Cosmos, climate change, and walking the dog

This Sunday the National Geographic Channel’s excellent Cosmos science series explores climate change (Sunday June 1st at 7-30pm NZ/Aus on Sky channel 72). In the excerpt above, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the difference between climate and weather by talking a chocolate Labrador for a walk on the beach. The series has been attracting big audiences in the US, and the episodes I’ve caught have made compelling watching. It’s a reworking of Carl Sagan’s classic 1980 series, with wonderful graphics and great storytelling by Tyson. Highly recommended. And remember, watch the man, not the dog. (Hat tip to Chris Mooney at Mother Jones).

A year’s weather in 8 minutes (and other things)

From the team at EUTMETSAT: all the weather of 2013 as seen from the world’s weather-watching satellites. It’s an HD video, so a slow download on my rural NZ treacleband internet connection, but worth every second of the wait. I strongly recommend clicking the full screen button (bottom right corner), and multiple viewings. Fascinating, with an informative commentary. And, because we haven’t had an open thread for a while, please take this opportunity to wax lyrical on any climate-related topic currently in the news…

Prat Watch #12: warmest winter makes Ring writhe (and other tales)

It’s time for another update on the antics of our favourite climate cranks — and this week’s star is New Zealand’s very own über crank, weather astrologer Ken Ring. He’s been reinventing NZ’s warmest-ever winter to make it fit with his forecasts. Here’s Ken, back in April, in a piece headlined “Severe winter ahead” [WebCite1]:

The closer the moon is to the earth, the more extreme is the weather, and this year’s closest perigee occurs in late June, which will set us up for a very cold July. […] Very cold temperatures may break records at or near both mid July and mid August.

Unfortunately for Ring, none of that happened. Instead, we got record warmth, and a marked absence in July and August of the frigid southerlies from polar oceans that bring NZ its coldest weather. He is so desperate to make this winter appear cold and to justify his forecast that he’s just published a barely coherent article titled White lies in winter [WebCite]. He thrashes around at a number of targets, but his aim is clear: we have to believe that this was not a record-breaking warm winter. Under a list of links to newspaper articles that don’t support his cold contention, he appeals to his reader’s innate weather measuring equipment:

Continue reading “Prat Watch #12: warmest winter makes Ring writhe (and other tales)”

  1. Because Ken has a history of altering stuff after the fact to make himself look better. []

TDB today: Watching the ice melt

My column at The Daily Blog this week is all about ice — specifically the start of the melt season in the Arctic, and what that means for the climate of the northern hemisphere.

What’s going on in the Arctic is rapid climate change, and it’s happening now. It’s changing the weather that most of the world experiences. It’s the most important and most visible of the multitude of climate impacts we’re forcing on the planet, and it’s worth watching every day. Will this year set a new record summer low for sea ice? It’s too early to call, but one thing is certain. Northern hemisphere climate has already changed, and will continue to change in ways we’re only beginning to fathom.

The continuing Arctic melt gives the lie to the “no warming since (pick a date)” meme being pushed by the usual suspects. In fact it does more than show Monckton and his sad supporters to be wrong — it shows them to be burying their heads so far into the septic sand that their arses are disappearing. I shall be returning to this theme as the Arctic summer progresses…

Prat watch #9: Ring’s wrong again

New Zealand’s favourite astrologer, the self-appointed “long range weather forecaster” Ken Ring — who is wrong about everything — has not been having a good start to the year. He’s having trouble reconciling NZ’s record drought with the forecasts he’s been making. Here’s Ring on February 26th, in an opinion piece headlined Hang on farmers, rain is coming, published at Yahoo News:

So the question being asked is whether or not a drought is imminent. The answer is no.

Compare and contrast with this news report from Friday last (March 15th):

The entire North Island has been declared a drought zone this morning.

Every time anyone other than Ring takes a look at his forecasts, they are found to be useless1. But Ring is working hard to rewrite history to his advantage. His Yahoo News column was posted on Feb 26th, but the same article seems to have been posted to his website a few days earlier2. He’s revisited the piece, and added some notes in red attempting to justify his failed forecasts. But there’s one other change he’s made. Here it is:

So the question being asked is whether or not a lingering drought is imminent. The answer is no.

Of such little dishonesties are Ring successes made. He remains a charlatan, and is — as ever — wrong about everything.

  1. In January, the Greymouth Star noted:

    Self-proclaimed weather guru Ken Ring is wildly astray in his January predictions for the South Island hydro lakes region, in his 2013 weather almanac. His summary for January, based on lunar patterns, says “the driest regions for the South Island for January may be the hydro lakes”.

    But Environment Canterbury flood controller Tony Henderson said the 500mm of rain in the Waitaki and Rangitata river catchments over four days was “probably the most we’ve had over the summer in several decades”.

    []

  2. The datestamp says Feb 22nd. []