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Global Warming, El Niño & 30-Year Wet Cycle

Hype About Global Warming is Hot Air

There remains considerable debate about Climate Change, Global Warming, and whether man is at the root, or Mother Nature still controls the thermostat. There are so many processes that control our climate from Mr. Sunshine to orbit, etc, that it is tough to whittle it down to a single item, CO2, or man. I believe in the big picture which controls how we warm and cool. This has been going on since the dawn of time, and will continue for millions of years to come. However, I also believe that mankind needs to get his act together and do the right thing. So we can put the climate debate aside and realize that we have 7 billion humans to care for and provide. I believe in wind, solar, more efficient use of fossil fuels, even nuclear. I believe in mass transit, walking and biking, Electric cars, etc. We will need to house, and cloth our neighbors and also provide energy. So we need to look at a diverse energy base, including hydro and even coal, if done correctly! So even if I do look at the big picture, I believe that man needs to clean up his act and do the right thing!

Back in 1989, I was speaking at a convention in Seattle, I mentioned that once the Global Warming debate moved into the mainstream media and politics, all objectivity would be lost. That is is exactly what I see today. I have colleagues around the country and world, some who agree with me and some don't. But we all agree on doing the right thing. We can accomplish this by making our lives as efficient as we can. We can even use fossil fuels much more effectively than we do today. We have the engineers who can make that happen, even with coal!

The following I wrote back in the mid-90's! You can agree with it or not, it is simply my opinion. I would ask that you do your homework and arrive at your opinion, but not on the media nonsense, but on good honest research on your own.

Recently,November 2015, there was a climate summit at the University of Texas, Austin, with some of the best climate scientists in the world attending.The Climate Summit sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Dr. Lindzen, MIT, Dr. Happer, Princeton, and Dr. Moore, Ecologist and GreenPeace founding member, all discussed issues that I brought up when I wrote this discussion back in the mid-90's. These items are still valid today and need to be addressed. You can agree with me or not, but when solid scientists agree with my previous thoughts, and are using the same arguments today, then nothing has changed. The media wants you to follow their climate hype, otherwise, you have no reason to watch their evening "blues"! Anyway, the following remains the same. Read on if you wish. You can read about the Summit at "".

The issue of Global Warming is more political than scientific. Most of my colleagues around the Country, and the World, do not believe in any catastrophic impact from Global Warming, relating to the Burning of fossil fuels. Even the most ardent Atmospheric Scientists only believe that we would warm about 2.0 deg F, from man caused releases of Co2. Most of the issue with Global Warming is related to Politics and the Media Hype associated. Unfortunately, the issue has gone from the Scientific Community to the Capital, and the Media, which is not the place for it to go. For a list of Background books, please see Reference Books in the back of this booklet!

Global warming related to CO2 is very questionable at best. Man's contribution to the CO2 cycle is minimal when compared to Natural occurring sources of CO2. The oceans, Volcanic Eruptions, Swamp Gas, Cattle and our own respiration contribute far more CO2 to the Atmosphere than burning of fossil fuels. I would be more concerned about one Volcanic eruption than from the burning of Ethyl in our cars and trucks. Plus, CO2 is not an evil gas, we need it to survive on this planet! We have seen levels of CO2 higher in the past without any warming! If we deem CO2 to be a pollutant, we are in serious trouble, as we contribute to CO2 levels as well.

This Global Warming issue develop back in the mid-70's while I was attending OSU. Many of my Professors where working on a Global Circulation Computer Model (GCM) which would simulate weather trends out to the year 2050-75. Remember that Computer Technology in the 70's was not too good, thus any computer models were quite primitive. The GCM requires about 10,000 Trillion arithmetic Calculation, so it is not a trivial model, and requires one heck of a computer. It took about 3 months to run that version, now it is much faster. But back in the 70's it was even more primitive and could only look at CO2, leaving out other Gases like Methane, Nox and Sox, Water Vapor( a Big issue) and other influences like the Oceans, Cloud cover, Sea Ice and Ocean Currents. The 70's version showed that if CO2 levels Doubled by the year 2050-75, we could expect to see warming in the range of 5-9 Degs.F. Now that is alarming until you realize that most of the Warming was in the Polar Region, During the Winter and at night. Of course, the Canadians and Russians were elated because their growing season would be longer. However, the Tropics would cool by a full 1 Deg.F due to increased Cloud cover. This is still the current feeling of the models but the numbers are reduced to around 2 deg. F.

There are a number of assumption that had to be made in the 1975 version of the GCM model, but in 1992, and more recently, the 2010 model was able to add in Radiative/Convective modeling, Sea Ice, Ocean currents and data, Cloud cover, etc. The new prediction was 1 to +2.0 degs.F Warming which is well within our known climatic temperature variations of +/- 4.0 degs. F. So, the thought of Catastrophic Warming has now been replaced but a more reasonable amount of warming which is not as much of a threat. Any warming would be superimposed upon any current weather patterns and would not alter global Climate at all. Sea Levels would not rise as a result of the warming, due to the fact that Polar areas would still be well below freezing, plus increased warming could mean increased Snowfall over the Polar ice caps. Many of us believe that the ice Caps would grow and not shrink, which has been verified recently in the Antarctic. Most of the Warming would be in the Polar region, in the Winter, and at night. Tropical areas still show signs of cooling by about 1.0 deg. F. So, many folks, including the Senate and Congress, have taken a slow approach on Taxing Fossil fuels to slow our burning and contribution to the CO2 cycle. There remains a cautious and skeptical group but there are also folks who really want to buy into Man Caused warming, almost a religous belief!

Many of us know that a CO2 enriched environment is much more conducive to growing plants and trees, who in turn, put out more Oxygen, so the threat of CO2 Being a problem is self limiting. The Warming Oceans absorb more CO2 due to plankton growth, which in turn, produce more Oxygen. So, if you think about this CO2 issue, common sense tells you that CO2 is not the Bad Guy in all of this, We need it to sustain life on this planet! The gases to worry about are Methane, not so clean when you look at the CO2-Global Warming issue, and Water Vapor which we have no control over at all. Thus, One Volcanic eruption in the Tropics could spew fourth more particulate matter, More Methane and CO2 than you and I contribute in a year. Thus, we must look at all sources of CO2 and the entire Greenhouse effect issue, not just one gas.

It is well known that Naturally occurring climatic variation happen from every 11 years out to around 101,000 years and are related to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, Wobble of the Earth Axis, the tilting of the axis and Solar cycles themselves. Thus, there are a number of factors that need to be considered that are not controlled by Man. A Polish Scientist back in the 1920's, calculated ( using a slide rule) the above earth's Variations, and deducted that Ice ages could happen every 15,000 years, or so. WE are currently at about 14,800 years in the Inter-Glacial cycle, thus the next Ice age is right around the Corner, and would have huge Global political consequences. Thus, a colder environment is much worse scenario than a Global Warming pattern. Remember back during Jurassic Park, the world was warm and lush, a very nice place to live Climatically, but a bit tough trying to deal with Mr. T-Rex! So, a warmer environment might not be too bad. I know that my wife would like it warmer, not colder!

Ask the Ice Man
It is interesting to note that the "ice Man" found in the Tyrolian Alpsa few years ago, Died where he laid about 8,000 years ago, suggesting that the high Alps were not as cold then, with atmospheric conditions similar to that of today's. This seriously questions man's role in global climate and global climate change. Thus, I urge caution before rushing to make policies and laws about our use of Fossil fuels. Of course, I believe that all of us can be more Earth Friendly, but there are some things we simply have little control over, the Atmosphere being one of them!

I would encourage all of you to take a look at any of the Books referenced in the back of this Booklet and do some research on your own You might be surprised by what you might find. I know I was. I started researching this topic back in 1985, and was amazed at the facts vs. the Media and political hype concerning Global Warming, El Nino and Ozone Depletion. I am sure that many of you will feel the same way if you conduct your own research!


El Nino: Fact vs. Myth
Even though I believe in El Niño and its affect on climate over the tropical regions, I do not believe it has as strong an affect on Northwest weather as some folks think. In fact, I am not too sure that it has any affect – or if it does, it is limited. El Niño is often used as a "catch-all" phrase to lump changeable or unusual weather events into one phenomenon. In fact, El Niño is only a short-term event that lasts from three to six months during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer (November through February).

El Niño is simply a reversal or weakening of the normal easterly trade winds that allow the warmer waters of the Western Pacific to flow eastward toward the west coast of Central and South America. This warm water flow heats up the normally cool waters off the Peruvian Coast, causing a disruption in fisheries and the weather. Typically, it is very wet over Central America during these events, with warmer water and heavier rainfall moving north into the southern U.S.

The stronger the warming, the greater the impact on regional weather. In other words, the stronger the departure from normal ocean temperatures, the greater the impact on regional weather. The greater the El Niño, the greater the chances that the Northwest and Southwest are stormy and wet. The weaker the event, the less likely we are to see a correlation to the El Niño incident.

A great case in point was the 1982-83 event when we were extremely wet and mild. During weaker events, we have seen completely different weather associated with each weather pattern. That is, the weaker the event, the more likely we will see a variety of weather events: some wet, some dry, some cool, and some not so cool!

This is why I feel that when El Niño is strong we see a strong correlation toward wet mild weather for the Pacific Northwest. But when the event is weaker, then our weather tends to be correlated with developments in the polar areas or mid-latitude changes. In fact, I think that we are more strongly influenced by North Pacific Ocean events and the polar weather pattern than by tropical changes. So, even if an El Niño event is taking shape, our weather will ultimately be determined by the interaction of the polar branch and mid-latitude weather pattern interacting with the El Niño event – not solely El Niño!

If all El Niños resulted in the same weather patterns and the same or similar events, then I would tie all of my forecasts to it. However, that is not the case at all. Each El Niño is different and directly related to the different weather patterns evolving out of the polar regions. I feel that only the strongest El Niños can overcome the polar influence locally or regionally.

This is what happened in 1982-83, but if you look at that event, you would have seen some interesting weather patterns too. The main ridge was very strong and broad over the North and Central Pacific, with the jet stream extended from Japan to the North Pacific, dropping south into Oregon and California. The position of the jet stream over California interacted with the warmer waters and produced some heavy rainfall there and over us.

Naturally, we see warmer water off our coast in the winter. We see it whether El Niño is active or not due to strong south-southwest surface winds. When the jet stream is over us, we see warmer waters off our coast. It happens no matter what El Niño is doing. However, during an El Niño event, our waters might warm slightly, thus increasing the heat differential, resulting in heavier rainfall and mountain snows.

El Niño events are primarily winter events for us and usually of short-lived duration. They do not carry over into the spring, summer or fall weather patterns. Sometimes the warmer waters take a few months to a year or two to return to normal. Usually with the weaker events, the El Niño waters return to normal within a few weeks or months. This is why I do not believe that the impact of El Niño carries over into the spring, summer, or fall.

El Niño is a very complicated event and not easily understood by most scientists. Unfortunately, it is blamed for a lot of unusual weather events when it only has a limited scope. I would encourage all of you to go easy on blaming El Niño for everything. Remember, it is only one piece of a huge atmospheric jigsaw puzzle that is not easily understood.

The 30-Year Wet Cycle
There is strong evidence that we see wet and dry spells that vary or peak over 30-year periods. All of us who have lived in this region for any length of time have lived through dry periods, lasting from five to 20 years and certainly wet periods of five to 30 years. Of course, some of these wet or dry periods are far more noticeable than others and can have a much more dramatic impact.

One of my former professors at Oregon State University, Dr. Larry Mahrt, showed me an unusual study he was working on concerning 125 years of weather data collected at Corvallis. This was back in the summer of 1992 and was of interest to me as we were rapidly coming out of a rather dry period from the late 1980's. He showed me some statistical data supporting a 30-year wet-dry cycle for Corvallis (and the Willamette Valley), but what was very interesting was the 10-year wet-dry cycles superimposed on the big picture. Lo and behold, we were poised and ready to go into a 30-year cycle of wetter than normal weather locally, and perhaps regionally. Dr. Mahrt was not ready to say that the whole region would see a similar trend, but he thought that it would be unusual for only one small area to be wetter than normal without others following suit.

This study certainly confirmed my (and others') feelings about weather cycles but was the first statistical evidence that I had seen confirming these cycles. The interesting facts about this study were the overall trend of 30 years wet, but also the short-term 10-year cycles that could actually drop us below normal for a few years, then back up above in years to follow. Also, we could see a 10-year peak combined with a 10-year peak to produce some remarkable rainfall, or the flip-side, a remarkable amount of drying. So, the study was quite a revelation to me, and I am sure to others.

The knowledge that we are headed into (well into) a new wet cycle might sway some of your decisions about how you will deal with business programs or agricultural programs. It also might sway some of your decisions on how quickly we need to worry about water storage facilities, putting down new wells or developing "drought" resistant strains of plants. Not every year over the next 30 will be wetter than normal; we will see some that are drier. We have already seen this quite dramatically over the past seven years. It will have a profound impact on how we all work, play, and do business. It will also have a marked impact on snow pack and river stages and flow, and perhaps most importantly on flood related issues. The flood issue is one we will have to deal with repeatedly. Knowing that these 10-year cycles might "produce 10-year floods," might make us all rethink flood plains and zones a bit more carefully. Perhaps last February's flood was a 10-year event, rather than a 100-year event as we have been told! We might need to rethink where we build homes, watching out for hillsides and river valleys. The dry events lull us into a false sense of security, and we think we will not see any more severe storms, snow, or flooding. Then, bang, we get hammered by some major storm events.

Weather is dynamic and always changing. We have to be ready for what "she" might deliver! These weather cycles and events are great for my business, because so many people are simply caught off guard. A 10-year wet cycle will make the information I provide even that much more valuable to those that use it!

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