Earth Extremities

Severe Weather Warnings For US And Canada

A major winter storm has brought misery to large parts of the US and Canada, with further weather warnings still in place

A woman crosses a slush and snow covered street in the Park Slope section of BrooklynThe US and Canada have issued further storm warnings a day after severe weather left dozens dead and brought travel in many areas to a halt.

The US National Weather Service said blizzard conditions were likely in Canada on Saturday into Sunday.

It added: “A storm gathering strength in the eastern US is forecast to become a strong coastal winter storm for the North East this weekend.”

It forecast more rain and snow in the mid-Atlantic region of the US, with New England among those expected to be worst hit.

The NWS said up to 14in (35cm) of snow is expected in eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.

Busy Travel Day At Raleigh-Durham Airport As Region Recovers From Winter StormIn Maine, forecasts call for as much as 18in (46cm) beginning on Saturday…

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Tides, Vectors, Scalars, Arctic Flushing, and Resonance

Musings from the Chiefio

Over at WUWT, Willis has a “proof” that there is no periodic cycle in tides. He does this via an analysis of the tidal force, and shows that the size of it does not change in any repeating periodic way that provides an 18.6 or ‘near 60’ year period. Substantially his argument is of the form “the force does not change enough to matter”.

My assertion is that this conclusion is based on an error of ‘kind’ in his analysis. He is looking at a vector quantity and only addressing the scalar portion of it. That is too narrow an analysis to find what, IMHO, matters.

A scalar quantity has a size. That’s it. No direction.
A vector quantity has both a size, and a direction.

I go 20 miles per hour. That’s a scalar.
I go 20 miles per hour due north. That’s a vector. Both size “20”…

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Floodplains – The Clue is in the Name

These plaques are on the river wall directly outside 1164174. The text reads: [TOP] This wall was erected - and the piles fixed - Anno Domini 1817 - William Smith, Warden. [LEFT] Variable high tides - March 30th 1874 - Joseph Giles, Warden. [RIGHT] Extraordinary high tide - January 7th 1928 - when 75ft of this wall were demolished - Leonard Collyer, Warden.

“The text reads: [TOP] This wall was erected – and the piles fixed – Anno Domini 1817 – William Smith, Warden. [LEFT] Variable high tides – March 30th 1874 – Joseph Giles, Warden. [RIGHT] Extraordinary high tide – January 7th 1928 – when 75ft of this wall were demolished – Leonard Collyer, Warden.”
Image Wikipedia

The Thames Valley is a wedge-shaped area widening from Reading to include the Bracknell, Slough, Windsor areas, the Colne Valley and the south-west London fringes. As the river Thames enters the London suburbs of north Surrey, the floodplain is bounded in the distance to the south and west by low wooded hills which lie in the adjoining character area, the Thames Basin Heaths.

In the centre of the Thames Valley, the open Thames floodplain dominates.

Natural England, Character of the Thames Valley

The weather is dreadful. It is extreme and something not seen in many years, if not generations, however we should not be surprised it has happened…again. It has only ever been a matter of when not if  and it has everything to do with climate change and nothing to do with CO2.  However, the arguments offers no comfort to those whose properties and livelihoods have not been saved and relief from the weather does not look to be coming any time soon. The circumstances that led up to the flooding must be thoroughly investigated and by an independent outside agencies. Ministerial and bureaucratic incompetence, mismanagement, and/or greed, cutbacks, not to mention group think, may have played their part. It seems reasonable to speculate that a belief may have emerged that history would not repeat itself as so confident were the projections as we were told to prepare for a Mediterranean climate rather than floods.

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UK Met Office – Cheaters never Prosper


Met Office winter forecast December-January-February issued 21st November 2013

The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).

Met Office 3-month Outlook
Period: December 2013 – February 2014

Issue date: 21.11.13
As discussed in the temperature section, forecast models favour a negative NAO pattern this winter, with high pressure areas more likely to be centred over or close to the UK. As in all seasons, this pre-dominance of anticyclones is likely to lead to drier-than-normal conditions across the country.


Winter 2013/14 daily pressure values (local station).
Figures for the South and West coasts will be considerably lower
[N.B. standard normal sea level pressure (SLP) is 1013.2 millibars]

The weakening of the prevailing westerly flow means that the normally wetter western or northwestern parts of the country may see a significant reduction in precipitation compared to average, while the east or southeast may be closer to average. However uncertainty in this regional pattern of precipitation is large.


Rainfall as a percentage of average for January 2014
Image UK Met Office

With colder-than-normal conditions being favoured, as indicated in the temperature section, the probabilities for precipitation falling as snow and for occurrence of ice this winter will be higher than the climatological values.


The deeper the red the less days with ground frost.
Image UK Met Office

The forecast is now put into context.

[UPDATE: I have slightly rearranged this post so the Met Office winter 2013/14 is at the head. The rest of the post is quite lengthy detailing several previous years of forecasts but is an easy read. It has several images also so may take time to load on slower devices.]  

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The real reason for flooding in Somerset Levels? Not global warming – the pump was turned off!

Watts Up With That?

Huntspill_sign We’ve previously covered the absurd claims that “global warming” was the cause of flooding in Somerset, UK here and here , with yesterday, even a senior scientist at the Met Office disagreeing with the spinmistress in charge , Julio Slingo’s claim about an AGW connection. Now we learn the real reason. The ROF pumping station was turned off in 2008 and nothing was done to replace it, while at the same time the Huntspill sluice gates to drain water to the sea seemed to be improperly managed by the EA.

I’m repeating the comment here to give wide distribution.

Bishop Hill writes: Commenter “Corporal Jones’ Ghost’ left this comment on one of the flooding threads.It looks to be quite important.


I want to tell you what really has happened on the Somerset Levels.

I am remaining anonymous for good reason, I think you’ll understand why.

You have…

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Met Office rainfall records – how far do they go back and what can they tell us?

Official blog of the Met Office news team

As we have seen over recent weeks and months, observations for the UK are essential to put recent weather into context and to detect variations and possible long-term trends in UK climate. So, when the Met Office quotes “the wettest on record” what does that mean?

Station records
All our time-series of rainfall come from observations made by rain gauges and their length is determined by how long the recording stations have been open.

Stations with long records are a very important part of the UK’s weather station network. These time series provide an accurate picture of rainfall for that particular location, provided there are no significant changes in instrument type or station exposure. One of the longest in the UK is the weather station at Oxford Radcliffe Observatory, which holds nearly 250 years of rainfall observations from 1767 to the present day and is maintained by Oxford University…

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