Tag Archives: NOAA

They’re calling it ‘Sharpiegate’ … sheesh!

I wish I could have avoided referring to this latest Donald Trump controversy as a “gate”-type matter, but I guess I must.

They’re calling it “Sharpiegate” now. This is the story involving the president producing a map showing that, by golly, Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction.

You know what happened next, right? The National Weather Service contradicted the president’s assertion. Trump wouldn’t/couldn’t admit he goofed. So he trots out the map with the Sharpie-drawn line extending from the “cone of uncertainty” that the NWS had established regarding Dorian’s path.

Now the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has weighed in. NOAA backs Trump’s assertion.

I fear all NOAA has done is feed Trump’s never-ending Twitter tirade appetite. The president will bask in whatever NOAA has presumed.


How about we end this matter? How about we no longer are fixated over whether Trump drew that line extending from that cone of uncertainty. I have no doubt he did, but that shouldn’t consume us.

Oh, wait! If the media plan to let it go, will the president follow suit? Or is he going to keep stirring it up for the media to report on it … and then accuse the media of peddling “fake news”?

My head is about to explode.

Not all Category 1 storms are alike

I have learned something while watching the non-stop media coverage of Hurricane Florence as it pounds the coasts of North and South Carolina.

It is this: Not all hurricane categories can be judged by the same parameters.

Florence blasted ashore overnight as a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 supposedly is the least damaging, least threatening of these storms, which can be labeled as high as Category 5.

Here’s the deal: Florence brought a lot of water with it. Weather forecasters are saying it could dump as much as 3 feet of rainfall on the Carolina coast.

This is a bit of a surprise to me. My family and I once endured a Category 1 hurricane when we lived in Beaumont, Texas. Hurricane Bonnie made landfall while blasting ashore from the Gulf of Mexico in 1986. Bonnie was considered — even in the moment — to be a somewhat tepid event. Yes, it brought some heavy wind — about 85 mph sustained winds and occasional gusts of around 100 mph. However, the rainfall wasn’t nearly as heavy as what we’re seeing right now along the Carolina coastline.

Thousands of residents throughout the Golden Triangle lost power. Ours was out for just a few hours. Others endured days without any electricity.

Rainfall? Flooding? I don’t recall anywhere near the deluge that’s been brought by Hurricane Florence.

So, when they say a hurricane is a “mere” Category 1 event, that all depends on so many other factors that accompany such a storm as it blasts the coastline.

I’ll take Hurricane Bonnie over Hurricane Florence any day of the week.

Does this heavy wind equal climate change?

Climate change has become a sort of synonym for “global warming.”

When climatologists talk about the warming of Planet Earth, they drop the term “climate change,” as if the conditions are interchangeable.

I’ve been thinking just a bit about that. I am not so sure we can bind them together.

Out here on the High Plains of Texas, we’ve been battered over the course of several days by high wind. It’s been dry, too.

I bring this up because for the past 23 years my wife and I have called the Texas Panhandle home, we have welcomed those reliable “March winds.” This year, March arrived about, oh, two months early.

For much of January we have been battling the wind that is supposed to arrive just in time for spring. The wind brings with it those threatening clouds, the downpours, the occasional hail storms.

This year it’s just the wind. Fifty mph gusts have followed sustained wind of about 20 to 30 mph.

Is it mere coincidence that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was the second-warmest year on record? Has the worldwide warming produced some of the windblown consequence we’re experiencing in early 2018 out here on what I call the Texas Tundra?

And is climate change generally synonymous with global warming? Does one event mean the existence of the other?

I believe the climate is changing. I also believe the planet is getting warmer. I am not yet willing to link the two conditions together.

Your thoughts?

Government endorses notion that humans cause climate change

It’s called the “gold standard” of environmental studies.

It comes from the U.S. government and it goes directly against the president of the United States, who calls climate change a “hoax.”

The U.S. National Climate Assessment blames human beings for accelerating the planet’s changing climate. Trump, meanwhile, continues to parrot the line of climate change deniers by disparaging that idea that Earth’s climate actually is changing.

What fascinates me is that the report came out on the eve of the president’s visit to China, which he has said is responsible for perpetrating this so-called hoax. What might he say to Chinese political leaders’ face were they to challenge him on his ridiculous assertion?

This, too, is worth noting: Syria has just signed on to the Paris Climate Accord, from which Trump withdrew the United States, citing an alleged negative impact on U.S. jobs. Think of that for a moment. Syria isn’t exactly an internationally known champion of environmental issues; meanwhile, the world’s leading and most powerful nation has backed out of an agreement signed on to by the rest of the planet.

The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, is rolling back measures taken by the Obama administration. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, insists that President Obama lacked the authority to implement changes mandating cleaner air requirements.

What one never seems to hear from Pruitt is any commitment to protect the environment, which the EPA’s title would appear to demand of the federal agency.

Why in the world can’t we get past the notion that Earth’s climate is changing? I am open to debating the cause, although the latest government study likely would put the kibosh on any serious debate over whether human activity is the primary catalyst behind the planet’s changing climate.

Climate change is the real thing

Rising sea levels present a serious challenge to the entire planet. Same for the increasing ferocity of storms. Meteorologists tell us annually that the planet’s median temperature is increasing.

Can we stop the impact of all these elements? We cannot know the answer if we keep denying what is becoming painfully obvious.

Earth’s climate is changing. It is long past time we got busy trying to stem the damage that’s being done to the only planet we have.


Stand by, NOAA and FEMA … oh, wait!

Texas is about to get pummeled by the worst Gulf Coast hurricane in a dozen years. The state is mobilizing its substantial emergency management force now to prepare for the worst. Gov. Greg Abbott is firing off advisories left and right to warn residents to move as rapidly as possible out of Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, we learn that two key agencies charged with coordinating the national response to these disasters are without administrative heads.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do not have people sitting at the top of their respective chains of command.

Why the delay in finding FEMA and NOAA bosses? Oh, wait! It must be that the president of the United States has become fixated, consumed and swallowed up by the “Russia thing.” Or it might be that Donald John Trump Sr. has been too worried about planning for his campaign stops where he takes plenty of time to rail against his foes. Or perhaps it’s because the personnel management office that helps the president fill these spots has gotten zero guidance on who to place in these key emergency response posts.

I have no clue, quite obviously.

However, I do have plenty of worry to spread to our many friends who live along the huge swath of the Texas coast from Beaumont to Corpus Christi, where Hurricane Harvey is projected to make landfall early Saturday.

I will do so with this blog. I’ll express my worry for them. I also am going to send as many good wishes, good karma and positive thoughts their way as they prepare for the worst.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that Texas emergency management officials have these response routines down pat. They’ve all been through hurricane preparedness and have had to enact their best-laid plans for previous events.

Let’s hope and pray they get this right — and that our fellow Texans along the coast heed the warnings they are receiving. Hurricane Harvey figures to bring a lot of destruction as it levels its Category 3-force wind and rain onto the Gulf Coast.

Let’s also hope — and pray — that any possible lack of federal coordination doesn’t impede the state’s emergency response.

Correction noted on climate change blog

This post will be brief. It’s something I don’t normally do, but I thought I’d make an exception.

I’ve made a correction to the previous blog I posted this morning about climate change. I made an error in stating the increase in Earth’s temperature in 2014. I erroneously typed that it increased .7 degrees; the actual temp increase, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, was .07 degrees. Quite a difference. Earth didn’t heat up quite so dramatically, but it did continue its warming trend.

It was brought to my attention by a former colleague with whom I’ve had disagreements over a number of issues. Climate change happens to one of them, I reckon. He reminded me: “Best to be right when you’re being smug.”

Correction noted.



News flash: Earth sets temp record once again

This just in: Planet Earth just set yet another record for temperatures around the globe during a calendar year.

2014 was 0.07 degrees hotter than the previous record year, says the National Climatic Data Center.


Will that put the kibosh on the climate-change deniers? Do not even bet on that. Not for a minute.

They’ll suggest that the scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration are much of politically driven zealots whose aim is to destroy the fossil fuel industry.

They likely might contend that the White House cooked up the numbers just to advance their agenda aimed at developing those nasty clean-energy alternatives. You know, those wind farms and solar panels that are harvesting the wind and the sun and producing actual energy to heat and cool our homes.

Weather forecasters began keeping worldwide temperatures in 1880. The year just past set a record. Who or what is responsible? Scientists say it’s humans. Other scientists it’s all part of Earth’s ecological cycle which repeats itself about, oh, every other millennia.

Let’s be mindful, though, of an important factor.

No matter the cause, billions of human beings are going to be affected by the changes occurring in our climate. Storms are getting more severe. Ice caps are receding. Rainy regions are getting less rain. Sea levels are rising.

And the world’s 7 billion souls — and counting — are standing right in the path of Mother Nature’s infinite power.

I don’t know about you, but I worry for Planet Earth.


Hottest May in human history


Planet Earth just experienced the hottest May in recorded history.

That’s according to those left-wing, socialist, tree-hugging, anti-business organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Japanese government.

OK, so the reaction to this latest report will be quite predictable.

The righties will contend it’s all cooked up, fabricated, tailored to support the climate-change agenda being put forward by the communists who run the White House. The lefties will say these findings prove what they’ve been saying all along, which is that Earth is getting hotter.

I haven’t yet decided how I feel about who’s to blame for what I believe to be happening, which is that the planet is warming up.

Is it manmade or is it part of the planet’s evolutionary cycle?

A lot of scientific data suggest that human beings are largely responsible for this, through the emission of greenhouse gases and the deforestation of large tracts of land that used to serve as a counterbalance to what humans spew into the atmosphere.

I tend to believe the data. I haven’t yet drawn any firm conclusions. I’m still open to the possibility that Earth is beginning a cycle repeated every million years or so.

NOAA, NASA and the Japanese, though, have laid it out — once more — for all the world to see. This past May was the hottest on record. How can we possibly deny that the climate is changing?