24 March 2013

Motion To Dismiss The Indictment of Punxsutawney Phil

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Motion for dismissal of Indictment 

If it please the court, Your Honor, I would like to make a motion to dismiss the indictment for fraud against one Chuck Elles Groundhog (AKA Punxsutawney Phil) of Pennsylvania. I list my reasons below along with evidence that spring might really be just around the corner.

Exhibit One:

I know this may look like gobbeldy gook Your Honor, but the chart above is crucial to our motion. These are the pressures high in the atmosphere over North America and are are closely related to temperature. The areas in green and blue are cold, while areas in yellow and red are in general warmer. The court will notice that there is a deep low south of Greenland (labeled 519) and also that there is a high pressure over Greenland itself (labeled 546).

These numbers need not concern us, but for the courts edification, they indicate how high in the atmosphere one must go to reach a pressure of 500 millibars. If the atmosphere is cold, then one need not go very high, but in a warm airmass, then one must go much higher; nearly 6 kilometers, for example, over the warm deserts of Mexico.

Your Honor will notice that the pressure is HIGH over Greenland, and much lower to the south. Meteorologists call this a “block”, and it is a well-known one at that. It’s like an atmospheric traffic jam your honor, just think of Connecticut Avenue in DC at 5 PM. The pressure pattern in the Atlantic oscillates, and when this type of pattern exists, meteorologists refer to it as a negative in the North Atlantic Oscillation. If the court agrees, I will refer to it as a negative NAO.

There is growing evidence your honor that these atmospheric blocks are happening more frequently.  Furthermore, they may be connected to the dramatic loss of Arctic Sea ice which has long been predicted to be the result of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While the prosecution may disagree, I would like the court to note that he can find no real expert to testify on his behalf (we do not think the court will accept that a Oklahoma Senator, who made his millions in oil, is a climate expert), while we on the other-hand are prepared to present literally hundreds of the World’s top scientists to back up our assertion that things are going haywire in the atmosphere and climate.

Returning to my main point Your Honor, the weather over the Eastern USA in a negative NAO is well understood. This block forces cold polar air in Canada southward, and this is why we have had few signs of spring! Not only that, but it does the same for Western Europe and I present Exhibit Two, which is a picture of what the good folks of Northern Wales awoke to Saturday morning.

Exhibit two showing heavy snow over Northern Wales which is a result of the extreme negative in the NAO this month.

I wish the court to note that my client (AKA Punxsutawney Phil)  predicts spring based on his shadow alone, and is illiterate. He would therefore have no way of knowing about the numerous scientific papers published on these subjects. This alone I submit is reason enough for quashing the indictment, but we have more.

Our client only noted that spring “is just around the corner”. The validity of this indictment would therefore depend on what the meaning of “is” is. (See Clinton v Special Prosecutor for more on this your honor.)

Indeed judge, the best long-range weather prediction model in the world (which is run twice daily outside of London) is predicting the North Atlantic block to break down in about 12-14 days! Spring may indeed be just around the corner!

See Exhibit 3 below.

Exhibit 3: Showing a return to a positive North Atlantic Oscillation and milder weather over the eastern portions of North America.

I should (in all honesty) point out to the court that another atmospheric pattern called a “positive PNA” may develop and keep conditions cool in the Eastern USA, but it will still be milder than it has been and would fit within a broad definition of spring. (See exhibits 4 and 5 below.)

Exhibit 4 showing a forecast return of the NAO to near normal conditions.

Exhibit 5. showing the development of a mild positive PNA pattern which would mean below normal temperatures might continue.

Lastly Your Honor, my client wishes to come clean with the court (and the public). He freely admits that he based his forecast for an early spring on cable TV programs, and in particular The Weather Channel. He wishes the court to note that all of the winter storms were Greek this year, and this confused him as much as it did the public at large. I mean really your honor! Being illiterate is one thing, but throwing Greek into the mix, and you can surely sympathize with his plight!

I therefore submit my motion to quash the indictment, and notify the court that my client’s whereabouts are presently unknown, but recommend increasing security around The Weather Channel and the Greek Embassy (just in case).