Before delving into some weather and science thoughts for the end of 2010, I have to mention the “freak snowstorm” that hit downtown Wausau earlier today. When I arrived at work at 2:40am there was no snow. I started a skycam recording of snow-making operations out at Rib Mountain around 3:30am, around 4:30 the snow began and pretty soon we couldn’t even see Rib Mountain with our skycam. The snow continued off-and-on (more on than off) through about 7:30 to 8:00 am. Just eyeing-it-up it looked like about a quarter inch accumulation. The most interesting thing is that the snow only fell in a small area of south-central Wausau around the airport and around channel 9. It was enough snow to cover the roads and make them slippery.
What caused the mini-snowstorm in such a small area? It is hard to tell for sure, but it seemed as if the snow-making operations out at Granite Peak might have been adding enough moisture to already moist air with very low clouds to seed some snowflakes. The power plant in Weston also sends a lot of steam into the air and since the wind was out of the west and southwest, it might have also contributed to the snowstorm, although most of the effect (if it was driven by something other than purely atmospheric mechanisms) probably came from Rib Mountain. It was an interesting microscale event, in an otherwise tranquil weather pattern early this week. Later this week on Thursday and Friday it looks like some rain will be developing. This will create slushy, wet, and messy conditions as we head into New Year’s Eve. We might also have some problems with ice over the weekend as the temperatures will plunge from the upper 30s on Friday to the teens on Saturday afternoon. All of the puddles of slush and water will become little skating rinks on area sidewalks. You might want to stock up on ice melter or salt.
Cancun Climate Conference
Of all the things that happened in the world during 2010, I would have thought the climate would have made more news. Wild weather around the world certainly did make headlines and many disasters were blamed on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) most of the time, but the news did not dominate the news cycle as much as past years – based on my limited observation. After reading and hearing “global warming” disaster scenarios for two decades, I figured things might be worse by now (2010).
As was the case at the COP15 (Copenhagen) conference last year, most of the conference revolved about establishing carbon emission targets for various countries around the world and how to enforce those emission targets. Not all countries agreed to the emission targets the IPCC would like to have in place, but some “progress” was made. The most interesting quote that came out of the conference was by a German Economist Ottmar Edenhofer. He was being very honest in saying that the climate conference was not about the climate but rather about how to re-distribute the world’s wealth - meaning take wealth/money from Europe, much of North America, and Japan, and give it too less-developed countries – call it economic justice (instead of climate solutions) if you like. What is most surprising is that did not cause much of an uproar outside of conservative and libertarian publications. Is the world so conditioned to accept top down control that nobody notices anymore? I for one am a bit concerned about such far reaching laws and regulations of which I have almost zero control. Emission targets and enforcement (and global wealth re-distribution) affects me in a large way with higher energy costs yet I don’t have any input. It is taxation without representation. Most of the negotiators at climate conferences are not elected representatives but political appointees.
The one positive thing about Ottmar’s climate negotiation honesty is that it validates something I wrote almost a decade ago. During a heated online discussion about “global warming”, I claimed the Kyoto accord was nothing more than a big socialist-driven transfer of wealth from developed countries to less-developed countries. I caught flak from some people who claimed it was all about science and the climate. At the conclusion of the Cancun conference, I am happy to know that I was substantially correct.
Year End/Best Of:
As promised, I will link to some science and weather year-end compilations throughout the week. Stay tuned for Thursday and Friday when I will highlight the top ten weather events in Northcentral Wisconsin. Until then, how about the Best Science Pictures of 2010 and the Best Tech Products of the year.
Have a pleasant Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on December 27, 2010