Friday, May 18, 2007

Global Warming Down Under


When we talk about "down under" with regard to geography, we normally refer to Australia. Today, I am writing about the other "down under": South America.

Most of the focus of global warming studies have been elsewhere in the world. South America tends to be overlooked as that quaint continent where there is a lot of beef (Argentina), sugar cane (Brazil), oil (Venezuela), cocaine and coffee (Columbia) and the great Amazon rain forest. Political revolutions come and go while economies struggle and the rest of the world ignores this isolated piece of real estate.

I was curious about how global warming might be perceived in South America. Sure, we read about the Amazon rain forest and droughts, but we've also learned that the very act of clearing those forests reduces the rainfall associated with them. But what about those high temperature extremes that are supposed to occur with greater frequency. You know, the heat waves predicted by the IPCC. Are they roasting the coffee in South America?

This study

This study presents an examination of the trends in
indices of daily temperature extremes for South
America during 1960–2000. Data quality and homogeneity
assessments are crucial before trends in climate
indices are computed. Erroneous outlier values and artificial
steps due to changes in instrument exposure will
affect the trends in temperature extremes. [see this] In addition,
it is essential to use a consistent methodology to define
and calculate the climate extremes for a better comparison
across regions.

The results show that temperature extremes are
changing in South America. The findings reveal no consistent
changes in the indices based on daily maximum
temperature. However, significant trends were observed
in the indices based on daily minimum temperatures.
The coldest night of the year is getting warmer
and there are more tropical nights. The percentage of
cold nights is decreasing while the percentage of warm
nights is increasing, and these changes are more pronounced
during the summer (DJF) and fall (MAM).

The nighttime warming corresponds to a significant decrease
in the diurnal temperature range over the continent.
Since the stations with significant trends appear to be
located closer to the west and east coasts of South
America, future work could involve an analysis of the
correlation between the sea surface temperature and
the land temperature extremes. [see this] In addition, since
ENSO events seem to have considerable impact on the
surface temperature in the southern part of the continent
(Barros et al. 2002), further work could examine
the relation between the circulation pattern and the
land surface temperature and extremes over the entire
South American landmass.

These results generally agree with what has been observed
in many other parts of the world. The nearglobal
analysis by Frich et al. (2002) has indicated an
increase in the frequency of warm nights, a decrease in
the extreme temperature range, and also a decrease in
the number of frost days. Frost days is not a representative
index for South America since the temperature
remains above 0°C almost everywhere with the exception
of the stations located in the high mountains of
Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and for those stations located
in the southern part of Argentina and Chile. The
results from the Caribbean region have indicated that
the frequency of warm nights and warm days has significantly
increased since the late 1950s while it seems
that in South America only the warm nights have increased.

I'll refer you to one of my previous posts. Note the graph at the end.
Global Warming Without New High Temperature Extremes?


Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)