After pointing out an airplane got stuck in heat softened asphalt, Al Gore misses the fact that many of the surface temperatures used in climate come from airports

From Al’s Journal, some seriously dysfunctional thinking using props he doesn’t understand. Al brings attention to the fact that at Washington Reagan National Airport some tarmac asphalt got soft on a hot day, and the tires sunk into it a bit…making it a monumental event in his world of “weather is now climate”context.

Phillip Dugaw’s airplane to Charlston, S.C. got stuck in a soft spot caused by the heat on the tarmac at Reagan Airport on Friday. The photo went viral after he posted it to Reddit.

Al Gore writes:

So Hot the Asphalt is Melting July 13, 2012 : 2:53 PM

Sustained high temperatures from this year’s record-breaking heat wave caused an unusual disruption at Washington’s Reagan-National Airport. The Washington Post reports:

“Things were proceeding normally Friday evening as a US Airways flight was leaving the gate at Reagan National Airport to begin its flight to Charleston, S.C.

“But the temperature reached 100 degrees in Washington on Friday and that apparently softened the airport paving enough to immobilize the airplane. The small vehicle that usually tows planes away from the gate tugged and pulled, but the plane was stuck.”

. . .

“It was “pretty rare,” Mohr said. But then, she noted, “we’ve also had very unusual temperatures.”

Asphalt softening and rutting is something that happens at many traffic intersections around the world where cars idle in high temperature. It is a common occurrence.

High temperatures soften the asphalt binder, allowing heavy tire loads to deform the pavement into ruts. Paradoxically, high heat and strong sunlight also causes the asphalt to oxidize, becoming stiffer, less resilient and cracking. Cold temperatures can cause cracks as the asphalt contracts. Cold asphalt is also less resilient and more vulnerable to cracking. Source: Asphalt concrete degradation and restoration

Here’s an example from the Oregon Department of Transportation via Oregon State University:

The ASOS weather station at Reagan National Airport is right on the asphalt. That makes it the worst of the worst when it comes to station siting.

Washington National Airport ASOS looking East – click to enlarge – Source Bing Maps

And Dr. James Hansen’s NASA GISS uses that very station  in climate trend analysis, as seen here from their database:

Source: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425724050000&data_set=12&num_neighbors=1

Here’s Washington National Airport temperature data again (in blue), but this time plotted along with nearby neighboring stations within 40 km:

Source: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425724050000&data_set=12&num_neighbors=4

Given the growth of Washington DC and the airport itself, is it any surprise that it is the hottest station in the area? From Indur Goklany’s essay: The Highest Temperature Reading Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Record Hot Day:

This is what Reagan National Airport looks like in the present.

DCA_2011

Figure 1: Photograph from 2011. At left foreground is the Jefferson Monument. Behind it on the other side of the river, with the plane hovering over it is Reagan National Airport. Note the development, Crystal City, on the right hand side, also on the other side of the river.

But here is a photograph that shows us what this area look like a few decades ago.

DCA_1942

Figure 2: This picture, taken in 1942, shows the Jefferson Monument under construction. There is no Crystal City on the right, nor is there any Reagan National Airport. In fact, as one can see, that area was still being filled in. In the 19th century, the area occupied by the Memorial and adjacent land was also water, since much of this is also filled-in land.

Remember this quote from airline spokesperson Michelle Mohr?

“It was “pretty rare,” Mohr said. But then, she noted, “we’ve also had very unusual temperatures.”

Well…no. What is even funnier, is that the 100°F temperature that day wasn’t even a record high:

Source: http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KDCA/2012/7/6/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA&theprefset=SHOWMETAR&theprefvalue=1&MR=1

I think the only thing that’s soft here is Al Gore’s argument.

h/t to Tom Nelson for Al’s comment

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98 thoughts on “After pointing out an airplane got stuck in heat softened asphalt, Al Gore misses the fact that many of the surface temperatures used in climate come from airports

  1. I can remember whatever passed for pavement in rural Cuba in the late 50′s melting enough so bicycling was out of the question. Pushing those fat tyred beasts home wasn’t so much fun either.

  2. Nicely done analysis!

    Note that since 1970, the temperature trend has been relatively flat, with ups and downs the equivalent of “noise” in the data. The AGW crowd should be asked why temperatures are not following the CO2 trend. Could it be that they are not linked???

  3. Climate-change votaries fetishise heat almost as much as trickery. Remember, they only persuaded US Congress of their case – after an unsuccessful first attempt – by doing the presentation on a hot day and sabotaging the air-conditioning system so that it didn’t work.

  4. I work near Death Valley CA, It hits 125F here, I have never seen asphalt yield that severely. It probably has more to do with the density of the compaction done when laying the pavement. I suppose in cooler areas, it doesn’t compact as well. Yes, I have and do see grooves in the roads here and a bycycle kickstand can drill a hole in fresh asphalt, but even at the literally blistering temperatures our asphalt achieves, I have never seen a rubber tire sink in like that.

  5. I hope nobody steals my idea…. was thinking of a patent…..
    What if they did at Reagan what they do at Las Vegas? You don’t hear about many planes getting stuck at LAS.

    I’m gonna call the stuff Con-Crete…

  6. I live a few miles to the south of National Airport and the other day as i was driving Rt 400 (The George Washingon Parkway, on the western edge of the airport) from Alexandria to a place in Arlington, I noticed my car’s exterior temperature gage rose 2 degrees (F) as I passed the airport and fell back 2 degree by the time I had reached the Pentagon. Anecdotal, but interesting.

  7. I wish you could see whats happenong in the UK, its not only a washout its been like autumn since March with a hint of sun in May:

    Taken from Bablake weather station here in the heart of England (Coventry, its been recoring for ages and has some very interesting statistics), web address here:

    http://bws.users.netlink.co.uk/

    An environmental drought was decalred on the 16th April, since which time we have recorded 66 rain days out of a total of 87 days and 330.2mm of rain! .

    Warmest day of 2012 so far 26.0°C 23rd May, flaming June came and went.
    Warmest month of 2012 so far 14.0°C June
    Wettest month of 2012 so far 142.4mm June
    Average temperature in 2012 up to the end of June 8.6°C 0.0°C Compared to 30-year averages 1981-2010

    July is meant to be our warmest month!

    I’ll be glad to get to the States in a few months as there is no sign of a break in this dull, wet, cold weather.

    Bring on melting tarmac! (I can remember our summer of ’76 and that was a scorcher, been downhill ever since)

    Mike

  8. DJ says:
    July 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm
    I hope nobody steals my idea…. was thinking of a patent…..
    What if they did at Reagan what they do at Las Vegas? You don’t hear about many planes getting stuck at LAS.

    I’m gonna call the stuff Con-Crete…
    ===============================================
    I think Al would rather they used Pykrete. It would make a better photo-op.

  9. Don’t see stuff like that at PHX. Must be the shoddy construction that is the usual result of awarding contracts based on political feedback rather then capability. The contractors probably got bonuses for using politically correct materials as opposed to mechanical correct.

  10. Aircraft tires are far more heavily weighted at rest, or taxiing, than cars or even trucks. That’s why taxiways at commercial airports are almost exclusively concrete. I suspect that this aircraft was off its authorized path when this occured.

  11. Here in the desert, it regularly gets to 110F air temperature. Black surfaces get to about 160F in the intense sunlight that I doubt they had in DC. It gets to 160F inside my car on occasion. Planes have no trouble here, so I have to think it was a taxiway not specified for high temps. We have every kind of plane up to 747s here and they don’t sink.

  12. Asphalt should never be used for airports to support planes, because of its low melting point.
    Regardless of the temperature of the air, if the plane is left in place for long enough with engines running, it would melt the asphalt. Only high-grade concrete should be used in commercial airports, never asphalt.
    Also, as pointed out above, commercial planes weigh maybe 50 to 250 tons, and this is a helluva weight for just a few tires, hence soft asphalt is really not suitable, and should not be used.
    Article really should be on incorrect material use, nothing to do with CO2 or “global warming”.
    Muppets.

  13. Ummm,

    Just glanced at the highway photo – that has to be in Washington State between Spokane and the Wash-Idaho state line…I 90 doesn’t go through Oregon.

    Just Sayin’

    Mike Bentley

  14. PS
    Asphalt would also soften from any kerosene spillage. Also, as it burns readily, is a fire hazard – in an airport.

  15. Even better, a few years back they put in a new Lowe’s near where I lived. As part of the “improvement”, they repaved (with asphalt) the 4-lane city street in front of the new store. Naturally, they didn’t bother to redo the adjacent section of old concrete, & even more foresightedly, they did the paving in Winter. So, when I was riding a motorcycle down that very road the next Summer, there was an unexpected 6″ hump at the end of the new asphalt.

  16. Jeff Westcott says (July 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm): “I suspect that this aircraft was off its authorized path when this occured.”

    Maybe. Or maybe the surface was weakened by asphalt acidification. :-)

  17. The airport pavement strength and the wheel loading from different types/marks of aircraft are codified in detail (see http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentID/1019460 amongst others)

    The airport is expected to only put aircraft on pavement that has the strength to stand up to the wheel loading of that aircraft – when fully fueled. However, it is not uncommon for the wrong pavement surface materials to be used by contractors or for the temperature / strength specification to be incorrect so the pavement softens and weakens at a lower temperature than expected. I saw aircraft up to the axles in tarmac over 30 years ago for this reason. As another poster has said, repeated kerosene spills also soften the tarmac making it more likely to give way, or worse peel back in the jet wash of a taxiing or taking off aircraft: and I have seen that as well.

    So this is not anything to do with climate, it is more to do with poor quality pavement, or ramp control putting an aircraft that was too heavy on lower quality pavement.

  18. Low bid. I wonder what the contract specs were for that asphalt? Were they met?
    Maybe we should go with best bid instead of low bid?

  19. That road intersection is in Spokane and I was going to send a link to it before I saw you already had the image. It is Pines Road and the ruts are so bad they can be seen from space. Or at least from Bing.com’s aerial imagery. The link below shows the same intersection but looking north vs south. It is a few blocks from by brother-in-law’s house and I know it very well.

    http://binged.it/M7JcBw

  20. Algore missed the facts about the relationship between the rise in temp and CO2, why would he be on target for anything else?

  21. I can remember from my childhood in the 50′s in Melbourne’s CBD finding my shoes sinking into the SR Bitumen Asphalt pavements on days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Since then Melboune has grown from 1 million to 5 million inhabitants with more asphalt, more mirrored skyscrapers and concreted areas all crowded around the Weather Bureau’s Weather Recording Equipment. Dutifully, the measured temperatures have risen steadily at the Bureau, but the Bureau has discounted UHI as the cause of rising temperatures and seized upon the reward-laden CAGW as the true source. They follow the money but not the Science.

  22. Jeff Westcott says July 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Aircraft tires are far more heavily weighted at rest, or taxiing, than cars or even trucks. That’s why taxiways at commercial airports are almost exclusively concrete. I suspect that this aircraft was off its authorized path when this occured.

    I second this comment; there is more to this picture and the circumstances than what is being told …

    .

  23. Ask Mr. Gore how global warming made it rain almost every day this spring in southern Norway.
    It’s been raing every day the last 14 days here now. I’m tired of rain.

  24. I worked my way through college driving a semi for North American Van Lines (furniture). I still remember one August day getting out of my truck at a residence in Philadelphia (or Pittsburgh – we’re talking 35 years ago) and seeing that I had pulled up the blacktop from the from the top of a long hill all the way down to my trailer tires – four rows of macadam.

    Never occurred to me that is was AGW. Just four years earlier I had been arguing that the looming ice age was 1) overstated and 2) not caused by humans. Sheesh!

  25. I can remember leaving footprints in hot pavement in pavement in Visalia, California, in the 1950s. Tar had been sprayed on a road with sand spread over it – not full-fledged asphalt. It blistered my bare feet. My cousins kept me informed about how long by foot prints were visible. They had shoe prints in the same stretch of road that day.

  26. “Given the growth of Washington DC and the airport itself, is it any surprise that it is the hottest station in the area?”

    According to the graph, it’s been the hottest station in the area since its inception. What does growth have to do with it?

  27. Many years ago I was at an airshow at our local airport. A Harrier made a vertical approach and as it got into the ground effect huge slabs of asphalt began lifting up and were blasted away by the jetwash. The blast apparently melted a hole and penetrated the first layer of asphalt. Slabs about 10 feet wide were lifted up by the air pressure under them. The pilot didn’t notice at first but when he did he made a hasty retreat. He was real lucky that one of the slabs didn’t snag a wing. They came close. Pretty exciting.

    It’s really not the best material for airports.

  28. I just want to point out another hypocritical aspect of Al Gores statement. Most airports have things called a hard standing where people park their planes to avoid the problem he had and these are usually made with concrete so they don’t melt. I wonder why perhaps because it has happened once or twice before his apparent unprecedented problem. The guy is a moron.

  29. I remember commuting to work, my first real job out of college, in Tucson, Arizona… fall 1977. The motorcycle parking lot at Hughes Aircraft Company, just south of KTUS, got so hot that there were 10″ square steel plates lying on the pavement to rest the kickstands on. If you didn’t use them, the bike could fall over as the asphalt gave way in the heat. It is a liquid.

  30. Two things:
    The article on nocturnal boundary layers and mixing states that ground contours affect the temperature measured at the ground, airports have different contours than most areas, being made deliberately flat for a wide area around, not even trees or tallish buildings allowed. That plus the large amounts of concrete and asphalt and such means that, with half of worldwide temperatures being measured at airports, half of temperatures are reporting micro-climates that differ from the actual regions climate.

    Second, if I were wanting there to be warming (due to the money and power involved), and most temperatures measurement stations were no longer added to the “worldwide temperature” data, as they are not, I would look to see which stations were reporting temperatures I did not like, cool ones, and eliminate those from the data set. So, what I want to know is, not what is the temperature reported in the data sets of the worldwide measurement, but what is the temperatures of those stations deliberately excluded from that data set. Are the excluded stations excluded because they are reporting cooler temperatures?

  31. lemme see if I got this correct; the Temperature was 100 deg (F) (Washpost says so) Human body Temperature is 98.6, so you can damn near melt asphalt with your bare hands. And all of this happens with an incoming solar insolation of 481 W/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere; simply wunnerful, I reckon !

  32. Where I am the asphalt is prone to being wobbly due to the ordinary daytime heat. By the way is it not heat that helps to lay the asphalt?

    Has anyone ever read Al Gore complaining about un-gritted icy roads causing accidents? The focus is always on heat because the focus is on making money off the back of the trace rise of the trace gas and plant essential carbon dioxide. What a scam.

  33. Maybe it’s Trenbeth’s missing heat coming to the surface??? After all,I thought the Globull had found that heat,what with the millions of degrees at the Earth’s core,that only he knows about.
    After 21 years in the Air Force,you learned really quick to ask what the taxiway/apron was made of on hot days and with a heavy load.Funny thing was,it was only civiy airports,anywhere in the world,that had this problem.

  34. why not just stick half of the official thermometers on the glass of the nearest Hawaiian Shave Ice machine and average the temperatures…?

  35. When I was a boy in school about 11 to 14 I was often walking along hot roads after swimming.
    Asphalt would melt and stick to the bottoms of my feet.

    Yeah.
    My bare feet.

    I’ve personally seen many a truck with it’s twin tires sitting in twin ruts on one end of an axle, and marveled that asphalt was so soft.

    However… that’s less often seen but asphalt piling up at the end of a place where trucks stop often is legend. Asphalt-road intersections that bear heavy trucks of often concreted, specifically due to trucks deforming entire intersections.

    Pfft. Let’s see.

    Al Gore, whose personal fortune was originally -and still is- derived from Occidental Oil,
    the Occidental Oil which is the number 2 oil company in California, number – count em: Three oil company in the world,
    told us that we all need to
    stop using coal
    stop using regular oil.
    His oil company is number three in the world, so why don’t we hear of them ?
    Because that oil company is nearly one half
    alternative energy.
    Only half it’s income is derived from oil.
    Yes, that Al Gore,
    That alternative energy/oil baron.
    I invite you all – go look it up.
    He and his friends are – not were
    they are running an enormous governmental fraud and scam ring
    The staggering level of criminality here is really beyond comprehension. What ever happened to law enforcement?

  36. It was rotten asphalt for sure. Loaded with that hideous CARBON! We’d better tax it away.

  37. Al Gore thinks asphalt getting soft is unusual? Well, now we know why he thinks the current warming is unusual. He’s jumping the shark and doesn’t get out much. Asphalt is always hot in the summer and it can deform just by stepping on it, especially fresh asphalt that’s been laid recently (as in months). Next, he’ll be saying that if his ice cream melts, then that’s it… global catastrophic warming is undeniable. (half sarc. You just never know what ridiculous thing Gore will say next.)

  38. Aphalt if formulated for various conditions – and has to withstand winter shrinkage and possible cracking if too stiff and the results in this photo if too soft. It is always a compromise between hot and cold, “expected” loading and the subsurface strength. Small aircraft with smaller wheels often have wheel loads similar to jumbo jets – F18 Hornets for example have similar ground pressure to a 747-400

  39. I agree with Garry Stotel, re softened asphalt.

    Jet fuel is similar to kerosene and spillage would soften the asphalt slightly. Not that Al Gore would get any facts correct, but assuming he did, the airplane was near the gates where refueling is performed. This would also be where a tug would be used to push the plane back from the gate.

    Asphalt pavement is commonly used at airports, and is approved by the FAA as long as it meets their specifications. P-401 is the spec for asphalt for large aircraft.

    The overall post is excellent, with Al Gore (once again) having no clue as to what he is speaking about.

  40. Back in 1976, in England, I crossed the road and ‘skated’, ripping off the stones in the tarmac and covering my, new, shoes with tar. The tar was actually seeping off the roads, something I have never witnessed since.

  41. Something isn’t quite right here. “N420AW” hasn’t been seen since 2012/05/05 14:28

    Canadair, CL-600-2B19 CRJ-200LR (CRJ2)
    cn: 7640
    first contacted 2012/01/01 21:26
    latest contact 2012/05/05 14:28

    Aircraft activity index: [14] N420AW last seen near: EDMONTON, Canada

  42. dp says July 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    BTW, the paint stripe in the photo is the standard airport marker for a taxiway center line, so the plane was where it should have been.

    http://www.pilotfriend.com/training/flight_training/communication/taxiway_markings.htm

    With deference to Paul Harvey, here is “The rest of the story.”

    Quoting mayor (Reply 4): “I wonder how long the a/c had been sitting at the gate for this to happen?”

    Good question. Good question … am I crazy or do I see depressions in the pavement from where the aircraft was taxiing in as well? [Yes you do - _Jim]

    Additionally, the [aircraft] parking area has been reconfigured in the past two weeks. It’s gone from supporting 12 planes to supporting 14 and a spare… wonder if this aircraft parked on a section of ramp that didn’t get much taxi activity before?

    (From within posts here)

    So … we find out it’s up near the gates, the plane had arrived, left indentations or ‘wheel marks’ in the asphalt leading up to the point where the tires rested for some (smallish) amount of time, and in area that was re-worked with and very likely the underlayment (base or foundation) was substandard for the intended (load bearing) service, and, since we did not have a slew of jets get ‘stuck’ that way at DCA it would be safe to conclude the poster in the excerpted post above has provided the ‘backstory’ not previously commonly-known about this event.

    The story from the WP.

    I sure am glad the journalists at the WP were able to accrue all the ‘details’ of this event. (/sarc)

    .

  43. I remember in the late 1960′s we had a very hot summer here in Denver. All the bank thermometers were reporting temperatures of 105 – 106 deg F down town. The women were tip toe as they walked across the street cross walks as their spike heels would penetrate into the soft asphalt and pull their shoes off or sometimes rip the heel off the shoe. The tar they used to seal cracks to prevent winter break up of the street was oozing like toothpaste in some locations and that was sticky enough to almost pull my shoes off my feet. You quickly learned to watch what you were walking on.

    I have also see a street sweeper sink into an asphalt street up to its axles due to poor compaction under a street patch.

    Nothing new here! Happens all the time and is well known to folks who don’t live in a bubble.

    Larry

  44. I thought most runways were constructed from concrete, but after doing a little research on runway construction materials I found that most use asphalt. There are strengths and weaknesses to both materials – concrete can withstand higher loading while asphalt is more flexible and easier to repair. Both concrete and asphalt come in a wide variety of grades to withstand things like high temperatures, frost, snow and ice, rain, jet blast, high wheel loading, exposure to fuel and other oils, etc. Asphalt is more susceptible to softening due to exposure to fuel and solvents as well as high temperatures but there are varieties of asphalt which are designed to resist both. Looking at this example, several possible reasons come to mind – the wrong type of asphalt was used for this area, this area was not designed to park aircraft, the asphalt may have been softened by fuel or solvents, and the high temperatures softened the pavement. My bet would be that some contractor used a cheap grade of asphalt figuring that nobody would park planes there.

  45. WORLD IS HOTTER
    The temperature of the world we live In has been constantly rising since the turn of the century, the American Institute of Physics symposium on temperature was told by Joseph C. Kincer of the United States Weather Bureau, Washington, says the Christian Science Monitor.

    That there have been major changes In geological climate, Mr Kincer pointed out, has long been known, but climatologists have considered historic climate as a rather stable thing with short-period variations of considerable magnitude, but without especially significant secular trends covering long periods.

    However, he added, since the turn of the century “there has been such a persistent trend to higher temperatures, world-wide In scope, as to suggest that the orthodox conception of the stability of climate needs some revision at least”.

    Mr Kincer cited several examples of this trend to abnormal warmth in the last two decades. These included Portland, Ore., where seventeen of the last twenty years have been warmer than normal, with 1921 as the warmest year on record; Omaha, Neb., where fifteen of the last twenty years were warmer than normal, with 1931 the warmest year on record; Washington, seventeen of the last twenty years warmer than normal, with 1921 the warmest year on record, and every year above normal since 1926, and Capetown, South Africa, with nineteen of the last twenty years warmer than normal, and 1927 the warmest on record.

    “This trend to higher temperatures,” Mr Kincer said, “has been general over the globe. Summaries of monthly records published in the ‘Reseau Mondial’ for the twenty three years from 1910 to 1932 for which this publication is available, show that for this period the world as a whole had subnormal temperatures only a year or two, approximately normal for a couple of years, and considerably above normal in all other cases.”

    The lowest natural temperature observed In the world, Mr Kincer said, is minus 94.4 degrees, recorded In the Siberian cold zone in February, 1892. The highest natural temperature in the world, 136.4 degrees, was observed In Trlpolitania, Libya, North Africa, In September, 1922.

    Dated 26 December 1939

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/62826715

    Maybe Al should browse through old newspaper clippings (http://www.waclimate.net/climate-history.html) where he’ll find numerous reports showing a scientific consensus up to 1950 that global warming began around 1850.

    I recommend a story from 11 August 1930 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30500817) including the following line:

    “Washington today suffered its tenth day of over 100 deg., with a temperature of 108 deg. in the shade.”

    The Wunderground source way above might claim 103F as Washington’s record in 1999 but adjusted modern records often don’t agree with what was reported at the time. There are plenty of clippings from the 1920s and 1930s claiming 106F was the record for Washington. I’m sure different recording stations are involved here, presumably separated by several kilometres, but it’s a bit hard to believe a gap from three to five degrees – particularly considering the UHI since 1930 as implied in the photos above.

  46. I used to operate 737′s out of Laguardia. Besides being an Artifact of the Golden Age of (Propeller Driven ) aviation, the entire system of taxiways at that airport has the texture of a Golf Ball. The subject aircraft must have been loaded and stationary for an unusually long time. The aircraft may have been overweight and subsequently defueled or otherwise offloaded – the runways there are too short to operate at max weights. We used to have special procedures and flaps settings for getting out of there in straight-pipe 737-200′s to Florida destinations with all seats full. A complicating factor was that the difference between adequate fuel for the trip and too much fuel for runway length Max. weight was a couple of hundred pounds.

    Humanity has a much larger threat to contend with in the form of Religious Extremeism and Jihadism than it does from CO2 Emissions. The most stiking difference between a Climate Alarmist and a Jihadist is that C-A’s certainly abhor Physical Violence. . . . the difference in the end state – not so striking.

    Wind and Solar powered Heating Ventilation and Airconditioning, Refrigeration and Transportation are the fantasies of Infantile minds – akin to pursuing the development of Magic Beans so that we might live high above the ground and have less impact on the “Nature”.

  47. Larry Ledwick;
    Nothing new here! Happens all the time and is well known to folks who don’t live in a bubble.
    >>>>>

    And mabe that’s a big part of the problem. Too many people who grow up in concrete jungles and never experience the great out doors directly. Too many people who see their food only as something that shows up all nice and clean and packaged at the grocery store. Too many people who proclaim expertise in heat absorbtion and raditation but whom have never been on a winter camping trip where they either get it righ or risk frost bite or worse. Too many people who sprend their lives inside giant cities thinkning they know how the real word works while having no experience with it.

  48. Common practice for motorcyclists with larger ‘bikes’ is to keep a crushed beer or soda can in their jacket pocket and put it under the side ‘kick’ stand, when parking their scooter on asphalt on a warm day. This spreads the support load sufficiently to keep the side stand from causing plastic deformation (sinking) in the softened asphalt. Without the crushed soda can puck, the side stand sinks into the asphalt, allowing the scoot to sloooowly lean further and further until it tips over.
    MtK

  49. davidmhoffer says:
    July 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm
    “And mabe that’s a big part of the problem. Too many people who grow up in concrete jungles and never experience the great out doors directly. Too many people who see their food only as something that shows up all nice and clean and packaged at the grocery store. Too many people who proclaim expertise in heat absorbtion and raditation but whom have never been on a winter camping trip where they either get it righ or risk frost bite or worse. Too many people who sprend their lives inside giant cities thinkning they know how the real word works while having no experience with it.”

    Truth.
    MtK

  50. What would happen to the global temperature record if say 2 degrees was knocked off each of the daily records for airport monitoring sites? Anyone able to compute this for the USA?

  51. When I was about 5 around 1951, my shoes got stuck in the asphalt on the promanade at Southend on Sea UK. It was also painful to walk along the promenade in my thin soled shoes. Underneath my feet there were large heat blisters and my Dad had to carry me home on his shoulders.

  52. 30 years ago, while running track, our spiked shoes would sink into the asphalt. Just sayin’ Al Baby!

  53. As Mike (UK) points out – we are really suffering in the UK due to endless rain (NO – its NOT normal – here in Cambridge we normally get less rainfall annually than Casablanca in Morocco) – and temperatures WELL down on normal.
    But – hey – its WEATHER – you know what I’m sayin’…?

  54. In re A/C apron rutting and Charleston AFB; large A/C ribbed tires, as on a C-17, imprint the ribbing on _concrete_ aprons. Passing ones finger perpendicularly to the track allows one to feel the imprinted ribbing! Asphalt in hot weather is like chocolate cake frosting, even to bicycle tires!

  55. No disrespect to those ‘suffering’ from the heat wave in the US, but US heat wave temperatures are just normal temperatures found in many places in the tropics at certain times of the year. For example, think about those people who live in say Darwin Australia… with similar temperatures but also with 90% humidity. You never hear any alarming global reports “Darwin in permanent heat wave!”

  56. >>>Only high-grade concrete should be used in commercial airports, never asphalt.

    Agreed, but there is no accounting for engineers.

    Luton airport in London decided to reinvent the aviation wheel by using close-fitting bricks at the beginning of the runway, on the turnaround zone. After the first 767 took off, there was 15 tonnes of bricks scattered all across the grass.

    Perhaps Global Warming caused this aviation faux pas too!

    .

  57. It’s simply absurd to use such an obviously contaminated station-site for climatic purposes.

    Did the BEST (WORST?) study use this or other similar sites? If so, shame, shame.

  58. >>Michael
    >>Looking at this example, several possible reasons come to mind –
    >>the wrong type of asphalt was used for this area, this area was not
    >>designed to park aircraft, the asphalt may have been softened by fuel
    >>or solvents, and the high temperatures softened the pavement.

    I am a commercial pilot, and I have to say that this happens all the time. Perhaps not to this degree before something is done about it, but it happens all the time.

    Problem 1
    This is a parking spot, and all sorts of things are dropped on the tarmac here, including hydraulic fluids from brakes, that soften the tarmac close to the wheel positions, and the fluids that engineers use to clean the wheels and undercarriage.

    Problem 2
    This is a parking spot, and everyone parks in exactly the same position – that is what AGNIS gate guidance systems are for. If every aircraft that stops on this stand is of the same type, then the wheels are ALWAYS in the same position. Even more so once a depression starts forming, as the aircraft always rocks back into the same hole. Thus the picture you see here could have been the result of months or even years of wear, and not the single momentous event that Al Gore Baby thinks it is.

    Could I suggest to Al Gore Baby that he goes out into the big wide world and gains some experience in life, before demonstrating his ignorance from the comfort of his armchair. He is making himself look like the biggest fool in the history of scientific endeavor.

    .

  59. With well-designed subbase and base courses, there’s no reason for likewise well-designed asphalt pavement courses using properly-crushed gravel of decent strength and durability compacted to spec to rut under any design load in any likely temperature scenario. Interlocking gravel bound by the asphalt won’t noticeably move hence no ruts. If, on the other hand, the gravel is rounded (imagine a layer of marbles) or the mix or pavement section is otherwise poorly-designed or poorly installed… Ruts. The asphaltic material itself provides little or no bearing strength; it’s all in the stone. When’s the last time you sank into a good gravel pavement because of the heat?

  60. Ralph, please consult this post regarding reference to reconfiguration/remarking of the ‘parking’ area at DCA adjacent to the gates …

    Short of making a call to airport management in charge of ‘ground facilities’ to confirm this supposition I think we have our answer (to wit, the taxiway/parking area was reconfigured without proper regard to pavement composition (in particular, the underlayment or foundation) in the newly remarked parking slots). Not every flight/not every parking slot was confronted with this softened/sinking into the asphalt conundrum that day …

    .

  61. Anyone ever try walking on asphalt bare foot or on roller skates in hot weather. As a kid I did it as little as possible.

  62. Global interest in the thoughts of Al Gore are cooling.

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/algore.com#

    Blogs which do not allow comments are dinosaurs.

    I expect that very soon, any journalist who does not participate in comments and discussion after their article will be deemed “old school’ and will fall by the wayside.

    That bodes well for those of us seeking honesty in reporting.

  63. As usual, Algore has his priorities backasswards.
    Most would be far less concerned about the inconvenience of a DC plane sinking in asphalt in 2012 due to hot weather while much more troubled about the DC plane that sank in the Potomac and the resulting 78 deaths in 1982 due to cold weather.
    Regardless, what either of these extreme weather events has to do with climate is still a mystery.
    Unless of course, like Algore, one makes a living scaring others about heat.

  64. Well, what was the composition of the asphalt at that location (it being a mix of gravel and tar-like substance), what was under it, etc.

    (A street near me had asphalt breaking up in winter after years of use, I suspect underlayer not good in the beginning. Water can undermine as well. Sometimes there are areas of runway and taxiway not well built – a Gulfstream jet went several inches into one a few years ago, and that’s not an especially heavy airport.)

  65. Hugh K says:
    July 14, 2012 at 10:39 am
    As usual, Algore has his priorities backasswards.
    Most would be far less concerned about the inconvenience of a DC plane sinking in asphalt in 2012 due to hot weather while much more troubled about the DC plane that sank in the Potomac and the resulting 78 deaths in 1982 due to cold weather.
    Regardless, what either of these extreme weather events has to do with climate is still a mystery.
    Unless of course, like Algore, one makes a living scaring others about heat.
    =====================================================================
    I think such stories serve the same purpose for Algore and others like him the advertising does for a legitimate business.
    Think of some ad slogans. Are literally true? “It’s the Real Thing!” As opposed to what? “Everything tastes good on a Ritz.” EVERYthing? Everybody knows those are slogans to sell products and not literally true. But Al & Co. need people to believe their “ads” are.

  66. dp says:
    July 13, 2012 at 5:31

    BTW, the paint stripe in the photo is the standard airport marker for a taxiway center line, so the plane was where it should have been.

    http://www.pilotfriend.com/training/flight_training/communication/taxiway_markings.htm

    Nope. Taxiway edge marking. Center line marking does not have black trim.

    From your link.

    “Taxiway edge markings are present whenever there is a need to separate the taxiway from a pavement that is not intended for aircraft use or to delineate the edge of the taxiway.”

  67. Just showed the picture to my roommate (over 40 years in the industry) and she pointed out the yellow line is the edge of the runaway. The plane turned short and was off the edge of the runaway where it may not be able to support the full weight of the plane. Blame this one on human error and not climate change.
    On the other side, I have seen this on some of the roads I have traveled on, but it was due to poorly maintained highway and a gravel pit that was moving large amounts of material over the road.

  68. Normally and usually, platforms are made of concrete, the landing strip is mostly tarmac. Just to prevent this happening. In countries with “softer” soils, like the Netherlands, impressive and supported slabs are constructed.
    You don’t want your 747 or A380 sinking away in the ground when landing at 250 mph

  69. I once drove a bob-tail truck onto a taxiway at YYZ due to disorientation caused by willy-nilly snow removal. It’s a long story.
    There is not always a lot of room out there.

    “You’ll take the high road, and I’l take the low road…”

  70. I’m from Philadelphia Pa and PHL International Airport also has seen an increased heat island compared to 25 years ago as a result of two decades of growth and expansion and this affects official temperatures by preventing them from dropping as low overnight compared to in the same weather patterns decades ago while nearby Wilmington DE’s Airport has been more stable. 2010 saw 54 days over 90 at phila and only 45 at Wilmington and >60 deg overnights in July and Aug have been a rarity since 20 years ago whereas Wilmington still gets down to a mid-hi 50′s in midsummer when it’s cool enough and ditto the year over.October went nearly 20 years without an official 32 deg or lower at PHL while Wilmington has NOT went all those years w/o a 32 deg OCT night and first frosts have been in some years in the last 20 as much as 4-5 weeks different with you guessed it,Phila always being later in November sometimes in same years Wilmington dropped to 32 in Mid October and prior to 25 years ago Phila and Wilmington were always pretty close as Wilmington is only 20 or so miles south of Phila on the same coastal plain right down the Delaware River.But Phila Airport is much larger than it was 30-60 years ago with multiple expansions since 1990 and the 1995 NWS switch to ASOS didn’t do much to reverse false warming due to the sprawl despite it being (so the public was told) relocated away from the expansive tarmacs and other heat sources which continue to expand to this day.Result: a wider gap Between Here and Wilmington,Earlier last frosts in early spring and later frosts in later fall,a few more days,(heat island does affect daytime highs as well) with temps over a “magic” threshold such as 90 deg during warm season and 50 deg days in winter more often and nighttime temps being held higher by several degrees.Summer ’10 was recorded a warmest in Phila while Wilmington was only in top ten, Ditto for last winter-4th warmest for here but not that high ranking Wilmington.Last spring freeze this year Wilmington-April 28 (the latest in years) While Phila only got down to 38 but Phila-March 27 was last 32-A MONTH difference.

  71. What’s up with this idiot………………did he just fall off the “turnip truck”?……………….anyone who has travelled knows full well that airports in the South Western U.S. have to hose down their runways in the summer so planes can land safely………………….Geez!……tell us something that makes sense Al!
    Actually just STFU!

  72. clipe says:
    July 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    Nope. Taxiway edge marking. Center line marking does not have black trim.

    Oops – Someone in Seattle is confused. All those mis-painted centerlines. Acres of them!

    http://binged.it/NHF5vM

  73. Ian W says:

    As another poster has said, repeated kerosene spills also soften the tarmac making it more likely to give way, or worse peel back in the jet wash of a taxiing or taking off aircraft: and I have seen that as well.

    There’s an outtake from one of the Mythbusters episodes where they were using a 747F as a “wind machine” showing the latter happening.

  74. It looks like a plane sank before this one….look at th picture – there is tire indentations in-front of the ruts the plane is sitting in at th time of this picture.

  75. In the 1980′s the heat softened the asphalt enough on the MA/NH line so that my horses left hoof prints in the road and actually tossed up a divet in a couple of instances.

    Take a look at the roads in Amish/Mennonite country some time. The horses do a real number on the roads because the asphalt softens. link

  76. Mike Bentely: How right you are! I bet that the groves shown in I-90 were caused by vehicles using chains and studded tires during the winter. This condition is common throughout WA.

  77. >>Nope. Taxiway edge marking. Center line marking
    >>does not have black trim.

    Yes it does. If there is no black edge strips on the yellow lines, it gets very difficult to see them at night under sodium lighting – especially on concrete surfaces.

    .

  78. >>Do airplanes have horns?

    Yes, for ground use – for attracting attention of ground crew, rather than warning other vehicles.

    .

  79. Silver Ralph says:
    July 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    >>Do airplanes have horns?

    Yes, for ground use – for attracting attention of ground crew, rather than warning other vehicles.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Thank You! :)

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