Category Archives: climate

La Nina winter working normally

Just like it’s supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

El Ninos get most of the attention, but little sister (La Nina) can step to the plate just as well.  Both systems can be traced back centuries and they tend to operate in irregular cycles.  Over a cycle of decades we’ll see long periods where El Ninos are more frequent and stronger than La Ninas.  One of those started fading about 5-10 years ago.  We’re now in a cycle where the La Ninas dominate.

We are currently in a moderate La Nina phase.  During a La Nina time, the jet stream over the Paciific is pushed northward so that heavy winter precipitation hits northern California, Oregon and Washington while leaving southern California and Arizona very dry. Example: snowfall in Oregon in December set a record high.

After the west coast, the jet stream generally runs along the U.S.- Canadian border before dipping into the northeast.  That was the story for December as most of the U.S. had a very warm December.  Meanwhile, Canada was very cold compared to normal.

But, as the cold dome builds to our north, it eventually has to break under the jet stream and head south.  Right on schedule, that’s what is happening now.  The cold dome is breaking free.  The past couple of days have actually produced below normal temperatures.  And another lobe of even colder air will arrive tomorrow.  That should keep temperatures below freezing Thursday and maybe Friday.

In addition, a weak disturbance will form along the cold front to our south and spread some snow as far north as southern Indiana.  The water content will be very low, but with temperatures in the 20’s light snow should be able to “fluff up” to about 1-2″ Thursday afternoon and evening.

When the cold air dips out of Canada, history shows that the below normal temperatures and snow chances increase for two-three weeks.  So look for unseasonable cold weather into mid January.  By that time Canada has lost most of its excessive cold dome.  Rebuilding begins up north, and abnormally warm weather returns to much of the U.S.  Translation:  February will be very warm.  However, often a La Nina winter ends with another round of the cold air escaping Canada in early March.

Such is life in an La Nina winter!

Editorial time

Opinion piece on an Opinion piece

Sunday’s Courier Journal’s Forum Section contained an article entitled “Now is the time to act on climate change.”  The second half of the article contained useful ideas that individuals can do to help mitigate some effects of climate change.  Idea one suggests that as a community, we provide greater availability of air conditioners and cooling centers.  Left unsaid was the need for similar resources for extreme cold weather.  That’s important too.

The second idea is to increase tree canopy.  This is nothing new.  Meteorologists (and others) have been advocating this for decades.

Ideas three and four call for what essentially amounts to a “weather” Neighborhood Watch program during times of adverse weather.  It’s always good to look out for neighbors and friends.  Also, joining like-minded groups of people to push for ideas you agree upon.

Idea five I will address later.

The first half of the article, however, contains some “information” I found highly disturbing.  That’s why I’m writing this response.

The article starts with a real whopper – To prevent catastrophic devastation to our earth, we must act now.  Wow, where did that come from.  Unfortunately, the seed for that idea has been planted by a United Nations group named the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC for short.

First, and this is very important, IPCC reports are not scientific.  They are dictated and approved by the UN members’ governments, not scientists.  They present various scenarios as to what the future climate may look like.  The highlight of these reports (the latest, AR6 just came out), is to project earth’s future temperature by 2100 based on their extensive collection of global climate models. Reports from the 1990’s had projections that ran 2 to 4 degrees C warmer than observed temperatures.  By the 2014 AR5 report the composite average of over 100 models was 1.5-3 C warmer than real data.

Almost all the fantastic reports on what might happen in the future issued since 2014 are based on the IPCC’s worst case scenario. Back in the early days of weather/climate modelling, a phrase developed which we usually referred to as GI,GO.  It’s longer version is “garbage in, garbage out.”  The new AR6 report issued last month, using all new models, is actually warmer than the 2014 report.

The bottom line is this.  Climate computer models do not work!  And that negates all the horror stories we’ve been fed for years.  GI,GO.

Paragraph two says the IPCC tells us we have seven years to get our act together.  That’s just not going to happen!  Carbon dioxide emissions are going to keep increasing for the foreseeable future.  That’s thanks to China and India.  Remember, the U.S. gave China “permission” to keep increasing carbon until 2030.  India has no restrictions and will probably exceed our emissions by 2030.  Luckily, the IPCC “prediction” is based on garbage.

Skip to paragraph four.  “In fact, heat is the top cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.” In fact, that statement is not a fact.  It simply is not true.  The CDC checks every death certificate issued in the U.S.  Weather-related deaths are tabulated.  In recent years, deaths created by cold are at least double heat-related deaths.  Worldwide, data suggests that over 5 million heat/cold deaths occur each year…90% are caused by cold.

Paragraph five states that our “exposure to extreme heat is becoming far more frequent.”  A quick look at climate records shows that over the past century U.S. “heat waves” have become slightly less frequent.  For sites with continuous records dating back to at least 1900, the data show that the 1930’s produced more all-time high temperature records than any other decade.

Paragraph five goes on to blame some of this year’s weather disasters on “climate change.”  That’s the accepted narrative, but some interesting points should push the conversation in another direction – The Law of Unintended Consequences.

First, the West Coast fires.  One common statement is about record amounts of acreage having been burned.  Compared to modern times, that is true.  But acres consumed now pales in comparison to forest fire destruction in the late 1800’s.  What’s the difference?  Us.  In the late 1800’s hardly anyone lived in the forests.  When fires broke out, they were allowed to just burn themselves out.  Nature’s method worked well for millions of years.  Now, over a million people live in the western forests.  Smokey the Bear says “Only you can prevent forest fires.”  How correct he is.  90% of U.S. forest fires are started by us humans.  Need I say more?

Second, Hurricane Ida.  For eons, the Mississippi River created a buffer zone to help alleviate erosion from coastal storms.  The river frequently created new channels to spread and accumulate silt across a wide area now known as the Louisiana Bayou.  Thick, dense vegetation is a feature of bayous.  It’s more diffuse than the barrier islands of the east coast, but has borne the brunt of hurricane forces to help protect Louisiana far back in time.  Then, along comes humans.  The Mississippi became an import element in commerce and trade.  It was so important that changing paths could not be allowed.  So a levee was constructed to confine the river in a never-changing channel.  Human business was happy; nature wasn’t.  Since then, the bayou has lost its source of life- supporting silt.  Erosion continues, replenishment stops.  As a result the bayou has been slowly disappearing.  It no longer acts as a strong barrier buffer.  Along comes Ida.  Man muddles; nature laughs.

Later in the opinion piece we encounter a really strange statement – “climate change worsens COVID-19 symptoms…”  As far as I know, SARS-COV-2  (COVID-19) was discovered late in 2019.  So, it and its variants have been around for less than 2 years.  Covid is a creature of our current climate; it hasn’t experienced any “climate change.”  Covid symptoms are bad enough.  Let’s not blame the climate for making them worse.  (Note: If you look at Covid-19 data, you will see that the countries with the highest percent of population catching the disease are in temperate regions (four seasons), not in the hotter tropics.

Finally, back to the fifth idea to help the earth – Equip and educate.  We are well equipped to prepare for a continued slowly warming climate.  Infrastructure is the key.

Programs such as rebuilding our highway system, hardening the power grid (just ask TX and CA), building sea walls, and strengthening our RELIABLE power production facilities (wind and solar need not apply) are essential for our future.  Our best bet for energy in the future is nuclear.  Admittedly, that’s a tough sell in the U.S.  Second best bet is natural gas, an industry our current President is trying to kill.

The current philosophy in the U.S.  is centered on costly, and unreliable, wind and solar. All we have to do is look to Europe to see how a reliance on wind and solar is working out.  I doubt we’ll learn anything from the European experience.  If we continue along the road to relying on non-carbon energy, we’re in big trouble within the next decade.  Maybe enough trouble that we’ll stop hyping global warming for awhile.

Oh, yes!  That last item – educate.  I’m all in favor of climate education.  When are we going to start?


Tom Wills


Climate change continued…

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Although Earth’s warming of the past 50 years has brought enormous good to life on this planet, today’s hardcore Alarmists insist great trouble lies ahead.  They’d like to stop the warming in its tracks.  Why?  As far as anyone knows, Earth has no ideal temperature.  There is no exact temperature for Earth.  Over geological time, this planet has been warmer than now; it’s also been colder.  Life has acclimated to every bump.  The Climate Alarmists have made a major cause out of proclaiming that won’t work this time!  Do you know how many times various groups have declared the end of the world?  Too many to count.  And this current Climate Crisis will meet the same fate.

What’s the problem?  The theory being used to predict the end of life as we know it is WRONG.  Back in the days of the “science is settled” era, it seemed so easy.  Carbon dioxide is a major factor in Earth’s climate.  When CO2 increases Earth warms.  The amount is well defined – roughly .9 deg. C  if you double the amount in the atmosphere.  We believe the atmospheric concentration of CO2 back in the late 1800’s was about 275 parts per million (ppm).  Now it’s about 416 ppm.  But, a change that slow is hardly a problem.  No need to raise the crisis flag.

It’s all about the secondary effects of warming.  The theory further states that warming will lead to more water evaporation.  That will produce more clouds.  Those clouds will trap more heat near the surface.  So that actual warming is compounded to more than the CO2 contribution.

It all seemed so logical.  But when they started building forecast models, the models seemed to forecast much more warming than was being observed.  As described earlier, although the predictions have improved, they still are considerably warmer then reality.

Now let’s call in Nobel Prize winning American physicist Richard Feynman…It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”   As it turns out, Feynman really had these Climate Crisis people figured out.  Another quote:  “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”  As mentioned before, the Climate Advocacy groups are currently more about public relations than science.

Why are the models wrong?  In a word, sensitivity.  In a few more words, sensitivity measures how much clouds alter Earth’s temperature.  The “settled science” theory says clouds have a net warming affect on heating (positive sensitivity).  But, clouds also reflect a good bit of solar energy before it reaches the surface.  If clouds bounce away more heat than they trap, it’s a net cooling (negative sensitivity).

We’ve been trying to figure out Earth’s sensitivity to clouds for over 100 years.  Surface-based trials all say slightly positive.  Looking from the top down, satellite studies are mixed – some positive, some negative.  A large mixed study over the western Pacific recently resulted in a slight negative trend.

Nobody knows the answer.  My thoughts are that the sensitivity is variable.  Over various time frames and areas, we have regions of positive and negative sensitivity at work.  How they add up over a year or so will not always be the same.  I believe that the use of a constant positive sensitivity in the climate models is a primary reason for the excessive warming they predict.

One more note on sensitivity before we switch topics.  I’ve mentioned the IPCC and its reports using many climate prediction models.  Over 100 models were used in the 2019 report. Only one model (from Russia) came close to the actual temperature trend of the past two decades.  Besides being more realistic, what made this model different from the 100+ others?  The Russian model is the only one to use a negative sensitivity!  Interesting.


Another quote to portray the current status of (most) climate modelers around the globe.  This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein.  He may have said it, but he didn’t originate it.                       “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

I think we may be entering a paradigm shift.  Next time…

Meteorologists’ nightmare

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021  5 P.M.

Nobody likes to be wrong.  Most of us can hide mistakes so that few people, if any, know you made one.  But that doesn’t hold for operational weather forecasters.  Our mistakes are out there for everyone to see (and ridicule) while most mistakes are hidden or denied.  Yet, as a rule, meteorologists are generally well liked.  My answer to this apparent contradiction:  a meteorologist is someone who everyone can feel superior to.

While yesterday’s blown forecast was truly a whopper,  I have no excuses.  Looking back, a few clues were available, but the heavy snow seemed a far better idea.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch on until it was too late.  Often, in times like this, you’ll hear these comments:  1) We dodged the bullet., or 2). We got lucky this time.  TRANSLATION:  I missed the forecast, but I’m not going to admit it.

Let’s try again

Another storm coming out of the southwest has the potential to be a serious snow-maker.  This time, however, we’ll be on the northern side of the heaviest snow.  Models are in pretty good agreement with this one, but nothing much will be happening until late tomorrow.  So, that gives time for adjustments.

Here’s the way it looks now:  some light snow is possible (30% chance)  tomorrow but with little or no snow accumulation.  Snow likely tomorrow night accumulating 1″-3″ by Thursday morning.  Thursday morning flurries exit area by Noon.


Sets of “identical twins” usually do not have identical DNA genomes.  About 90% of identical twins have genome differences ranging from a few to hundreds of sequence differences.  This comes from a newly published study in Iceland.

Snow gauge photo

Not much change since Sunday:


Winter’s return still on target

Wed, Jan. 15, 2020

This morning’s showers surprised me as I thought the return to warm air would be dry.  But the yoyo weather will continue – warm today, colder tomorrow, and warmer with periods of rain Fri/Sat.  Then, Sunday wintry weather arrives.  We’ll see below normal temperatures for at least a couple of weeks.  The GFS has lost the weak clipper system it was earlier predicting for Tuesday night. Now it’s developing a snow to rain event for Wednesday night and Thursday.  Updates will follow.

Australian Fires

Due to geographical location, global wind patterns and ocean currents, the West Coast of North America and the East Coast of Australia are both prone to seasonal forest fires.  This is nothing new – it’s been going on for thousands of years.  Many are putting the blame for this year’s higher than normal fire destruction on “climate change.”  Good try, but climate change has been going on forever, just like the fires.  Might other things be involved?   Of course.

1).  Forest maintenance –  Like the U.S., Australia bans removal of undergrowth from forest floors.  Undergrowth removal eliminates the majority of the fuel for fire growth and rapid spread.  Seems to me that undergrowth removal should be priority #1.  But, it’s banned.  The result is more fires, much more land burned, rapid spread of fires, more wildlife and human deaths…   (But, it keeps some environmentalists happy.)

2).  Population – Since 1950 Australia’s population has jumped from around 8 million to about 25 million today.  As in the U.S., Australians have built many homes in forested areas amplifying the potential death and damage fires can create.

3).  Humans-  So, we’ve got forests primed to ignite, and many more people living in them.  Then you add in the fact that humans are pretty careless.  In the U.S., an estimated 85% of all forest fires are caused by humans.  I’m guessing it’s about the same down under.

4).  Malicious humans.  A large number of forest fires are intentionally started by arsonists.  U.S. numbers say 21% of our forest fires are arson.  As of yesterday, about 155 people have been arrested on arson charges in Australia.  An additional (approximately) 300 have been arrested for fire-related offenses.

Forest fires have been occurring for as long as Mother Earth has had forests.  Climate change has been happening even longer than that.  But, since we homo sapiens arrived about 200,000 years ago, life for forests has become much more hazardous.

Note: The graph below portrays the areal coverage of Australian fire damage for the past 100 years.  This year  (so far) ranks #3, but 1975 was ten times higher than this year!

Note 2: In 1975 the big climate issue was global cooling and the beginning of the next Ice Age.  So, I wonder if that year’s fires were blamed on that.

Note 3:  One hectare equals 2.47 acres.

Fig. 1. Yearly fire season (June through May) hectares burned by major bushfires in Australia since the 1919-20 season (2019-20 season total is as of January 7, 2020).

Ohio River will reach Flood Stage Tuesday

Sun. Feb. 10, 2019  3 P.M.

Periods of rain through early Tuesday

The Ohio:  Predictions for the Ohio River in Louisville are little changed since yesterday.  It’s expected to reach flood stage (23 feet)  midday Tuesday and crest just under 30 feet Friday.  Those forecasts take into account past rains plus expected rain for the next few days.

The forecasts:  The human and model forecasts are all in line today.  They expect 2″ to 2.5″ to fall from today through early Tuesday.  At this time, I don’t see any reason to question those forecasts.  So, if you have interests in the Ohio’s flood plain, get prepared.

Data:  Current level (3 P.M.)  just under 21′ and rising                                                                                         Flood Stage is 23′  expected around Noon Tuesday                                                                                 Crest:  just under 30′  Friday                                                                                                                         Moderate Flood Stage is 30′

Rainfall greater than 2.5″ could increase the expected crest.

Cold bottoms tonight

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019

Major warming this weekend

At least the winds have calmed.  Bitter cold air temperatures again tonight with a low  0 to -2 at the airport and most areas outside the Watterson will be below zero tomorrow morning.  We’ll see more clouds again tonight keeping temperatures from dropping too far below zero.  Could be a snowflake or two, but no accumulation this time around.

Afternoon temperatures tomorrow will climb into the upper 20’s.  Models are really downplaying the weather system due in the area tomorrow night into Friday.  Current indications are for some light snow beginning late tomorrow night then changing into rain Friday morning.  Looks like not much of either snow or rain.  More on that tomorrow.


According to Boeing, more than 80% of the world’s population has never flown on an airplane.

We’re starting to feel the results of the SSW!

Winter is mounting an offensive.

If you haven’t read last week’s post concerning the Sudden Stratospheric Warming, reading it now would be a good background for what comes next.

The shift toward a major cold trend for the eastern U.S. is now underway.  Today’s cold snap is the beginning and we’re likely to see several more cold surges over the next 7-10 days.  Then, it gets REALLY cold for the latter third of the month.  The primary focus of the cold trend looks like it’ll be over areas of eastern Canada, the Great Lakes and the Middle Atlantic/New England states.  But, there should be a sizable amount left for us, too.

What about snow?

Our first shot at snow will come this weekend.  A weak disturbance moving out of the southwest will stay south of us Fri/Sat.  That will hold the current cold air in place so that any precipitation is likely to be snow.  That should begin late Friday/early Saturday and continue on into Sunday morning.  Not much moisture should get this far north, snow potential is not very high.  BUT, even though all the major thickness indicators favor snow for this system, I still suspect a big problem- surface temperatures!  It looks to me as though surface temperatures will remain near (or above) 32 degrees throughout the precipitation event. I’d say small accumulations early Saturday will melt away during the day.  Then another minor accumulation Saturday night will melt away Sunday.  I don’t expect any road problems.

NOTE:  This is still a weak, developing system, so a lot of changes could happen over the next two days.  Updates will follow.

Climate update:

Even though the U.S. dropped out of the Paris Climate Agreement, we’re done a better job at carbon reduction than almost all the nations that did sign the agreement!.  U.S. carbon emissions were up a little last year, but we are 11% below our 2005 totals.  2005 is the “base” year for the carbon reduction goals.  Europe is also down a little, but the rest of the world continues to rapidly increase carbon emissions.  China and India are BY FAR the greatest contributors  to the increase.

Quiet night

Monday, July 18, 2016  6 P.M.

Atmosphere has quieted over much of the region and should remain calm, but very warm and muggy tonight.  In spite of the Weather Service’s 40% chance for rain/t-storms tonight, the actual chance for rain is pretty close to zero.

Plenty of heat and humidity will be the primary story this week,  Don’t be surprised if we reach the upper 90’s.

What happened to that “Godzilla” El Nino

We did have a strong El Nino during the winter.  It actually turned out to be a little stronger than the one in 1998, but it was far less destructive for the U.S.  In fact, this El Nino  could probably be described as more beneficial than damaging for the western states.  Reservoir levels at at, or slightly above, normal for July from central California northward, but conditions remain far too dry over the south.  If this winter was “Godzilla”, California could use several more winters just like it.

Almost always, El Nino’s are followed by La Nina conditions.  It didn’t take long.  Ocean water temperatures have been falling for months.  Neutral conditions were reached during May.  Then last week entered weak La Nina conditions.  How strong the La Nina will become remains to be seen, but current forecasts predict it’ll remain in the mild to moderate range through the rest of the year.  As a result, global air temperatures  will probably drop below normal for a few months later this year.


Better day tomorrow!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quite rainy day…most of Jefferson County seems to be nearing (or over) the one inch mark  now (5:45 P.M.) with more due until about Midnight.  After that,  weak cool front drops across the area and pushes the rain eastward for tomorrow.  But the upper air system looks like it’ll reload tomorrow and return the on-and-off showers for Saturday through Monday.

Next week figures to remain mild, but it should’t be nearly as wet.

El Nino

The current El Nino is beginning to wind down, but should not drop to “normal” status until this summer.  But, historically, a strong El Nino brings a La Nina in its wake.  So, beginning later this year, our Earth is likely to see below normal temperatures setting in and lasting for a year or two.  According to satellite data, February was Earth’s warmest month (during the satellite era).  The previous record was set during another strong El Nino year – 1998.

El Nino precipitation

El Nino weather patterns are known to bring above normal precipitation totals to the southwestern U.S.  Drought-stricken California was greatly anticipating plenty of rain and snow this winter.  Until last weekend the winter rainy season hadn’t lived up to expectations.   Now,  after last weekend’s heavy rains put a lot of water into the state’s reservoirs, there is hope that many of the recent water restrictions may be eased this year.

Even better news is that at least two more significant storms appear headed toward the Golden State over the next week to 10 days.  If they both make it, California’s water situation will look better than it has for many years!

Comic relief

Saw a headline recently, “Researchers now say that man’s influence on climate may date back to the 1930’s.  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$…yes, that’s your hard-earned money (tax dollars)  being wasted on insanity.  The headline gave me a good laugh, but in the larger picture, it should have made me cry.  It’s sad, really, about all the money being  wasted over the “climate change” agenda.

The “problem”, if you want to call it that, is nothing new.  Ever since humans learned to cultivate crops and to live in communities, we have been inadvertently altering our climate.  As our population has grown to over seven billion, the change we bring to our Earth has been expanding.  Carbon dioxide is just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall picture.  As climate has changed in the past, humans have acclimated, or adapted, to the new circumstances.  In spite of the “stories” we’re being told by many so-called leaders, Earth’s climate is NOT broken, so it can’t be FIXED.  It just changes, and so must we.