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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is the hurricane hunters on a early mission.they were schedule to leave at 1700 and they are in route now @ 1500.
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Quoting TexasHoosier:
StormW,

Would you please look at Blog Posting #126 regarding some wind observations over South America and see if you have any comments based on historical observations?

Thank You, Texas Hoosier


yeah, sorry about not responding to your question, I didnt know how to answer it, maybe copy it and repost it. do you live in Indiana currently?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
One thing is for sure. If you go and ask someone that is let say 80 years old, if there is any difference in the seasons from when they were younger, I am willing to bet they would say yes.

I have heard stories of how cold it use to get here in South Louisiana, sometimes it snowed, others it didn't, but the temperature use to get and stay below freezing for quite some time, so the older generation says.

My point, it is not that hard to figure out things are changing, the problem is what is it that is having such an effect?? As my grandfather use to say..."Opinions are like a holes, and everyone has one, some even have 2!"

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ok we will see if the saints click i have waited to long every year is the same old thing...im just thankful we have the TIGERS!!!!
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StormW,

Would you please look at Blog Posting #126 regarding some wind observations over South America and see if you have any comments based on historical observations?

Thank You, Texas Hoosier
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Quoting LUCARIO:
Humans are Causing the world to heat
they are the cause for most world problems.
too many humans


Also a lot of pinguins.
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Humans are Causing the world to heat
they are the cause for most world problems.
too many humans
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NExSat African Wave Viz Loop
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Quoting CycloneOz:




No one knows what is causing it. Oh...but you do, right? LOL


well, your knowledge of atomspheric chemistry, basic biochemisty, and climate is clearly limited. so obviously you don't know what's causing it or even what it is. you are entitled to your own opinion, of course, but opinions supported by such a clear dearth of knowledge are not worth much.
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Quoting mikatnight:


You’re preachin’ to the choir as far as I’m concerned, Patrick (on climate change). Yet I still get “it’s not happening at all” from time to time. It’s as if science and facts have become inconvenient. To quote Dr. Sagan once more:

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”


well you know global warming is a vast left wing conspiracy, don't ya....

your quote says it all.. ain't it the truth
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Quoting Patrap:


Oz ..LOL..you best read up On the Topic friend,,..or do a lil research.

A Warmer GOM,and Atlantic Basin fuels the Large CV Hurricanes and that dude,..well, affects Millions.

Rising Artic Sea Levels have already caused some Coastal Inuit Native Alaskans to Move whole Villages inland miles.

Dont Bully others for your Lack of Understanding of the reality and facts.

You only make oneself look,well..uninformed. Id read the entry above for a starter.

What One believes and whats reality arent related,

The warming continues as the Planet has no ears and dosent Listen to you nor I.



Well put, Pat...
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Quoting Floodman:


Anyone remember the pro-Tobacco "scientists" in the 70s in front of a congressional commission saying that cigarette smoke was not, per their studies, carcinogenic? The numbers can be rubbed both ways, but the facts are clear: the change in climate is ocurring much faster than they would if it were nature all by herself with the exception of massive volcanic action like the Deccan traps or asteroidal impacts like Chiculub...


But then again, it really does depend on who you ask. kinda like Crichton (may he rest in peace) book "State of Fear" where the governemnt loves us being in just that.. a state of fear. (for obvious reasons)
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211. Relix
So StormW, our future possible 95L could stick closer to the northern antilles?
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Erika appears out of gas for the day. Time for that storm cloud to drift away.
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Re: #135
LOL@apocalyps..thanks for the giggle!
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THIS season is over, you better hang it up!
no more storms this year, the winds are too strong. This will be the weakest hurricane season ever. But Bill looked alot better then IKe. The world is overpopulated and even the hurricanes don't want to deal with humans. This hurricane season is OVER!
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WS shower curtains
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Cotillion:
Even if he was...

Saints are playing Detroit after all. At the Superdome.

If they couldn't win that, well.. not much point for the rest of the season!

At the moment, the MJO subsidence is really quite strong. Along with shear and all, may be a little break before something else happens. There is a bit of positive (stated by GFS/EWP) by Africa which may help something to start, though. Be gone in a few days.

From there... next pulse (right now) seems fixing up in the dyin' days of September/early October. Though El Nino does tend to kill seasons off earlier, might be a hurrah.

Still MJO is only one part of it.. and it's right near the peak of September. Anything can happen.. and usually does.


Pfft..

Saints racked up the Most Points in the NFC thru preseaon with Brees..,38 against the Texans,45 against Raiders,..and I forget the Opener score.

And only gave up 24 the last 3 games

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Water vapour
Quoting CycloneOz:


The largest concentration of "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere...by far...if WATER VAPOR!!!

Try controlling the amount of that gas in the atmosphere!!! :) LOL!!!!!!

You have been hoaxed well! :)



A little CO2 added to the air makes the lower atmosphere warm. This causes a little more water to evaporate and this warms the atmosphere even more. If this feedback loop went unchecked the oceans would boil and life on Earth would cease. But the water condenses to form clouds which reflect sunlight and stop things running out of control. The contribution of water vapour to the warming is much greater than the greenhouse gases, but it is not included among them because its presence in the atmosphere is variable from place to place because it exists in gaseous, liquid and solid phases and has a residence time of just a few days.

Not quite sure how this discredits greenhouse gas induced global warming theory.
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Quoting Patrap:




You’re preachin’ to the choir as far as I’m concerned, Patrick (on climate change). Yet I still get “it’s not happening at all” from time to time. It’s as if science and facts have become inconvenient. To quote Dr. Sagan once more:

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
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You can't even discuss AGW/CC without the warmingistas shouting down anyone who may disagree. It is pointless.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Last time I checked, I and everyone around me are doing just fine. "The harmful" effects you purport of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere must be only affecting you.

And don't come back with "the Artic and everything else ice is melting" shpeel...it doesn't fly.

No one knows what is causing it. Oh...but you do, right? LOL

"It is obvious" that you have been hoaxed well by the global warming and climate change chicken littles. LOL!!!!

Good luck with that. Might I suggest banging your head against a wall?


Oz ..LOL..you best read up On the Topic friend,,..or do a lil research.

A Warmer GOM,and Atlantic Basin fuels the Large CV Hurricanes and that dude,..well, affects Millions.

Rising Artic Sea Levels have already caused some Coastal Inuit Native Alaskans to Move whole Villages inland miles.

Dont Bully others for your Lack of Understanding of the reality and facts.

You only make oneself look,well..uninformed. Id read the entry above for a starter.

What One believes and whats reality arent related,

The warming continues as the Planet has no ears and dosent Listen to you nor I.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Even if he was...

Saints are playing Detroit after all. At the Superdome.

If they couldn't win that, well.. not much point for the rest of the season!

At the moment, the MJO subsidence is really quite strong. Along with shear and all, may be a little break before something else happens. There is a bit of positive (stated by GFS/EWP) by Africa which may help something to start, though. Be gone in a few days.

From there... next pulse (right now) seems fixing up in the dyin' days of September/early October. Though El Nino does tend to kill seasons off earlier, might be a last hurrah.

Still MJO is only one part of it.. and it's right near the peak of September. Anything can happen.. and usually does.
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The high level of erika is kicking in the low level of jay leno.
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Quoting rwdobson:


I know. And it was an absurd comment. You act like "if something is only 4 in 80,000, it can't be harmful". which is absurd.

And again, if you don't understand the difference between CO2 in breath and CO2 from fossil fuels...you cannot possibly understand this debate. If you want to argue your side, you need to have some grasp of the basic science, which you obviously do not.


Anyone remember the pro-Tobacco "scientists" in the 70s in front of a congressional commission saying that cigarette smoke was not, per their studies, carcinogenic? The numbers can be rubbed both ways, but the facts are clear: the change in climate is ocurring much faster than they would if it were nature all by herself with the exception of massive volcanic action like the Deccan traps or asteroidal impacts like Chiculub...
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Quoting apocalyps:
Erika is forming a new coc around the nose of michael jackson.Nice convention to.

lol
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Quoting stormno:
STORM W LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO BE OUT OF BUSINESS FOR A WHILE AT LEAST ANOTHER 2 WEEKS WITH NOT EVEN A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...Stormno


i SEE TWO TROPICAL DEPRESSIONS WITH IN 2 WEEKS

STILL IN BUSINESS
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Quoting 954FtLCane:


H) WS/JSV's bathroom curtain, whats on it?


well, here link
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting StormW:
Good late morning!

Hot off the press!

TROPICAL WEATHER SYSNOPSIS SEPTEMBER 04, 2009 ISSUED 11:45 A.M. EDT


thanks for the update, go rest up and have a great holiday..
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Quoting mikatnight:
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
Carl Sagan


I must concur, good point.

As for the storms, those of us in Florida are grateful Erika didn't come here and hope she stays dead.

Now for football...........Go Steelers!(not originally from Florida)

As for Buddy say hi, at least I'm not the only one that talks to lizards! LOL
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Quoting btwntx08:
Link
take a look i don't think so


i know it looks like a coc/eye on radar...but i think its just the fact your on he very edge of the radar and the convection is dieing making it look like something its not...
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Quoting yonzabam:
Here's what Danny's remnants did to Scotland.


Link


The article didn't say anything about Danny's remains causing this. Fortunately, the whiskey making areas were not affected. One of the officials complained that the bridge that washed out (again) was supposed to be replaced 10 years ago. But the food and drink festival was not called off. It's a "wash" I suppose. I saw a bumper sticker that said "God invented whiskey to keep Scotsman from ruling the world" The driver was a Scotsman..
...Nuf said.
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STORM W LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO BE OUT OF BUSINESS FOR A WHILE AT LEAST ANOTHER 2 WEEKS WITH NOT EVEN A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...Stormno
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Sorry about the triple post, my computer did a weird thing and it asked me to resend some info on which I clicked yes and bam! 3 post showed up
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Quoting Patrap:


Brees didnt Play,and 90 percent of the starters didnt ,Play. Brees is NOT injured at all.

They held out the starters to avoid injury for next week,Most NFL teams do.

Thanks for the good news. I am looking forward to next Sunday! ....ok, back to the tropics.
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Quoting iluvjess:
"It has nothing to do with our past, Floridians aaren't more prone to wishcast. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the percentage of wishcasters from a certain area on WU is equal to the percentage of people that are from that given area at one time. So in essence there are more wishcasters from FL because there are more folks on here from FL."

That is about the most naiive comment I have seen in a while. Nobody that pays HomeOwners insurance in Florida wishes a storm to come within a 1000 miles of Florida. The folks that do not know anything about insurance are the ones that make the dumbfounded assumptions. Anyone else that lives in FL or along the GOMEX want to step in and concur here? Pay my HO insurance for a while then call me a wishcaster. LOL



Amen to that. Gustav caused my insurance to jack sky rocket high because he did 40K worth of damage to my house, and I was lucky, no tree throug my rooftop. So yeah, I can do without a storm for a year.
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Quoting StormW:
Good late morning!

Hot off the press!

TROPICAL WEATHER SYSNOPSIS SEPTEMBER 04, 2009 ISSUED 11:45 A.M. EDT


thanks storm, finally something of interest..
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THE ICE IS MELTING BECAUSE OF OVERPOPULATION
TOO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH!
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Quoting Patrap:
ALL Floater Imagery

I'd go and take the Family to Glacier National Park,,cuz at the rate were Losing them,,well they will completely gone by 2035-2040.

Id also check out the Photos from there from the Late 1890s to Now.

Very disturbing trend there.
I always had a hunch the glaciers would melt faster then the text books were proposing 20 years ago.
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Quoting bluehaze27:


What a rediculous analogy. It's one to say we need co2 for life, It's quite another to understand that too much co2 causes heat build up by trapping in heat like a greenhouse causing arctic ice to melt which holds what was once inert co2 bound up in the ice to be released which then excelerates the whole warming melting co2 release warming drought etc.


The largest concentration of "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere...by far...if WATER VAPOR!!!

Try controlling the amount of that gas in the atmosphere!!! :) LOL!!!!!!

You have been hoaxed well! :)
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Quoting CycloneOz:


So my human exhaust gasses are a pollutant?

Fine...instead of being offended...I'll just exhaust greater quantities. (Please pass the beans.)


No, they aren't. But the mass quantities generated by burning fossil fuels are. There are countless examples of something good in small quantities becoming bad in large quantities. Everything that goes into our bodies, for instance - right down to the water we drink which causes our brain to swell to the point of death when overconsumed. Or ozone, a pollutant at ground level that is critical for blocking UV in the upper atmosphere.
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Erika is going to an eye wall replacement with Bill Cosby.
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Quoting tornadodude:


b


H) WS/JSV's bathroom curtain, whats on it?
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Now there are 2 things that Stormno does not know anything about....Weather and Football
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Quoting tornadodude:


b


H) WS/JSV's bathroom curtain, whats on it?
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ok saint we will see if he plays in the detroit game im just saying what a reporter told me on the fiels hes a good friend of mind
Stormno
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Quoting BiloxiIsle:
I didn't know that Dree was hurt. Hope it isn't serious. And you are right stormno, the Saints would be in big trouble if he can't play.


Brees didnt Play,and 90 percent of the starters didnt ,Play. Brees is NOT injured at all.

They held out the starters to avoid injury for next week,Most NFL teams do.
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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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