It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Russ’s passing on January 3rd, 2020. He was at home and surrounded by all his loved ones when he went. His general level of health and post-surgical complications took him sooner than any of us could have expected.
Note: Posting may be suspended for a week or more as I recover from pancreatic cancer surgery. My surgery is on December 30th, with 5 to 6 days for recovery. Once home, I plan to resume posting. Thank you for your patience.
I keep reading all kinds of claims that the slight warming we’ve been experiencing over the last century has already led to an increase in droughts. A few years ago there were a couple of very dry years here in California, and the alarmists were claiming that “global warming” had put us into “permanent drought”.
Of course, the rains returned. This season we’re at about 120% of normal … it’s called “weather”.
In any case, I thought I’d take a look at the severity of droughts in the US over the last century. I always like to take a look at the longest dataset I can find. In this case, I got the data from NOAA’s CLIMDIV dataset. Figure 1 shows the monthly variations from 1895 to the present. Note that I’ve inverted the Y-axis on the graph, so higher on the graph is dryer, and down near the bottom is wetter.
We can see a few interesting things in this graph. As you might expect, the worst droughts were in the 1930s, the time of the “Dust Bowl”. There were also droughts in the 1950s, although somewhat smaller and shorter.
Then for about thirty years, from 1970 to 2000, times were generally wetter … followed by drier times up to 2010, and wetter times since then.
Next, overall there is a very slight and not statistically significant linear trend toward a bit more wetness.
Finally, it’s worth noting that if our data had started in say 1930, it would have a statistically significant trend toward wetter times … which shows that even 80 years of data may give a very different answer than we get from the 125 years of data shown above. This is why I use the longest dataset available.
In any case, according to NOAA, there’s been no increase in either droughts or wet periods in the US since 1895 …
And meanwhile, here on the northern California coast, it’s Christmas Eve, and a gentle rain has just begun falling … best of the season to everyone.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new milestone in its big data program, enabling more access to its ever-growing troves of data in the hopes of sparking new economies and a better understanding of our environment.
The agency launched the Big Data Project as a way to push the petabytes of data it collects daily out to people who could use it. The program is based on the idea that NOAA—and the Commerce Department in general—collects the sort of data that is of interest to researchers and entrepreneurs alike.
NOAA penned a deal in 2015 with five cloud service providers to develop a pipeline for its data to be stored in those cloud providers’ systems, then be made available to the public at no cost. While the partners are not allowed to charge for access to the data, they could charge for value-added content, in much the way weather data is used by industry today.
On Thursday, NOAA announced awards to Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft under multiyear contracts to host NOAA data for public use.
“The Big Data Project’s cloud service providers have shown incredible commitment to open data principles, and they clearly understand the value of NOAA’s data to their customers and to the Nation’s economy,” Ed Kearns, acting chief data officer at the Commerce Department, said in a statement Thursday.
Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre have written up reflections on Climategate 10 years later, focusing on the myths promulgated by the climate academic community. It was McKitrick and McIntyre that exposed Michael Mann climate change “Hockey Stick” as bad science, if not outright fraud. You can take a look at those reflections HERE.
Steven McIntyre Tweets: Climategate contains important lessons on how institutions evade responsibility through sly and carefully restrictive terms of reference, unrepresentative inquiry teams, and wrongheaded findings – relevant caveats in the week before Horowitz
Snow now covers nearly one half – one half! – of the continental United States. That’s the most snow cover on December 2 since records began.
“Snow covered the ground on nearly half of the real estate in the Lower 48 — 46.2 percent of land area — on Monday morning,’ writes Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang ” (This is) the largest area on Dec. 2 since snow cover records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began in 2003. Normally, a little more than a quarter of the nation has snow on the ground at this time of year.”