of an event. In this case (as is often the case) what mindless partisan AGW supporters (media and hack climate “experts” who are almost all members of the “consensus”) might be thinking and saying about cold weather results to preserve the core AGW meme. This is the least of the problem with the weak logic of AGW advocacy or the true evil nature of the social control agenda of “climate change” politics that Dr. Curry isn’t going to directly acknowledge.

      Sure, it’s embarrassing intellectually to see what the media grabbed onto with the “polar vortex” but why not comment on why they make such unscientific claims as more of a rule than exception? Then you get right to the essence of Soviet styled, Orwellian climate change agendas that Dr. Curry only addresses in nuanced terms. Talking about each “stupid” AGW claim, over time, becomes disinformation if you can’t (refuse to) tie it directly the overall political agenda that binds leftist “science” academia, leftist media and the leftist political wing into one large voice advocating AGW policy globally and domestically. Observing cold weather trends points out hypocrisy of AGW talking point double standards and indeed makes advocates look stupid but they are so much worse than stupid. Dr. Curry should focus on that “worse” not “stupid” of the situation. She doesn’t because of her own political baggage, associations and inclinations.

      The “stupid” is a given, it’s the “worse” that needs leadership academics need to address. This is the really huge failure of our time in academics who wish to be respected. Why is Dr. Curry largely a status quo player in the debate? So we are all agree on the “stupid” part of the media focus but not agree on the “worse” of why it actually happens? That’s willful political blindness and posturing of the “worst” sort supported by Dr. Curry. The media in fact isn’t being “stupid” but being political in its reporting output and every thinking person knows it. Dr. Curry knows it but isn’t being honest in the discussion but few will point it out here.

    • Generalissimo Etcetera

      Summarizing Max: The high ground is up for grabs and two wrongs do indeed make a right.

    • I don’t rate Stern report highly (I even gave the wrong first name for him, the right one is Nicholas), but I mentioned it to explain the problem. While most environmental economists disagree with his work, many lean to the same direction as compared with Nordhaus or Tol. Those views must either be converted or assimilated widely enough to form a basis for progress.

    • As I say, baby steps, Pekka. You are honest enough, proven repeatedly, that you will someday become a powerful advocate against catastrophe. Yeah, prophecy, but I believe.
      ================

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      kim said January 8, 2014 at 9:04 am
      “Pekka, your grandchildren will understand that the weak warming effect and strong fertilizing effect of AnthroCO2 is all to the good.”
      _____

      What if you are wrong? What if they will want to dig up the kims and put them on trial posthumously for eco-crimes?

      Given the uncertainty, kim, you need a plan.

    • Pekka:

      “Thus we cannot tell empirically whether anything has changed or to what direction. That does not tell that the likelihoods have not changed, we just don’t know the answer either way.”

      I would ask then why does the media with the help of some scientists insist on making things up? I’m satisfied that CO2 causes some warming. There is ample evidence. Why use possibly misleading and uncorroborated information to fool the public? The IPCC has enough integrity but doesn’t seem to want to waste it’s time and use it’s bully pulpit to quash unscientific practice. I can only think it is part of an alarmist agenda. Now I’m the conspiracy theorist for wondering what their up to. I can only think it will hurt their influence if they don’t stick to the facts.

    • What the scientists say varies.

      Many, I believe most, of them say the same as I in my above comment. They have views quite similar to those presented by Cliff Mass in his post.

      Some have genuinely different views.

      A third group thinks that every opportunity must be used to make people believe that climate change is a serious risk, even when that requires statements that are not strictly true. Sometimes they search for formulations that are formally correct but misleading, some don’t care of being even formally correct.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Re comments by cwon14 | January 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

      cwon14, your comments were addressed to me, but I can’t think of anything to say in response.

      I will say I bet Dr. Curry likes me better than you.

    • Max,

      The site and conversation would be more illuminating if people worried less about Dr. Curry liking them. House slave skeptics are essential to the dysfunction of the acceptable framing of the debate.

    • Pekka,

      That presents a conundrum for people like me who would just like to learn the real scientific information. Scientists have various views and backgrounds. What we know of them often becomes what propaganda is presented. At least in the Climate area. Here is a piece in the Weekly Standard (conservative) about Richard Lindzen:

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/what-catastrophe_773268.html?page=1

      Now should I dismiss, out of hand, all of his work just because I don’t share a lot of his views? For that matter just pigeon hole him because he is in a conservative rag? Conversely, Mann and the Huffington Post.

      On the third page of the article the author characterizes scientists as if he is the purveyor of truth:

      “Richard Lindzen presents a problem for those who say that the science behind climate change is “settled.” So many “alarmists” prefer to ignore him and instead highlight straw men: less credible skeptics, such as climatologist Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama (signatory to a declaration that “Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence—are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting”), the Heartland Institute (which likened climate “alarmists” to the Unabomber), and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma (a major energy-producing state). The idea is to make it seem as though the choice is between accepting the view of, say, journalist James Delingpole (B.A., English literature), who says global warming is a hoax, and that of, say, James Hansen (Ph.D., physics, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), who says that we are moving toward “an ice-free Antarctica and a desolate planet without human inhabitants.”

      But Lindzen, plainly, is different. He can’t be dismissed. Nor, of course, is he the only skeptic with serious scientific credentials. Judith Curry, the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton, John Christy, a climate scientist honored by NASA, now at the University of Alabama, and the famed physicist Freeman Dyson are among dozens of scientists who have gone on record questioning various aspects of the IPCC’s line on climate change. Lindzen, for his part, has said that scientists have called him privately to thank him for the work he’s doing.”

      The Standard always wants to distance itself (probably unsuccessfully) from the Christian Right as being mainstream conservative republican. So with a single sentence they use Spencer’s christian belief against him. Should I dismiss his work because I’m an atheist? Well I guess I needn’t read Thomas Crowley either. He dismisses skeptics bur shares Spencer’s christian view of intelligent design.

      http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/tcrowley/

      Perhaps Dr. Curry’s view of reporting, in Max’s quote here, is at the heart of the matter. “All this bogus reporting has done substantial damage”

    • Ordvic,

      I wrote about that article that I consider it well written and balanced enough as it states clearly that Lindzen’s views differ from the majority. I wrote also that science needs contrarians like Lindzen. I don’t believe the results that he has actually got, but I consider it important that some scientists try persistently find weaknesses in the main stream arguments. Pierrehumbert said something similar. Dana Nuccitelli referred to that statement of Pierrehumbert in his opinion piece in Guardian, but he evidently didn’t understand the point at all.

      I tend to think that Dana Nuccitelli is causing more problems for acceptance of main stream climate science than Lindzen (or perhaps people don’t notice him at all).

      ====

      The difficult issues of climate science are genuinely difficult. There’s a lot of empirical data in total but it’s sparse and therefore difficult to interpret. Climate models help in that but add their own uncertainties. The power of the overall evidence is extremely difficult to judge for the scientists working with the data and models, and it’s equally difficult to explain the conclusions to outsiders. Under such conditions competent scientists reach different conclusions, and outsiders are left trying to figure out whose conclusions to trust most.

      I’m subject to this same problem. I trust that I understand the basics, but I don’t know the all important details.

    • Pekka,
      Thanks for your insightfulness. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to wade through the repository

    • Max, what bogus reporting on Climategate are you referring to? The mainstream media tried to avoid reporting on it at first then referred to it as a hacking incident. Are you saying various “leading lights” of the climate “science” community did NOT talk about preventing publication of papers with contrarian views and data?

      or that the code published not only didn’t match what Mann et all used to produce their graphs but that it didn’t produce hockey sticks from pink noise data that had nothing to do with climate?

      or that some of the e-mails in question were NOT a conspiracy to prevent release of data in response to legitimate FOIA requests?

      I would really like to know what lies and bogus reporting you are referring to. Thanks.

  43. Generalissimo Etcetera

    Bandwagon climate science explained in two brief comments:

    k scott denison | January 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm |

    “Simulation output from NECP/NCAR is observational evidence? Not the way I read it.”

    David Appell | January 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm |

    “Yes, it is, in the professional judgement of the editors and scientists who reviewed the Francis and Vavrus paper in GRL. ”

    The output of computer models is equivalent to evidence in post-normal science.

    Climate science is a soft science. We can’t get the observations we need by experiment because we can’t put an earth with variables isolated in a test tube to make observations. So we put make-believe toy models of earths with variables isolated in computers and pretend that the output is equivalent to experimental observation.

    There you have it. Amazing but true.

    • Yet climate skeptics have been happy to quote DMI arctic temperatures which are from reanalysis. But now the Arctic shows phenomenal warming and we have ice storms influenced by global warming wrecking havoc in the US suddenly they change their minds.

  44. CAGW and AGW are mainly political, with any real ‘settled science’ to bolster the legitimacy of the hypothesis still up in the air. Rush has a good point about manufactured media blitzes in support of CAGW dogma.
    ***************
    Adams:
    Somehow we have to leave the[m] thinking OK, climate change is extremely
    complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and
    that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.

    Lorenzoni:
    I agree with the importance of extreme events as foci for public and
    governmental opinion […] ‘climate change’ needs to be present in people’s
    daily lives. They should be reminded that it is a continuously occurring and
    evolving phenomenon

    Jones:
    We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written
    […] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff.

    Mann:
    the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing the PR battle. That’s what
    the site [Real Climate] is about.

    Ashton/co2.org:
    Having established scale and urgency, the political challenge is then to turn
    this from an argument about the cost of cutting emissions – bad politics – to
    one about the value of a stable climate – much better politics. […] the most
    valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as
    possible

    Kelly:
    the current commitments, even with some strengthening, are little different
    from what would have happened without a climate treaty.
    […] the way to pitch the analysis is to argue that precautionary action must be
    taken now to protect reserves etc against the inevitable

    – See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2011/11/22/climategate-2-0/#sthash.Ampw0M9j.dpuf

  45. Generalissimo Etcetera

    http://m4gw.com/i-cant-wait-for-polar-vortex-the-movie/

    and just for good measure my favorite of the many productions by the boys and girl at m4gw

  46. Jim Cripwell

    As I posted on Roy Spencer’s blog

    sarc on/ Now that we are in a period of catastrophic natural cooling (CNC), the dice are loaded so we can expect to see more cold periods such as is now occurring in Canada and the USA. This does not mean that we can conclude that the current cold spell was caused by CNC. Only that as we progress into the 21st century, and the expected Eddy solar magnetic minimum, such occurrences will occur more frequently. Undoubtedly this cold snap was correlated with CNC. sarc off/ No apologies to Jim Hansen.

  47. It doesn’t get much more Orwellian than Warmer is Colder.

    Andrew

    • Still much time spent on the tactics not the strategic reality of the AGW agenda on the part of “experts” like Dr. Curry. That’s the more dangerous Orwellian distopia of the moment; “it’s about science”.

    • cwon14,

      I see zero evidence for Dr Curry attempting to anything more than steer the field of climate research back on track. Attributing anything more qualifies you to join Max OK and lolwot in the sandbox reserved for 5 year olds.

  48. Heh, I’ve tried twice to write ‘Some p*lls make you warmer and some p*lls make you colder, and some p*lls don’t do anything at all’, but I think ‘p*lls’ is triggering an automatic spam screen.
    ========================

  49. Generalissimo Etcetera

    The Global Warming Hoax Explained for Dummies

  50. In this post

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/21/arctic-sea-ice-and-weather/

    I read:
    Is the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice, spurred by manmade global warming, making the weather where we live more extreme? Several recent studies have made this claim.

    There is no question that we have warmed since the Little Ice Age.

    Since we always warm after a cold period, there is a lot of question as to it being caused by man. We should have warmed after a cold period, that always has happened.

    Does Warm Periods have different weather than cold periods? Of course they do. When it is warm it snows enough to cause another cold period. When it is cold it does not snow enough to replace ice that melts every summer and that causes another warm period.

    There is more precipitation in warm periods and less in cold periods. That is clearly in the Data. That is clearly different.

    Man is not clearly in the Data. Many of these discussions imply or say that Man’s CO2 caused the warming and that has not been proved.

    Is global warming causing the polar vortex?
    Leave man out of this discussion.
    Of course warm wet water polar water causes snow and cold.
    That is how you rebuild ice on land. You use moisture from warm wet water.

  51. So, now the polar bears are okay, right?

  52. Its amusing to me reviewing the comments to find people talking with such certainty over events and trends that we really dont understand. There are models and studies and opinions but none explain the random, chaotic, periodic weather and climate over periods of one, ten, one hundred or a thousand years. We cant say for certain that what we are experiencing now is “abnormal” due to CO2. The temperatures over the last 1 million years show plenty of warmups without “high co2″ and I’m sure there were plenty of polar vortexes when cavement did not have the words to describe it.

    These are all events we may be able to measure and record but we are naive to think that a little co2 is changing the planet. The second warmest december? Based on what? A comparision to an arbitrary anomaly baseline since 1979? Who says climate since 1979 is “normal”. Maybe climate 5000 years ago was “normal” and we are in a chaotic phase that occurs a few thousand years before the onset of another ice age. You cannot deny it because we just dont know.

    What we do know is that more people will die on this planet if the temperature drop 5C and the northern hemisphere gets covered in a mile of ice than will die if it warms 2C and some rich people have to move their beachfront estates inland.

    • michael hart

      William, you probably don’t need to worry about the wealthiest beach-front land owners: They will buy the land behind them as well.
      Net gain/loss over time ~zero.

  53. Xing A Paragrab

    Of course Global Warming caused the polar vortex. The great god Global Warming is omnipotent, hence it can do all things.

    • I don’t know about omnipotent, but GW has knocked up Mother Nature. She’s in a family way and still wearing white. Fools some people.

  54. So to summarize the thread for anyone jumping in at this late stage, it has been determined that yes global warming may indeed be causing the polar vortex. Not only causing it but possibly amplifying it into a double vortex! All within uncertainty of course!

  55. michael hart

    Thanks, Judith. I don’t have time or inclination to read all of the comments, though unfortunately I couldn’t avoid some of them.

  56. R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

    “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?”
    ___
    It was unfortunate that this question was posed the way it was, as of course global warming did not “cause” the polar vortex, as it forms quite naturally every winter. A more scientific and honest question would have been:

    Can anthropogenic climate change affect the polar vortex?

    In which case the answer is: quite possibly (for all the many reasons given in the many posts on this site and many others).

    • Thanks for all your info on this thread. I decided to put the questions into goggle:

      First: “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?”

      https://www.google.com/search?q=Is+global+warming+causing+the+polar+vortex%3F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.floodgap:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a

      Slate was the winner although CE was only five down:

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/01/08/climate_change_the_north_polar_vortex_and_global_warming.html

      “In fact, it’s even possible that this event is due to global warming. Climate scientists are still working on this idea, but warming in the Arctic is melting ice and creating more surface area of water. This is darker than ice, so this open water absorbs more heat from the Sun, which can affect the way air moves in the troposphere and stratosphere. It’s possible this in turn affects the vortex, causing the boundaries to weaken, dropping cold air south. As usual, it’s difficult to pin any given weather event on the changing climate (we do sometimes see dips in the vortex, though usually not this severe). Still, as the climate does change, we’ll see more extreme weather events.”

      I don’t know where the author gets that last sentence since there has been fewer events since AGW warming got started in earnest post 1970.

      Second: “Can anthropogenic climate change affect the polar vortex?”

      https://www.google.com/search?q=Can+anthropogenic+climate+change+affect+the+polar+vortex%3F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.floodgap:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a

      The winner:

      http://science.time.com/2014/01/06/climate-change-driving-cold-weather/

      But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely. Right now much of the U.S. is in the grip of a polar vortex, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a whirlwind of extremely cold, extremely dense air that forms near the poles. Usually the fast winds in the vortex—which can top 100 mph (161 k/h)—keep that cold air locked up in the Arctic. But when the winds weaken, the vortex can begin to wobble like a drunk on his fourth martini, and the Arctic air can escape and spill southward, bringing Arctic weather with it. In this case, nearly the entire polar vortex has tumbled southward, leading to record-breaking cold, as you can see in this weatherbell.com graphic:

      So the first hits produced the same result in answering your hypothetical.

    • Logic in the statement of Phil Plait may be that changes in climate lead to new average values and new limits of variability. From that follows almost certainly that some weather patterns that were previously very rare become more common. In some ways of collecting statistics that leads to more “extreme events”.

      That by itself is not good or bad, except that people and nature will face situations they are not so used to.

  57. Based on her comments yesterday on NPR, it seems Dr Francis hasn’t gotten that message.

  58. “Basically, the loss of sea ice exposes darker ocean water, which absorbs more heat, multiplying the effects of the warming that cause the melt in the first place. The warmer ocean is simultaneously more exposed to the atmosphere, where the sea ice would normally keep the ocean waters bottled up. The added moisture can create more abundant snowfalls elsewhere, and the increased heat creates new convection patterns that help disturb the polar vortex.”

    http://www.thestreet.com/story/12215742/1/cold-blame-global-warming.html?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOO

    Let me try to state what the I think the author is saying.

    Less ice. Warmer Arctic water. Unbottled Artic water? More convective heat transfer.

    My take. Arctic ice is insulation. There is less ice. Meaning more heat transfer from the Arctic ocean to the atmosphere. Imagine what happens when -2.0 C water touches -40.0 C atmosphere? Heat transfer. Slow that by putting 3 feet of ice between the two. A less Arctic ice, more heat transfer situation would increase the earth’s ability to throw off heat. It would seem to cool the water more than before and at lower latitudes. I admit that some of the heat thrown off would not go out of the TOA but stay and mix in the atmosphere.

    About bottling. Bottling heat. That’s what insulation does. Arctic ice is the earth trying to warm itself. Retain its heat. In the quote above, ‘new convective patterns’ indicate to me, an attempt to throw off heat, while reduced ones show an attempt to conserve it.

    Not ignoring the albedo effect of Arctic ice, is it more important than the insulation effect?

    • R. Gates - The Skeptical Warmist

      “Arctic ice is the earth trying to warm itself.”
      ——-
      Please don’t ascribe to the Earth human desires.

  59. Funnily enough, while the world was warming last century, guess what, there were less Arctic outbreaks. And now it’s started cooling, well blow me down, there are more Arctic outbreaks.

  60. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    In the Dr. John Holdren vs. Dr. Judith Curry debate I am in favor of Dr. Judith Curry.
    In my humble opinion, the one of a simple physicist (no Ph.D., no academic, no educator, …), the polar vortex seems to be a fluctuation of the weather consistent with fluid mechanics.
    Anyhow, I could be wrong, so: does anyone know the scientifical basis of Dr. John Holdren claims?.

    • R. Gates - The Skeptical Warmist

      All weather that happens is “consistent” with fluid dynamics. The question becomes one of how a climate system operating under the laws of fluid dynamics behaves with different amounts of energy in it. What happens when more net energy is being advected toward the pole? The “squeezing” of the polar vortex occurred because of higher pressure pushing in on it from lower latitudes, and all this was quite consistent with fluid dynamics.

    • What happens when more net energy is being advected toward the pole?

      How, when the pole is getting warmer faster than the lower latitudes?

    • Phatboy, “How, when the pole is getting warmer faster than the lower latitudes?”

      T^4 each “degree” of tropical advection can have roughly a 3 degree impact on polar temperature. Since 1900, the northern hemisphere 30N-90N Tmin has warmed by about 2 C with March having the greatest warming and the winter months in general having about twice as much warming as the summer months. Oddly, warming accelerated starting in the 1960s along with the totally unrelated “Green” as in crops “Revolution”. Some think that is a good thing, some don’t.

    • T^4 each “degree” of tropical advection can have roughly a 3 degree impact on polar temperature.

      As the Webbed Wonder never tires of telling us, T^4 isn’t significantly different to T^1 when talking about one degree on top of 300K. Of course it makes a big difference in the context of global temperature ranges, but not when you’re talking about relative changes.
      It doesn’t matter how much colder the poles are than lower latitudes, if the temperature gradient stays the same the net energy flux stays the same.
      But, with the poles warming faster, the temperature gradient would actually be decreasing – resulting in a lower net energy flux.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      phatboy,

      The tropics represent a huge “heat pump”, that actually doesn’t work just by the thermal gradient or sensible heat difference between equator and poles, but by the much more potent latent heat energy that is pumped into the troposphere, stratosphere, and even mesosphere. We commonly refer to this overall large-scale circulation as the Brewer-Dobson circultion. Driving all of this is of course the huge amount of energy stored in the ocean, which acts like a large multilayered capacitor for solar energy. A very intense effort to study how this “heat pump” affect the global climate is getting underway very soon:

      http://blogs.kqed.org/science/2014/01/09/three-of-the-worlds-best-scientific-aircraft-team-up-for-climate-science-research/

    • Would that be the truly humongous amount of energy already stored in the oceans, or the relatively tiny amount of energy (the bit you keep banging on about) added over the last few decades?

    • Phatboy, “It doesn’t matter how much colder the poles are than lower latitudes, if the temperature gradient stays the same the net energy flux stays the same.”

      You never have uniform temperature gradients so the rates of change and actual energy transferred, sensible and latent plus the means of transport which includes mechanical, i.e. currents driven by the Coriolis Effect in both the atmosphere and oceans all have to be considered.

      30 C and 80%RH tropical air would have an effective temperature of about 44C because of the latent heat content. If that energy is transferred rapidly to the pole you would have rapid warming at the surface or troposphere or stratosphere. The speed of transfer impacts the efficiency of transfer where just using temperature, the efficiency is limited to roughly the Carnot efficiency. If the latent energy release causes precipitation nearer the poles you now have mass transfer and saturation pressure differential that can generate poleward flow. The actual temperature gradient tells about 60% of the story if my guestimating is close.

      So the T^4 relationship can make it appear less energy is being transferred, i.e. the gradient is reduced, when in fact more energy is being transferred and more energy is being lost to space than gained in the polar regions.

      https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/cOSQtwA3eioO2lLr8nMZ7gXvd2Gy3wzYX1hCXAfnob4=w740-h343-no

      That compares GISS 250km, the short range temperature interpolation to GISS the 1200km long range interpolation. Based on that “Global” temperatures are about 0.1C higher due to arctic winter warming where more energy is lost to the atmosphere instead of being retained in the surface. C & W kriging the satellite data indicates the same thing, “Surface” temperatures are rising but surface energy is about the same or reducing, at least at the poles, though a good bit of that energy is transferred to the other hemisphere via the Brewer-Dobson Circulation with losses along the way.

      You can only get so far with temperatures.

    • You never have uniform temperature gradients

      Of course you don’t – neither do you have any more than small changes, on average.

    • Phatboy, Small and average are both debatable which is a large part of the problem. When the higher latitudes can amplify a mid latitude heat transfer by 3 times there is a pretty big difference in poleward advection with not much change in temperature “Globally”. I think it is better to avoid interpolating or kriging temperatures below about -20C or better yet just sticking with the oceans for “Climate” change impact, then the temperature variations are more understandable. But since most of the “Climate Change” is in the higher latitudes I doubt that will happen.

    • Are you suggesting that a 1-degree mid-latitude increase results in a 3-degree increase when transferred to the poles?
      If not, then what are you saying?
      I think you’re confusing heat with energy.
      And there’s also a little thing called entropy.

  61. Even the title of the post gets it wrong. Francis’ argument is that climate change weakens the polar vortex. Polar vortecies confine cold air to the poles during winter. The current outbreak is a weakening of the winds that confine that cold air.

    Cripes JA, at least try and phone it in from Atlanta.

  62. … many Americans believe[] that global warming is already causing our winter weather to become more extreme, while the observational evidence suggests no such thing. One day some sociologists will study this situation and the psychological elements that drove it.

    No they won’t. They too are selected and funded by government, which has a vested interest in alarmism.

  63. One thing that never changes in this debate, and it is the primary reason why I became a skeptic after years as a believer, is the way the believers will simply ignore real, unbiased science and use personal attacks to try and silence opposing views.

    It’s been the one constant since Gore made his fairy tale.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      ouitdoorrink,

      You can be a skeptic and a “warmist”. Skepticism is s tool, not a destination.

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