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 Neapolitan:

You've lost me, friend. I simply cannot keep up with your dizzying intellect and brilliant rhetoric. And with that, I shall leave you to your thoughts...

Or in the words of the world's smartest man living today...Professor Irwin Corey
"Marriage is like a bank account, You put it in, you take it out,...You lose interest"
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Look a spell correcter word insert - redirection - global warming is a lie.
I'm not sure what you just said but my grandkids often tell me I don't "get stuff". All I was saying is Dr. Gray should not be dismissed based on what his PhD is or is not. There's a lot of old folks with PhD's that have both good and not so good theories. The peer review process ain't exactly age neutral either...(afterthought: just my opinion, don't ask for "proof", as you regularly do)
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Quoting NRAamy:
I like Spam....especially Spam sandwiches....on a cold day.... with some tomato soup....

I tolerate Spam.....I stock up every year with Spam living in Palm Beach county...I understand there is even a Spam museum somewhere in Minnesota...One of my bucket lists.......NOT
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Quoting Skyepony:


That is not true the host of this blog has a Ph.D. degree in air pollution meteorology.
I sit corrected Ma'am. Based on past conversations here, I thought Jeff's PhD was Met. Thanks...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491



The different measures are sometimes used by different countries in asserting various policy/ethical positions to do with climate change (Banuri et al., 1996, p. 94).

This use of different measures leads to a lack of comparability, which is problematic when monitoring progress towards targets. There are arguments for the adoption of a common measurement tool, or at least the development of communication between different tools.

Emissions may be measured over long time periods. This measurement type is called historical or cumulative emissions. Cumulative emissions give some indication of who is responsible for the build-up in the atmospheric concentration of GHGs (IEA, 2007, p. 199).

Emissions may also be measured across shorter time periods. Emissions changes may, for example, be measured against a base year of 1990. 1990 was used in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the base year for emissions, and is also used in the Kyoto Protocol (some gases are also measured from the year 1995) (Grubb, 2003, pp. 146, 149).A country's emissions may also be reported as a proportion of global emissions for a particular year.

Another measurement is of per capita emissions. This divides a country's total annual emissions by its mid-year population (World Bank, 2010, p. 370). Per capita emissions may be based on historical or annual emissions (Banuri et al., 1996, pp. 10.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
Quoting oracle28:
Just think how cold the planet would be without man to heat it up.
Oddly enough, according to the book Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum the activities of pre-industrial humans, mainly rice farming (= methane) and deforestation raised the level of GHGs enough to prevent a return to glaciation.

Unfortunately now we are emitting way to much GHGs.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
Quoting JFLORIDA:


No of course not - Ive read grays commentary. HE doesn't care about climate reattach.
Huh? When did the climate deattach?
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465. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting RipplinH2O:
True, he is but a PhD Met, just like the host of this blog


That is not true the host of this blog has a Ph.D. degree in air pollution meteorology.
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Added On January 13, 2011
New and old residents of Brisbane find aid and support in evacuation shelters. CNN's Phil Black reports.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
Quoting MichaelSTL:




Global precipitation in 2010 was well above the 1961–1990 average, ranking as the wettest on record since 1900.


See also: An introduction to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water

(warmer air can hold more moisture, leading to more extremes in precipitation, not just heavier rain, but more severe droughts - even if average precipitation increases since evaporation doubles for a 10°C rise in temperature)


And Warmer SSTs lead to greater evaporation, leading to greater quantities of water in the atmosphere.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358


Water vapor accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect, between 36% and 66% for clear sky conditions and between 66% and 85% when including clouds. Water vapor concentrations fluctuate regionally, but human activity does not significantly affect water vapor concentrations except at local scales, such as near irrigated fields. According to the Environmental Health Center of the National Safety Council, water vapor constitutes as much as 2% of the atmosphere.

The Clausius-Clapeyron relation establishes that air can hold more water vapor per unit volume when it warms. This and other basic principles indicate that warming associated with increased concentrations of the other greenhouse gases also will increase the concentration of water vapor. Because water vapor is a greenhouse gas this results in further warming, a "positive feedback" that amplifies the original warming. This positive feedback does not result in runaway global warming because it is offset by other processes[clarification needed] that induce negative feedbacks, which stabilizes average global temperatures

This graph image should be recreated using vector graphics as an SVG file.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
Quoting Neapolitan:


I wasn't asking for "determination of quilt"; I was responding to one who claimed that AAAS found all sorts of hanky-panky after ClimateGate, so I asked for proof of that, and further stated that I could produce tons of AAAS statements stating the opposite.

This is a fast-moving discussion; you're gonna have to keep up. ;-)


Excuse me?

You wrote...'the whole manufactured "Climategate" thing has been proven to be nothing more than a desperate witch-hunt by the contrarian community'

Those are your words, not mine.

Stop with the REDIRECTION.

Reading that one article proves to me that they, AAAS, are fully engulfed in the AGW fraud.

It seems almost hilarious how you can switch between two different presentations of what Climategate is supposedly about, almost within the same conversation.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...wait for it
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Just think how cold the planet would be without man to heat it up.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 597
Quoting JFLORIDA:
392 thanks - good link.

OSS the volcano climate connection is explored in real scientific literature in excruciating detail.

Do us a favor.


LOL, no wonder you are out of sorts. Volcano's? Are you referring to your temper for it sure was not what the paper was about.

Same thing, different day, same folks telling you how to think and to obey their commands. Just Borg-tastic on here once again. This blog used to be fun before the ideologues came along pounding their hammers.

Note, pay attention to the commodities market. Food prices are getting ready to spike and we will most certainly see food riots as we did a few years ago :( Cotton at a 147 year high? WTH

Good luck, outta this place >>>>>>>>



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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Dr M cites the most recent reviewed literature.

Look into grays climate contributions and history before you make comparisons.
Not making a comparison. Simply pointing out that dismissing anyone only because they are not a climate scientist is probably casting a net wider than you intended...
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451. NRAamy
12:46 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
I like Spam....especially Spam sandwiches....on a cold day.... with some tomato soup....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 319 Comments: 31956
449. oracle28
12:43 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Does every rain gauge in the world record the same cumulative total amount of annual rain every year?

If not, then it appears we have either global drying or global wetting.

Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 597
447. Patrap
12:43 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
..I dont Like Spam..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
446. TomTaylor
12:42 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Well I'm glad I can take that title. Do you see me bashing people left in right in every post? No I don't so for you to say that you really have to have some balls.


Yea, I should add you to my ignored list.

Right now it's empty, I haven't ignored anybody yet. But I think you will get the honors.

Here has been your posting lately:

Quoting random people, NOBODY CARES ABOUT.

WHO CARES ABOUT WHAT SOME RANDOM PERSON SAID, THIS IS NOT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE,THIS IS SOMEONE OPINION.

Your posting is literally useless spam.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
444. Neapolitan
12:40 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
I feel we need more time before we can say which way this thing will go. The antigreens say that the Earth is starting a natural cooling cycle again. This winter may be part of that. Europe as been getting hit real bad. I say let's all cooperate and study this for another 20 years and then make decisions based on untainted data. Besides now in not the time to hit the fragile global economy with punitive environmental regulations.

It may alreade be too late; waiting another 20 years is ludicrous. Besides, as I said last night, as bad as things could possibly be in 20 years, there will still be many people swearing that we need to wait another 20, then another, then another.

Willful procrastination in the face of disaster is insanity.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14244
441. Patrap
12:39 AM GMT on January 14, 2011

Global Climate Change Indicators
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center


Many lines of scientific evidence show the Earth's climate is changing. This page presents the latest information from several independent measures of observed climate change that illustrate an overwhelmingly compelling story of a planet that is undergoing global warming. It is worth noting that increasing global temperature is only one element of observed global climate change. Precipitation patterns are also changing; storms and other extremes are changing as well.
How do we know the Earth's climate is warming?

Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe. This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys and autonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented with satellite measurements. These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematic errors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change. A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes in surface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurement errors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends. The warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on every continent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
440. jrussiap
12:37 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
yes relying on 100 uusd plus a barrel oil for the next 20 years and doing noyhing to deelop cheaper energy sources will definitely help the economy.

Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
I feel we need more time before we can say which way this thing will go. The antigreens say that the Earth is starting a natural cooling cycle again. This winter may be part of that. Europe as been getting hit real bad. I say let's all cooperate and study this for another 20 years and then make decisions based on untainted data. Besides now in not the time to hit the fragile global economy with punitive environmental regulations.
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4
439. Patrap
12:37 AM GMT on January 14, 2011


Added On January 12, 2011
Thousands of people have had to flee their homes in Sri Lanka after flooding and mudslides.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
434. Patrap
12:36 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting P451:


LOL you have been on a ROLL the past few days, Soldier!


What a crappy subject... a theory... that brings out the worst in all camps of thought.

Oh well... free thought is still nice no matter what.



Without it,,Men are slaves to dogma and Soothsayers.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 433 Comments: 132144
433. RipplinH2O
12:35 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Who coincidently is not a climate scientist....
True, he is but a PhD Met, just like the host of this blog
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
430. TomTaylor
12:33 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting HaloReachFan:
But then he changed his views completely on the matter. Why is that is he in the pockets of Big Oil?

Global warming -- at least the modern nightmare vision -- is a myth. I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy makers are not.

DAVID BELLAMY, Daily Mail, July 9, 2004


WHO THE HELL CARES
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
429. oracle28
12:33 AM GMT on January 14, 2011
Quoting HaloReachFan:
Some people just argue to argue that is what this is. Nobody in here will ever change their mind on AGW. Some believe it some don't. One side bashes other's arguments the other side apparently just sits and laughs when posting.

But there will never be an agreement on this situation even when the world temperature is way way way below average and nobody can leave their homes because of the ice age going on. People just argue to argue.


Which is why a lot of people refer to Manmade Global Warming as a religion, you either believe in it, or you don't.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 597

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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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