Outlook for the remainder of hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:18 PM GMT on October 15, 2009

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Atlantic tropical cyclone activity finishes its peak phase in mid-October, and takes a major downturn after about October 20 (Figure 1). Since the current active hurricane period began in 1995, the last half of October through the end of hurricane season has given birth to an average of 1.7 named storms, 0.8 hurricanes, and 0.3 intense hurricanes. These numbers are nearly double the long-term climatological averages for the past 100 years. So far this year, only one tropical storm has hit the U.S.--Tropical Storm Claudette. If no more tropical storms make landfall in the U.S., it will be the first year since 1993 to see only one tropical storm hitting the U.S.


Figure 1. Atlantic hurricane season activity over the past 100 years.

Late October and November storms tend to form from tropical waves that come off the coast of Africa, or from the remains of old fronts that push off the coast of the U.S. As we can see from the track plot of all last half of October storms (Figure 2), there is a lot of activity during the period, but relatively few storms form out near the African coast. The water temperatures off the coast of Africa are starting to cool and be marginal for hurricane formation, and the African Monsoon is waning, leading to fewer African waves coming off the coast. Wind shear is also starting to increase, as part of its normal fall cycle.

Climatology of late-season major hurricanes
Let's examine the possibilities of getting a late-season major hurricane, since those are the storms we care most about. Since 1960, there have been twelve hurricanes that have existed as major Category 3 or higher storms after October 15. Eight of these have occurred since 1995: Omar of 2008 (Cat 4, Lesser Antilles), Paloma of 2008 (Cat 4, Cayman Islands and Cuba), Wilma of 2005 (Cat 4, Mexico; Cat 3, SW Florida), Beta of 2005 (Cat 3, Nicaragua), Michelle of 2001 (Cat 4, Cuba), Lenny of 1999 (Cat 4, northern Lesser Antilles), Mitch of 1998 (Cat 5, Honduras), and Lili of 1996 (Bahamas, Category 3). The other four were Joan of 1988 (Cat 4, Nicaragua), Kate of 1985 (Cat 3, Gulf of Mexico), Ella of 1962 (Cat 3, west of Bermuda), and Hattie of 1961 (Cat 4, Belize). Wilma of 2005 was the only major hurricane since 1960 to hit the U.S. after October 15. The highest risk region for late season major hurricanes is the Western Caribbean, along the coasts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and Cuba. So, we can say with high confidence that most of the U.S. coast can relax. Only the west coast of Florida, Florida Keys, and South Florida need to still be concerned about the possibility of a major hurricane. The Lesser Antilles Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola are also at low risk for a major hurricane the remainder of the season.



Figure 2. Tracks of all tropical storms and hurricanes since 1851 that formed October 16-31.

Sea Surface Temperatures
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are 0.5 - 1.5°C above average over the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico (Figure 3), the primary formation areas for late October storms. So, there is still plenty of fuel for a major hurricane to form. Note also the tongue of warmer than average SSTs extending out into the Pacific Ocean from the coast of South America, the signature of weak El Niño conditions.


Figure 3. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) departure from average for October 15. Image credit: NOAA.

Wind shear
Wind shear is usually defined as the difference in wind between 200 mb (roughly 40,000 foot altitude) and 850 mb (roughly 5,000 foot altitude). In most circumstances, wind shear above 20 knots will act to inhibit tropical storm formation by tearing a storm apart. Wind shear 10 knots and lower is very conducive for tropical storm formation.

The jet stream in mid-October is more active and extends further south, which brings higher levels of wind shear to the Atlantic. The more active jet stream also acts to recurve storms more quickly. Any system penetrating north of about 20 degrees north latitude we can expect to recurve quickly to the north and northeast this late in the season. The most recent 16-day forecast from the GFS model predicts a period of high wind shear over the tropical Atlantic over the next ten days (Figure 4). Beginning on October 25, wind shear is expected to fall again over the Western Caribbean, and we need to be alert for tropical storm formation then. Indeed, the latest run of the GFS model is predicting a large area of surface low pressure will form in the Western Caribbean during the last week of October, an indication that hurricane season may not be over yet.

El Niño
El Niño conditions, which typically bring higher wind shear to the Atlantic and interfere with hurricane formation, continue to be present in the tropical Eastern Pacific. It is probably the case that some of this year's inactivity can be attributed to El Niño. However, as I discussed in a post earlier this year, El Niño events that warm the central Pacific more than the eastern Pacific (called "modiki" El Niño events), tend to bring less wind shear to the Atlantic. In recent weeks, El Niño conditions in the Eastern Pacific have trended more towards a "modiki" type event, with a large amount of warming in the Central Pacific. This shift in the El Niño may bring lower wind shear to the Atlantic over the final month of hurricane season.


Figure 4. Wind shear forecast for October 23, 2009, as produced by the 00 UTC run on October 14, 2009 made by the GFS model. Wind shear below about 8 m/s (roughly 15 knots, red colors) is typically needed to allow tropical storm formation. There aren't too many red-colored areas over the prime breeding grounds for tropical storms in the Atlantic over the next ten days in this forecast.

Summary
Given how quiet the tropics are at present, and the forecast of a high wind shear regime lasting until October 25, I doubt any tropical storms will form over the next ten days. If we do get something, it would probably be in the middle Atlantic between Bermuda and the Azores, far from land. However, I am still wary of the possibility of a hurricane in the Caribbean the last week of October or in November this year. There is evidence that the Atlantic hurricane season is starting earlier and ending later in recent decades. Dr. Jim Kossin of the University of Wisconsin published a paper in 2008 titled, "Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer?" He concluded that yes, there is a "apparent tendency toward more common early- and late-season storms that correlates with warming Sea Surface Temperature but the uncertainty in these relationships is high". We had two major hurricanes in the Caribbean after October 15 last year, and I give a 60% chance that we'll get a named storm in the Caribbean before hurricane season ends on November 30. Hurricane season is not over--it's just in hibernation.

Happy Valley to become Yucky Valley
Winter is fast approaching, and the season's first major snowstorm for the U.S. East Coast is coming this weekend, according to the wunderblog of Wunderground's Dr. Rob Carver. Conditions will be particularly nasty on Saturday in Happy Valley, where Penn State is situated. The surrounding hills may get 4 - 12 inches of snow, and rain mixed with snow with 36°F temperatures are expected for Saturday's Penn State - Minnesota game. Ugh, winter! I'll have a forecast for the coming winter in a post sometime in the next week.

The Senate has not yet voted on the proposal to cut NOAA funding. I will post a report when the vote occurs.

Jeff Masters

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AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
5 mins to call time...Pat has taken a bath just for this call...the least y'all can do is show up and tell him how good he smells...

We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)920-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting Ossqss:


Hey Press, most conference lines have a max participation cap or a set cap. I thought I would mention that just in case :)

Hey press i just called the # and it gave me a 1-800 freedom # to re-finanace
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331. when are you going to stop arguing with the "experts"...geez! LOL
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
Quoting Ossqss:


Hey Press, most conference lines have a max participation cap or a set cap. I thought I would mention that just in case :)

\]
you're right...I suppose if my biggest problem is too many people on the call I'll welcome it...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Man made NOx does not generally survive long enough to be transported to the startosphere. It is susceptible to photolysis even at the surface. Keep reading.

I am an atmospheric scientist that focused on atmospheric chem. I don't care one whit about your notions of my credibility. One day, hopefully, you'll discover that I have posted only thruths.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting presslord:
We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)929-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...


Hey Press, most conference lines have a max participation cap or a set cap. I thought I would mention that just in case :)
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Quoting Ossqss:
Balloon boy appeared on wife swap in March. They are now also being accused of placing the children in danger numerous times. Gheeze, perhaps they will get their own show now.

Wife Swap


richard-heenes-business-partner-kids-put-danger


If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck....hmmmmmmmmmmm
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Quoting presslord:



btw...I don't like being out blackmailed...

BTW I will donate regardless... but hey a little NOLA in a dress will be much appreciated
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)920-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Balloon boy appeared on wife swap in March. They are now also being accused of placing the children in danger numerous times. Gheeze, perhaps they will get their own show now.

Wife Swap


richard-heenes-business-partner-kids-put-danger

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NASA has this stuff down pat
Ah, my former employer...and the things I cannot tell you.

And I will not be throwing back the ignorance word, I don't need such language to discuss this subject.

I can see which way your mind is made up. Be sure to pay no attention to the lack of atmopheric obs or gross assumptions behind the curtain.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Now you've really stepped into the cow paddie here. Professional expert??? You forgot something along the way I think,...I just googled multiple sources on "Made Made NOX emissions depleting Ozone",...they stated it catagorically that NOX,...NO2,...NO3,..several Oxides of Nitrogen destroy atmospheric Ozone. Is your credibility obliterated yet? Where are you getting this stuff??? Admittedly I'm not an expert on Ozone or Nox. I'm a Gas Turbine Design Engineer,..the POwer Gen Industry and Aircraft gas turbines have as one of their top concerns keeping NOX emissions as low as possible. Why?? I'm pretty sure OZONE destruction is a big reason,..though there may be others,...now,..as to where I first heard it,.."the program" Was an episode of MEGA-DISASTERS. Here's the link for anyone who wants to watch the program ONLINE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-sdxd899A&feature=PlayList&p=2AE978669355F430&index=0&playnext=1

Its on the recent discovery of the source of GAMMA RAY BURSTS. A new theory (though not yet proven),...is that a gamma ray burst from a collapsing star,.caused a mass extinction 450 million years ago.(the extinction is the unprooven part)...Gamma Rays..go across huge distances,...to rip into the stratosphere,...blasting the O2,..and N2 into single molecules,..they then recombine creating massive amounts of Oxides of Nitrogen,..NOX, NO2, NO3,..they destroy OZONE,...they hypothosized in the program,...interviewing several promenent physicist and Astronomers,...what would happen if a Gamma Ray burst from 6,000 light years away,...traveled to earth at the speed of light....The effect,..would be catostrophic,...80% of the OZONE would be destroyed,...(not by the Gamma Rays) but by the Oxides of Nitrogen compunds "created by the Gamma Rays". With 80% of the OZONE gone,...virtually everything would die from the massive increase in Ultrviolate light!!

Now then,...PROFESSIONAL EXPERT,...can you explain why all these "other experts" in Physics and Astronomy,...disagree with you????

What "Profession" are you in if I may ask???

Watch the Utube on the episode,...its cool,...and educational.
Blog is awfully quite. I bet once 20L becomes a tropical storm or hurricane it might heat up.
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The 5th Dimension
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Good evening!
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ding ding ding! give that man a cigar!

:)
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Quoting 954FtLCane:
(boy in a ballon)...Honestly the more and more I see this story the more I think it was a publicity stunt... oh by the way the family also participated in wife swap.... call me a cynic but... hmnmmmmmm ... there's just something fishy.. I may be wrong but...hmmm


A-greed!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
I think 6 yr. old Falcon Heene

will be...

um um...

GROUNDED!
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
if he was mine, major a$$-whooping in his future....and no X-box....for a year....
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316. IKE
Quoting NRAamy:
damn kids...


LOL. On CNN...Headline News....FOX...MSNBC...The Weather Channel....copters chasing the balloon over Colorado...LEO involved...paramedics...news reporters....

LMAO! Kid hiding in a box in the attic of the garage...

O-kay........
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
damn kids...
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(boy in a ballon)...Honestly the more and more I see this story the more I think it was a publicity stunt... oh by the way the family also participated in wife swap.... call me a cynic but... hmnmmmmmm ... there's just something fishy.. I may be wrong but...hmmm
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I'm not sure if that's Sarcasm, or gross ignorance? Sputnik was the first made made satellite,...that was Oct. 4th 1957. 200 years ago,...ugh,...I think the steam locomotive was not even around. I'm talking about a REAL,..MEASUREABLE EFFECT HERE. NASA has this stuff down pat,..they have known how to "park" a satellite in a given orbit for a long time now, they have it down,..to a.."SCIENCE". If you've kept up with the data,...the rising tide of world affluence,...times the population enjoying said affluence,...you see why man-made carbon emissions have sky-rocketed in the last 30-40 years. The Global Dimming effect,...(the blocking of sun light from man-made aerisols that has cancelled out more than half of the effects of the additional CO2, which means we're UNDERESTIMATING the effects of the CO2 that "is already there"),...but the point is,...the vast majority of CO2 emissions have been added in the last 50-60 years,...and a dramatic up-ramp in the last 20 years. So,...I so don't get this "question of relative to when" thing. Makes no sense at all. At what point does your "dedicated Contrarianism" just get silly. I'm discussing facts in EVIDENCE here,.....NASA was genuinely surprised when the satellites stayed up longer than they were supposed to. They investigated,....and found the reason was decreased drag,...from Stratospheric cooling from CO2 emissions. Now exactly what about this explanation do find a "troubling assumption" I think that was the term you used. Is your point,...NASA is wrong about why the satellites are staying up longer??? Please explain you logic here. IF the satellites are not coming down from decreased drag due to CO2 induced Stratospheric cooling,...MAYBE you could offer NASA an alternate explanation as to why the satellites are staying up there???

Please elaborate,..without going into the "relative to when" thing again,..I think we've sufficiently covered that. Its irrelivent to the discussion at this point.

http://www.mongabay.com/images/2006/graphs/co2_global_1750-2000.jpg


Response???
312. IKE
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
That kid from Colorado just won hide and go seek for life.


Or it was a hell of an April Fools joke. His parents may pick up a hefty bill off of it and may need to take a good look at themselves in a mirror from what I've heard about them.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
That kid from Colorado just won hide and go seek for life.


Ditto, All the major networks tried to find him.
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Quoting 954FtLCane:

iM NOT JOINING JUST TO SEE YOU IN A MINI SKIRT.... I will donate though once I see it...



btw...I don't like being out blackmailed...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting Skyepony:


not according to ncdc
The table below summarizes stratospheric conditions for September 2009. On average, the stratosphere is located approximately 16–23 km (10–14 miles) above the Earth's surface. Over the last decade, stratospheric temperatures have been below average in part due to the depletion of ozone. The large positive anomaly in 1982 was caused by the volcanic eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, and the sharp jump in temperature in 1991 was a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. In both cases the temperatures returned to pre-eruption levels within two years.

Well, I am telling ya, and the NCDC, that cooler strat temps would aid in the development of PSCs which provide surfaces upon which the chemistry occurs. Those aerosol surfaces in the PSCs are required to initialize the chemistry.
Once they break up, it is only a matter of using up available reactant before the hole closes. No PSC cloud, no hole. Less of a PSC cloud, less of a hole. In the case of the North Pole, the cloud gets mixed in with warmer air and disturbed, so the hole is less.

The PSC dissipates soon after sunlight arrives in the spring at either pole.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
That kid from Colorado just won hide and go seek for life.

(Sheriff says boy was found hiding in a box in the garage attic.)
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
atmo...that's an excused absence...you can make the next one...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
306. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting atmoaggie:
ozone depletion also has had hand in the cooling
Ah, I think that may be the other way around. Polar stratospheric clouds, aided by cooler temps, has a lot to do with the chemical depletion of stratospheric ozone.


not according to ncdc
The table below summarizes stratospheric conditions for September 2009. On average, the stratosphere is located approximately 16–23 km (10–14 miles) above the Earth's surface. Over the last decade, stratospheric temperatures have been below average in part due to the depletion of ozone. The large positive anomaly in 1982 was caused by the volcanic eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, and the sharp jump in temperature in 1991 was a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. In both cases the temperatures returned to pre-eruption levels within two years.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 266 Comments: 40450
305. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Low, Former Nepartak (1000 HPA) 40N 179E

MOVING NE 25 KT

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Quoting presslord:


Oh God...
NHC is expecting rapid strenghting! I know its a slim chance, but it looks like the ensemble models have it kicking back to the ENE!
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Quoting presslord:
Dr. Masters plans to join us on the call tonight...and remember: If we don't have a good turnout on the call...there's gonna be another dress picture...I have a very short mini-skirt picked out for it...

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to call in...


We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)929-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...

Sorry, Press. Calling in on that in the middle of my boy's soccer practice is not something I want to do and would surely make myself subject to the wrath of my own SWMBO.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Inhumane Extreme Punishment for little boy who was found:

here's gonna be another dress picture...I have a very short mini-skirt picked out for it...

Call Amnesty International! Uh, I mean Portlight Conference call!

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Quoting rocketboy105:
Good point about the Ozone depletion. Now that you mention it,...I remember Dr. Masters had an entry on Stratospheric cooling and his having that in there. I don't know all the reasons the OZONE is being depleted,...(cloroflourocarbons(SP??)but one reason is catolytic destruction of OZONE because of NOX emissions. Man-made NOX from products of combustion, cars,..gas turbines. That's one of the reasons why NOX emissions for power plants are regulated. I heard on a program,..that one molecule of NOX,..can put the kabosh on 1,000 molecules of OZONE. So,...if the Stratosphere is also being cooled,..by yet another man made effect,..in addition to the CO2 emissions,... Geez. And that doesn't even get into the increase skin cancer potential as a result of OZONE destruction. Another discussion for another day,...thanks for the additional info.

Now you have waded into my professional expertise...

"but one reason is catolytic destruction of OZONE because of NOX emissions"
Completely and uttery false. NOx emissions help in tropospheric ozone generation when combined with volatile organic compounds, both that from trees and human endeavors.

"I heard on a program,..that one molecule of NOX,..can put the kabosh on 1,000 molecules of OZONE"
No way, or bad program. The generation/destruction of tropospheric O3 is cyclical and one molecule can create O3 over and over again in the presence of the other ingredients.

Signed,
A guy that used to work in atmospheric (both tropo and strato) chemistry and remote sensing of polar stratospheric aerosols.

Have to go now. L8R.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting stormsurge39:
IS there any chance of 20-E making it over mexico and getting into the GOM?


Good God, I sure hope not. However, if that storm does move into Mexico and SW Texas, they sure can use the rain!
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Quoting 954FtLCane:

iM NOT JOINING JUST TO SEE YOU IN A MINI SKIRT.... I will donate though once I see it...


Oh God...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting presslord:
Dr. Masters plans to join us on the call tonight...and remember: If we don't have a good turnout on the call...there's gonna be another dress picture...I have a very short mini-skirt picked out for it...

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to call in...


We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)929-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...

iM NOT JOINING JUST TO SEE YOU IN A MINI SKIRT.... I will donate though once I see it...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ozone depletion also has had hand in the cooling
Ah, I think that may be the other way around. Polar stratospheric clouds, aided by cooler temps, has a lot to do with the chemical depletion of stratospheric ozone.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Dr. Masters plans to join us on the call tonight...and remember: If we don't have a good turnout on the call...there's gonna be another dress picture...I have a very short mini-skirt picked out for it...

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to call in...


We have scheduled the preliminary planning conference call for our 2nd Annual Portlight/WU Honor Walk for Thursdsay, October 15 @ 7:30PM EST

The call in number is:(800)929-7487

Participant code: 75434753#

The call will last no more than one hour.

Please, please join us...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
THEY FOUND HIM.... YAHOO!!!!
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WOKVNews BREAKING NEWS: Colorado Boy Found Safe at Home after search following Balloon Crash.

hmmmm....

edit:
KFYI BREAKING: 6-year-old Colorado boy found safe, hiding in a box at home, after it was reported he floated away in a balloon.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
IS there any chance of 20-E making it over mexico and getting into the GOM?
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TD 20-E looks like it's going to develop an eye in several hours...
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Good day to everyone. If you want, check out my blog I just finished concerning the Oct 13-14TH storm In California. I am a facts/figures fanatic, so take a look :0)!
Peace,
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Good point about the Ozone depletion. Now that you mention it,...I remember Dr. Masters had an entry on Stratospheric cooling and his having that in there. I don't know all the reasons the OZONE is being depleted,...(cloroflourocarbons(SP??)but one reason is catolytic destruction of OZONE because of NOX emissions. Man-made NOX from products of combustion, cars,..gas turbines. That's one of the reasons why NOX emissions for power plants are regulated. I heard on a program,..that one molecule of NOX,..can put the kabosh on 1,000 molecules of OZONE. So,...if the Stratosphere is also being cooled,..by yet another man made effect,..in addition to the CO2 emissions,... Geez. And that doesn't even get into the increase skin cancer potential as a result of OZONE destruction. Another discussion for another day,...thanks for the additional info.
Quoting rocketboy105:
Let's talk about the Satellites and their reduced drag. That's real,...and eliminates the vague stuff about which year's temps were used etc. The Satellites MAN,...the SATELLITES.


Ok, did they have more drag or less 200 years ago? Before CO2 went up as much as it has?

The point is: RELATIVE TO WHEN?
How do you know it is actually different from "normal" or what "normal" is?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

You wouldn't hide? Your parents must be saints! lol But you are absolutely right about basket; of course the parents would know if it was hooked up. OK, now CNN is mentioning the same thing I wrote, maybe kid is scared and hiding.
I'm thinking big bro' double-dared him...
Kids will be kids.


Maybe they triple dog dared him.
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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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