Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Attribution of Extreme Weather Events

I wasn't going to post anything today, but a relative brought an article to my attention about how the Earth's magnetic field shifting was causing extreme weather like tropical cyclone Yasi and flooding in Australia. The article, Magnetic Polar Shifts Causing Massive Global Super Storms is pretty sensational. If it is true, I have been wasting time pondering Our Energy Future and should be getting my affairs in order for December 2012.

There are several discussions going on around the internet about what's the deal with the weather. Here is a good example, Attribution of Extreme Events: Part II on Dr. Judith Curry's Climate Etc. blog. The Earth's magnetic field shift does not get much mention on this site frequented by scientists, wanna be scientists and whack jobs like myself. No mention because it is impossible to attribute recent extreme weather to the drifting of the Earth's Magnetic field. In one of the links provided at the end of the article is this quote with my emphasis added:

"The fact that the Fluff is strongly magnetized means that other clouds in the galactic neighborhood could be, too. Eventually, the solar system will run into some of them, and their strong magnetic fields could compress the heliosphere even more than it is compressed now. Additional compression could allow more cosmic rays to reach the inner solar system, possibly affecting terrestrial climate and the ability of astronauts to travel safely through space. On the other hand, astronauts wouldn't have to travel so far because interstellar space would be closer than ever. These events would play out on time scales of tens to hundreds of thousands of years, which is how long it takes for the solar system to move from one cloud to the next." From NASA's Voyager Make Interstellar Discovery article.

In the Scientific American article link added I read this, "He cautions in a commentary accompanying the report that it remains too early to tell if the planet is in the early stage of a polarity reversal. "But the rapidly evolving reversed-flux patches suggest that an attempt at reversal may be under way,"

The author references this paper about Midday Magnetopause, but there is considerable difference between Magnetic storms and tropical storms. Without digging much further, it is pretty clear to me that the author has ventured into territory he should spend a little more time studying before publishing. Then, that is why I started this blog, to ferret out things that make sense from the noise of nonsense on the internet.

There was another article not too long ago about the Earth may have two suns for a while in 2012. That could happen any time from now to about a million years from now. Both of these articles are good examples of How to Hype.

Here is a well written conclusion about Terrance's Paper:


So what’s the takeaway from all this?

Well, the big one is that breathless doomsday articles are generally hugely misleading, if not outright wrong. This one is certainly wrong. Big claims with shaky evidence, exaggerated conclusions, an apparent misunderstanding of basic science, and lots of supposition stated as fact — all this points to the conclusion that this article distorts reality beyond recognition.

Sadly, it’s not the first, nor will it be the last. I already have at least two more such articles on my radar and I know there will never be an end to them.

Until doomsday really does come, of course. But don’t expect those guys to get it right if and when it does."

1 comment:

weather said...

Weather 'Thank you'
snow rain maps