Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

What’s a Tired Climate Blogger to do?

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on July 6, 2010

Clearly, my posts have waned to ridiculously low levels.

I throw up a Forex account update twice a month for anyone interested in this little experiment, which probably aren’t all that many people.

So, what has happened to loveable old Joe? Where are the charts? Where are the opinions on global warming? Am I ducking and running because there have been warmer temperatures in recent months?

Let me address those quesitons in order:
1) Loveable old Joe is still here. But loveable old Joe has had to reassess how and where to spend his valuable old time. (OK, enough third person…) I know I’ve offered a couple previous posts in the past on this, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit.

I have a pretty good job, and I feel blessed to have it. I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful at it and make a good name for myself with company management. This has invited more responsibility. With more responsibility comes more opportunity, and with that, more demands on time.

In the past, I could steal some time here and there or on breaks or over lunch to pull climate data and crunch some numbers. I enjoyed doing it. And there would be times where, even if I couldn’t steal that time during the day, I could do so at the end of the work day. Or, at home.

This available time has depreciated considerably. Not only that, but as my responsibilities at work increase, the less inclined I am to spend the free time I have working on spreadsheets on a computer. Sure, I’d enjoy it to a degree, but I also enjoy many, many other things. I have decided to mainly pursue many of those other interests. But more than that, this is also driven by outside responsibilities.

You see, along with job responsibilities during the day, my family obligations have increased from an “available time” perspective. I have eight kids. Oh, sure, that’s always provided a time challenge. But as all parents know, as kids get older they get more involved. I don’t want to miss out on that. So, I coached my 7 year-old’s baseball team this year. I give my kids piano lessons. I go to 4H meetings with the kids. And so on. I’m sure you can all appreciate that climate blogging takes a back seat to these things.

Then, there’s the music thing. As it is, I barely write music any more and spend less time actually recording it. I miss that. I have been practicing once or twice a week with a band that will be giving a concert this Friday night. It’s volunteer, but it’s a love of mine that I don’t want to entirely abandon. I pretty much lead the thing and put all the music together, and it’s taken a large chunk of time. But worth every moment, because it’s forced me to reconnect with an outside interest that I always feel kind of guilty pursuing on my own.

Don’t get me wrong… I love science. I love exploring the numbers. I love expressing my opinion. But time is time. They don’t make more of it. Something ahs to give.

2) Where are the charts? Quite honestly, way back when I put the charts together as part of my general blog, I never intended it to be more than a simple look at the numbers and to provide some random musings about what they meant. Many of those old charts still get referenced around the web, and they kind of took on a life of their own. I never intended to champion anything other than to just look at the data. I’m not sorry that I got caught up in blogging seriously about the details, because it forced me to look at some things in an interesting way, it forced me to revisit some statistics that I needed brushing up on, and it forced me to learn a few things I needed to learn to have a semi-intelligent discussion on matters.

Along the way, I recgnized waves in the data and tied that to ocean cycles. Along the way, I did correlation analyses to sunspots that showed the importance of “persistence” in elevated levels and associated lag effects. Along the way, I demonstrated that almost all the warming in the last 30 years came from a single jump, and that the trend lines on either side of that jump are flat. Along the way, I presented charts on different time frames that showed both warming and cooling. I showed how the slopes of different lines have changed over time, to provide yet another level of insight into the trends. I looked at all the different temperature indices.

However, while I feel pretty good about a couple deeper analyses (the correlation of sunspots, the best fit sine waves against PDO and AMO cycles, and the best-fit double-sine wave cycles against HadCrut are my favorites) the temperature charts aren’t rocket science. It’s just a trend line.

I never intended, nor did I desire, to delve into all the ins and outs of the data like others do. And along the way, I’ve decided that my charts are of minimal additive value to the wonderful work that people like Jeff at The Air Vent, or Anthony Watts, among a plethora of others.

While I could see blogging about my simple opinion about a story here or a story there in the future, I just decided that for the additional value of it, the time spent compiling these charts isn’t of high enough value to compel me to continue. Now, for a while, I thought I’d try to get to it every 3 months or so. But even that didn’t happen.

Probably the only thing I can say at this point is that I may, in the future, put some charts together when enough time has passed to make an updated chart relevant. One might argue that I’m already there, but my schedule being what it is, I probably won’t get to it any time real soon. Now, I may look at some of my favorite analyses again, because I felt they were more insightful and contributed a bit more to the discussion. Ironically, some of those “favorite” pieces of work from my perspective received few comments, while I’d often get linked to all over the place from a simple trend line chart. Go figure.

3) Where are the opinions on global warming? Quite honestly, I never thought anyone came here to hear me blab about my thoughts on this story or that story. If I’m being honest, I’m much more energized by the thought of just putting up quick posts that make fun of somebody for saying or doing something than I am about the thought of deep analysis. So, in a sense, I kind of felt “locked up.” I didn’t want to post anything if I couldn’t do the charts or something. In a way, this directly broke a rule I had set up for myself, where I just wanted the blog to be what I wanted it to be. But I realize I still felt a bit like I needed to post charts or analysis if I posted anything. I mean, there are plenty of sites that post sotries and links and comment on them.

But, I can pretty much say at this point that (a) this is pretty much what I will be doing going forward, because if I don’t, I won’t be doing much of anything at all, and (b) my opinion is awesome, and even if nobody else reads it, I like expressing it.

Am I ducking and running? While the timing is suspect, no. I fully recognize and appreciate the fact that monthly temps have increased lately. There’s this whole El Nino thing going on and we’ve had “the warmest on record.” I never run away from the data. I don’t hide it, and never have. If things are warming, I’ll say as much.

Now, that won’t change my mind without further evidence that this has much at all to do with human activity. It’s two separate issues to recognize that the last few months are warm and then to attribute that warmness to one thing or another without specific correlation analyses that deomnstrate it.

So this is not a matter of ducking and running. It’s a matter of time and desire and a recognition that others are doing yeoman’s work out there of which I have little to add. So I’ll probably just go back to trying to find anecdotal things to make fun of, politicians to be sarcastic about, and overall just have a jolly good time.

Jeff once asked me a question: Have you given up? At the time, the answer was “no.” Today, the answer is “sort of.” My plan is now to simply have fun. Typing up an opinion of a dumb random story is far less time-consuming than putting together charts, saving those charts, uploading them, titling them, analyzing them, and then finally posting a summary of the analysis. I guess I’m just lazy.

You can also expect to see continued Forex updates. In case you haven’t noticed, this strategy actually seems to be working. Those posts don’t take any time at all because I already have all the information handy. We’re not talking millions of dollars or anything, but if I continue to make money, I’ll be getting more aggressive with that.

The dozen or so of you who still check in deserve an explanation for my absence, and probablye subsequent change in behavior. I’m hoping I’m re-energized by the thought of just posting quicker opinions on stuff without being asked to be some sort of expert in analysis. Maybe this change in approach will even get me to revisit some of my charts occasionally.

Hope all the U.S. readers had a wonderful 4th of July. Well, actually, I hope everyone did, but you know what I mean.


Posted in Blogging, Life, Updates | 3 Comments »

Two Posts in One: Personal – Life Update, and May Outlook on Arctic Ice Extent

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on May 4, 2010

Well, another month has gone by since I’ve taken a look at the Arctic Ice Extent. Actually, another month has gone by since taking a look at just about anything.

Why the low post output, you may ask? And what’s up with the Forex posts?

1) First, the Forex posts are just a little fun experiment with trading gold, and it involves numbers, and it’s really pretty easy to summarize my trading every couple weeks and throw up a post. I link to this from an actual trading site, so I kill two birds with one stone. I figured some of you would find it a little interesting and the rest of you would ignore it.

2) Gotta admit, life’s toils are taking a toll on free time and free time pursuits. My major issue is really the fact that I have numerous interests and only so much free time. As much as I love science and math and trends and climate/weather and stuff, I also try to find time for family (the big one), music (not as big as I’d like), writing (non-blog type of stuff), sports/exercise, I like to read other non-newsy stuff occasionally (both fiction and theological) and then there’s always that pesky work that needs to get done. You see, if I were a one-trick pony, I’d put a lot of effort in here and maintain consistency. Quite honestly, I go in spurts. In a way I get bored, but it’s more than that. I get frustrated. I get tired of the same arguments. I get tired of looking at data and seeing the obvious, only to be told otherwise by the experts, and then in three years when my childlike predictions are spot on, I’m told that I still don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m not a climatologist. Oh, it’s fun for a while, but then I hit a wall and just really want to think about something else and spend my time elsewhere.

3) I am in charge of a department of 2.5 people. (Hours-wise… it’s really a full person sitting there for half a day) I had a baby. The other full-timer had a baby. Then the half-timer had a week’s training. Then this volcano kicked our butts (travel insurance, you know). Between work and family, I have been swamped.

OK, enough of that… let’s look at some ice extent.

Arcitic Ice Extent as of May 4, 2010

Arcitic Ice Extent as of May 4, 2010

The latest ice extent reading says that 2010 is now slightly below 2009. This is a new development, as the 2010 ice extent over the last couple weeks of April was at its highest level on the chart, which is the plot of satellite readings since 2003 (2002 started later in the year).

I started following the ice extent after the 2007 minimum, followed by the winter rebound. I argued at the time that due to all the physics and stuff regarding the thermal retention of water and yada yada that we couldn’t expect the minimum to just go from an all-time low to normal in the course of a year. I predicted that 2008 would exceed 2007 and 2009 would exceed 2008, and that both years would still be below normal. Earlier this year, I predicted that 2010 would be near normal. My predictions weren’t based on fancy models, climatology, or anything else. It was, I thought, common sense.

Well, to date I’ve been right. It’s either “blind squirrel finds a nut” syndrome or it means that common sense has a place in the world even when fancy models are saying otherwise.

But let’s move on to the current situation. In one respect, the ice extent measures to date for 2010 have been somewhat remarkable. Global temps are up over the last few months, driven by El Nino and AMO, and even a rebound in the PDO. And yet, ice extent has been at a higher level than the past few years. So, now we hear about “volume,” which nobody seemed to care about until ice extent and area charts seemed to lack cooperation in the great global warming debate. We have been led to believe in the past that the global temperature rise is the reason for lower ice area. But it’s clear that there’s more to it than that. Jeff at The Air Vent has fairly convincingly promulgated the idea that it’s largely about the wind, baby.

So, here we are. What do I expect? Well, I’m sticking to my thought that the 2010 minimum comes in above 2009, and will be in the more cluttered area of the chart. I ran a simple mathematical model to predict this year’s minimum based on the ratio of icea area per day in relation to the year’s minimum. Running that model for 2003 – 2008 from January 1 to May 3, the results are anywhere from 5.0 million square km to 5.3 million square km. Last year’s minimum was 5.25 million square km. I personally think we’ll see things come in a little bit higher than that, even. 5.3 million would be about the level of 2005, but in order to get back to 2004/06 levels, the minimum would need to be about 5.8 million square km. I’m thinking we’ll land somewhere in between that, say at 5.5 – 5.6 million. Just a guess.

Posted in Arctic, Ice Area, Life | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Announcing our New Arrival!

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on March 2, 2010

Forgive my inactivity. I’ve had other things on my mind lately. I happily announce the birth of our new son!

For details, click here.

Link should be fixed. Sorry about that.

Posted in Life, Parenting | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »


Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 24, 2010

Wendy’s due date is today. Will let you know when I have some real news.

Posted in Life | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

On the Personal Side of Things…

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 7, 2010

So, I kind of left you hanging a bit on my last post, but I thought I’d at least let you know what happened.

First of all, I caught something or another a couple months ago – end of October I think – that really knocked me off my feet. Since that time, I never quite bounced back to feeling quite right. Probably wasn’t getting enough sleep, wasn’t taking my vitamins as religiously as I should have, but never fully recovered, either. Battled a cough and this dry, gunky congestion all along.

In Mid-December, I got sick again, this time a sore throat and more congestion. It was so difficult to get the junk out of my head, though, that by around Christmas time everytime I blew my nose a lot of blood came out – so I must have had a couple blown capillaries or something.

A few years ago I had a staph infection in my throat, and I commented to my wife that the way my sore throat felt was similar to that time. But, day by day it got better, so I didn’t think all that much about it. Just another cold, you know?

Then came Christmas, where we are traveling back and forth and while it is very nice in a way, the stress and activity level is also high. I think this wore me down, starting the process that landed me in the hospital.

On December 30, as I was returning home from running errands, I noticed that the lower left jaw line was really sore to the touch. My sore throat was gone at this point, so that was kind of weird. Oh, well, took some Ibuprofin and it took the edge off – no big deal. December 31, I woke up and realized the pain had spread to the right jaw line, and up to my cheeks. I went outside and did a few things and felt like I needed a nap. During the nap, I woke up chilled and my entire face hurt, and my nose became very sensitive to the touch. OK, finally I got the message and went into urgent care.

Acute Sinusitis (basically, a bad sinus infection). Easily treatable. Take Amoxycillin for the prescribed period, and it should go away.

OK, that sucks but at least I know what’s wrong – at least we all thought. Didn’t go out for the New Year, I stayed home and literally slept for 15 hours, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 am the next morning. I woke up feeling horrible, and then I looked in the mirror – my nose had literally exploded. I can’t not be gross about this… the darkest red imaginable, twice its normal size, covered with yellow blisters of pus, and oozing liquid. My fever was spiked. I called a friend of mine who is an ER doctor and asked if this was normal for a sinus infection. She said “No, get back in right away. I’ll call ahead for you.”

They gave me a very strong antibiotic via IV, concerned that the aggressiveness and speed with which this infection was presenting itself could get into the cartilage, but worse yet into my blood stream or even my brain. After the treatment, I was told to come back for another treatment in 6-8 hours. That I did, and when they saw me, they realized I had gotten even worse, and that’s when they admitted me into the hospital for even more aggressive treatment.

Long story short, it wasn’t until the morning of January 3 before they finally saw the progress they wanted to see to ensure that treatment was working. I came home last Sunday, then, and have been back at work the last couple days, and doing much better. I’m on two oral antibiotics at the moment and a topical one for the infected area, as well.

I am tired, but I can tell that my head feels different. I must have had a mild infection for some time that I was just not able to eradicate for quite a while, and they think that a combination of a number of things led to an infection that started with the blown capillaries in my nose, and ultimately played havoc with the entire damn thing. It had started spreading to the area under my eyes when they admitted me, and that’s as bad as it got.

So, this isn’t my “personal” blog, but I wanted to explain my inactivity here. The last two months have been pretty rough, and I’ve been busy with little leftover energy to devote to things. I am hopeful that this will change, and soon I will have the energy and wherewithal to take a look at the numbers and get you guys updated with the charts you’ve grown to expect from me.

Hope you all have a stellar 2010! And all I can say is: Thank God for a health care system that gets me in right away, can admit me to a hospital immediately, and is able to start aggressive treatment when needed.

Posted in Life | 6 Comments »

Quick Update from me

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 4, 2010

I hope everyone had a fine Christmas and New Years (and for those who celebrate other things along the way, I hope your celebrations were everything they could hope to be).

I have not updated the blog recently due to time off, followed by some health issues. Nothing life-threatening or permanent, thankfully, but I was in the hospital over the weekend and am now home and recovering.

I’ll be back.

Posted in Life | 5 Comments »

I suppose I should post something…

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on July 7, 2009

So much to do, so little time.  I seem to have somehow misplaced my HadCrut notes in the midst of my life.


For giggles, here’s a little “Life Update” that has absolutely nothing to do with climate, although I may add that it’s been very nice here lately, with perfectly warm temperatures that makes one yearn for more.

So, let’s see… 

1) I’ve managed to let my analysis here slide while I continue to forge ahead with my FOREX experimentation.  This is taking anywhere from an hour to 2 hours a day, but lately is looking as if it may bear fruit.  Only time will tell, as the market can turn on you in a hurry.   I’ll update you occasionally.  I’m an honest guy, so I’ll tell you right now that I am down in my account, but not as much as I was 2 weeks ago.  You really shouldn’t trade real money before you know what you’re doing, but it’s tough for me to really take it seriously otherwise.  But I don’t recommend it unless you just truly have some disposable income that you can afford to lose.   I’m still breathing!   I have started  a trading journal online that I’ll point you to some day if my current strategy continues in success.  (Big IF at this point, but we’ll see.)

2) Had to take some family time around the 4th of July.  Hope all had a happy Independence Day. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blogging, Life | 6 Comments »

Here’s Where I’ve Been…

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on April 15, 2009

It has been a while. I thank you for your patience. Any of you who grew accustomed to coming here for my updated numbers deserve my sincerest apologies for dropping out of sight. Going forward, please continue to check in occasionally. Perhaps on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. I will not be posting as frequently as in the past for the foreseeable future, but do plan on posting more than I have in the past month or two (which is basically nothing).

I believe I owe it to you to explain why this sudden switch in my habits occurred. I do so knowing in advance that many will see my time spent foolishly. I’m fine with that.

This really started last September. I have posted in the past that I am employed by a particular company that has basically taken about as large as a beating from the press and politicians as imaginable. Much if this well deserved, and much of it not. I am not here to denigrate my employer nor am I here to defend it in all aspects. And, fortunately, I am somewhat insulated by all the goings-on because of the particular entity I work for.

However, while not a lot has personally changed for me on the exterior, a lot has changed in how I see my place in the world. My company is a very solid operation, but nonetheless has its own vulnerabilities, particularly if there is an extended economic downturn. And, personally, I believe that, in the next 5-10 years, the current issues we are experiencing will be child’s play. I am not here to ask anyone to agree with me or subscribe to my political philosophy. But I must share my viewpoint here to better outline why I’ve been up to what I’ve been up to.

With the bailouts in September and October, our system changed. This was not a good thing, in my view. Then, after the abominable (in my view) stimulus package, we threw ourselves over the cliff. I firmly believe that we will see a short-term (1-3 year) bump from this, and then the day will come where China and other stakeholders stop supplying loans to us, and worse yet – calls their existing loans back – and we will be absolutely devastated. We will have two options: default, or print trillions of dollars on top of what we are already printing. In a very short time, the dollar crashes, everything that we import (basically everything) will increase in price – perhaps tenfold or more – and overnight we are at a point of no return.

And you’re saying… what the hell does this have to do with blogging?

Well, I suppose if you do not agree with my stark assessment of the future, you think I’m being silly. That’s OK. In fact, I absolutely hope you are correct. But if I’m right, then it required me to really assess my situation and do everything I can to protect my family. All my free time has been in doing research and trying to figure out who to listen to and who not to, and to really have a plan of action for ourselves. At the same time, my goal is to do things that are prudent under any circumstance.

This post could go on forever with what this all entails, but I won’t bore you with all that. It’s just been very time-consuming, and I feel there is an urgency to this. I expect that, in the short-term, we have an opportunity to prepare for the long-term.

I had to assess many things, and one of those things is “what happens to my family if, worst case, I not only lose my job but can’t find another one?”

This spurred me on to many options. One option is somewhat out of the ordinary. It is the Forex (Foreign Exchange) market. I have spent countless hours researching this market, testing trading strategies, learning to program in the language of the trading platform, and so on. The volume of learning I have done, and have yet to do, is huge. And this, primarily, is where my blogging time went.

Now, it’s fair to ask how this all comes into play. Especially if you are aware – and many surely are – that depending on the estimate, 80% – 95% of all people trading in the market lose money. This isn’t exactly perceived as a low-risk venture to protect the family!

Well, there are different ways to view this. If you simply consider it investing, then a passive investor is nearly sure to lose money. A non-passive investor has about a dozen different pitfalls that will end up in money-loss. I have become convinced over the last three months from my own efforts that the reward here is directly proportional to knowledge, strategy, money management, and experience. We’ll see, though. Now, I’m not necessarily here to convince anyone of anything. But what I can offer is that I am not approaching this as an investment. I am approaching it as a business. The percentage of small businesses that fail are similar to the Forex numbers, and for many of the same reasons. I am willing to struggle through losses to learn, because I’d be investing in a business, anyway.

But this market makes sense to me in these times, because I can envision our traditional investments in stocks and real estate potentially becoming worthless. This is, for me, a diversification of funds, and an alternate method of wealth generation that – if it works out – is the first step towards not being dependent on my job in 3-5 years. Of course, it could fail miserably. And that’s OK. I’m only risking money I can afford to lose, and I won’t be any worse off a few years from now than if I didn’t try. Besides, even if ALL the other reasons for doing this end up not being a concern, the analysis using trends and different indicators is really a lot of fun for a guy like me. I am riveted by the constantly updating charts and data. I can really play the role of geek with that.

I really don’t know if anyone is interested on all this or not. I just felt I owed an explanation. Silly or not, it is what it is. And this will require continued effort on my part, which means I do not anticipate getting back into extensive blogging. Now, if I make millions and quit my job, then that’s another story! (So, if someone has millions to give, if they really, really like my blog, I’m all ears!)

OK, so having posted this, you’ll be happy to know that I have the charts saved and the numbers scribbled for UAH. A post is forthcoming on that update!

Posted in Blogging, Life | 9 Comments »

What’s Going on?

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 23, 2009

Yes, loyal climate change and temperature analysis addicts, I am still here.

Let me explain why there has been a lull. I am hoping (really!) to get to some things this week that will update a lot of the stuff I look at before the month ends. So don’t lose hope and keep checking.

Over the last couple weeks, I have been very busy with work, which unfortunately, pays infinitely more bills than this blog does. So, when work obligations increase, blogging must decrease for the sake of food, clothing, and shelter. In addition, it just so happened that there was a confluence of meetings and obligations among the few outside organizations/programs I am involved with, so even my personal time has been quite affected.

And, admittedly, I have filled the remaining time with another endeavor that has involved a huge learning curve, and has successfully driven my wife bonkers.

I am just like the rest of you – seeing my 401(k) drop to a 201(k). And while, under the theory that it will rebound by the time I need to retire in 20-25 years or so, I continue to faithfully contribute to what seems at the moment to be a losing cause, I have decided to not just sit around and do nothing with my money. I have really been taking my time to study some of the other markets, and have opened up a demo account on the foreign exchange markets. Yes, the risks are great. Depending on what you read, anywhere from 75% to 95% of all traders in the market end up losing money. Based on what I have read, the successful traders seem to have the ability to develop and stick with a system, accept bad trades, never get into a gambler’s mentality, and obviously just practice and learn the markets. So, my plan is long term and to use demo accounts to learn the actual trading. In the meantime, I have been learning the trading platform, trying to understand the lingo, getting a full understanding of what the optimal amount to risk at any one time is and just what to look for, etc. This has taken up all my time recently as I try to get a foothold in this market.

I only share this to let you all know (1) why I dropped the stock experiment. That money will go to this. And, quite honestly, right now as risky as the Forex market may be, I don’t really see it as any more risky than the stock market, and (2) just to let you know that, while I’m trying to juggle my priorities, I have not forgotten about you and will be working on some things very soon.

Thanks for continuing to check in.

Posted in Blogging, Life | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »


Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 15, 2009

Things are kind of hawire at the moment with my schedule, both at work and away from work. New temperature charts will be forthcoming, and hopefully a couple other things. In the meantime, check out this excellent post by Jeff at “The Air Vent.” He referenced it in a comment, but it is worth another mention here.

In my trend analyses, I just use the data as it is provided. I realize, along with my readers, that there are limitations in the data. But it is what the world sees, so I choose to spend my time looking at the trends in the data set. Guys like Jeff and Steve McIntyre aren’t satisfied with that, and thankfully do us the service of looking into the credibility of the data itself in a multitude of ways. This latest post is another nice tool of putting the data sets into their proper context.

In the meantime, I’ll just point out that UAH data is out, and it dipped from previous month. GISS also is out and dipped below 50 again. Neither NCDC nor HadCrut are out yet (no surprise… they usually lag). Sea Ice is flirting with the second-highest level since 2002. The PDO index actually was warmer than -1.0 anomaly for the first time in seven months, though it’s still -0.87.

My to-do list keeps growing for the blog. Unfortunately, my to-do list is growing in all areas at the moment, so I will get the the analysis as soon as I can.

In the meantime, it’s -20 Fahrenheit tonight. Yay.

Posted in Blogging, Life | Leave a Comment »