Friday, August 20, 2010

A Swing Away from CO2 Global Warming, A Rebirth of Solar Theories to Climate Change??

"Solar variability over the next 50 years will not induce a prolonged forcing significant in comparison with the effect of increasing C02 concentrations.”

The quote is from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They came to such a conclusion drawing from the opinion of just one scientist who quoted from her own researches! Professor Andrew Watson, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia, which was at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ scandal, said the recent extreme events are
“fairly consistent with the IPCC reports”.
Imagine their painful predicament when global media ignored their claims of confirmation of their prediction that extreme weather events will increase as level of greenhouse gases increases in the atmosphere.

Instead, the media almost in unison attributed these recent extreme weather events including the US, Russian and Japanese Heatwaves, Leh Cloudburst & Pakistan Floods to a polar jet stream anomaly that resulted it to be frozen in a place for more than a month due to blocks or anti-cyclone climatic phenomena. Perhaps the BBC delivered the most painful of these blows to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. Once their trusted mouthpiece, BBC was forced to admit that the sun was a more powerful driver of climate than global warming:
“The sun is seriously affecting the earth’s climate; indeed, the effect is so dramatic that it will create increasingly cold winters in Europe but that none of this has got anything to do with general global warming. The combined solar and oceanic processes resulting in latitudinal shifts in the jets and all other air circulation systems provide a complete explanation for all observed climate variability with any CO2 effect either neutralized in the process or wholly immeasurable compared to natural variability.”
The AGW crowd could offer only a weak defense.
 "If you ask me as a person, do I think the Russian heat wave has to do with climate change, the answer is yes”, said Gavin Schmidt, a climate researcher with NASA in New York. “If you ask me as a scientist whether I have proved it, the answer is no — at least not yet.”
Science should be objective and should not start with preconceived ideas of truth or what should be true. Gavin is an example of when beliefs that are normally regarded as the province of science become subject to an ideology that decides in advance the answers. Science is about determining how and why the universe behaves as it is observed to behave. It is not about hunches.

Most AGW scientists however were more cautious like Omar Baddour, chief of climate data management applications, WMO headquarters in Geneva. 
“We’ll always have climate extremes. It looks like climate change is exacerbating the intensity of the extremes. It is too early to point to a human fingerprint behind individual weather events”, he said.
Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK Met Office, said it was impossible to attribute any one of these particular weather events to global warming alone.

Why were most AGW scientists hesitant to confidently claim the AGW link?

Perhaps Gerald Meehl from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Colorado, US provided an insight. He told the New Scientist magazine
 “While climate change has been cited as one possibility, there was no way to test the theory, as the resolution in climate change models was too low to replicate weather patterns such as blocking events.” 
In other words, all those claims that greenhouse gases has increased the frequency of  extreme events is simply just bunk as they have no method to monitor causes such as blocks.

Madhavan Rajeevan, a senior meteorologist at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was even more franker in an interview to the Times of India.
“There is a common thread to all these events, though none of the dynamical models (an approach where scientists use computer programmes to simulate the atmosphere and forecast the weather) seemed to have predicted these patterns of weather. This heavy rainfall over the country is still not explicable.”
In other words, IPCC models are simply thrash! That was proved two years ago when Indian scientists fed in real observed data for whole of 20th century and still found IPCC models way off the mark in predicting the monsoons. Simply put, the IPCC did not factor in polar jet streams and anti-cyclones (blocking) in their Global Circulation Models (GSM).  
As IPCC scientists reluctantly admit their computer climate  models are not detailed enough at present to reproduce blocking events, making it impossible to say whether rising greenhouse gas concentrations makes extreme events as recently seen more likely to happen. AGW also has no explanation to what triggers these polar jet stream blockages. The recent spate of extreme weather events accordingly fully illustrated the bankruptcy of AGW theory as their so called “climate change models” are unable to reproduce the events that are being linked to these climate changes.

However, Professor M. Iqbal Khan, a Pakistani glaciologist, said he firmly believes that the melting glaciers are the main cause of the Pakistani floods. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have supported Khan’s glacial melt theory.
However, this theory quickly fell apart. For one, as seen the temperature map of the lower troposphere in July shows it was very cool over Pakistan, ruling out high temperatures as a possible trigger for the floods.

Secondly, satellite images did not pick up any unusual glacial melt flow that could have responsible for the floods nor did Pakistan’s mountain population confirm it. Thirdly, rainfall data strongly refutes the theory of glacial melt as the country’s official records confirm abnormally high rainfall received.

In fact, the recent wave of extreme weather left a lot more carcases than those of warmist Professor Iqbal Khan. Leh’s drinking water problem has been often used as a symbol of “catastrophic” climate change by the likes of Greenpeace and their cohorts like Max Martin an enviro-journalist now writing a chapter in India Disaster Report 2010 on “Climate Change” induced disasters:  
"There is evidence of faster melting and receding of Himalayan glaciers in future, possibly affecting the flow of great rivers - the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra - of the Indian sub-continent. Already in the higher reaches, like in the Ladakh region, there are signs of water stress. There is not enough water from the glaciers during the sowing period in April and May, so villagers in Leh harvest spring water, freeze it and use it for planting seeds (Martin 2009)."

Quite a convincing argument but all the media coverage has provided us now more details of Leh’s agro-climatic factors and socio-economic conditions. We now discover that rainfall of Leh is extremely low - it receives an average of just 117 mm (4.6 in) of rainfall per year, or 10 mm (0.4 in) per month, that puts in within the category of an arid region.  In fact, it falls within the category of Gobi, Atacama and Tibet plateau with snow-fed rivers sneak through rugged mountains and deep gorges. A region exposed to very little to sun resulting in negligible evaporation and almost no rainfall.

This is a temperature average based on more than 100 years of data, suggesting that the so-called “climate change” has nothing to do with its present day drinking problems. Leh has always had a drinking water problem but now additionally compounded by population growth, expansion of tourism infrastructure and shift to be more water intensive cropping pasterns. Tapping glacier melt through artificial lakes in all probability is a traditional adaptation practice, not something recent as made out to be by AGW activists. They were simply taking advantage of the gullibility of huge sections of uninformed public who would not bother to check facts!

The second myth the disasters punctured is the dubious claim that 80% of the Indus water is received from glacier melt, making it extremely vulnerable to global warming and as result, and therefore has the potential to create massive drinking water and irrigational problems for hundreds of millions in South Asia depending on it. This year’s monsoons have practically killed such a bogus claim for good as it makes it beyond doubt where Indus gains its flows by illustrating this in the most exaggerated form! This does not any way refute the fact that the Indus River flows originate from the Himalayan glacier melt but only that its dependence on the latter is highly exaggerated.

How Did the Omega Block Cause all these Disasters?

The reputed scientific journal, New Scientist provided the most authoritative of these scientific explanations, attributed to kinks in the polar jet stream, which was quickly accepted by most of the global media.

The jet stream is an upper-level river of air, between the altitudes of about 30,000 – 40,000 feet (10,000 – 12,000 meters) that whip round the upper atmosphere. Its wave-like shape is caused by Rossby waves – powerful spinning wind currents that push the jet stream alternately north and south like a giant game of pinball.

In July, one arm of the stream went north, another south. The patch in the middle is Russia's drought. A circulating pattern of air has been sitting over Russia for far longer than normal; causing the extreme temperatures and wildfires they have had there. However, what has happened over Pakistan was even stranger. The southern arm of the Jet stream looped down so far it has crossed over the Himalayas into northwestern Pakistan. In addition, the result is that the fast moving jets stream winds high up have helped suck the warm, wet, monsoon air even faster and higher into the atmosphere - and that has caused rains like those that no one can remember. It in fact turbo charged the monsoon.

Meteorologists who study the phenomenon say that it is producing unusual holding patterns, which keep weather systems in one place and produce freak conditions. Part of the jet stream’s meandering is tied to regular shifts of air towards and away from the pole, called Rossby waves. These powerful spinning wind currents are caused by the Earth’s shape and rotation, pushing the jet stream from east to west at high altitudes. However, the driving force of the recent extreme events had been traced to a stationary weather system that has remained locked in place over western Russia since mid-June. The atmospheric is termed to be “blocked” when atmospheric circulation patterns remained fixed in place, instead of being progressive. 

The graph for 24 - 30th July which shows a succession of meanders along the jet stream, with a northward meander (ridge of high pressure) over the Atlantic, a southward meander (trough of low pressure) over Europe.
Here the jet splits, around a large 'blocking' anticyclone over western Russia. On the eastern side of this anticyclone, air moves into the southward meander (trough) close to Pakistan from quite far north. The highly unusual kink is known as an omega block because the jet stream is bent into the shape of the Greek letter. The Rossby waves of the jet stream generally move slowly eastward, but sometimes those waves get large enough so that the translational energy of the jet is not enough to move the wave. As a result everything temporarily gets stuck. What distinguishes this recent occurrence was that it lasted about a month.

When the jet stream is held in one place, it traps the weather systems that are caught between its meanders. Warm air is sucked north to the ‘peaks’ while cold air travels to the ‘troughs’. During July-August, the weather system trapped was warming in Russia and monsoons in Pakistan, accentuating these phenomena respectively.  As the static jet stream snaked north over Russia, it pulled in a constant stream of hot air from Africa. The resulting heatwave is responsible for extensive drought and nearly 800 wildfires at the latest count. The same effect is responsible for the heatwave in Japan, which killed over 60 people in late July. At the same time, the blocking event put an end to unusually warm weather in Western Europe. In Pakistan, the blocking event took place at the same time as the summer monsoon, with tragic consequences.

Arun B. Shrestha, Suresh Das Shrestha in their study (Flash Flood Risk in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: Causes and Management Options) commented of cloudbursts as follows: 
"Cloudbursts are associated with intensive heating of air masses, its rapid rising, and formation of thunderclouds. Interaction with local topography results in upward motion, especially where the atmospheric flow is perpendicular to topographic features. Particularly intense precipitation rates typically involve some connection to monsoon air masses, which are typically heavily moisture laden and warm due to tropical origin (Kelsch et al. 2001). Lack of wind aloft prevents dissipation of the thunderclouds and facilitates concentrated cloudbursts that are often localized and limited to a small area.”

Leh seldom experience cloudbursts because it is a highland desert, strongly guarded by Peer Panjal, the Himalayas and the Stok and Zanskar ranges, which do not allow any moist air to reach the Indus valley. Yet Leh is within the monsoon trough where flash floods occurrence is high that are triggered among other factors, cloudbursts. The jet stream, which is normally too high to affect everyday weather but does influence large scale weather patterns by shifting the atmosphere around,  ‘supercharged’ the monsoon, leading to some of the heaviest rainfall ever in the region.

An interaction between the jet stream and the seasonal southwest monsoon currents over South Asia is largely believed to have led to the intense cloudburst experienced in Leh. Cold air has been entering the region in the upper parts of the atmosphere, flowing south from the parts of Siberia that lie beyond the heatwave. The influx of cold air on top of warm, moist air favours creating the right conditions for a cloudburst.


  1. Here's more to Leh's disaster:

    The cloud burst is a disastrous weather event in which, the heavy rainfall occurs over a localised area at faster rate. The rate of rainfall may be of the order of 100mm per hour. The cloud burst in India occurs during monsoon season over the mountainous regions like the Himalayas, northeastern states and the Western Ghats. The associated convective cloud can extend upto a height of 15 km above the ground.

    Analysis of satellite imageries indicate that the intense convective system developed in the easterly current associated with monsoon conditions over the region. The convective cloud band extending from southeast to northwest developed over Nepal and adjoining India in the afternoon of 5th. It gradually intensified and moved west-northwestward towards Jammu & Kashmir. An intense convective cloud clusture developed to the east of Leh by 2130 hours IST of 5th August.

    The monsoon trough at the mean sea level lay to the south of its normal position on 4th and 5th August. There was a cyclonic circulation in lower levels over west Rajasthan and neighbourhood.A well-marked low pressure area lay over northwest Bay of Bengal on 5th and over north Orissa and neighbourhood on 6th August. Under the influence of these systems, strong southeasterly winds with speed of 15-20 knots prevailed over western Himalayan region.
    The forecast issued by Meteorologial Centre, Srinagar based on 0830 hrs IST observation on 5th August was as:
    Rain/thundershowers would occur at a few places with moderate to heavy showers at isolated places in Jammu & Kashmir.

    Usually, the western Himalayan region experiences the cloud burst events during the monsoon season in association with the strong monsoon circulation or the interaction of monsoon circulation with the mid-latitude westerly system. The mountain features of the region plays a dominant role by increasing the convection and hence the intensity of cloud burst. It can occur also over the plain areas, but the frequency of such occurrence is very rare.

    However Ladakh region of J&K is not known to be frequently affected by this type of phenomena. It is a cold desert and average rainfall for the month of August is 15.4 mm only. The highest rainfall ever recorded over Leh during 24 hours period has been 51.3 mm recorded on 22 August, 1933.

  2. This is so funny. NOAA after claiming all these disasters as evidence of global warming has this to say

    "Despite this strong evidence for a warming planet, greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia. The natural process of atmospheric blocking, and the climate impacts induced by such blocking, are the principal cause for this heat wave. It is not known whether, or to what exent, greenhouse gas emissions may affect the frequency or intensity of blocking during summer. It is important to note that observations reveal no trend in a daily frequency of July blocking over the period since 1948, nor is there an appreciable trend in the absolute values of upper tropospheric summertime heights over western Russia for the period since 1900.

    The indications are that the current blocking event is intrinsic to the natural variability of summer climate in this region, a region which has a climatological vulnerability to blocking and associated heat waves (e.g., 1960, 1972, 1988). A high index value for blocking days is not a necessary condition for high July surface temperature over western Russia---the warm summers of 1981, 1999, 2001, and 2002 did not experience an unusual number of blocking days.

    A clear understanding of the causes for the 2010 Russian heat wave is important for informing decision makers and the public on whether they need to transition from a preparedness mode of precautionary responses to an adaptation mode involving investment responses and actions. Our assessment indicates that, owing to the mainly natural cause for this heat wave, it is very unlikely that a similar event will recur next summer or in the immediate future (next decade). Whereas this phenomena has been principally related to a natural extreme event, its impacts may very well forebode the impact that a projected warming of surface temperatures could have by the end of the 21st Century due to greenhouse gas increases."

    The Jetstream block sure dented their confidence

  3. I am appalled by your article. All lies - The recent floods in Pakistan could turn out to be the worst impact of climate change to date, according to UN climate experts.

    Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week that there is no doubt that higher global temperatures were behind Pakistani floods.

    'There's no doubt that clearly the climate change is contributing, a major contributing factor,' Ghassem Asrar, director of the World Climate Research Programme

    How much Exxon is paying you for blogging?

  4. It cannot be otherwise. Cloudburst is rare in Ladakh because of unavailability of widespread water bodies, thick vegetation and cold climate.I think your explanation of Leh's cloudburst seems logical.