The United States of Snow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:51 PM GMT on February 13, 2010

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We live in the United States of Snow. A rare Deep South heavy snowstorm whipped across the southern tier of states yesterday, dumping six-plus inches of snow over portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Even Florida got into the act, with up to two inches recorded in the extreme northwestern Panhandle. The snowstorm left 49 of the 50 states with snow cover, according to an article by Associated Press. Hawaii was the lone hold-out. David Robinson, head of the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, said that 67.1% of the U.S. had snow cover on Friday morning, with the average depth a respectable 8 inches. Normally, the U.S. has about 40 - 50% snow coverage during the 2nd week of February. January had the 6th greatest snow cover in the 44-year record over the contiguous U.S., and December 2009 had the most snow cover of any December on record. The current pattern of record heavy snows over the the Eastern U.S. is primarily due to a natural oscillation in the Earth's climate system called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). (Some prefer to discuss this in terms of the Arctic Oscillation, which is as a close cousin of the NAO, and one can use either). I discussed the NAO's influence on winter weather in a post last month. Another contributing factor is probably the current moderate El Niño event.

An all-time record snow for Dallas
The most recent storm clobbered Dallas with 12.5" of snow, the heaviest snow on record for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Dallas' previous record was 7.4", set on January 15 - 16, 1964. The 15.7" of snow that has now fallen on Dallas this winter eclipses the previous record seasonal snowfall for the city--14.1" during the winter of 1977 - 1978. The snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow along a narrow region just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, with the towns of Haslet and Duncanville receiving 14.2" and 14.9", respectively.


Figure 1. Dallas' all-time record snowfall made for an un-inviting swim at this pool in nearby Flower Mound. Image credit: wunderphotographer texasdog.

A few selected snow amounts from the storm, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

...NORTH CAROLINA ...
HARKERS ISLAND 3.2 NE 8.8
HAVELOCK 2.7 S 8.5
BEAUFORT 7.0
NEWPORT 7.0
SEA LEVEL 7.0
OUTLAND 4 S 6.8
WINTERVILLE 3.5 W 6.4
CAPE CARTERET 6.2
BETTIE 6.0
BURGAW 6.0
JACKSONVILLE 6.0
MOREHEAD CITY 6.0
GREENVILLE 5.8

...ALABAMA...
BELLEVILLE 6.0
BRANTLEY 5.0
EVERGREEN 5 N 5.0
THOMASVILLE 5.0
EUFAULA 4 S 4.5
LOTTIE 4.5
MONROEVILLE 0.6 SSW 4.1
ARITON 4.0
PINSON 4.0
RAMER 4.0
TROY 4.0
WARD 4.0

...ARKANSAS...
FOREMAN 4.0
TEXARKANA 1 N 4.0

...FLORIDA...
BERRYDALE 2.0
MUNSON 2.0
JAY 1.0

...GEORGIA...
LUMPKIN 6.0
WASHINGTON 1.9 NE 5.8
LOGANVILLE 4 SSE 5.3
NICHOLSON 4.9 SE 4.8
ATHENS 3.2 NW 4.6
LA GRANGE 10.6 ESE 4.5
WATKINSVILLE 1.6 ENE 4.4
ROCKMART 9.6 SSE 4.3
TALBOTTON 4.0
HAMILTON 5 W 3.5
VILLA RICA 3.5
SENOIA 2 N 3.0
DACULA 2.5
CUTHBERT 2.0
MACON 2.0
ROME 2.0

...LOUISIANA...
SHREVEPORT 9.1 SE 6.1
NATCHITOCHES 0.9 NE 6.0
SHONGALOO 5 N 6.0
SICILY ISLAND 3.3 WNW 6.0
GOLDONNA 8.8 SSW 5.6
MONROE 5.0
PLAIN DEALING 3.3 ESE 5.0
HOMER 1.2 N 3.7
WEST MONROE 6.1 WSW 3.5

...MISSISSIPPI...
DE KALB 8.0
BUDE 6.5
VICKSBURG 6.3
BROOKHAVEN 6.0
NATCHEZ 6.0
PETAL 6.0
BRANDON 5.0
CATAHOULA 5.0
MADISON 5.0
BRANDON 1.9 NE 4.6
MERIDIAN 4.5
MCCALL CREEK 5 W 4.0

...OKLAHOMA...
HAWORTH 4 SW 7.5
IDABEL 8 SE 7.5

...SOUTH CAROLINA...
SUMMERVILLE 3.8 NE 8.2
COLUMBIA 7.3
BAMBERG 7.0
BOWMAN 7.0
EVANS 1 SE 7.0
LEXINGTON 1.6 WNW 7.0
OAK GROVE 1 SE 7.0
OATLAND 8 N 7.0
SMOAKS 7.0
HEMINGWAY 6.8
SANGAREE 6.5
ORANGEBURG 6.0
DARLINGTON 5.0
BLYTHE 4.0
CHARLESTON 3.3
BEAUFORT 3.0

...TEXAS...
DUNCANVILLE 1.7 NNW 14.9
HASLET 14.2
FORT WORTH 12.6
DALLAS 12.5
MANSFIELD 2.6 NNE 12.2
BRIDGEPORT 12.0
ROYSE CITY 12.0
SANGER 1.8 WSW 12.0
MESQUITE 3.3 ESE 11.4
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS 1.9 NE 11.3

As we can see from a plot of the frequency of U.S. snowstorms between 1900 - 2001 (Figure 2), heavy snow events of 6+ inches occur about once every ten years for Dallas, and between once every ten years and once every 100 years for the portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina that received 6+ inches of snow from this storm.


Figure 2. The annual average number of snowstorms with a 6 inch (15.2 cm) or greater accumulation, from the years 1901 - 2001. A value of 0.1 means an average of one 6+ inch snowstorm every ten years. Image credit: Changnon, S.A., D. Changnon, and T.R. Karl, 2006, Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Snowstorms in the Contiguous United States, J. Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45, 8, pp. 1141-1155, DOI: 10.1175/JAM2395.1.

More heavy snowstorms occur in warmer-than-average years
I made this point in yesterday's blog post, but it's worth repeating. Another interesting result from the Changnon et al. (2006) paper of Figure 2 is the relationship between heavy snowstorms and the average winter temperature. For the contiguous U.S. between 1900 - 2001, the authors found that 61% - 80% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures. In other words, the old adage, "it's too cold to snow", has some truth to it. The authors also found that 61% - 85% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters that were wetter than average. The authors conclude, "a future with wetter and warmer winters, which is one outcome expected (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2001), will bring more heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches than in 1901 - 2000. The authors found that over the U.S. as a whole, there had been a slight but significant increase in heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches than in 1901 - 2000. So, there is evidence that the average climate of the U.S. over the past 100 years is colder than optimal for heavy snow events to occur. If the climate continues to warm, we should expect an increase in heavy snow events for a few decades, until the climate grows so warm that we pass the point where winter temperatures are at the optimum for heavy snow events. However, a study by Houston and Changnon (2009) on the most severe types of snowstorms--the "top ten" heaviest snows on record for each of 121 major U.S. cities--shows no upward or downward trend in the very heaviest snowstorms for the contiguous U.S. between 1948 - 2001.

A new snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic and New York City on Monday
The extreme amounts of snow on the ground in the Mid-Atlantic thanks to back-to-back blizzards over the past week will get a fresh layer on top Monday night, when a new snowstorm will probably dump another 3 - 6 inches of snow on Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The new storm is called an "Alberta Clipper", due to its fast motion and genesis location in Canada's Alberta Province. These storms are relatively dry and tend to bring lighter, fluffier snow. Once the Clipper moves out over the Atlantic off the coast of Maryland, it will pick up some Atlantic moisture and bring some heavier snows to the New York City region, potentially 6 - 10 inches.

Media coverage by the Washington Post
I did a phone-in press call with 20 media outlets on Thursday, to discuss how record snowstorms do not imply that global warming is not occurring. Participating on the call with me was Dr. Joe Romm, who blogs on climate-related issues for climateprogress.org. The audio is posted there if you want to listen.

The Washington Post highlighted a portion of the call where I said, "there's a huge amount of natural variability in the climate system", not enough years of measurements to know exactly what's going on, and "Unfortunately we don't have that data so we are forced to make decisions based on inadequate data." The article said that my statements shot down the statement by Joe Romm that "the overwhelming weight of the scientific literature" points to human-caused warming and that doubters "don't understand the science." Let me clarify that there will always be considerable uncertainty in our understanding of a chaotic system like the atmosphere. We should not demand certainty where it cannot exist, always using uncertainty as an excuse for taking no action. Keep in mind that the uncertainty goes both ways--climate change could be far worse than the IPCC is predicting, and it would be wise to buy an intelligent amount of insurance to protect ourselves. I agree with Dr. Romm's statement, and the official Statement on Climate Change from the American Meteorological Society, "Despite the uncertainties...there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond." The official statement from the UK Royal Society and UK Met Office is also one I agree with, "The 2007 IPCC Assessment, the most comprehensive and respected analysis of climate change to date, states clearly that without substantial global reductions of greenhouse gas emissions we can likely expect a world of increasing droughts, floods and species loss, of rising seas and displaced human populations. However even since the 2007 IPCC Assessment the evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change has strengthened. The scientific evidence which underpins calls for action at Copenhagen is very strong. Without coordinated international action on greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts on climate and civilization could be severe.".

Next post
Looks like the winter onslaught will slow down for a day, so I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

overton texas 2/12/10 (dinkasu)
Biggest snowman eastexas
overton texas 2/12/10
Snow - 2.13.10 Palm Trees (ruralart)
Palm trees in the snow, Cheraw, SC
Snow - 2.13.10 Palm Trees
Snowy Palms (nuq)
Snowy Palms

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AstroHurricane001 im. think more from nola to f.l high risk .imo
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting indianrivguy:


Well be glad, you didn't have to eat any Democrats...


EAT?! Democrats??? HISTORY
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Quoting xcool:
bad hurricane season for nola not good


You mean the 2010 hurricane season? I'm thinking more Florida, Carolinas, and lower Northeast.
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bad hurricane season for nola not good
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
Jeff Masters sets record straight on Milbank’s column
If political reporters are going to cover climate science, they need to take more care
http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/13/jeff-masters-sets-the-record-straight-on-dana-mil banks-column /


I was thinking that when I was reading Doc Masters comments. These are washington reporters, guys who live in a world of cherry picking quotes out of context to mean anything they want, not what was intended by their authors.
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In 1848 the Donner party attempted to cross the Sierra near the path of old highway 40.
They got stuck on the Eastern side with 22 foot snow depth in and around Donner Lake.

I've been skiing in the Sierra since the mid 1950s. There has never been a snowy winter that matched that depth. Perhaps 1982 came close and I recall stories of immense snow depths in the 1930s but have no knowledge of those.

I am of the opinion that natural variation and sunspot cycles are of much more significant influence on snow depths than any other cause.
Anyway, enjoy the snow as it won't last very long. I am hopeful that El Nino will finally deliver some good old fashioned powder storms like the ones we used to get in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. So far this El Nino has done very little for the Northern Sierra this winter.
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This post discusses Dr. Masters and Anthony Watts: Watts Not to Love: New Study Finds the Poor US Weather Stations Tend to Have a Slight Cool Bias Not a Warm One
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
toronto ontario
feb snow total 7 cm
jan snow total 8 cm
dec snow total 15 cm

total for winter of 2010 so far 30 cm 12 inches
total on ground trace amounts to 1 inch
we are in a snow drought


And meanwhile, the AO is pushing the snow south so that the Northeast gets all of OUR snow and the big storms keep missing us.

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
adjusting may be in order or a real good kick in the pants


The first one is not easy to do and the second one is illegal (or should be).
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Jeff Masters sets record straight on Milbank’s column
If political reporters are going to cover climate science, they need to take more care
http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/13/jeff-masters-sets-the-record-straight-on-dana-milbanks-column /
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Climate Change Puts Ecosystems on the Run
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Global warming is causing climate belts to shift toward the poles and to higher elevations. To keep pace with these changes, the average ecosystem will need to shift about a quarter mile each year, says a new study led by scientists at the Carnegie Institution. For some habitats, such as low-lying areas, climate belts are moving even faster, putting many species in jeopardy, especially where human development has blocked migration paths.

“Expressed as velocities, climate-change projections connect directly to survival prospects for plants and animals. These are the conditions that will set the stage, whether species move or cope in place,” says study co-author Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. Field is also a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

The research team, which included researchers from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the University of California, Berkeley, combined data on current climate and temperature gradients worldwide with climate model projections for the next century to calculate the “temperature velocity” for different regions of the world. This velocity is a measure of how fast temperature zones are moving across the landscape as the planet warms―and how fast plants and animals will need to migrate to keep up.
http://www.ciw.edu/news/climate_change_puts_ecosystems_run
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting atmoaggie:


Someone could use a little attitude training...
adjusting may be in order or a real good kick in the pants
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Someone could use a little attitude training...
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toronto ontario
feb snow total 7 cm
jan snow total 8 cm
dec snow total 15 cm

total for winter of 2010 so far 30 cm 12 inches
total on ground trace amounts to 1 inch
we are in a snow drought
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:

Since you are in this mood, maybe now would be a good time to read Dr. M's post.

Maybe Mr. Overdoubter wants to read his own post in 68 again. You twisting climate with weather anomalies in post 68.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting atmoaggie:So, the data says nothing. ...ummm, problem, it fits notatall with the point Dr. M is using it for.

Aggie your statement is twisting the facts and the paper you try to discredit here.
Which point exactly you talking about aggie?


The authors found that over the U.S. as a whole, there had been a slight but significant increase in heavy snowstorms of 6 inches than in 1901 - 2000
From Jeff Masters blog.

A climatological analysis of snowstorms across the contiguous United States, based on data from 1222
weather stations with data during 1901%u20132001, defined the spatial and temporal features. The average annual
incidence of events creating 15.2 cm or more in 1 or 2 days, which are termed as snowstorms, exhibits great
spatial variability.


Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Snowstorms in the Contiguous United States



What are the variations and changes occurring in Earth's climate?

Variability. Perhaps the most well understood occurrence of climate variability is the naturally occurring phenomenon known as the El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere over the tropical Pacific Ocean that has important consequences for weather around the globe. The ENSO cycle is characterized by coherent and strong variations in sea-surface temperatures, rainfall, air pressure, and atmospheric circulation across the equatorial Pacific. El Nio refers to the warm phase of the cycle, in which above-average sea-surface temperatures develop across the east-central tropical Pacific. La Nia is the cold phase of the ENSO cycle. The swings of the ENSO cycle typically occur on a time scale of a few years. These changes in tropical rainfall affect weather patterns throughout the world. Because of the importance of ENSO, NOAA has established a special ocean - atmosphere observing system in the tropical Pacific; this enables forecasts of El Nio to be made several seasons in advance.

Climate variability is manifested in other ways as well. Decadal and seasonal shifts in wind patterns and sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic cause changes in hurricane frequency, for example. Sometimes climate varies in ways that are random or not fully explainable. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s in the United States is one such example. Because of the social and economic importance of understanding such climate fluctuations, NOAA routinely monitors past and current climate. Many of the longer period fluctuations are linked to the ocean. NOAA with its international partners is implementing a new global ocean observing system. This will lead to new understanding which will improve our predictions of climate variability and change.
http://www.oar.noaa.gov/climate/t_observing.html
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

But you use these weather anomalies and throw in your climate thoughts. Twisting things. Either stay on topic (Rightnow you claim weather) or climate. For the climate part i just hinted the longterm trend to you.

Doing exactly that has been the blog topic for the last 3 posts. I am giving my impressions of the blog topic and it's discussion. Is that a problem or should I be a little less on topic?

Since you are in this mood, maybe now would be a good time to read Dr. M's post.
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A little more:

The Changnon paper: "A spatially oriented temporal analysis was performed for storm frequencies during the first 50 yr and the last 50 yr of the twentieth century. This division was performed because most structural designs and operations to address heavy snowstorms have been based on data available since 1950 (American Society of Civil Engineers 2000, Changnon and Changnon 2005). This raises the question of the representativeness of the 1951-2000 values for addressing future conditions. Hence, the newly available storm data for 1901-50 were useful for comparing and assessing the 1951-2000 values.
The national totals showed that 103 stations had their highest values in 1901-50, 98 stations peaked during 1951-2000, and 30 had values that were equal."

Nationally, you've got to be joking if you try to squeeze a trend of the 5 more peak snowstorm totals in one 50-year period (though it is the one of fewer locations inhabited by fewer people) vs another.

So, the data says nothing. Let's break it up into regions and ignore the caveats.

The result, as published in the paper looks like this:



This plot shows which of the 2 50-year periods had more frequent snow storms...ummm, problem, it fits notatall with the point Dr. M is using it for. It literally says that more frequent snowstorms have occurred in the latter half of the 20th century for the Appalachians, New England, and Chicagoland.

More frequent snow storms were 1901-50 for the snowiest parts of this winter...the Sierra Nevadas, southern Plains, mid Atlantic.

While being statistically very marginal, don't think this paper supports the notion that a warming effect would lead to the conditions we have seen this winter whatsoever.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Huh? We are talking about this winter. I give you temps for this winter to go along with the snow interest this winter and you give surface station decadal records?

Either you haven't been reading or need to look up some words.

But you use these weather anomalies and throw in your climate thoughts. Twisting things. Either stay on topic (Rightnow you claim weather) or climate. For the climate part i just hinted the longterm trend to you.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Your arguments and the grafic is pure cherry picking aggie. december was a cold anomalie in the us and made history.

For the record and science, look at the science.

Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.

Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.
http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/11/science-meehl-ncar-record-high-temperatures-record-lows/

Huh? We are talking about this winter. I give you temps for this winter to go along with the snow interest this winter and you give surface station decadal records?

Either you haven't been reading or need to look up some words.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Even averaging in November, this doesn't give the impression of warmer than average for the US, as a whole, and really only works for the northern tier and areas below average far exceed that above average.


Your arguments and the grafic is pure cherry picking aggie. december was a cold anomalie in the us and made history.

For the record and science, look at the science.

Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.

Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.
http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/11/science-meehl-ncar-record-high-temperatures-record-lows/
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032


shaker in south pacific

5.2
Date-Time Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 23:14:35 UTC
Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 04:14:35 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 36.736S, 110.373W
Depth 9.8 km (6.1 miles)
Region SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
Distances 1065 km (660 miles) S of Hanga Roa, Easter Island
3615 km (2240 miles) WSW of SANTIAGO, Chile

Location Uncertainty horizontal /- 35.1 km (21.8 miles); depth /- 6.6 km (4.1 miles)
Parameters NST= 55, Nph= 55, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=0.83 sec, Gp=191,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


Event ID us2010srb8
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Y'all are crazy.

1. I thought the expectation according to the Cangnon paper was that central areas of the country would have less snow (as stated in the same paper that says more snow for the east coast and was used as such to say that "storms like this will be more frequent in a warming world"). Dallas is not east coast... not even close.

2. The NAO/AO, PDO, Nino combination brings moisture and cold. Simple, really, but the last time we had a combination close to this? Guess. (Hint: Could be associated with the last time such and such a place had this snowy a winter...you know winter 77-78...even Ft. Lauderdale got flurries that year.)

3. SSIGG has been awfully quiet about his well-known snow records for the deep south since the hardly-discernable AGW-snow link has been bandied about in here...and, of course, weather is not climate, but whatever the scenario was that brought Beaumont, TX (30 miles from the Gulf) 30 inches in one 24 hour period in 1895, we have rather clearly warmed some since then.

If the snow in the south is included in a hardly functional AGW-snow link, how could one justify incredible snow totals when we were cooler and as a result of warming...at least logically. I know the water vapor thing is about to be thrust upon us again, how much less was there in 1895?

4. The whole thing has the appearance of grasping for straws...

5. There is not an acceptable amount of data.

6. What is the real trend, both continental and regionally? I haven't the foggiest and it is quite a reach to pretend anyone does.

7. "More heavy snowstorms occur in warmer-than-average years", but this winter in the US has been anything but. So which is it? This winter's snows are a sign of some sort despite being cooler than average, or we had a very snowy winter that does not fit in with that trend? Cannot be both given the observations of the last 2+ months.

Even averaging in November, this doesn't give the impression of warmer than average for the US, as a whole, and really only works for the northern tier and areas below average far exceed that above average.

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Those anomalies in the Tropical Atlantic are above average.That may be a good fuel comming hurricane season.


Also: Link, Link
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Quoting all4hurricanes:

I think the SW Indian ocean is in for some more storms
speaking of more storms another snow storm Mon to Tues More snow days off from school
ya more to come models show even bigger system by this time next weekend in the GOM as well so we are not done yet and maybe far from it shift should begin after 25 with a slow rising storm track to lead us into march and end of winter and beginning of spring patterns
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I think the SW Indian ocean is in for some more storms
speaking of more storms another snow storm Mon to Tues More snow days off from school
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I think climate change may first increase variability in all directions, then the average warming starts to accelerate in intensity and brings the extremes along with it.
But it follows some principles. for example the NAO climate shifts with northern hemisphere all the way snowy. Looking at worldwide weather events there is clearly an uptake currently of severe weather events of historical proportions. What i tried to say was, that it also effects on small scale.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Thanks. I will write a blog containing this information soon as well. Notice again how the 19C-21C SST lines in the North Atlantic are still essentially "flat" by latitude.



Those anomalies in the Tropical Atlantic are above average.That may be a good fuel comming hurricane season.
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From Wikipedia:
"Mesoscale meteorology is the study of weather systems smaller than synoptic scale systems but larger than microscale and storm-scale cumulus systems. Horizontal dimensions generally range from around 5 kilometers to several hundred kilometers. Examples of mesoscale weather systems are sea breezes, squall lines, and mesoscale convective complexes."

"Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and numerous other meteorological elements in a given region over long periods of time."
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I think that the climate time scale can explain generic trends like why there is so much snow in the eastern United States this winter. Personally, I am not sure if it can explain things like snow bands suddenly forming or disappearing in storms, that to me seems to be more on the mesoscale time scale (something like why a thunderstorm pop us here, dies there, etc.)
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Maybe high upper winds brought suddently colder air or something like this. Climate change means more variability.


I think climate change may first increase variability in all directions, then the average warming starts to accelerate in intensity and brings the extremes along with it.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Anyone got El Nino numbers? Thanks.


By my own estimates, the anomaly in the Nino 3.4 region is at about +1.3C. However the biggest anomaly is from 150 - 100W, 30 - 70S. NOAA graphs below:

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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
Forecasting is really hard. For you it looked like you had a shot, and it fizzled out. In central NC at the same time, a snow band explodes out of nowhere and tops off snow to 3". I wonder if there are explanations for why this stuff happens.

Maybe high upper winds brought suddently colder air or something like this. Climate change means more variability.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I know what that's like, we've had many storms looking like they were going to deliver where I live, and then things suddenly go out. We had the complete opposite experience last night, we weren't supposed to get snow, and then 3" happened.

Forecasting is really hard. For you it looked like you had a shot, and it fizzled out. In central NC at the same time, a snow band explodes out of nowhere and tops off snow to 3". I wonder if there are explanations for why this stuff happens.


I'm not sure why that occured, but I'm thinking the combination of the trough along with the moisture being compressed southeast of the Appalachians/Alleghenies?
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Drak I know you did your best :)

It was most disappointing. At 9 p.m there was rain and snow solid to below the FL/GA border and back to west of Valdosta---looked like solid precip for hours and hours! Then---between 9 and 10 the precip shield got ratty and full of holes, and by 10:15 it was all gone---before we were able to fall to freezing. It was 36.7 at our house when the rain stopped. A batch of flurries formed over the Okeefenokee Swamp around 1 a.m. last night---whipped southeast over Jacksonville and missed us. Durn. Rich was soooooo disappointed!


I know what that's like, we've had many storms looking like they were going to deliver where I live, and then things suddenly go out. We had the complete opposite experience last night, we weren't supposed to get snow, and then 3" happened.

Forecasting is really hard. For you it looked like you had a shot, and it fizzled out. In central NC at the same time, a snow band explodes out of nowhere and tops off snow to 3". I wonder if there are explanations for why this stuff happens.
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It was nuts

maybe, maybe not...certainly wasn't the sunlight...

(runs away, choking with laughter)
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Anyone got El Nino numbers? Thanks.
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52. XLR8
If anyone would like to take a look I have some new pics on the snow at my house in Fannin, MS (central MS) from yesterday.
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It was nuts:

2:32 AM EDT Raleigh, NC Radar


3:23 AM EDT Raleigh, NC Radar


You would think I swtiched the times on the radar, but honestly, this happened last night.
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If you guys are interested, I've got a weather mystery associated with last night's winter storm I can't figure out.

I've got two radar images on my blog post, one from 2:32 AM EDT, a second from 3:23 AM EDT. The snow shield was retreating eastward and things were coming to an end, and then BAM, a snow band from nowhere explosively develops.

It wasn't like the snow band moved into radar range from the west. The snow band popped out of nowhere not only from the Raleigh, NC radar, but also on the Blacksburg, VA radar and upstate SC radar. Plus, we don't live anywhere near the Great Lakes or a large body of water where a snow band can pop up off of. Anyone got ideas?
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Not even a flurry for me! And flurries happened in Jacksonville, FL at 2 a.m. this morning!


That's strange. Sorry for my forecast bust; I observed soundings that favored snow and they didn't come into fruition for you
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
48. Skyepony (Mod)
Such a square storm..
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Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Antarctic Sea Ice extent:





Notice how there's very little ice in Pine Island Bay, and almost none west of the Antarctic Peninsula where there should seasonally be ice partly stretching across coastal West Antarctica.
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Its hard to get temperatures more that 5-10 degrees below average here because of the water. like on the 11th we had a record low temperature of 51.6F even that was with squally showers and hurricane force winds.

This has been the coldest, and windiest winter here since I have been alive - not that its been all that cold, just that its been below average for such a long time.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I'd say it's the fact that the northern bulge in warm water south of the Gulf Stream disappeared in mid-January, as the North Atlantic Gyre slowed down and storms in the Northwest Atlantic forced the water southward on their west side.



That makes sense, just take a look at this satellite photo of the latest southern snowstorm as it parts off of the east U.S. coast.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


heres some better sst info astro i am posting a sst section on my blog at next update and they will be part of regular updatde info on my blog every 6 to 12 hrs one every 24 for sure











Thanks. I will write a blog containing this information soon as well. Notice again how the 19C-21C SST lines in the North Atlantic are still essentially "flat" by latitude.

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Quoting BDAwx:
Bermuda water temps are about 59.5F thats about 5.9 degrees below average.i don't know if Bermuda keeps records for that kinda thing, but I would think that that is near one.


I'd say it's the fact that the northern bulge in warm water south of the Gulf Stream disappeared in mid-January, as the North Atlantic Gyre slowed down and storms in the Northwest Atlantic forced the water southward on their west side.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The ENSO warm pool continues to spread out due to the recent cyclones while the Gulf Stream-West Greenland diversion creeps farther northwest due to the jet stream pattern looping back west over Labrador and the big storms accompanying it.


heres some better sst info astro i am posting a sst section on my blog at next update and they will be part of regular updatde info on my blog every 6 to 12 hrs one every 24 for sure









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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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