If you take the politics out of it, then everything else makes perfect sense. And the sense it makes is the tremendous amount of uncertainty. That's what we all need to come to grips with. Like tomorrow's weather, we can only predict the future but it's never certain until it happens.
If only someone in power would address climate change so clearly. But as it seems with so many issues today, our leaders fail us. Thanks, Bob, for doing us the service in their stead.
Bob, I too appreciate the clear and non political approach to discussing issues of climate change. Unfortunately, in the real world one can not pretend that politics and policy do not generally trump issues related to climate change (and just about everything else).
As you mentioned, greater warming at high latitudes than more tropical regions is consistent with weaker westerlies on average and greater chance of "cut-off or almost stationary upper-level whirls", often characterized by blocking patterns. But, I'm not aware of any recent studies that have shown an increase blocking and weakening of westerlies in the mean (higher zonal index) over the past couple decades.
On the other hand, It's interesting to see the decrease in the variance around the mean in the new 30 year climatology shown in your "Black Swan" blog yesterday.That is consistent with weakening westerlies and probability for increased blocking. It's even more interesting that the new climate shows just the opposite at the extremes of low and high temperatures, i.e., greater variance at extremes. Moreover, from the map of the temperature anomalies above, it appears this is most likely over the northeast states and Canada where large gradients (frontal zone) in temperature (anomalies) are very pronounced. Relatively little change in short term shifts in latitude of the mean front can clearly account for the larger variance in the extremes (like this spring and more generally at least over the past couple years).
Make sense to you?
I'll defer to TWC Stu Ostro's terrific (and increasing) synoptic scale observations database and posts and his multi-Meg file that does lead to the idea (theory) of a higher probability of blocking patterns in a warmer/global changed world. We are all first observers and then the theory so it's interesting that some synoptic meteorologists can make observations that may be of benefit to the theoretical climate modelers, I personally think Stu is on to something that is real and happening and will before too long shown by researchers to be really happening . . . or at least with 70% probability happening. Aren't we all in the same boat heading in the same direction? OK don't answer that . . . it's too political
Below is a small sample from a paper on the "Man Made" Global Warming scare.
Global Warming: How It All Began
(See Review Comments at the end of this Paper)
All available evidence indicates that man-made global warming is a physical impossibility, but if the predicted warming could be induced it would probably provide net benefits. However, there is a widespread imagined risk of the warming and politicians are responding to it. Responses to imagined risk are often extreme and dangerous. For example, somebody with a fear of mice may see a mouse and as a response try to jump on a chair causing damage to the chair and injury to himself. There is no point in telling the injured person that mice are harmless because fear is irrational so cannot be overcome by rational argument.
Widespread imagined risk is to be expected as the end of the twentieth century (the end of the second millennium) approaches. Prophets of doom have occurred when the end of each past century approached. They always proclaimed that “the end of the world is nigh” unless people changed their ways and accepted great hardship. So, history suggests that the global warming scare or something like it can be expected at this time.
It's indescribably reckless to wait for diagnostic certainty about exactly how our pollution is destabilizing our climate. We certainly don't want doctors to wait for the results of the autopsy to give us treatment.