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Saturday, December 19, 2009

James Hansen on David Letterman, December 10, 2009

James Hansen on David Letterman, December 10, 2009

Dear Readers,

Just after about minute 7:30, Dr. Hansen points out that the melting of the ice at the respective poles, concurrent with the heating up of the planet at the equator, will begin to be sufficient to create a temperature differential (I think I am just making up my own weather terms here) such that it will drive much more powerful storms.

Maybe it's just me, but lately, while watching the water vapor streams at this link (I have a gander or two or three, nearly every day):  , I have noticed some very forceful streams in the Northern Hemisphere in the mid latitudes, rushing from west to east, from the western Pacific to straight across North America to the western Atlantic.  UPDATE:  the water vapor streams being a chaotic system, patterns do not hold for long, and indeed, it is no longer possible to view the streams mentioned above, but hopefully you will decide to become an aficionado.  SECOND UPDATE:  Maybe I should take the first update back!  Have a look at this far more complete visualization and animation of the water vapor streams.  If you look today or tomorrow, I am fairly sure you will still be able to see what I mean.  However, this link is to a site at the University of Wisconsin and Java is required. It takes some time to load, but it is well worth waiting:

Link to YouTube video:

1 comment:

ncdave4life said...

Unfortunately, that YouTube video is gone.

There's another copy at but it appears to be incomplete, because I distinctly remember Hansen mentioning the supposed 1.8 mm/yr rate of sea level rise, and it's not in that video.

The interesting bit you mentioned is at 7:25, when you can hear Hansen predict that melting ice sheets will keep the oceans cool at extreme latitudes, while the tropics warm due to GHGs, with the result that the "increasing temperature gradient is going to drive stronger storms."

However, these days "everybody knows" the opposite: that "Polar Amplification" is expected to cause temperatures to rise faster at higher latitudes. Some people also know that non-linear negative feedbacks limit warming in the tropics. Yet I have never heard Hansen, nor any other climate alarmist, speculate that the reduced temperature gradient might reduce extreme weather.

BTW, the dates for Late Show episodes are somewhat ambiguous, because it straddles midnight. They generally use the evening date, rather than the morning date, so they give the date of that episode with Hansen as Dec. 9, 2009. I'd call it Dec. 9-10, 2009.