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Irene sounds yet another warning

Written By: - Date published: 7:23 am, August 30th, 2011 - 53 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, International - Tags: , ,

Irene is a name of Greek origin meaning “peace”. Hurricane Irene was anything but peaceful. It killed more than 20 people, left millions without power, caused flooding and significant damage, but fortunately lost power before hitting New York.

Irene is yet another example of the significant increase in extreme weather that we’re seeing all around the globe.  While it doesn’t make sense to say that any single example is “caused” by climate change, collectively the pattern of increasing incidents is just as predicted by climate change models, and confirmation that the early effects of this process are well and truly upon us.  Case in point, the warming of the world makes hurricanes like Irene more and more likely:

As the U.S. government report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the US” summarized in 2009, warming of the oceans is causing Atlantic hurricanes to become more intense and dangerous:

The destructive potential of Atlantic hurricanes has increased since 1970, correlated with an increase in sea surface temperature. An increase in average summer wave heights along the U.S. Atlantic coastline since 1975 has been attributed to a progressive increase in hurricane power. The intensity of Atlantic hurricanes is likely to increase during this century with higher peak wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge height and strength. Even with no increase in hurricane intensity, coastal inundation and shoreline retreat would increase as sea-level rise accelerates, which is one of the most certain and most costly consequences of a warming climate. 

Below, ThinkProgress Green explores in more detail how Hurricane Irene has been made more destructive by the combustion of hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels.

Oceanic Warming. Greenhouse pollution is causing the world’s oceans to warm. Sea surface temperatures in the region where Hurricane Irene formed and along its track are around 0.5°C warmer than they were about 30 years ago. “This rise is simulated pretty well by climate models forced by anthropogenic changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols, implicating these as the probable cause,” Dr. Doug Smith, the climate scientist who leads the Met Office Decadal Climate Prediction System tells ThinkProgress. This increased heat adds about 10 to 20 miles to the top potential speed of the hurricane’s winds. Storm surge increases proportionally to the square of the wind speed, meaning a 10 percent increase in hurricane wind speed means a 20 percent increase in storm surge. Climate scientists are debating how global warming and natural variability are interacting to change the intensity of Atlantic storms overall.

Sea Level Rise. Greenhouse pollution is causing the world’s oceans to rise, both because of warming of the ocean water and because of the melting of Greenland and Antarctica. Sea levels have been rapidly rising along the East Coast of the United States. Because of a combination of the global sea level rise and because of subsidence, Boston’s relative sea level has increased 11.8 inches since 1990, and sea level at Norfolk, VA has steadily risen 14.5 inches over the past 80 years. The one-foot rise in sea level means that damage from Hurricane Irene’s storm surge will be about 50 percent greater than it would have been otherwise.

More Atmospheric Vapor. As the world’s oceans have warmed, the amount of atmospheric water vapor has increased by about 4 percent. Rainfall rates due to hurricanes appear to have increased by 6 to 8 percent since about 1970 in association with increased water vapor in the atmosphere and warming. “This is because of the dominant reliance of storms on the resident moisture in the atmosphere and the moisture convergence for precipitation and latent heating in storms,” Dr. Kevin Trenberth wrote in 2007. “These warm ocean temperatures will also make Irene a much wetter hurricane than is typical, since much more water vapor can evaporate into the air from record-warm ocean surfaces,” tropical meteorologist Jeff Masters explains at Wunderground.com. “The latest precipitation forecast from NOAA’s Hydrological prediction center shows that Irene could dump over eight inches of rain over coastal New England.”

Increased Extreme Precipitation. Because of greenhouse pollution, heavy rains in the United States have increased 14 percent over the 20th century, much greater than the increase in overall precipitation. This has been one of the wettest years in history for the Northeast, directly in the path of Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Irene’s wind and rain will more easily topple trees in the loose, saturated soil and flood rivers, reservoirs, and drains.

Millions of people and billions of dollars of property are at risk from this one storm, in this year of billion-dollar climate disasters.

Despite the clear analysis of the Stern Report, the world has decided  that it’s too expensive and inconvenient in the short term to do anything significant about climate change.  Despite the clear and present danger of extreme weather events, the coming round of climate change talks in South Africa are expected to achieve little because “politics cannot deliver on what science requires”.  The warning of Irene will be ignored like all the rest.

53 comments on “Irene sounds yet another warning ”

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Digging up carbon resources and burning them, couldn’t do any harm whats so ever.

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    Is the weather really getting worse? Or are people just noticing it more:


    • r0b 2.1

      I don’t think there’s any doubt that the increasing population density of the world and the increasing reach of the media contributes to the perception that extreme weather events are increasing.

      I don’t think there’s any doubt that they are also increasing in fact.  There are far too many “record” events happening,  check out this link in the OP.

      With respect to the piece in your link, they cite data apparently showing a decrease in storms.  That’s not inconsistent with climate change predictions or increases in extreme storms.  See: “Models suggest that there may be fewer, but more powerful, hurricanes as the world warms”…

      And on the growing acceptance that climate change and extreme weather are related, see this piece

    • grumpy 2.2

      How come when it’s New Zealand snow storms it’s “weather” but when it’s East Coast US hurricanes it’s “climate”?

  2. Saracen 3

    Irene an example of a “significant increase” in extreme weather? I beg to differ. Hurricanes like Irene, although rare in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, are not unprecedented. It should also be pointed out that Irene is just the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season – the previous eight systems in this season have all been tropical storms, and there is little more than one month to go before the Atlantic hurricane season starts winding down. While there has certainly been a lot of activity in the hurricane season to date, Irene has been the only serious storm thus far.

    And ask yourself this question – even if the world were to do all the alarmists wished, would it have made any difference? We could have all the Copenhagen and Kyoto agreements you wanted and zero carbon emissions … and Hurricane Irene would have struck the Eastern seaboard of the United States anyway.

    • TightyRighty 3.1

      I notice that copenhagen and kyoto have been undamaged recently by events that are inevitably linked to climate change. Maybe all the greenhouse gases emitted by politicians and green-agenda pushers once there have protected them from the harmful damage of an angry planet, if not their angry voters. Maybe all that hot air and mutual congratulatory masturbation about how much they all care has precluded the need for worry. These people should visit the eastern seaboard of the states right now and drive away Irene with the powerful words and contracts

      • mik e 3.1.1

        Tighty almighty you should stick to leigtent Smiths show and indulge yourself in tipler the godsquad Climate change denier.He is a cosmologist from the born again crew no training whatsoever in climate science has not put up one piece of evidence just spiels on about relativity and cosmology he might as well do horoscopes they would be more accurate!

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      And ask yourself this question – even if the world were to do all the alarmists wished, would it have made any difference?

      Yep. No exponentially growing debt or ongoing financial crisis/crisis of capitalism would have enabled our leaders the headspace and resourcing to act to secure humanity’s future.

  3. Colonial Viper 4

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110830-0908-the_governments_recently_released_enery_strategy-048.mp3" /]

    Hekia Parata says that NAT’s new energy and global warming policy will create “Better Jobs and Higher Incomes”!!!

    (Yes she uses those exact words)

    • JonL 4.1

      What new energy and global warming policy.
      Seems like more of the same (ie, nothing), to me.

      • Macro 4.1.1

        Jon –

        no policy = GLOBAL WARMING

        get it?

        Actually, as this is, in the words of the minister a “and …and..and ” policy, the primary aim must surely be to PROMOTE global warming!

  4. Afewknowthetruth 5

    US rivers unnavigable due to flooding


    Worst drought on record and numerous temperature record broken


    Worst tornado season ever and numerous records broken


    Catastrophic meltdown of the Arctic continues


    To the Looters and Polluters Club: keep denying all the evidence, keep churning out links to junk sicnece, keep consuming fossil fuels till there are none left (not long to go now) keep polluting the Earth till you’ve made most of the planet uninhabitable (not long to go now). Keep stealing from the next generation and keep promoting the interests of corporations and money lenders above the interests of the next generation. That seems to be all you are capable of.

    • grumpy 5.1

      Fool, you’re talking about “weather” not “climate”. See the many comments on New Zealand snowstorms for guidance.

      • Afewknowthetruth 5.1.1

        No, you are the fool. Climate is the summation of weather over a period of time.

        Climate instability is increasing.

        It take it you did not bother to look at any of the links before making your idiotic statement.

        After suffering record temperatures and record damage due to drought, much of eastern Australia suffered record damage due to flooding. They have no idea what to plan for now. So they just keep doing what they’ve always done, whiich is dig up the place and export it, and use the money to build houses, thereby increasing the long term vulnerability to environmental collapse.

        • grumpy

          It is true that the change of moniker from “Global warming” to “climate change” gave the climate panickers a lot more scope. We no longer hear about “drowning polar bears”, “disappearing polar ice caps” or “Himalayan glaciers”. Now it’s all about anything but cooling – hurricanes, floods, doughts etc. so when a clear “cooling” (such as the NZ snow storms – or the record cold snap during the Copenhagen group hug) event takes place – that’s just “weather”.

          • Afewknowthetruth

            You really are a fucking idiot, aren’t you?

            ‘We no longer hear about “drowning polar bears”, “disappearing polar ice caps”

            I just posted a link to disappearing ice caps!

            Maybe you are not really a person at all. Maybe you are some sort of cyborg, or a compurer system that has been programmed to chrurn out garbage and refute anything that is logical or based on sound science.

            • ropata

              For once I agree with you AFK

              Statement from IPENZ:

              Human activities have increased the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and although the changes are relatively small, the equilibrium maintained by the atmosphere is delicate, and so the effect of these changes is significant. The world’s most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million to 370 parts per million, an increase of around 30%.

              On the basis of available data, climate scientists are now projecting an average global temperature rise over this century of 2.0 to 4.5°C. This compared with 0.6°C over the previous century – about a 500% increase… This could lead to changing, and for all emissions scenarios more unpredictable, weather patterns around the world, less frost days, more extreme events (droughts and storm or flood disasters), and warmer sea temperatures and melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise.


              • Afewknowthetruth


                Just note that the CO2 content of the atmosphere has risen since that piece was written and currently stands at 392ppm, not 370ppm (down slightly from the peak of 384ppm earlier in the year, due to photosynthesis in the northern hemisphere) and is on track to break 396ppm by February 2012, as photosynthesis in the northern hemishere slows but anthropogenic CO2 emissions continue to rise.

                The CO2 content of the atmosphere is rising at just over 2ppm per annum but the uneven photosynthesis factor generates a wavy curve that trends ever upwards. Indeed, it’s starting to look exponential.

                If you live in the real world and accept the science, the ever upward trend is due to the more than 30 billion tonnes of CO2 added annually via burning of fossil fuels, degradation of soils etc.

                If you are in the junk science camp, the Earth is cooling and CO2 has nothing to do with anything.

              • Spam

                Err… Why do you choose IPENZ for your Appeal To Authority?

          • Afewknowthetruth

            And that other bit of lunacy from grumpy, the glaciers:

            We no longer hear about “drowning polar bears”, “disappearing polar ice caps” or “Himalayan glaciers”


            Of course, the scientifically illiterate don’t recognise that increased snowfall is entirely consisent with warming (warmer oceeans have a higher vapour pressure and also warm the air above them, making higher precipitation in all forms more likely).

            What scares me more than anything else is scientifically illiterate fools and ideologues are eligible to vote. That’s one of the main reasons why there is no hope for western societies and little hope for at all for the next generation.

            • Spam

              From your article:
              The retreat of glaciers since 1850 affects the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and in the longer term, the level of the oceans. Studied by glaciologists, the temporal coincidence of glacier retreat with the measured increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases is often cited as an evidentiary underpinning of global warming. Mid-latitude mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, Alps, Rocky Mountains, Cascade Range, and the southern Andes, as well as isolated tropical summits such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, are showing some of the largest proportionate glacial loss.[1]

              The Little Ice Age was a period from about 1550 to 1850 when the world experienced relatively cooler temperatures compared to the present

              Gosh. The world got warmer after coming out of an ice age. Whoduthunkit?

              • Colonial Viper

                Your kids and grandkids are the ones who are gonna get fucked by global climate change.

                See how glib you wanna be then, grandpa.

              • Macro

                It is said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing Spam – and in your case it is exceedingly so. You see, the problem is with your thesis, the “Little Ice Age” was a local event , confined mainly to Europe, and hence not a GLOBAL cooling as you imply. Hence the GLOBAL warming of around 0.8 C Degrees that has occurred since the 1850’s is a result of not coming out of a period of an “Ice Age” at all, because there was none.

                • Spam

                  Except that even the extremely biased wikipedia article points out evidence for low temperatures globally during the little ice age.

                  • lprent

                    The evidence is ambiguous at best because there appears to be lower temperatures in quite different centuries in different regions during the “little ice age”. In many regions temperatures went up during parts of the same period (16th to 19th century). That is a period that appears to have been picked to include as much supporting data as possible rather than for any consistency in the data for any one area.

                    It is extremely doubtful that there was any such thing as a cohesive global little ice age in terms of an absolute change in the retention of heat world wide. It is just as likely that there was the usual shift of climate patterns cooling some regions and warming others, making some drier and some warmer, etc. But that is hardly evidence of a global shift in temperatures. Where you’d expect to see a global pattern, in the O16/18 ratios and the like in the ocean sediments which better reflect less local effects, there is none to be found.

                    Basically I think from my reading that some eurocentric geologists from early last century went looking for a global pattern when none really existed. Consequently when they saw what they expected to see.

                    On the otherhand over the last century we have had some good direct temperature data from across most of the landmasses world wide. That does show a gradual rise in average temperatures worldwide in a consistent cohesive pattern. But I guess that you’d prefer to simply deny that and argue about something that is more ambiguous. After all that is your consistent pattern isn’t it.

                    • Macro

                      The article I linked to by Dr M Mann et al said much the same thing.

                    • Spam

                      On the otherhand over the last century we have had some good direct temperature data from across most of the landmasses world wide. That does show a gradual rise in average temperatures worldwide in a consistent cohesive pattern.
                      And you’ve also got some bad direct temperature measurement data where there have been stations adversely affected by encroachment and urbanization.

                      Basically I think from my reading that some eurocentric geologists from early last century went looking for a global pattern when none really existed. Consequently when they saw what they expected to see
                      So anyone who finds any evidence that casts any doubt at all on the holy church of global warming is presumed to have confirmation bias? And yet the divergence problem with historical records is hidden by chopping out data, and that’s apparently fine. “Going to town” in a completely unobjective manner with the express purpose of perverting the peer review process to prevent contrary evidence and studies being published is apparently fine. Including findings from non-peer reviewed studies written by Greenpeace in the IPCC assessments is apparently fine.

                    • Macro

                      “And you’ve also got some bad direct temperature measurement data where there have been stations adversely affected by encroachment and urbanization.”

                      Another meme – you have no idea what your talking about. It’s been argued and discussed that many times. The fact is, the consensus amongst those who understand the problems are that those temperatures are as good as your going get, and all your haggling is not going to change the fact that the Earth is now heating at an unprecedented rate.

                    • Macro

                      “So anyone who finds any evidence that casts any doubt at all on the holy church of global warming is presumed to have confirmation bias?”

                      Oh! you have EVIDENCE that Global Warming is not happening? Please do tell! Frankly we would like to hear some good news for once.
                      Scientific Journals that wish to preserve their reputation have strict peer review procedures, to ensure that they do not publish crap. THAT is why anything that might suggest that AGW is NOT occurring doesn’t find its way into reputable journals because they would never pass peer review (ie it is fundamentally flawed – scientifically or mathematically). These are always the objections to anything that does find its way into press along these lines. Usually vanity journals where authors pay for the article to be published. If someone really did have some evidence that Global Warming was not occurring and could JUSTIFY it LOGICALLY, MATHEMATICALLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY. believe me EVERY ONE would want to know.
                      So I take it from your remark regarding religion that you are an elder in the Church of the “Hidden Hand”?

                      “And yet the divergence problem with historical records is hidden by chopping out data, and that’s apparently fine.”
                      Please stop repeating slanderous lies that have been show in innumerable investigations to be completely without substance, it does you no credit whatsoever. These falsehoods are fabrications from ultra right wing think tanks who have many deaths on their hands to answer for.

                      “Including findings from non-peer reviewed studies written by Greenpeace in the IPCC assessments is apparently fine.”
                      Again you have facts completely wrong. The IPPC reference to which you seem to be referring was NOT from Greenpeace, but another aid agency, and while the time reference of 35 years may be presumptuous, it is not wholly inaccurate as anyone who has observed Himalayan glaciers over the years can testify. As to the other “inaccuracy” in the report concerning sea level rise and the flooding in Holland – that report was supplied by the Netherlands Govt. But you don’t hear about that one – let’s just kick the aid agencies. Of course neither of these minor inaccuracies in a 1000 page report contradict the plain simple fact that humans through the unmitigated burning of fossil fuels are causing the earth to heat up.

          • lprent

            Perhaps you should read mainstream news. Every week these days when I read the Economist there is and article about the Artic ice sheets. It is for the reasons sovereignty of the new icefree areas that countries are looking at for shipping and mineral exploration.

            For instance this is typical.

            THE Arctic has been a fashionable destination this summer. A team of Danish researchers, heading northwards on a Swedish ice-breaker, has just set sail from Norway. Meanwhile an American Coast Guard cutter, with a crew of scientists, has embarked on another expedition to map a giant swathe of ocean floor.

            That was only this week’s polar news. It came hard on the heels of a storming visit to Resolute Bay on Canada’s northern extreme by Stephen Harper, the prime minister. He announced a new deep-water port and military training base, declaring that “the first principle of Arctic sovereignty [is] use it or lose it.” Still more eye-catching—even if some of the footage shown on Moscow television really came from the film “Titanic”—was a Kremlin-backed voyage, which led to the planting, by a minisub, of a titanium Russian tricolour on the seabed.

            For some reason all of these major countries are staking claims because they think that there won’t be any sea ice sooner rather than later.

            But just dig though the articles over the last year in just the Economist

            No doubt I could do the same with the other topics you mention. But I’d have to say that your problem is simply that you aren’t listening. Deaf are you?

            • grumpy

              ….or it could be that the ice cap is no longer regarded as an impediment to accessing polar resources.

              Pleased that you read “The Economist”, a great publication but as I am sure you know, it is possible to find conflicting articles on just about everthing in very reputable publications.

              Sometimes even in the same issue of the publication. ….and that’s the weakness in AFKTT’s one dimensional rantings – no intellectual balance.

              • Afewknowthetruth


                Ah, ‘The Economist’. Would that be the propaganda rag for the god you worship?

                Economics, as taught in most institutions and imposed on western societies, is a fraud and has no scientific foundation whatsoever. In fact, mainstream economics is a kind of weird cult which promotes total absurdities, such as perpetual growth in the consumption of resources on a finite planet, and the equally absurd notion that pollution and overpopulation have no effect. And all of it has been facilitated by money that is created out of thin arir via fractioanl reserve banking. No wonder economists and bankers are starting to run, very scared.

                I have never seen any mainstream economic formula that factors in anything in the real world. That is exactly why the whole economic system is in such disarray and is falling to piecesrighjt now, and why we are rapidly approaching the crash and burn stage, which will occur before 2015.

                When it comes down to it, economics is one dimesional ranting: it’s just that economics is official ranting and it is promoted by the money lenders. So many people think it has legitimacy

                As has been said many times, only and economist or a madman believes in perpetual growth on a finite planet.

                Your adherence to economics suggests you are firmly in the madman camp.

                Of course, you think that by desribing the truth as ‘one dimensional rantings’ and denegrating people you are somehow scoring points. All you do is increasing demonstrate yourself to be a complete idiot. Indeed, you have provided a window into your mind. Every time you write something you increasingly demonstrate that you extremely ignorant and have a closed mind.

                I can guarantee you have not read or listened to one of the greatest lectures in all of history, and I defy you to study what it contains and come up with a logical response that refutes what is said. I know you cannot since the lecture is based on irrefutable mathematics.


                As Professor Bartlett notes in the lecture, many people, especially economists, believe that mathematics does not apply to them or to where they live.

                Rather than deal with th truth I am sure you will continue to ignore it until you can’t. I’m sure you will not bother to investigate the link, because the whole foundation of you life is to ignore essentail truths. That is a very common phenomenon, as I have described in my latest book on the topic.

              • Macro

                “.and that’s the weakness in AFKTT’s one dimensional rantings – no intellectual balance.”
                EXCUSE ME! You’re the one here with no intellectual balance!

                The bullshit you have deposited on this topic is unbelievable. Anyone who has taken the time to investigate AGW (and by that I do NOT mean an uncritical reading of Wishart’s “Air Con” – which is so far from the truth that it is little more than fiction of the worst kind, or hiving off to “watts” a la the gormless fool (better non de plume I could not envisage)) would be so bold as to state that “we no longer here about drowning polar bears”

                Oh yes we do! Note that this report is dated 3 days ago. Also note that the administration which suspended the scientist is now under investigation for politically instigated action against the scientist. His work is completely exonerated.

                As for your throw away line regarding AGW is now “Climate Change”, and the idiotic statements about weather. Well I guess it’s difficult to tell the difference between “Climate” and Weather” **sigh**. But stick with it – soon or later, and unfortunately, by the looks of it, sooner rather than later you will!

                • grumpy

                  I know it’s always difficult to argue “religion” but that’s what it looks like here.

                  Probably easier to ask the Exclusive Brethren to consider that “maybe there is no God….”

                  Anyway, I see prices of baches in the Marlborough Sounds have not yet dropped!!! If they do, then that is probably the intersection of the economics you despise with your religion of “Climate Change”.

                  • Macro

                    “Religion” another favourite meme of the denial-o-sphere! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! When all the facts and evidence support the fact of AGW the denier has to resort to “It’s just like Religion”. NO grumpy it’s not! You have NO evidence to support your claim that AGW is not happening so you are the one living in faith. (Now I have every respect for religion and faith – but in this matter your faith is misplaced). EVERY and I mean EVERY without exception, “scientific paper” that might somehow find it’s way into a supposed “peer reviewed” “Journal” that might show contrary evidence of AGW and consequent Climate Change, has been quickly shown to be seriously flawed in one or more respects. Most are little more than complete bunkum. The facts of AGW are well established and quite settled. The only areas of uncertainty, is how quickly, and how much. Unfortunately since the 2007 IPPC report the science and the evidence of AGW is even more of the opinion that that report was far too conservative in its prognosis, and that warming is happening far faster and more dramatically than thought even 4 years ago.

              • MrSmith

                “Pleased that you read “The Economist”, a great publication but as I am sure you know, it is possible to find conflicting articles on just about everthing in very reputable publications.”
                This sounds like Key’s line from Hardtalk, funny how you Key worshipers love repeating his mumblings, shows you rarely think for yourselves.
                The facts don’t lie though Grumpy and the fact it snowed on tuesday or last week in Canterbury doesn’t change the fact that May this year was the warmest on record in New Zealand plus the Last decade in New Zealand warmest since records began, these sorts of records are being broken regularly now, but your response to this is because it snowed last week in Canterbury so that means everything is ok now.
                Also just so you can keep up “Global Warming” is causing the “Climate to Change” now even you can understand why it’s called Climate change.

                • grumpy

                  Snowed in Auckland too eh?

                  Pretty unusual?

                  • Macro

                    And you know why grumpy?
                    “The severe southerly outbreak this week is also being blamed on changes in the polar vortex – the ring of westerly winds encircling the Antarctic.

                    The Southern Annular Mode (Sam), which measures the strength of the vortex, has been strongly negative this month. That means the westerlies are weaker than normal, allowing polar air to break out and head north towards New Zealand. ”

                    And what might have caused this??
                    to quote Dr James Renwick who is the expert on this..
                    “National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal climate scientist James Renwick said the Sam was likely to remain negative for the rest of the month before flipping to positive values in September.

                    “It is very strongly negative right now. [Air] pressures are high at high latitudes, with ridges of high pressure extending towards South America, east of South Africa and towards Hobart, but we have very much lower than normal pressures to the east across the central Pacific,” he said. “So we end up with this big southerly flow, and with this pattern I would expect we would see more of these big highs at high latitudes to the west. That means more southerlies … are on the cards.”

                    You see these big highs that come across from Australia have to form somewhere and you know what? Yeah! They are the result of a warming world – just as the large depressions are a result of a warming world. That air that raced directly down to Antarctica wasn’t cold on its way down. And to quote the 2nd law of thermodynamics “Heat never flows from a colder to a hotter” so, It lost heat – to Antarctica – and gained heat in NZ dropping snow in Auckland.
                    Changes in the SAM – it’s part of that which is generically called “Climate Change”.

                    • lprent

                      It is going to be a bit of a pain when the circum-Antarctica wind flows start breaking down. The temperature difference inside the Antarctica fridge and the area outside is going to be strong enough to push a lot of cold air north for warming. . There is going to be a *lot* of cold air as Antarctica warms

                  • MrSmith

                    Very unusual and I believe it did snowed on the 27 July 1939 in auckland also and sea levels where 160 meters lower than they are today during the last ice age.
                    Things change and are constantly changing don’t you think the scientists are aware of this, you have to ask yourself this question ‘who do you trust to tell you the truth’, but before you ask the question find out roughly how much skin they each have in the game.

              • lprent

                Pleased that you read “The Economist”..

                It just happened to be the general world orientated news magazine I’d most recently read. You can find pretty much the same things in any publication that checks its sources.

                The default mode for business apart from those noisy few deniers (mostly with businesses that would lose value if effective steps were taken) have flipped over to assuming that global warming is happening. The rush to the Arctic by both businesses and politicians just shows that many makers of policy actually do understand enough science to understand that the PR by the denier companies is just hot air.

          • JonL

            You really are f**cking thick, aren’t you!

  5. Afewknowthetruth 6

    Kunstlers take on the aftermath of Irene (he lives there).

    Katrina in Vermont
    By James Howard Kunstler
    on August 29, 2011 8:34 AM

    Note to readers: I’ll run an update at the bottom of this blog over the next few days.

    * * *

    The same creeping nausea that followed the CNN ‘all clear’ sign in New Orleans six years ago happened again yesterday. Anderson Cooper seemed a little peeved that the lights didn’t go out in Manhattan, but then the remnants of Hurricane Irene stomped up the Hudson Valley and stalled a while and commenced to rip apart the Catskills, the eastern Adirondacks, the Mohawk and upper Hudson valleys, and then almost all of Vermont, not to mention New Hampshire and western Massachusetts, and I can’t even tell you much about whatever’s going on in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland this morning. Connecticut, Long Island, and Rhode Island are in there somewhere, and surely there’s more than a few things out of place in North Carolina.
    This is nowhere near Katrina’s death toll of over 1800 souls, but the damage to scores of towns, businesses, houses, and basic civic armature is going to be very impressive as the news filters in later this week and the disaster is still very much ongoing Monday, even with the sun shining bright. Towns all over Vermont and New Hampshire are still drowning. The Hudson River is still on the rise. The Mohawk River is at a 500-year flood stage and is about to wipe the old city center of Schenectady, New York, off the map. Bridges, dams, and roads are gone over a region at least as big as the Gulf Coast splatter-trail of Katrina.
    That story is still developing. A lot of people will not be able to get around for a long, long time, especially in Vermont and New Hampshire, where the rugged terrain only allows for a few major roads that go anywhere. Even the bridges that were not entirely washed away may have to be inspected before people are allowed to drive over them, and some of these bridges may be structurally shot even if they look superficially okay. There are a lot of them. If you live in a flat state, you may have no idea.
    The next story is going to be the realization that there’s no money to put it all back together the way it was. The states don’t have the money. The federal government is obviously broke, and an awful lot of the individual households and businesses will turn out to not have any insurance coverage for this kind of disaster where it was water, not wind, that destroyed the property. I don’t know what the score is insurance-wise along the mid-Atlantic beachfront towns – but remember, insurance companies were among the biggest dupes of the Big Bank mortgage-backed securities racket, and when the new claims are toted up they may find themselves in a bail-out line.
    This is a warning to America that the converging catastrophes of climate change, energy scarcities, and failures of capital formation add up to more than the sum of their parts in their power to drive a complex society into a ditch – no matter what a moron like Rick Perry might say. But, of course, political ramifications will follow. There will be a lot of pissed-off people in the Northeast USA. Maybe they’ll even start giving the grievance-bloated folk of Dixieland some competition in the politics of the bitter harvest. Oddly, the Siamese twin states of Vermont and New Hampshire are political polar opposites. Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and other squooshy culture tropes from the attic of Hippiedom, is about as Left-progressive as it gets. New Hampshire’s license plate says, “Live Free or Die,” and that same draconian mood defines the state’s politics: hard Right. It’s like a few counties of Georgia shook loose and drifted north somehow. My guess is that the political rage will be about equal on both fronts, as folks are left stranded, or homeless, or without a going business they thought they had only a day or so ago. And my further guess is that their mood will afford some insight into the extreme impotence, incompetence, and mendacity of both major political parties. As I’ve said before in this space, think of these times as not unlike the convulsive 1850s, preceding the worst crisis of our history.

  6. randal 7

    as far as the noo noo heads are concerned any “event”just means more hammers, nails and sheet iron to be sold. so invest in home depot and you cant go wrong, mate.

  7. randal 8

    nobody cares. its just something that they rave on about on the televsion. as long as me gotta leaf blowa and me is FREEEEEE to ride round making a loud noise on my hardly davison then all is right wif da world. isn’t it?

  8. Afewknowthetruth 11

    Despite being only category 1 when it hit, Irene already is being described as one of the most expensive storms in US history.

    In view of the fact that the US economy was already imploding before this event, many districts in the northeast will never recover [in the traditional sense]. All the states are broke and so is the federal government, and the resources required for to build or repair are just not available.

    As we have previously discuissed, global collapse is occurring one person at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time, one city at a time, one state at a time.

    The fact that things are still not too bad in NZ maintains the illusion (delusion) in many people’s minds that everything is fine.

  9. Joe Jones 12

    The scientists at CERN have poured cold water all over the idea of AGW this week. Apparently climate change is caused by the sun. http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/186758.html

    • Macro 12.1

      What utter tosh! And you believe that?????
      Are you a fool or just plain stupid?
      There is NOT ONE reference to any peer reviewed papers or article, its just out of who-ever wrote that craps head! Saying something does not make it so! Repeating it thousands of times doesn’t make it so either! I’ll bet any money you like that if you were to approach the head of CERN they would utterly deny that they had come to such a conclusion as that presented on the blog site to which you refer.

    • Macro 12.2

      Further to my above comment.
      CERN said NO SUCH THING!
      Are cosmic rays causing global warming?
      NO! see:

      For a simple debunking of this new denialist myth.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.3

      The actual article here. Naturally, the Auburn story and Joe’s optimism are based on completely misunderstanding Cern’s research and the Nature article that explains it. So no surprises there, eh.

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