EPA rules greenhouse gases threaten public health; winter storm pounds U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:03 PM GMT on December 08, 2009

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In a press release yesterday the EPA announced: "After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. The ruling comes in response to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants, and paves the way for the EPA to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. In the event Congress does not pass legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA now has the power to do that on its own. In the words of the press release, "President Obama and Administrator Jackson have publicly stated that they support a legislative solution to the problem of climate change and Congress. efforts to pass comprehensive climate legislation. However, climate change is threatening public health and welfare, and it is critical that EPA fulfill its obligation to respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants." The first EPA rule to limit CO2 would likely affect cars and light-duty trucks. Over 23% of U.S. greenhouse gases emissions are caused by on-road vehicles. Rules drafted on September 15, 2009, if imposed, would require vehicles sold between 2012 - 2016 to average 35.5 MPG.

Release of hacked emails had "organization and orchestration", UEA official says
Prof Trevor Davies, pro-vice chancellor at the University of East Angelina where the "climategate" hacked email controversy began, said in an interview yesterday: "A lot of people have remarked that it seems an unlikely co-incidence that this happened just before Copenhagen. There are indications that the people who stole this data and documents have had them for some time. They have clearly had the chance to go through them and we have had to check them ourselves. I think from the way that this has mushroomed and the very rapid responses on various blog sites, it seems to me that it has some organization and orchestration".

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the FBI is investigating death threats made against two U.S. climate scientists involved in the emails. Clearly, meteorologists involved in tornado and hurricane chasing are risking their lives in the cause of science, but who would have thought that meteorologists sitting behind a computer crunching numbers would be risking their lives? Crazy life!.

Other posts on the hacked climate change email affair
Don't shoot the messenger
Embattled UK climate scientist steps down
The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
Is more CO2 beneficial for Earth's ecosystems?

Ricky Rood in Copenhagen
Our Climate Change expert, Dr. Ricky Rood, is in Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change summit. His post on the "climategate" affair is one of the more intelligent and diplomatic commentaries I've seen.

Major winter storm blasts the Plains and Western U.S.
Meanwhile, back in North America, it is winter. The season's first widespread heavy snow event is here, with a fierce winter storm that is the pounding the west. The storm will dump heavy snow along a wide swath across a large region of the country, from California to Michigan. The storm brought blizzard conditions and a foot of snow to northern Arizona today. Fierce thunderstorms with winds gusts up to 74 mph hit the Phoenix region, causing widespread tree damage and power outages for 250,000 people. California's Sierra Mountains recorded over 3 feet of snow, and 1 - 3 feet of snow is expected in the mountains of southern Utah and in Colorado. Up to a foot of snow is expected tonight through Wednesday across Kansas, Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southern Wisconsin, with blizzard conditions likely in Iowa.

Some snow amounts from the storm so far (with distances in miles from the city included, where appropriate):

...CALIFORNIA...
ALPINE MEADOWS 42.0
KIRKWOOD 40.0
CISCO 5 ENE 35.0
KINGVALE 1.3 WSW 29.0
HOMEWOOD 2 SE 27.0
PROSSER CREEK RESERVOIR 24.0
FAIR PLAY 2.8 ESE 17.0
PLACERVILLE 2.9 WNW 13.0
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE 13.0
VOLCANO 5.4 NE 12.5
GRASS VALLEY 5.5 ESE 11.5
COLFAX 3.1 SW 11.0
ALTA SIERRA 0.4 WSW 10.0
SUSANVILLE 3.2 SSW 8.8
LAKE OF THE PINES 8.0
NEVADA CITY 5.4 W 5.2
FOLSOM 3.4 ESE 0.5
CARMICHAEL 1.4 W 0.3
SACRAMENTO 8.0 NE 0.1

...NEVADA...
HEAVENLY VALLEY 24.0
MT ROSE SKI AREA 23.0
CARSON CITY 1.3 NW 18.0
DAYTON 1.7 SW 13.0
RENO 7.1 N 12.0

...ARIZONA...
FLAGSTAFF 11.6
WILLIAMS 8.0
BELLEMONT 7.2
GRAND CANYON ARPT 3.0

...COLORADO...
DELTA 10.2

...UTAH...
VERDURE 8 WNW 25.0

Next post
My next post will be Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
how about 2 days later after the front goes through, what are the projected highs in north Florida then?


That nice graphic only goes out to 180hours but looking at the GFS 2m temp I would say freezing conditions down to Central Florida. The 1000mb-850mb thickness is even more supportive of that but it is will a long wave off.
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good evening all
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8357
Quoting Drakoen:




Front is over northern Florida; High pressure over the plains region.


Link
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10day GFSx SL Pres/Prec Plot 18 Dec 00z
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128632
Quoting Bordonaro:


Curious my friend, can you find the projected high or low temp map to go with this entry? I am real curious to see how cold the forecasted temps will be! Thanks!




Front is over northern Florida; High pressure over the plains region.
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In the 50s - 70s they were talking about "Global Cooling" now it's "Global Warming". When are people and even scientists going to realize that no one controls the weather nor causes it. The two major theories are:

Global Warming (Caused by Humans and Industry)
Interglacial Period (Warming and Cooling between Ice Ages)

Humans have been on earth for 100,000 years. Yet data for ice core samples shows an earth warmer and cooler for the past 1,000,000 years.

I clearly don't see enough data to support the "Global Warming" theory, and there is more factual data and evidence to support the "Interglacial Period" theory.

Too much politics in science, way to get votes. For the past 4 years in the Pacific NW the overall average has been cooler than normal.

1 Volcanic Eruption like Mount Saint Helens in 1980 released more SO2 and CO2 than any of our cars have in the past decade, there are volcanic eruptions constantly. Anyway this probably isn't the place to debate, but I've never been in favor of the "Global Warming" trend.

My 2 Cents.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Drakoen all we need is a jet rich with pacific moisture, and a good low forming 200 miles south of Mississippi Delta hooking ENE on a Tampa/Cape Canaveral track, lotsa isentropic lift, and cold dry air with heavy precipitation evaporating into it and it could get interesting.


LOL I don't know about that! This year the southern branch of the jet stream has been active and this favors snowfall across the southeast.
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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
720 PM CST TUE DEC 8 2009

MSC075-101-090145-
/O.CON.KJAN.TO.W.0116.000000T0000Z-091209T0145Z/
NEWTON MS-LAUDERDALE MS-
720 PM CST TUE DEC 8 2009

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 745 PM CST FOR
NORTHWESTERN LAUDERDALE AND NEWTON COUNTIES...

AT 719 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUE TO
TRACK A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES SOUTHWEST OF DUFFEE MOVING NORTHEAST AT
50 MPH. ANOTHER SEVERE STORM WILL BE MOVING INTO SOUTHWEST NEWTON
COUNTY FROM SMITH COUNTY. THIS STORM CAN PRODUCE WINDS IN EXCESS OF
60 MPH AND COULD PRODUCE A TORNADO QUICKLY.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
DUFFEE...SUQUALENA AND NELLIEBURG BY 725 PM CST...
COLLINSVILLE AND MARTIN BY 730 PM CST...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU
SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION
NOW.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 900 PM CST TUESDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS AND NORTHEAST LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI. A
TORNADO WATCH ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 200 AM CST WEDNESDAY
MORNING FOR EASTERN MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3238 8878 3223 8914 3223 8932 3236 8932
3258 8895 3258 8873
TIME...MOT...LOC 0119Z 234DEG 44KT 3243 8897

$$
JC
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Some Good Satellite news
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
A portion of the Forecast Discussion from NWS Ft Worth, TX, indicating the chance or freezing rain here on Monday or Tuesday, December
14TH &/or 15TH:


AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
552 PM CST TUE DEC 8 2009

ZONAL FLOW WILL BE IN PLACE THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK AFTER
TODAYS SYSTEM...BUT A RIPPLE IN THE FLOW WILL ALLOW FOR SOME
RETURN MOISTURE AND LOW RAIN CHANCES FOR FRIDAY. AS OF NOW...TEMPS
APPEAR THAT THEY WILL WARM SUFFICIENTLY TO PREVENT ANY FREEZING
DRIZZLE EARLY FRIDAY MORNING...BUT WILL HAVE TO MONITOR. ANOTHER
SYSTEM WILL APPROACH FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK...WITH 12Z ECMWF NOW
COLDER AND FASTER WITH COLD FRONT...ARRIVING EARLY MONDAY. WILL
TREND FORECAST TEMPS DOWN SLIGHTLY AND HAVE TO MONITOR FOR
POTENTIAL FREEZING RAIN BEHIND COLD FRONT MON/TUE.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
MSN Weather still keeping us cool next week, but again not very reliable that far out:

Wednesday
Dec 16 Showers
Hi: 71 Lo: 44
Winds N at 13 mph.

Thursday
Dec 17 Showers
Hi: 69 Lo: 51
Winds N at 11 mph. Link
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Quoting Drakoen:
Things will certainly be interesting next week as far as temperatures. The GFS advects a 1046mb surface high down from Canada funneling down Artic air:





Curious my friend, can you find the projected high or low temp map to go with this entry? I am real curious to see how cold the forecasted temps will be! Thanks!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Things will certainly be interesting next week as far as temperatures. The GFS advects a 1046mb surface high down from Canada funneling down Artic air:



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Quoting JohnnyJean:
Lots of climate data now available freely from
UKMO site here:
raw weather station data
have fun!

Sadly, by their own admission, much of the data has been modified.

It is NOT raw by any stretch of the imagination.

Fictional is a better description.


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Quoting Bordonaro:
MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2218
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0555 PM CST TUE DEC 08 2009

AREAS AFFECTED...ERN MS...CNTRL AND WRN AL

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...TORNADO WATCH LIKELY

VALID 082355Z - 090130Z

A NEW TORNADO WATCH WILL BE ISSUED SOON FOR ERN MS THROUGH CNTRL AL
AS STORMS APPROACH THE ERN EDGE OF WW 796.

A WARM FRONT EXTENDS FROM SWRN AL NWWD INTO CNTRL MS WHERE IT
INTERSECTS A COLD FRONT THAT EXTENDS SWWD THROUGH NRN LA AND SERN
TX. THETA-E ADVECTION ALONG STRENGTHENING SSWLY LOW LEVEL JET WILL
CONTRIBUTE TO DEWPOINTS RISING THROUGH THE 60S IN WARM SECTOR AND
NWD DESTABILIZATION WITH TIME. STORMS WILL CONTINUE DEVELOPING
WITHIN THE WARM ADVECTION REGIME AND EXPAND RAPIDLY NEWD. GIVEN THE
LARGE HODOGRAPHS ALONG THE BROAD 70+ KT LOW LEVEL JET...LOW LEVEL
MESOCYCLONES AND ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE LIKELY AS STORMS BECOME
SURFACE BASED.

Quoting taco2me61:


Some of us are ready for this thing to go on thru...... But then there is always those few that get mad and upset at the weather folks and say they were never warned.....


The average "Joe Q citizen" ignores the weather watches and warnings. I am sure ALL the local weather folks in LA, MS and AL hve mentioned this potential threat several times, over the weekend into Monday!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Bordonaro:
I pray and hope the people in MS and AL are paying attention. This set-up will produce a few tornadoes, strong straight-line winds up to 50MPH-70MPH. The Low Level Jet Max is just having a party, fanning the storms.

Just like when you use the bellows and blow air on those hot embers, the heat intensifies, rises and burns white hot and burns everything!



Some of us are ready for this thing to go on thru...... But then there is always those few that get mad and upset at the weather folks and say they were never warned.....
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2218
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0555 PM CST TUE DEC 08 2009

AREAS AFFECTED...ERN MS...CNTRL AND WRN AL

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...TORNADO WATCH LIKELY

VALID 082355Z - 090130Z

A NEW TORNADO WATCH WILL BE ISSUED SOON FOR ERN MS THROUGH CNTRL AL
AS STORMS APPROACH THE ERN EDGE OF WW 796.

A WARM FRONT EXTENDS FROM SWRN AL NWWD INTO CNTRL MS WHERE IT
INTERSECTS A COLD FRONT THAT EXTENDS SWWD THROUGH NRN LA AND SERN
TX. THETA-E ADVECTION ALONG STRENGTHENING SSWLY LOW LEVEL JET WILL
CONTRIBUTE TO DEWPOINTS RISING THROUGH THE 60S IN WARM SECTOR AND
NWD DESTABILIZATION WITH TIME. STORMS WILL CONTINUE DEVELOPING
WITHIN THE WARM ADVECTION REGIME AND EXPAND RAPIDLY NEWD. GIVEN THE
LARGE HODOGRAPHS ALONG THE BROAD 70 KT LOW LEVEL JET...LOW LEVEL
MESOCYCLONES AND ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE LIKELY AS STORMS BECOME
SURFACE BASED.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Replacement satellite could play role in climate treaty
....
Sources close to the mission [Orbiting Carbon Observatory] say the internal discussion has "changed from if to when" an OCO replacement would be approved and funded.
....
The $209 million mission lost in February was designed to pinpoint carbon sources and sinks, regions where carbon is emitted and absorbed into and from the atmosphere.
....
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Quoting alaina1085:

Haha! I know the feeling.

I remember throwing on my shorts and no shirt and riding my new bike in the street in BR when I was 12. Must have been at least in the upper 60s.
I much prefer having what passes for winter around here for the holidays...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting xcool:
alaina1085 .

xcool.
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I pray and hope the people in MS and AL are paying attention. This set-up will produce a few tornadoes, strong straight-line winds up to 50MPH-70MPH. The Low Level Jet Max is just having a party, fanning the storms.

Just like when you use the bellows and blow air on those hot embers, the heat intensifies, rises and burns white hot and burns everything!

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting taco2me61:


Atmo you are not only funny but so very cool with me....

Backatcha.

Many of you WU family members of mine are.
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472. xcool
alaina1085 .
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471. amd
The low associated with the major winter storm has now completely transferred to southern Missouri. Let the major snow in the Mid West commence.

Surface Pressure Contours
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Quoting atmoaggie:


HeHe. Thinking of me? I was just about to introduce myself...before I got to that last sentence.

Cheers!
Yes. They have built north and south of I-20 over the last couple of hours.


Atmo you are not only funny but so very cool with me....
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Quoting alaina1085:

This would be too good to be true! Isnt that for Christmas Eve?

384 hours? Yes, it is.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I'm just hoping to wear a sweater on X-Mas Eve :)

And maybe, if we've been really, really good, get to open an umbrella around then.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I'm just hoping to wear a sweater on X-Mas Eve :)

Haha! I know the feeling.
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Quoting taco2me61:


no I call it Living in the south during Winter....

Hot one day and freezing the next oh yea lets through in some snow just for kicks....

Taco :0)


The winters in the S Plains and in the SE are many, many times more "pleasant" than living in Buffalo, NY during the winter! Been there, done that, moved to TX in 1980..
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
There have been a few anti-AGW/CC groups of bloggers who have conveniently recently appeared and started posting before the Copenhagen conference. Dr. Masters has commented on this topic many, many times before, and yet these new bloggers failed to make their presence known. It’s just now they are coming out of the woodwork. This post is in no way a slam against those bloggers who have consistently had disagreeing opinions with Dr. Masters on this topic.


HeHe. Thinking of me? I was just about to introduce myself...before I got to that last sentence.

Cheers!
Quoting Bordonaro:


Looks lile the worst of the severe weather will be in MS and AL, in the current-12 Midnight time frame. Those storms are gonna be scattered and they're gonna be nasty!

Yes. They have built north and south of I-20 over the last couple of hours.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting alaina1085:

This would be too good to be true! Isnt that for Christmas Eve?


I'm just hoping to wear a sweater on X-Mas Eve :)
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Quoting tornadodude:


Poor Iowa. Parts of the state will see up to 16" of snow, NW winds 35-45MPH with gusts to 55MPH, temperatures tomorrow will be around, 8-12' snow drifts and -20F wind chills.

I'll stay here is "warm Texas". We finally hit 50F for the 1st time this month!! But it will be 31F tonight, 43F tomorrow and 22F wednesday night!! And windy!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Bordonaro:


Hey, it sounds like you're all having a little bit of Dallas-Ft Worth, TX weather there!!


no I call it Living in the south during Winter....

Hot one day and freezing the next oh yea lets through in some snow just for kicks....

Taco :0)
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Quoting xcool:



gfs KEEPING SHOW SNOW IN N.O slidell la ms

This would be too good to be true! Isnt that for Christmas Eve?
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Quoting alaina1085:
Seriously could the weather be any crazier for SELA?!? Snow friday night then this morning its 70 degrees and we had 5 inches of rain in a few hours... Now its windy as hell and its supposed to be freezing tomorrow....
And we will all have swine flu by the end of this week :p


I agree alaina as I'm getting over a cold right now....

taco :0)
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Quoting Bordonaro:


Hey, it sounds like you're all having a little bit of Dallas-Ft Worth, TX weather there!!

Well we always have crazy weather here but this is extra crazy! LOL. Our local met said this rain event reminds of her our spring storms. Thank you EL Nino.
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Quoting alaina1085:
Seriously could the weather be any crazier for SELA?!? Snow friday night then this morning its 70 degrees and we had 5 inches of rain in a few hours... Now its windy as hell and its supposed to be freezing tomorrow....
And we will all have swine flu by the end of this week :p


Hey, it sounds like you're all having a little bit of Dallas-Ft Worth, TX weather there!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Seriously could the weather be any crazier for SELA?!? Snow friday night then this morning its 70 degrees and we had 5 inches of rain in a few hours... Now its windy as hell and its supposed to be freezing tomorrow....
And we will all have swine flu by the end of this week :p
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So there's a big snowstorm in store for S. Ontario, but we're poised to get a little rain as well. The Weather Network here is predicting over 100 cm (3.5 ft) of snow for some places east of Lake Ontario in New York state over the week due to snowsqualls!
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Lots of climate data now available freely from
UKMO site here:
raw weather station data
have fun!
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From Dr. Masters’ blog: Prof Trevor Davies, pro-vice chancellor at the University of East Angelina where the "climategate" hacked email controversy began, said in an interview yesterday: "A lot of people have remarked that it seems an unlikely co-incidence that this happened just before Copenhagen. There are indications that the people who stole this data and documents have had them for some time. They have clearly had the chance to go through them and we have had to check them ourselves. I think from the way that this has mushroomed and the very rapid responses on various blog sites, it seems to me that it has some organization and orchestration".

This is obviously true. There have been a few anti-AGW/CC groups of bloggers who have conveniently recently appeared and started posting before the Copenhagen conference. Dr. Masters has commented on this topic many, many times before, and yet these new bloggers failed to make their presence known. It’s just now they are coming out of the woodwork. This post is in no way a slam against those bloggers who have consistently had disagreeing opinions with Dr. Masters on this topic.
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Quoting NRAamy:

Are you tired of the stench yet?


Opticide is probably a better choice in this instance.


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452. xcool



gfs KEEPING SHOW SNOW IN N.O slidell la ms
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Yep. Some afirin' presently, but so far nothing remotely dangerous outside of a little more rain we don't need.



Looks lile the worst of the severe weather will be in MS and AL, in the current-12 Midnight time frame. Those storms are gonna be scattered and they're gonna be nasty!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
450. auburn (Mod)
"We heart surgeons have long known that there are many more heart attacks in the winter -- in fact, a whopping 50% more. When you go outside in the freezing cold

Under Pressure: Your Body The Weathervane

I want to talk about the weather, and not to make small talk. I want to talk about how the weather affects our bodies and our lives. Our instinctual ancestral memories remind us of the power of nature. We watch major hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, blizzards and tornadoes change entire countries. These massive cataclysmic weather events are awesome indeed, but the weather actually affects your biology 24/7, as it constantly applies stressors or supports every breath you take. In fact, you could say your body is its own perfect weathervane -- your mood, headaches, and heart health are much more subject to changes in the weather than you might think. Just like a house built to withstand the elements, you must take care of yourself or the weather will expose you.

I teamed up with Al Roker for my show on Friday to talk about the fascinating and important intersection of physiology and meteorology. Your body is mostly fluid and gas pockets, along with some hard bones to keep you standing up. All of these elements that make you "you" are interdependent with nature's elements. You probably remember your grandmother saying her knee was acting up, so it must be going to rain or perhaps you've gone out one cold morning and felt an intense sinus headache. These were responses to changing pressure systems that ebb and flow as fronts come and go. Lower pressure, or a "falling barometer" as Al would say, is going to cause some sinus pain in those who are inflamed, infected or live with chronic sinus pain.

Pressure affects joint pain in a fascinating way. Did you know that at all times every square centimeter of the human body has about 14.6 pounds of pressure on it? This constant pushing keeps us together. It increases when you go underwater, and lightens a bit when you ascend in airplanes. But this pressure is always with us, and the slightest deviation can be felt in the suction cups called our knees, hips and shoulders. If pressure lessens, our joints start slipping and it's time for some ice, an ace bandage or aspirin. You can literally feel a storm brewing.

We heart surgeons have long known that there are many more heart attacks in the winter -- in fact, a whopping 50% more. When you go outside in the freezing cold, your blood gets thicker and your blood pressure rises, which creates the perfect storm for a heart attack. Plunging suddenly into freezing cold water can cause this to happen, but just being outside when it's cold can increase your risk if you are unprotected. Cold air also causes tiny cracks in lining of the bronchial tubing in your lungs which then swell and produce fluid. The expression "come inside and put a coat on before you catch a cold!" was referring to this process -- there weren't more cold viruses out in the snow that your grandmother was referring to, your poor lungs were just having a heck of a time with cold dry air. Flu viruses thrive in cold temperatures also, and we have an entire season named for the flu as a result. Wednesday's show on medical myths highlights several more "cold weather" related fallacies.

Perhaps the most recognizable and far-reaching weather related impact is the receding daylight hours in the winter months. This is a particularly good time to talk about this because the winter solstice, December 21, is the day with the least amount of sunlight each year. I bet most people reading this have at least some reaction to the lesser daylight in winter -- the most common effects can range from simple sleepiness in the afternoon as the sun goes down early to outright depression. It's fascinating why this happens and there are several things you can do about it. A gland in our brain called the pineal gland is our internal sensor of light. Whether our eyes are open or shut, this gland senses sunlight. Once the sunlight is gone for the day, your pineal gland produces a hormone called melatonin. This causes you to become sleepy and as you produce more melatonin, you produce less serotonin, which is associated with depression. It can be subtle and manifest as a general crabbiness or gloomy mood, or it can be very severe and require medical intervention. Have a conversation with your doctor about how you are feeling in the winter months, or try to get somewhere sunny for a few days. A high power light maker is another great option -- just make sure you buy the kind that doesn't produce harmful UVB rays. Your overworked pineal gland will thank you.

So colder temperatures, changing barometric pressure and less available sunlight are three things that are starting to affect us as winter roars into full swing. By being aware of these things, you can be more comfortable, safer, and your biological forecast will be better than the meteorological one. But more importantly, stop for a moment and reflect on the unbelievable interdependence we have with everything that is going on around us. While a five-day forecast can tell us what our sinuses, joints, hearts and moods are up against, just as we would take precautions and protect ourselves by packing an umbrella or wearing a warm coat, we can do the same for our bodies. So tune in Friday and watch Al Roker and I show you how to make sure the almanac isn't your personal prophecy.
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Are you tired of the stench yet?

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
If CO2 were truly a public health hazard, we'd all be long since dead.

I am honestly sick and tired of your blind worship and praise to the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming. The only thing man-made about climate change is the cooking of the books. And that comes from a non-partisan independent free thinker.

After five years, I will not be renewing my subscription when it comes up next month. I'd rather have ads than see your blog front and center on the front page. And if it ever gets moved up to the top of the ad-supported front page, I will stop visiting altogether.

I pity your sheep-like praise, Dr. Masters. I honestly hope you see the truth before it is too late.
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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.