Winter Olympics forecast: near-record warmth

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on February 15, 2010

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Under sunny skies and warm southwest winds the temperature in Vancouver, British Columbia climbed to 54°F (12.4°C) yesterday, just missing the record of 12.9°C (55°F) for the date, set in 1991 (records in Vancouver go back to 1937). That was marvelous weather for all the joggers that were out in t-shirts and shorts in Vancouver yesterday, but is lousy weather if you're trying to hold a Winter Olympics. The men's downhill was postponed yesterday and rescheduled for today, because of rain and bad snow. The women's combined, originally scheduled to run Saturday, has been postponed until Thursday. The mountain has been getting snow at the top, a mix of snow and rain along the middle section, and rain at the bottom, making for very difficult skiing conditions. Practice runs have been mostly been canceled. In West Vancouver, where the moguls competition was held yesterday, snow had to be trucked and helicoptered in because there wasn't enough on the ground. The snow-making machines weren't any help, because it was too warm to make snow. Too bad Philadelphia or Washington D.C. didn't make a bid for the Winter Olympics! It's an upside-down winter when Canada has trouble getting snow, and Washington D.C. gets five feet.

As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada has seen very unusual warmth, with temperatures over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country.


Figure 1. Departure of January temperature from average for the strong to moderate strength El Niño year of 2010 (left), and a composite of the last five years that had a moderate to strong El Niño (right). Note that typically, an El Niño event brings much warmer than average temperatures to Vancouver, and cooler than average conditions to Florida. This year has seen an extreme amplification of this pattern. The impact of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is evident over eastern Canada and Greenland, where exceptionally warm temperatures were recorded. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Why all the warmth in Vancouver? El Niño partly to blame
So, what's going on? The average high temperature in Vancouver this time of year is typically 8°C (46°F). Vancouver has seen above-average temperatures every day this month, and tied one daily record so far. This unusual February warmth follows a record warm month of January, which averaged 3°C (5.4°F) above average, beating the previous record set in 2006 by a pretty significant margin, 0.9°C (1.6°F). Nearby Seattle, Washington had its warmest January in 120 years of record keeping, and both Oregon and Washington recorded their 4th warmest January. As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada saw very unusual warmth, with temperature anomalies over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country. Record warm January temperatures were observed not only over British Columbia, but also over Manitoba and over much of Quebec, where half of the province's twelve largest cities experienced their warmest or second warmest January on record. Unusual Canadian warmth is to be expected during a moderate to strong El Niño episode, which is what we've had this winter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The pattern we've seen during the previous five moderate to strong El Niños dating back to 1987 (Figure 1, right) shows this trend, and also the trend towards colder than average conditions in Florida. However, the pattern for January 2010 shows an extreme amplification of this El Niño pattern. We had record warmth over much of Canada, and Florida got socked with its 10th coldest January on record. The extreme amplification of the January temperature pattern was due in part to the influence of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural wind pattern over the North Atlantic measured by the difference in pressure between Iceland and ocean areas to the south. That difference in pressure was remarkably small in the first half of January, leading to the weakest Arctic Oscillation pattern in 60 years of record keeping. This allowed cold air to spill southwards into Florida, and helped bring very warm temperatures to Greenland and Eastern Canada. El Niño, combined with the Arctic Oscillation, all superimposed upon exceptionally warm global temperatures, is probably the best explanation for the record January warmth in Canada. Globally, January 2010 was the 4th warmest January on record, with global ocean temperatures the 2nd warmest on record, according to NOAA.

The forecast: near-record warmth for Vancouver
The forecast for Vancouver for the remainder of the week calls for temperatures above 10°C (50°F) each day. Today's forecast high of 10°C (50°F) will approach the record high for the date of 12.6°C (55°F). The long range forecast through the remainder of the Winter Olympics promises continued near-record warmth, as the jet stream is projected to stay in its current El Niño-type pattern. In this configuration, a strong ridge of high pressure stays anchored over the Pacific coast, allowing plenty of warm air from the southwest into British Columbia. Unfortunately for the winter games, I expect that Vancouver will end up experiencing its 1st or 2nd warmest February on record.

No major snowstorms in sight
Today's snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic has shifted northwards, meaning the that the maximum 4 - 8 inches of snow from this storm will pass north of snow-weary Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. The computer models are showing that this will be the last significant snow storm to affect the eastern half of the U.S. for at least a week, and residents of the Mid-Atlantic can look forward to a slow but steady melting of their huge piles of snow. This is exactly what is needed to avoid a serious flooding situation--a rapid thaw or large rainstorm would have been a major problem.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Wednesday at the latest. I did an interview with the Washington Post weather blog by the "Capital Weather Gang", for those interested.

Jeff Masters

2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay (galeao)
The Olympic Torch Relay departing Mackin Park in Coquitlam, BC. Crowds lined the streets and braved the Vancouver rain to cheer on the torchbearers as they continued on to the city of Burnaby. Just one more day before the Olympic Cauldron will be lit in Vancouver on February 12, 2010.
2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay
Ballet Of Light (galeao)
The 'Ballet Of Light', formally known as artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's art project Vectorial Elevation, consists of 20 robotically controlled, 10,000-watt Zenon lights that have been installed at Vanier Park and Sunset Beach in Vancouver. Beginning on February 5, they will be lighting the sky over English Bay every night until dawn, right up to the last day of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 28. The pattern of the lights changes every 10 seconds in response to geometric designs submitted from the public via the Internet. It is quite a sight but works best with low clouds like this evening. View with the Inukshuk at the southern end of English Bay Beach.
Ballet Of Light

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Quoting Tazmanian:
hey guys what is a Keyboard Filter and where do i go too turn it off or re move it and what are the words am looking for?


Taz, I think it has to do with your upgrade to Windows 7. See if this link helps. Link
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
hey guys what is a Keyboard Filter and where do i go too turn it off or re move it and what are the words am looking for?
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This is the one in Wichita Falls Texas that I referred to last night that I was there for.



Here is a link to another. This one got my heart pumping seeing the cars under the bridge. People died that way.

Link
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Dan, I think that was it's begining,it quickly turned into a monster.
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179. Thank you very much, this is the tornado went from a nothing to an F5
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Concerning our WU blogs, we can wishcast & try to forecast severe weather, snow/blizzwrd events, TS and hurricanes, there does not seem to be any problem. EVeryone has an idea or opinion they share. Some of us a right, others are way off.

However, when it comes to climate change, GW, AGW, it is amazing how much negative attacks occur. When the topics are concerning climate change, I disappear!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Bordonaro:

Can you post the Jarrell, TX tornado video please?


Is this it?

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting hydrus:
I have video footage of that one. The thing that always amazed me about that one it started out as a tiny ribbon and grew to massive proportions in short order.

Can you post the Jarrell, TX tornado video please?
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Jinxed us -- it's snowing, again...at rush hour -- it's all that hot air coming off of the Hill that Dan mentioned. :)

It IS still supposed to be a light snow, isn't it?

BBL.

Fear not, your snow will be very light, this is going to be a pretty quiet week weatherwise!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting wxgeek723:
I don't think Vancouver was the best place to hold the Winter Olympics anyway.


Why not? This is not normal weather for the mountains. Kind of like Seattle and the Cascades.

Olympics blog
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting wxgeek723:
I don't think Vancouver was the best place to hold the Winter Olympics anyway.

Actually in a normal winter the Vancouver, BC area has plenty of snow on their mid-slopes.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Comment #52 was yanked. Good.

Almost afraid to ask, what was objectionable about post #52?
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Sad for the Winter Olympics, as they are fighting "Mother Nature" and an exceptionally warm Feb 2010.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Good evening everyone, looks like the entire USA will get a break from the insane El Nino. Believe me after 14 inches of snow here in SE Arlington, TX I am ready for a break! The temps will be below normal, but at least we will have temps in the 55-60F range for highs, with lows in the mid 20's rising into the near 40F range throughout this week!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
I don't think Vancouver was the best place to hold the Winter Olympics anyway.
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Doesn't sound good for the skiers. Oh well, my new baby biorb fish likes warm weather at least!
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Re-Post from previous blog:

369. Grothar 2:58 PM GMT on February 15, 2010

Most of you know me on the blog. I have never got into the argument of AGW either pro or con. Therefore, I would find it difficult to believe anyone could know my full position on subject. However, I noticed a comment this morning in which my name was mentioned. As many of you know, I was born in the U.S. of American Parents. In the U.S. since the 1800's. I was educated in Europe, residing mostly in the Scandinavian countries and Germany, but many other countries as well (including Greenland).

There reference this morning was to my "denial" of conditions in Greenland when the early Viking settlers lived there. If some of you may not realize, the schools in the Scandinavia countries often teach the Old Norse languages and we must read the full history of our countries,even to the point of learning the old runic alpabet. I am quite well aware of the large Viking settlements which were in Greenland from approximately 800-1200 A.D. The climate was much warmer than it is today, especially along the southwestern coast. There was farming, grazing, cattle raising and abundant forests along the coastal area. The settlements may have supported population well over 10,000 inhabitans. I have visited many of the sites of the old villages.

The clarification I attempeted to make to one of the bloggers a while back, was that the ice sheets were still relatively the same at that time as they are today. The entire island of Greenland was not a lush paradise. Even at that time, the winters were much colder in Greenland than they were in Iceland and Norway. The question which still remains, was why the settlements were abandoned. It is known that after 1300 A.D. The climate became much colder and they settlers could not apapt.

When I see derogatory remarks made about our host, Dr. Masters, it is upsetting in the fact that it is now no longer a lack of civility which prevails, but total lack of respect for anyone's opinions. This is directed to both sides of the argument. If they disagree that much, let them start their own blog. If I ever want to clarify something, I normally e-mail the person as not to cause embarrassment or create another argument. I have never berated anyone on this blog or resorted to name-calling. I would expect others to behave the same, but obviously that is behavior for which many on this blog are incapabable.
Hi, everyone. Hope you had a good day so far.

Thanks for the repost, Awake. I support Grothar in this; too many bloggers get their sheets in a wad and start spewing junk about the Doc and making ad hominem attacks. For this, I love the Admins who gave us [-] and[!] buttons. However, I also think we need to remind pple of the rules of the blog. I've seen person after person respectfully disagree with the doc on stuff; some pple even can manage to do it with each other. Can we please leave the personal attacks and petty bickering, regardless of topic, off the blog?

Go Grothar!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
sorry waterwitch but i will only tell the truth even if it hurts


it didn't hurt, it was just a reminder that we are only here temporarily.
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Getting large sleet/snow pellets in Greensboro now.
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Quoting hydrus:
This is hilarious...
Keeper, you have an E-Mail.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Just got the coolest thing in the mail. It's here for a test. A little computer, fits in my hand, to hook my PWS into. No need to have the big pig computer on for my station to be online. Uses the electricity of a nightlight. I'll let ya'll know how it works out.


O_O

Nice.
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Good afternoon everyone. I haven't posted here in some time, I believe the last time was during the duration of Hurricane Ida.

Just thought I'd pop in and say hello. I won't be around much until hurricane season, since these global warming debates don't really interest me.
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162. Skyepony (Mod)
Just got the coolest thing in the mail. It's here for a test. A little computer, fits in my hand, to hook my PWS into. No need to have the big pig computer on for my station to be online. Uses the electricity of a nightlight. I'll let ya'll know how it works out.
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Quoting scottsvb:
This board has become a bunch a delousional Global Warming freaks. I guess the avg shmuck has been replying.


Only in the winter my friend, at least there is debates and discussions.. but come May.. all hell breaks loose. 'ITS TRENDING WEST FL LANDFALL!!' 'lol poof what a dud hurricane season'. Ya know, the usual.
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160. Skyepony (Mod)
Rate of ocean acidification the fastest in 65 million years

Press release issued 14 February 2010

A paper published in Nature Geoscience

A new model, capable of assessing the rate at which the oceans are acidifying, suggests that changes in the carbonate chemistry of the deep ocean may exceed anything seen in the past 65 million years.

The model also predicts much higher rates of environmental change at the ocean’s surface in the future than have occurred in the past, potentially exceeding the rate at which plankton can adapt.

The research, from the University of Bristol, is reported in this week's issue of Nature Geoscience.

The team applied a model that compared current rates of ocean acidification with the greenhouse event at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, about 55 million years ago when surface ocean temperatures rose by around 5-6°C over a few thousand years. During this event, no catastrophe is seen in surface ecosystems, such as plankton, yet bottom-dwelling organisms in the deep ocean experienced a major extinction..

it goes on..
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Quoting hydrus:
This is hilarious...
why would you say that
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
beleive me sometimes people see things that are just not there


Agreed with ya Keeper and that last part for sure....

Taco :0)
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157. Skyepony (Mod)
Keeper~ Some people just have a really big monitor.. no need to blow anything up here..


Nature Geoscience, published online 7 February 2010; doi: 10.1038/ngeo761
Snowfall increase in coastal East Antarctica linked with southwest Western Australian drought
Tas D. van Ommen and Vin Morgan

Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Private Bag 80, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia

Abstract

The southwest corner of Western Australia has been subject to a serious drought in recent decades. A range of factors, such as natural variability and changes in land use, ocean temperatures and atmospheric circulation, have been implicated in this drought, but the ultimate cause and the relative importance of the various factors remain unclear. Here we report a significant inverse correlation between the records of precipitation at Law Dome, East Antarctica and southwest Western Australia over the instrumental period, including the most recent decades. This relationship accounts for up to 40% of the variability on interannual to decadal timescales, and seems to be driven by the meridional circulation south of Australia that simultaneously produces a northward flow of relatively cool, dry air to southwest Western Australia and a southward flow of warm, moist air to East Antarctica. This pattern of meridional flow is consistent with some projections of circulation changes arising from anthropogenic climate change. The precipitation anomaly of the past few decades in Law Dome is the largest in 750 years, and lies outside the range of variability for the record as a whole, suggesting that the drought in Western Australia may be similarly unusual.

*Correspondence e-mail: tas.van.ommen@aad.gov.au

Link to abstract: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo761.html
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
StSimonsIslandGAGuy sometimes people only see what they want to see and i saw the picture change unless ya blew it up 400 percent and zoomed in but then in that case maybe thats what they were looking for thats why they see it beleive me sometimes people see things that are just not there
This is hilarious...
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StSimonsIslandGAGuy sometimes people only see what they want to see and i saw the picture change unless ya blew it up 400 percent and zoomed in but then in that case maybe thats what they were looking for thats why they see it beleive me sometimes people see things that are just not there
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
Global warming, smoeble warming.

No global warming since 1995:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-gl obal-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

Al Gore is in hiding.....
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Quoting leftovers:
just heard golf is now a olympic sport thats all i need to see is these overpaid stars to get even more glory they have the ryder cup ext thats enough
And I suppose they are going to call these golfers "Olympic Athletes" a definite misnomer in my opinion.
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151. Skyepony (Mod)
StSimon~ I saw the pic.. & don't forget I did my duty as a photo moderator. Usually questionable materiel is just removed & perhaps a please don't repost is sent. Something as tastefully done as you posted wouldn't get a ban:)..
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I think anyone that needs a reminder just listen and read along.... Lord knows we all need to know [?]



Taco :0)

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Quoting leftovers:
just heard golf is now a olympic sport thats all i need to see is these overpaid stars to get even more glory they have the ryder cup ext thats enough


Its loosing my interest quickly, whatever happened to just leaving things along that have been fine for hundreds of years.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting P451:
Wow I hadn't been keeping up but that region is still very active.

A 5.4 off the SE coast of Cuba and a 4.0 near where the big one struck in Haiti. Combined with a smaller un-recorded EQ in northern Haiti.

Also don't forget that Montserrat erupted again.

The Carribean is very alive.


and it wouldn't take much of a shaker to bring down wet mountain sides.. those poor people just don't seem to catch many breaks.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:


i believe you have left me speechless keeper.
sorry waterwitch but i will only tell the truth even if it hurts
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
just reading back i see there has been more fun had in the blogs shame really classic example of why nothing ever gets done too much talking and arguing and not enough action it would proably be best just to start again



i believe you have left me speechless keeper.
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137, 139 - you two glutton for punishment or something? LOL.
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x
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
139. Skyepony (Mod)
LOL.. do try as Indianriverguy suggests..
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Thanks Jeff Masters, found the interview quiet good, in the WP.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/02/as_is_often_the_case.html#more
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
repost it then..
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!
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About

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

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