Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Bad News for Climate Change Deniers

Although the preponderance of evidence clearly points to warming global temperatures in recent years, there are those who prefer not to accept the evidence. One thread that got a lot of coverage during the past few years was the claim that poor siting of weather stations used to acquire long term temperature data had biased the trend towards an imaginary increase in average temperatures.

It turns out that the deniers had a valid point about the siting of the measurement equipment. Quite a few stations were “poorly sited” – too close to buildings, near vents, next to parking lots, etc. All of these factors could throw off measurements and create faulty data.

So, were the deniers correct that the evidence of warming from these stations was the result of poor siting?

It turns out that they had it exactly backwards. Careful studies comparing the results from the poorly sited stations to the results from properly sited stations show that the poorly sited stations were actually biased to produce incorrectly COOLER readings than the correctly sited stations. To state it another way, the deniers were correct in noting that measurement sites were not optimally placed but when the biases from incorrect sites are accounted for it turns out that the rising temperature trend is confirmed… and perhaps slightly more significant than scientists first believed.

Not that any of this will given the deniers a moments pause…

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January 25, 2010 Posted by | Commentary, Environment | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Start of "Sierra Winter" Next Week?

Sometime between mid-October and (usually) early November, the first real winter storms start to arrive in California and the Sierra Nevada – and we move from occasional temporary closings on the highest passes to the annual winter closures.

Judging from the current predictions, travelers need to keep a watch out starting next week. Right now it sounds like a storm system may come through California that has the potential to drop much more than the “dustings” of snow what we’ve had in the high country up until now – quite possibly enough to close passes like Tioga, Sonora, and Ebbetts for a long time or even for the season, depending on what follows.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Start of "Sierra Winter" Next Week?

El Niño? Time for weather junkies to begin speculating!

Starting about this time of year, many of us outdoor types are susceptible to speculations about the upcoming winter weather. Most of us are looking for something “interesting” – as in record-breaking rain/snow, an unusually early start to the season, and so forth.

Those who enjoy the seasonal speculation will appreciate the reports that El Niño conditions are returning for the upcoming season. Adding some uncertainty – but making the speculation all the more fun – El Niño can bring anything from above normal to below normal precipitation to the central/northern California area where I live. Apparently a weak El Niño can bring reduced rainfall, while a strong event (like the one I recall from the mid-1990s) can produce record-breaking conditions.

The current prediction? Conditions are still evolvomg, but at this point it looks like a weak to moderate event.

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on El Niño? Time for weather junkies to begin speculating!

   

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