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Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:11 PM PDT

Political Psych Meta

by billlaurelMD

I'm feeling so damn frustrated right now. It's pretty clear that the believers in the Rapture have taken over the Republican party ... since they must believe they'll not be affected by what they are doing, by God!

While I know I'm being simplistic and have actually been told that here, I think this can be laid at the feet of authoritarianism, as I understand it via political psychologists.  Now I'm not a political psychologist, and don't even play one on TV, but bear with me below.

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Well, well ...  someone had the audacity to post this remark on a FB group I belong to call "The National Association of Black and White Men Together" and a political cartoon that was posted there:

Here we go again !! This is the fartherest from the truth (in some instances). And certainly NOT true for me. It's unfair for you, or anyone else, to "GROUP" any one in this manner. I have for so long wished that we as a people could pull together and get along. But it seems as if someone always "taints the water", to set things back, after the hard work that has been done. I agree that there is still the hatred out there, and posting stuff like this is not conducive in getting where we need to be. For the record, I don't hate anyone, Mr. Obama included, I do hate the fact that things are transpiring in Washington like they are. Tell the truth and shame the devil, Mr. Obama is the President, and he is involved in all this, but I don't believe he is the ( ONE ) to be responsible for the whole mess. There is the senate as well.
My response (a little over the top, perhaps) below.
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Well, the hot times continue, both globally and locally.  Well ... not so much locally, since we're only running about 2.0°F (1.1°C) above normal 2/3 of the way through August.  No 100° days either. But that's not so true of other locations around the globe, starting with FishOutofWater's diary a week ago, about "hell on earth" in the Southwestern U.S.  That's my opinion about places like Yuma, NV and Needles, CA, without knowing anything about the weather.  I'm sure there's something to appreciate about the stark beauty of a dessicated, dusty landscape, but I'll just stick with mountains and trees, thank you very much!

With that, let's look at the NOAA July 2012 Global Climate Summary.  I did a quick diary on the July 2012 U.S. Climate Summary; last month beat out July 1936, arguably one of the most famous of Dust Bowl months, in becoming the hottest July and hottest month overall on record.  Year-to-date, 2012 has been the warmest Jan.-July period since comprehensive U.S. record-keeping began in 1895 (below). In the graphic below, each year from 1895 through 2012 is plotted, with the 5 warmest years in red and the 5 coldest years in blue.  Note that 2012 stands well-above all those warmest years.

Cumulative temperature anomalies for the 5 coldest and 5 warmest years, and year-to-date for 2012.
Five coldest and five warmest years in continental U.S., cumulative departure from normal temperature as each year evolved, with 2012 added through July.
And the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor (below) looks like a requiem for the crops in the center of the country, though the temperatures have cooled since the records of late July and early August.  The cooler weather was not accompanied by significant rainfall.
U.S. Drought Monitor as of 21 August 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor on 21 August 2012.  Much of the country is in drought, a significant portion of it extreme to exceptional.
Things are not expected to improve for much of the drought area, particularly the area from the mid-Mississippi valley through almost the entire north-to-south expanse of the Great Plains.  This can be seen in the U.S. Drought Outlook product issued last week (below). This outlook is based on something brewing in the tropical Pacific, which I'll discuss later.
U.S. seasonal drought outlook issued 16 August 2012 for period ending 30 November 2012.
U.S. drought outlook issued 16 August 2012 valid through 30 November 2012.
More below the orange wormhole.
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Just a relatively short diary here, but this headline was just issued by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration:

NOAA: July 2012 marked the hottest month on record for the contiguous United States

Drought expands to cover nearly 63 percent of the Lower 48; wildfires consume 2 million acres

Amazingly, July 2012 beat out July 1936, the worst month of the Dust Bowl era, with an average temperature of 77.6°F, 0.2°F over the July 1936 value.  Virginia had it's warmest July on record, while 7 other states had their 2nd warmest July on record, while 25 other states were among the top 10.

July 2012 over the U.S. as a whole wasn't significantly dry at all.  However, four Midwestern states had a July among the 10 driest (IL, MO, IA, and NE) while Maine had its 5th driest July. The hot weather exacerbated previously existing dryness. I have to believe that early greenup, resulting in earlier than normal demand on soil moisture stores, plus the warm, dry winter, weren't any help either.

Drought was prevalent across the country, with 63.9% of the CONUS in drought on 24 July, the highest value on record since 1900 using the Palmer Drought Severity Index.  It was wet in the Southwest with a stronger than normal summer monsoon.

Some select records set in July can be seen here.

More later in another diary, but I wanted to get this out.


NOTE: Thanks to the proofreaders who caught my dyslexia ;-). Also added some information from another diary on the importance of heat stress on vegetation (i.e. crops!) and added a few clarifying words in other spots.

Drought condition as of 7/31/12.
The graphic is the headline.  I listened in on a webinar sponsored by NOAA and lead by the Midwest and Great Plains Regional Climate Centers, discussing the ongoing drought in the Midwest and Great Plains to see what the experts on the agricultural and economic impacts were saying.  We continue to live in interesting climatic times ... and from my atmospheric sciences background, I can tell you that it's unlikely that things will improve soon enough to stop what will become major crop failures over the next few weeks.

Here, have some corn ... :-(

Drought-stressed corn on 24 July 2012, likely in western KY.
More below.
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... some other goodies (well, that may not be the right word) to follow.

As was implied in my diary from earlier this week, the June 2012 Arctic sea ice report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showed a number of rather disturbing trends, which I'll show you below.  Also, I'll write a little bit about the current heat wave and how it compares with historic heat waves of the past, with the help of an analysis technique that is pretty amazing to those of us in the meteorology/climatology business.

As far as a visual of the North Pole (or something close to it) goes, the NOAA webcams continue to be at work.  The image below was capture at 14:45 Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time for you old-fashioned folks) on 7 July 2012.  Note the increased prevalence of melt ponds (highlighted with blue ovals).  Temperature at this time was 33°F.


More below.

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:54 PM PDT

News from the Arctic: 3 July 2012

by billlaurelMD

My partner and I live in suburban Maryland. In spite of 104°F temperatures and a wicked derecho that came through here at about 10:30 Friday night with 70 mph winds, we're fine.  We didn't even lose power, though the lights flickered numerous times, even before the wind started.  That wind was even scary to me, a weather junkie! For more on Friday's derecho, check out Weatherdude's diary from last Saturday.  Many folks in the Baltimore-DC-Richmond area are still without power with the heat continuing, though at a somewhat less extreme level (mid-90s is bad enough, believe me!).

Now for the subject at hand. Here's what Barrow AK looked like at about 6 a.m. Alaska time on Sunday 1 July 2012 .  There's floating ice away from the immediate coast, and the near-shore is either ice-free or that's one heckuva melt pond!  It was a pretty much normal 34°F at the time of the webcam photo.


More below the orange cloud of doom.

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I spent four days in Providence RI for the Netroots Nation 2012 convention. I'm sure I would have had a better time if I wasn't attacked by some tainted tuna I had at a restaurant nearby on Friday evening (not affiliated with the hotel, but it was VERY ugly Friday night and Saturday morning, I can assure you).  Whether I attend NN13 in San Jose, CA or not I'm not sure yet, but one thing I can tell you for sure is that the National Snow and Ice data center came out with its May 2012 report on Arctic sea ice extent, and since that report was issued there have been some interesting happenings as well.

But first, here's the picture I usually post near-real time from Barrow, AK the North Pole webcam launched near 90°N every April.  It's not a victim of spending cuts (yet), probably because anything Arctic gives Republicans visions of oil wells dancing in their pointy little heads.  Bless their hearts. No sign of open leads in the ice as yet.  And the snow looks to be mostly pristine.  But that sunshine and the clear sky portends change.


More below the orange squiggle.

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Hi all.  I've not written a diary for months about anything, and I thought it was about time I did so.  The last Arctic sea ice diary I did was at the end of August 2011.  Then the gloom of the fall-to-winter failing of the light (let's just call it SAD) took away my motivation to do much of anything except "function". Lots of others here do an excellent job of presenting broad-based information on climate change, so I don't think you missed much.

Be that as it may, here's what's been going on up north since August 2011, in one diary.  

First is the usual picture of a favorite vantage point for assessing Arctic sea ice, the Barrow AK webcam located right at the Arctic Ocean shoreline.  This was taken at about 8 a.m. local time on 28 May 2012.

More below the orange Satansquiggle.


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Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:05 PM PDT

WTF is YouGov really about?

by billlaurelMD

I participate in something called "YouGov".  Until today, I never read the commentary under any of the polls I took.  I should have kept it that way.  What a bunch of hateful morons!  And it may inform us how to take any "Economist/YouGov polls" ... that is, NOT seriously.

More below.

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Inspired by the late Johnny Rook's Climaticide Chronicles, this is an occasional series on the state of Arctic sea ice.


  • July 2011 mean sea ice extent was lowest in the satellite record (since 1979),
  • Sea ice extent is the second-lowest in the history of the satellite record (since 1979) as of this date.
  • Temperatures in the Arctic Basin have continued to be above normal in August to date
  • The Arctic Oscillation has been negative (no Arctic dipole in August), which resulted in spreading out of the winds from the North Pole, and spreading out of loose pack ice
  • A record sea ice minimum this year (below 2007) is not likely.

Details below the North Pole Web Cam from today, and the orange curlicue.

NOAA North Pole Arctic Sea Ice WebCam picture for 20 UTC 28 August 2011


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Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM PDT

Shared sacrifice

by billlaurelMD

Every time I hear this, it grates on me. So I thought I'd do a few graphs that show how those of us being called on to sacrifice have already done so ... actually for a long time.  Funny how the cumulative sacrifices that have been made by at minimum half of the population are not viewed as such.  Sometimes such sacrifices are seen as bad luck, laziness, God's punishment, and other things I'm just not thinking of right now.  But I see them as sacrifices, just the same.

My view will hopefully be a little less provincial than the usual U.S. view in some instances.  A more global viewpoint places things in what I consider to be a more proper context.  Mr. Obama says rightly, "We're all in this together as a country."  I say, "We're all in this together as human beings ... as a world."  And if we don't hang together, we will, I believe, ultimately hang separately.  And in the future, human history, if it indeed still is written or passed down orally, will look upon us less than kindly.

Follow me below the squiggle.

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