Actually, It’s Getting Colder

What Lies Ahead? The Grand Solar Minimum

by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 03, 2021 – 19:20

Submitted by Luke Eastwood

We are all aware of the environnmental crisis that humanity (and all life on Earth) faces, characterised by the term ‘climate change’. Much of the current thinking in the scientific community is promoting the idea that our planet is rapidly warming due to excess CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas produced by humans in the last few centuries, and the last 70 years in particular.

While there is a very strong and hard to deny case to suggest that human activity is the main cause of environmental destruction, the premise that it is due primarily to CO2 emissions is beginning to look somewhat flawed. I am well aware that the previous sentence is likely to draw a lot of negative attention and criticism, with accusations of ‘climate denier’ being thrown at me. However, the situation is not that simple as to be a case of ‘global warming’ being the main influence or no influence at all.

The reality of the situation is complex. In my opinion the main drivers of the  environmental crisis are many, but put in simple terms – destruction of wild habitats, pollution due to industrialisation, over-use of soils, over-population, erosion of soils leading to desertification or barren, infertile landscapes, monoculture agriculture and climate fluctuations. Notice that I did not use the term ‘climate change’ which in the current scientific norm implies warming.

While the planet has undoubtedly warmed up, in part due to human activity and CO2 production, the current popular thinking completely ignores historical CO2 levels beyond the last millennium and also the primary input on temperatures on this planet and all eight of the planets in this solar system. That input, although largely ignored at the moment, is of course our sun, which on average generates 3.8 x 1026 Joules (energy) per second. Human energy usage per year is around 5 x 1020 Joules, which is about 1 million times less than the Sun produces during 1 second! In fact, in the whole of human history we have used less energy that the Sun produces in that 1 second.

So, given the above, it stand to reason that the energy of the Sun must have a significant effect on the energy available on this planet and the heat energy (temperature) that is captured by it, as it rotates around the Sun. If we look at the history of Earth, particularly through the use of ice-core samples, we can see that the temperatures on our planet follow a very distinct pattern. On a macro level this can be observed as a huge cycle of glacials (ice-ages) and interglacials, with the ice ages lasting many times longer than the interglacial (warm) periods.  We are currently in an interglacial, which began approximately 11,500 years ago and it is estimated that it will end some time within the next 50,000 years.

On a micro level, the Sun undergoes cycles of around 11 years  known as the solar magnetic activity cycle, which has been studied and recorded by humans for approximately 400 years. During each cycle the number of sunspots peaks and falls in a recognisable pattern. However, this pattern of approx. 11 years is itself part of a much longer solar pattern of solar minimums and solar maximums. For instance the Medieval maximum (grand solar maximum) lasted from 1100-1250 (warm period) and the famous Maunder Minimum (grand solar minimum) lasted from 1645-1715 (cold period). The later was known as a mini  ice age due to the particularly drastic drop in global temperatures that affected crop-growth and led to bitter winters for a period of 70 years.

Scientists that study the sun are well aware of these periodic cycles both on the 11 year scale and on the larger scale of 70–100 years, known as the Gleissberg cycle. We have just finished a solar maximum cycle of around 70 years and are now heading into a both a new 11 year cycle and a new grand solar minimum cycle that will reach its lowest (coldest) point some time between 2030 and 2040.  You don’t need to take my word for it – this has been confirmed by NASA and by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA). NOAA predictions of sunspot and radio flux appears to show a ‘full-blown’ grand solar minimum (GSM) which will last from the late-2020s to at least the 2040s

This means that the coming solar minimum is going to be not only a grand solar minimum, but perhaps the worst one since the Maunder Minimum in the 1600s. One would expert this to have been front-page news, but outside of the scientific community this information is virtually unheard of and little understood. One must ask – why is this the case? The simple answer to this question is that the solar predictions destroy the current scientific and cultural narrative of ‘Climate Change’ in the form of warming.

There will indeed be climate change in the coming decades, but for the next 10 to 40 years it is going to get colder, not warmer! The same thing will happen on the 7 other planets in this solar system, because the main factor affecting planetary temperatures is the activity of the Sun. Given that so much time, effort and money has been invested in ‘global warming’ as a premise for change in how human society is run, it is very much an “inconvenient truth” that is beginning to arrive just at the time when we are beginning to take more affirmative action on environmental issues.

The controversial news that the Earth (and all 7 other planets) will cool down in the next 10-40 years is politically highly inconvenient and that is why it is being kept quiet. Getting rid of fossil fuels, caring for our environment, lowering industrial output, ending industrial farming and reducing livestock, plus a gradual reduction in the human population are all excellent goals.  Unfortunately the rationale for doing this, that has been sold to the public, is most likely entirely misguided.  The net effect of this false premise may well be that environmentalists and main-stream public scientists will look like fools by the end of this decade. The cooling of planet Earth may well be seen as justification to abandon environmental concerns and reform of our economic systems, which would be a terrible tragedy.

In order to avoid this highly likely total embarrassment, world governments and the scientific community need to admit that the coming dip in solar energy output is going to lead to the cooling of our planet for at least 2 decades, possibly 4 or 5 or even 7 decades!  This is not conspiracy, this is not mis-information or propaganda – this is proven, verifiable fact which can be validated by current solar observation, previous observation of sun cycles for 400 years and ice-core samples stretching back millions of years.

As someone who has been involved in the environmental movement since I was 16, when I joined a conservation group at college, I am very concerned about how this plays out. If the public feels that they have been lied to it may lead to a backlash and a disinterest in environmental issues. The reasons I outlined at the beginning of this article are more than sufficient for humanity to change its modus operandi. One does not need to concoct highly improbable narratives about the world ‘burning up’ within decades to justify environmental activism. In fact the coming GSM is likely to produce similar negative effects to predicted ‘global warming’, such as habitat loss, loss of farming land, a drop in food availability, migration, social unrest and possibly other problems too.

It is time that the whole ‘climate change’ theory was re-assessed and the known solar activity cycle as observed by NOAA and NASA taken into account. To fail to do so is total folly and only creates another problem, that will come back to haunt us if the grand solar minimum is ignored.  We do need to take better care of our world and learn to live far more harmoniously within it, but we need to base our actions on good science and not on misleading or inaccurate information.


Weather Engineering & Common Core

US Government Places “Gag Order” on Weather Agency Employees, Inserts Geoengineering Propaganda into ‘Common Core’ Syllabus

US Government Places “Gag Order” on Weather Agency Employees, Inserts Geoengineering Propaganda into Common Core Syllabus

27th November 2015

By Dane Wigington

Guest Writers for Wake Up World

Government Implements Illegal “Gag Order” on National Weather Service and NOAA Employees

The power structure is beginning to panic as the public wakes up to the criminal climate engineering insanity. The growing police state is completely out of control and becoming unimaginably blatant with their actions. In recent weeks Washington has placed “gag orders” on the employees of “The National Weather Service” (NWS), the “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” (NOAA), and the “US Department of Commerce” agencies. This is a massive red flag that should trigger alarm bells everywhere.

Bill Hopkins, the executive vice president for the National Weather Service employees organization (NWSEO) said this: “As a taxpayer, I find it highly disturbing that a government agency continues to push gag orders to hide how they operate. This is the work of the American government, owned by the American public, and should be open to the American public.”

Jeff Ruch, the executive director of “PEER” (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) said this about the “gag orders”, noting that their broad scope put much of what goes on inside the agency under wraps: “The National Weather Service is about the last place where national security-style secrecy rules need to be enforced… Everyone is free to talk about the weather except for the people working inside the National Weather Service. Go figure.”

Some time ago I personally spoke to an NOAA scientist who said that “we all know it [climate engineering] is going on but we are afraid to speak out, we have no First Amendment protection”. Now, this new “gag order” is a further muzzling of the NWS and NOAA.

While there are many in the National Weather Service and NOAA who have had enough of lying about what is really going on in our skies, other weather agencies and personnel have been actively engaged in public deception, naming aircraft-sprayed aerosol clouds as if they are produced by nature. What did BBC “meteorologist” Ian Fergusson say about the picture below? “When rain, ice crystals or snow falls but evaporates before reaching the ground, it’s a [natural] phenomenon called ‘virga’ or ‘fallstreak’.” [source]

Government Implements Illegal Gag Order On National Weather Service and NOAA Employees - Geoengineering Trails Explained as ''Natural''

A report from PEER contains the following statement:

“This summer, the National Weather Service began requiring a signed confidentiality agreement (Exhibit I) from NWSEO participants along with all participants on the OWA teams. These agreements purport to bind NWSEO representatives from communicating with its members, members of Congress or any other person regarding agency plans and how they are determined. These agreements also do not contain terms allowing reports of actual or impending law or rule violations, gross mismanagement, waste or abuse.”

The PEER report continued, stating:

“The National Weather Service, NOAA and Commerce are presently implementing and enforcing nondisclosure agreements which violate the law.”

We are officially living in an Orwellian police state where any who dare to try and tell the truth are dealt with severely. Forcing the employees of “national” weather and climate agencies to sign “confidentiality agreements is extremely alarming, with unimaginable consequences for potential whistleblowers. But it is not surprising, given what we know about the cataclysms being caused by the rapidly growing climate engineering elephant-in-the-room.

Climate Engineering, El Niño and the Bizarre “Scheduled Weather” for the Coming Winter in The US - Main - Copy

Some may mistake the “gag order” on agency employees to be only about union issues, but this is clearly not the case, as quotes above (taken from the PEER reports) make clear.

(For more on the relationship between geoengineering and the corruption of weather-reporting and data-modelling agencies, please see: Climate Engineering, El Niño and the “Scheduled Weather” for the Coming Winter in The US.)

Common Core: Poisoning the Perceptions of Our Children

The decimation that has already been inflicted on our biosphere and all life from global geoengineering is so immense it could never be calculated. Weather modification programs are finally becoming all but impossible to hide, and the recent “gag orders” placed on weather reporting agency employees are a sign of true desperation on the part of the power structure.

But it doesn’t stop there. The criminal behavior of other government agencies and organizations shows they are willing to do or say anything to poison the perspectives of our children. This short 5 minute video (below) highlights deplorable propaganda embedded in the US Common Core education syllabus.

This Common Core test is shocking and enraging. Entitled “The Snowball”, the test scenario tells the story of a child who can’t properly make a snowball from the snow flakes falling around him due to the fact that “the government just couldn’t get the formula right” for the snow. This boy is then approached by a neighbor who professes to have an “authentic American snowball” in his freezer, stating that “it’s probably the last in America”.

Clearly, Common Core is not about helping our children to expand their minds and perspectives; it’s about conditioning them to be obedient cogs in the wheel of collective insanity. Common Core is the power-structure’s tool for making our kids just another brick in the wall, teaching them through testing in school, to accept such propaganda as government-created snow as “normal” — and it is truly unacceptable.

Inexcusable transgressions like those just outlined in the video above cannot be overlooked. The public email contacts of responsible parties should be posted and displayed everywhere possible. Such people must be placed on notice that we, the populations of the world, do not consent to their behavior. They should also be put on notice that at some point in the near future, the public will likely hold them legally and morally accountable as accomplices in the climate engineering assault by helping to cover the tracks of the perpetrators.

In the meantime, protecting and properly educating our children is up to us. Do we inform them about what is occurring above their heads? Yes. Do we make clear to them that we are fighting for their future? Yes. Do we do everything in our power to provide them hope and the chance to be a child without an excessive burden? Yes.

To truly show our love for the children of the world, we must fight for them with every breath we take, with every fiber of our being. It is this that drives me forward in this battle. We are fighting to save a future for our children. But too many in our society have rationalized their own personal pursuits of pleasure while claiming to love their children.

The video below is particularly close to my heart, two of the voices in this video are from my son and my daughter. They have hope for a future because they know we are fully committed to them. It is time for all to stand and join this fight for our very survival, and the survival of our children. There is only now, make your voice heard in this all important battle to expose and stop the greatest of all human assaults against life on Earth, global climate engineering. Our children need to know that our lives belong to them. We must all work together toward sounding the alarm, there is not a day to spare. Now more than ever we must all keep up our pace in the battle to expose and halt climate engineering.

My sincere gratitude to Mauro Oliveira for producing this video.


Winter Weather Forecast

NOAA Winter Outlook: El Niño a Dominant Player, but Wild Cards Still Possible

By: Bob Henson , 7:54 PM GMT on October 15, 2015

Figure 1. NOAA’s outlook for winter temperatures (top) and precipitation (bottom) for the three-month period from December 2015 to February 2016. NOAA outlooks are expressed as probabilities for above- or below-average conditions. In the three-class system used by NOAA, an area labeled “equal chances” means that there’s roughly a 33% chance each of below-, near-, or above-average outcomes. If a location is shown with higher odds of above-average conditions, then the probability for below-average outcomes goes down proportionally (e.g., 50% above-average, 33% near-average, and 17% below-average). See NOAA’s online reference guide for more details.

In a nutshell: Wet and cool South, mild and dry North
The enhanced subtropical jet streams common during El Niño tend to boost precipitation across the U.S. Sunbelt and decrease it toward the northern tier of states, as reflected in Figure 1. The same dynamics act to “smoosh out” temperature contrasts across the nation: the cloudy, wet conditions across the South are often accompanied by chilly temperatures, while the drier conditions toward the Northern Rockies are often joined by relatively mild air. NOAA’s Mike Halpert said at a Thursday-morning teleconference that the forecast implies about 2% fewer heating degree days than average. This would also be about 6% fewer days than last winter, he added.

A couple of key caveats:

—NOAA’s probabilities are not meant to imply any judgment on how intense an outcome might be. They’re simply showing where unusually cool, mild, wet, or dry conditions may prevail. Higher odds for those outcomes don’t necessarily mean that the results will be more dramatic than in other areas.

—As the name implies, the seasonal outlooks are meant to convey conditions for the three-month winter period as a whole. They aren’t designed to show how much variability there could be across those three months, and of course weather can vary a great deal within a 90-day period.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few potential regional wild cards around the contiguous 48 states. (Warmer- and drier-than-average conditions are good bets for both Hawaii and Alaska.) For more detail on how El Niño affects various parts of the nation, see our roundups published on July 28 and July 30.

The strongest El Niño events—like the one now in place–are closely linked to wet winter conditions, especially over Southern California. In both 1982-83 and 1997-98, California arguably got too much of a good thing, with mudslides and floods causing millions in damage. In his October blog post, WU weather historian Chris Burt takes a close look at how those two seasons panned out. One important element will be the temperatures that accompany any big winter storms. If they’re on the warm side—a big problem in recent years—then the snowpack accumulating over the Sierra Nevada could end up disappointingly low. Regardless, aquifers and ecosystems stand to benefit big time if El Niño produces as expected. Overall, this winter offers the best chance in years for California to make up some (though not all) of the hydrologic ground it’s lost during the severe drought in place since 2011. Residents will need to keep calm and carry on for a while longer, though, as the parade of storms common during strong El Niños often doesn’t arrive until December or even January. And crucially, even high odds aren’t the same as a guarantee. While the mega-El Niños of 1982-83 and 1997-98 were both very good to California in terms of precipitation, one of the three next-strongest events (1965-66) fell below average in winter precipitation for all but southern California. You can see how El Niños of various strengths performed at Jan Null’s excellent website on El Niño and California precipitation.

Pacific Northwest
This region is heading into the El Niño of 2015-16 after a dry winter and a very warm, dry summer. Unfortunately, one of the most dependable outcomes of a strong El Niño is winter warmth and dryness from Oregon and Washington into Montana. So the region could go into spring and summer 2016 with even more water worries than last year.

The South
Drab winter weather—chilly and damp—is likely to prevail from Texas to the Southeast coast in 2015-16. The risk of severe weather may be boosted along the immediate Gulf and southeast Atlantic coastal areas. Florida, in particular, needs to watch the skies this winter, as strong El Niño events are associated with a heightened risk of tornado outbreaks, as in the deadly Kissimmee outbreak of February 1998.

The Midwest and Northeast
Tucked inside the somewhat equivocal NOAA outlook for this region is some important nuance. The 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Niños both led to a vast swath of warm winter conditions covering much of Canada and the northern United States, all the way from the Northern Plains to New England. Given the long-term trend toward warmer global temperatures, some truly impressive “warm waves” seem likely to take shape in this area. At the same time, the last few winters have been surprisingly cold and snowy over parts of the Midwest and Northeast. Various experts attribute this to the reverberations of unusually warm water in parts of the tropical Atlantic, the presence in some years of a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and/or the loss of Arctic sea ice. We don’t yet know how all of these factors will line up for 2015-16, but I would cast my lot on a mixed-bag winter from the mid-Atlantic to New England, with periods of marked warmth punctuated by occasional sharp but transient cold blasts. Those could end up producing at least one big snowstorm if a negative NAO enters the picture. A good case in point is the winter of 1982-83, when a comparably strong El Niño was in place. Though the winter of 1982-83 averaged quite mild in the Northeast, it also produced the crippling Megapolitan snowstorm of February 10-12, 1983, which dumped 20” – 30” in northwestern suburbs from Washington to Boston. Below is a “blast from the past” YouTube audio clip of a KYW radio newscast from the Philadelphia area during the height of the storm.

Bob Henson


Wrap Up On Weather 2014

The U.S. Climate of 2014: Remarkable Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry Extremes

By: Bob Henson , 4:17 PM GMT on January 12, 2015

How you experienced the climate of 2014 depended a great deal–by some measures, more than any year in U.S. history–on where in the nation you happened to be. This was made abundantly clear in the full 2014 report on U.S. temperatures and precipitation, released this morning by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). When looking at the entire contiguous 48 states, the annual rankings aren’t especially striking: the year placed 34th warmest and 40th wettest out of 120 years of data. The overall warmth comes as no surprise, given that every year since 1996 has placed above the nation’s long-term temperature average.

These unremarkable statistics obscure the real story of 2014: the titanic contrast between a parched, scorched West (especially California, where the heat left all-time records in the dust), a very warm New England and Florida, and a much cooler area in between, with some months at or near all-time record lows in states stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.

NCDC’s state-by-state map of 2014 temperature rankings (see Figure 1) tells the tale vividly. California, Nevada, and Arizona all saw their hottest year on record, going back to 1895. The year placed among the top-twenty warmest in most of the other western states, as well as in Maine. At the same time, a corridor of seven central states–Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan–saw 2014 place among their top-ten coolest years.

Figure 1. State-by-state rankings for annual average temperature in 2014. A ranking of 1 denotes the coolest year in the 120-year record, while 120 denotes the warmest. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

Another way to look at these contrasts is through the statistical lens of NCDC’s Climate Extremes Index. The CEI is made up of five different indicators that show how much of the nation experienced a particular type of weather extreme. Two of the indicators relate to the percentage of the nation experiencing either unusually warm or cold daily highs or unusually warm or cold daily lows (averaged from month to month in both cases). Some 23.2% of the contiguous U.S. qualified as having unusually warm highs for the year, which is the 18th-largest percentage out of the past 120 years. The percentage of the nation experiencing unusually cold highs (18.6%) ranks 21st. What’s especially intriguing is that this is the first year on record that both the warm-high and cold-high percentages have exceeded 15%, a sign of how difficult it is to sustain such wildly divergent temperature regimes between the Pacific and Atlantic for an entire year. Overall, using all the elements of the CEI, 2014 ranked as the 9th most extreme year since 1910 (excluding the impact of tropical cyclones), or the 19th most extreme when including the impact of tropical cyclones. Interestingly, for the second year in a row, daily record low minimums occurred more often than daily record high maximums (20,937 vs. 14,122). This trend is unlikely to continue; the opposite occurred for a number of years prior to 2013.

The Midwest and Southern chill established itself early, with a series of cold-air outbreaks that came to be associated with the term “polar vortex”. (That phrase’s meaning became so mangled in press coverage and popular understanding that it led the American Meteorological Society to update its official definition). Colder-than-average weather persisted across much of the central and east until May and June, which came in above average in most states. Midsummer saw a return to strikingly cool weather across the nation’s heartland. The pattern was even more unusual–and pleasant for millions of residents–in that it was accompanied by relatively dry weather. It was the coolest July on record for Arkansas and Indiana, and the second coolest in Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri.

After the west-to-east contrast eased somewhat in late summer and early autumn, a record-setting Arctic outbreak in November reestablished the cold-east/warm-West pattern once more, leading to the second-coldest November on record for Alabama and Mississippi. Finally, just in time for the holidays, the 48 states got on the same temperature track, with unusual mildness nationwide producing the second-warmest December on record. Alaska joined in as well: the state’s 19 first-order weather stations were a collective 7.5°F above average for the month, and Fairbanks saw its second warmest December in its 111-year record, according to the Alaska Climate Research Center. Overall, 2014 was Alaska’s warmest year in a 97-year period of record, with an average statewide temperature 4°F above the average for 1971-2000.

Figure 2. State-by-state rankings for annual average precipitation in 2014. A ranking of 1 denotes the driest year in the 120-year record, while 120 denotes the wettest. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

Days of deluge
The national precipitation ranking and the state-by-state maps (see Figure 2) hide some dramatic contrasts as well. Most of the year was extremely dry in California, even though the state ended up near average for total annual precipitation. Elsewhere, intense bouts of precipitation made the headlines in a number of spots. Day after day of extreme rain pushed the June precipitation totals across parts of the Midwest into record-obliterating territory. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received 13.70″ for the month, with more than half of that falling in just three calendar days. The town of Canton broke South Dakota’s monthly precipitation record with 19.65″.

Several major one-day rainfall events emerged from an extremely moist summer air mass that slathered much of the eastern United States in early August. Detroit experienced its second-heaviest calendar-day rainfall (4.57″) on August 11, as did Baltimore on August 12 (6.30″). Even more impressive was the 13.57″ that fell at Islip, New York, on August 11-12. The downpour set a new state record for 24-hour rainfall, which is especially noteworthy given that a tropical cyclone was not directly involved. A few weeks later, not to be outdone, Phoenix set an all-time calendar-day rainfall record on September 8 with 3.29″, fed by deep moisture from ex-Hurricane Norbert.

Figure 3. A highway in Brentwood, New York, resembles an infinity pool after more than a foot of rain fell across parts of central Long Island on August 11-12, 2014. WunderPhoto credit: Hurricane765.

The NCDC’s Climate Extremes Index lends some statistical backing to this anecdotal portrait of deluges. The “extremes in 1-day precipitation” indicator measures how much precipitation for the year fell in calendar days with extreme amounts (equal to the wettest tenth percentile of all days). Some 15.3% of the nation saw a much-above-average number of days fall into this category for 2014. That’s a bit less than the 2013 value of 16.3%, but still enough to put it at 11th highest of the past 120 years. Notably, all of the top seven years for this index, and 13 of the top 15 years, have occurred since 1990.

Wet days getting wetter, and droughts getting hotter
The recent uptick in extreme one-day precipitation totals across the nation is consistent with more than a decade of research showing that many parts of the world, including the United States, are seeing their heaviest bouts of rain and snow getting even heavier over time. This conclusion was reinforced on a national and regional scale in the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment and on a city-by-city scale in a study by Brian Brettschneider (Boreas Scientific LLC) highlighted by Weather Underground blogger Chris Burt last August. The result is also consistent with the basic concept that a warming planet will see an increase in hydrologic contrasts, as warmer temperatures allow for more water to evaporate from lakes, oceans, and plants–helping boost the output of rainstorms and snowstorms–while sucking more water from already-parched land, intensifying the effects of drought.

This process is vital to keep in mind when taking stock of the California drought, arguably the nation’s most catastrophic weather event of the year. Although calendar year 2013 was the state’s driest on record, the water year of 2013–14 (July to June) placed third driest. (Water years are the most commonly used index for assessing California precipitation, which occurs mainly in the fall through spring). A NOAA-led study released in December found that the severity of drought conditions over the last three water years–looking only at rainfall–is within the realm of natural variability, with 1974–75 to 1976–77 even drier than the period from 2011–12 to 2013–14. However, the temperatures associated with the more recent drought went well beyond what one would expect from historical analogs (see Figure 4), which has made the impact on ecosystems, agriculture, and people even more severe. The NOAA study acknowledged, “record-setting high temperature that accompanied this recent drought was likely made more extreme due to human-induced global warming.” In a similar fashion, the intense Texas drought of 2011 was associated with all-time temperature records established during the brutal, more prolonged droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. As states and regions consider how best to adapt to drought conditions in the future, they would be well advised to consider the possibility that temperatures during drought periods could soar beyond anything observed in more than a century of experience.

Figure 4. The annual average temperature for California in 2014 came in far above the previous record for the last 120 years, and it was roughly 4°F above the 20th-century average. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

Figure 5. A lone weed grows on an unplanted field on August 21, 2014 in Firebaugh, California. As the severe California drought continued for a third straight year, Central California farming communities struggled to survive, with an unemployment rate nearing 40 percent in the towns of Mendota and Firebaugh. Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.


Ocean Floor Fracture off Portugal

Massive section of ocean floor off the coast of Portugal beginning to fracture

Major geological shift for planet: NOAA/NGDC image of the Atlantic crustal age of the ocean floor. Geologists have detected the first evidence that a passive margin in the Atlantic ocean is becoming active. The team mapped the ocean floor and found it was beginning to fracture, indicating tectonic activity around the apparently passive South West Iberia plate margin.


Alaska – Underwater Volcano

Underwater volcano mapped in Southeast Alaska

Sean Doogan

May 26, 2013

The yet-to-be-named volcano in Southeast Alaska differs from many on the ocean floor. Its top was likely above the water when it last erupted some 10,000 years ago. Courtesy: NOAA

Jim Baichtal has a habit of cruising the website of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration looking for new hydrographic surveys of Alaska.

“I was just checking the website before I headed out one day,” he said, “and when I saw the survey results of an area near Ketchikan, all I can remember saying is, ‘Oh, my gosh!’” Buried inside the NOAA data were 3D renderings of a previously unknown volcano, beneath the depths of Behm Canal inside Misty Fjords National Monument.

The yet-to-be-named volcano differs from many on the ocean floor. Baichtal, a U.S. Forest Service geologist, says its top was likely above the water when it last erupted some 10,000 years ago. NOAA imaging and new underwater video of the area shows what appears to be leftovers of ash or cinder near the volcano crater.

“If it erupted entirely underwater, we would see quenched magma, a completely different type of rock,” Baichtal said. Upcoming tests on rocks taken during a recent dive there should tell the ultimate tale.

New mapping technology

Before NOAA began its hydrographic survey, using the latest 3D multi-beam sonar, the only maps of sea floor in the vicinity were created in the early 1900s using a technique called “lead lining.” Until the 1940s scientists used ropes with lead weights attached to them to determine the sea floor’s depth in any given location. With enough readings, a crude hydrographic map could be created.

But the maps were not detailed enough to show the features of the volcano under Behm Canal. That changed when NOAA began its survey of Southeast waters. The agency’s ships now bounce sound waves off the ocean floor and measure the time it takes for them to return to the surface.

The technique gives a detailed 3D view of the seafloor. NOAA says the vastness of Alaska means it will likely have plenty of new areas to survey in the coming decades. “We follow the weather,” said Commander David Zezula, with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. Typically, in the fall at least one NOAA survey ship plies the waters of Southeast Alaska. They move north with better summer weather. The Raineer, a NOAA survey ship is expected to head to the Bering Sea later this year.

After seeing the outline of the volcano, near Eddy Rock in Behm Canal, on the new NOAA maps, Baichtal decided to take a look under water for himself. He joined Gary Freitag, a Ketchikan-based professor of oceanography with the University of Alaska. Freitag has a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of diving to 800 feet. Together they took video and rock samples from the volcano’s slope as well as its crest. But the trip was cut short.

“We just had a little bit of time for the ROV dive because when we went to the area, we had a group of students from Ketchikan with us,” said Freitag. Another trip is planned for the summer, and Freitag hopes to get more video of the structure of the newly discovered volcano.

“It is a very interesting feature,” said Freitag. “When I took some samples, I had to look hard for a clean place to use the ROV’s pinchers because the volcano is covered in sponges.”

Ice makes fire?

Baichtal says the volcano, like many in southeast Alaska was once pushed above the surface during an eruption.  But its climb from the depths may have been the result of crustal response – when the ground “bounces back” after a large weight is lifted.  If you go back 10,000 years, much of Alaska was covered by ice up to 4 miles thick.  That is a lot of weight on the land beneath – pushing it down as much as 400 feet, Baichtal said. When the ice melted, the land rebounded, actually rising because the great weight of the ice had been removed.  “The new volcano is in an area where these de-glaciation events often precede an eruption,” Baichtal says.  When the ground rebounds, it opens up vents along fault lines, releasing magma. That is likely what happened at Behm Canal, and Baichtal said it is probably the cause of a lot of eruptions in Southeast Alaska just after the last great ice age.

New studies are beginning to show the effects of ice-age climates and volcanoes. “We frequently see eruptive episodes about 3,600 to 4,000 years after de-glaciation,” Baichtal said. The newly discovered volcano seems to follow that pattern, last erupting a few thousand years after a massive glacier that once covered its peak, melted away.

The underwater Southeast volcanoes can also tell scientists a lot about the glaciers that once covered them. Many glaciers form, melt and reform over thousands or millions of years, but for the most part geologists can only see the evidence of the last glacier in any area; it’s usually stripped the land of any clues about its predecessors.

That’s where volcanoes come into play. By looking at the shape, size and orientation of the vent from an old eruption, as well as examining the cooling pattern and quenched area around the volcano, geologists can learn a lot about ancient glaciers.

Baichtal says he plans to study the new volcano as much as he can, and he’ll examine new NOAA underwater maps to see if he can find others. Despite containing half the US coastline, much of Alaska is still unmapped by modern techniques. Baichtal is confident he’ll find something that piques his interest, whether a volcano, new shoreline, or glacial moraine.


Dr. Jeff Masters on 2013 Hurricane Season


NOAA forecasts an above-normal and possibly very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013, in their May 23 outlook. They give a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of an near-normal season, and 5% chance of a below-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 13 – 20 named storms, 7 – 11 hurricanes, and 3 – 6 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 120% – 205% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 16.5 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4.5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 162% of normal. This is well above the 1981 – 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during the active hurricane period 1995 – 2012 have averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median. Only five seasons since the active hurricane period that began in 1995 have not been above normal–including four El Niño years (1997, 2002, 2006, and 2009), and the neutral 2007 season.

Figure 1. Hurricane Michael as seen by NASA’s Aqua satellite at 12:20 pm EDT Thursday September 6, 2012. At the time, Michael was a major Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Hurricane Sandy was the only other major Atlantic hurricane of 2012. Image credit: NASA.

The forecasters cited the following main factors that will influence the coming season:

1) Above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are expected in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR), from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa between between 10°N and 20°N. SSTs in the MDR during April were 0.4°C above average, and were 0.33°C above the oceans in the remainder of the global tropics. Long-range seasonal computer model forecasts predict a continuation of above-average SSTs in the MDR during much of hurricane season.

2) We are in an active period of hurricane activity that began in 1995, thanks to a natural decades-long cycle in hurricane activity called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO).

3) No El Niño event is expected this year. El Niño events tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. Neutral conditions have been present since last summer, and are predicted to remain neutral through hurricane season by most of the El Niño computer forecast models.

NOAA said, “This combination of climate factors historically produces above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons. The 2013 hurricane season could see activity comparable to some of the very active seasons since 1995.” NOAA is increasingly using output from ultra-long range runs of the computer forecast models we rely on to make day-to-day weather forecasts, for their seasonal hurricane forecasts. These models include the NOAA Climate Forecast System (CFS), NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL) model CM2.1, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) model, the United Kingdom Meteorology (UKMET) office model, and the EUROpean Seasonal to Inter-annual Prediction (EUROSIP) ensemble.

Figure 2. Graphic from the 2013 NOAA Atlantic hurricane season forecast highlighting the reasons for this year’s anticipated active character.

How accurate are NOAA’s seasonal hurricane forecasts?
A talk presented by NHC’s Eric Blake at the 2010 29th Annual AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology studied the accuracy of NOAA’s late May seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecasts, using the mid-point of the range given for the number of named storms, hurricanes, intense hurricanes, and ACE index. Over the past twelve years, a forecast made using climatology was in error, on average, by 3.6 named storms, 2.5 hurricanes, and 1.7 intense hurricanes. NOAA’s May forecast was not significantly better than climatology for these quantities, with average errors of 3.5 named storms, 2.3 hurricanes, and 1.4 intense hurricanes. Only NOAA’s May ACE forecast was significantly better than climatology, averaging 58 ACE units off, compared to the 74 for climatology. Using another way to measure skill, the Mean Squared Error, May NOAA forecasts for named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes had a skill of between 5% and 21% over a climatology forecast. Not surprisingly, NOAA’s August forecasts were much better than the May forecasts, and did significantly better than a climatology forecast.

Figure 3. Forecast skill of the TSR, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and CSU (Colorado State University) for the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic during 2003-2012, as a function of lead time. Forecast precision is assessed using the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS) which is the percentage improvement in mean square error over a climatology forecast (six hurricanes in a given year.) Positive skill indicates that the model performs better than climatology, while a negative skill indicates that it performs worse than climatology. Two different climatologies are used: a fixed 50-year (1950-1999) climatology, and a running prior 10-year climate norm. NOAA does not release seasonal outlooks before late May, and CSU stopped providing quantitative extended-range December hurricane outlooks in 2011. Skill climbs as the hurricane season approaches, with modest skill levels by early June, and good skill levels by early August. Image credit: Tropical Storm Risk, Inc (TSR).

TSR predicts an active hurricane season: 15.3 named storms
The May 24 forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season made by British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) calls for an active season with 15.3 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes, 3.4 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 130. The long-term averages for the past 63 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 103. TSR rates their skill level as modest for these late May forecasts–11% – 25% higher than a “no-skill” forecast made using climatology. TSR predicts a 63% chance that U.S. land falling activity will be above average, a 21% chance it will be near average, and a 16% chance it will be below average. They project that 4.4 named storms will hit the U.S., with 2 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2012 climatology are 3.1 named storms and 1.4 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these late May forecasts for U.S. landfalls just 8% – 12% higher than a “no-skill” forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.5 named storms, 0.6 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR’s two predictors for their statistical model are the forecast July – September trade wind speed over the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic, and the forecast August – September 2013 sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic. Their model is calling for warmer than average SSTs and slower than average trade winds during these periods, and both of these factors should act to increase hurricane and tropical storm activity.

UKMET office predicts a slightly above normal Atlantic hurricane season: 14 named storms
The UKMET office forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, issued May 13, calls for slightly above normal activity, with 14 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and an ACE index of 130. In contrast to the statistical models relied upon by CSU, TSR, and NOAA, the UKMET forecast is done strictly using two dynamical global seasonal prediction systems: the Met Office GloSea5 system and ECMWF system 4. In 2012, the Met Office forecast was for 10 tropical storms and an ACE index of 90. The actual numbers were 19 named storms and an ACE index of 123.

WSI predicts an active hurricane season: 16 named storms
The April 8 forecast from the private weather firm WSI (part of The Weather Company, along with The Weather Channel, Weather Central, and The Weather Underground), is calling for an active season with 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes.

Penn State predicts an active hurricane season: 16 named storms
The May 11 forecast made using a statistical model by Penn State’s Michael Mann and alumnus Michael Kozar is calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season with 16 named storms, plus or minus 4 storms. Their prediction was made using statistics of how past hurricane seasons have behaved in response to sea surface temperatures (SSTs), the El Niño/La Niña oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and other factors. The statistic model assumes that in 2013 the May 0.87°C above average temperatures in the MDR will persist throughout hurricane season, the El Niño phase will be neutral, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be near average.

The PSU team has been making Atlantic hurricane season forecasts since 2007, and these predictions have done pretty well, except for in 2012, when an expected El Niño did not materialize:

2007 prediction: 15 named storms, Actual: 15
2009 prediction: 12.5, named storms, Actual: 9
2010 prediction: 23 named storms, Actual: 19
2011 prediction: 16 named storms, Actual: 19
2012 prediction: 10.5 named storms, Actual: 19

The wunderground community predicts an active hurricane season: 17 named storms
Over 100 members of the wunderground community have submitted their seasonal hurricane forecasts, which are compiled on trHUrrIXC5MMX’s blog. The April 28 version of this list called for an average of 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes in the Atlantic. This list will be updated by June 3, so get your forecasts in by then! As usual, I am abstaining from making a hurricane season forecast. I figure there’s no sense making a forecast that will be wrong nearly half the time; I prefer to stick to higher-probability forecasts.

NOAA predicts a below-average Eastern Pacific hurricane season: 13.5 named storms
NOAA’s pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 23, calls for a below-average season, with 11 – 16 named storms, 5 – 8 hurricanes, 1 – 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 60% – 105% of the median. The mid-point of these ranges gives us a forecast for 13.5 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and 2.5 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 82% of average. The 1981 – 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. So far in 2013, there has already been one named storm. On average, the 2nd storm of the year doesn’t form until June 25.

NOAA predicts a below-average Central Pacific hurricane season: 2 tropical cyclones
NOAA’s pre-season prediction for the Central Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, calls for a below-average season, with 1 – 3 tropical cyclones. An average season has 4 – 5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Hawaii is the primary land area affected by Central Pacific tropical cyclones.

The week ahead: 91E, and a heavy rainfall threat to Mexico
We’re already behind last year’s pace for named storms in both the Atlantic (where Tropical Storm Alberto formed on May 19, and Tropical Storm Beryl on May 26), and in the Eastern Pacific, where Bud formed on May 21 (the earliest date since record keeping began in 1949 for formation of the season’s second named storm.) The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a pattern of increased thunderstorm activity near the Equator that moves around the globe in 30 – 60 days, is currently located in the Eastern Pacific. The MJO is relatively weak, but is helping boost the chances that Invest 91E in the Eastern Pacific will develop. On Friday, NHC was giving 91E a 20% of developing into a tropical cyclone by Sunday. The 12Z Friday runs of the GFS and ECMWF models were predicting that a weak circulation off the coast of Costa Rica, well east of the separate circulation currently called 91E, could develop into a tropical depression by Tuesday. This system is a threat to spread heavy rains to the coast of Mexico from Acapulco to Guatemala on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In the Atlantic, the models are depicting high wind shear through June 1 over the majority of the regions we typically see May tropical cyclone development–the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Bahamas. The GFS model is showing a decrease in wind shear over the Western Caribbean after June 1, which would argue for an increased chance of tropical storm development then (though wind shear forecasts more than 7 days in advance are highly unreliable.) The prospects for an early June named storm in the Atlantic are probably above average, though, given that the MJO may be active in the Atlantic during th first week of June.


Drought Now Affects 56% of US

Drought Reaches Record 56% of Continental US

Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor
Date: 05 July 2012
dry lake bed

The Southwest may be stuck with more scenes like this dry lake bed.

The United States is parched, with more than half of the land area in the lower 48 states experiencing moderate to extreme drought, according to a report released today (July 5).

Just under 56 percent of the contiguous United States is in drought conditions, the most extensive area in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The previous drought records occurred on Aug. 26, 2003, when 54.79 percent of the lower 48 were in drought and on Sept 10, 2002, when drought extended across 54.63 percent of this area.

When including the entire nation, the monitor found 46.84 percent of the land area meets criteria for various stages of drought, up from 42.8 percent last week. Previous records: 45.87 percent in drought on Aug. 26, 2003, and 45.64 percent on Sept. 10, 2002.

The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale,” Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in a statement. “Now, we have a larger section of the country in these lesser categories of drought than we’ve previously experienced” in the past 12 years.

The monitor uses a ranking system that goes from D0 (abnormal dryness) to D1 (moderate drought), D2 (severe drought), D3 (extreme drought) and D4 (exceptional drought).

At the lower end of the scale, moderate drought involves some damage to crops and pastures, and low water levels in streams, reservoirs or wells. Areas in exceptional drought would experience widespread crop and pasture losses and water shortages that lead to water emergencies. Currently, 8.64 percent of the country would meet criteria for either extreme or exceptional drought.

“During 2002 and 2003, there were several very significant droughts taking place that had a much greater areal coverage of the more severe and extreme drought categories,” Hayes said. “Right now we are seeing pockets of more severe drought, but it is spread out over different parts of the country.

“It’s early in the season, though. The potential development is something we will be watching,” he added.

Further into the past, the United States has experienced some really serious droughts, including one in the 1930s, the Dust Bowl drought, and another in the 1950s, each of which lasted five to seven years and covered large swaths of the continental United States. Droughts are one of the most costly weather-related events in terms of economics and loss of life, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Between 1980 and today, 16 drought events cost $210 billion, according to a recent report.

While no single event like this year’s extensive drought can be said to be the result of global warming, scientists say more extreme weather should be expected as the planet warms, according to a report compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2011. That year, there were 12 $1-billion disasters.

In particular, the report authors predicted that with climate change there would be an increase in certain types of extreme weather, including daily high temperatures, heat waves, heavy precipitation and droughts, in some places.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a joint endeavor by the National Drought Mitigation Center, NOAA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and drought observers across the country.


Warmest Spring on Record

Warmest Spring on Record Hits Continental US

Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 08 June 2012 Time: 11:20 AM ET
Significant weather events for May 2012 in the U.S.

Significant weather events for May 2012 in the U.S.

Warmth across much of the continental U.S. last month secured an impressive list of weather records. So far, the lower 48 have seen their warmest spring on record, as well as the warmest year-to-date, and the warmest 12-month since record keeping began in 1895. ‘

These records derive from the unusual warmth the eastern two-thirds of the lower 48 states have been experiencing. In May, only the northwestern states did not experience warmer-than-average temperatures, according to the U.S. the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Adminstration.

For the season overall, 31 states had record warmth for the season, and 11 others had spring temperatures that ranked among their 10 warmest. Only Oregon and Washington had spring temperatures near their averages.

Warmest Spring on Record Hits Continental US

Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 08 June 2012
Significant weather events for May 2012 in the U.S.
Significant weather events for May 2012 in the U.S.

Warmth across much of the continental U.S. last month secured an impressive list of weather records. So far, the lower 48 have seen their warmest spring on record, as well as the warmest year-to-date, and the warmest 12-month since record keeping began in 1895. ‘

These records derive from the unusual warmth the eastern two-thirds of the lower 48 states have been experiencing. In May, only the northwestern states did not experience warmer-than-average temperatures, according to the U.S. the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Adminstration.

For the season overall, 31 states had record warmth for the season, and 11 others had spring temperatures that ranked among their 10 warmest. Only Oregon and Washington had spring temperatures near their averages.

Earlier this year, NOAA named winter — December, January and February cumulatively — as the fourth-warmest for the lower 48. Meteorologists and climate experts attributed this unusually mild winter to the configuration of the jet stream, a band of westerly high-altitude winds.

Last month itself ranked as the second warmest May on record. Meanwhile, April ranked as the third warmest for the lower 48 on record, following the warmest March on record for more than a century.

May saw cooler-than-average conditions in Alaska and drought in Hawaii. Precipitation patterns across the country were mixed; rainfall improved drought conditions in the Northeast, for example, but ongoing drought, combined with windy conditions, created ideal wildfire conditions across the Southwest, NOAA’s monthly report stated.



Severe Weather & Tornadoes — Why Now?

Why So Many Tornadoes Are Striking the US

Brett Israel, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Date: 02 March 2012 Time: 05:55 PM ET


Wind speed at 18,000 feet in the atmosphere. The darkest shade represents winds of up to 150 mph.
Wind speed at 18,000 feet in the atmosphere. The darkest shade represents winds of up to 150 mph.

A warm spell and a low-dipping jet stream are fueling the monster storms that are spawning tornadoes today across a wide swath of the country, weather experts said.

Today, the Storm Prediction Center has received 311 reports of severe weather, including 48 reported tornadoes and a few reported fatalities. This massive storm system also spawned deadly tornadoes on Leap Day, which raked Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. The severe storms killed at least 12 people and included a strong EF-4 twister in Harrisburg, Ill., a rarity for February.

As of this morning, the severe storm risk area covered an estimated 162 million people, or 56 percent of the United States, according to weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

While the main tornado season runs from spring to early summer, this year’s early outbreaks show that tornadoes can form under a variety of conditions and strike during fall and winter, too. This year’s mild winter and warm start to meteorological spring has upped the risk of dangerous storms.

“We’ve been in a very warm pattern all winter,” said meteorologist Mark Rose of the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala. “Because it has been so mild, it increases our chances for severe weather.”

Also behind this week’s twisters is a low-dipping jet stream. The jet stream is moving at a blistering pace today across the Mid-South and Ohio River Valley. NOAA satellites clocked the jet stream at 150 mph (241 kph) across these regions. The jet stream is bringing cold air from Canada to mix with the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Where these two differing air masses meet is often an area of severe weather, hail, winds and even tornadoes. [Infographic: 2012’s Active Tornado Season]

The warm air and rapid jet stream will keep fueling the storms thru tonight and into the weekend, according to NOAA. Weather experts continue to warn that dangerous tornado outbreaks could explode throughout the evening and overnight hours across the Mid- and Deep South and Ohio River Valley.

“We actually are looking at a risk from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes to west of the Mississippi to the East Coast,” Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Weather Channel. “And these storms are moving fast.”