The North West Passage is shut!

Whilst these news possible are not featured as prominently in the media, after only a week of being passable, the North West passage is frozen closed again.

For fairness I thought I should give these headlines as much space, as the news of its opening. It's still going to be a long time before regular shipping will be able to take a shortcut over the North Pole.

It is still a warning however. The introduction of the "Arctic Screensaver" will make it possible for everyone to keep a close watch on what's happening in the far North, without media bias.

  • Improved Zoomability of Natural Earth Map
    Since a few weeks it's possible to click the Earth Moon image on the start page to zoom to the "Natural Earth Map". Further zooming now takes you straight to the full screen continental maps.


The North West Passage is open!

At the beginning of the last century many explorers left their lives in the Arctic regions, searching for a way around the Northpole, to find a shorter way to travel to Asia by boat.

The changing climate has now opened this fabled sea route for the first time in human memory. Container ships will be able to get even faster and cheaper from and to the Far East and China.

To keep up with developments in the increasing important developments in the Arctic region i spent today tweaking the Sea Ice image from MMAB Sea Ice Analysis Page for use on my maps.

The full map can be seen here. I've not had time yet to incorporate the map into the site further.


No current fire data from Modis

There are problems with the Terra and Aqua L0 data feed from MODIS Rapid Response for the Fire data. This means that the fire data displayed on my website are out-of-date!
The last update happened on 7. September, 14:30 GMT.

Naturally, as soon as the proplem is fixed, the data will update again.


Testing the Climate Change Index

To show that my Climate Change Index is not a completely without value, I give a few examples of its merit:

"The global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the last 100 years." source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

This measurement was arrived at in the report of the IPCC, using error corrected data of tens of thousands of weather stations over 100 years.

click for close-upFor comparison, here are the latest available full month data from my calculations and sampling of 130 stations. (Older data are archived in DivX movie format and can be downloaded from here: http://stage6.divx.com/Climate-Change).
My results show a temperature rise of +0.71 to +0.73°C.

The difference to the official value of 0.74° Celsius is 1% to 3%, a mean difference of 2%, which I think is amazingly close.


Climate Change Index

Image 1(Image 1)The display on the left is visible on almost every map of this website. The current average global temperature is calculated from averaging the temperatures of approx. 130 weather stations. The data for this are from http://weather.noaa.gov/.

The Climate Change Index (+1.6° Celsius) is calculated from the deviation of the longterm average temperature of the 130 weather stations. It is thought that even though this is only a small random sample of global weather stations, it will give a general idea of global temperature trends.

Image 2(Image 2 ) We all have heard that supposedly the glaciers in Greenland are melting, because of global warming. Is that true? Here we see the temperature at Thule Airforce Base in Greenland on the 2. Sept. 2007, it is 3°Celsius. There is a second set of figures, the climate change indicator: +5.3. 5.3° Celsius was on September 2nd the temperature deviation from the norm. The norm is the "many years average" for September for Thule. As you can see here, the average September temperature in Thule between the years 1946 and 1990 was -1.8° Celsius.

Then you ask, why does the deviation from the norm not show this: "+4.8"
(as -1.8°Celsius to 3°Celsius equal +4.8°Celsius) ?

Image 3 (Image 3 )The picture on the left shows the temperature at 11 GMT the day before. It was 4°C and the climate change indicator shows a deviation which is to be expected:
(as -1.8°Celsius to 4 °Celsius equals +5.8°Celsius).

The reason for the differing values is, that the fluctuating daily temperatures are recorded every hour and the running average is calculated. The running average is then compared to the monthly average, which then is displayed as the climate change indicator.

Like this we always get a fairly accurate approximation of the change from the monthly average. However, as the part month averages are compared to the whole monthly average, it does mean that the climate change values get more accurate towards the end of the month. At the beginning of the month there can be strong fluctuations.

From 1. September to 30. September for instance, we expect a decreasing temperature in the northern hemisphere, which means that the values of the climate change indicator should decrease until the end of the month. The values will be exactly correct on the 30. September at midnight, for the place indicated. The results before then are neither mathematically nor climatologically quite correct, but it is hoped that they can help to detect temperature trends.

Image 4 (Image 4) There can also be instances when the climate change indicator shows negative values (global cooling). In any case, when the temperature deviation from the norm is more than 2° Celsius positive or negative, then the fontsize increases and the color changes to indicate hot or cold spots. The hot-/coldspots are highlighted only from the second day of a new month, to have a minimum sample of 24 hours.

Update interval of these data on the webpages: every 60 minutes.