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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Global Grilling Begins To Broil

Johannesburg Gets 4 Inches of Snow, First Since 1981 (Update1)

By Stewart Bailey

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Johannesburg recorded its first confirmed snowfall for almost 26 years overnight as temperatures dropped below freezing in South Africa's largest city, grounding flights at its main airport.

The heaviest falls were over the southern suburb of The Hill, where four inches of snow fell, said Venetia Magane, a forecaster at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria. Temperatures in the city fell to minus 1 degree Celsius (30.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night, she added.

``It started last night and by this morning everything was covered,'' Bernice Hodkinson, a beautician in the southern suburb of Mondeor, said in a telephone interview. ``The kids are making snowballs in the veld, it's beautiful.''

Snow last blanketed Johannesburg for a single day on Sept. 11, 1981. The city's average minimum temperature for June over the past 47 years is 4 degrees Celsius, according to data provided by the South Africa Weather Service. This year's average minimum is 4.7 degrees compared with 0.7 degrees in 1968, the coldest on record.

Flights leaving O.R. Tambo International airport were delayed for as long as three hours this morning while ice was cleared from runways and snow removed from aircraft, the South African Press Association said, citing Tasniem Patel, spokeswoman for Airports Company South Africa Ltd.

Light snowfall was also recorded in Pretoria, the capital, which last had snow on June 11, 1968, the newswire said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stewart Bailey in Johannesburg Sbailey7@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: June 27, 2007 06:59 EDT

23 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

Believe me, they will find a way to link this to global warming.

I have found that when someone really wants to prove something they will do it with whatever means they have.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous neo said...

Let me see now…..

A single weather report

On a single day

In a single place

Is related to global warming (as mentioned in the title of this post) how exactly?

Using the equivalent logic the LSI corporation lost 15% on the NYSE that must mean the economy is doomed!

The post is as meaningless to global warming as my stock report is to the overall health of the economy. But other then it was a good anecdote to those global warming scientist know it alls.

2:52 PM  
Blogger John said...

Where have you been, Neo? Record breaking--IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION-- Stuff like that have been happening all year.

Don't you remember (for example) the Global Grilling Marches that were canceled because of blizzard conditions? (Now THAT'S "LOL"-worthy, don't you think? Admit it. It is).

Apparently, the climatalogically "enlightened" citizenry didn't see such frigid weather coming when they scheduled the march.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your point uis still meaningless but since you like weather reports try this on....
6/28/07
Five more die as southeast Europe sizzles

FOUR more Romanians have died from a heatwave gripping parts of
southeast Europe, raising the region's death toll from the past few days to at least 30.
All four were elderly people who died of breathing or heart problems brought on by the heat, Romania's health ministry said.


In western Turkey, a 60-year-old man collapsed on a beach and later
died in hospital as temperatures there hit 44C.


Turkey's western regions reduced working hours for state officials and authorities urged the elderly and children to stay at home, out of the heat.

In Greece, where the scorching weather has killed five people in the past two days, air conditioning systems working flat out pushed energy consumption towards an all-time high, and state offices closed early
at noon to conserve power supplies.


Temperatures soared to 46C in some parts of the country on Monday, and authorities expected the heatwave to continue for at least another three days, making this Greece's hottest June ever.

2:59 PM  
Blogger John said...

Those regions are well-known as being perennial scorchers this time of year.

Mediterranean heatwaves in June are not the anomalies.

Johannesburg had its ONE & ONLY snowfall in almost 26 years.

THAT'S the anomaly, anonymous, and it's THE OPPOSITE anomoly of what we were supposed to expect.

If, on behalf of skeptics, I predicted last June that there would be snow in Johannesburg this June, I'd be laughed at as some kind of "head-in-the-sand Denier."

The laugh is mine.

And your heads are in the snow.

Don't deny it.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John what are you saying then? South Africa is experiencing climate change(which is what global warming causes)

Its a single weather report, by itself it means nothing but if you insist that it means climate change then congrads - you have just mentioned the major effect of the current global warming trend .....climate change!
-Neo

8:03 PM  
Blogger John said...

Ya can't have it both ways (if not three-ways).

Too hot? Global Warming!

Too cold? Global Warming!

Just right? Head in the sand about Global Warming!

9:53 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Was I right or was I right!!!

This guy just seems to do just as I predicted.

3:09 PM  
Blogger John said...

You were right.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

The point is simple and sweet.

According to science, this planet has never had a stable weather condition when you measure it in the thousands of years. It is unstable in the hundreds of years, and even tens of years from place to place and from time to time. None of these patterns has ever been explained or completely understood by humans.

Ouch.

The reason that many advocates of changing global policies are saying to to so because it is better for all of us is understood. The reason that many of these same advocates are turning away from the Al Gore scare tactics is because of ....well...reason. Itself. All alone.

The fact of the matter is that science does not yet understand why the planet changes climates. If you are a good scientist, you accept what the data tells you and you accept that the planet has been warming and that climates are changing. If you are a good scientist you can even postulate (hypothesize...that is...an educated guess) what you think the causes just night be. You might be right and you might be wrong.

To take an Al Gore approach and say that all the science is now behind us and that it is a moral question is to take science and pervert it to a political set of goals. That is what a great number of people (scientists included) are finally getting around to in the current climate. Pun intended, I guess...even if it is a bad one.

8:29 PM  
Blogger John said...

Well said, James. The gig is up.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said on the weather but...

to bad you don't know the difference between weather and climate. Any 7th grade earth science student can explain it to you

Like I said one weather report is meaningless.

10:24 AM  
Blogger John said...

Too bad any 7th grader can explain the difference to you of "to" and "too."

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So spell wiz what's the difference between climate and weather?

Why is weather unpredictable and climate completely predictable?

If you don't know then you can't possibly understand global warming and climate change.

-Neo

9:10 PM  
Blogger John said...

Weather is a product of climate.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry John but you are definitely wrong. Weather is most definitely not a product of climate.

How about another chance?

What's the difference between climate and weather?

Why is weather unpredictable and climate completely predictable?

and if you don't know then how can you dismiss human caused climate change?

-Neo

12:47 PM  
Blogger John said...

Weather is a snapshot of atmospheric conditions in a given time and place in a climate, which itself is the extended big picture which may or may not resemble the conditions of a given weather pattern.

Nevertheless, more often than not, WEATHER IS INDEED THE PRODUCT OF CLIMATE.

For example, the weather produced by the arid climate of the Sahara desert is different than that produced in the wet climate of the Pacific Northwest.

There are many factors which go into one area's weather over another's (e.g. moisture content, reflectivity as determined by cloud cover or surface sheen, winds, etc.), but the biggest determinant is temperature, which itself over the year is determined by the earth's revolutionary, elliptical path around the sun and proximity to the equator-- not because CO2 is most heavily concentrated there, but because it receives the most solar energy (as opposed to, say, the arctic regions).

And warm climates PRODUCE different weather than cold ones.

Now if the atmosphere contains higher concentrations of CO2, then it stands to reason that more heat will be trapped with no place to go, and the warmed climates will behave accordingly (as reflected in the weather that is PRODUCED THEREIN).

No argument there.

The argument is over whether human industry is responsible for an uptick in the mean global temperature because of the CO2 belched by human industry adding to the atmospheric concentration of it and so creating a "Greenhouse Effect" (changing the climate and the weather PRODUCED THEREIN accordingly) or whether the main culprit(s) are bigger, as big as the sun, for example, which belches solar flares bigger than planet Earth itself whenever it feels like it.

And then there's volcanoes, which erupt regularly (beneath the radar of the media if not on the spectacular, headline-grabbing scale of a Vesuvius or Mount St. Helens, but quite frequently nevertheless) and belch out all sorts of nature-made greenhouse gases.

And of course there's forest fires (often caused by lightning, not just human being's cigarettes).

In my not-so-humble opinion, man's greatest contribution to any CO2 imbalance (an imbalance determined relative to--ironically-- MANMADE arbitration of what the "proper" CO2 level should be) is deforestation, not the Jersey Turnpike.

But it can only remain my opinion because there's a lot about the global climate--and the weather it PRODUCES-- that remains, not only NOT understood, but outright UNKNOWN.

So unknown, in FACT, that not only is my opinion as good as ANYONE else's, but the label "Global Warming" itself is becoming an embarrassing misnomer (and don't think I haven't noticed that there's been some throat clearing and an increasing preference to utter the more generic "Climate Change" instead of "Global Warming" due to Mother Nature's confounding fickleness).

2:10 AM  
Blogger John said...

Again, Neo, the argument is not whether we are experiencing a warming trend or whether higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere can create a greenhouse effect.

(and I won't even start on whether that would really be a bad thing or not, anyway)

The argument, once again, is over whether man is responsible for an uptick in the mean global temperature because of the CO2 belched by human industry adding to the atmospheric concentration of it and so creating a "Greenhouse Effect" (changing the climate and the weather PRODUCED THEREIN accordingly) or whether the main culprit(s) are bigger.

Again, CO2 makes up .054 (point-zero-five-four)% of all gases in the atmosphere.

Of that .054%, greenhouse gases make up a small percentage.

Of that small percentage, 95% is water vapor (a greenhouse gas).

Of that 95%, 99.999% is of natural origin.

Human beings cause .001% of remaining water vapor and a small percentage (if not percentile) of the remaining 5% of greenhouse gases.

Those are the FACTS.

Now you can go on and on all you want about radiative forcing and chain reactions and percentiles that can make all the difference (and they most certainly can) between a gale and a hurricane, but the simple truth is that we're not too far removed from bacteria when it comes to our impact on a planetary scale.

2:38 AM  
Blogger John said...

(this is a copy of what I posted in the next commentary section)

Well, it seems that I'm guilty of not paying attention to your arguments and the stages of this one, as well.

You addressed my recently repeated opinion that deforestation is a bigger CO2 emmiter than the burning of fossil fuels, here:

(from Neo)

"1) current deforestation is putting about 1/5 the amount of CO2 into the atmosphere compared to fossil fuels. Deforestation has acutually stablized in 1st world and is primarly occuring 3rd world countries.

2) Plant matter can't possibly compensate for current CO2 increase. First you would have to recover deforestation just to get back to baseline. Second the halflife of CO2 (counting cycling) is on the order of 100+ years..."

But those arguments must have been countered by the skeptical scientists, and I would need to hear their side before making a decision.

You also addressed the post-war dip in temperatures concurring with the boom in CO2 output. You say there was a lagtime.

But that must be a hypothetical supposition, not a demonstrable scientific fact.

Nevertheless, I can't deny that higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere trap heat.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous neologizer said...

Weather is not the product of climate.... Climate is the average of weather - literally

Climate is commonly defined as the weather averaged over a long period of time. The standard averaging period is 30 years but other periods may be used depending on the purpose.

The main difference between climate and everyday weather is best surmised by the popular phrase "Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."


Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and is a chaotic non-linear dynamical system. On the other hand, climate — the average state of weather — is fairly stable and predictable.

3:42 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'm glad you noted that there is an arbitrary time standard for measurement-- in thirty year increments.

I'm sure you'll agree that there have not been too many of those increments since reliable global temperature readings begun.

There has even been a recent expose' about global temperature readings of today not being 100% reliable, but let's not get into that.

I'm also glad you noted that "other periods may be used depending on the purpose."

I don't mean to be cynical. Surely there are legitimate reasons to take measurements outside of that box, but the opportunities for manipulation are infinite.

As for the definitions you provided, if cumulative weather equals climate, then that means I had it backwards: Climate is a product of weather.

So a climate is predictable because of stable weather patterns over the long run. If the average drought or rainfall or snowfall or deep freeze in a given period varies too far from a fairly-well established longer-term average, that could indicate a change of climate afoot.

How am I doing?

1:21 AM  
Blogger John said...

Good. Anyway, we'll have to wait and see what the average ends up being for 2007.

I wouldn't be surprised if some adjustments will have to be made (if not in the approach to the science, then to the language, for better or worse).

2:17 AM  
Anonymous neologizer said...

I think you got it John,

When dealing with climate (a long term stable trend) one day of extreme weather doesn't mean the trend is changing. However several seasons or years of unusual weather indicate climate change.

However if underlying driving forces of weather (ie heat energy in the atmosphere) change over the long term, then the climate will change also.

1:42 PM  

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