Record snows hit New England; Brazilian floods kill 350; Brisbane underwater

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:16 PM GMT on January 13, 2011

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The Northeast U.S. is digging out today from the winter's third major snowstorm, and the nation's South continues to deal with travel disruptions caused by the nasty coasting of ice, snow and sleet the storm left behind early this week. Yesterday's Nor'easter has exited into Canada, and the storm is over for the U.S. It was a pretty average Nor'easter as far as intensity goes--the storm's central pressure bottomed out at 982 mb, and just the Massachusetts coast was subject to high winds that merited blizzard warnings. The storm did generate one hurricane-force wind gust--Provincetown airport on the tip of Cape Cod had sustained winds at 43 mph, gusting to 79 mph, at 6:35am EST yesterday, and a personal weather station at Humarock Beach in Scituate, southeast of Boston, recorded a wind gust of 64 mph at 5:51am EST yesterday.


Figure 1. A bit of work today needed before one can step out of the door in Southborough, Massachusetts! Image credit: wunderphotographer Megmdp.

But what was remarkable about the January Nor'easter of 2011 were its snow amounts. This rather ordinary-strength Nor'easter managed to assemble the perfect mix of conditions needed to transport moisture to a region of the storm highly favorable for heavy snow formation. Many heavy snow bands with snowfall rates up to 3 inches per hour formed over New England, with some of these bands intense enough to generate lightning and thunder. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont all came within an inch of setting all-time state 24-hour snowfall records yesterday. North Haven, Connecticut received 29.5", falling just short of the 30.2" 24-hour snowfall record for the state, set at Fairfield in February 2006. Savoy, Massachusetts received 34.5", falling just short of that state's all-time 24-hour snowfall record, the 36" recorded at Milton in February 1997. Wilmington, Vermont got 36" in yesterday's storm, just missing the state record of 37", set at Peru in March 1984. The capital of Connecticut, Hartford, had its greatest snowstorm in history yesterday, with 24". The old record was 23.5", set in a February 1899 storm.

Some selected storm total snowfall amounts, taken from the latest NOAA storm summary:

New York City, NY 9.1"
Albany, NY 13.2"
Worcester, MA 21.1"
Boston, MA 14.6"
Augusta, ME 14.5"
Portland, ME 9.2"
Concord, NH 22"
Somerset, PA 15"
Philadelphia, PA 5.2"
Providence, RI 9.5"
Brattleboro, VT 19"
Elkin, WV 10"
Danbury, CT 17.9"
Wilmington, DE 4.3"

According to our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, in his latest blog post titled, "Snowstorms in the South: A Historical Perspective", the 8.9" that fell on Huntsville, Alabama from this week's storm was that city's third heaviest snow on record. The post has a nice summary of the remarkable heavy snow storms that have hit the South in the past.


Figure 2. Flooding at São José do Vale do Rio Preto in Brazil photographed on Thursday, January 13, 2011.

Brazilian floods, landslides kill at least 350
The globe's parade of massive flooding disasters in recent months continued yesterday in Brazil, where heavy rains of up to 10 inches in 24 hours inundated the region about 60 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. At least 350 are dead and 50 people missing, and the death toll is expected to go much higher once rescuers reach remote villages that have been cut off from communications. Brazil suffers hundreds of deaths each year due to flooding and mudslides, but the past 12 months have been particularly devastating. Flooding and landslides near Rio in April last year killed 246 people and did about $13 billion in damage, and at least 85 people perished last January during a similar event.


Figure 3. A woman trapped on the roof of her car awaits rescue during the Toowoomba flash flood on Monday. Image credit: Wikipedia.

New floods ravage Australia's 3rd largest city
Flood waters swept today into Brisbane, Australia's 3rd largest city, inundating 14,400 homes and businesses, partially submerging another 17,200, and cutting power to 118,000, as the Brisbane River peaked at its highest level since 1974. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who has called the recent floods in Queensland the greatest natural disaster in their history, said, "What I'm seeing looks more like a war zone in some places. All I could see was their rooftops...underneath every single one of those rooftops is a horror story. We are facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions." Much of Brisbane's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, including 55,000 miles of roads. The Port of Brisbane, one of Australia's busiest, has been closed because of debris, and the city's largest sports stadium is under several feet of water.

The search for bodies continues in Toowoomba, about 60 miles west of Brisbane, where freak rains of 6 inches in just 30 minutes triggered a flash flood that killed 12 and left 61 missing on Monday. The flood waters from the Toowoomba disaster poured into the Brisbane River, contributing to its rampage through Brisbane yesterday. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported that only scattered light rains less than 1/3" fell in the Brisbane area over the past 24 hours, and no further significant rains are forecast in the Brisbane area until Tuesday next week, so the worst of the flooding is now over for Queensland. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the December - January floods in Queenland are the most significant flooding event in Australia since at least 1974. In 2010, Australia had its wettest spring (September - November) since records began 111 years ago, with some sections of coastal Queensland receiving over 4 feet (1200 mm) of rain. Rainfall in Queensland and all of eastern Australia in December was the greatest on record, and the year 2010 was the rainiest year on record for Queensland. Queensland typically has its rainiest years when La Niña events occur, due to the much warmer than average ocean temperatures that occur along the coast. The BOM notes, "Previous strong La Niña events, such as those of 1974 and 1955, have also been associated with widespread and severe flooding in eastern Australia. Sea surface temperatures off the Queensland coast in recent months have also been at or near record levels." The BOM's annual summary also reported, "Sea surface temperatures in the Australian region during 2010 were the warmest value on record for the Australian region. Individual high monthly sea surface temperature records were also set during 2010 in March, April, June, September, October, November and December. Along with favourable hemispheric circulation associated with the 2010 La Niña, very warm sea surface temperatures contributed to the record rainfall and very high humidity across eastern Australia during winter and spring." Beginning in December, the Queensland floods have killed at least 22, and damage estimates are now as high as $20 billion. Queensland has an area the size of Germany and France combined.

2010 tied for warmest year in Earth's history
Earth's warmest year in history occurred in 2010, NASA reported yesterday. The globe's temperature beat the previous record set in 2005 by just .01°C, so we should consider 2010 and 2005 tied for the warmest year on record. Reliable global temperature records go back to 1880. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also announced yesterday that 2010 was tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record, with temperatures during 2010 1.12°F (0.62°C) above the 20th century average. I'll have a full blog post on the subject Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

storm car burried (slimfast)
on a lowell mass street 1/12/11 taken off hampshire street lowell mass our streets are buried in snow we have 24-36" of snow we had unsafe intersecting roads every where un safe driving also large buildings with flat roofs are unsafe many colapsed buildings
storm car burried
Brilliance..2 (suzi46)
a brilliant mid-Winter's day..blue skies and sunshine on the clear ice of the brooks creating wonderful images..
Brilliance..2
How Many Cars? (stoneygirl)
Can you tell how many cars are under all that? We had a whopping 2 plus FEET of snow today and the snow drifts were upwards of 3 and 4 feet. Gotta love winter.
How Many Cars?

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Quoting spathy:


What else does that tell you?

With all the regulations, the energy companies cant afford to expand!
And they pray to God to hold off the inevitable until they can afford it!
Not a free enterprise now is it?
So energy companies agree to a compromise with ethanol.
As a result there are now riots World wide because of food prices.
Gov interference has unintended consequences!
Wake up!


Ethanol is evil, I agree.

Al Gore admitted his role in bringing it about.

Lesser known is the role of Ken Lay of Enron.

The way to a market system (following Hansen) is to tax end use carbon and not to choose winners and losers with cap and tax (also pushed by Enron at Kyoto).

That way lil ole you and me can decide how to best reduce our carbon footprints and not the government or big business.

As to afford to expand. At what price does the price of oil get high enough to favor alternatives? Oil is in general subsidized worldwide (but not in the west except LIHEAP).

Chevron et alia are not saying what they are saying owing to excessive regulation.

It's very expensive to produce reserves.
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Quoting gatorojo:

Yep, it is like reinventing the wheel over and over. All it takes is a couple of corporate schills to spin out scientific sounding falsities and enough confusion will be caused amongst those who either don't understand the scientific method, latch onto ideology instead of reason, or are prone to conspiratorial irrationality, and a problem that should have been addressed in the 70's is still being debated.

I don't foresee any action being taken until we have to start building seawalls to prevent our cities from going under. I understand that much of the denialism is fueled by anti-tax sentiments. For myself, low taxes and small government are a good thing, but to cling to these ideas dogmatically at the expense of reason is insane. It is going to cost many times more to deal with this problem in the future then it is to deal with it now. AGW denialism is not only bad science, but bad economics.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Grothar:


Now you know what I sound like. LOL


Hey Gro:

Guess nobody around here listened to Obama last night about civility.... I don't like him but I do like that point.

Sigh... actually did something useful tonight... went through an actual solar case study where I showed that the best thing for this person to do is to simply give her solar excess generated energy back to the grid for free and take the lowest price power.

This is what the smart meter did for her.

I guess all Repower America promised for the smart meter is that we can sell the power... doesn't say the price (turns out best deal for a certain size system is to simply give it away for nothing).

Really wants to make you get solar (I know the energy system so I didn't get caught by this with the size of my system).

Obviously I am gearing up for a real fight.

Wel te rustig, ik geloof.

Oh, geloof... ja in het Amerikanse taal mischien "ik voel []" (dropping the reflexive since there are those who might think something else).
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State of the Climate in 2009
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center


As appearing in the July 2010 issue (Vol. 91) of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

Questions?

For all climate questions, please contact the National Climatic Data Center's Climate Services and Monitoring Division:
Climate Services and Monitoring Division
NOAA/National Climatic Data center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 1-828-271-4876
phone: 1-828-271-4800
email: ncdc.info@noaa.gov
To request climate data, please E-mail:ncdc.orders@noaa.gov
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439
Quoting gatorojo:

Yep, it is like reinventing the wheel over and over. All it takes is a couple of corporate schills to spin out scientific sounding falsities and enough confusion will be caused amongst those who either don't understand the scientific method, latch onto ideology instead of reason, or are prone to conspiratorial irrationality, and a problem that should have been addressed in the 70's is still being debated.

I don't foresee any action being taken until we have to start building seawalls to prevent our cities from going under. I understand that much of the denialism is fueled by anti-tax sentiments. For myself, low taxes and small government are a good thing, but to cling to these ideas dogmatically at the expense of reason is insane. It is going to cost many times more to deal with this problem in the future then it is to deal with it now. AGW denialism is not only bad science, but bad economics.


I actually agree with you indepedent of AGW.

Go green... save money. My energy efficiency improvements (which slashed home energy use by 67%) will pay out in 11 years.

Even energy companies want you to start using less of their product.

Chevron

I don't work for Chevron but I think they are the best in communicating the message....

Hey guys and gals, every major except Exxon talks about peak oil... and even Exxon is buying lots of natural gas properties.

Hint hint... if energy companies are saying please buy less of our product what is that telling you? (companies have a duty for full and honest reporting to the public... not only that, folks tend to get really upset with high oil prices so this is the way of warning folks that it is their responsibility to take matters into their own hands).

Save energy now.

The US hybrid SUV is $5.50 gas payout but the US sedan ROCKS and is going to payout at $2.50 gas in this warm climate (cold weather hurts hybrid performance... as does warm if you use AC, which I do not).

My solar panels are break even (I contacted the tax office and discovered that they will not tax me, following the law).

Solar hot water forget it. Gobble gobble.
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565. JRRP
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I saw that about Brazil a moment ago. The worst thing I read said the "death toll is expected to rise sharply".

Oh, man...
the real bad thing is all this is only the birth pangs of whats yet to come
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Quoting Chicklit:
Death toll mounting in Brazil.
Now at 500 people and who knows how many pets.
Tragic. I see where all the rain we're not getting is going.

I saw that about Brazil a moment ago. The worst thing I read said the "death toll is expected to rise sharply".

Oh, man...
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561. JRRP
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NOAA Climate Portal
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439



faster and faster
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Quoting Grothar:


Yes, once upon a time, the earth was much colder than it is today. When I lived in Norway, our mother used to put our little horned helmets on and send us into the bitter cold to walk miles in 10 feet snow to the nearest school which was 23 miles away. Then when we moved to Greenland, which was much warmer, or so I have been told.

Here is a picture of my old high school.



Don't you mean KILOMETERS? ;)
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Death toll mounting in Brazil.
Now at 500 people and who knows how many pets.
Tragic. I see where all the rain we're not getting is going.
Your high school looks like my elementary school Grothar. A very nice WPA project they tore down a couple decades ago to install track houses.
We'll be back in the 50s here in Central Florida by tomorrow and then 60s for the weekend. Goodnight!
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Global surface temperature (top, blue) and the Sun's energy received at the top of Earth's atmosphere (red, bottom). Solar energy has been measured by satellites since 1978


Energy from the Sun Has Not Increased

The amount of solar energy received at the top of our atmosphere has followed its natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, but with no net increase. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. This indicates that it is extremely unlikely that solar influence has been a significant driver of global temperature change over several decades.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439
551. gatorojo




100
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Quoting TomTaylor:


That's the funny thing; there shouldn't even be a debate here.



This is what any, and every, scientist knows.

The only reason a debate remains is because deniers will deny things when given the opportunity. So all the people who understand common sense and logic have to come out and reassert the deniers.

Yep, it is like reinventing the wheel over and over. All it takes is a couple of corporate schills to spin out scientific sounding falsities and enough confusion will be caused amongst those who either don't understand the scientific method, latch onto ideology instead of reason, or are prone to conspiratorial irrationality, and a problem that should have been addressed in the 70's is still being debated.

I don't foresee any action being taken until we have to start building seawalls to prevent our cities from going under. I understand that much of the denialism is fueled by anti-tax sentiments. For myself, low taxes and small government are a good thing, but to cling to these ideas dogmatically at the expense of reason is insane. It is going to cost many times more to deal with this problem in the future then it is to deal with it now. AGW denialism is not only bad science, but bad economics.
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Quoting Grothar:


Would you mind telling Mrs. Grothar where that button is?
Why yes.It's next to the quote button,to the right sir.J/K lol.
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http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/indicators/




for the clickable impaired

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439
Quoting washingtonian115:
I don't think people really have you on ignore.And yes their have been some cases where bloggers have put themselfs on ignore.It can happen.


Would you mind telling Mrs. Grothar where that button is?
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Quoting spathy:

Grother
Can you give me a bedtime story of when you had to walk miles through the treacherous weather to get to school/grocery store etc....
I miss my grandparents and you at this moment may be the closest thing,,,,, ummmm?
Or my great great grandparents?


Yes, once upon a time, the earth was much colder than it is today. When I lived in Norway, our mother used to put our little horned helmets on and send us into the bitter cold to walk miles in 10 feet snow to the nearest school which was 23 miles away. Then when we moved to Greenland, which was much warmer, or so I have been told.

Here is a picture of my old high school.

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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Who coincidently is not a climate scientist. Another wasted post of something covered long ago.


Yet "An Inconvenient Truth" is believable. Also created by someone who, coincidentally, is not a climate scientist...

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Quoting spathy:

I think the problem was not only the mmgw thing but...
Spathy can be quite irritating and I assume many have me on ignore.
Can I put myself on ignore?
I might be able to get some rest!
Snicker!
I don't think people really have you on ignore.And yes their have been some cases where bloggers have put themselfs on ignore.It can happen.
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Quoting Patrap:
..Bueller?











Climate Model Indications and the Observed Climate




Global climate models clearly show the effect of human-induced changes on global temperatures. The blue band shows how global temperatures would have changed due to natural forces only (without human influence). The pink band shows model projections of the effects of human and natural forces combined. The black line shows actual observed global average temperatures. The close match between the black line and the pink band indicates that observed warming over the last half-century cannot be explained by natural factors alone, and is instead caused primarily by human factors.




Simulated global temperature in experiments that include human influences (pink line), and model experiments that included only natural factors (blue line). The black line is observed temperature change.




Please provide a reference for that chart...

Never mind, I'll do it for you.

human and natural influences

We'll discuss it later...
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Quoting Patrap:
Hundreds of people have been killed in landslides and floods in Brazil -- the latest casualty of global weather patterns that are creating huge destructive storms. The number of dead is expected to continue to rise -- with whole villages wiped off the map, lost under metres of water and mud. Sky's Lisa Holland reports.



times up
message from
MOTHER EARTH
... --- ...
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Queensland Floods
Live stream from Channel 9 news.
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51? Sorry, said I was going, but I have shoes that are 51...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491

True Dat...



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439
Quoting presslord:
Psssssssssstttttt!!!!!! Don't tell anybody...but....Patrap is gonna be 51 Saturday....which, while not in Grothar's league...is still pretty danged old...


Yo, press! When he hits 151 than we can talk. We already got him the other night. He's still a kid in my opinion.
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Hundreds of people have been killed in landslides and floods in Brazil -- the latest casualty of global weather patterns that are creating huge destructive storms. The number of dead is expected to continue to rise -- with whole villages wiped off the map, lost under metres of water and mud. Sky's Lisa Holland reports.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129439
Quoting spathy:


Is the amount of co2 humans adding to the atmosphere the main factor in the slight warming that has only recently been accurately measured?
Or are there other factors involved ?
Or is drastic taxation via cap and trade going to only serve as a method of reducing capitol needed to help communities recover from natural variations in climate?
I think those are important questions that need to be resolved.
Meanwhile truly toxic and harmful practices we humans are involved in are being(somewhat) ignored.!
I have a big problem with that!


That's the only problem, we don't know exactly how much humans are contributing, and yes, there certainly are other factors involved in maintaining, increasing, and decreasing our planets temperature.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Psssssssssstttttt!!!!!! Don't tell anybody...but....Patrap is gonna be 51 Saturday....which, while not in Grothar's league...is still pretty danged old...
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Quoting spathy:


I guess this was talked about earlier,but I found it strange that it was dismissed earlier when I posted it.
Sorry folks.
I cant sleep just yet.
I still need more distraction downtime.
Too busy at work.
Cant shut down just yet.
Horticulture and freezes in Florida and all have me all keyed up etc..
It's sad that people on the blog are talking more about climate change/global warming when this is going on.
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Quoting MichaelSTL:




Also, here is the ice volume by month:



Note that the recent increase in anomaly is NOT an actual increase in ice volume (beyond the seasonal increase); rather, it is because there is less in the summer, thus the decline rate is larger (as is also the case with ice extent and area).


Once again, people forget that "a picture (or a chart) is worth a thousand words".

As long as the thousand words have been put through a spell checker, and had a thorough fack checking.

The first chart APPEARS to have the sea ice volume disappear (go through zero) and then mass went below zero (negative mass).

Then, you see the word "anomaly", which means it was compared to another period.

Which is also interesting - the chart's horizontal axis runs from just before 1980 (probably around 78/79) through 2011. And the averaging period they used (as shown on the side), goes from 1979 through 2009. That means they compared the data to itself?

Something doesn't look right...
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Quoting Patrap:


That thought did pass thru my BHG.



BHG,,

USMC DI acronym for "Brain Housing Group"

or yer Head.


Probably, the only one on here who understood what he was saying.
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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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