The current El Nino phenomenon that has brought prolonged drought and sweltering heat to Malaysia is the strongest of the 20 over the last 60 years, but there is no concrete evidence to link its heat intensity to global warming, says former IPCC vice-chairman. Climatologist and oceanographer Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said this year’s El Nino was even more extreme than the severe phenomena experienced in 1982/82 and 1997/98. “There is no conclusive evidence that the occurrence of El Nino (frequency and intensity) is influenced by climate change,” said Tangang, who had served from 2008 to 2015 as vice-chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations agency. –Voon Miaw Ping, Malaysian National News Agency, 9 May 2016
The oncoming La Niña in combination with weakened solar activity and a flip towards the cool phase by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) may soon be all working in tandem to set up months of global cooling ahead, which means a likely resumption in the overall global warming pause over the latter part of the current decade. –Pierre Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, 7 May 2016
Droves of baby starfish are returning to Oregon and Northern California’s shores after a wasting disease decimated whole populations of the creatures over the past two years along the West Coast. Data collected by Oregon State University researchers shows an unprecedented number of baby starfish, or sea stars, survived the summer and winter of 2015, the Eureka Times Standard reported Saturday. A virus killed millions of starfish on the Pacific Coast from Southern California to Alaska by causing them to lose their limbs and eventually disintegrate into slime and piles of tiny bones. The cause of the massive outbreak remains unclear. Some have hypothesized it to be abnormally warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, which have wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems for the past two years. Humboldt State University Marine Lab Director Brian Tissot disagrees with that hypothesis since the virus spread during colder months and didn’t expand as much during the abnormally warm 2015. —Associated Press, 7 May 2016
It did not take long for Jeff Masters at Weather Underground to link the Alberta fires to climate change. Unfortunately for Masters, Bruce at Sunshine Hours has tracked down the daily temperature data for Fort McMurray from the the Canadian Government website. Data is only available from 1908 to 1944, but, as the above table shows, temperatures of 91F in May are not unprecedented, with the 1930s and 40s particularly standing out. The all time May high was an incredible 98.1F in May 1936. There was even a temperature of 95F recorded in April 1939. As for rainfall, again the numbers quoted are not unprecedented. In 1943, for instance, precipitation only amounted to 37.9mm. or 1.49 inches from January to April. –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 8 May 2016
For anyone who firmly believes in Elon Musk and his potential to turn massive initial investments into equally massive profits – as Jeff Bezos did at Amazon – the vision of Musk manning the production line is brilliant branding. But for anyone with more than a passing knowledge of the car industry, it shows how badly Musk fails to understand what he’s up against. As Elon Musk piles implausibility on top of implausibility, he is slowly turning criticisms of Tesla’s prospects into a litmus test of faith in his personal abilities. –Edward Niedermeyer, Bloomberg, 9 May 2016
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