Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NOAA employee arrested for theft and illegal access of federal database in May 2012, lied to fed. investigators about it in June 2013, arrested Monday at NOAA office 50 miles from Cincinnati-Reuters

10/21/14, "NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information," Reuters, by Steve Bittenbender

"A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee in Ohio has been charged with stealing sensitive information from a federal database for the nation's dams and lying about the breach to federal agents, prosecutors said. 
Xiafen "Sherry" Chen, 59, was arrested on Monday at the NOAA office in Wilmington, Ohio, about 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio said in a statement on Monday.

Chen was charged with theft, illegally accessing a federal database and two counts of making false statements to investigators. She could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the theft charge and five years each if convicted on the other charges, prosecutors said.

Chen was accused of accessing restricted areas of the National Inventory of Dams on various days in May 2012 and downloading sensitive files and providing false information to investigators in June 2013, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Dam Safety Review Board maintain the database, which consists of dams meeting certain hazard or height criteria." via Drudge


US 'dependence on foreign oil' has ended due to US shale revolution. 'New world order' that began with 1973 oil embargo is ending-Nocera, NY Times Op-ed

"The U.S. energy industry looks poised to end the decades-long, precarious "dependence on foreign oil."
10/20/14, "A World Without OPEC?" NY Times Op-ed, Joe Nocera

"Forty-one years ago this month, the Arab oil embargo began. The countries that were part of it belonged, of course, to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — OPEC — which had banded together 13 years earlier to strengthen their ability to negotiate with international oil companies. The embargo led to widespread shortages in the United States, higher prices at the gas pump and long lines at gas stations. By the time it ended, the price of oil had risen to $12 a barrel from $3.

Perhaps more important than the price increases themselves was the new world order the embargo signaled. The embargo “set in motion geopolitical circumstances that eventually allowed [OPEC] to wrest control over global oil production and pricing from the giant international oil companies — ushering in an era of significantly higher oil prices,” as Amy Myers Jaffe and Ed Morse noted in an article in Foreign Policy magazine that was published last year at the 40th anniversary. Twice a year, OPEC’s oil ministers would meet in Vienna, where they would set oil policy — deciding to either hold back or increase oil production. There was always cheating among members, but there was usually enough discipline in the ranks to keep prices more or less where OPEC wanted them.

As it happens, the title of that Foreign Policy article was The End of OPEC.Jaffe and Morse are both global energy experts — she is the executive director of Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, and he is the global head of commodities research at Citigroup — who say that if America plays its cards right, OPEC’s dominance over the oil market could be over. I think that day may have already arrived.

“OPEC is not going to survive another 50 years,” Morse told me. “It probably won’t even survive another 10. It has become extremely difficult for them to forge an agreement.”

When Morse and Jaffe wrote their article last year, the price of oil was more than $100 a barrel. 

Today, the per-barrel price is in the low- to mid-$80s. It has dropped more than 25 percent since June. 

There was a time when $80 a barrel would have been more than satisfactory for OPEC members, but those days are long gone. Venezuela’s budgetary needs requires that it sell its oil at well above $100 a barrel. The Arab Spring prompted a number of important OPEC members— including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — to increase budgetary spending to keep their own populations quiescent. According to the International Monetary Fund, the United Arab Emirates needs a price of more than $80 to meet its budgetary obligations. That’s up from less than $25 a barrel in 2008.

Not long ago, Venezuela asked for an emergency OPEC meeting to discuss decreasing production. Iran has said that such a meeting is unnecessary. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has made it clear that it is primarily concerned with not losing market share, so it will continue to pump out oil regardless of the needs of other OPEC members. This is not exactly cartel-like behavior. The next OPEC meeting is scheduled for late November, but there is little likelihood of an agreement.
And why does OPEC suddenly find itself in such disarray? Simply put, the supply of oil is greater than the demand, and OPEC has lost its ability to control the supply. Part of the reason is a slowdown in global demand. China’s economy has slowed, and so has its voracious appetite for oil. Japan, meanwhile, is increasingly turning to natural gas and nuclear power.
But an even bigger part of the reason is that the shale revolution in North America is utterly changing the supply-demand dynamic. Since 2008, says Bernard Weinstein, an energy expert at Southern Methodist University, oil production in the United States is up 60 percent. That’s an additional three million barrels a day. Within a few years, predicts Morse, America will overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia and become the world’s largest oil producer.

What’s more, according to another article Morse wrote, this one for Foreign Affairs magazine, “the costs of finding and producing oil and gas in shale and tight rock formations are steadily going down and will drop even more in the years to come.” In other words, the American energy industry might well be able to withstand further price drops easier than OPEC members.

When I got Jaffe on the phone, I asked her if she thought OPEC was a spent force. “You can never say never,” she replied, and then laid out a few dire scenarios — mostly revolving around oil fields being bombed or attacked — that might make supply scarce again. But barring that, this is a moment we’ve long been waiting for. 

Thanks to the shale revolution, OPEC has become a paper tiger."


"The U.S. energy industry looks poised to end the decades-long, precarious "dependence on foreign oil."...(from Foreign Policy article linked in above NY Times op-ed).

10/16/13, "The End of OPEC,", by Amy Myers Jaffe, Ed Morse

"Forty years after the Arab oil embargo, new technologies are dramatically reshaping the geopolitics of the Middle East."

"Forty years have passed since the Arab oil embargo went into effect on Oct. 16, 1973, triggering a period of incredible change and turmoil. After the United States provided support to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, a cartel of developing-world countries (via the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC) banned the sale of their oil to Israel's allies and thereby set in motion geopolitical circumstances that eventually allowed them to wrest control over global oil production and pricing from the giant international oil companies -- ushering in an era of significantly higher oil prices. The event was hailed at the time as the first major victory of "Third World" powers to bring the West to its knees.
Designed in part to bring Arab populations their due after decades of colonialism, the embargo opened the floodgates for an unprecedented transfer of wealth out of America and Europe to the Middle East. Overnight, the largest segment of the global economy, the oil market, became politicized as never before in history. But four decades later, the shoe may finally be on the other foot. Now, on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 embargo, the United States has a historic opportunity to lead a counterrevolution against the energy world created by OPEC as innovation in the U.S. energy industry looks poised to end the decades-long, precarious "dependence on foreign oil."... 
Rather than let the forces of supply and demand determine prices, post-1973, the lowest-cost oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, artificially shut production and discouraged capital investment, creating a lasting wedge of rents or financial profitability that market conditions never warranted. (Today, oil prices in real terms are more than four times higher than in 1972.)...
The 1970s witnessed a profound and unprecedented transfer of wealth to the Middle East that continues to have significant repercussions today -- from democracy movements to terrorism to civil wars. The region's leaders failed to set up long-term mechanisms to distribute the benefits of that wealth transfer broadly to their populations and to establish an equitable stake in governance of resource proceeds that would have brought a newfound stability to the region. Instead, they bought lavishly, gilding their palaces and buying fleets of luxury autos. For decades, they squandered the opportunity to use oil wealth to modernize their societies and train their populations for future global economic competition. The result -- unfolding not just in the Middle East but in other oil-producing countries as well -- is a crisis of governance that is itself triggering a round of oil-supply disruptions.
Massive petrodollar inflows brought with them a new political paradigm of "rentier" patronage, characterized by financial excesses, corruption, repression, and billions of dollars in accumulated weapons purchases. Populations of oil-producing states, for the most part, are little better off today than in 1973. Many of the countries have been war-ravaged or riven by sectarian hatreds. And, even with decades of relatively high oil prices and associated worker remittances, most countries of the Middle East still see modest GDP per capita, below $30,000 person on a purchasing-power-parity basis. 
Deep income inequality means that much of the region's population is in fact still living in poverty, even in places like Saudi Arabia. So it should be no surprise that 40 years after the 1973 embargo, citizens of the region are rising up against those who squandered their futures. Tired of waiting for the day when rising oil revenues would somehow magically bring back the promise of prosperity, youth are taking to the streets; port and oil workers are mounting strikes; and jihadists are taking up arms to end the oil curse once and for all. Their frustrations do not unfold in a vacuum. High oil prices associated with all this unrest is propelling energy investment elsewhere to great success.
Energy efficiency is also getting a boost, shrinking the long-term market for Middle East oil. The upshot will be that it will be harder and harder over time for Arab rulers to count on oil money to keep them in power. And that has a trickle-down effect to the populations they've been keeping quiescent with handouts for decades. 
Ironically, just when political revolutions were gaining momentum across the Middle East, a different kind of revolution was emerging that looks likely to bring a new epoch of dislocation and distortion to prevailing oil and gas structures. This second energy revolution is also ameliorating the impact of the first. 
Since January 2011, at the dawn of the rebellions against dictatorial governments in North Africa, the amount of oil "offline" or being blocked from production by either domestic turmoil (in Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) or international sanctions (in Iran) has generally been above 2 million barrels per day (m b/d), four times the average level of supply outages before the so-called Arab Spring
Then Libya erupted once again this past summer, taking another 1.2 m b/d, or more, offline. But the impact of these disruptions has been relatively mild, given that over the same period, production in North America, the heartland of the three revolutionary changes in unconventional hydrocarbon production (shale, deep water, and oil sands), has grown by more than 2.5 m b/d. And more is on the way.... The impact of all this change in the energy world will go far beyond just replacing continuing Arab Spring outages. Unconventional oil and gas and the clean-tech booms are spawning a host of new, smaller oil and gas exploration companies committed to innovation and willing to take on risk. They have no stake in the multibillion-dollar megaproject world of the international majors and national oil companies, and as such, they have fewer concerns about sustaining high profits from giant assets found decades ago. They are enabling the United States the opportunity to take a lead in changing the way energy is bought and sold -- not just in the United States, but globally. 
Energy innovation is taking many forms in the United States, creating major export opportunities and giving Washington the tools it needs to ensure that the conditions of a 1973-style oil embargo will not repeat themselves. The oil embargo was so devastating because strong economic growth throughout the 1960s had taken up the margin of spare oil-productive capacity in the United States and across the world, leaving the Middle East's oil producers with undue monopoly power. Similar razor-thin extra productive capacity left markets highly vulnerable in 2006 and 2007, when OPEC made contraseasonal cuts in output to increase prices, instead of considering the risks to global economic growth. But as oil and gas production from U.S. and Canadian shale formations rises, the ability of oil producers like Russia to use an "energy weapon" to gain extra benefits from consuming countries is diminishing....
Abundant U.S. natural gas is just the first step. Booming domestic natural gas supplies have already displaced and defanged Russia's and Iran's grip on natural gas buyers. By significantly reducing American domestic requirements for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), rising U.S. shale gas production has had the knock-on effect of increasing alternative LNG supplies to Europe, breaking down fixed pricing from entrenched monopolies. But this is just the beginning: Over the coming decade, the United States looks likely to overtake Russia and rival Qatar as a leading supplier of natural gas to international markets....
American unconventional oil and gas plays from Texas to Pennsylvania are also generating new surpluses of natural gas liquids, which are increasingly exported as transportation fuel or petrochemical feedstock to Europe, Asia, and elsewhere -- reducing demand growth for oil from the Middle East. And U.S. crude oil exports might also be possible some day, strengthening America's lead in market-related pricing for kingpin crude oil, much the way rising North Sea production did in the 1980s.  
As an increasing number of companies and investors flock to North America to develop prolific unconventional resources, Middle East heavyweights like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran are losing their lock on remaining exploitable reserves, reducing their ability to band together and create artificial shortages. Already, Mexico and Argentina are reading the tea leaves and reversing protectionist resource nationalism policies, instead pushing through reforms to attract capital investment to their doorsteps....
Some 40 m b/d of the global 85 m b/d oil market is open for competition from natural gas -- in the form of compressed natural gas for cars and buses, and LNG for heavy-duty vehicles and marine transportation. We conservatively expect at least 2 m b/d of currently projected oil demand to cede to natural gas by 2020, further weakening perspectives on future global oil-demand growth and once again chipping away at Middle Eastern influence."...


Monday, October 20, 2014

Political Correctness demands the West surrender everything achieved in past 2000 years and is perfectly exemplified by US Ebola policies-O'Connell

10/19/14, "A Plague on Both Houses: Insane Ebola Policy Exposes American Suicide Culture," Kelly O'Connell, Canada Free Press

"How is it possible that persons fresh from the site of outbreak of one of the world’s worst viruses, simply walk off airplanes into American cities?
Or, consider the dangerous, utterly indefensible policy of allowing the border to stay open, and illegal entries to cross, allowed to stay, even when criminal convictions for violent crimes are proved....
A question which Americans should be actively pondering is whether we are a nation that now loathes ourselves and our past so much that we feel we should be judged and decimated? This is the rationale of Political Correctness. That is, to perpetually accuse the West of the most horrific crimes, and in response—demand the West surrender everything achieved over the last 2000 years. Ultimately, as in Frazer’s epic study of magic and folklore, the Golden Bough—a new king kills the old, and so replaces the old society—or so the Marxist PC thinkers believe....

"We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away.—The Plague"Albert Camus"  

"Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech and Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico. Kelly is now host of a daily, Monday to Friday talk show at AM KOBE called AM Las Cruces w/Kelly O’Connell"


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beijing marathon runners wore masks to cope with heavy particulate matter in the air. WHO says 25 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particulate matter max., US embassy monitor said Beijing air had 400 micrograms-BBC

10/19/14, "Beijing marathon runners don masks to cope with smog," BBC

"Thousands of runners have taken part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon, many wearing face masks amid concerns about pollution.

The organisers warned runners to expect slight or moderate smog, but the US embassy in Beijing said air quality early on Sunday was "hazardous".

One resident in the city told the BBC that the air smelt like burnt coal.

Estimates said that pollution soared above the maximum recommended World Health Organization levels.

The WHO says daily pollution levels should not exceed an average of 25 micrograms per cubic metre of fine particulate matter. 

Yet the US embassy's monitor at one point reported peaks of up to 400 micrograms per cubic metre, which it said would be hazardous if a human was exposed to it over a 24-hour period.

Fine particulate matter, the kind of pollution in smoke, damages the body as it moves deep into the lungs and can even enter the bloodstream.

'Should have been cancelled'
Some athletes gave up the race because of the pollution.

British runner Chas Pope tweeted that he was only able to do 10km (6 miles) of the race in a mask before he was forced to pull out. 

He said that race should have been cancelled because the air quality was "not suitable for outdoor activities".

China's Gong Lihua, who came third in the women's race, said the smog had caused some difficulties....

Beijing resident Neil Holt told the BBC that although the air quality was better than last year, "it was still very polluted".

"You can hardly see [the stadium] through the smog. It's really hard to breathe when it is like this," he said.

The men's race was won by Ethiopian runner Girmay Birhanu Gebru and another Ethiopian, Fatuma Sado Dergo, won the women's race."



Jason Samenow was a lead EPA author on CO2 Endangerment Finding as well as denials of its reconsideration while also employed by the Washington Post which "absorbed" Samenow's blog in 2008. $1 billion a day is "invested" in notion of CO2 endangerment as of 2012

J. Samenow
For the last two of Samenow's years with the EPA, 2008-2010, his "weather" blog was hosted by the Washington Post:

"Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. From 2000 to September 2010, he worked as a climate change analyst for the federal government, monitoring, analyzing and communicating the science of climate change. He founded in early 2004, the first professional weather blog on the Internet which was absorbed by the Post in 2008."...


$1 billion a day is invested in the notion of global warming as of 2012. 


EPA's Jason Samenow was a lead author of the agency's CO2 Endangerment Finding as well as denials of petitions to reconsider it. The post below from Climate Audit is mainly concerned with the involvement of Gavin Schmidt. Jason Samenow is connected with some of Schmidt's activities. Subhead, "Schmidt correspondence:"
10/18/14, "Gavin Schmidt and the EPA Denial Decision," Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre

"About eight weeks ago, Jean S postulated that Gavin Schmidt had been involved in writing the documents supporting EPA’s decision denying various petitions for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding (the RTP documents“), documents that Mann had cited to the D.C. Court as a supposedly  “independent” investigation into allegations against him. 

Obviously, if Schmidt had been involved in the evaluation of evidence for EPA, any claim to “independence” of the EPA’s supposed investigation would be risible.

Jean S directly asked Schmidt, but Schmidt ignored the question.

However, Jean S’ post led to the discovery of new and convincing evidence on Schmidt’s involvement in the RTP documents, which I’ll report today for the first time. Searching for an answer also revealed that EPA appears to have violated federal peer review policies in respect to the peer review of the RTP documents supporting the denial decision.

Background to FOI Request

In his CA post, Jean S noted that language in the RTP documents (noting Responses 1-2, 1-9, 1-16 and 1-70) showed a familiarity with some very fine details of Real Climate positions on past controversy that even Jean S had not been previously aware of. From this, Jean S speculated that Schmidt (and perhaps even Mann) had been involved with the RTP documents. Jean S directly asked both Mann and Schmidt as follows:
@ClimateOfGavin @MichaelEMann Were you involved in writing of EPA’s Denial of Petitions?
The comment thread to Jean S’ post is worth re-reading.  Among other things, AMac reminded readers of EPA’s reliance on Mann’s contaminated nodendro reconstruction (an issue that I had noticed in my only near-contemporary comment on the EPA documents.)

FOI Request

Subsequently, one of the parties in Mann v Steyn (CEI) made an FOI inquiry to EPA asking for 

(1) correspondence between EPA and Gavin Schmidt between February 2010 and August 2010; and (2) a list of authors and a list of reviewers of the RTP documents

Schmidt Correspondence

EPA produced emails between Schmidt and Jason Samenow of EPA (copied to Marcus Sarofim and Rona Birnbaum of EPA.) Samenow and Sarofim had been lead authors of the Endangerment Finding, of which Schmidt had been a reviewer. Other FOI information (see discussion here) provides evidence that Samenow,  Sarofim and Birnbaum were also lead authors of the RTP documents

On May 21, 2010, Samenow and Schmidt exchanged emails in which the EPA officials scheduled a meeting with Schmidt at Schmidt’s office in New York on June 10. Samenow and Sarofim planned to take a train to New York and meet with Schmidt and Reto Ruedy for a half-day, finishing in early-to-mid afternoon. Sarofim and Birnbaum were copied on the correspondence.

On June 8, Samenow sent a “document” via overnight courier to Schmidt in preparation for their half-day meeting on June 10. Emails were exchanged on the day prior to the meeting arranging details.

Under the circumstances, there can be little doubt that Schmidt had been sent draft versions of documents connected to the denial decision and that Schmidt’s meeting with Samenow and Sarofim was for the purpose of reviewing these documents. Jean S’ question can therefore be answered in the affirmative: Schmidt had been involved.

No Peer Review Documents

EPA’s answer to the other question was equally interesting. They stated that they had no documents listing either authors or reviewers of the RTP documents. This is hard to understand given U.S. federal policies requiring peer review and peer review records for influential scientific information disseminated by the U.S. federal government.

Both federal and EPA policies require EPA to carry out peer review of “influential scientific information” in accordance with the EPA Peer Review Handbook,  as clearly stated in the following EPA policy memo linked on their webpage concerning peer review:

"Influential scientific information, including highly influential scientific assessments, should be peer reviewed in accordance with the Agency’s Peer Review Handbook. All Agency managers are accountable for ensuring that Agency policy and guidance are appropriately applied in determining if their work products are influential or highly influential, and for deciding the nature, scope, and timing of their peer review. For highly influential scientific assessments, external peer review is the expected procedure. For influential scientific information intended to support important decisions, or for work products that have special importance in their own right, external peer review is the approach of choice."

The EPA definesinfluential” scientific information as follows:

.3. EPA will generally consider the following classes of information to be influential, and, to the extent that they contain scientific, financial, or statistical information, that information should adhere to a rigorous standard of quality:
Information disseminated in support of top Agency actions (i.e., rules, substantive notices, policy documents, studies, guidance) that demand the ongoing involvement of the Administrator’s Office and extensive cross-Agency involvement; issues that have the potential to result in major cross-Agency or cross-media policies, are highly controversial, or provide a significant opportunity to advance the Administrator’s priorities. Top Agency actions usually have potentially great or widespread impacts on the private sector, the public or state, local or tribal governments. This category may also include precedent-setting or controversial scientific or economic issues.
Similar language is set out in the EPA’s Peer Review Handbook in its  section entitled “2.2.3 How Does One Determine Whether a Scientific and/or Technical Work Product is Influential Scientific Information?”.

The decision to deny the petitions for reconsideration was clearly a “top Agency action” that provided “a significant opportunity to advance the Administrator’s priorities”, was “highly controversial”,  had “potentially great or widespread impacts on the private sector, the public or state, local or tribal governments” and/or included “precedent-setting or controversial scientific or economic issues”. Indeed, it’s hard to contemplate how one would even begin to argue otherwise.

The EPA’s Peer Review Handbook requires the agency to maintain a “peer review record”, which, at an inconceivable minimum, would contain the names of authors and reviewers of the document. So how is it that the EPA had no responsive documents? Odd."....via Climate Depot

Image of Jason Samenow from Washington Post


Among comments at Climate Audit:


"EPA’s Jason by Michel Mann on Facebook."


July 2010, "Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act,"

"EPA determined in December 2009 that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases threatens the public's health and the environment. Since then, EPA received ten petitions challenging this determination. On July 29, 2010, EPA denied these petitions....



    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Two worst North American droughts in past 1000 years were 1934 and 1580 per NASA study through 2005. 1934 drought covered 71.6% of western N. Am., 2012 drought only 59.7%

    10/15/14, "1934 Drought in Dust Bowl Days Was Worst in Thousand Years for U.S.: NASA,", Gil Aegerter

    "The drought of 1934 wasn’t just bad, it was the worst. That’s the finding of a reconstruction of North American drought history over the past 1,000 years, done by scientists from NASA and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Their study, to be published in the Oct. 17 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, concludes the drought of 1934 during the Dust Bowl years in the North American Plains was 30 percent more severe than the next worst, which occurred in 1580, NASA said. 

    The scientists used tree ring records from 1000 to 2005 along with modern observations. They found that the 1934 drought extended across 71.6 percent of western North America, compared with 59.7 percent during the 2012 drought. "It was the worst by a large margin," said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and lead author of the study. 

    The scientists found two main reasons: a winter high-pressure system over the West Coast that blocked precipitation and spring dust storms that suppressed rainfall."


    From NASA link above:

    "A new study using a reconstruction of North American drought history over the last 1,000 years found that the drought of 1934 was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium.

    Using a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005 and modern records, scientists from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought (in 1580) and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America. For comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent.

    "It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record," said climate scientist Ben Cook at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Cook is lead author of the study, which will publish in the Oct. 17 edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

    Two sets of conditions led to the severity and extent of the 1934 drought. First, a high-pressure system in winter sat over the west coast of the United States and turned away wet weather – a pattern similar to that which occurred in the winter of 2013-14. Second, the spring of 1934 saw dust storms, caused by poor land management practices, suppress rainfall....

    "What you saw during this last winter and during 1934, because of this high pressure in the atmosphere, is that all the wintertime storms that would normally come into places like California instead got steered much, much farther north,” Cook said. “It's these wintertime storms that provide most of the moisture in California. So without getting that rainfall it led to a pretty severe drought."

    This type of high-pressure system is part of normal variation in the atmosphere, and whether or not it will appear in a given year is difficult to predict in computer models of the climate. Models are more attuned to droughts caused by La Niña's colder sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, which likely triggered the multi-year Dust Bowl drought throughout the 1930s. In a normal La Niña year, the Pacific Northwest receives more rain than usual and the southwestern states typically dry out.

    But a comparison of weather data to models looking at La Niña effects showed that the rain-blocking high-pressure system in the winter of 1933-34 overrode the effects of La Niña for the western states. 

    This dried out areas from northern California to the Rockies that otherwise might have been wetter. As winter ended, the high-pressure system shifted eastward, interfering with spring and summer rains that typically fall on the central plains. The dry conditions were exacerbated and spread even farther east by dust storms.

    "We found that a lot of the drying that occurred in the spring time occurred downwind from where the dust storms originated," Cook said, "suggesting that it's actually the dust in the atmosphere that's driving at least some of the drying in the spring and really allowing this drought event to spread upwards into the central plains."

    Dust clouds reflect sunlight and block solar energy from reaching the surface. That prevents evaporation that would otherwise help form rain clouds, meaning that the presence of the dust clouds themselves leads to less rain, Cook said.

    "Previous work and this work offers some evidence that you need this dust feedback to explain the real anomalous nature of the Dust Bowl drought in 1934," Cook said.

    Dust storms like the ones in the 1930s aren't a problem in North America today. The agricultural practices that gave rise to the Dust Bowl were replaced by those that minimize erosion. Still, agricultural producers need to pay attention to the changing climate and adapt accordingly, not forgetting the lessons of the past, said Seager. "The risk of severe mid-continental droughts is expected to go up over time, not down," he said."


    Much dust over US comes from China:  "On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia."...

    7/20/2007, "Huge Dust Plumes From China Cause Changes in Climate," Robert Lee Hotz, Wall St. Journal

    Image caption: "A satellite view from 2001 shows dust arriving in California from Asian deserts. Concentrations of dust are visible to the south, near the coastline (lower right); To the west the dust is mixed with clouds over open ocean. This dust event caused a persistent haze in places like Death Valley, California, where skies are usually crystal clear."

    "Courtesy SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE"

    "One tainted export from China can't be avoided in North America-- air. An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they alter the climate. These rivers of polluted air can be wider than the Amazon and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

    "There are times when it covers the entire Pacific Ocean basin like a ribbon bent back and forth," said atmospheric physicist V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.

    On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research....

    Asia is the world's largest source of aerosols, man-made and natural. Every spring and summer, storms whip up silt from the Gobi desert of Mongolia and the hardpan of the Taklamakan desert of western China, where, for centuries, dust has shaped a way of life. From the dunes of Dunhuang, where vendors hawk gauze face masks alongside braided leather camel whips, to the oasis of Kashgar at the feet of the Tian Shan Mountains 1,500 miles to the west, there is no escaping it....
    Once aloft, the plumes can circle the world in three weeks. "In a very real and immediate sense, you can look at a dust event you are breathing in China and look at this same dust as it tracks across the Pacific and reaches the United States," said climate analyst Jeff Stith at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. "It is a remarkable mix of natural and man-made particles.
    This spring, Dr. Ramanathan and Dr. Stith led an international research team in a $1 million National Science Foundation project to track systematically the plumes across the Pacific. NASA satellites have monitored the clouds from orbit for several years, but this was the first effort to analyze them in detail.

    For six weeks, the researchers cruised the Pacific aboard a specially instrumented Gulfstream V jet to sample these exotic airstreams. Their findings, to be released this year, involved NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and nine U.S. universities, as well as the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, Seoul National University in Korea, and Lanzhou University and Peking University in China.
    The team detected a new high-altitude plume every three or four days. Each one was up to 300 miles wide and six miles deep, a vaporous layer cake of pollutants. The higher the plumes, the longer they lasted, the faster they traveled and the more pronounced their effect, the researchers said."...


    Image caption: "A satellite image from 2005 shows a plume of dust flowing from China to the north of the Korean Peninsula and over the Sea of Japan. Such plumes can cross the Pacific and scatter dust across the Western U.S." "Courtesy SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE."


    Ed. note: I copied the above 2007 WSJ article including maps several years ago. As of 2014 the maps may no longer appear in the archived article. Susan

    Dept. of Homeland Security personnel ordered by Obama to complete "greenhouse gas" survey about their daily commute to work. No mention of ISIS, Ebola, etc.

    10/14/14, "Obama Homeland Security: “Greenhouse Gases” Biggest Security Prob; Hassles Agents About Energy Usage,"

    "Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security apparently believes the most pressing security issue facing the “Homeland” is “climate change.” That’s why, last week, the agency sent federal law enforcement agents the e-mail message, below. One of my agent friends sent me a copy of the absurd message.

    My agent friend writes:
    • Hey Debbie,
    Just thought you might find this funny. While the world is going to sh*t with Ebola and ISIS, my agency is more concerned with my greenhouse gas emissions. Nero truly is fiddling while Rome is burning...or is it the Captain of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs as she sinks?
    Either way…at least I don’t work for the Secret Service! Nyuk nyuk nyuk [DS: For those of you in Dearbornistan, that's a "Three Stooges" sound effect]. Be well! 


    Actual Homeland Security Recruitment Ad

    Amen. you think ISIS or Al-Nusra Front or Hezbollah is asking its terrorists about their carbon footprint?

    America . . . Desperate But Not Serious."


    Comment: Thanks again to George Bush and "the Republicans" for adding more bloat to the federal bureaucracy by creating the Dept. of Homeland Security and also for perpetuating the $1 billion a day global warming racket.



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    I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.