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The Why of This Brutal Winter

As predicted on Unknowncountry.com's Climate Watch last fall, this is proving to be a winter of extraordinary fury both in the United States and Europe. England is experiencing the worst flooding in 250 years, and winter records are being broken all across the United States. Meanwhile the Austral summer is entering the record books because of its extreme heat. But why? The reason lies in an unprecedented and unexpected change in atmospheric circulation that has caused dramatic strengthening of the Pacific Trade Winds at a time when they would normally be at a seasonal low.

The winds speeding across the ocean surface have caused it to absorb atmospheric heat. At the same time, an unusually warm arctic and weakened flow in the Gulf Stream have caused the polar vortex to move south into the upper part of the northern hemisphere. This, coupled with a powerful flow of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico across Texas, the Southeastern US and into the Middle Atlantic states has created a situation where unprecedented winter storms are possible, that could have catastrophic results.

While it is still difficult to tell why the transfer of heat to deeper ocean levels has suddenly become more efficient than normal, one possibility is that the decline in the amount of solar energy reaching Earth is responsible. There is increasing evidence that the sun is entering a quiet period similar to the one that caused the Little Ice Age, which extended from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. If this is the case, then global warming models will prove to be inaccurate, but as yet it is impossible to predict whether or not the 'quiet sun' of the past four years is a transient phenomenon or the beginning of a new cycle.

To read more about the strengthening Pacific Trade Winds, click here.

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  • Image Credit:
  • NOAA

ice age here or approaching? just a question which only a few specialist could answer. answer and it may be correct or incorrect.

Here's a link to what I consider the best global warming / climate change blog around:

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/

Scroll down for many fascinating yet disturbing articles. Click on the headlines to be able to read many of the great comments by intelligent readers. He explains how arctic warming, the jet stream, gulf stream etc. is contributing to the increasingly severe weather ramping up around the world.

So much for “HotLanta.” Georgia is starting to look a lot like the opening scene from (The Day After Tomorrow).

https://news.yahoo.com/welcome-global-weirding-104500970--politics.html

Regarding 'The Day After Tomorrow', it now appears that the climate forcing from all the greenhouse gases humanity is emitting will more than make up for any quieting of solar activity. Our long-term future is more likely to be a global hothouse like the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago, than a global ice age. Somewhere in one of his posts, Robert Fanney (pen name Scribbler - see link above) explains how this is likely to play out.

In the transition to a new steady state, there may still be a regional 'mini-ice age' for a period in the UK and northern Europe as Greenland sheds its glacial ice into the North Atlantic, pushing the gulf stream south, but it appears the rest of the world will get much hotter, possibly 6 degrees C this century with more to come when the arctic methane releases en masse. One thing is for certain though, there will be increasingly severe storms in many parts of the world, as we're seeing now.

It really has been an amazing winter here in the UK. Every day my 3 kids have another tale of the swollen river Severn (UKs largest) which they cross daily by coach to school in Shropshire. The news is full of nothing but storms at sea or land, floods gales and blizzards. Today we had the strongest winds so far and the main motorways and railways on the west side of the country were shut or severely restricted. Tomorrows cabinet meeting has been replaced by a 'Flood Recovery' committee chaired by the PM and another big storm is coming Friday. Whitley's Superstorm looks more and more accurate in it's predictions.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

I don't think we really know what is causing the climate changes or if it is known we are not being told the real reason.

In answer to someone posting at his blog, Robert Scribbler describes a scenario that suggests a 'super-storms' future, if not one humongous storm as in the book and movie. Here's his quote:

"The reason why the Jet is moving so fast over the North Atlantic and generating the instabilities that cause so many storms is the fact that we have a warmer than average south Atlantic coming into collision with a cooler than normal North Atlantic in the vicinity of Greenland.

All across the Atlantic we have a race-track of water temperature differentials running about 20-30 C worth of variance in a zone of 500 miles or less. This high differential drives the storms.

As the south Atlantic warms due to human warming and as the waters near Greenland continue to cool due to ice sheet melt and the ice berg cooling effect, this temperature differential will become more intense and, likely, drive even more powerful storms than what we are currently seeing.

The relative displacement of the warm ocean current (Gulf Stream) southward tends to angle the progress of these storms toward England and France. Over time, the powerful differential may (Hansen) result in storms that, occasionally, span large sections of the Northern Hemisphere and contain conditions to which we are not currently accustomed to, even in our most extreme weather systems.

In addition, the co-location of colder water/air in close proximity to warmer water/air increases the likelihood that tropical systems and even tropical cyclones will feed into the larger weather patterns — especially during late fall/early winter.

What we are seeing is a transition to a period of much more powerful storms for, first, this region and later for the Northern Hemisphere. And it appears to have started as of early this decade." (end quote)

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/british-isles-endure-end...

And we're alive to see this play out in real time over the next few decades. It'll be a wild ride. It's one thing for us to collapse our own civilization, it's another to take down the rest of Nature with us. I fervently hope that enough biodiversity remains after this mass extinction that the scenario that the MOTK speaks of, with "species of birds will become intelligent", etc. comes to pass after Nature recovers from our hubris in a few million years. I think highly intelligent Ravens, for instance, will be much better stewards than we have. Having wings, they certainly won't need to drive! - Mark

Thanks for the first hand account. Please keep us updated with any more severe weather happenings.

I'm glad I visited England in 1999 and 2002 for crop circles, because who knows how long southern England will be able to grow cereal crops? Was last summer especially wet?

May you fare well in these interesting times.

Last summer was glorious in terms of sunshine (seventh best since 1929) after a series of washouts since 2006 but followed a bizarre harsh dry winter where the coldest month was March (in Spring) - then summer was followed by months of rain (still continuing). All very very unusual for here.
Mind you - on my one and only trip to the US (so far) in 2001, I managed to pick a January week in Florida when there were frosts. The highlight was a visit to one of your national treasures - the Kennedy Space Centre with Atlantis on the pad (with the Destiny Lab for the Space Station). I still can't get over seeing Alligators in the wild....none of those here yet!

South Africa is also experiencing unstable weather patterns. The short-term recent past is not a reliable guide but the overall seasonal changes show less stability than in previous decades. Longer and wetter Winters and shorter Spring periods being replaced by summer heat seem to the be new "norm". We're about 6 degrees off the "roaring 40s" but in recent years the usual gale force winds have become more variable with longer wind-free or low-wind periods in Summer and Autumn. "Still air" is not something Capetonians were accustomed to. It's good for tourism (Beaches here are often industrial sand-blasters disguised as "nature"!) but it is not good for fishing or agriculture. Food security is now a pressing issue and more intense summer droughts a common occurence.

Ruth Benedict (The Silent Spring) and Einstein (warning that the decline of bee populations would herald ecological failure) tried to talk sense to the general public but they were ignored or dismissed. Now mass extinction in our lifetime is a real possibility - NOT in fulfillment of some hysterical rants posing as "prophecy" but as a direct consequence of the human capacity for denialism. If we do nothing to try to reverse the trend, we will be just as culpable as the CEOs who ignore the warnings in favour of short-term gain. What good is a full bank account if there is no food to buy?

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