Sandy: a wake-up call on our satellite-based weather and climate observing capacity

by Marshall Shepherd

Hurricane – Post-Tropical Storm Sandy is one of “those” moments. A moment that rallies the public and policy makers around an issue. Other “those” moments include 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of Sandy, an array of issues have surfaced including the role of climate change, vulnerability of urban infrastructure, and how it will effect the U.S. Presidential election. As I write this, another Nor’easter looks to impact the same region in the days after the election.

In the past week or so, I have been speaking to various media about the role of weather satellites and risks from our aging fleet. Contemporary society has no concept of a Sandy-type storm “blindsiding” them like the deadly and historic Galveston storm of 1900, which killed thousands. The first weather satellite, TIROS-1, was launched in 1960. It began an era in which the United States would never be caught off guard from such storms again. Or did it?.  In September 2012, the most active month, climatologically, in the Atlantic hurricane basin, the GOES-East weather satellite experienced technical malfunctions and was taken offline. Luckily, NOAA had a “spare” satellite in orbit. Ultimately, GOES-East was revived, but what if we didn’t have a spare? Geosynchronous satellites provide a constant watchful eye on the same location because it is basically orbiting the Earth at roughly the same rate that the Earth is rotating. If you have DirecTV or XM satellite radio, it is probably being transmitted via geosynchronous satellites.

The point herein is that the U.S. was very close to losing one of its primary weather satellites. I have noted many times that we cannot drop into Home Depot to buy a replacement like a lightbulb or AA-battery. Years of planning, engineering design, and testing are required. The U.S. agencies most closely linked to weather satellites, NOAA and NASA, have programs in place for the next-generation polar orbiting (i.e., the Joint Polar Satellite System) and geosynchronous (GOES-R) satellite programs. However, budget pressures, planning challenges, and the natural variability in satellite lifecycle have placed these aspects of the programs at risk, particularly the JPSS. Recent reports by government and external reviewers suggest the real possibility that we could have a “gap” in U.S. polar orbiter coverage by 2017.  This gap could put U.S. citizens at risk. Not only do these satellites monitor storms and weather systems, data from instruments called sounders (i.e. satellite version of vertical atmospheric measurements taken from weather balloons) are fed into our weather prediction models. Senior NOAA officials often note that on the order of 90% of satellite data finds its way into models. Weather models predict the future state of the atmospheric fluid 1-10 days forward, on average, but the quality of such forecasts depends on how good you capture the atmosphere at the beginning. Or as I explain it to my kids, a batch of cupcakes will not turn out well if you start with the wrong ingredients.

Recently, I told Time Magazine, “There is a coming decline, gaps are opening in both our operational and research satellites. ).  Not only are the operational satellites at risk of gaps, research satellites that study our climate system also. This was called attention to in a recent National Research Council report (NRC, 2012, ). Dennis Hartmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the report’s committee chair noted, “The projected loss of observing capability will have profound consequences on science and society, from weather forecasting to responding to natural hazards.” The report notes that NASA and NOAA satellites could drop from 23  to 6 by 2020. Counting international partner satellites monitoring Earth and climate, this number could go from around 100 to 30. Unexpected launch failures and project delays are issues, but the main driver is budget pressure.

Recent events revealed by Sandy should cause everyone to step back for reflection. Extreme weather and climate are economic or “pocket book” issues. Ask anyone who has a house flooded or is paying more for cereal or bread because of drought. The infrastructure, insurance claims, and other costs will  likely be in the 50-100 billion dollar range from Sandy alone. I have not even mentioned the costs of the drought in the wheat/corn belt, Hurricane Isaac, losses from record wildfires, and other weather events in 2012. A recent study by Lazo and colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, notes that economic losses from weather are roughly 3.4 percent of the entire U.S. GDP based on estimates through 2008.  This works out to a yearly economic cost of $485 billion. I personally think this number is low because it may not capture high cost events from 2008 to 2012 or the revenue generated by industries in the private weather enterprise.

Now with this backdrop, let’s revisit the pressures on our Earth Observing fleet of satellites.

We lost, at launch, two critical satellites that would have provided information on carbon dioxide (OCO) and black carbon pollutants (Glory). Further, increasing budget shortsightedness is putting pressure on world-class research of missions that NASA and its partners envision to study aspects of Earth’s climate system.

Missions, like the ones that I worked on as a scientist at NASA (e.g., Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission) provide or will provide some of the most accurate measurements of global rainfall (and with GPM snow too), which are necessary for assessing climate change signatures on the water cycle, improving weather prediction (including storms like Sandy), and flood diagnosis and prediction. Like many satellite datasets, their value extends beyond observation and analysis, it is expected that some of the data will be ingested into our numerical weather models that make forecasts. It may be surprising to some, but even sea surface temperatures, a critical measurement for assessing intensity potential for storms like Sandy, are now derived from satellites. Because of such measurements, we knew that Sandy would tap into very warm waters of the U.S. coast.

Another example directly relevant to Sandy is the ICESAT mission.  From 2003 to 2009, it provided valuable insight on ice sheets and frozen regions of the planet. Storm surge damage from Sandy was likely amplified by additional sea level (almost 1 foot in the past 100 years) from climate change-induced melting of our ice sheets. Most scientists will agree on this point, though more speculative links to climate change  seen in the media should be considered more carefully, as my colleague Professor John Knox and I argue in a syndicated opinion editorial.  Unfortunately, the ICESAT-2 mission mission will not be available until 2016. A set of aircraft flights and other observations, IceBridge, is trying to fill gaps, but with current budget tussles in Washington and a looming budget sequestration, important missions like the forthcoming GPM and ICESAT-2 could be negatively impacted.

Sandy is a “teachable” moment on why investments in weather and climate satellite systems more than pay for themselves in U.S. lives saved and economic impacts. Without the contributions of satellites to monitor Sandy, derive sea surface temperature, or feed prediction models, who know what the losses from such storms would be.

Biosketch:   Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a Professor and Director of the University of Georgia Atmospheric Sciences Program. He is the incoming President of the American Meteorological Society and former Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. He serves on several NOAA and NASA advisory boards.

JC comment:  This is a guest post, I invited Marshall Shepherd to write a post for Climate Etc. based upon his recent statements in the media about the U.S. satellite situation.    As with all guest posts, please be on your best (i.e. most civil behavior) in making comments.

137 responses to “Sandy: a wake-up call on our satellite-based weather and climate observing capacity

  1. Marshall Shepherd

    From your post it appears that the US weather satellite “infrastructure” is deteriorating and we are doing nothing about it.

    If this is, indeed, the case then this is an imminent problem that requires action.

    And “action” means money.

    But there is no unlimited supply of money to pay for fixing this problem.

    So it has to be taken from somewhere else, where the problem is not so “imminent”.

    One can argue about the specifics, but an estimate has been made of ALL the US R+D costs related to the long-range “climate change” problem.

    This estimate comes out at around $16 billion in 2011.

    Note that this does not include spending to reduce emissions, enforce clean air standards, etc.

    My question:

    Assuming up to two-thirds of the spending for long-range “climate change” R+D (i.e. $11 billion) could be shifted away from this more tenuous long-range “problem” and made available for the more urgent problem of fixing up our deteriorating weather satellite system, and people plus other tangible resources could be shifted as required,

    how much of this money would be required and how soon could this put our weather satellite system back up to the “gold standard” we need?


    • PS Incidentally, the House budget proposal called for $10 billion in cuts to “climate change” R+D costs, with specific programs listed for each cut (but that is a side issue here: the assumption is that up to $10-11 billion could be made available by resetting our priorities away from long-range climate change R_D to fixing the immediate weather satellite problem)

    • Nicely put Max. However a lot of that money is pretty distant from the weather satellite world and so is governed by distant Congressional committees. Just to narrow the focus consider the over $2 billion a year given to the USGCRP research agencies for climate research.

      Half of this already goes to NASA for launches and satellites plus a good hunk goes to NOAA. Reprogramming this funding to maintain our crucial weather satellite fleet should be relatively easy. Here is the FY 2012 USGCRP budget document:

      The money is there.

      • [Reposted with corrected formatting]

        David Wojick

        The USGCRP program you cite is a $2 billion “piece of a piece” dedicated to:

        VISION: “A nation, globally engaged and guided by science, meeting the challenges of climate and global change.”
        MISSION: “To build a knowledge base that informs human responses to climate and global change through coordinated and integrated Federal programs of research, education, communication, and decision support.”

        Is this something worth borrowing money from China to finance?

        Sounds like addressing the problem cited by Marshall Shepherd would be a much better place to spend $2 billion.

        But I’m betting that he will come up with a cost number that is higher than $2 billion/year over the next few years to get the whole weather satellite infrastructure and all that goes with it up to the “gold standard” that is needed.

        Then there was the recent budget mismanagement at the NWS plus the worrying effort by the current NWS leadership to want to move away from weather forecasting into the “climate change” biz (which means there probably needs a change of management there in order to refocus NWS).

        So I’m just saying that there is a lot more than just that $2 billion “available”.if you look hard enough, and it will probably take more than just “money” to solve the problem.

        But I’m just a faraway outsider looking in, and I’d like to hear more from someone who is closer to the problem.


      • A lot of the $10 billion you are citing is in energy not climate. Energy efficiency and renewables R&D, solar and wind subsidies, loan guarantees, etc. Moving that money into NWS would be very hard Congressionally (the land of personal rice bowls). Shepherd appears not to be responding today but I imagine a billion or two a year would do nicely for his project.

      • It is expensive, David, to finance a one-world government to protect us from global threats (real or imaginary).

        Now we individually decide to pass along to the next generation:

        1. The truth revealed by unbiased experimental observations or
        2. Consensus science fabricated by cherry-picking the data.

        George Orwell didn’t tell us how expensive it would be to maintain a make-believe world:

        Regretfully, I didn’t study Orwell’s writings earlier.

        – Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

    • David L. Hagen

      See the US Debt Clock
      Annual interest on US debt was $454,393,280,417.03 in 2011.
      About 31% of that or $142 billion is from the additional $5 trillion in debt incurred by Obama.
      If the budget is not balanced, increased interest payments will consume ALL of the current budget for NASA/NOAA, education and defense.
      Spending 46% more than revenues is a sure fire way into rapid bankruptcy.
      Vote for fiscal sanity and prudent stewardship.

      • I agree with E. M. Smith:

        The United States was betrayed.

        AGW was never about global climate. It has now completed its primary mission:

        “The entire structure of Kyoto was a wealth transfer from Rich nations to Poor nations. It was to hobble the west and enrich those invested in the planned money transfer and industrial movement. That game has played out. It’s a done deal.”

        With deep regrets,
        – Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASSA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

  2. Global Warming is the cult that diverts trillions from real science and real electrical grids.

    • Happily not trillions. Not yet anyway.

      • I believe the UK alone has spent 100 million pounds on wind farms and subsidies and diverted similar amounts from being spent on new gas or nuclear power plants.

        It is trillions globally.

      • No it is billions not trillions. If the UK is 5% then it is just 2 billion pounds. The total is actually perhaps $100 billion but then renewables are not justified solely by climate concerns.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)


        Don’t squabble with sunshine over the number. Let him keep saying “trillions” as it makes everything else he says look equally as absurd.

      • Sorry for the typo. It is 100 billion to 150 billion pounds. (Excluding the cost of the grid)

        “In the UK, Rounds 1, 2, 3, Round 2 extension and Scottish Territorial Waters, zones, totalling 48 GW of capacity, have been awarded by The Crown Estate for possible development. At today‟s costs this would require a capital expenditure of the order of £150 billion to make this potential a reality. The nine awarded Round 3 zones have seen the developers sign up to Zone Development Agreements to deliver consents for 32 GW of operating wind farms that could then be operating by 2020. This will require funding of the order of £100 billion, excluding the cost of grid.”

      • In Germany the plan is to spend 2.26 trillion US dollars from 2012 to 2030.
        I suspect they will go bankrupt before they do that, but that is the plan.

        “German households and businesses are increasingly concerned and upset with the rising cost of electricity as a result of the energy policies pursued by their government. Whereas some people felt good about phasing out nuclear plants, the estimates of capital and other costs of doing so are steadily increasing as energy systems analysts in Germany and elsewhere are becoming more aware of the magnitude of the various impacts.

        Add to that the increasing capital and subsidy costs of building out the renewables capacities required to meet self-imposed CO2 emission reduction targets, the total cost becomes about 1.7 trillion euros ($2.26 trillion) for the 2012 – 2030 period, as estimated by Siemens, and more costs thereafter. Making such investments will have major adverse impacts on Germany’s international competitiveness, high-wage job creation and economic future.

        If the US were to follow on the same course, the cost would be about ($14.5 trillion, US GDP)/($3.5 trillion, German GDP) x $2.26 trillion = $9.36 trillion. It is 100% sure, the US will NOT follow on that course anytime soon, if ever, and almost all other nations will not either. ”

      • As you point out, these are not expenditures. That was my point. I wrote for Electricity Daily for ten years. The industry is full of funny numbers for projects that are never built.

      • 20,000MW are planned for the next 8 years. The 2nd to last wind farm commissioned cost 1.5 billion pounds for 500MW. And that doesn’t include the subsidies for operation.

        You need 40 more of those. 60 billion pounds.

        The last one cost 1.1 billion pounds for 300MW.

        I think 100 billion pounds by 2020 is a very conservative guess.

      • I said not yet and you are citing plans to 2020. We do not disagree.

  3. Withdraw from Afghanistan. There. budget problem solved.

    • If Pres. Obama didn’t do it after 4 years, what makes you think he would do it in the next four?


    • David Springer

      Obama more than doubled the amount of money spent on the war in Afghanistan.

      Of course I know you’re not the kind of person to let facts influence your beliefs so I really mean to post it for the edification of those who do let facts influence their beliefs.

      • David Springer and lolwot

        Not to get into a discussion about US troops in Afghanistan, but it seems to me that shifting money from a DoD budget to the NWS would be a tougher call that redirecting some of the $billions that are being spent on not-so-urgent long-range “climate change” R+D efforts to more urgent efforts to fix up an ailing weather satellite system.

        Besides, I’m assuming that many of the same folks (scientists, engineers, computer experts, etc.) could be redeployed, whereas that would be tougher to do with US troops.

        Just trying to be practical. (David Wojick seems to have a notion of how this could work in practice.)


      • David Springer

        I’m actually for letting the free world take over more responsibility for its own safety. I WAY in favor of energy independence and letting someone else keep the peace in the middle east. We should get out everyone one of our citizens and other national interests the hell out of there. Close the embassies too. We can’t get that done when our vast shale oil, gas, and coal deposits are off limits or made artificially too expensive. Our manufacturing sector can’t compete when other countries have cheaper energy because with robotics pretty much all that remains of manufacturing overhead is the electricity and/or diesel to run your automated equipment and that applies end-to-end from mining to marketing.

      • David Springer

        So how did Obama manage to more than double the money spent on the war in Afghanistan? Under Bush it gradually increased from $10bn in 2001/2002 to $50bn in 2008. Obama bumped it up to $125b by 2011.

        Probably the increase is all in bribes which is what Chicago style politics are all about. :mrgreen:

      • @DS: Obama more than doubled the amount of money spent on the war in Afghanistan.

        And your point?

        Unless you say (a) how big a change was made in each of the two wars W started (Iraq and Afghanistan) and (b) in each case whether the net effect was beneficial or detrimental, it’s hard to tell what point you’re making.

      • David Springer

        I’m making the point that Obama more than doubled spending on the war in Afghanistan. What part of that don’t you understand?

    • I like the way everyone responds with “Obama disagrees with you lolwot!” as if my position is linked to whatever Obama does or doesn’t do.

      All I am saying is if we are talking about wasting money: Afghanistan.

      • David Springer

        I would agree $125bn/year for the war in Afghanistan is far too much. Bush started out with $10/b in 2001/2002 and kept it near $20bn for most his 8 years.

        I think the reality is that Obama was taken to school about the economic repercussions of suddenly rearranging how $260bn/year of US economic output was ordered in things ranging from jobs for a couple million people in the uniformed services and God only knows how many civilian jobs in support of them from building tanks and humvees to mopping floors in VA hospitals. So rather than spend a lot less on military Obama just moved the spending from Iraq to Afghanistan.

  4. David Wojick

    Yes. It looks like “the money is there”.

    The mechanism of US congressional committees, etc. is not something which I understand, but it seems to me that:

    – A serious budget proposal has been made by the US House to cut over $10 billion in long-range “climate change” R+D expenditures
    – Money (how many $ billions? – I hope Marshall Shepherd will give us an estimate) are required to fix an outdated and deteriorating weather satellite infrastructure to get this back up to par
    – The rest of the proposed long-range “climate change” cuts can be used to help pay off the US national debt.

    Let’s wait until after the election, and then get some one with the necessary authority and “gravitas” (like Marshall Shepherd plus Judith Curry) to propose this to the new Congress.

    Problem solved. Everybody wins.


    • Max, this is my area of expertise. The proposal you cite was DOA well over a year ago. But the US federal gov’t faces massive mandatory (aka sequestration) cuts in January unless the lame duck Congress can agree on how to avoid them, which will be a true circus. But yes everything changes on Tuesday. We do not disagree. I am just trying to be a bit more focused. If a crunch comes no Committee is going to give its cuts away.

    • Just to elaborate a bit, funding a new program such as Shephard’s requires approval from at least four Congressional committees. These are the relevant authorization plus the appropriations committees of the House and Senate. In reality it must first be approved by the relevant subcommittees, making eight in all. Each subcommittee has what amounts to a defacto piece of the overall budget.

      So if you are looking for new money for weather sats you start within the range of the subcom that will fund them. There is some climate money in there that can be redirected. Then you look at the committe level. You do not make a presentation to Congress because counting staffers that is ten thousand people. Government is as complex as climate.

      • David Wojick

        To me (as an outsider) it makes a lot of sense to

        – Update the US weather forecasting “infrastructure”, incl. satellites, etc., to bring it “up to par” (assuming Shepherd is correct)
        – Do this with funding that was cut from long-term “global warming” programs, which have lower urgency
        – Keep the weather service out of the “global warming” business, but get it focused back on providing a top notch weather service

        How this is accomplished in the maze of congressional committees, etc. is another question, but I cannot imagine that it would be impossible.

        I’d just like to hear from Shepherd how much money he thinks is needed and whether or not he agrees with the above approach.

        But so far, he has not responded to my request.


  5. David Springer

    Shepherd evidently doesn’t bother looking at data before reaching conclusions about it.

    For instance he mentions what drought is doing to wheat production recently.

    Yeah, let’s take a look.

    Scroll on back 60 years to see what the AMDO at this point in its cycle did to wheat production. Production then was just a fraction of what it is today. Is Dr. Shepherd willing to venture a guess that the weather is actually improved in the here and now? Not likely. This is obviously a man on a mission who won’t let facts get in the way of his arguments.

  6. This may be a dumb question, but is there any way to “squash” a hurricane in its early formation stages? I’m imagining something like huge airdrops of dry ice.

    • David Springer

      No need to get that aggressive. The Butterfly Effect can be employed. The hard part is figuring out exactly where and when to release the bugger.

      Seriously. No.

      • I suspected that was the answer, but the thought entered my mind recently! Thanks, David.

      • David Springer

        Ya know if the fate of mankind depended on it, and with enough warning, I’d bet on yes. Disrupting vertical sheer in a small bit of the atmosphere must be a whole lot easier than reducing CO2 in the entire atmosphere. One might however like to know what other consequences there might be. Hurricanes release a lot of energy and they mostly do it out at sea where it doesn’t bother much. If you snuff out the release mechanism there where will it emerge instead? For instance all that wind does a lot of mixing of the surface layer with the cold deep. In satellite SST views you can see a trail of cold water left behind a hurricane like a big fat contrail behind a jet.

    • I was quite sure that it has been claimed that if you switch from gas powered cars to cars powered by coal generated electricity that there would be less hurricanes.

    • Hmmm, a hurricane is a large heat engine, pumping energy from the surface of the oceans into the upper atmosphere.

      You want to talk about global warming, prevent hurricane formation, where is all that energy going to go?

      No, you want to reduce damages from hurricanes, stop living on the coast. This isn’t a nature problem, it’s a “people aren’t good at thinking about things beyond ‘wow, the ocean sure is pretty’ today” type of problem.

  7. Marshall,
    This exact same “wake up call” could be made about any dozen different fields. “Send government money my way, because a Great Danger needs to be averted….”. Bridges, shipping lanes, highways, infectious disease control, medical research, domestic water supply, energy, etc. all make the same arguments and throw out similar numbers about how much money could be saved if only more money could be spent (on MY pet project).

    You’re lobbying for tax dollars for your industry — and nothing more — and piggy-backing on a natural disaster to make your case.

    • But Jim, without $10B, we’re going to be “blinsided”. That funding is all that stands in the way of 1900 Galvaston.

      Or it’s that we won’t have a backup satellite when the other one breaks down, which apparently is completely acceptable.

      Why are we always in such a poor position to even meet yesterday’s standard, esp in the world of tech?

    • Bridges, shipping lanes, highways, infectious disease control, medical research, domestic water supply, energy, etc.

      Yeah, who actually needs that stuff.

      • Poor people probably, heck with them, they want better government they should just stop being poor and buy the government they want, just like everyone else does!

  8. David Springer

    Given that the US actually has been in some drought years (not as bad as the 1950’s yet) in the last few let’s take a look at what global average temperature has done during the last few years. Dr. Shepherd please take notes. If we wanted regurgitated headlines from the Huffington Post from you we could just go straight to the source and eliminate the middleman.

    OMG will you look at that. The drought in the US coincided with falling global average temperature.

    See if they’ll entertain this relationship in a Huffington Post headline. Good luck.

  9. The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

    Excellent overview of the precarious situation we find ourselves in. Considering the billions of dollars wasted elsewhere, we can only hope that we begin to set our priorities correctly in coming years.

  10. There are some common sense things we can do like, e.g., not building a coastal city below sea level or paying people to live in flood planes and on river banks.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      All very reasonable suggestions, until you have ignorant and well-financed politicians who actually want to encourage such things because those who’ve backed them make billions by developing such land. And then when it gets wiped out– who foots the bill? Yep, you and me.

      • Steven Mosher


      • It’s not all corruption. New Orleans became a large city because the national economy required a large port with a large number of manual laborers. Much of that infrastructure and labor has migrated up the Mississippi, but it is still vulnerable. Doesn’t matter. It has to be there. Ditto for the Houston ship channel, which is sort of inland. If Rita had not veered off toward Louisiana, the ship channel would have taken a direct hit.

        And people are bragging about the Netherlands and their dikes. There is no doubt retaining cities that are falling below sea level is considered intelligent adaptation.

      • The cities and towns are built in flood plains because that is where the flat ground is. Folks like Gates and Mosher ignore the physics of life, like wishing away fire. Fantasy is easy for them.

      • Are you suggesting that everyone who lives near a port is involved in port activities? Or perhaps that everyone living on a coastline lives there for the same reason, rather than the stupid value placed on “oceanfront views”?

        If you know there is a danger to living in a particular area yet you do nothing about it, I have no pity for you. If you would, but are unable to do so, I’m sorry for what happened to you, and I would be happy to help if I can. If you could, but do not because you don’t care, or benefit from such dangerous events, it should be a crime to help you.

        If you live somewhere obscured by tracks in this map: and for some reason you are still surprised every time a large hurricane strikes, perhaps you should not be trusted with the lives of others, I’m impressed you manage to breathe without choking on your tongue at this point.

        Similarly, if you live in a place that you can’t see because of the tracks obscuring it in this map:×338.jpg and you act shocked at a tornado rolling through, despite modern warning systems growing ever more effective… well, you shouldn’t be trusted with the lives of others either.

      • Steven Mosher

        FEMA 2010 study. 3% of the US population lives in the 1% coastal flood zone.

      • David Springer

        David Wojick | November 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

        “The cities and towns are built in flood plains because that is where the flat ground is. Folks like Gates and Mosher ignore the physics of life, like wishing away fire. Fantasy is easy for them.”

        Perhaps more importantly it’s where the arable land is located. The devastation in this case is vastly magnified by the floodwater being saltwater which is conducts electricity far better than fresh water and corrodes metals far more. Arable land is seldom effected by saltwater intrusion because it’s not arable to begin with that close to the ocean due to salt from previous intrusions ruining the soil for agriculture.

        Coastal development isn’t there because the land is flat. It’s there because of proximity to the ocean. The reasons range from aesthetic ocean views to fishing and shipping. In the modern world there’s not as much reason for living perilously close to the shore for fishing and shipping purposes. It’s not like the old days when a ten mile hike from hearth to shore would take up the whole day leaving no time to do anything at the shoreline.

    • Or cities near earthquake zones. Or cities near Tornadoes. Or brush fires.

      Lets only allow people to live where it is perfectly safe.

      • Why not let people live where they like and not expecting society to underwrite their poor choices. That’s what insurance if for.

  11. Dr Shepherd

    Can I ask a more general question than one about weather satellites and the accuracy of their forecasts?.

    It concerns the manner in which historic weather data was recorded and the manner in which it is measured now.

    SST’s were measured by Buckets and engine intake
    Sea levels by Tide gauges
    Sea ice by observation by land, ship and then plane.
    Land Temperatures were traditionally measured by thermometers

    In your opinion is there a direct comparison possible between the historic measurement type and that carried out by satellite. Or is it apples and otangres?

    Secondly, how accurate would you believe the satellites to be? For example the methods of ,measuring sea levels by satellite are somewhat complicated and open to serious question as to the end results. Would you bet your house that they faithfully record the sea levels to fractions of a mm on a daily, monthly and yearly basis?
    Thank you

  12. .New York City has been bailed out before, back in the 80s. All of the big blue cities require bailouts but not to recover from naure’s footprint. NYC for example is so corrupt you can’t even get a new restaurant built wihout buying off city workers. All of them are memorials to the failure of liberal Utopianism.

    • New York City has been bailed out? As you read these words, money is being taken from the wallets of New Yorkers and redistributed to farm states in a never-ending socialist support system for rural workers. First, end all farm subsidies and make farm states enter the capitalist market economy for the first time in over half a century, and then get back to me about a one-time bail-out of NYC.

      • David Springer

        Personally I feel better about subsidizing farmers who grow my food than New Yorker City residents who do… umm… what exactly IS it that New York City does for everyone again?

        Interestingly some 60%+ of farms don’t get subsidies at all and 10% of them get 75% of the subsidies.

      • David Springer

        P.S. I’m from upstate NY and most of us would love it if NYC was in a different state. Just sayin’.

      • 17 billion a year according to David’s data. 54$ per person.

        Doesn’t NY get 1.7 billion in transit subsidies alone from the federal gas tax?

      • David Springer

        Upstate NY contains a lot of farmland. NYC residents are not subsidizing farming so much that they are subsidizing more than their own state gets back. Washington takes a piece of the action of course so it would be better if New York state taxpayers subsidized New York state farms as required and left the federal government out of the equation.

  13. Sorry, Judith, despite what you ask, namely “As with all guest posts, please be on your best (i.e. most civil behavior) in making comments.” I do not intend to be polite. The AMO has put out a statement on CAGW, namely
    I quote from this document
    Future warming of the climate is inevitable for many years due to the greenhouse gases already added to the atmosphere and the heat that has been taken up by the oceans.

    Final remarks

    There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

    [This statement is considered in force until August 2017 unless superseded by a new statement issued by the AMS Council before this date.]

    The major reason why our politicians believe in CAGW, and waste hundreds of billion of dollars, if not actually trillions of dollars on a worldwide basis, trying to solve a problem that does not exist, is precisely because learned scientific societies, like the AMO, put out these ridiculously unscientific statements. I am sure the denizens of CAGW dont want to hear again my rant about only believing in empirical data again, so I wont say any more about it. I have been trying to convince my MP, here in Canada, that CAGW is a hoax. He merely points out that most learned scientitic societies say I am wrong, and I have no answer for that.

    One of the major reasons that there is a shortage of funds for new satellites is precisely because the AMO, and similar learned societies, through it’s thoroughly unscientific statement, has convinced our politicians that CAGW is real. It is not. CAGW is a hoax, and the sooner the AMO withdraws it’s statement, which I have quoted above, the better. It cannot happen too soon.

    • David Springer

      Warming “in the pipeline” for many years is utter dreck. Air temperature responds to forcing changes within hours (about 2-3 hours after peak afternoon sunshine the daily air temperature peaks) over land.

      The average temperature of the global ocean is 4C. The bulk of it, 90% of its volume which resides below about 300 meters, is nearly constant 3C from equator to pole. What happens in the future is that the surface layer, already in equilibrium from increased forcing because the mixed layer mixes (which is why it’s called the mixed layer), more gradually gets the extra heat sucked out of it and mixed downward. In order for surface temperature to keep rising for many years there has to be a concommitant rise in forcing. It’s otherwise a zero sum game and we would have the lower ocean getting a bit warmer and the upper ocean getting a lot cooler once the forcing levels off.

      • David Springer

        The climate change choir needs to explain why the heat in the solar forcing pipeline is only a few months long at most while the heat from CO2 forcing has a pipeline of “many years”.

      • because the solar forcing pipeline only exists for months at most

      • David Springer

        No, that’s wrong. A forcing is a forcing. It doesn’t matter if it’s insolation increasing 2 watts or greenhouse gases adding 2 watts. 2 watts is 2 watts. Demonstrably the pipeline is no longer than a few months. When solar insolation peaks in June sea surface temperature peaks at most a few months later. Over land the lag is a few weeks. That’s the pipeline length and its unequivocable.

      • “When solar insolation peaks in June sea surface temperature peaks at most a few months later”

        CO2 doesn’t peak. It keeps rising.

      • lolwot: “CO2 doesn’t peak. It keeps rising.”

        Not true. There is a rise and fall of CO2.

        Has the CO2 rise and fall ever been detected in the temperature record?

      • Not true, CO2 keeps rising. It doesn’t peak. The pipeline is maintained.

        Unlike solar activity. The past solar minimum saw solar activity fall very low and wiped out any pipeline that had been building.

      • lolwot the graph shows one year. CO2 goes up 8ppm and down by 7ppm in one year.

        Someone should be able to find the signal in the temperature record.

        They can’t.

      • The signal is in there alright and it has already been found

      • Really? Who? When?

      • “Not true, CO2 keeps rising. It doesn’t peak. The pipeline is maintained.

        Unlike solar activity. The past solar minimum saw solar activity fall very low and wiped out any pipeline that had been building.” ~lolwot

        Impressive trolling my man, well played, you almost sounded like you believed that.

        Tips: next time you’re presented with direct evidence, rather than stating it doesn’t exist, state that it doesn’t count because of blahblahblah, it makes the trolling less obvious.

        By the way, the insolation maximum happens during January, the planet is furthest from the sun in July.

      • @sunshinehours1: Has the CO2 rise and fall ever been detected in the temperature record?

        Max Manacker raised this question a few months ago. The ocean acts as a giant thermal capacitor with a time constant between one and two decades. Most of the radiative forcing goes into heating the ocean, whose impact on global temperature takes a decade or two to be felt. This effectively filters out the weekly fluctuations of CO2, making them undetectable in the temperature record.

        @sunshinehours1: By the way, the insolation maximum happens during January, the planet is furthest from the sun in July.

        You say “the” maximum as if there were only one. In fact there are multiple maxima, at different points in the temporal spectrum. The one you mention is on a 1-year cycle. The 11-year sunspot cycle is another, while the 22-year Hale cycle is yet another. Then there are the Milankovitch cycles. And so on.

        Which of these if any would you consider relevant to modern (centennial) climate change?

      • This quote was me, not sunshinehours: By the way, the insolation maximum happens during January, the planet is furthest from the sun in July.

        The statement was a response to the post by David Springer: “When solar insolation peaks in June sea surface temperature peaks at most a few months later.”

        That is only northern hemisphere solar insolation peaking, the planet is actually furthest from the sun during june.

        The other variations in insolation aren’t due to the different distance from the sun during each year, I didn’t address them, but that does not imply I think they have no effect.

      • “Most of the radiative forcing goes into heating the ocean”

        Thats absurd. The effect of CO2 can’t ignore the land.

        “This effectively filters out the weekly fluctuations of CO2, making them undetectable in the temperature record.”

        The reason they are undetectable is because they aren’t there,

        If CO2 is a well mixed gas, and CO2 rises and falls on the northern hemisphere seasons, then the weekly signal should show up — most likely in the southern hemisphere because the effect is in opposition to the seasons.

      • David Springer

        “CO2 keeps rising”

        Yes the mantra is that even if CO2 stopped rising there is still a lot of heating in the pipeline. That mantra is BS. If CO2 stopped rising the forcing from it would also stop rising and so too would any surface temperature rise. They’re trying to equate the additional forcing with a flame under a pot of water where the temperature will keep rising even if the flame isn’t increasing. That’s not quite true. The water might already be at equilibrium temperature for that level of flame and it will certainly reach equilibrium after some amount of time has passed. Earth’s surface and oceanic mixed layer equilibrates within a few months at most from changes in forcing which is demonstrated in what’s known as seasonal lag.

        So the “heating in the pipeline” is really anthropogenic CO2 “in the pipeline” i.e. fossil fuel not yet burned. If it remained unburned then additional warming would not be realized either.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | November 5, 2012 at 12:23 am |

        ” Most of the radiative forcing goes into heating the ocean, whose impact on global temperature takes a decade or two to be felt.”

        That’s the claim. Explain the heat flow please.

      • David Springer

        As for CO2 annual signal being found in the temperature record…

        Mauna Loa reading and HadCrut northern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere is 40% land and Mauna Loa is northern hemisphere. Pratt’s objection that the ocean is a giant heat capacitor isn’t operative over land so we should still see a signal. I can’t see it. Doesn’t mean it isn’t there it means that for 7-8ppm change it’s noise compared to other factors. Pratt’s wrong in any case about the time constant of the ocean heat capacitor. The mixed ocean layer incorporates forcing changes in a matter of months. This can be seen in the so-called seasonal lag where maximum summer insolation is followed by maximum ocean temperature up to 90 days later. The exchange between oceanic mixed layer and the bulk of the ocean below it only results in cooling the mixed layer over time because the temperature below the mixed layer is only 3C.

      • David Springer

        There are all sorts of shell games.

        The strangest ones are also the most transparent.

        The “hidden in the pipeline” premise is such a game.

        Read the Hansen et al. paper closely and you will see that it is based on circular logic and flawed arithmetic.

        The logic basically goes as follows:

        – Our models tell us that we should have seen X warming from added GHGs since 1880.

        – In actual fact we have only seen ~X/2 warming over this period.

        – Therefore, the balance of ~X/2 is still “hidden in the pipeline” (NOT “let’s correct the models to agree with the observations”).


        The arithmetical errors are basically “round up” errors, all going in the same direction.

        I am amazed that people who call themselves scientists would fall for something so blatantly stupid.

        But that’s the beauty of simple shell games.


      • Again, to what Hansen paper are you referring?

        You talk as though Hansen invented the pipeline after Trenberth’s public discussion of the missing heat. Is that what you want to say?

        Pipelines! Speed bumps! Surely they have a pill for your problem.

      • JCH

        The Hansen et al. “hidden in the pipeline” paper is:


      • JCH

        You write:

        Pipelines! Speed bumps! Surely they have a pill for your problem.

        Yeah. But it’s not my problem. (“Pipeline”=Hansen et al.; “speed bump”=Willis)

        And there is a pill: it’s called a “laxative”.

        (Clears it all out.)


    • Needless to say the AMO statement is a fair summary of the current science on the matter of climate. If you don’t believe it, then just wait and see, in hindsight you will realize they were right.

      • David Springer

        If 2010-2019 is warmer than 2000-2009 I’m prepared to reevaluate the anthropogenic warming hypothesis. I’ll give you better than even odds it ends up being cooler.

      • lolwot, you say “Needless to say the AMO statement is a fair summary of the current science on the matter of climate. If you don’t believe it, then just wait and see, in hindsight you will realize they were right.”

        How long do we have to wait? There is no empirical evidence in any temperature/time graph from the 19th to 21st centuries, that shows that CO2 is have any effect whatsoever on global temperatures. So how long do we wait for such a signal to appear, and when it does not appear, do we conclude that it is never going to appear?

      • Lolwat. I think you’ll find that the other AMO when it goes negative in due course will put paid to the statement of the AMO you refer to.

      • I think you’ll find it won’t.

      • lolwot

        If the AMO statement is as “right” as Hansen’s failed 1988 forecast or IPCCs TAR and AR4 forecasts for 0.2C decadal warming, there is not much to worry about.


  14. David Springer

    AMO: a large and persuasive body of evidence post-1950 warming is anthropogenic


    Some people are persuaded more easily than others. I’m persuaded by observations and none more than satellite-observed global lower troposphere. We’ve got 34 years of observation and there was no warming in most of those. There’s been very very little steady ramp in global temperature since 1979. Most of it happened in a step-change with the 1998 mother of all El Ninos and temperature was virtually flat on either side of that in the rest of the record.

    This does not jive well with a steady increase in CO2. It takes a really dedicated obfuscationist to ignore this plain fact of the satellite record.

  15. Hank Zentgraf

    Marshall, you note the loss of two satellites at launch. Perhaps we should shrink NASA’s mission by eliminating the climate modelling operation and redirect those dollars to re-learning how to successfully launch satellites. NASA’s climate modeling is hardly “a national priority”. There are plenty of other federal modeling centers, why do we need NASA to be in the game too?

  16. As far as I’m concerned it’s lucky we are on the verge of proving that fiat currencies do not work. If we weren’t so broke, along with just about all of Europe, I hate to think of the money we’d likely waste “combating climate change.” Wasting money on foolish wars is bad enough, and thankfully we no longer have the money for that either.

  17. Marshall Shepherd said
    “Sandy is a teachable moment on why investments in weather and climate satellite systems more than pay for themselves in U.S. lives saved and economic impacts.”

    Trouble is, taught doesn’t always translate into learnt.

    Will they then invest more into prevention, eg. satellites and flood control measures such as barriers, utilities hardening etc. or will they instead look to invest in miracle cures, ie. religious messages about the need to reduce co2.

    Hansen is on record as having said that the data from satellites is “obviously wrong” and so he adjusts that data to agree with his models. I see little hope that New York will learn any lessons from this as the current mindset of the politicians and their advisers is so blinkered.

    Two or three further attempts by mother nature to assist the river in reclaiming those parts of the big apple that were once part of the river may be enough to produce a change of mind however.

  18. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Sandy: a wake-up call on our satellite-based weather and climate observing capacity

    Why? It seems to me the lesson of Sandy is again the importance of local preparedness including individual stockpiling of fuel, batteries, water and food in advance. FEMA is a defensible idea, but people can not depend on FEMA for quick response. The effectiveness of FEMA depends on the prior effectiveness of the local response. Not everyone needs a generator, but everyone should have a week’s supply of food, water and batteries. Also, people need wait for water, electricity, gasoline supplies and all that to be restored before trying to resume their normal activities. These thousands of cars lined up at gas stations with no fuel are impeding the restoration of the infrastructure. Bloomberg’s attempt to keep the marathon on schedule is a good example of what to avoid.

    Anybody that lives in an area prone to recurrent disasters should always be prepared for a disaster to strike unexpectedly, or to be unexpectedly damaging when it occurs. The details change from disaster to disaster, and more information is better than less information, but no amount or degree of satellite surveillance of approaching storms will reduce the importance of local preparedness. NY City govt and New Yorkers had time to prepare, they just neglected to prepare. They couldn’t have prevented all the damage (imo) but the consequent suffering was within their ability to prevent.

    Where I live we have fires not floods, but people are always warned to be prepared with batteries, food and water.

    • David Springer


      It almost pains me to feel the need to applaud common sense but I fear that it will go unnoticed if I don’t.

  19. Strange how satellite data always seems to add further disagreement to climate models. Convenient that the USAF managed to lose two satellites in short order.

    We do indeed need more and better satellites.

    Omanuel. On the face of it if you want your satellites to reach orbit it may well be better to launch them from Russian rockets and not US(AF) rockets.

  20. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Contemporary society has no concept of a Sandy-type storm “blindsiding” them like the deadly and historic Galveston storm of 1900, which killed thousands.

    I think that’s idiotic. We have disasters every year all over the place that produce surprising results. The flaw here is to overspecialize, and to think we need to know exactly the details of the next disaster: exactly where, exactly when, exactly how much rainfall, exactly how much snowfall (Bloomberg’s last bungled disaster), exactly when to move the buses (Katrina at New Orleans), exactly how much wind. You should be prepared for something at least as great as the maximum of the last 100 years.

    • @MattStat: You should be prepared for something at least as great as the maximum of the last 100 years.

      Matt, as the statistician here you should be able to answer the following “solve-for-x” problems.

      1. Assuming a suitably random model of storm intensity, if it costs m dollars a year to maintain a state of preparedness sufficient to cope adequately with a storm capable of producing n dollars of damage, we should take into account (as per your recommendation above) the damage done by each storm in the past x years. Solve for x (as a function of m and n). (You suggested x = 100, but on what basis? What if m is prohibitive relative to n?)

      2. Does the answer to 1 change if one side effect of climate change is to increase the frequency of storms of any given magnitude?

      (I doubt if question 1 is well-posed. Taking x to be the number of storms causing n dollars of damage might fix this. That would in turn give an easy answer to 2, namely if such storms occurred more frequently the effect would simply be to dilute m in proportion.)

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        The goal is not to solve a problem exactly, the goal is to do a better job next time. Next time, as this time, some people and some locations will be better prepared than others; the goal is for more people to be better prepared next time than this time. For example, The Mayor of New York City, having bungled snow removal two years ago and storm preparation this time, might spend less time next year on the trans fats and sugar issues, and more on preparing for emergencies.

        I agree with you that the problems are ill-posed. It’s like what people do with life and health insurance: you have to buy a policy and pay a premium without knowing the future. Luxury businesses lose a little to the benefit of the basics businesses. It costs money, meaning effort to earn it and foregoing some luxuries. There is no unique solution. But everyone can do better next time than last time.

  21. son of mulder

    It’s not clear to me what the significant added benefit of satellite technology has over doppler radar in tracking hurricanes and hence inputting data to the models. Comparing to the Galveston storm in 1900 which was pre-radio and pre-radar seems a little unreasonable. No amount of satellites will ensure levees are strong enough, that buildings are suitably sited, and people who are determined not to evacuate still won’t evacuate.

    And there is a paradox in that if you believe that the predictive power of the technology is so good then many outside the predicted track of the storm will be more relaxed and at increased risk from a chaotic sudden change in direction of the storm.

  22. Stephen Wilde

    Such large slow moving storms with a large north/south latitudinal extent are a feature of a cooling climate system because the additional cloudiness that they involve reduces the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans.

    It happened previously to a slight degree during the mid 20th century cooling period and more pronouncedly during the Little Ice Age.

    The cause is an expansion of the polar air masses (negative AO and AAO) as a result of changing solar effects on ozone amounts in the stratosphere which alters the ‘normal’ gradient of the tropopause between equator and pole allowing the permanent climate zones to slide latitudinally equatorward causing global cloudiness changes.

    I have explained this in more detail elsewhere.

    The fact really does seem to be that a quiet sun naturally warms the stratosphere differentially towards the poles pushing polar air masses equatorward more often.

    In contrast an active sun naturally cools the stratosphere differentially towards the poles which contracts the polar air masses reducing equatorward outbreaks.

    In this instance the expanded polar air masses to the north prevented Sandy from joining the west / east zonal flow and forced it westward into the north east USA instead.

    As it happens was aboard the Queen Mary 2 last week as Sandy approached NYC and we only just got out in time.

    The previous 5 days of the voyage up to Halifax Nova Scotia was characterised by cloudless blue skies under a high pressure cell. It was clear to me even before the event that the high pressure cell would not easily give way.

    As long as the sun stays quiet we will see more such storms and the system energy content will slowly decline.

  23. Judith Curry

    I am surprised that you have missed the obvious. Both the carbon satellite and Glory were climate change satellites. The money spent for those two was not allocated to weather. Their termination in the Southern Ocean is somewhat prophetic.

    It wasn’t until last year 2011 that the Energy and Commerce Committee had the the environment and climate change (global warming) removed by the Republican House majority.

    Weather has and continues to be secondary to climate change in the mind of many Democratic House Members. All sorts of money is shoveled from one basket of climate change to another. Politics is wonderful isn’t it?

    Do you really believe in the weather paradigm? If so, then work towards getting climate change out of the money trough. Defund the portions of NOAA and NASA whose practitioners are the climate mantra elite. Remove funding from all but weather. Don’t couch projects as weather when they are ultimately climate; you know, CO2, black carbon, melting Arctic, etc.
    If you want backing from skeptics on improving weather analysis and data collection, then focus on weather. Help fight for weather funding by advocating eliminating funding for IPCC.

    However, if you sincerely believe that man is driving climate change with his CO2 production; that CO2 is the main driver of climate change; climate change is the paramount catastrophe facing mankind today, then please, step aside, and let the weather funding focused debate proceed without you. Help prevent another 1900 Galveston.

    • RiHo08


      There are around $16 billion spent annually in the USA alone on “climate change” research work, under all sorts of other names, as I indicated above.

      Note that this does not include spending to reduce emissions, enforce clean air standards, etc.

      Nor does it include such things as around $1 billion/year to help developing nations build up renewable energy sources or another $2.5 billion for carbon capture + sequestration schemes.

      I’ve asked Marshall Shepherd how much of this could be diverted away from “climate change” to the more pressing problem he outlines of outdated and deteriorating weather satellite infrastructure.

      I’d say the US voters need to make sure their representatives in Congress understand that borrowing money from China to pay for long-range “climate change” R+D while weather satellite systems deteriorate is not how they want their tax dollars to be spent.


  24. “It began an era in which the United States would never be caught off guard from such storms again. Or did it?. ”

    From what I read, it seems that the US met. services did a superb job in predicting accurately how powerful and how large Sandy would be. That some people stayed who should have left is understandable. Where I lived in Far North Queensland, nobody ever suggested we should leave our homes in the face of a Category 3 Cyclone, but it seems that in Sandy the storm surge did most of the damage, so it was just bad luck that there was a high tide at the same time. In north Queensland people are used to living with cyclones and know they have to strengthen their houses, but fortunately the coral reef gives some protection against storm surges. After Cyclone Winifred in the 1980’s we were flooded in and the Council could do nothing to help, but people there are very independant. I had a 4 wheel drive and a tandem trailer and a local farmer lent me one of his sons to help. Others did the same so that by the time the Council could get in, all the debris had been cleaned up. I expect people on Long Island would do the same.

  25. The article (and most articles) would be much improved by replacing “climate change” with just “climate”. Try rereading it, using that substitution.

  26. Sandy’s Legacy? Vote As If Future Generations Depend On It

    just posting it because it is interesting.

    • Great idea LOL let’s all vote to stop the nor’easters that occur off the coast of New England like the one in ’91 with 50 foot waves that inspired the movie, ‘The Perfect Storm.’ We’ll save a lot of lives and property.

  27. Let’s all vote as if future generations depend on us.

    When change isn’t for the better it should be changed. Individual liberty rules. Economic freedom works. Shine a light on the nihilism of anti-energy darkness. Park your camel and drill baby drill.

    We can all appreciate the nuances of the various mathematical approaches to problem-solving. We should not, however, deceive ourselves or others when it comes to applying these approaches or being fooled into believing public schoolteachers can use them to model the Earth’s climate.

  28. David L. Hagen

    Quote of the Week-Bonus

    It is true that Sandy was a human-caused disaster. We build cities on the coast. We don’t adequately protect them. We don’t heed evacuation warnings. That is where the blame lies for this one, not climate change.

    Eric Berger There will be fewer Sandy type hurricanes in the future.

  29. Pingback: Cities Make Rain

  30. Despite a diligent search, no evidence could be found of trends in the data that could be attributed to human activities.
    ~W J R Alexander, et al.

  31. … we demonstrate that the evidence of the solar linkage is all around us. It can be seen in the hydrological processes… The unequivocal linkage with sunspot activity is demonstrated …We quantify the periodicity… [and] we move further afield to Lake Victoria in central Africa and then northwards to Ireland in the northern hemisphere. (Ibid.)

  32. Politics aside, nominally it’s the Sun, stupid.

    …a synchronous relationship exists between the sun’s wobble as it moves on its trajectory through galactic space under the influence of the orbiting planets… all the way through to the flow in the Vaal River in the interior of the African subcontinent… This relationship is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. (Ibid.)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Alaxander is most intriguing. The wobbles are a multi-body problem – like this –

      • Joe's World(progressive evolution)

        Very Cool Chief!!!

      • That’s pretty funny. That certainly would make everything much less predictable.

        Interesting though that after all of these years we learn the Earth does not actually revolve around the Sun–or, at least not in the simplistic way we might invision based on the sort of models we have grew up with. Rather, the Earth revolves around the center of the mass of the solar system, which takes into cosideration all of the planets.

        And that, I think, is an ingenious way to take into consideration the role of, for example the big planets Jupiter and Saturn, when cosidering those factors that contribute to climate change. It also helps explain why nominally it’s the Sun stupid that is responsible for all global warming and cooling.

  33. “We lost, at launch, two critical satellites that would have provided information on carbon dioxide (OCO) and black carbon pollutants (Glory). ”

    OCO2 to be launched February, 2013:

    Why hasn’t the full AIRS data been released? Top and bottom of the Troposphere still unavailable.

    All we have is the conclusion from the mid troposphere:

    “Significant Findings from AIRS Data

    Carbon dioxide is not homogeneous in the mid-troposphere; previously it was thought to be well-mixed

    The distribution of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere is strongly influenced by large-scale circulations such as the mid-latitude jet streams and by synoptic weather systems, most notably in the summer hemisphere

    There are significant differences between simulated and observed CO2 abundance outside of the tropics, raising questions about the transport pathways between the lower and upper troposphere in current models

    Zonal transport in the southern hemisphere shows the complexity of its carbon cycle and needs further study”

    In other words, “carbon dioxide is lumpy and not well-mixed” in the atmosphere, they were surprised to find. Of course it is, it is subject to gravity being heavier than air and will generally not travel far from its source before displacing the fluid gas air and sinking back to the surface.