Arctic temperatures the warmest in 2,000 years; 2009 Arctic sea ice loss 3rd highest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:32 PM GMT on September 04, 2009

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It's time to take a bit of a break from coverage of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2009, and report on some important climate news. The past decade was the warmest decade in the Arctic for the past 2,000 years, according to a study called "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" published today in the journal Science. Furthermore, four of the five warmest decades in the past 2,000 years occurred between 1950 - 2000, despite the fact that summertime solar radiation in the Arctic has been steadily declining for the past 2,000 years. Previous efforts to reconstruct past climate in the Arctic extended back only 400 years, so the new study--which used lake sediments, glacier ice cores, and tree rings to look at past climate back to the time of Christ, decade by decade-- is a major new milestone in our understanding of the Arctic climate. The researchers found that Arctic temperatures steadily declined between 1 A.D. and 1900 A.D., as would be expected due to a 26,000-year cycle in Earth's orbit that brought less summer sunshine to the North Pole. Earth is now about 620,000 miles (1 million km) farther from the Sun in the Arctic summer than it was 2000 years ago. However, temperatures in the Arctic began to rise around the year 1900, and are now 1.4°C (2.5°F) warmer than they should be, based on the amount of sunlight that is currently falling in the Arctic in summer. "If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century," Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

The Arctic melt season of 2009
Arctic sea ice suffered another summer of significant melting in 2009, with August ice extent the third lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. August ice extent was 19% below the 1979 - 2000 average, and only 2007 and 2008 saw more melting of Arctic sea ice. We've now had two straight years in the Arctic without a new record minimum in sea ice. However, this does not mean that the Arctic sea ice is recovering. The reduced melting in 2009 compared to 2007 and 2008 primarily resulted from a different atmospheric circulation pattern this summer. This pattern generated winds that transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged export of ice out of the Arctic Ocean. The previous two summers, the prevailing wind pattern acted to transport more ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait, along the east side of Greenland. At last December's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, J.E. Kay of the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed that Arctic surface pressure in the summer of 2007 was the fourth highest since 1948, and cloud cover at Barrow, Alaska was the sixth lowest. This suggests that once every 10 - 20 years a "perfect storm" of weather conditions highly favorable for ice loss invades the Arctic. The last two times such conditions existed was 1977 and 1987, and it may be another ten or so years before weather conditions align properly to set a new record minimum.

The Northeast Passage opens
As a result of this summer's melting, the Northeast Passage, a notoriously ice-choked sea route along the northern Russia, is now clear of ice and open for navigation. Satellite analyses by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the last remaining ice blockage along the north coast of Russia melted in late August, allowing navigation from Europe to Alaska in ice-free waters. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northeast Passage since 1553, and it wasn't until the record-breaking Arctic sea-ice melt year of 2005 that the Northeast Passage opened for ice-free navigation for the first time in recorded history. The fabled Northwest Passage through the Arctic waters of Canada has remained closed this summer, however. An atmospheric pressure pattern set up in late July that created winds that pushed old, thick ice into several of the channels of the Northwest Passage. Recent research by Stephen Howell at the University of Waterloo in Canada shows that whether the Northwest Passage clears depends less on how much melt occurs, and more on whether multi-year sea ice is pushed into the channels. Counter-intuitively, as the ice cover thins, ice may flow more easily into the channels, preventing the Northwest Passage from regularly opening in coming decades, if the prevailing winds set up to blow ice into the channels of the Passage. The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in recorded history in 2007, and again in 2008. Mariners have been attempting to find a route through the Northwest Passage since 1497.


Figure 1. Sea ice extent on September 2, 2009, with the Northwest Passage (red line) and Northeast Passage (green line) shown. The Northeast Passage was open, but the Northwest Passage was blocked in three places. The orange line shows the median edge of sea ice extent for September 2 during the period 1979 - 2000, and this year's ice extent is about 19% below average. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Commercial shipping begins in the Northeast Passage
This year's opening marks the fourth time in five years that the Northeast Passage has opened, and commercial shipping companies are taking note. Two German ships set off on August 21 on the first commercial voyage ever made through the Northeast Passage without the help of icebreakers. The Northeast Passage trims 4,500 miles off the 12,500 mile trip through the Suez Canal, yielding considerable savings in fuel. The voyage was not possible last year, because Russia had not yet worked out a permitting process. With Arctic sea ice expected to continue to decline in the coming decades, shipping traffic through the Northeast Passage will likely become commonplace most summers.

When was the Northeast Passage ice-free in the past?
People have been attempting to penetrate the ice-bound Northeast Passage since 1553, when British explorer Sir Hugh Willoughby attempted the passage with three ships and 62 men. The frozen bodies of Sir Hugh and his men were found a year later, after they failed to make it past the northern coast of Finland. British explorer Henry Hudson, who died in 1611 trying to find a route through Canada's fabled Northwest Passage, (and whom Canada's Hudson Bay and New York's Hudson River are named after), attempted to sail the Northeast Passage in 1607 and 1608, and failed. The Northeast Passage has remained closed to navigation, except via assist by icebreakers, from 1553 to 2005. The results published in Science today suggest that prior to 2005, the last previous opening was the period 5,000 - 7,000 years ago, when the Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. It is possible we'll know better soon. A new technique that examines organic compounds left behind in Arctic sediments by diatoms that live in sea ice give hope that a detailed record of sea ice extent extending back to the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago may be possible (Belt et al., 2007). The researchers are studying sediments along the Northwest Passage in hopes of being able to determine when the Passage was last open.

References
Belt, S.T., G. Masse, S.J. Rowland, M. Poulin, C. Michel, and B. LeBlanc, "A novel chemical fossil of palaeo sea ice: IP25", Organic Geochemistry, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-27.

Darrell S. Kaufman, David P. Schneider, Nicholas P. McKay, Caspar M. Ammann, Raymond S. Bradley, Keith R. Briffa, Gifford H. Miller, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Bo M. Vinther, and Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members, 2009, "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling", Science 4 September 2009: 1236-1239.

Howell, S. E. L., C. R. Duguay, and T. Markus. 2009. Sea ice conditions and melt season duration variability within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1979.2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10502, doi:10.1029/2009GL037681.

Tropical Weather Outlook
The remains of Tropical Storm Erika are bringing heavy rain to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and this activity will spread to the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Radar-estimated rainfall shows up to three inches of rain has fallen in eastern Puerto Rico from the storm. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows no surface circulation or organization of the echoes, and redevelopment of Erika over the next three days is unlikely to occur due to high wind shear of 25 - 30 knots. By Monday or Tuesday, shear may drop enough to allow redevelopment, depending upon the location of Erika's remains. Redevelopment is more likely if Erika works its way northwestward into the Bahamas.

A large tropical wave with plenty of spin is located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands, off the coast of Africa. Heavy thunderstorm activity has increased slightly in this wave over the past day, and it has the potential to gradually develop into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC is giving this wave a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. The GFS model continues to predict development of this wave into a tropical depression early next week.

I'll have an update Saturday or Sunday, depending upon developments in the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting SunriseSteeda:


Perhaps the difference is the humidity, and the fact that during the "dog days" of summer the temperature just doesn't change much at all.

We had a week recently where it was in the 80s 24/7, and the humidity was also in the 80s (%). When it gets really bad is when it feels like 100 at noon and feels like 100 at 3am.

Fort Lauderdale hit 100 degrees for the first time ever, this summer. It doesn't seem very hot until you realize the heat index was 128. That's damned near in the ocean with a sea breeze and *still* 100.

:)



Yeah the humidity is the killer. And 100 on the ocean is pretty bad. Ouch. Yeah the dog days do drag on. Used to live in El Paso. Nobody believes we didn't have an A/C there. Lol. I gotta say it...It's not the heat its the humidity. Couldn't be more opposite climates than there and here. I think I'm a desert rat at heart who got dropped in the middle of a swamp. :)
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Quoting serialteg:


Puerto Rico



If the wind is blowing hot air, it's almost the same thing ... hehe

I love A/C, but I haven't had A/C for a goooood while now. Not in the car, not where I live :( And I had a heck of a time getting used to sleeping nights, after I worked the night shift at a casino for six months. Gets to be pretty hot where I live during the day, heat index of 100F pretty regularly during half of the year. Even with trade winds from the E being a constant.


oh cool, packers fan? :/
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


yeah, with el nino settling in and with so many troughs making to the coast, its been pretty rough on pottential storms, where are you located?


Puerto Rico

Quoting homelesswanderer:


Y'all are so lucky. Other than living in paradise there are ways to get out of the heat. In SE TX forget about it. For about 6 or 7 months there's not a breath of wind. Unless it's blowing about 100mph. It's still and hot and sultry. I thought Florida got as hot as here until someone mentioned a record high of 95 in Miami. 95 is the norm here. Yep A/C is necessary to life here just as heat is to our friends in Canada. Guess we're just lucky that way. Sigh. :)


If the wind is blowing hot air, it's almost the same thing ... hehe

I love A/C, but I haven't had A/C for a goooood while now. Not in the car, not where I live :( And I had a heck of a time getting used to sleeping nights, after I worked the night shift at a casino for six months. Gets to be pretty hot where I live during the day, heat index of 100F pretty regularly during half of the year. Even with trade winds from the E being a constant.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


I thought Florida got as hot as here until someone mentioned a record high of 95 in Miami. 95 is the norm here.


Perhaps the difference is the humidity, and the fact that during the "dog days" of summer the temperature just doesn't change much at all.

We had a week recently where it was in the 80s 24/7, and the humidity was also in the 80s (%). When it gets really bad is when it feels like 100 at noon and feels like 100 at 3am.

Fort Lauderdale hit 100 degrees for the first time ever, this summer. It doesn't seem very hot until you realize the heat index was 128. That's damned near in the ocean with a sea breeze and *still* 100.

:)

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Just re-posting this...
Analyst Weather
New website with my tropical update as of 11:15pm.
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Quoting serialteg:


Gotta do it. Moisture near PR has moved with the winds towards the ENE. This has been quite a year, with all these things against cyclone formation. I believe SST's are the only thing that's above average, on the TC Genesis' side. The way the ITCZ is shifted north, well, I'm a rookie... probably has happened millions of times before ... but I'm used to my hot Tropics.


yeah, with el nino settling in and with so many troughs making to the coast, its been pretty rough on pottential storms, where are you located?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting BahaHurican:
Sorry to hear about ur loss, pear...

True enough. When I get a chance to go to Long Island, I'm fine w/out the AC because I usually stay in a house that is on top of a hill. It tends to stay cooler up there. But that bit about being closer to the sea makes a BIG difference. Most of Long Island, like Eleuthera, is only a few miles at best from the ATL....

I don't spend my entire work day in AC, either, but the increasing amounts of tarred roads / parking lots etc. tend to capture the heat all morning and radiate it all evening. So afternoons without AC are extra uncomfortable. That's why I so enjoyed the weather this June, with the daily p.m. showers. The worst of that heat buildup just didn't happen, and it made Nassau a much more comfortable place to be...


Y'all are so lucky. Other than living in paradise there are ways to get out of the heat. In SE TX forget about it. For about 6 or 7 months there's not a breath of wind. Unless it's blowing about 100mph. It's still and hot and sultry. I thought Florida got as hot as here until someone mentioned a record high of 95 in Miami. 95 is the norm here. Yep A/C is necessary to life here just as heat is to our friends in Canada. Guess we're just lucky that way. Sigh. :)
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Quoting tornadodude:


definitely, 45 to 13, our kicker made a 59 yd field goal today, and our first play today was a 78 td td run ha, but yeah, so 95L....... just trying to keep a lil bit of tropic talk involved haha


Gotta do it. Moisture near PR has moved with the winds towards the ENE. This has been quite a year, with all these things against cyclone formation. I believe SST's are the only thing that's above average, on the TC Genesis' side. The way the ITCZ is shifted north, well, I'm a rookie... probably has happened millions of times before ... but I'm used to my hot Tropics.
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Quoting Weather456:
Only system I know that closely resembles the current wave and situation was Helene 2006



September 10 2006



Link
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456, On Helene, I think I recall that one, after Gordon, right?

SSIG, I suppose that Becky path is similar to what the NOGAPS is suggesting....

Anyway, guys, just noticing how late it is! I'm going to head off to bed before it gets too much later....

Some really good discussion tonight...
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Quoting serialteg:


That one's still a blowout right?


definitely, 45 to 13, our kicker made a 59 yd field goal today, and our first play today was a 78 td td run ha, but yeah, so 95L....... just trying to keep a lil bit of tropic talk involved haha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Pearlandaggie - sorry to hear of your loss.
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Quoting tornadodude:


Yeah it was alot of fun because we were in the student section, but yeah I got Cal and Maryland on lol


That one's still a blowout right?
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Quoting serialteg:


Oh that's way neat! I'd love to study a postgraduate in a college that had a great football program... being obviously a fan myself :D

I got LSU - Washington on in the background.


Yeah it was alot of fun because we were in the student section, but yeah I got Cal and Maryland on lol
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting pearlandaggie:
Sorry to hear about ur loss, pear...

Quoting Murko:


True, I do live about 200 yards from the Atlantic and 50 yards from the lee side, and my bed is under the window facing the prevailing wind. Still it gets 35ºC inside the house last couple of months, but I don't work in an a/c'd office and drive an a/c'd car. You get used to it, and I'm a naturally hot person!
True enough. When I get a chance to go to Long Island, I'm fine w/out the AC because I usually stay in a house that is on top of a hill. It tends to stay cooler up there. But that bit about being closer to the sea makes a BIG difference. Most of Long Island, like Eleuthera, is only a few miles at best from the ATL....

I don't spend my entire work day in AC, either, but the increasing amounts of tarred roads / parking lots etc. tend to capture the heat all morning and radiate it all evening. So afternoons without AC are extra uncomfortable. That's why I so enjoyed the weather this June, with the daily p.m. showers. The worst of that heat buildup just didn't happen, and it made Nassau a much more comfortable place to be...
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Delta
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


well congats on the victory :) and ive pretty much had football overdose too today, i had third row seats for the Purdue game today, which we won, but yeah, you guys have had muchos rain


Oh that's way neat! I'd love to study a postgraduate in a college that had a great football program... being obviously a fan myself :D

I got LSU - Washington on in the background.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
So u are thinking enough of a Nerly movement into the first weakness that it'll recurve fairly early.....


you'll have to read back a few posts but the 1st weakness induces the turn, the 2nd and 3rd weakness fully re-curves the system.

Like Helene 2006 if the system does past 50W it will likely be near 30N, like advisory #37 for Helene

29.60 -56.90 09/21/15Z 70 970 HURRICANE-1
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Thanks


You're welcome. :)
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Happy Father's Day! (Not that it'll matter to the little darlings) Lol. Mother's Day never did to mine. :)

Thanks
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Only system I know that closely resembles the current wave and situation was Helene 2006



September 10 2006

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Quoting AussieStorm:
hi all, Finally got my kids off the pc, you'd think they'd do what i ask, especially since today is Fathers Day here in OZ


Happy Father's Day! (Not that it'll matter to the little darlings) Lol. Mother's Day never did to mine. :)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

wont be fish of wont be named?
if it hits the CV's of course it wont be fish, the gfs model develops it after the CV's and as i said the NOGAPS model develops it instantly and takes it between the CV's and Africa.


Yeah thats what I meant.

We should see at least a TS out of the CV wave.
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Quoting Dakster:


Yeah. No A/C, no way... Couldn't do it. Thankfully I have 4 Central A/C units, so when one is down I can go to another area of the house. Although this winter I had 2 go out simultaneously and it wasn't pretty.


not a bad fan of energy conservation huh?
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2649. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number SEVEN
DEEP DEPRESSION BOB04-2009
5:30 AM IST September 6 2009
======================================

SUBJECT: Deep Depression Over Gangetic West Bengal

At 0:00 AM UTC, Deep Depression BOB 04-2009 over Gangetic West Bengal remained practically stationary and lays centered near Bankura. The system is likely to move in a north-northwesterly direction.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

wont be fish of wont be named?
if it hits the CV's of course it wont be fish, the gfs model develops it after the CV's and as i said the NOGAPS model develops it instantly and takes it between the CV's and Africa.


NHC names systems whether their fishes or not.
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Quoting serialteg:


Total college football / sports overdose. Puerto Rico won over Argentina in FIBA basketball, goes tomorrow against Brazil (Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa) for the 1st place, we defeated them yesterday (Barbosa out with a hand). We're already classified for the world championships in Turkey next year.

Coming over to see how you guys are doing.

Finally rain stopped falling from Erika's remains, around 16+ hours of rain here in Ponce PR. Had to clean the roof debris to get the water flowing out from the runners.

:)


well congats on the victory :) and ive pretty much had football overdose too today, i had third row seats for the Purdue game today, which we won, but yeah, you guys have had muchos rain
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Weather456:


I dont think it will past 50W and if it does it may already be past 30N.
So u are thinking enough of a Nerly movement into the first weakness that it'll recurve fairly early.....
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2644. Murko
Quoting BahaHurican:
Very true - in Eleuthera. Not so much in Nassau. Consider urban heat island effect, plus much less cooling vegetation (replaced by paving) and the simple fact that New Providence is 21 miles E - W while most parts of Eleuthera are fewer than 10 miles wide east to west. All in all, it's a lot easier to take advantage of the naturally cooling effects of the trade winds / easterlies in Eleuthera these days.

Frankly, I need the AC.... although Murko's way is cheaper.... lol


True, I do live about 200 yards from the Atlantic and 50 yards from the lee side, and my bed is under the window facing the prevailing wind. Still it gets 35ºC inside the house last couple of months, but I don't work in an a/c'd office and drive an a/c'd car. You get used to it, and I'm a naturally hot person!
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Quoting tornadodude:


Those were pretty good, only cigarettes ive ever had, so how are you this evening?


Total college football / sports overdose. Puerto Rico won over Argentina in FIBA basketball, goes tomorrow against Brazil (Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa) for the 1st place, we defeated them yesterday (Barbosa out with a hand). We're already classified for the world championships in Turkey next year.

Coming over to see how you guys are doing.

Finally rain stopped falling from Erika's remains, around 16+ hours of rain here in Ponce PR. Had to clean the roof debris to get the water flowing out from the runners.

:)
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Well if the CV islands receive TS watches/warnings then it wont be.

wont be fish of wont be named?
if it hits the CV's of course it wont be fish, the gfs model develops it after the CV's and as i said the NOGAPS model develops it instantly and takes it between the CV's and Africa.
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The NOGAPS seems to be the outliner here since other models see the Azores high taking the wave west before turning.



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Quoting ajcamsmom2:
2624. Stormchaser2007 11:00 PM CDT on September 05, 2009
Check out my tropical update.

Analyst Weather

Nice site...Thanks for sharing


Thanks!

Just started it up with some other members from another site.
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Quoting Murko:


I live about 40 miles from Baha, on Eleuthera. I don't have a/c. Had an old unit but only used it 3 times in 3 years so got rid of it. Fans are all you need, your body quickly acclimatises :-)
Very true - in Eleuthera. Not so much in Nassau. Consider urban heat island effect, plus much less cooling vegetation (replaced by paving) and the simple fact that New Providence is 21 miles E - W while most parts of Eleuthera are fewer than 10 miles wide east to west. All in all, it's a lot easier to take advantage of the naturally cooling effects of the trade winds / easterlies in Eleuthera these days.

Frankly, I need the AC.... although Murko's way is cheaper.... lol
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GOES 12 Channel 3
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I was thinking more recurve than "turn". So this still, at least potentially, could make it past 50W.....


I dont think it will past 50W and if it does it may already be past 30N.
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Quoting serialteg:


Don't know, but anyone remember those candy cigarettes? As a kid I used to like them a lot!


Those were pretty good, only cigarettes ive ever had, so how are you this evening?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Weather456:
StormW or anyone, if you confirm this for me...


95L and the other area of disturbed weather are so close to each other but yet they are moving in 2 totally different direction. I am theorizing that 95L is deeper is thus is more under the influence the deep steering flow as oppose to the other area which is rather weak and shallow.

BTW, 95L is looking good tonight.



95L is more under the weakness than the one in front, it is also more organized...
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2624. Stormchaser2007 11:00 PM CDT on September 05, 2009
Check out my tropical update.

Analyst Weather

Nice site...Thanks for sharing
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Quoting AussieStorm:

the GFS takes the wave coming off Africa practically due north about 200miles west of CV's. the NOGAPS model takes it due north almost straight away and between the CV's and Africa. I'm saying soon to be named invest 96L will be 100% fish, But will they bother naming it?


Well if the CV islands receive TS watches/warnings then it wont be.
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Quoting tornadodude:
The SMOKELESS Cigarette!

You Now Have The Freedom To Smoke Where You Want! A Healthier Way To Smoke!



haha sorry for off topic, but this add was fairly humorous, so whats up in the tropics?


Don't know, but anyone remember those candy cigarettes? As a kid I used to like them a lot!
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i've been out for a couple of days due to a funeral in my immediate family...it's nice so see the good doctor once again presenting faulty, one-sided data. at least all the cape verdes waves seem to be recurving...
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Check out my tropical update.

Analyst Weather

the GFS takes the wave coming off Africa practically due north about 200miles west of CV's. the NOGAPS model takes it due north almost straight away and between the CV's and Africa. I'm saying soon to be named invest 96L will be 100% fish, But will they bother naming it?
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Quoting Weather456:


turning vs recurvature

The system is expected to turn towards the NW between 30 and 40W as it has to undergo ridging of the Azores before finding the weakness. Becuz the pattern involves successive weaknesses and building, re-curvature may not occur until much further west. This post assumes turning is a shift in the same direction (wnw to nw) while re-curvature is when a cyclone changes direction (west to east).
I was thinking more recurve than "turn". So this still, at least potentially, could make it past 50W.....
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StormW or anyone, if you confirm this for me...


95L and the other area of disturbed weather are so close to each other but yet they are moving in 2 totally different direction. I am theorizing that 95L is deeper is thus is more under the influence the deep steering flow as oppose to the other area which is rather weak and shallow.

BTW, 95L is looking good tonight.

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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