Tag Archives: Alaska

Thirteen Below

Anchorage this Morning
Anchorage this Morning at -13

I opened my browser minutes ago and my home page opened up.  It’s the Borealis Webcam Multiview of their web cams scattered about Anchorage, Alaska.  The current temperature at 3:53 a.m. local time just happened to be -13 F, which is also the coldest temperature I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

Enjoy?  Well sure.  I was a teenager and it was a great adventure.  You may disagree if you have lived where it’s regularly colder.  Especially if you’ve had to endure plugging in your car to keep the oil a semi liquid, or shoveling snow for an hour just so you can get out of the driveway only to have the snowplow come by and block your drive again.  That does sound frustrating.

But my story is different.  I was 16 years old and we took a Winter road trip to Grandpa Jones’ ranch in John Day, Oregon.  Shoveling snow was not part of my life.  We were visiting from the Willamette Valley were the rare snow doesn’t stick around long and temperatures rarely fall below the teens above zero.

It was already cold when we left Canby.  In the 20s maybe and so my brothers and sisters and I were dressed warmly as we piled into the van.  It was an evening/night drive to eastern Oregon.  My first clue that this trip was going to be different was when we got into the mountains and ice started forming on the inside of the van windows!  Yes, Dad had the heat on, but it was near zero outside.  We stopped to go to the bathroom in the woods (you can do that in Oregon.  Lots of trees :-) and the wind blew through my jeans like I wasn’t wearing any!  First lesson.  Wear thermals when it’s nothing degrees outside.

We arrived in John Day and went to bed.  The next morning it was get out of bed and feed the cows.  No shower or breakfast first.  The cows get fed at daybreak, which also happens to be the coldest time of the day, even in John Day.  It was perfectly calm and clear and thermometer read -13 F.  A personal best for me that stands to this day.

I bundled up the best I could and I was made to wear a handkerchief over my mouth and nose so I wouldn’t “frost my lungs.”  I doubted then (and now) that that was a real danger at that temperature, but I don’t remember arguing.  Maybe I rolled my eyes.  You know how teenagers are.

I stepped outside into the squeaky snow and man it was cold!  I just gotten up, so there was not much blood circulating in my body yet.  Thankfully it was perfectly still so the wind chill was also -13 (unless you started walking fast).

We got to work.  We loaded the trailer with hay and Grandpa drove the tractor while we peeled flakes off for the cows to enjoy.  The cold was making my nose run and as I inhaled my snot (sorry about the visual) froze in my nose!  It’s like someone crammed cardboard up there!  The condensation from my breath turned the handkerchief into ice.  It was also forcing moisture to exit near my eyes and one of my eyes actually froze shut!  I had to take off a glove and melt the ice off of my eyelashes so I could open my eye again.  (I knew that handkerchief was a silly idea)  Crazy.

We were done before I knew it.  The cows were fed and we went inside to warm up and have a hearty breakfast our own selves.  That afternoon it got up to a toasty 10 degrees.  With sunshine icicles were growing and we went sledding and sliding into, and through, one of the frozen ditches.  FUN!  The whole visit was fun.  Later that Winter I got to return and my Uncle and I hiked up into the John Day Mountains and surprised a bunch of deer.  We also almost got lost in a snow squall, but that’s another story.

I love cold and snow.  Always have.  It’s beautiful and fun.  Of course, I’ve never had to plug in my car or shovel my way to work either…

Weather, Man!

Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?
Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?

Man do I love weather.  It has been a passion and an obsession since I can remember.  It truly is how God made me.  Of course I have a very strong political and “religious” bent too.  I joke that my favorite subjects to discuss are politics and religion and that’s why God gave me such a passion for weather.  So I can relate to people with without offending them.  :-)

My weather fascination started very early.  My folks tell me that I was always talking about it even as a very young child.  I have early memories of unusual weather events when I was a wee lad in Los Angeles.  Severe Thunderstorms one afternoon and ice in the puddles at school one morning.  I was born in L.A. but we moved to Oregon when I was 8.

Growing up in Oregon was great for a weather freak like me.  Numerous storms coming off the ocean and in the 70s that meant lots of surprises in the actual weather compared to the forecast.  Fluctuating snow levels in the Cascades, east winds into Portland combining with overrunning warm air bringing epic ice storms, but not to our house :-( and I could go on about the different weather phenomenon I got to witness first hand.

I had the TV weather down.  KOIN would have the weather on first so I would watch that.  Then I’d switch over to KGW and catch most of their forecast.  Then it was over to KATU to watch the tail end of their weather.  This was especially important on the rare nights when the snow level had a chance to come down to the Willamette Valley Floor.  I remember many a frustrating evening watching it rain while I would stare at the thermometer stuck at 36 degrees trying to will it to come down.

So obviously I was going to go to school to study Meteorology.  I had it all planned out.  Go to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and get a BS in Meteorology and minor in Communications.  They had a TV station on campus.  I had a great score on my ACT and was even accepted into their advanced math program.  I was set.  One big problem.  My drug problem.  I still had some growing up to do and I blew my chance to go to school.

KCBQ 1997ish
KCBQ 1997ish

The story doesn’t end there however!  I ended up moving to Roswell, NM a few years later.  At 21 years old I took what I could carry and bought a bus ticket and started re-pursuing my dream to be on Radio and TV.  Math and Science were always my favorite subjects in school so naturally I went into broadcasting.

I got a part time radio gig in the early Summer of 1984.  That turned into a full time radio gig.  First overnights and then evenings and then Music Director.  After two years I jumped over to TV as a Master Control Operator, directing news cut-ins and also voicing, shooting and editing commercials.  From there it was into the News Department at another station as a news photog, then a reporter who shot his own stuff and also backing up the weatherman and then finally the weatherman!

Adrienne & Mike in the Morning
Adrienne & Mike in the Morning

Lots of detail left out in the above story, but God helped make a way for me when I had messed up and didn’t choose the easier way.  After another 8 or 9 years on the morning show in Lubbock, Texas as a weatherman, news anchor and feature reporter my life took another turn.  Through it all I have never ever never stopped loving and studying the weather.

Now here I am in Tucson, Arizona.  I have a web site and morning weather web show dedicated to my weather passion.  I just can’t help but share whether the audience is big or small.  When you have a chance, check out the site.  TucsonWeather.us and tune in to “Coffee and a Forecast” every morning (yes, weekends too) at 5:50 Tucson time for the live recording.  Or you can just catch up with it later when I post it on the site and in the Facebook group Tucson Weather.

Whether it is mud in the Pacific Northwest, Baseball sized hail in Lubbock, or Monsoon storms with amazing lightning in Tucson, I love weather.  I especially love snow and cold!  But that is another blog entry (or two).

Of course I have other passions and other web sites that support those.  There is also a lot of detail left out of the above story.  All fodder for future blog entries.  I better post this and get to work.  “Coffee and a Forecast” airs in less then an hour. :-)

Why Views on Climate Matter

Upper Lower Michigan Early Snow November 2008

With temperatures cooling and not rising you’d think that the debate on Global Warming, or Climate Change as the kids are calling it these days, would be more of a debate.  Instead, most of the liberal politicians are ignoring the facts and acting to prevent more warming when much of the globe is freezing!

A great example comes to us from the U.K.  Seems some British politicians are hoping to ban plasma TVs because they use too much energy!  Read it for yourself from the Independent.

Energy-guzzling flatscreen plasma televisions will soon be banned as part of the battle against climate change, ministers have told The Independent on Sunday.

“Minimum energy performance standards” for televisions are expected to be agreed across Europe this spring, they say, and this should lead to “phasing out the most inefficient TVs”. At the same time, a compulsory labelling system will be drawn up to identify the best and worst devices.

How do Brits feel about this? The story doesn’t say.

Could you imagine if this was tried in the United States?  I know a few Texans who might say, “They’ll have to pry the remote from my cold, frozen, global cooled fingers!”

This in the face of the coldest Winter in a decade.  Glaciers grew last year in Alaska.  Snow is falling in the south of France and Madrid, Spain!  The Sun is quiet and Solar Scientists say colder decades are ahead.  We should be drilling for more oil and natural gas and burning it to produce electricity and to stay warm!  Not banning plasma TVs.

It really does matter your view of global warming. If you believe man is causing it then you have to control peoples behavior to combat it. If it’s natural and we are entering a very cold spell then it’s time to prepare by mining, and using, more fossil fuels!

It’s a debate we better have. Otherwise we could waste a lot of time, money, resources, and even lives.

Snow Job

Man caused Global Warming is losing support.  Maybe because of the actual weather across the globe.  This Winter is turning out to be another unusually cold and snowy one.  Not just in Alaska as I noted a couple of days ago.  How about this from Breitbart.  Madrid, Spain was paralyzed by a rare snow storm and cold temperatures!  The same story talks about the extreme cold in Germany.

In Germany, the death toll from the cold snap rose to three and several rivers were frozen over, blocking ship traffic, authorities said.

Drift ice covered 80 to 90 percent of the surface of the river Elbe from Doemnitz to the Germany’s main port of Hamburg in the north, a spokeswoman for the Water and Shipping Office said.

Meanwhile, Russia has decided to shut off the natural gas to parts of eastern Europe.

As temperatures plummeted throughout the continent, around a dozen European nations were suffering the effects of Russia’s decision to turn off the natural gas supplies transiting through Ukraine to Europe.

Bulgaria received no Russian gas for the fourth day in a row as temperatures plunged to minus 17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and heavy snow covered most of the country.

Meanwhile the extreme cold in Alaska and Canada is set to move into the U.S. next week.  If you live east of the Rockies, get ready for VERY cold air.  New York City could be below zero for only the second time since the 1940s!

It’s COLD!

Cool December ‘08 NOAA

Not everywhere, of course.  Here in Tucson it’s been near normal with some days above and some below.  Today should be about 70 which is a good 6 or 7 degrees above normal.  However, it’s been cold and snowy enough so far this Winter that nearby Mt. Lemmon is having another good ski season!  With last weekends storm they say they now have enough snow at Ski Valley to last until Spring.

In other parts of the country it has been extreme snow.  So much snow that avalanches are causing problems for some ski areas and even some deaths.  Here is that story.

On the “Glabal Warming” front, it’s quite the opposite.  Alaska, known for it’s cold in the Winter is having an unusual bitter cold arctic outbreak.  Here’s an article from AP on Yahoo! News.

Alaskans are accustomed to subzero temperatures but the prolonged conditions have folks wondering what’s going on with winter less than a month old.

How cold is it?

Johnson lives in Stevens Village, where residents have endured close to two weeks of temperatures pushing 60 below zero.

In Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, residents are used to lows of about 10-degree temperatures in January — not 19 below zero, which is what folks awoke to Wednesday morning.

Temperatures finally settled to about 10 below at midday, but that was cold enough to cancel races in the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships.

More evidence that its the Sun that causing all of this cooling.  As it continues to be less active, we on Earth continue to cool.  This article from the Daily Mail in England outlines how scientists are concerned about less solar wind.  The solar wind protects the inner solar system from Cosmic Rays.  Weaker solar wind means more danger for astronauts.  It also makes sense that a quieter Sun means less solar radiation.  It follows that that would cause the Earth to cool!

I’m still hoping that folks would see that light. I believe many of them are. We need to contact our representatives in Washington and stop the plans to tax CO2. What a waste of money, especially when the country is going broke! We really need to be developing our energy resources yesterday so that we can keep warm in the chilly decades to come!

Astronauts returning to the moon could be threatened by cosmic rays as a result of the sun becoming less active, scientists have said.

The sun’s ability to shield the solar system from harmful radiation could falter in the early 2020s, research from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology claimed.

It’s cold in space and it’s getting colder down here too.

Alaska Glaciers Grow

One cool summer after a cold winter does not mean that Global Warming is officially over.  However, combined with all of the evidence I have outlined over the past two years on this blog I’d say probably.  After all, that’s what the measurements say!

I found another article this morning that supports the claim.  It’s very well written and not spun one way or the other politically.  It’s just straight science!  Thank You!  Here’s the link.

Basically, the scientist in the article is saying that a lot of cold and snow last winter combined with a really cool summer this summer has caused glaciers in Alaska to grow since last year.  He rightly points out that glaciers shrink and grow over decades.

What the article doesn’t predict is which way they are likely to go from here.  I’ve been saying all along that now that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has switched to a cold phase (after 30 years in a warm phase), and now that the Sun has become much quieter, we can expect an extended cold snap.  Especially in Alaska where it’s already begun!

Politically, I would say, PLEASE don’t throw a bunch of money at a Global Warming problem that is no problem at all.  This is all natural, cyclical, stuff.  Rather, PLEASE plan on helping to feed people and keep them warm as the planet cools!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac – No Warming Here

Old Farmer’s Almanac

The 2009 Edition is out.  I had the fun task of interviewing one of the editors.  Turns out the Almanac’s famous weather prediction for this Winter is colder for much of the nation.  Indeed some of the country is expected to be MUCH colder!

In addition, in this edition, the meteorologist for the Almanac says that we (the whole planet) are in for a LONG TERM cooling period!  Why?  For the exact reasons I’ve been outlining here.  The Sun has already entered a less active period.  Solar scientists look at solar cycles and see the Sun being quiet for the next few decades.  Historically that has meant colder weather!

Another thing that was really cool (punny) about my interview with The Old Farmer’s Almanac, they are talking about ocean currents too.  Specifically, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation!  If you have been reading this blog (hi Mom) then you know I have been talking about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation for over a year now.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac says it has now flipped to a cold phase.  This will contribute to colder, and drier, conditions along the west coast and will contribute to colder temperatures in not just Alaska, but much of the country for the next few decades!

There is a similar current in the Atlantic.  I was not aware of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, but apparently there is one.  It is currently (punny again!) in a warm phase.  It’s why Dr. Grey and others have been talking about a 30 year period of high hurricane activity.  I guess we are 10 years or so in.  What The Old Farmer’s Almanac and others are saying is once the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation flips to a cold phase, it’s going to get REALLY cold!  I’ve heard that one Russian scientist has a bet with a fellow scientist.  The Russian says it will be much colder in 2018 than some other previous year (I really should Google this).  The other scientist believes in Global warming, so he is expecting warmer.

A side note about the hurricanes.  The hurricane activity a few years ago turned out to be quieter than originally predicted.  The reason was El Nino.  The Atlantic was warm, but because of El Nino in the Pacific, the upper level winds tore tropical systems apart before they could really get going.  Now that we have the Pacific Decadal Oscillation flipping to a cold phase, say good bye to El Nino, for the most part.  With the Atlantic warm and the Pacific cold, hurricanes are going to be a big problem for the next ten years or more.  Look for global warming believers to try to say it’s because of global warming, even as the overall temperatures go down.

UPDATE:  The bet by the Russian scientist is that the temps from 2012 and 2017 will be colder then temps between 1998 and 2003.  Here’s a great article on why more scientists are bailing on the run away global warming.