The Kingdom Of Darkness
North America, after suffering through a lingering cold, wet spring, is now experiencing a bout of record setting summer heat. Once again, the sizzling summer temperatures are being blamed on global warming. The prophets of climate catastrophe claim to be exposing mankind's folly by shining the light of science on humanity's sins against nature. Perhaps it is time to recall the words of Thomas Hobbs who described the Kingdom of Darkness as “nothing else but a confederacy of deceivers that, to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour, by dark and erroneous doctrines, to extinguish in them the light.” With sweltering weather as their cover, minions of the ecological Kingdom of Darkness are again on the march.
As anyone living in the eastern half of the United States can tell you, North America has been suffering a prolong heatwave caused by a nearly stationary dome of high pressure. This has caused many areas to abruptly transition from a soggy spring to a parched summer. As reported on July 22, by Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground, numerous records have fallen as far north as Maine:
There were plenty of daily records to talk about, but here are some of the noteworthy all-time record high temperatures:
- Newark, NJ: 108° (old record was 105° set in 2001)
- Washington Dulles, DC: 105° (old record was 104° on multiple dates)
- Bridgeport, CT: 103° (ties the old record set in 1957)
- Hartford, CT: 103° (old record was 102° set on multiple dates)
- New Haven, CT: 102° (old record was 101° set in 1926)
Baltimore hit 106°, one degree shy of their all-time high record which was set in 1936. New York City (Central Park) set a daily record of 104°, which was 2 degrees shy of their 106° all-time high record, which was also set in 1936.
So far this summer, seven long held high temperature records have broken or tied. The last summer to set more all-time high records than this year was 2002, which set nine. And the US is not alone. The Hong Kong Observatory reports June as hotter and wetter than usual.
But even across the continental US, conditions have been inconsistent. According to NOAA, while the South had its second warmest and the Southeast its third warmest April-June, the Northwest Region had its coolest such period on record. Meanwhile the UK has been having cool to moderate weather. Here is how the Met Office reported the month of June:
The month began on a fine, warm note, but the weather gradually became more unsettled, with showers and some longer spells of rain. These eased the very dry conditions across parts of eastern England. A short-lived warm spell in the last week gave the highest temperatures of the year so far. Temperatures overall were close to the 1971-2000 average, although somewhat above in East Anglia and other eastern counties of England and somewhat below in Northern Ireland and western Scotland. It was the coolest June across the UK since 2001.
So how are we having “global warming” when on the west coast and across the pond they are having the coolest weather in a decade? The simple answer is, we are not. Of course, this is where the climate experts tell us that local conditions vary and one cool month or year (or decade) does not a trend make. They are right about that, and also right to correct those who point to a cold and snowy winter as not evidence disproving global warming. But notice how they do not contradict the airhead media when they start chanting “global warming” as the mercury rises.
The hand of global warming at work? No, it's just this thing called weather. Again according to NOAA, a persistent pattern during the spring (March-May) brought the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies frequent storm systems and invasions of cold air. In the South, storm systems repeatedly developed in the mid-Mississippi Valley, just a few hundred miles from the drought-stricken Southern Plains, then raced northeastward. Drought intensified in the South, while much of the Northeast, Ohio Valley, and Northwest were subjected to historic or near-historic wetness. Now the same mechanisms are driving the shift to hot, dry conditions:
The equatorial Pacific was in an ENSO-neutral state, which means the La Niña has officially ended even though atmospheric circulation anomalies still reflected some aspects of La Niña. The Pacific/North American (PNA) pattern was also neutral and thus not a significant player in the nation's weather this month. But two other large-scale atmospheric circulation drivers were influential during June 2011. The first was the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) pattern, which was negative for most of the month. A negative NAO this time of year (summer, represented by July on the NAO teleconnection maps) is typically associated with warmer-than-normal temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions in the southern Plains and Southeast, cooler-than-normal weather in the Northwest and northern Plains, and wetter-than-normal conditions in the northern Plains and Midwest.
In Europe, A positive NAO implies westerly winds that bring cool summers, mild winters and frequent rain. If the NAO is negative, temperatures are more extreme in both summer and winter, leading to heatwaves, deep freezes and reduced rainfall. The graph below shows the recent trend in the NAO, as calculated by NOAA.
The daily NAO index for the past 120 days.
A second atmospheric pattern that affects Northern Hemisphere weather is the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which was slightly negative for most of the month of June. A negative AO this time of year (April-June) is typically associated with coolness in the northern Plains and Great Lakes to Northeast, dryness in the Southeast to Northeast and coastal Northwest, and anomalous wetness in northern California and the northern Plains. In Europe, a negative AO compounds the effect of the NAO by driving even more cold air south, contributing to cold winter weather.
In a 2010 paper, “Data Analysis of Recent Warming Pattern in the Arctic”, Ohashu and Tanaka stated, “variability of the global atmosphere, it is shown that both of decadal variabilities before and after 1989 in the Arctic can be mostly explained by the natural variability of the AO not by the external response due to the human activity”.
The effect of positive AO (left) and negative AO (right).
Note that these patterns have been suspected for over 100 years. Before rising atmospheric CO2 levels were noticed—and well before the current global warming scare was invented—these natural features of Earth's climate system were at work, changing the weather in multi-year and multi-decadal cycles. Yet for some reason, news organizations are once again giving credence to the shrill warnings of the climate catastrophists. Even Al Gore has slithered out from whatever rock he's been hiding under to fire off a broadside at deniers, right wing reactionaries and Fox News.
Legions of climate change true believers are again marching forth, waving the output of bogus computer models and claiming to have divined the future. Truly, the Kingdom of Darkness is again rising. But things may not be as bleak as they seem, for there is some evidence that predictions of ecological doom and destruction may be counter productive.
In an experiment by social psychologists Robb Willer and Matthew Feinberg of the University of California, Berkeley, students were tested for their political attitudes, skepticism about global warming, and level of belief in whether the world is just. Results showed that those who read positive messages were more open to believing in the existence of global warming and had more faith in science’s ability to solve the problem, than those exposed to doomsday messages, who became more skeptical about global warming.
In a second experiment, the researchers studied whether increasing belief in a just world also increased skepticism about global warming. “Our study indicates that the potentially devastating consequences of global warming threaten people’s fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. As a result, people may respond by discounting evidence for global warming,” said Willer in a UC Berkeley press release.
Does ecological doom lie in our future?
“The scarier the message, the more people who are committed to viewing the world as fundamentally stable and fair are motivated to deny it,” agreed Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology and coauthor of the study. Overall, the study concludes, “Fear-based appeals, especially when not coupled with a clear solution, can backfire and undermine the intended effects of these messages.” Of course, those who look askance at psychology might cynically say this is nothing new—most people ignore bombastic bullshit, whatever its source.
So is the Kingdom of Darkness rising? Are the climate catastrophists, after suffering notable setbacks, now resurgent? Only time will tell. But as I have warned before, they will continue to peddle their pseudo-scientific drivel unless countered by solid scientific skepticism. The best way to do this is to drag their shoddy and inconclusive findings into the light.
Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.