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Friday, October 2

"Super typhoon" Parma takes aim at flood-soaked Philippines

Readers who've been with this blog for years might have noticed that I become short-tempered while I watch a major hurricane head for a human population. I've never known why this is so; perhaps I resent disrupting my schedule for hours of prayer. Whatever the reason for my foul mood this time is no exception.

So I really do wish "some" weather experts would stop using the vague term "climate change." And I really, really, really wish reporters would stop adding such vague statements to their news items about a natural disaster bearing down on people.

With that off my chest, the storm is expected to hit land before dawn on Saturday. (The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of the eastern United States time zone.)

This one looks very bad -- so bad it's been dubbed a "super" typhoon. Typhoons can create huge storm surges in addition to the high winds and heavy rains they generate. Parts of Luzon are already a disaster area and still flooded because of tropical storm Ketsana:
Philippines looks to God as super typhoon looms
By Mynardo Macaraig (AFP - 1:00 AM EDT)

MANILA — Millions of terrified Philippine flood survivors hunkered down Friday as a super typhoon approached, with officials pleading for God to save the disaster-struck Southeast Asian country from more devastation.

Typhoon Parma, packing gusts of 230 kilometres (145 miles) an hour, was forecast to hit rural areas in the north of the Philippines' main island of Luzon before dawn on Saturday.

The government warned Parma would tear down houses in its direct path, while likely bringing more heavy rain and high winds to the nation's capital, Manila, and nearby areas still recovering from record floods last weekend.

"I am more worried about the wind, the damage it can do, breaking window glass, and blowing the roof off the house. Floods are easier to face," said Annette Kawilan, whose Manila house was flooded in Saturday's deluge.

"Basically you want to remain where you are because you want to save your things, your family. We want to be together. We don't know where to go."

Kawilan was among the more than three million people affected by tropical storm Ketsana, which killed at least 293 people as it pounded Manila and surrounding areas with the heaviest rains in four decades.

Nearly 400,000 people remain in under-prepared schools, gymnasiums and other makeshift evacuation centres.

The rains from Parma threaten to worsen already squalid conditions and further hamper relief supplies for the survivors in those shelters.

Many parts of Manila and neighbouring regions also remain under water -- with mud, debris and trash still blocking drains -- so any more rain could lead to another surge in flood waters.

And because of Ketsana, much soil across Luzon cannot absorb too much more rain, meaning storms do not have to be as heavy as normal for floods to occur, the government weather station warned.

Meanwhile, hundreds of kilometres to the north in the rural provinces of Isabela and Aurora, people were preparing for the full onslaught of Parma, which the government has termed a "super typhoon".

"These gusts are strong enough to destroy houses, to rip the roofs off houses," Nathaniel Cruz, head of the weather forecasting unit, said in a radio interview.

"The best thing we can do for the lives of our countrymen is to look for the strongest building where our countrymen can take refuge while the storm is passing."

Cruz warned people in Aurora and Isabela not to be fooled into thinking the typhoon would not wreak havoc, just because the winds had yet to be be felt.

"They might think it isn't something to worry about but from our radar and satellite image, we can see it is an incredibly strong typhoon," he said.

The governor of Aurora, Bella Angara, said officials were preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

"The prediction is that this typhoon is very strong. Our prayers are that no lives will be lost. God answered our prayers (during tropical storm Ketsana) and we are hopeful we will be spared again," Angara said on radio.

Most of the Philippines' population of 92 million is devoutly Catholic.

Aurora is a mainly rural province of mountains and rice plains, with a population of about 187,000 people. Isabela is another fertile farming region but much bigger and has a population of about 1.4 million.

The Philippines is normally battered by about 20 typhoons annually, but the pattern has changed in recent years and the ferocity of some has increased.

Some weather experts have blamed the changing nature and pattern of the typhoons on climate change.
If the AFP reporter wants to speculate about typhoon patterns this year, a correspondent informs me that sunspot activity has been very low, with activity in 2009 on track to be the fifth lowest since 1913, and with 2008 the second lowest since that year.

Whether sunspots significantly impact Earth's climate is still a matter for speculation according to the National Weather Service. But Don Easterbrook, a global warming skeptic and Professor Emeritus of geology at Western Washington University, has claimed there's a cause-and-effect relationship between sunspot activity and measured changes in global temperatures on Earth.

And this is an El Niño year, although I've no idea whether it's affecting typhoon activity in the Western Pacific Ocean.

All I know for sure is that a whole lot of trouble is going to strike Luzon unless by some miracle the storm veers away from land.

Prayer time.
Comments:
...the rest of the story. The magnetic shields are down and cosmic radiation is at the highest we've ever measured. Climate is changing and always will. The climate celebrities, however, are linking climate and the economy. We can likely kick much of the carbon economy sometime in the twenty-first century, but not for the wrong reason. Yes, there has been warming to end the Pleistocene. Climate is a chaotic system; the facts and the hypotheses do not support CO2 as a serious 'pollutant'. In fact, it is plant fertilizer and seriously important to all life on the planet. It is the red herring used to unwind our economy. That issue makes the science relevant.
Sulphate from volcanoes can have a catastrophic effect, but water vapour is far more important. Water vapour (0.4% overall by volume in air, but 1 – 4 % near the surface) is the most effective green house blanket followed by methane (0.0001745%). The third ranking gas is CO2 (0.0383%), and it does not correlate well with global warming or cooling either; in fact, CO2 in the atmosphere trails warming which is clear natural evidence for its well-studied inverse solubility in water: CO2 dissolves rapidly in cold water and bubbles rapidly out of warm water. The equilibrium in seawater is very high; making seawater a great 'sink'; CO2 is 34 times more soluble in water than air is soluble in water.
CO2 has been rising and Earth and her oceans have been warming. However, the correlation trails. Correlation, moreover, is not causation. The causation is under scientific review, however, and while the radiation from the sun varies only in the fourth decimal place, the magnetism is awesome.
“Using a box of air in a Copenhagen lab, physicists traced the growth of clusters of molecules of the kind that build cloud condensation nuclei. These are specks of sulphuric acid on which cloud droplets form. High-energy particles driven through the laboratory ceiling by exploded stars far away in the Galaxy - the cosmic rays - liberate electrons in the air, which help the molecular clusters to form much faster than climate scientists have modeled in the atmosphere. That may explain the link between cosmic rays, cloudiness and climate change.”
As I understand it, the hypothesis of the Danish National Space Center goes as follows:
Quiet sun allows the geomagnetic shield to drop. Incoming galactic cosmic ray flux creates more low-level clouds, more snow, and more albedo effect as more is heat reflected resulting in a colder climate.
Active sun has an enhanced magnetic field which induces Earth’s geomagnetic shield response. Earth has fewer low-level clouds, less rain, snow and ice, and less albedo (less heat reflected) producing a warmer climate.
That is how the bulk of climate change works, coupled with (modulated by) sunspot peak frequency there are cycles of global warming and cooling like waves in the ocean. When the waves are closely spaced, all the planets warm; when the waves are spaced farther apart, all the planets cool.
The change in cloud cover is only a small percentage, and the ultimate cause of the solar magnetic cycle may be cyclicity in the Sun-Jupiter centre of gravity. We await more on that.
Although the post 60s warming period appears to be over, it has allowed the principal green house gas, water vapour, to kick in with more humidity, clouds, rain and snow depending on where you live to provide the negative feedback that scientists use to explain the existence of complex life on Earth for 550 million years. Ancient sedimentary rocks and paleontological evidence indicate the planet has had abundant liquid water over the entire span. The planet heats and cools naturally and our gasses are the thermostat. Nothing unusual is going on except for the Orwellian politics. Check the web site of the Danish National Space Center.
 
Dr Manns: Thank you for your interesting and informative observations. Are you familiar with the 2003 PBS TV science program NOVA's "Magnetic Storm?"

The broadcast discusses the periodic reversal of Earth's magnetic field and examines hypotheses about whether such a reversal is now underway.

Here is the transcript for the broadcast:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3016_magnetic.html

And here are a few paragraphs from the transcript:

"[...] But 50 years ago, when scientists measured the magnetism trapped in older lava samples, they made a startling discovery: the microscopic magnets within the lava were all pointing south.

MIKE FULLER: When we go back about 780,000 years we find an incredible phenomenon. Suddenly the rocks are magnetized backwards. Instead of them being magnetized to the north like today's field, they are magnetized to the south.

NARRATOR: It seemed that prior to 780,000 years ago, Hawaiian lava must have cooled within a global magnetic field that was running to the south and away from the north, exactly the reverse of today. The bizarre implication was that at some point the entire global magnetic field had done a sudden 180-degree flip, completely reversing direction.

MIKE FULLER: It was hard for people to accept. They did not like the idea that the field reversed. It took about 50 years to convince people of this, but eventually that was established, and really by work on this island, because if you keep on going down you would find that after about another couple of hundred thousand years, then it changes again. And you see this sequence going on.

NARRATOR: And as they examined samples from older and older lava, scientists found more and more reversals—on average, one every 200,000 years.

MIKE FULLER: And so, by the time people had done that, it was pretty obvious that the field did indeed reverse.

NARRATOR: But if the field has reversed so often in the past, it must surely do so again in the future.

MIKE FULLER: That the Earth's magnetic field reverses is an extraordinary phenomenon, but this reversal process is quite common. The last reversal was what, 780,000 years ago? Before that, there was one about 200,000, before that, again, actually less than 200, so in a sense we are a bit overdue for a reversal.

NARRATOR: So is this why the field is getting weaker today? Could it be getting ready to flip? Scientists needed to discover whether there was a link between changes in the strength of the magnetic field, and changes in its direction. [...]"
 
The full URL for the NOVA transcript did not show in my last comment. Here is the correct URL:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/
transcripts/3016_magnetic.html
 
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