22 October 2008

Just a couple of things

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I am planning on a bigger post later in the week about the public perception on Climate Change. The story is embargoed until 23 October, but it is worth talking about.

For those of you who read my blog from here, in the Mid South part of North America, I will give you a heads up. It looks like the first widespread frost is on the way for Sunday night. I thought it was possible earlier Tuesday, but I said nothing on air because I wanted to see another model run, or two.

Well, I am fairly convinced of it now. A bit earlier than usual too.

I know what your thinking. Could this mean we are in for a hard Winter?

The only correct answer to that is maybe!

In spite of some heroic efforts, the attempts to forecast the weather 3-8 months in advance have not been very successful. The NOAA folks who try to do it work at the Climate Prediction Center in Washington. One of the people involved in the NOAA Long range forecast units published an article in a journal awhile back that was brutally honest. (I am trying to find it but for the life of me, I cannot remember where I read it! It may have been in Science, if not then an AMS journal)

It basically said that there is some skill when we have an El Nino, or a La Nina in predicting the upcoming Winter. In years where there is neither (Like this year) then the skill is almost absent.

One big exception though. It seems that out West, and in particular more Northern areas of the West, there is a trick. Add a degree over the 30 year averages.

Why does this work??

Because climate change is not just something that might happen in the future. It is already underway. The temps. have risen the most in the North, and Western USA. Here in the Southeast, very little change.

One last thing to mention. NASA’s launched the IBEX misison to study the solar wind. One of the Physicist’s involved is Dr. Dave McComas. He was a kid in Wisconsin who had such severe dyslexia, that he really did not learn to read well until the 4th grade. He apparently still has trouble with spelling. Thanks to a fabulous teacher and a spirit of never giving up, he has become a rather famous Physicist.

So, if there is anyone out there reading this who has a learning disability, just remember Dave McComas. He had one heck of a problem, and now he works for NASA!