Hans von Storch study: Global Warming to make fewer strong polar storms

Current satellite image showing Atlantic hurricanes Igor and Julia middle, and note the two strong polar lows at the top of the image, a close up of a polar low is shown below.

Here is a quote you don’t often see:

Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase.

From USA Today’s Science Fair:

OK, time to prove we’re not all gloom and doom here at Science Fair. Here’s some happy news about global warming, for once.

A new study out Wednesday in the British journal Nature finds that large, powerful North Atlantic ocean storms should actually become less frequent by the end of the century, due to climate change.

Led by Matthias Zahn of the U.K.’s University of Reading, the study used climate models to show that these North Atlantic storms — known as polar lows — may decrease in frequency by as much as 50% by 2100.

“Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase.” Zahn writes in the paper, which was co-authored by Hans von Storch of the University of Hamburg in Germany.

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Here’s the abstract from Nature

Decreased frequency of North Atlantic polar lows associated with future climate warming

Matthias Zahn & Hans von Storch

Every winter, the high-latitude oceans are struck by severe storms that are considerably smaller than the weather-dominating synoptic depressions. Accompanied by strong winds and heavy precipitation, these often explosively developing mesoscale cyclones—termed polar lows—constitute a threat to offshore activities such as shipping or oil and gas exploitation.

Yet owing to their small scale, polar lows are poorly represented in the observational and global reanalysis data often used for climatological investigations of atmospheric features and cannot be assessed in coarse-resolution global simulations of possible future climates. Here we show that in a future anthropogenically warmed climate, the frequency of polar lows is projected to decline. We used a series of regional climate model simulations to downscale a set of global climate change scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.

In this process, we first simulated the formation of polar low systems in the North Atlantic and then counted the individual cases. A previous study using NCEP/NCAR re-analysis data revealed that polar low frequency from 1948 to 2005 did not systematically change.

Now, in projections for the end of the twenty-first century, we found a significantly lower number of polar lows and a northward shift of their mean genesis region in response to elevated atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration. This change can be related to changes in the North Atlantic sea surface temperature and mid-troposphere temperature; the latter is found to rise faster than the former so that the resulting stability is increased, hindering the formation or intensification of polar lows.

Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase.

==============================================

Addendum: Since there’s a lot of whining about use of descriptive nomenclature in the comments, including some who think polar lows are not “strong storms”. I thought I’d point out this description from: Rasmussen, E. A. & Turner, J. (2003), Polar Lows: Mesoscale Weather Systems in the Polar Regions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 612, ISBN 0521624304 .

Polar lows have been referred to by many other terms, such as polar mesoscale vortex, Arctic hurricane, Arctic low, and cold air depression. Today the term is usually reserved for the more vigorous systems that have near-surface winds of at least 17 m/s (38 mph).

Generally, I think of a storm that has 38mph near surface winds as a “strong storm”. A tropical cyclone that reaches tropical storm status has sustained winds of at least 39 mph, so the use of the description “strong storm” seems appropriate to me. Though, to be truer to the paper than USA today, and to appease the whiners who think I’m on some conspiracy to mislead people, I’ve added the word “polar” to the title.

Here’s an downlooking image of a polar low:

Image: Wikimedia

Polar lows were not discovered until after the advent of satellite meteorology, so we have only about 50 years of data on them.

Nature 467, 309-312 (16 September 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature09388; Received 14 August 2009; Accepted 26 July 2010

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Decreased frequency of North Atlantic polar lows associated with future climate warming

Matthias Zahn1,2 & Hans von Storch2,3

  1. Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, 3 Earley Gate, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AL, UK
  2. Institute for Coastal Research /System Analysis and Modelling, GKSS-Research Centre, Max-Planck-Strasse 1, D-21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  3. Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany

Correspondence to: Matthias Zahn1,2 Email: matthias.zahn@gkss.de

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68 thoughts on “Hans von Storch study: Global Warming to make fewer strong polar storms

  1. I thought Watts was supposed to be a meteorologist. Does he not know the difference between a polar low and a hurricane? Hint – hurricanes are tropical whereas polar lows occur nearer the pole.
    REPLY: Oh of course I know this, I just used the wrong word, I was looking for an image that showed both (since we have active hurricanes today). I picked the Atlantic view from my own radio station, was writing about the issue, got distracted by my children (I’m writing from home this Sunday Morning, we are preparing for a birthday party today). Then came back to finish and wrote “hurricanes” rather than “storms” in the title, because that was in my mind last. I always make titles last. Yes a silly error, and fixed now. Of course if you didn’t hate me so much, you probably would have written something less flaming. But, that’s what you live for, denigration.
    And as an update, I note Richard did not comment on this blunder: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/15/noaas-sea-ice-extent-blunder/ and accuse NOAA of not being well trained, or not knowing the difference between second and third. I would submit that anyone who hasn’t made some sort of silly writing blunder in their career, should cast the first stone. I’m sure Mr. Telford can provide us with examples in his own writings on climate. – Anthony

  2. The polar low, and its trough is what saved the East coast or the Gulf from Igor; pulling it North and away from land (except for Bermuda). More unintended consequences.

  3. Maybe fewers storms, but check out the early snow and record lows:
    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=13450
    Snow closes part of Going-To-The-Sun road
    KRTV – September 17, 2010
    The snow in Great Falls and surrounding areas is likely little more than a distraction for most people, but in Glacier National Park, it’s forced park officials to temporarily shut down the upper reaches of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The historic route is now closed between Big Bend on the west side of the park and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side due to the recent snow accumulation, which has made the roads unsafe according to park officials.
    ———–
    Dense Fog Warning Issued; Record-Low Temperatures Continue
    Shelby Grad – Los Angeles Times September 18, 2010
    The Los Angeles area had more record-low temperatures as the National Weather Service warned of dense fog this morning. A dense fog warning was issued for coastal areas as well as for downtown L.A. and surrounding areas. Officials said the fog could reduce visibility to a quarter-mile and that drivers should be careful. The fog should lessen by mid-morning, according to the NWS. The cool summer conditions continued as two cities posted records for the lowest maximum temperatures on Friday; Laguna Beach hit only 68 degrees and Oceanside hit only 64. Laguna Beach broke a record set in 1928 while Oceanside broke a record set in 1914.

  4. I’ve always thought that a net warmer planet would lead to fewer large storms. Temperature differences drive the thermodynamic engine of weather. If the higher latitudes have a smaller temperature differential compared to the tropics, then there should be fewer large storms. An extreme case would be a planet with uniform temperature. There, I would suspect, the weather would be mainly due to rotational motion without the added mechanism of moving energy from higher temp. regimes to lower ones

  5. next we’ll have global warming causes cold winters, global warming causes sea ice to increase, global warming reduces drought while simultaneously reducing rainfall.
    they have now produced the forecasting equivalent of alchemy. Producing pure gold out of horsesh@t
    Next black is white hot is cold and Gore is right even when he is so patently wrong

  6. I wish Anthony and others here had read Marcel Leroux “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate” Springer 2010 2ed. as this von Storch study is model based versus real observations and understanding.

  7. More droughts, more floods. More extreme heat, more extreme cold. More big storms, fewer big storms.
    Sounds to me like they are covering their bases. Any change in the weather is a sign of climate change. For rational people, it’s hard to take the AGW crowd seriously.

  8. Bit of a “U” turn, isn’t it?
    But it fits with their logic – frighten the public into thinking that storms will be bigger and more prolific with “global warming”, then when that’s proved not to work, change tack a bit and say that there will be fewer storms and of less magnitude with “global warming” (which, of course, isn’t called that anymore…). Either way, whatever happens to you and your lives, it’s the fault of climate whatever, and ultimately you’re to blame, and we told you so, in one or way another – so there – put THAT in your SUV and smoke it.

  9. Since a large number of other studies claim the opposite, and this holds true with nearly every aspect of climate science, perhaps it is time to realize that
    1) no one really knows- certainly not enough to base world shaping treaties and national economy damaging laws on
    2) that the effects of ‘global warming’/’climate change’/’climate disruption’, what ever they are, so subtle that they are not quantifiable and easily shown to be anything a researcher wants them to be.

  10. Von Storch, future Global Warming events, all birds of one feather.
    Another attempt to keep the hoax alive.
    Ready to dump this article where it belongs.
    In the garbage bin.

  11. …I guess Hansen better get busy and do a re-write of his book “Storms of my Grandchildren”!!
    http://www.stormsofmygrandchildren.com/
    From the Preface:
    “Global warming does increase the intensity of droughts and heat waves, and thus
    the area of forest fires. However, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, global warming must also increase the intensity of the other extreme of the hydrologic cycle— meaning heavier rains, more extreme floods, and more intense storms driven by latent heat, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tropical
    storms.”
    …these clowns don’t know WHICH way to go next!! Global warming, climate change, climate disruption, worse storms, not-as-bad storms etc. It’s really pathetic, I’ve never seen scientists oscillate so wildly on another topic, so quickly!!

  12. My sympathies, Anthony, over pointless comments made by the likes of Telford. I’m sure I speak for many here in saying how pathetic they seem. I suppose the comments show how rattled people with his sad world outlook are becoming.
    Contrast the attitude of regulars here who try to engage in dialogue with people of opposing views on sites such as Real Climhate, and then simply give up visiting, with those of a warmist persuasion who must have their Iphone alerts set so that they can pick up each new topic and give us the benefit of their unpleasant thoughts in one of the top slots.
    It says many things about you that you still allow the comments to be published, but it says even more about the people who take advantage of your hospitality.
    Back to the topic – yet another result of modeling, yawn.

  13. The author wrote: ,,A new study out Wednesday in the British journal Nature finds that large, powerful North Atlantic ocean storms should actually become less frequent by the end of the century, due to climate change.”
    Well, actually, polar lows are very small, which is one of their main characteristics. Typically, the circulation is less than 250 kilometres in diameter. However, they are powerful, often bringing a lot of snow and strong winds (gale force of stronger). I’m a forecaster from the Netherlands, our country has polar lows coming over the North Sea on our shores, usually at least once or twice a year. In any case, they are an often occurrence to monitor over the northern regions of Europe during our shifts in winter time.
    Polar lows develop in very cold, arctic airflow, directed southward from the pole. Just like a hurricane, they have a warm core and develop within small baroclinic disturbances in a potentially (not conditionally) unstable air mass. Key parameters of the conceptual model are T500 below -40°C, a maximum of PVA at 500 hPa superimposed over the area and initial development occurs near a surface trough ahead of an upper-level trough (as seen on 1000 and 500 hPa topography).
    Given the key parameters of the conceptual model of a polar low, used by meteorologists in Europe, the two systems on the satellite picture are definitely not polar lows, as stated. The air mass is too warm and the origin and development of these extratropical cyclones occurred as regularly seen with cyclones along the coast of Nova Scotia. These two can easily be tracked with archived model output, whereas polar lows are usually absent from large-scale models without proper initialisation (a significant problem at high latitudes, due to lack of observational data).
    Ben Lankamp, meteorologist (The Netherlands)

  14. This beautifully illustrates the robustness of the current “climate disruption” theory. Here we have anthropogenic climate disruption disrupting a natural climatic disruption event. We are disrupting a disruption with a disruption. The two disruptions effectively cancel each other out and leave behind an unstable anti-disruption. Hence, John Holdren’s prescient forecast of our disruptive future has already disrupted the status quo.

  15. Here we show that in a future anthropogenically warmed climate, the frequency of polar lows is projected to decline.
    Presumably, this ain’t gonna happen because we don’t have an ‘anthropogenically warmed’ climate.
    Or would we be able able to falsify the ‘anthropogenic’ hypothesis if polar lows don’t decline?

  16. There is no difference between warming caused by natural forces and that caused by anthropogenic causes.
    But one thing is certain: A warming world is not a cooling world.
    By observing increasing intensity of polar low storms, this study says that is a cooling world.
    One thing is puzzling about warmists: Why do they always have everything upside down, inside out and totally backwards, while in the same breath they have associated such states with the non-inverted world?

  17. It would seem to me that if the AGW effect is less then active or meaningful on a regional scale perhaps it simply does not exist or is significantly less powerful then thought. I have little use for these numeric models anyway. Further comment needs be held until I see the paper itself. From the face of this and other recent papers it would appear that regional models, if models are good for anything at all, may be far more useful then those of global scale.
    I also wonder if this is a good time to remind that T. C. Chamberland thought the “green house effect” might just help to moderate the coming glacial? This paper does not, from the abstract, appear to address that idea in any way however.

  18. Mohib says:
    September 19, 2010 at 8:32 am
    Maybe fewers storms, but check out the early snow and record lows:
    Snow closes part of Going-To-The-Sun road
    KRTV – September 17, 2010
    The snow in Great Falls and surrounding areas is likely little more than a distraction for most people, but in Glacier National Park, …

    Glacier Park gets snow throughout the year, even in the summer. So snow in September is hardly surprising.
    The Los Angeles area had more record-low temperatures as the National Weather Service warned of dense fog this morning….
    Yes, lets check out those record lows. And lets check out the record highs, as well. Even with overall warming, you would still expect some record lows. But you would expect fewer record lows than record highs.
    And that is exactly what is seen.

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L23701, 5 PP., 2009
    Relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S.
    The current observed value of the ratio of daily record high maximum temperatures to record low minimum temperatures averaged across the U.S. is about two to one. This is because records that were declining uniformly earlier in the 20th century following a decay proportional to 1/n (n being the number of years since the beginning of record keeping) have been declining less slowly for record highs than record lows since the late 1970s….

    I don’t know who said it, but I love the quote “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.” We can give anecdotes all day, but in the end, only careful data will lead to better understanding.

  19. Hey, that’s me under that big cloud over Western Canada on the upper left side of the satellite pic. Freezing my rear off in 4 degree C rain / snow. Don’t you all get it , Global Warming makes fewer AND more strong storms , geez, get with the program people!

  20. While it is clear to me that Anthony does indeed know the difference among various sorts of storms, it is not clear the the commentators here are recognizing that fact. And I feel that the title is indeed misleading to many people. Rather than
    Hans von Storch study: Global Warming to make fewer strong storms
    it should probably be something more like
    Hans von Storch study: Global Warming to make fewer strong north Atlantic polar low storms
    Not nearly as dramatic, I know, but much more accurate. Anthony even quotes “Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase.” [Emphasis added]
    Readers are saying “…these clowns don’t know WHICH way to go next!! ” and “Further proof that these guys are making it up as they go along.” and “Here’s a few warmest articles to illustrate the flip flop occurring”
    There is no contradiction here. There is no change in predictions. Not that I will guarantee that the results of any of the models are correct, but there is no flip flop to say “hurricanes will increase, but polar lows will decrease”. If you say “most types of severe weather will increase, but this one type will decrease,” that does not prove that people are making up the results. When scientists report their results, it shows they DO know which way to go — they publish the results so that other can build on/critique/correct their work. That is the way science works. (Sure, egos and biases get in the way, but IMHO overall “science” does a pretty good job of uncovering and studying new knowledge).

  21. Hans von Storch study: Global Warming to make fewer strong storms…
    …IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC
    Seriously misleading title! You just want people to interpret this the wrong way.
    REPLY: Yeah sure whatever. Read the USA today article.
    “Global warming good news: Fewer big ocean storms possible”
    Holler at them too. They didn’t even bother to publish the abstract. If I wanted to be “misleading”, why would I publish it where other media outlets do not? Your point fails. -A

  22. In line 2 of the second paragraph: “global reanalysis data”
    In line 3 of the third paragraph: “re-analysis data”
    As these two examples indicate there is a bit of confusion regarding the use of “re-analysis” and “reanalysis” — not to mention why it is used in the first place. Seems to be in the same class as “proactive” which, by rights, ought to be occasionally countered by “conactive.”
    As for the content of the paper presented, Yawn!
    I think half of all research time and money ought to be spent on the topic of a cooling Earth. Being of an individualistically egalitarian bent I think this to be only fair.

  23. Any schoolboy should know that if it gets warmer globally then the poles are likely to warm up by a few degrees more than the tropics, which by the way seems to have been the case during the last warming spell. That means that the air movements (winds) from warmer to colder areas will slow down. Less wind strength should mean less storminess in general, but not necessarily in all cases.
    But you are right we seldom hear about that.
    Hurricanes may have their origin in tropical waters because they among other things need a certain temperature, say 23° C, to develop. But the general public, by now, automatically thinks of hurricanes when scientists talk about stormy weather. Even Anthony did, so maybe they tell us about other storms now as they could be ‘hedging their bets’. If no hurricane make it into the news for all the wrong reasons this year then; ‘we told you so’. – If one of them does, then; ‘we never talked about hurricanes but storms in the northern and polar regions’. And the can show refs.
    The Hurricane Seasons have been very quiet since 2006.
    Some joker, posing as a climate scientist came on TV here in the UK earlier this year predicting doom and devastation as and when the mighty Earl made landfall. But Earl did what Bill had done a year earlier which was to stay just far enough away from the coast to be felt by some but not close enough to do any real damage. So that “Climate Scientist” made a bit of a silly ass of himself as well as of his science.
    I suspect this is a case of “The great Gate valve” called peer review is letting through just a little bit of what may be of help to certain groups in the future. I have never suspected groups and organisations like The IPCC and The Royal Society of being ignorant of what is actually happening with the climate. They just thought the warming spell was going to last much longer.
    Hurricanes are not a joking matter and the AGW enthusiasts should leave the forecasts to the experts.
    They are doing enough damage by predicting warmer winters when all the signs are telling us quite the opposite could be happening..

  24. Your new title is scarcely less misleading than the previous. You cannot extrapolate from the results of Zahn and von Storch that there will a reduction in strong storms, only that one particular type of storm will become rarer.
    Nor have you corrected the errors that Ben Lankamp points out: that polar lows are not “large storms”; and that the depressions in the image are unlikely to be polar lows.
    Instead you declare that I “hate” you. I don’t.
    REPLY: Well Mr. Telford, you have your opinion of this place and of me, which is always negative, and we have the opinions of others. As for me, I made a silly mistake, admitted it, and corrected it, all in the open. If that’s not good enough for you (because you apparently fear people might not read the article for the details) then I’m sorry, but I’m really not interested in your harping on the matter, especially when titles of some of your own research papers are pretty darned incomplete. For example:
    Telford papers
    Age-depth modelling [sic] (might want to fix that -A)
    “The intercept is a poor estimate of a calibrated radiocarbon age. ”
    or this one:
    telford papers 2
    “The secret assumption of transfer functions: problems of spatial autocorrelation in evaluating model performance.”
    Now please tell me how one could get all the details from a title like that, especially if it’s a “secret”. You wrote that title knowing full well the title doesn’t give the “Secret”. And what’s an “intercept” related to radiocarbon age? I have no idea, I’ll have to read the details to find out, but it sounds just as misleading and incomplete as you accuse me of being.
    The point is, titles are always limited, and don’t give the full story, details are in the body. Your points here are just petty harping because your purpose here is denigration. if it was anything else you would have simply written “Anthony I think you made a mistake in the title, did you mean to say polar lows instead of hurricanes?”. Instead you wrote a demeaning and denigrating comment.
    That’s a class act there professor.
    – Anthony

  25. Interesting how they keep adjusting the predictions to fit reality. 10 years ago they were saying that global warming would wipe us out from megastorms. So there have been fewer storms and, viola, we have the “prediction” that global warming will fuel FEWER storms. It’s just nuts.

  26. Der Spiegel reported on it as follows:
    “Using computer models, that also used the climate prognoses of the United Nations, the scientists have played out the development of the northern seas up to the year 2100.”
    Making a projection for the year 2100 with that kind of methodology? Now that’s really bold. I’m doing all I can to rein in the sarcasm here.
    More or less storms? It’s all based on crystal ball science.

  27. Tim Folkerts says: at 11:02 am
    “only careful data will lead to better understanding”
    Many WUWT readers will agree on this, perhaps even to the level of having a consensus. That is why the intent of your comment is acceptable but the reality is that it falls flat. A computer will spit out “it’s a record” even if the difference is found only in the seventh decimal place. WUWT readers know the temperature data are a mess and not collected nor intended to be used at the level of accuracy you imply. Then there is the UHI thing, and the clean atmosphere business, and . . .

  28. This is a fairly short post, I don’t understand why people can’t read more than the misleading title. If people read the abstract they’ll see that the paper is about a specific type of storm, “polar lows”, which are small in area, “strong storms” in general, are not covered by the paper.
    REPLY:

    “A new study out Wednesday in the British journal Nature finds that large, powerful North Atlantic ocean storms should actually become less frequent by the end of the century,”

    I don’t understand why people like yourself can’t see how “strong storms” is very clearly stated in the USA Today excerpt. Sheesh. Ever been in a polar low storm? I have once when I visited Aberdeen, Scotland. Once was enough. – Anthony

  29. R. de Haan says:
    September 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    As history shows, it is quite disgusting, but these folks will be stopped, as usual only after suddenly receiving some specially designed and quantized amounts of some heavy metal in their vital organs, or rather and much more energetically, by the action of atomic fusion or fission as from the sky above their stubborn head.
    In order to realize how wide and universal is their dangerous influence on our societies, just think that the great majority of governments around the world have had to accept creating Environment Ministeries/secretaries to enforce the binding agreements that have been obliged to sign with the UN, but not satisfied by that, under “trick” of the defense of “human rights” have deprived the peoples of the world to act in legitimate defense against these self designated “Representatives of the Civil Society”called Non Governmental Organizations”
    Here, a selected list:
    http://www.sinclair.edu/organizations/daymunc/pub/daymunc/2004ngolist.htm

  30. Anthony, you were fair enough to published the abstract rather than just the misleading Science Fair interpretation so I don’t want to be too critical, but if you want to throw quotes at me, try picking them from the abstract.

  31. Tim Folkerts says:
    September 19, 2010 at 11:02 am
    I don’t know who said it, but I love the quote “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.”

    And the plural of ‘datum’ is not ‘proof’!”

  32. Clearly, the USA Today excerpt has wrongly interpreted the Nature publication. It deals specifically with *polar lows*, not extratropical cyclones (as seen on the satellite picture in the article above, the caption is wrong). It would be appropriate to point out this error on the part of USA Today.
    Ben Lankamp

  33. “Our results provide a rare example of a climate change effect in which a type of extreme weather is likely to decrease, rather than increase.”

    This statement is akin to “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.
    Also, polar lows are not extreme weather if 56 occur annually. They are common mesoscale storms, just like convective complexes over the Midwest US. If the ingredients come together, the storms form. There is no global warming or low-frequency temperature linkage to this phenomena.
    I wish the authors would simply report the findings rather than try to frame the importance into the global warming debate. The quote above is meaningless in my opinion.

  34. “Now, in projections for the end of the twenty-first century, we found a significantly lower number of polar lows and a northward shift of their mean genesis region in response to elevated atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration.”
    ======================
    “elevated atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration.”
    How many, will dread having said things like this, when the facade collapses.

  35. [snip ] – you failed to read the previous comment, I’m not interested in your harping on the issue further , you’ve had your say, and given your demeanor here, I’m not interested in hearing anything further. My biggest mistake today was trying to manage a blog while trying to manage a social event at home. I made an error, admitted it, and fixed it, you don’t like how I fixed it, you’ve made that clear, so move on. – Anthony

  36. Richard Telford,
    Until you convince your pals running most of the climate scare blogs to allow skeptical points of view, you won’t get much sympathy for your whiny complaints here.

  37. Resorting to censorship?
    REPLY: Oh please, you’ve had 139 comments on WUWT. No, I’m just telling an obnoxious guest in my home on the Internet to pipe down. Read the policy page. Then take a time-out. Not sure if you teach, but sometimes you just have to tell the student who’s interrupting to “pipe down” and move on. – Anthony

  38. While I confess I sometimes like the smoke and fury of the politics, I really like comments such as those by: Ben Lankamp says: September 19, 2010 at 9:19 am
    I’ve heard a bit about these “arctic hurricanes,” but always like learning more.
    How far south can they occur?
    How early can they occur? Ought the fellows attempting to circle the arctic, making both the Northeast and Northwest passage in one summer, be nervous?
    How strong can they get?

  39. In the old days people read between the lines in the Bible to make a living and scare people. The end of the world was always just around the corner. You could even calculate it down to the day based on actual Bible verses! Now in the twenty-first century we have the same phenomenon but now it’s “scientists” scaring people with computer models. Repent or you doomed! But hurry and fill the collection basket before the end appears.

  40. David L says:
    September 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm
    In the old days people read between the lines in the Bible to make a living and scare people. The end of the world was always just around the corner. You could even calculate it down to the day based on actual Bible verses! Now in the twenty-first century we have the same phenomenon but now it’s “scientists” scaring people with computer models. Repent or you doomed! But hurry and fill the collection basket before the end appears.

    The bible “end times” garbage is still alive and well.

  41. Has anyone noticed how the the “hurricane” hitting Bermuda right now has winds suspiciously at 75 mph (just 1 mile above what is needed to be a hurricane and according to NOAA will be a hurricane all the way out into the north atlantic. Seems more like propaganda then science based forecasting to me. They also thought it was going to me a major hurricane by the time it got to Bermuda, never seems like they err on the low side with these storms (but maybe for safety sake they shouldn’t).
    Anyway, just seems suspicous that these storms are so powerful where nobody can see them then when they get near land where other instruments can be used they are much weaker. I think NOAA is full of you know what.

  42. If a warmer world means less polar storms, ergo a cooler world means more?
    With the impending cooling of the planet, I predict MORE polar storms. Batten down the hatches.

  43. JamesA says:
    September 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm
    Anyway, just seems suspicous that these storms are so powerful where nobody can see them then when they get near land where other instruments can be used they are much weaker. I think NOAA is full of you know what.
    ============================================
    That is hyperbole.
    There are many very talented scientists at the NHC there trying to do their job.
    Bermuda has been recording gusts to near 95 MPH. And sustained at 80.
    It could have been a lot worse. This was a powerful and large hurricane…but fortunately when it was at its peak, close to being a CAT 5, it was far far away from any land.
    Your perspective here is also rather truncated. You may want to recall Hurricane Ike in 2008.
    Even though Ike was only a 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the storm surge it produced was more like a strong 4. And it wiped clean the Bolivar Peninsula.
    There are other ways to measure hurricanes besides the Saffir-Simpson, and when they forecast Ike’s Cat 4 surge, even though its “official” Cat was 2, was an example.
    The Integrated Kinetic Energy measurement [ironically the the IKE].
    Anyways careful on your naive “conspiracy” theme here. Hurricanes are wild WILD beasts.
    We have just gotten lucky as of late. My how quickly people forget 2004 and 2005.
    And definitely, Bermuda will be spared what could have been worse. Hmm. Interesting.
    Perhaps the planet is telegraphing the cooling that some experts say will be coming…
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  44. How far south can they occur?
    How early can they occur? Ought the fellows attempting to circle the arctic, making both the Northeast and Northwest passage in one summer, be nervous?
    How strong can they get?

    They occur as south as 52 degrees latitude (The Netherlands), though they are almost always in a dissipating state that far south. Polar lows require very cold air mass to exist, so naturally, when this air moves south, it warms due to exchange with the (sea) surface and horizontal mixing. This effectively ‘kills’ the polar low.
    Why the cold air mass? I’m throwing in a rather dull term here: the Rossby radius of deformation (look for the definition in e.g. Holton, Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology). This is the scale at which rotational effect become as important or more important as gravity waves and buoyancy. In the environment in which polar lows develop, this radius is small, because the saturated-adiabatic lapse rate is less steep in cold air (you can calculate this) and the coriolis parameter is very significant at high northern latitudes. Because the radius is small, such small-scale but strong circulations as polar lows can develop.
    So, this perfectly explains why polar lows are prone to decrease and/or become less strongin a warming atmosphere. When the atmosphere warms, the saturated-adiabatic lapse rate increases, which effectively increases the Rossby deformation radius. This makes the general dynamical environment, favourable for the development of polar lows, less likely to occur. Hurricanes have a completely different dynamic background, although the primary ‘source’ of their energy is more or less identical: release of latent heat due to convection. Hurricanes are, however, (instinctively) likely to increase in number and activity, because their dynamic background differs and they run on convection that is mostly surface based, instead of maintained through the existence of a strong vertical temperature gradient.
    I suggest anyone who wants to know more about polar lows, and their (theoretical) meteorological background, to look at the SatRep (Satellite Report) manual: http://www.zamg.ac.at/docu/Manual/SatManu/main.htm?/docu/Manual/SatManu/CMs/PL/index.htm
    – Ben Lankamp

  45. Anthony’s mistake wasn’t too bad, maybe, as polar lows are warm core, circle symmetric convectional disturbances (as opposed to baroclinic) with a somewhat hurricane-like appearance and they are actually sometimes termed ‘Arctic hurricanes’…

  46. If the driver here is the polar amplification effect, (which is only a model prediction anyway), and acts to reduce the temperature differential and therefore vertical shear/ vortex at the polar- hadley boundary… and so on…..
    Then why does the south pole show bigger storms and increased vortex strength as the earth has supposedly warmed ?

  47. Hehheh.
    Try this, and type you know who in search:
    http://tinyurl.com/yehbodc
    ————–
    RESULT: You searched for telford
    There were 3 results for the exact phrase telford, see below for more results.
    Wednesday, 20 October 2004 12:49:34 : Filename: 1098294574.txt
    From: Keith Briffa To: John.Birks@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,masson@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, dirk.verschuren@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,Laurent.Labeyrie@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, juerg.beer@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,A.Lotter@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,k.briffa@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, hufischer@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,dan.charman@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, karin@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,wanner@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, …
    Wednesday, 11 May 2005 15:25:11 : Filename: 1115843111.txt
    From: “Polychronis Tzedakis” To: “Rainer Zahn” , “Thomas Stocker” , “Atte Korhola” Subject: RE: commission performance alpha 5 Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 16:25:11 +0100 Cc: , , , , , , , , , , Dear all, First of all a big hand for Eystein and all those who put in so much time into this task. Very …
    Thursday, 12 May 2005 03:48:04 : Filename: 1115887684.txt
    From: Denis-Didier.Rousseau@xxxxxxxxx.xxx To: , Subject: [Fwd: RE: commission performance alpha 5] Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 04:48:04 +0200 (MEST) Dear all IMPRINT colleagues, Being away from Europe, this was a very bad news that I got this morning listening about the rejection of IMPRINT. Eystein …
    ——————
    A Climategate “cc” no less. Surely this can’t be you know who, can it?

  48. Tim Folkerts says:
    The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.
    dave38 says:
    And the plural of ‘datum’ is not ‘proof’!”

    I like that one, too. Thanks 🙂

  49. I believe that a serious case can also be made for periods of full employment causing more Global Warming and less strong storms in the Arctic, no wonder so many economists and those among the Super-Rich believe in Global Warming, I’m sorry – Climate Modulation (isn’t that what it’s called this morning?).

  50. Please explain the following quotes and facts.
    “A previous study using NCEP/NCAR re-analysis data revealed that polar low frequency from 1948 to 2005 did not systematically change.”
    “Polar lows were not discovered until after the advent of satellite meteorology, so we have only about 50 years of data on them.”
    “1960: NASA launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
    TIROS, for Television Infrared Observation Satellite, sent the very first TV images from space to the ground station at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. The pictures clearly showed the New England coast and Canada’s Maritime Provinces north to the St. Lawrence River. The photos were airlifted pronto to Washington, D.C., to be presented to President Eisenhower.” http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/03/dayintech_0401
    And does this mean we will be getting fewer winter blizzards?

  51. A lot of bandwidth has been wasted in attempts to “correct” Anthony’s alleged mis-concenption of mid latitude cyclones. Perhaps, in the future we can just refer to the cyclones as either warm core lows and cold core lows. There is no need to cut and paste testbook definitions. For those of use who practiced operational weather forecasting, such pendantry causes us to browse to the next subject.

  52. Paddytoplad says:
    September 19, 2010 at 8:48 am
    next we’ll have global warming causes cold winters, global warming causes sea ice to increase, global warming reduces drought while simultaneously reducing rainfall.

    The Warmists have already made these very same claims for more snow in the Northern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice record caused by Ozone, more rain and less rain, you name it they have it covered. This is fast becoming a comedy of errors. :o)
    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1962294,00.html
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123671588
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/EETD-climate-change.html
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/pr20100526.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/25/uk-homes-climate-change-adaptation

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