An interview with Weatherunderground’s Dr. Jeff Masters:
Christine Shearer: How do you think about the relationship between climate, climate change, and daily weather?
Jeff Masters: Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get. I like to think of the weather as a game of dice. Mother Nature rolls the dice each day to determine the weather, and the rolls fall within the boundaries of what the climate will allow. The extreme events that happen at the boundaries of what are possible are what people tend to notice the most. When the climate changes, those boundaries change. Thus, the main way people will tend to notice climate change is through a change in the extreme events that occur at the boundaries of what is possible. If you want a longer explanation, think of the weather as a game of dice like craps or backgammon, where Mother Nature rolls two six-sided dice to decide the day’s weather. There are 36 possible combinations of the two dice, and rolls can range from two to twelve. Most often, an ordinary roll like six, seven, or eight comes up; seven is the most common, with a 6 in 36 probability. Rolls of six and eight are only slightly less common, coming up with a 5 in 36 probability. These rolls of the “weather dice” correspond to typical summer weather–high temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s on a nice summer day in New York City, for instance. It is much harder to roll an extreme event–snake eyes (corresponding to a record cold day, with a high near 65), or double sixes (a record warm day, with a high near 100.) These rolls only have a 1 in 36 chance of occurring–about 3%.
Now think about what happens if we take one of the six-sided “weather dice” and paint an extra spot on each side. The old die still rolls a one through six, but the new die now rolls a two through seven. The most likely roll increases to an eight, so we’ve shifted to a warmer climate, getting a typical summertime high of 78 degrees instead of 76. However, the increase in 78 degree days isn’t that noticeable, since we’ve only increased the likelihood of getting an eight on our “weather dice” from 5 in 36 to 6 in 36. But now look at what has happened to extreme events as a result of loading our “weather dice” in favor of higher rolls. Whereas before we had only a 3% chance of rolling a twelve on our “weather dice”–an extreme heat day of 100 degrees in New York City – we’ve now tripled these chances to almost 9%, since there are three possible combinations of the dice that total twelve or higher. Moreover, it is no longer possible to roll snake eyes, corresponding to a record cold day, but it is now possible to roll a 13–a previously unprecedented weather event. Temperatures higher than 106, New York City’s previous all-time high temperature, can now occur.
Tuesday, Feb 7 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking Tuesdays | This week, Spocko and Mike Stark — in the context of today’s media environment, effective activism, organizing strategies and the power of the 99% — explore what we can learn from the SOPA fight and the Korman debacle to fight the Right. Follow @spockosbrain @mike_stark Listen live and later on BTR
Feb 7th, 2012 at 3:49 pm by susie
If you’re going to rely on nuclear energy, it’s a very, very bad idea to rely on for-profit companies who have every incentive to cut corners and cover up. Can anyone honestly say they still believe anything TEPCO says? Not a great position for Japan to be in:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. injected boric acid into a reactor at its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to prevent an accidental chain reaction known as re- criticality after temperatures rose in the past week.
The temperature of the No. 2 reactor was 70.1 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) as of 6 a.m. today, according to preliminary data, Akitsuka Kobayashi, a spokesman for the utility, said by phone. The reading fell from 72.2 degrees at 5 a.m. this morning, and is below the 93 degrees that’s used to define a cold shutdown, or safe state, of the reactor.
Since Feb. 1, temperatures at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor vessel have risen by more than 20 degrees Celsius, according to the company’s data. Tepco, as the utility is known, and the government announced that the Fukushima plant reached a cold shutdown on Dec. 16, nine months after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami wrecked the nuclear station, and caused three reactors to meltdown and release radiation.
“It was too early to say the plant is safe in December. They declared cold shutdown even though nobody is sure about the location of melted fuel,” Tetsuo Ito, the head of the Atomic Energy Research Institute at Kinki University in western Japan. “A similar incident will probably occur again.”
Wingnuts love to cut higher education, because they much prefer for-profit trade schools:
The Republican’s budget slashes overall state support for public universities by 17 percent to $1.4 billion.
Three of the four state-related universities, scandal-plagued Penn State and Temple Universities and the University of Pittsburgh, would all see their state funding reduced by about 30 percent.
And taxpayer support for the 14 state-owned universities, which includes Kutztown and East Stroudsburg universities, decreases from the current $413 million to $330 million in the administration’s spending proposal. That’s an overall decrease of 20.1 percent.
Corbett said those reductions show the state needs to rethink how it funds higher education. He said his administration would create a panel, led by former state Sen. Rob Wonderling, “to study our system and to make recommendations on how our universities can best serve the students and citizens of this new century.
“We need to have a thorough, public and candid conversation about how best to deal with the spiraling costs and our own obligations,” Corbett said.
Rep. Gary Day, R-Berks, whose district includes Kutztown University, said he wants to take a closer look at the administration’s proposed reductions to “make sure they do not harm the operations” of the state-owned school.
The budget slashes Penn State’s funding by $64 million, from the current $228 million to $163.4 million starting July 1.
Funding for Pitt drops from $136 million to $95.2 million; Temple’s funding drops from $140 million to $98 million and the fourth state-related school, Lincoln University, is flat-funded at $11.1 million.
Court didn’t rule gay marriage is a right — only that singling them out as not having the right is unconstitutional.
If the people who run the corporate media weren’t cowardly, crooked, or just plain lazy, they would have reported the sobering facts presented yesterday in a Reader Supported News piece by economist Robert Reich. More here.
Mary Landrieu is almost always a worthless piece of corrupt shit (I throw in that caveat on the off chance that she doesn’t sexually molest children, but confines herself to poisoning their water supply). http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/wyoming-fracking-report-6652109#ixzz1lhkMLMWF“>Charlie Pierce:
Landrieu and a Republican senator from Ohio named Rob Portman have joined their oily hands to jack around with an upcoming EPA report on fracking-related groundwater contamination in Wyoming. The EPA already has made it known that the report will be both specific and damning as regards the reckless way the fracking procedures have been used in Wyoming and the terrible consequences that may result:
The EPA found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals. Health officials last year advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found low levels hydrocarbons in their wells.
Now why should a senator from Ohio and another one from Louisiana want to slow-walk an EPA report about groundwater contamination in Wyoming? Because they’re both a couple of ‘ho’s, that’s why. Landrieu’s been in the pocket of the extraction industries for so long that she probably has dryer lint in her ears, and Portman wants to be re-elected and so needs some of that sweet-sweet crude cash to do so. So the two of them draft a letter to Cass (Middle Ground) Sunstein complaining that the EPA might go too harshly on the frackers in Wyoming:
A false-positive link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination could form the basis for costly new regulation…. Unwarranted regulation of hydraulic fracturing could have substantial economic impact on the natural gas industry, the consumers and businesses that rely on it, and the millions of jobs that it directly or indirectly supports. There is little doubt that the regulatory response that this report could generate may exceed the $500 million threshold.
This is a threat, pure and simple. Get the EPA to soft-pedal its report or there will be hell to pay over this during an election year. And to hell with what might be going on right now with the water people are drinking in Wyoming. That a Democratic senator has signed onto this dangerous nonsense should give us all pause, but no real surprise. I’m sure there’s some common ground to be found between the needs of energy companies to make every buck they can and the needs of the people whose tapwater explodes.