Arctic warming makes the eastern US colder


Why So Cold? It’s the Jet Stream
[Via Booman Tribune]

Yes, we are having record cold snaps here in the East and Southeast. Global warming must be bunk then, right? Not so fast. Out West, its nice and toasty with unusually warm temperatures. Take a look at this map from the National Weather Service.

So why the big divide between East and West? Isn’t the temperature gradient between colder and warmer supposed to be more a North and South thing? Well, maybe once upon a time. Unfortunately, we are experiencing dramatic changes to the pattern of one of the biggest drivers of our climate on the North American Continent – the Jet Stream -and the rapid rate of the warming in the Arctic is the cause.


The map up top shows the areas of the US where the highs (red) and lows (blue) were different from the average January weather. The lows allowed cold air from Canada to spill into the US. 

And here is a map showing the departure from the average temperature for January (red is warmer):


All due to where the jet stream falls.

This is pretty much what the models have been saying for much of the last decade. The Arctic warms at a faster rate than the temperate latitude. As the Arctic warms, it alters the shape of the jet streams, making them wavier, like hitting a key on a piano makes the sound louder.

Here is a larger version of picture at top where you can see the other strong ridge from the Atlantic that squeezed the cold air further down.


This means that cold air from the Arctic now dips down further into the US (for those who want more in depth information).

And the same models show more high ridges off the coast of the western US, keeping our skies clear.

So we get a very cold East while the West is warmer than normal. Plants are already starting to bloom. The skies have generally been clear and when it does rain, it pours, because of atmospheric rivers from Hawaii.

atmospheric river

These rivers bring intense but pretty localized rain. The rest of the West still sees drought conditions. Several of them saw some of the warmest, driest months on record.

This low jet stream also kept a lot of Gulf Coast moisture from coming end, keeping Texas drier than normal.

This also fits the models which have suggested that the Seattle area will get about the same amount of rain as before, just all at once rather than in a long drizzle.

Every once in a while, these strong jet streams are disrupted and we return to the normal pattern of west to east cold fronts. Seattle gets cloudy and rainy, the rest of the country sees a mostly mild drop in temps.

But for now, the new normal may well be like this, with Seattle clear and dry and much of the rest seeing a large drop in temperatures.

How (Why) will Apple make a car?

Tesla Visit 18 

Apple has ‘several hundred’ workers designing new electric car, codenamed ‘Titan’ – report
[Via AppleInsider]

The smoke surrounding rumors of an Apple-branded vehicle has begun to thicken, as a new report says that Apple is indeed working on an all-electric vehicle that would take the shape of a minivan, with a huge team tasked to the project.


How will this work? This ar emy thoughts.

Tesla has a profit margin about the same as Apple so it would not necessarily reduce their profits but there is a big difference between making a lot of consumer products and a few thousand cars. There is a huge infrastructure need, what with batteries and what not.

I do not think that will need to build their own infrastructure. as with making iPhones, they will use infrastructure of others to build their cars. 

Perhaps even Tesla.

Tesla released their patents. Their goal is to create the standards for the industry. And this:

Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.

So they want competition, especially ones that use their own technology. 

And they are building a huge giga-factory for their batteries. In 5 years, it will be producing enough batteries for 500,000 cars.

Is Tesla going to market all those cars themselves? Or will they make cars designed by others?

Could Tesla and Apple actually be collaborating, using the design team from Apple and that of Tesla to create additional cars that Tesla could not just do by themselves?

And what would that car look like? Apple only enters an industry if it can change the rules. what would an Apple designed car do?

I’m not so sure but it is an interesting thought.

A moderate argument I agree with


‘Made in America’ Just a Political Slogan to Conservatives
[Via The Moderate Voice]

by Walter Brasch

Conservatives in Congress have once again proven they are un-American and unpatriotic. This time, it’s because of their fierce approval for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline, being built and run by TransCanada, will bring tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. All the oil will be exported. Major beneficiaries, including House Speaker John Boehner, are those who invest in a Canadian company.

Opponents see the 1,179-mile pipeline as environmentally destructive. They cite innumerable leaks and spills in gas pipelines, and correctly argue that the tar sands oil is far more caustic and destructive than any of the crude oil being mined in the United States. They point out the pipeline would add about 240 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. They also argue that the use of eminent domain by a foreign corporation, in this case a Canadian one, to seize private property goes against the intent of the use of eminent domain. Eminent domain seizure, they also correctly argue, should be used only to benefit the people and not private corporations.

Proponents claim it will bring jobs to Americans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims the pipeline would create up to 250,000 jobs. However, the Department of State concludes that completion of the pipeline would create only 35 permanent jobs.


A foreign company using eminent domain. 35 jobs. None of the oil for us but for other countries. Environmental damage.

All good arguments but the one that sold me on which side to be on – an amendment that the materials for this pipeline, whose existence was beneficial to a foreign country, come from America.

A Senate Democrat proposed that amendment. That at least if this bill was going to be passed, the damn thing had to be made by American hands using American metal.

It failed.

Every No vote for that Amendment was from a Republican. 53 of them. Only 1 Republican voted for it.

By their own actions—in business and, most certainly, in how they dealt with the Keystone XL amendment—the nation’s conservatives have proven that “Made in America” and “American Pride” are nothing more than just popular slogans.

This pipeline is not for America or Americans. It is for the rich businessman in Canada and America.

The Climate Change denialist media continue to lie

 Concentration of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide from Earth's Mid-Troposphere, 2002 to 2013

Scientist Slams News Site That Used His Research To Imply Climate Change Is Fake
[Via Think Progress]

Last week, a new, peer-reviewed paper from scientists at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The paper is important: for the first time, it shows that scientists can use incredibly old permafrost to find out what temperatures were like in Siberia thousands of years ago. By using this permafrost, the scientists found that temperatures in Siberia have been gradually rising for the past 7,000 years.

Enter the climate denier media. After the findings were published, notorious climate denier Anthony Watts re-published portions of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s press release for the research on his site, Watts Up With That. It was then picked up by Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller, who wrote that “solar radiation has been melting Siberian ice for 7,000 years,” evidence that “global warming is nothing new.”

In other words, the Daily Caller is using the research to reinforce a common trope among climate deniers: that the climate has always been changing, and humans therefore have no effect. In this case, it implies that Siberian permafrost is thawing due to natural causes. Greenhouse gases have nothing to do with it.

Here’s the problem. The research does not say any of that. It does not show that Siberian ice is “melting,” and certainly does not show that “solar radiation” is the cause. It also does not imply that global warming — a term that describes the effects of man-made climate change — is a phenomenon that has existed prior to the Industrial Revolution, when humans began pumping exorbitant amounts of carbon into the air.


It is so easy to understand why so many people misunderstand what is going on, when we have media that are so willing to confuse things with lies and misrepresentations.

Here they take a work and present it in a fashion meant to mislead. They want people to be confused, to think that scientists are showing climate change is not happening.

They write that there were things stated in the paper that were never stated. And they use the same tactics again and again. Repetitive and shameless misrepresentations can only be called lying.

The exact same tactics were used with smoking cigarettes. How many thousands of people died because of the selfish, myopic and stupid lies spread then? How many will die because of the selfish, myopic and stupid lies spread now?

The world is warming. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge that cannot accept facts and is simply not acting rationally. 

Now why is it warming? We construct models to test different hypothesis. The ONLY models which come close to fitting reality are those that include the carbon dioxide released by humans. 

And these same models can be checked by running them backwards, or starting in 1900 and running forward. Guess what? They fit the real data within experimental error throughout the 20th Century. 

But only if we include human generated greenhouse gases.The models do a great job describing the data we have already generated.

As with any scientific model, if you want to remove it, you had better produce and support one that does a better job.

So, if one wants to posit that human-generated carbon dioxide is not responsible  one not only has to come up with an unknown source to explain the increasing temperature, but also why the greenhouse gases  we release have little to no effect.

It could happen since science never proves anything with certainty.  But the climate change denialists are not trying to really find that model that explains the world better than the current models.

They simply take potshots and tell lies. Exactly what every other denialist does.


Climate model “wrongness” may well be due to volcanoes


Are climate models biased?
[Via Ars Technica]

If you took an average output of multiple climate models, it would predict that the start of this century would have seen a strong warming trend. Instead, the planet warmed relatively slowly over this time.

When models and reality disagree, it can tell us about two things: the models and reality. So far, analysis has seemed to come down on the side of reality. Evidence has indicated that one of the contributors to this century’s climate has been small volcanic eruptions; another suggests that a run of La Niña years has helped hold temperatures down.

Now, a new study is out that turns the focus on the models. It finds no evidence that the models are biased toward predicting higher temperatures and instead suggests that their biggest issue might be in how they handle large volcanic eruptions.


In an intriguing study, the researchers compared the trendlines for a variety of models with real numbers over the last century. They too the models, started in 1900 and rant the clock forward. Then added in the real data to see how well it fit.

What they found was that the real numbers all fell within the error bars of the models. So there was no systemic bias in the models to over estimate temperature change.

Essentially, each model has intrinsic errors around the trendline and the trends always stay within the error bars.

But they did find several periods where the trendline came closer to either the high or low error range for short periods. The temperature would not rise for 10-15 years, getting closer to the low range and then shoot up faster for 10-15 years.

So, while the average trend (and its error bars) has been going up over the last 100 years, there were real periods of slower and faster warming.

These times of slower warming appear to correspond to large volcanic activity. The volcanoes send up large amounts of dust and gases which will affect climates. But as they cycle out of the atmosphere, warming returns.

What seems to be happening is that the models may not correctly model the effects of volcanoes. They overestimate the cooling effects of volcanos, modeling a lower increase in temperature. But then they correspondingly overestimate the heating effects as the volcanic impacts lessen.

They get the average correct but overcompensate because they give too much impact to volcanoes. Better modeling of vocanoes would not change the overall average trends. It would just reduce the error bars.

What this means is that when you look at any 10-15 year trend, the explanation will be mostly due to temporary chaotic’ and unpredictiable conditions, like volcanoes. But these disappear when longer time periods are examined because the system reverts to normal processes.

And by modeling these chaotic events better – ie volcanoes – they will not chaneg the overall trend, only reduce the error bars.

Tesla Insane Mode – Why we will all have electric cars some day.

Want to better understand global oil politics? Read this article

 Current World Oil Production

With oil prices plunging, OPEC and Russia are on their knees
[Via Quartz]

In a way, the message of OPEC’s inaction today—deciding not to cut supply—is analogous to the challenge that confronted GM and Microsoft in recent years: if it wants to remain relevant in a world it once dominated, and at times made tremble, it needs to change its game.

For much of the rest of the world, including great power-consuming nations like the US and China, the message is very different—that of an ill-defined but temporary window in which to solve big strategic problems until very recently thought to be intractable.

The trigger for this new state of affairs is dual—the US shale-oil boom, which has wholly muffled the geopolitical disruptions behind previously skyrocketing oil prices, and soft demand from a transforming Chinese economy.

On the sidelines are menacing new supply threats to the status quo—even more oil from the US in the coming three to five years, from Iran in the not-far-fetched scenario of a nuclear deal, and from till-now war-constrained Iraq and Libya.

Traders have observed all this supply, detected no basis for a surge of demand, and sent prices plunging. Just today, futures of internationally traded Brent crude plummeted as low as $71.25 a barrel, down 41% since peaking for the year in June at $115.71. US-traded West Texas Intermediate—the pricing basis for shale oil—fell more than $5, to as low as $67.75 a barrel, puncturing another threshold.

Members of the OPEC cartel have desperately flailed away, given that most of them cannot meet their state budget obligations at such prices (see chart below).

Here is how capitalism can be very useful when dealing with scarce resources (the map above shows oil producing states, with darker being more oil). The high price for oil maintained by OPEC incentivized people to find other sources.

They did, with the shale-oil boom in North America leading the way. This is driving the low cost of oil more than anything right now.

Meaning OEC cannot raise prices by constraining supply, as they hve done. Because that just means more shale oil from non-OPEC states, like the US and Canada.

So all they can do is hunker down and wait it out. Except, as we have seen, with companies like MIcrosoft, that is a sure path to irrelvancy.

Because new non-oil technologies are likely to have greater impact in the same timeframe.

It is likely that OPEC and the other countries dependent on oil revenues, such as Iran and Russia, will be under tremendous financial pressures unless they can diversify their economies.

Meanwhile, the world has a chance to re-evaluate its energy processes and perhaps find something better than fossil fuels.

Sometimes capitalism works especially when its distributed bottom-up approaches are allowed to succeed. Now this may be the reason we may not need really disruptive top down approaches.

Oil may be irrelevant in 10 years. That would be nice.


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