a tune… a haiku… an infrared loop


San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast ~ Thursday, 1/28/16 @ 9:10 ~ A powerful Pineapple Express coming our way…..


A note from NWS Joe Ramey about the approaching storm…

To use some techno speak, this looks like a biggy. A component of this storm is a Kelvin wave associated with the first major Madden Julian Oscillation of the season. San Juans are currently favored with… 4 feet? Trust in important details is still low but the overall picture is impressive. It will have immediate impacts (impossible travel, structure damage in Durango Pagosa area?), near term impacts (weeks of heightened avalanche danger), seasonal impacts (increased potential for spring flooding) and longer term impacts (decreased potential for fire danger).”

Colorado winter snowpack is made or broken by the presence or absence of just a few strong storms. The Christmas storm was the first big one of the season. This will probably be the second.


A storm currently brewing in the Gulf of Alaska is dropping south on it’s usual path and coming onshore along Wash/Ore coast bringing a weekend of snow and potentially more through mid-week. We’ll see continued dry weather through Friday then what looks like a major Pacific storm will arrive in the San Juans late Saturday or early Sunday. The storm has a NW to SE flow so we’ll wait for the brunt of the energy to kick in on Sunday through Tuesday if it all works out. With this storm path direction by the time it reaches us it could be a bit modified with a rain/snow mix due to warm valley temps.

Several models show 1-2 inches of liquid H20 equivalent in this 4 day period which translates to a lot of snow (24-36″ up to 4 feet), but let’s not get too excited just yet, these projections are only projections and by the time it happens reality is always a little different.  Two of the three models i’m following show a rowdy storm period although one of them can be overly enthusiastic.

The jet stream plays a big part of this storm beginning Friday night as it picks up copious moisture from the Pacific then moves over the mountain terrain of Colorado.  A surface low forms on Monday should keep the storm going into Tuesday/Wed. which might be Prime Time for the San Juans. Lot of uncertainties associated with the various model runs and forecasts…… how warm are the storm temps, where does the surface low migrate, is the moisture overdone?  Guess we should just watch it unfold and hope to see the more robust models pan out. Confidence for this storm is scattered and uncertain…which makes it a great storm to observe…


Check out the moisture plume being pulled into the coast by this low pressure trough..!!  A BIG Pineapple Express being drawn from west of Hawaii!!



Same information as above only H20 vapor…  Impressive!



Watch the loop Sunday-Tuesday with the closed-low forming over SW Colo/N.M.


What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers?

Out of the blue in the fall of 2010, a blogger asked Jane Mayer, a writer with The New Yorker, how she felt about the private investigator who was digging into her background. Ms. Mayer thought the idea was a joke, she said this week. At a Christmas party a few months later, she ran into a former reporter who had been asked about helping with an investigation into another reporter on behalf of two conservative billionaires.

“The reporter had written a story they disliked,” Ms. Mayer recounts in “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” out this month from Doubleday. Her acquaintance told her, “‘It occurred to me afterward that the reporter they wanted to investigate might be you.’”

As it happened, Ms. Mayer had published a major story in the magazine that August about the brothers David and Charles Koch, and their role in cultivating the power of the Tea Party movement in 2010. Using a network of nonprofits and other donors, they had provided essential financial support for the political voices that have held sway in Republican politics since 2011. “Dark Money” chronicles the vast sums of money from the Koch brothers and other wealthy conservatives that have helped shape public dialogue in opposition to Democratic positions on climate change, the Affordable Care Act and tax policy.


Ms. Mayer began to take the rumored investigation seriously when she heard from her New Yorker editor that she was going to be accused — falsely — of plagiarism, stealing the work of other writers. A dossier of her supposed plagiarism had been provided to reporters at The New York Post and The Daily Caller, but the smears collapsed when the writers who were the purported victims made statements saying that it was nonsense, and that there had been no plagiarism whatsoever. Indeed, as one noted, Ms. Mayer had plainly credited his writing — though this was not mentioned in the bill of particulars that was passed around.

There was more. Ms. Mayer would learn that these same dark forces had dug into a friend from her college years, with some notion of using the friend’s later problems against her. “I’m 60,” Ms. Mayer noted. “That was a long time ago.”

Who was behind this?

Figuring that out took three years, Ms. Mayer said, and she writes that she traced it to a “boiler room” operation involving several people who have worked closely with Koch business concerns. But the private investigation firm may be of particular interest to New Yorkers.

“The firm, it appears, was Vigilant Resources International, whose founder and chairman, Howard Safir, had been New York City’s police commissioner under the former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani,” she writes in “Dark Money.”

Mr. Safir served as both the fire commissioner and the police commissioner during the Giuliani mayoralty. He left public office in 2000, a year before the end of Mr. Giuliani’s term, and went to work in the kind of all-purpose consultancy in security and investigations that thrived after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. Safir and his son, Adam, and daughter, Jennifer, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, work at Vigilant. The former commissioner could not be reached on Tuesday to discuss his role in the investigation into Ms. Mayer. Adam Safir, however, did speak cordially, briefly and unilluminatingly.

“I subscribe to The New Yorker and I read it,” Adam Safir said. “As far as what we do, we don’t talk about clients, whether we have them or don’t have them. Even answering the question would violate the policy of our business.”

Two other Washington figures identified by Ms. Mayer in the operation, Philip Ellender, who heads Koch’s government affairs arm, and Nancy Pfotenhauer, who has served as president of a nonprofit advocacy group funded by the Kochs, did not respond to messages requesting comment.

Asked about the campaign against Ms. Mayer and the investigation of her, Ken Spain, a spokesman for Koch Industries, issued a statement that criticized her writings on Koch and charged that they were “grossly inaccurate.”

Asked if he was saying that the investigation of Ms. Mayer had not happened, Mr. Spain replied: “We stand by the statement.”

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Acquires Frida Kahlo Work ~ NYT


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, announced Tuesday that it had acquired its first painting by Frida Kahlo, the Mexican modernist whose unsettlingly beautiful works are few and far between in American public collections. “Dos Mujeres (Salvadora y Herminia),” from 1928, depicts two Mexican women, maids whom Kahlo had known since childhood, set against dense tropical foliage.

The work — whose price was not disclosed — has been held privately in the United States since 1929, when it was bought by the industrialist Jackson Cole Phillips, a friend of Kahlo and her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera. It was the first painting Kahlo ever sold. Hindered by frequent illnesses and a tumultuous personal life, she was not prolific, and since the 1980s, her works have appeared infrequently on the market outside of Mexico, which uses cultural patrimony laws to impose export restrictions on them. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, has no Kahlo painting in its collection, and when major works do come to auction they are typically fought over. (The record, set at Sotheby’s in 2006, is $5.6 million.)

The Kahlo bought by the Museum of Fine Arts has rarely been on public view and is the first acquired by any museum in New England. Matthew Teitelbaum, the museum’s director, said in a statement that It would “enable the museum to tell the story of modernism in the Americas more broadly and inclusively.”

“As our community continues to grow and evolve,” he added, “we’re committed to representing the diverse experiences of artists in our galleries.”

The work will be on view beginning Wednesday and continuing through March 1 in a special presentation. It will be reinstalled in the Art of the Americas Wing later this year after conservation treatment.

Erica Hirshler, a senior curator of American paintings at the museum, said that Kahlo’s “heroic image of modern working women, placed before a scrim of leaves as if it were a Renaissance cloth of honor, makes for interesting conversations among the M.F.A.’s encyclopedic collections and enhances our 20th-century holdings immeasurably, while also adding to our impressive and growing number of works by women artists.”

The Powers That Were ~“The Rise and Fall of American Growth”


Back in the 1960s there was a briefly popular wave of “futurism,” of books and articles attempting to predict the changes ahead. One of the best-known, and certainly the most detailed, of these works was Herman Kahn and Anthony J. Wiener’s “The Year 2000” (1967), which offered, among other things, a systematic list of technological innovations Kahn and Wiener considered “very likely in the last third of the 20th century.”

Unfortunately, the two authors were mostly wrong. They didn’t miss much, foreseeing developments that recognizably correspond to all the main elements of the information technology revolution, including smartphones and the Internet. But a majority of their predicted innovations (“individual flying platforms”) hadn’t arrived by 2000 — and still haven’t arrived, a decade and a half later.

The truth is that if you step back from the headlines about the latest gadget, it becomes obvious that we’ve made much less progress since 1970 — and experienced much less alteration in the fundamentals of life — than almost anyone expected. Why?

In ~ Gordon doubles down on that theme, declaring that the kind of rapid economic growth we still consider our due, and expect to continue forever, was in fact a one-time-only event. First came the Great Inventions, almost all dating from the late 19th century. Then came refinement and exploitation of those inventions — a process that took time, and exerted its peak effect on economic growth between 1920 and 1970. Everything since has at best been a faint echo of that great wave, and Gordon doesn’t expect us ever to see anything similar.

Indeed, almost half the book is devoted to changes that took place before World War II. Others have covered this ground — most notably Daniel Boorstin in “The Americans: The Democratic Experience.” Even knowing this literature, however, I was fascinated by Gordon’s account of the changes wrought by his Great Inventions. As he says, “Except in the rural South, daily life for every American changed beyond recognition between 1870 and 1940.” Electric lights replaced candles and whale oil, flush toilets replaced outhouses, cars and electric trains replaced horses. (In the 1880s, parts of New York’s financial district were seven feet deep in manure.)

And it’s hard not to agree with him that nothing that has happened since is remotely comparable. Urban life in America on the eve of World War II was already recognizably modern; you or I could walk into a 1940s apartment, with its indoor plumbing, gas range, electric lights, refrigerator and telephone, and we’d find it basically functional. We’d be annoyed at the lack of television and Internet — but not horrified or disgusted.

By contrast, urban Americans from 1940 walking into 1870-style accommodations — which they could still do in the rural South — were indeed horrified and disgusted. Life fundamentally improved between 1870 and 1940 in a way it hasn’t since.


Woody Guthrie’s Lyrics Reveal His Loathing for Trump’s Father

By Justin Wm. Moyer
The Washington Post
Friday, January 22, 2016
Woody Guthrie, folk singer supreme, is known for the magisterial portraits he painted of Dust Bowl America and his sweeping indictments of social injustice. What’s not there in the beautiful imagery of his song This Land Is Your Land — the ribbon of highway, the endless skyway, the diamond deserts — is right there in the slogan often affixed to his guitar: “This machine kills fascists.”

But artists who traffic in grand themes are also allowed to get specific. In one of the strangest stories yet to emerge from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, it appears that, more than half a century ago, Woody Guthrie penned lyrics condemning the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, for racism.

“Donald did inherit his father’s racism, and was probably actively coached in his father’s racism, and worked with his father to perpetuate it,” argued Will Kaufman, the professor of American literature and culture at Britain’s University of Central Lancashire who unearthed the scoop, said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “He picked up the mantle and ran with it with his father at his side. That’s why people are interested in this I think.”

Trump has been repeatedly accused of racism after his comments about Mexicans and has repeatedly denied such charges. “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” he has said.

The story begins with Kaufman, the author of one book about Guthrie already at work on another and a performer of the folk hero’s music, sifting through the Guthrie archives in Tulsa last year. There, in one of Guthrie’s notebooks — which contain pages upon pages of lyrics never set to music — he found these lines, written in the early 1950s:

I suppose

Old Man Trump knows

Just how much

Racial Hate

he stirred up

In the bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed

That color line

Here at his

Eighteen hundred family project


here was also this:

Beach Haven ain’t my home!

I just cain’t pay this rent!

My money’s down the drain!

And my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven looks like heaven

Where no black ones come to roam!

No, no, no! Old Man Trump!

Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!


“Beach Haven,” it turns out, was an apartment building erected by Fred Trump — that is, “Old Man Trump,” who died in 1999 — in New York to house large numbers of veterans returning from World War II. Guthrie, who served in the Merchant Marine, was among them. As Kaufman recounted in a story first published at the Conversation, the singer moved there in 1950.

“When Guthrie first signed his lease, it’s unlikely that he was aware of the murky background to the construction of his new home, the massive public complex that Trump had dubbed ‘Beach Haven,’” Kaufman wrote. “Trump would be investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering off of public contracts, not least by overestimating his Beach Haven building charges to the tune of $3.7 million.”

But this wasn’t just a story about a developer behaving badly. It was a story about a developer behaving really badly. In Kaufman’s telling, Fred Trump followed federal guidelines against “inharmonious uses of housing” — as one Trump biographer put it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” Thus, Beach Haven was an oasis with a “color line” where “no black ones come to roam,” as Guthrie put it.

“These writings have never before been published; they should be, for they clearly pit America’s national balladeer against the racist foundations of the Trump real estate empire,” Kaufman wrote.

One need not unearth a lyric from an era before the Eisenhower Interstate System to find people accusing Donald Trump of racism. He’s been called that by hecklers,writers and other critics.

But the argument to which Kaufman — and, from the grave, Guthrie — give voice is less often discussed in the large amount of media coverage devoted to Trump in the past six months. Some have made the point that Donald abandoned Fred Trump’s commitment to middle-class housing; the argument that the Trumps’ entire housing enterprise, which was investigated for discriminating against black tenants in the 1970s, has racist roots is, perhaps, less often discussed.

“It’s not a case of the whole apple not falling far from the tree,” Kaufman said of candidate Trump’s alleged shortcomings. “The apple is still connected to the tree.”

San Juan Mountains Snow/H20 Equivalent ~ 1/25/16 @ 8:00


A good storm impacted Red Mountain Pass and to the north overnight. This prompted a closure for mitigation early this morning. Snow continues to fall in the Uncompahgre Gorge.
                  HN/HNW (water equiv)
Monument               17”/1.15”
RMP                          11”/0.7″
Molas                      3.5”/0.3”
Coal Bank               6.5”/0.45”

Watch Stephen Colbert Hail Palin’s Return to Campaign Trail

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~~~  WATCH COBERT  ~~~

Stephen Colbert welcomed back “the original material girl,” Sarah Palin, on The Late Show Wednesday, celebrating the wealth of comedy to be harvested from the former vice presidential candidate’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

Colbert let Palin do much of the talking, relishing the greatest hits sound bites she delivered in her endorsement speech, including “Hopey-Changey,” “Community Organizer,” and “Drill, Baby, Drill!” But then Colbert offered a bonkers supercut of Palin’s even crazier new material.

“Sarah Palin just guaranteed Trump the evangelical vote because I think she was speaking in tongues,” Colbert cracked.

The host was so moved, he tased the part of his brain that understands sentence structure and went off on a blinding, brilliant monologue in which he imagined Palin endorsing all the presidential candidates. The rambling tirade found Colbert putting it up for “joyful tortoise Jeb Bush” as well as Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid, and even found him reciting a chunk of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.


A House of My Own ~ Sandra Cisneros

“A House of My Own tells the story of the award-winning Mexican-American novelist, poet, short story writer and essayist’s quest for her dream house, in a book as beautifully appointed as her legendary ‘purple’ home in San Antonio, with lustrous pages, color photographs and colorful chapter headings that lend it the look and feel of an objet d’art . . . These ‘stories from my life’ assemble nonfiction drawn from three decades, touching on themes similar to those found in her fiction—identity, belonging, culture, feminism, the importance of home and kinship—each has a new introduction explaining the context and why she chose it. The book’s atypical form offers a truer portrait of Cisneros than might be found in a conventional autobiography. A literary salon steeped in storytelling and writers, it honors her process and influences and draws attention to crucial and difficult points of her development. Like a manifesto, it reasserts Cisneros’s artistic credo—living alone, charting her path, seeing writing as ‘a resistance, an act against forgetting, a war against oblivion, against not counting, as women’ . . . Cisneros pays tribute to every friend, artist, musician and tradition that inspired her . . . A House of My Own reminds us of the importance of our place in the world, and of the holiness of what we find there. Cisneros is right there in the room, fiercely candid, warm and gracious, talking about everything: the best recipe for mole, her humiliating fifth-grade report card, the men in her life, her dreams about old houses and forgotten pets—and writing, always writing.” —Gina Webb, The Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Cisneros is best known for The House on Mango Street, about Esperanza, a Mexican-American girl who turns to writing for solace from her chaotic Chicago family life. With her newest book Cisneros fans will finally find out whether Esperanza’s story was based on the author’s real experience. In a tone that is intimate and inviting—indeed, we feel we are sitting right next to the author as she sips tea (or chugs tequila) at her home in Mexico, and recounts her adventures with a laugh and a shake of the head: Ay Dios mio. That is not to say Cisneros’s memoir is insular, accessible only to women, or writers, or those from immigrant backgrounds. Much of the book is focused on the hardships of writing, [but] it is as much an ode to pursuing one’s passion despite all odds as it is a meditation on family, friends, and finding a home. We follow her on her quest for enlightenment, for worldliness, artistic substance, and a career to sustain her. What she finds along the way is much more, including poverty, war, loss, and a depression that nearly kills her. She also happens to come across a gaggle of colorful folk that in some way reinforce her resolve. These are her teachers: writers, brujas, ancestors, and friends—people who inspire her faith. The book pays homage to them, the patterns cohesive in the author’s intention to assemble a picture of the mansion of the spirit . . . Cisneros has found a place in the world of letters, but longing for a home has kept her spirit restless . . Wherever she settles, even when she settles, she is Sandra Cisneros, a wandering spirit and creator of stories. ‘Stories without beginning or end, connecting everything little and large, blazing from the center of the universe into el infinito called the great out there.’” —Sandra Ramirez, Los Angeles Review of Books

Cloud seeding underway to get more water for the West?????

AR-160119508.jpg&ExactW=130&ExactH=130DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A researcher with the Colorado Water Conservation Board says cloud seeding in southwestern Colorado is helping to squeeze more water out of passing snowstorms by using heaters to vaporize silver iodide and form artificial ice.

Officials say a study in Wyoming conducted from 2005 to 2014 found cloud seeding can add 5 to 15 percent more precipitation.

The Durango Herald reports regional water agencies and ski resorts paid $237,900 this season to help with the seeding.

Some people doubt whether cloud seeding is effective, while others say it may be taking water away from others who need it.


This is definitely debatable research..  The San Juan Project that took place in Silverton in the 70’s sponsored by INSTAAR looked at this closely…. Rōbert

 San Juan Project


No Two Snowflakes Were Alike?

Is it true that no two snowflakes are the same? Never, ever ever?

Not quite, said Kenneth G. Libbrecht, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, who found a way to create what he calls “identical twin” snowflakes in his lab.

Since each snowflake faces a different turbulent path through the atmosphere, each twist, turn and fall grants it a unique symmetry. But if you subtract nature’s volatility from the equation, then these icy flowers are no longer guaranteed uniqueness.

By placing two crystal seeds next to each other and growing them under the exact same conditions, Dr. Libbrecht found that he could create two snowflakes with nearly the same intricate shapes and patterns.


Grown side by side under identical conditions, these two twin snowflakes are nearly indistinguishable. Credit Kenneth Libbrecht

Dr. Libbrecht has been growing snowflakes in sunny Pasadena, Calif. — where snow falls very rarely — using a laboratory chiller and sapphire glass for two decades, though he only struck upon the recipe for identical ones last August. By adjusting the temperature and humidity he can manipulate their designs, creating a vast array of patterns. He photographs them with the help of a photomicroscope that is specially designed to capture tiny snow crystals. Negative 10 degrees Celsius creates frozen flowers with flat plates. At minus 2 degrees Celsius he can make triangular snow crystals. If he grows the crystals under high humidity levels, eccentric side branches emerge.

~~~  MORE  ~~~

San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast ~ Friday, 1/22/16 @16:00 ~ Loops updated Sat. morning 1/23/16

Our next storm is due late Saturday evening/Sunday morning according to three of the models i’m watching. Presently a dome of high pressure is over us with partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures so enjoy while you can. Tomorrow another warm day but will see increasing cloudiness on southwest flow as a low pressure trough enters the Great Basin by late Saturday afternoon.

Light snow beginning by Sunday morning favoring WNW aspects in the alpine regions. Because this is a progressive and moist system we should see increasing snow activity mid afternoon through late evening with potentially heavy precipitation rates leading to a foot of snow (maybe more) in favored locations above 11,000′.

Tomorrow’s models will give a better world view of amounts and timing.  By late Monday the trough will be to our east with garbage clouds remaining into early Tuesday on the north side of the San Juans. A ridge of high pressure will build through late next week and then another storm system with plenty of moisture is on the horizon for next weekend.




Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) Sake Cup Washer


A very rare Sake utensil
Among her various creations, Rengetsu is perhaps best known for the exquisite vessels that she crafted for both the sencha and the chanoyu traditions of tea drinking. However, she also created a great number of bottles, flasks and cups for another beverage – sake. As with her other ceramics, Rengetsu’s sake wares are adorned with her poems inscribed in her exquisite calligraphy, resonating playfully with the mood of sake drinking.


A “Sake cup washer” (haisen), is placed, full of water, at the center of a table in sake drinking parties, for guests to dip their cups between rounds.

A young fox
who cannot bear
his fur getting wet –
it seems he will cry
all through this sleeting night.




San Juan Mountains Snow/Ht.New H20 ~ 1/21/16 @ 10:00

snow tube-water content
We’ve had another incremental series of storms add up on Red Mountain Pass concluding with a fast moving, intense storm late yesterday afternoon.
24 Hour Snow (HN/HNW) 3 Day Storm Total
Monument 6.5″ / 0.55”              9.5″ / 0.75”
RMP 5″ / 0.4”                                  18″ / 1.05”
Molas 2″ / 0.15”                               6″ / 0.35″
Coal Bank 2″ / 0.2”                        6″ / 0.4”

~ Pisco Dreams – Chile Powder ~


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Interpreting weather with Maria, pronostico de campo, Rio Blanco Chile

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Office time in Portillo F. Coffey-J.Roberts

Don FrankCoffey,Chico prepare shot above the Hotel Portillo

Preparing to shoot Rock band above Plateau

Avy control work above Hotel Portillo  


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reggie 004

The Brit & Reggie




2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History, Scientists Say


Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the continental United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is dumping an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The whole system is warming up, relentlessly,” said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

It will take a few more years to know for certain, but the back-to-back records of 2014 and 2015 may have put the world back onto a trajectory of rapid global warming, after period of relatively slow warming dating to the last powerful El Niño, in 1998.

Politicians attempting to claim that greenhouse gases are not a problem seized on that slow period to argue that “global warming stopped in 1998” and similar statements, with these claims reappearing recently on the Republican presidential campaign trail.

Statistical analysis suggested all along that the claims were false, and the slowdown was, at most, a minor blip in an inexorable trend, perhaps caused by a temporary increase in the absorption of heat by the Pacific Ocean.

“Is there any evidence for a pause in the long-term global warming rate?” said Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s climate-science unit, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in Manhattan. “The answer is no. That was true before last year, but it’s much more obvious now.”

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

2015 Becomes Warmest Year On Record, NASA And NOAA Say

2015 was the hottest year on record, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Deke Arndt of NOAA about their findings.

~~~  LISTEN  ~~~


A ‘Scorcher’: 2015 Shatters Record As Warmest Year, NASA And NOAA Say

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It’s not rare for a year to break record temperatures. But it’s now happened two years in a row — and 2015 was “very, very clearly the warmest year by a long chalk,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

NASA is presenting the annual review of global average temperatures in conjunction with NOAA, which says that not only did 2015 finish as the warmest year on record, but it did so by the widest margin ever — nearly a third of 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than 2014’s average.

In 2015, the average temperature on land and ocean surfaces around the world was “1.62° F (0.90° C) above the 20th century average,” according to NOAA.

That makes 2015 the hottest since instrument records began being kept in 1880, beating the record set in 2014 by 0.29° F (0.16° C).

The Northern Hemisphere saw the biggest rise in land temperatures, finishing 2.59° F hotter than the 20th century average.

As for the United States, NOAA released that data last week, saying that for the 19th consecutive year, the annual average temperature for the continental U.S. was hotter than the 20th century average.

The agency reported, “The last year with a below-average temperature was 1996.”

Globally, 10 months in 2015 tied or broke monthly temperature records, culminating in a December that was more than half a degree Fahrenheit warmer than its predecessor in 2014 — a record margin, NOAA says.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

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How to View Five Planets Aligning in a Celestial Spectacle


All five planets will arrange on an arc across the sky. Mercury will appear the closest to the horizon, followed by Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. The stars Antares and Spica will make cameos as well, twinkling between Saturn and Mars, and Mars and Jupiter, respectively. Credit Sky & Telescope


Five planets paraded across the dawn sky early Wednesday in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month.

Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It is the first time in more than a decade that the fab five are simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.

Admission to the daily show is free, though stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere should plan to get up about 45 minutes before sunrise to catch it. City dwellers can stay in their neighborhoods to watch, as long as they point their attention to the east, according to Mr. Kendall.

“For Mercury you will need binoculars,” he said. “It will not jump out at you, but everybody should be able to see Venus and Jupiter.”

Mr. Kendall said that the hardest task for viewers is discerning the planets from stars twinkling in the sky. But he offered a simple trick: close one eye, stretch out your arm and slowly pass your thumb over a bright dot in the sky. If the dot slowly dims out when your thumb passes over it, it’s a planet. If it quickly blinks out, it’s a distant star.

The show was expected to run from Jan. 20 until Feb. 20, but the peak time to see all five is from the end of January until the first week of February, when Mercury is at its highest points, according to Sky & Telescope. The display is made possible by the uncommon alignment of all five planets along what is called the “ecliptic” plane of their orbits, according to Jim Green, the planetary science division director at NASA.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~