Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Category

Keeping Watch on the Redoubt Volcano

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 30, 2009

No doubt about Redoubt?  Scientists say it's ready to blow.

No doubt about Redoubt? Scientists say it's ready to blow.

While nobody wishes for volcanic eruptions, due to the obvious destructive capabilities they present, they are at the same time awesome events to behold (particularly for those of us not in harm’s way).

Reality is reality, though. I suppose it is always possible that scientists are mistaken about the imminence of a volcanic eruption, but all indications are that the 10,200 Redoubt Volcano, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, is on the verge of eruption.

From the story I linked to:

On Nov. 5, geologists noted changed emissions and minor melting near the Redoubt summit and raised the threat level from green to yellow. It jumped to orange – the stage just before eruption – on Sunday in response to a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano.

Alaska’s volcanoes are not like Hawaii’s. “Most of them don’t put out the red river of lava,” said the observatory’s John Power.

Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high – more than nine miles – into the jet stream.

From the L.A. Times we get a picture of the last eruption, in 1989.

It would not be a pleasant period in Anchorage if Redoubt were to blow its top, if its previous eruption is any indication.

For five months beginning in December 1989, smoke and ash from the 10,197-foot peak disrupted international air traffic and deposited volcanic dust throughout the Anchorage region.

Now, as this applies to climate, we can already prepare ourselves for the response to probable continued cooling in 2009: “Well, of course it cooled. That volcano over in Alaska erupted. It’s all that Palin gal’s fault, you know.”

Now, far be it from me to suggest that introducing megatons of ash into the air won’t have a cooling impact on the climate. It absolutely does, to one degree or another (catch the pun? Ha! I slay myself…), depending on the amount of ash, its composition, how high and persistent it is in the jet stream, yada yada. So my contention is not that such an event won’t contribute to cooling. My issue will be – as I predict will happen – that this will be a psychologically welcome event by AGW supporters so they have a convenient scapegoat for ALL cooling that ensues for the next year after this eruption.

But that’s conjecture. We shall see. Until then, here’s hoping and praying for the safety of our friends in the great state of Alaska. By the way, I like your guys’ quarter.

Posted in Alaska, Climate Change, Current Events, Earth, Mount Redoubt, News, Science, Volcanos | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

July 2008 Update on Global Temperature – NCDC

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on July 25, 2008

Sorry it took me a while to get to this, but life has been busy, and this ain’t my day job…

But I have finally gotten around to updating my spreadsheets and charts with the release of the NCDC (NOAA) temperature anomalies. The June anomaly was 0.4732 in June. This represented a slight increase over the May anomaly of 0.4374. So, four of the five measures showed a slight increase over May, with one temperature measure moving in the other direction: GISS. One must be fair to point that out, since GISS is usually looked at as the outlier in the other direction. I’m not saying it helps build confidence in the measure, it just is what it is.

NCDC anomalies, though, deviate from the satellite results even more starkly than the other surface measures. The satellite data tells us that June was actually relatively cool by historical standards. NCDC is telling us a different story. The June 2008 anomaly is the coolest since 2004, and cooler than 6 of the past 7 years, continuing the short-term trend downward. But from there the past anomalies drop off considerably. There are no monthly anomalies prior to 1997 that are higher than the 2008 reading. That just seems odd to me, especially given the disparity from the satellite data. But it’s what the data we have says. Accordingly, 2008 is the 9th warmest June in the history of the data.

I remember making the argument at some point about how you can spin the data a couple different ways. One way is to point out that it’s the 9th warmest June on record. Sounds impressive… However, there’s also the mountain climbing analogy, where after you reach the summit, your first steps down will still be close to the summit. The fact that you are near the summit does not indicate a continuing trend upward, even though each step you take actually increases your average elevation per step until some point lower down on the mountain. Could it be that this is what we are witnessing with temperatures? All the temperature measures show a short-term cooling trend. The fact that we are still near historical highs may indicate continued warming, or it just may be that we are in the initial phases of cooling. As always, only time will tell.

As for the run of year-over-year decreases in anomalies, 11 of the last 12 months show a decline. The exception is March 2008 versus March 2007.

As kind of an aside, I wanted to share the following news article I came across today: Anchorage, Alaska is on pace to have it’s coldest summer on record. They are, of course, quick to explain that this can’t be looked upon as a trend. Of course, they’re right. But it seems like that is mentioned in every story I see that indicates it is cooling on our planet. At some point, the totality and cumulative affect of all these circumstantial evidences would seem to indicate a larger trend. If the data were saying a different thing, that would be one thing – but it’s not. I personally think we’re in store for more cooling ahead. But we’ll see.

That said, you can’t really argue the long-term trend, other than to say it is by no means a catastrophic warming trend. But it is, in fact, warming over the long haul, at least over the last 130 years.

As always, I look at the cooling trend, as well. This month, the initial month remained January 2001, but we did gain the additional June data point. So, the current trend is 7.5 years, just like the GISS data shows.

Here is an update to the changes in the 60-month slope values over the data set:

I will now discuss the upcoming predicted anomalies from the ncdc data. After that, click on the “read more” link to see a series of other charts that may interest you: 60, 180, and 360 month trend lines; graphs of the change in slope values for 60, 180, and 360 month trend lines; 15 year and 30 year changes in slope values over the life of the data set. I don’t want to clog your browser with all these with a full post.

It is now time to brag a little bit. See this post on anomalies predicted for June on the NCDC data and you will find an average predicted anomaly of 47.8. The average excuding high and low was 47.8, and the median prediction was 48.1. The lowest value predicted was 42.0 using the 240-month model, and the highest vlaue predicted was 53.6 using the 300-month model. The actual result, as previously shared, was 47.3! This means that, for one glorious month, anyway, my model accurately projected the global temperature to within 0.005 degrees, using the average values. Not bad, if I say so myself.

Last month, the July prediction using the averages had a bit higher range, from 48.3 to 49.2. Updating the analysis for the new data, the range of predictions has tightened. Should the model hold, we can expect to see an anomaly of 48.3 to 48.8. The lowest predicted anomaly is the value using the 120-month trend lines, at 42.7. The highest predicted anomaly is the value derived from the 180-month trend lines: 54.1.

I won’t put the next year’s predictive values in grid form. In general, the predicted anomalies look to increase slightly if past data trends hold, and then the winter/spring is expected to be warmer before falling back down to anomalies at today’s levels by next August.

For a look at those historical charts, click…
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Posted in Alaska, Climate Change, Current Events, Earth, Global Warming, Science, Weather | Leave a Comment »

Why Alaska Hates Polar Bears

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on May 27, 2008

After all… if the Governor of Alaska is suing to pull the newly-tabbed “threatened” Polar Bear off that list and she is the elected representative of that state, then the logical question is “Why do you hate Polar Bears so much?”

Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

A lot has been said about our fuzzy white friends to the north lately. Are they really threatened? Is it true that the population has increased over the last 25 years? Can they really drink a Coke while sliding down a hill? And what ever happened to those unfortunate cubs that floated off into the ocean on a block of ice, like Yukon Cornelius avoiding the abominable snow monster (which, come to think of it, kind of looks like a 4-year-old’s rendition of a Polar Bear).

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Posted in Alaska, Animal Stories, Animals, Arctic, Climate Change, Current Events, Global Warming, News, Polar Bears, Politics | Leave a Comment »