Archive for June, 2008

An Honest Report On Arctic Ice Melt-Just the Facts
June 30, 2008

DOESN’T ANYONE JUST REPORT THE FACTS ANYMORE?

I posted the other day all about the Volcano Under the North Pole. The story had been out for some time but word started getting spread on June 27. On that same day came the headline “This Summer We May See the First Ice-Free North Pole” from the Associated Press. The story is based on a report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That report came out on June 3, yet the Associated Press waited to report on it until June 27. Makes you say…hmmmmm. The first sentence in the article quotes a leading scientist with his guess that there is a 50-50 chance that the North Pole becomes ice-free this summer. Later, you find that it says slightly less than 50-50 chance. Let’s don’t let a little adverb get in the way of a catchy first sentence. Later, you find a leading scientist who puts the odds at 1 in 4. Why wasn’t he the first guy mentioned? Why was he buried in the story? Why wasn’t that the headline? BTW…the 50-50 stuff isn’t found in the NSIDC report either…only the AP story.

You also won’t find this quote from the real report in the story : “This year, much of the first-year ice is farther north than normal, and those northern areas receive weaker solar radiation. So, northern first-year ice may be less vulnerable to melt than first-year ice in typical locations” Nor will you find in the story that the report says that in May 2008 there was actually more polar ice than May 2007. The report does say that there appears to be a more rapid ice melt going on. What you do find in the AP story though is the paraphrase from a scientist that there is nothing scientifically significant about the North Pole…that the  biggest problem appears to be concern about Santa’s home. Huh? If that’s the case, then why is this a story? That sentence deserves more examination and questions, but the writer chose not to, I guess. Maybe he was afraid of the answers. Or maybe he wants to scare the kids.

The story about the Arctic Undersea Volcano was first reported by the National Science Foundation in 2004. I cited several other sources that have come out since then. Yet…you won’t find any mention of the volcano in the AP Story. Guess the reporter didn’t know about it…or maybe he didn’t do his homework. ..or maybe he did know about it and decided to leave it out of the story.  It just clutters things up, right?  But, to be fair, that the report doesn’t talk about the volcanic activity is perhaps justification.  But, a question as to why the report doesn’t mention the vulcanology going on seems vital…that is if you want the whole story.   If you read the report that is the supposed underlying source of the story, you will find other things that are just a wee bit different than what the AP writer wrote and other things left out all together.

The trouble with journalism today is that there are not any Joe Fridays out there…people who want just the facts. They jazz things up, leave out adverbs, neglect to report the entire story and put eye-catching headlines.

It’s not the NSIDC report that I have a problem with. I mean, it is what it is…the ice is melting. I would be curious though about their opinion regarding the undersea volcano and how much of a factor that may be. But, it’s the writer’s story that is problematic. In my view, either this person is not very bright or qualified to be reporting this story or he is just plain pushing an agenda instead of reporting the facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts. In this case he thinks that 50-50 is the same as slightly less than 50-50. Which is it? He’ ll probably never tell.

Here is the real report and see if you don’t see a difference between it and the AP story.

National Snow and Ice Center News and Analysis

“This summer may see first ice-free North Pole”

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Tip-Toe Over Niagara and a Peek At Thursday
June 30, 2008

Look at this guy tightrope across Niagara Falls.

The year was 1859 and, on this date in history, Emile Blondin took to the rope up to 270 feet above Niagara and for 1100 feet walked across from one side to the other. His real name was Jean-Francois Gravelet and he was born in France. He saw his first tightrope act in France at the age of 5. He supposedly came right home and set up a rope with some chairs and began practicing. His father was a gymnast and helped him. After just 6 months, he was performing. Somehow he became an orphan and so he ran and joined the circus at age 9. One source I have found says that 5,000 people watched him do this first stunt on a two inch wide rope and another claims 100,000 on a 3 inch rope. So, who knows? A lot of locals didn’t want him to do the stunt because they thought it would turn the lovely falls into the backdrop for a circus type atmosphere. Much to their chagrin, the first walk was to successful, Blondin did it many more times with variations.

He did it blindfolded, with a man on his back, in a gorilla suit while pushing a wheelbarrow and he even wowed the crowds by taking photos of them while on the rope, which I am trying to fathom giving the size of photographic equipment in the 19th century…I’m not sure if I’m buyin’ that. It is also said that he cooked an omelet over the falls. Other sources confirm this and one even says that he crossed Niagara on stilts! I’m tryin to figure those two out too. In all, he crossed Niagara 16 times and performed other walks all around the world. His final performance was at age 68. He died at 73 a very wealthy man. Source suggest that he made $500 a performance but he had to have made more than that at the end of his career as his earnings for his final two years was about $400,000. In 2007, dollars, that would be $9.12 million.

So, why in the world would anyone want to do such a silly thing? I mean…what does it prove? What does it say about you? Well, apparently someone thought it was worth while because the practice goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. If you have some time, check out this website…The Blondin Memorial Trust.

Blondin Memorial Trust History of Tightrope Walking

Our weather will be influenced through Monday by an upper low with cold air aloft that will produce a few showers through he first part of the day on Monday. I think that it will move far enough east as trof moves through to take the rain activity to the east by Monday afternoon. Tuesday looks fabulous with lows for some people in the 50’s to start July. Lots of sun through Wednesday then Thursday we heat up and humidity returns as a front approaches and brings a chance for t’storms. The front then gets hung up to our south making it a bit unsettled for the Fourth of July Weekend. The ECMWF keeps the front just to our north…which would still mean a risk for scattered storms throughout the period…so choose your poison. The boys at the SPC don’t think much yet of severe chances for Thursday, but I bet they change their mind. Here was Sunday’s map of Day 4 and the discussion pertaining to the Ohio Valley for Thursday.

STRONG KINEMATIC ENVIRONMENT WILL DEVELOP EWD THROUGH THE NERN
STATES IN ASSOCIATION WITH EWD ADVANCING UPPER TROUGH. STORMS WILL
LIKELY DEVELOP IN THIS REGION DURING THE DAY AND EXPAND EWD. THOUGH
SOME SEVERE STORMS ARE POSSIBLE…CONFIDENCE IS NOT HIGH ENOUGH AT
THIS TIME TO INTRODUCE A RISK AREA DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT DEGREE OF
INSTABILITY. HOWEVER…A RISK AREA MAY NEED TO BE INTRODUCED IN
LATER OUTLOOKS.

OTHER STORMS WILL LIKELY DEVELOP ALONG FRONT OVER PARTS OF THE OH
VALLEY…BUT IT APPEARS WARM SECTOR WILL HAVE BEEN SHIFTED SOUTH OF
THE STRONGER FLOW ALOFT. THE THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT MAY BECOME
SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A FEW SEVERE STORMS…BUT CONFIDENCE IN AN
ORGANIZED SEVERE EVENT IS NOT HIGH ENOUGH TO INTRODUCE A RISK AREA
AT THIS TIME.

A Bust On Severe Threat? Mississippi River Flooding, Fatty and More Doom Deniers
June 29, 2008

Track Storms from Around the Nation at Home Down to Street Level With the Interactive Radar.

The above photo is that of a water rescue in Natchez, MS from the Natchez Democrat.  These two kids decided to go for a swim in the high water.  The current whisked them away only to be rescued by three men who just happened to be in the area.  Can you say lucky?  Here are more photos from a gallery courtesy of the Natchez Democrat.  It includes a cute picture of an otter that came into someone’s yard with the high water.

Natchez Mississippi Flood Photos

We Busted, Maybe: When I lived in the South, I often got accused of seeming disappointed when a hurricane turned away from our location.  We’ve had two nights of pretty good storms and I”m not disappointed that we missed out this time.  A complex of storms was to our northeast and another to our southwest.  We were in between.  We got to near 90 but the complex to the northeast helped draw down dry air close to the area, effective cutting off any storms from that direction.  Late in the evening, the jet streak that we’d been looking for swept around and produced a line of mild thunderstorms From St. Louis to Springfield.  As it moves around, it will help did the upper trof down our way.  Theres a fair chance that we get some storms or rain on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, I just don’t think the prospects for anything too exciting is all that great.  But, it’s worth watching as some of the cells have developed rather quickly as the line extended toward Terre Haute by 1 AM.  That would be a result of the speed max rounding through the jet. If you saw at 11 pm I outlined the possibility.  The SPC issued an MCD on it.   The map is below along with the link to the discussion.  They kinda talk out of both sides of their mouth as on the one hand, they say no watches are anticipated but the first thing they say is that damaging winds and hail are possible.

MCD 1625 Discussion

I posted about the Super-Collider Dooms Day Machine back on June 23rd.  Here was the link to the BBC:

Earth Not “At Risk” From Collider

Well, either the BBC has no clout or the Associated Press is tardy with their reporting. In any event, here is the AP’s version of the deniabilty that we are about to be absorbed into a man-made black hole, thus ending the global warming debate and leaving us to wonder who will win the election.

Nothing to Fear

On This Date in History:  When things went well for actor/director Fatty Arbuckle, they went bad.  He was a big star.  So, big that he signed a 3 year contract with Warner Brothers for a million dollars in 1921.  Really huge money in those days.  When he signed the deal, he had a party. At that party, a young starlet was found drunk and bleeding in Arbuckle’s room.  He was accused of rape and murder after the woman died of a punctured bladder 3 days later. It was Hollywood’s big scandals and William Randolph Hearst made it into a media circus.  Hearst didn’t care about the facts, he was in the business of selling papers and he made it into one of the first trials “of the century.”  He is quoted as saying that the scandal “sold more newspapers than any event since the sinking of the Lusitania.” 

The judge found no evidence of rape but determined that Arbuckle could be tried for manslaughter.  In fact, the whole case isn’t nearly as cut and dried as I had been led to believe.  There are numerous instances of bribes by the prosecutor, false testimony and doctored evidence.  Twice juries were hung 10-2 in favor of Arbuckle. The third trial ended in acquittal but, the prosecutor and newspapers tried Arbuckle in public with wild, unsubstantiated salacious charges and false accusations.  The main witness wasn’t allowed to testify because she was so unreliable.  During the 3rd trial she didn’t even show up as she had been found to be planning to extort money from Arbuckle from the night of the party and besides that, she was too busy on the lecture circuit spreading her tales.  They were inadmissible and unfounded in court but good enough for the stage. 

Though acquitted, Arbuckle’s movies were banned in the US for something that he may not have even done.  On June 29, 1933 he was signed by Warner Brothers to make a feature length film.  Perhaps it was too much for the not-so-slender Fatty.  That night he had a heart attack and died. 

Maybe he would have been better off not signing contracts with the Warner Brothers.

Chances Fading; A Great Prediction; Six Flags Decapitation
June 28, 2008

First, the weather. Our position between the dying MCS to the southwest and enhanced activity to the northeast didn’t prove too fruitful. Much drier surface dewpoints are creeping in from the northwest Saturday evening. There is a broken line along a boundary well to the northwest. That is the nose of a strong jet streak that will swing around overnight. If there is sufficient ingredients, then that would be the source of support for rain, t’storms or perhaps strong storms. But, that feature could swing to our northwest, though as noted previously, there was some indication that we might be in the right rear quandrant of the streak. Even so, there are several inhibiting factors that will perhaps mitigate anything worthwhile. Worth watching but not worth altering plans Saturday evening.

On This Date in History: The photo above is typically called “The Big Four.” It may be better called “The Big Dummies.” If you don’t know which one is President Woodrow Wilson, then shame on you. The guy with the big moustache is French President Georges Clemenceau. The one whose face you cannot see if British Prime Minister David Lloyd George who is talking to Italy’s Vittorio Orlando. Wilson had his 14 points at the end of World War I. This was his outline of what to acheive in a peace treaty. But Clemenceau wanted big reparations against Germany and make Germany the scaepgoat for the war. They ended up with something closer to what Clemenceau wanted. On June 5, 1919 British Economist John Maynard Keynes resigned his position at the Paris Peace Conference representing the British Treasury. He said that the harsh terms of the treaty would result in collapse of Germany, a revolution and followed by a later war involving Germany that would destroy that “civilization and progress of our generation.” He later wrote a book about it.

The “Big Four” went ahead and forced Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles on this date in 1919.

Keynes’ forecast was right on target for most historians agree, the seeds of World War II that destroyed much of Europe, parts of the Middle East and parts of Asia were sewn on this very date in the form of a “Peace Treaty.” It was perhaps better called a declaration of a future war. Keynes went on to live with a stellar reputation and continue his claim that the idealistic President Wilson was “the greatest fraud on earth.” Let us hope that should we get another idealistic president that future events would not necessitate the same analysis.

Decapitation at Six Flags Over Georgia: After Six Flags’ Kentucky Kingdom had the incident last year in which the young girl had her feet severed, a teenager got his head removed by a roller coaster at Six Flags’ Atlanta park. This one clearly the park goer’s fault, but it could be devastating to Six Flags nonetheless. Here’s the story:

Six Flags Over Georgia Decapitation

Here’s a link to Youtube video to get an idea of what the ride is like.  You can tell how close it comes to the ground.

Six Flags Batman Video

Here is a Sunday morning version of the Six Flags Over Georgia Roller Coaster Death

T.S Watch 630 Includes Louisville
June 28, 2008

Another Watch for most of the rest of the viewing area until 9PM. I’m not sure why they just didn’t bring the one to the northeast down to include the area of this one. Here’s a thought. We have a few storm slinking down from the guys to the northeast. And then we have the guys well to the southwest.  Early afternoon activity appears to be more random, convective stuff.  There is a possibility that we end up largely un tapped prior to the boundary’s approach.  Just a thought.

Here’s the discussion that goes with WW 630.

To Track storms anywhere in the US, try the Interactive Radar.

TS Watch Northeast of Louisville
June 28, 2008

While they put out a watch as I thought that they would, it’s not quite as far southeast as I thought it might be as it does not include Louisville.  Just Jackson, Washington, Scott, Jennings, Jefferson and Trimble Counties.  The stuff well to our southwest with the MCS appears to have caused problems in parts of Missouri.

Here’s the complete Watch report.

Remember, you can get an interactive radar that allows you to navigate down to street level anywhere in the US by clicking HERE.

Midday Severe Threat Analysis
June 28, 2008

To get to an interactive radar for the entire US that allows you to zoom in and track storms down to street level all across the United States, Click Here

Here is the midday update for the Severe Threat Saturday. On the one hand I’m not surprised on the other I am a bit. I had thought all along that to the northeast might be the best risk. But, as I mentioned early early Saturday morning I had seen that one model had a concentration to our southwest and I spy an MCS traveling exactly that direction. The SPC mentions the unidirectional nature of the winds and I saw that with great continuity on all models from 850 up, mainly from the west. But there was a slight bit of veering from the surface, say from 230 to 280 degrees. We are re-loading with temperatures well into the mid 80’s and I have pondered all week whether or not we even get to 90. That’s not totally out of the question. My gut feeling from last night still holds. I think it’s a fair bet that we will have something akin to a repeat of last night with a number of strong storms with several severe t-storm warnings this afternoon and this evening. Tornado threat is minimal but we did have several twister reports to our west yesterday and even one warning for Orange County. That type of small, short lived activity would not be totally out of the question, most likely with an errant cell merger or bow echo.

I bet a watch is issued from our region to the northeast. There was some discontinuity with the models with the exact progged location, but as jet streak is progged to nose down into our region with some models putting us on the right rear quadrant of the jet, which is a favored area. Others had it slightly north and swinging northeast.

Here is the SPC discussion for our region:

SYNOPSIS… IMPRESSIVE LATE JUNE UPPER TROUGH AND ASSOCIATED STRONG WIND MAX WILL MOVE QUICKLY EWD FROM UPPER MS VALLEY ACROSS OH VALLEY AND GREAT LAKES BY LATER TONIGHT. OVERNIGHT CONVECTION HAS DISRUPTED LOW LEVEL FLOW WITH OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES AND AREAS OF DECAYING CONVECTION FROM CENTRAL PLAINS EWD TO THE APPALACHIANS. HOWEVER A VERY MOIST POTENTIALLY MDTLY UNSTABLE AIR MASS EXTENDED FROM LOWER MO VALLEY EWD ACROSS OH/TN VALLEY TO E OF APPALACHIANS FROM NY TO VA. …MID TO UPPER OH VALLEY… THIS AREA HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO A MDT RISK MUCH OF OH VALLEY THIS AM IS VERY MOIST AND ALTHOUGH CONSIDERABLE CLOUDINESS IS PRESENT THERE IS ONLY MINIMAL CINH. WITH 30-40KT WSWLY 850MB FLOW AND THE RAPID APPROACH OF THE IMPRESSIVE 80KT 500 MB WIND MAX FROM MID MS VALLEY…THE STRONG UNIDIRECTIONAL SHEAR PROFILES WILL SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF FAST MOVING LINEAR CONVECTION THIS AFTERNOON IN THE FORM OF LINE SEGMENTS AND BOWS. AS THE TEMPERATURES WARM INTO THE LOW/MID 80S AND WITH DEWPOINTS AOA 70F…BY EARLY AFTERNOON MLCAPES WILL CLIMB TO AOA 2500 J/KG. WHILE LOW LEVEL CONVERGENCE IS NOT WELL DEFINED DUE TO UNIDIRECTIONAL FLOW ACROSS THE WARM SECTOR THE CAP APPEARS TO BE WEAKEST FOR INITIAL DEVELOPMENT OVER SRN IND. STORMS WILL INCREASE RAPIDLY IN NUMBER AND INTENSITY ACROSS THE OH VALLEY BY MID AFTERNOON. WITH THE STRONG JET DRIVING EWD ACROSS NRN OH VALLEY INTO NRN OH BY 00Z…AND THE CONTINUED 30-40KT LOW LEVEL WESTERLY FLOW…FAST MOVING LINE SEGMENTS AND BOWS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP. DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE THE PRIMARY THREAT WITH POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD COVERAGE ONCE STORMS EVOLVE INTO A LINER MODE. SIGNIFICANT WIND DAMAGE WILL BE POSSIBLE GIVEN THE SPEED OF MOVEMENT AND AMOUNT OF INSTABILITY PRESENT.

Here are the pops for our area and the HPC rainfall prediction. Note the bullit point for rain to the southwest which I suspect is a reflection of the track of the current MCS that I mentioned to our southwest.

Severe Threat Saturday June 28 as of 2 AM
June 28, 2008

There is quite a bit of uncertainty in exactly where the concentration of the threat will be. It’s 2:30 AM and I’m a bit bleary eyed. A quick look at many of the models and there is a hodgepodge. The GFS appears to want to blow up an MCS that comes right over us. Another takes one to the southwest. If you read the following link to the discussion for the above SPC graphics, you will find that they have pretty much thrown up their hands as well. I’m going home to Snow White now. Will be back later on Saturday. My guess is that we will probably have another round of mainly severe storm warnings with gusty winds. A lot may be dependent on how the clouds from the Friday night MCS move out. Had a few complaints because we stayed on for the full 20 minutes of the tornado warning in Orange County. Hey, that’s what we do. We feel like that everyone deserves the same respect when it comes to tornadoes and safety. Some people think that their show is more important than the well being of their neighbors. You can bet when there is a tornado warning in their town, they don’t complain when we bring them the up to the second information that only going live can do. I mean, can you imagine if we let a show run on the air, had the ability to show people exactly where a storm is but didn’t use it and then had something catastrophic happen. Crawls have limitations.

If you want to visit the interactive radar that is good for the whole United States down to street level, click here.

Here is the SPC discussion for the above graphics.

Kinda cool lightning photos from June 26 in Crawford County. These came via the National Weather Service In Louisville. The two at the top are from Wade Bell and the third one is from John Bowles.

Strong Storms Possible Friday Night
June 28, 2008

The MCS I spoke of blowing up in Illinois did exactly that.  The main energy appears to be somewhat north of the area but it also has a nice extension well down to the southwest.  Conventional wisdom would suggest that the storms to the south should weaken but as of 8 pm nothing seems to concerned with doing so.  The storms will move through here toward midnight. Even though they may be in a weakened state, some may still be significant.  I’m seeing them at 55,000 feet out west.  There have been a few tornado warning issued, at least one the result of a trained spotter.  Here is the Mesoscale discussion that goes along with the above map. As of 8 pm, the entire viewing area is under a severe thunderstorm watch.

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md1599.html

Friday & Sat Threat, June 27 & June 28
June 27, 2008

Story really hasn’t changed much.  You can tell these graphics aren’t a whole lot different than previously.  Isolated/scattered stuff this afternoon.  Storms should be similar to yesterday in which a few get a little strong…perhaps heavy downpour, lightning, gusty wind….that sort of thing.  May be marginal enough that they put out a warning or two just in case.  Tonight,there should be an MCS blowing up in Illinios that would traverse east.  It should die as it moves east but the remnant may be in our area.  In the discussion below, that is what they are talking about when they talk about our CAPE getting reduced on Saturday morning.

Now, on Saturday, same story.   Front approaching in the heat of the day. T’storms likely.  Strong storms in spots. Main threat would be for strong winds.  Any tornadoes would be very isolated and would be the random type that is found on a bow echoe or cell merger or something.  In other words, strong winds with a fancier name.  We’ll keep  you up to date. 

Remember, if you need to find a t’storm and want to track it yourself for any storm anywhere in the nation all the way to street level, just click on the interactive radar.

Top Map is Today. Lower two are Saturday.  Below is the discussion from the SPC regarding the Ohio Valley. 

   …SYNOPSIS…
  
   UPPER TROUGH WILL AMPLIFY SE INTO THE UPPER MS VALLEY…GREAT LAKES
   AND OH VALLEYS…WITH AN UPPER RIDGE BUILDING OVER THE INTERMOUNTAIN
   WEST. A FRONT ATTENDING THE UPPER TROUGH WILL ADVANCE SE AND EXTEND
   FROM AN OCCLUDED LOW OVER THE GREAT LAKES SWWD THROUGH THE OH VALLEY
   AND SRN PLAINS BY EARLY SATURDAY EVENING.
  
  
   …TN AND OH VALLEYS AND LOWER GREAT LAKES…
  
   RICH BOUNDARY LAYER MOISTURE WITH UPPER 60S TO AROUND 70 DEWPOINTS
   WILL PERSIST IN PRE-FRONTAL WARM SECTOR. HOWEVER…POTENTIAL FOR
   AREAS OF CONVECTIVE DEBRIS ASSOCIATED WITH ONGOING STORMS AND MODEST
   MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES SHOULD LIMIT MLCAPE TO AOB 2000 J/KG. STORMS
   WILL REDEVELOP DURING THE DAY ALONG AND AHEAD OF FRONT AS WEAKLY
   CAPPED WARM SECTOR DESTABILIZES. STRONGER BULK SHEAR WILL LIKELY
   REMAIN IN POST FRONTAL REGION. HOWEVER…DEEP LAYER WIND PROFILES
   WILL INCREASE AS THE UPPER TROUGH AMPLIFIES SEWD WITH GENERALLY
   30-35 KT BULK SHEAR SUPPORTIVE OF SOME ORGANIZED STORM STRUCTURES.
   PRIMARY SEVERE THREAT IS EXPECTED TO BE DAMAGING WIND ASSOCIATED
   WITH MULTICELL LINE SEGMENTS. HOWEVER…VERTICAL SHEAR MAY BECOME
   SUFFICIENT FOR SOME SUPERCELLS WITH LARGE HAIL ALSO POSSIBLE.