Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Temperature, Solar, Money, and Life Min & Max

The corner house at U and 15 Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:49PM, June 22, 2010.

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Just a quick update ...

Good News!

Kristof got his U.S. permanent residency and SHOULD be returning here by the end of the summer.

Here was Kristof leaving the U.S. at Dulles Airport on March 3, 2009.

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Very sad news ...

There is unhappy news in the land of Hippograms that I found out about from one of Hippo's "staff" and keepers. It's not good news. But it's not for me to write about in this forum.

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I recommend this David Brooks' June 21, 2010 column "Faustus Makes a Deal".

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Weather ...

The weather is vile and disgusting. It reached 97F at DCA and BWI today -- one degree shy of the daily record of 98F at DCA set in 1988 and tied with a pre-BWI Baltimore daily record set in 1894. IAD reached 95F, not a record.

The astronomical spring -- defined in the Northern Hemisphere as March 20 - June 20 -- was the warmest on record at DCA and IAD and just narrowly missed it (by 0.1F) at BWI, and June is shaping up to be the warmest at all three airports (DCA, BWI, and IAD). Source here.

KDCA climograph for 2010 through June 22, 2010

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And the hemispheric pattern suggests no sign of this ending anytime soon.

Last night there were some scattered very strong thunderstorms in the area -- DCA actually got 0.25" of rain while here in D.C. around Dupont Circle we had mostly just a big cloud of dust and detritus blow through.

A downed tree on the east side of the 1600 block of Connecticut Avenue, NW, yesterday (June 22, 2010) after powerful gusts of wind blew through around 8PM. Chris T. took this picture.

The other two big regional civilian airports -- BWI and IAD -- got zero.

However, there was a powerful thunderstorm nearby that struck where my mom lives in Millersville, and nearby Annapolis recorded 1.17" rain at the Naval Academy.

From D.C. at early night, I saw the storm -- laced and pulsating with lightning -- as it was receding. It was about 30 miles away and was spectacularly visible, although quickly moving away. I had just finished my goodbye dinner with Roger L., who is going to Mexico for a year on sabbatical from his college professor job.

By the way, here is a link to a WaHoPo article -- actually, it's from a New Scientist writer but the Post just carried it in their hateful, pro-corporatist, pro-Bush, pro-war way -- about the very deep solar sunspot minimum we have been in for the past few years and what it might mean, including (somewhat controversially) for Earth's climate.

Here is an image of the nearly "spotless" Sun taken either today or yesterday and posted on the Space Weather.com site.

As for me, I want to go to the ocean for a vacation -- whether New Jersey or Florida -- for a few days this summer as shown in the two pictures posted below that I took in last August.

The gurgling, burbling surf at Wildwood Crest, N.J., on a hot summer day last year, 3:21PM, Aug. 18, 2009.

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My work week so far has been OK. I think things are OK with my boss and the job, at least for now. I was actually taken to lunch today by the head of HR at American Grill in L'Enfant Plaza across the street from where I work. It was the first time I discovered the "upstairs" area including the plaza itself (off L'Enfant Promenade).

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The surf at Deerfield Beach, Fla., 12;22PM, Aug. 2, 2009.

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This evening -- with just about $6 to my name -- I trekked up to Bethesda and met my friend S. at The Barking Dog Pub, or rather in front of the Bank of America nearby. She brought me my final check -- for $440 -- from that nightmare consulting company for which I was a 1099 independent contractor for 15 agonizing months after a year as a regular employee there. I deposited it and got $100 back. Thereafter, we met her brother, who is visiting the U.S., and the three of us went to The Barking Dog.

It was S. who expedited all my paychecks during the horrible 15 months of the 1099 period -- I would not have made it without her.

A small fountain on a backstreet in downtown Bethesda, Md., 6:12PM, June 23, 2010.

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I'm supposed to get my second regular work check from my new job on Friday -- hopefully by direct deposit rather than a hard check as the first one was (and Fed Exed to me from Colorado). The check should be for approx. $1600.

I returned back into D.C. and got home by 9:20PM.

OK, that's about all for now. My next planned update will be Friday or Saturday.

--Regulus

6 comments:

krzysztof said...

About the Sun.
The paper by Michael Lockwood that's mentioned in the WP article looks very interesting. I wasn't familiar with it. The truth is we don't know what causes/influences persistent high pressure blocking events over the N. Atlantic. What we do know is that periodic fluctuations in the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) induce temperature gradiend changes across the tropopause resulting in downward propagation of anomalous circulation patterns (too bad I can't attach a plot). Joanna Haigh from Imperial College did some groundbreaking work on this and I'm trying to carry it on.

BTW Lockwood is the guy who demonstrated (with Frohlich in 2007) that the correlation between TSI and long global surface temperature trends ceased to matter in the 1970s when the AGW kicked in.

Sorry about the long comment but this topic is right up my alley

Regulus said...

I thought of you, obviously, when I saw the Imperial College reference -- and I wondered if you knew Joanna Haigh.

I'm a little skeptical that a model can robustly demonstrate that the global warming signal has definitively overwhelmed the sunspot cycle -- if only because we don't fully understand the cycle as this article talks about.

It's just my own hunch but I think the sunspot cycle has a significant influence on climate change -- and I think the IPCC and other climate scientists have on balance tended to discount it too quickly.

Long comments are welcome.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad Kristof is coming back!! That's WONDERFUL news! :D

krzysztof said...

Quill. I'm very happy about it too!

Regulus. Yes, I know Jo Haigh quite well. I wanted to show her your comment but we couldn't meet today. She is the Head of the Dept of Physics and a very busy person. I hope she and I can still be on good terms and collaborate after I drop the bomb.

I can't agree with your criticism of the IPCC on this point. The radiative forcing from the Sun is discussed extensively in AR4, WG1, e.g. in chapters 2 and 9. Our current knowledge is summarized there in a very comprehensive way.

Briefly, we may not fully understand or forecast the Suns activity but we can study its impacts on climate. This is done through modeling as well as multiple regression analysis. There was a paper by Scaffeta and West estimating surface temperature's sensitivity to changes in solar activity at 25% but the study was found to be very seriously flawed.
Benestad, R. E., and G. A. Schmidt JGR (2009) find that the most likely contribution from solar forcing to global warming is 7 ± 1% for the 20th century and is negligible for warming since 1980.
This makes a lot more sense.

I'd just add two points
1) After having "recovered" from the Maunder minimum the TSI has been pretty steady for the past 30+ years only modulated by 11 year cycles. And yet there's a linear warming trend since then consistent with the logarithmic forcing by GHGs. It was the 80s when global surface temperatures become decorrelated from the TSI (apart from the 11yr cycles). See e.g. chapter 9. Figure 9.4 is instructive.

2) Any increase in the solar radiative forcing warms up the stratosphere. In fact much more so than lower down because of ozone amplification effects. What we observe though is a cooling trend in the stratosphere. It cannot be fully explained by depletion of the ozone layer (here I will spare you and your readers a lengthy explanation) but it is consistent with the increasing CO[2]
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This is not to say that the TSI variability doesn't matter. It does. It influences temperature and dynamics sometimes quite significantly, especially if feedbacks are involved. For instance, the Maunder minimum was likely responsible for the Little Ice Age. What I'm saying is that the Sun does no explain the warming trend of the past few decades. By contrast, CO[2] explains it quite well.

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OK, now you've lost a few readers for sure. I just hope I didn't bore anyone to death literally:-)

Regulus said...

Are we there yet?

krzysztof said...

Mom can write real small:-)