Another amazingly snowy winter for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:18 PM GMT on February 11, 2011

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As northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas dig out from the two feet of snow dumped this winter's latest epic snowstorm, it's time to summarize how remarkable the snows of the past two winters have been. So far this winter, the Northeast U.S. has seen three Category 3 (major) or higher snow storms on the Northeast Snowfall Impact (NESIS) scale. This scale, which rates Northeast snowstorms by the area affected by the snowstorm, the amount of snow, and the number of people living in the path of the storm, runs from Category 1 (Notable) to Category 5 (Crippling.) This puts the winter of 2010 - 2011 in a tie for first place with the winters of 2009 - 2010 and 1960 - 1961 for most major Northeast snowstorms. All three of these winters had an extreme configuration of surface pressures over the Arctic and North Atlantic referred to as a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO). In this situation, the band of winds that circles the North Pole weakens, allowing cold air to spill southwards into the mid-latitudes.

In the past twelve months, we've had six major Category 3 or stronger storms on the NESIS scale, by far the most major snowstorms in a 12-month period in the historical record. Going back to 1956, only one 12-month period had as many as four major snowstorms--during 1960 - 1961. New York City has seen three of its top-ten snowstorms and the two snowiest months in its 142-year history during the past 12 months--February 2010 (36.9") and January 2011 (36.0"). Philadelphia has seen four of its top-ten snowstorm in history the past two winters. The Midwest has not been left out of the action this year, either--the Groundhog's Day blizzard nailed Chicago with its 3rd biggest snowstorm on record. According to the National Climatic Data Center, December 2010 saw the 7th greatest U.S. snow extent for the month in the 45-year record, and January 2011 the 5th most. December 2009 had the greatest snow extent for the month in the 45-year record, January 2010 the 6th most, and February 2010 the 3rd most. Clearly, the snows of the past two winters in the U.S. have been truly extraordinary.


Figure 1. The six major Category 3 Northeast snowstorms of the past twelve months. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A cold January in the U.S.
January 2011 was the coldest January in the contiguous U.S. since 1994, according to the National Climatic Data Center, and ranked as the 37th coldest January in the 117-year record. Despite the heavy snows in the Northeast U.S., January was the 9th driest January since 1895. This was largely due to the fact that the Desert Southwest was very dry, with New Mexico recording its driest January, and Arizona and Nevada their second driest.

A cold and record snowy winter (yet again!) in the U.S. does not prove or disprove the existence of climate change or global warming, as we must instead focus on global temperatures averaged over decades. Globally, January 2011 was the 11th warmest since 1880, but tied for the second coolest January of the past decade, according to NASA. NOAA has not yet released their stats for January. The cool-down in global temperatures since November 2010, which was the warmest November in the historical record, is largely due to the temporary cooling effect of the strong La NiƱa event occurring in the Eastern Pacific. This event has cooled a large portion of the surface waters in the Pacific, leading to a cooler global temperature.

Some posts of interest I've done on snow and climate change over the past year:

Hot Arctic-Cold Continents Pattern is back (December 2010)
The future of intense winter storms (March 2010)
Heavy snowfall in a warming world (February 2010)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and enjoy the coming warm-up, those of you in the eastern 2/3 of the country!

Jeff Masters

Snow and icicle sun (emilinetdd)
Snow and icicle sun
Cardinal City (dypepper)
Another exciting day for me, shooting the Cardinals in the Snow!
Cardinal City

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841 ~~ How about DNA of trees, bugs, and what not, in Greenland? Let alone fossils of trees on the Northern end.

Hummmmm.........

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/0 70705-oldest-dna.html

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
entire 2010 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

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While it's possible that certain parts of Alaska are indeed cooler now than they were 3,000 years ago, there are a lot of problems being caused by the current warming. Take this article published just today:

Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks

"Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier.

"Since the mid-1970s, Alaska has warmed at three times the rate of the Lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And with nearly two-thirds of U.S. national parkland located in Alaska, the issue of climate change is especially pressing there, officials say. In some far northern parks such as Gates of the Arctic, average temperatures are expected to shift in coming years from below freezing to above freezing, crossing a crucial threshold, said Bob Winfree, Alaska science adviser for the Park Service. 'The effects of melting ice and thawing permafrost, I think, will be major,' Winfree said."

Article

Just more signs of a warming planet (if you're of a scientific mind, that is; if you're not, they're just signs of a socialist/communist plot to raise taxes while depriving you of your right to drive a car that gets two miles a gallon. Or something like that).
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13473
Quoting RecordSeason:
Hehe...Pinatubo...

20 megatons of sulfur dioxide.

Maybe 23.8 trillion kg of vaporized and/or ejected rock, based on the volumes that article gives and the density of rocks.


BTW, that's baby stuff compared to Thera, Tambora, or Krakatoa...

Krakatoa was probably twice as big. Tambora eleven times as big. Thera was somewhere between. Then there's Taupo and Baekdu. Any of these dwarfs Pinatubo. Taupo has allegedly erupted as a VEI 7 around 180ad, and before that allegedly as a VEI 8 around 11 or 12 times larger than Tambora.

If a Tambora happened today, there's really no telling how many people would die world wide from both the initial catastrophe and the world wide famines.

If Taupo VEI 8 happened today, the progressives would have their wish. World population would be probably back to a billion or less in short order...About half would die in the first day from earthquakes, thousand mile per hour winds, pyroclasms, and 300ft tsunamis...those are the lucky ones...Then the Ice Age starts over...


Tambora, Krakatoa...hehehe

check these bad boys out (if you haven't already)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervolcano

edit: just realized Taupo is a super volcano...oh well, check out the list anyway if you haven't seen it.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting JFLORIDA:
I think WUWT is pretty much a troll site. Right? I mean its not real science, its more like little truths and truisms extended to form a pseudoscience. The whole photo analysis of temperature sensors thing without regard to past placement and past measurement techniques for instance. No statistical analysis either.

But as we all know the devil is in the details and likewise the "Nazi" "socialist" canards are thrown out whenever details arise, to avoid them at all cost.

As we have seen here even in the social sciences the earth didn't stop at 1900 or 1950. Everything has a history and a proper approach methodology.

When someone avoids that it should be the first indication that a unreasonable conversation is approaching.

Its what the readers there want to hear as opposed to what is real.


You do realize that "the whole photo analysis of temperature sensors thing" wasn't started by Watts? That in 2005 Christopher A. Davey and Roger A. Pielke Sr. did a picture analysis of NWS cooperative stations in Colorado (stations that were being used in the USHCN)?

Found the same problems, and raised the same questions.

MICROCLIMATE EXPOSURES OF SURFACE-BASED WEATHER STATIONS
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Be careful out there!Link
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Right.... And there's no evidence of trees that used to grow in the far north pole or continental drift?! Heck, the tectonic plates have NEVER shifted during the course of history.

Right.


Did you miss where I said the "last 2 million years"?
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'Nother gorgeous day here in Fargo, got above freezing again!
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

The earth goes through these cycles and climate changes every few thousand years.

When Mt. St Helens blew up over 10 years ago, that got some to reassess their reasoning.

Remember Greenland used to be green before it got covered with a hundred feet of ice. That should tell you something. At least you won't be around for the next ice age!! Ha!


Greenland was NEVER green during 2 million years humans have been on this planet. It was given it's name because Eric the Red was trying to encourage settlers.
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@ recordseason

My point is we only know for certain what we've gone through. Even in the Biblical record there have been cataclysmic floods and droughts that have affected entire regions. Similar impacts have been seen in China with massive and quickly occurring riverbed changes added to the mix....

Unfortunately we can predict the future, but we can't guarantee we'll be right....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
836. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting BahaHurican:
Don't mind the dry so much when it's also cold... I'm too used to the moisture being allied to heat to really enjoy this cold stuff... lol


That moist cold feels like it goes right through the bones.



Bingiza

click pic for loop
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Quoting Skyepony:


Enjoy.. it's pretty dry & got a bit of chill to what's behind it.
Don't mind the dry so much when it's also cold... I'm too used to the moisture being allied to heat to really enjoy this cold stuff... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
834. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting BahaHurican:
BTW, this latest front still seems to be carrying a lot of moisture with it.... this is the WETtest cold front we've had in Feb for a while... just stepping outside this afternoon one could feel the unnatural moistness of the atmosphere...


Enjoy.. it's pretty dry & got a bit of chill to what's behind it.
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I think most oil companies have invested in many new technologies. Just haven't gone public because they know they can continue to milk oil. But believe me, when that well starts to really run low oil companies will be more than ready for a switch.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Enjoyed the discussion,out for now.
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1460
Looks like BoM is expecting another tropical low in the Indian Ocean by Wednesday [off their NW coast].

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
830. Skyepony (Mod)
A bushfire watch and act advisory has been issued for residents in parts of Muchea, northeast of Perth, as 100 firefighters and aerial water bombers try to bring a fast-moving bushfire under control. There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is approaching the area and conditions are changing, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) advisory said. You need to leave or get ready to actively defend. In similar hot and windy conditions last Sunday, a fast-moving bushfire swept through parts of Roleystone and Kelmscott in the Perth Hills, destroying 71 homes. At 4.10pm (WST) on Saturday the Muchea fire was moving west at 1000 metres and hour and was out of control with flames higher than rooftops, FESA said. The fire was reported at 1.18pm and had burnt 235 hectares burnt, it said. Around 100 volunteer and career firefighters were at the scene assisted by three helicopters and two fixed wing water bombers. The bushfire watch and act advisory was issued for residents from the Brand Highway to High Hill Road between Timaru Road and Nolan Road in Muchea in the Shire of Chittering. The cause of the fire was not known. Earlier on Saturday, two bushfires were brought under control near Gidgegannup in the Perth Hills. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/100- firefighters-battle-blaze-near-perth-20110212-1ard a.htmlFESA and the Bureau of Meteorology had warned of a high bushfire risk in the Perth region this weekend.
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BTW, this latest front still seems to be carrying a lot of moisture with it.... this is the WETtest cold front we've had in Feb for a while... just stepping outside this afternoon one could feel the unnatural moistness of the atmosphere...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
The smarter oil company would have already invested in a name change and some scientists conducting research in allied energy fields....

BP, anyone?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
Quoting twincomanche:
Sorry I must leave this conversation.

"Beam me up Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here."

Check back tomorrow.


Lol, I call you on something and look what happens.

See ya tomorrow
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting overwash12:

              I know and it doesnt look like that figure will go down,but rather increase which is why we need to develop other sources of energy,but that will not happen as long as big oil keeps lining the pockets of politicians. 


Yep. Only problem is oil companies aren't dumb, when the time comes, they will be more than ready for an energy "revolution" and they'll find a way to keep their profits up.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting RecordSeason:


Don't you see how the historical examples of how these geologic and meteorological forces happened even thousands of years ago is strong evidence that man has little to nothing to do with these things?
.....[snip]
Actually, no. We don't really know what exactly caused changes to occur outside the historical record, do we? We have evidence the cycles happened, but only theories about what triggered the change. In that sense, the AGW theorist is just as valid in his assumptions as you are. The existence of cyclical change, a wave action, if you will, does not correlate in any way to the CAUSE of that change.

What you attribute to a change from very cool to very warm as part of a natural earth-cycle may be a series of abrupt shifts caused by unknown unnatural events.

The point about all this - and this has been my point all along - is that we still don't have enough evidence one way or another to attribute CAUSE. That's why I think all this yada yada about whether GW is AGW or just naturally cyclic warming is moot. I have seen some evidence that world temps have been increasing since the 1850s, more or less. I think it's more important to preserve and adapt rather than to nitpick about whose sources are peer-reviewed.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21643
Quoting MichaelSTL:


367 milllion tons? LOL! Human emissions - every year - are only 100 times greater than that!

You obviously also need to look up the definition of "primarily"...

Definition of PRIMARILY
1: for the most part : chiefly


You referred to the C13 to C12 ratio. So what side of the balance beam does the rotting tree CO2 fall on? The C12 side or the C13 side?
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Quoting TomTaylor:


Psst when did I say natual cycles don't exist? I said humans are adding to the temperature of our earth.

I also said our planet is currently warming and that evidence for this can be found in nature and on any temperature graph.


Yup, and man is responsible for .28% (with water vapor considered) of the delta from the estimated normal. Give up your car and your cadmium containing computer now! :)

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting twincomanche:


No kidding.

So what was your point then?

Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting Ossqss:


Check out the implication of just one. Comparatively substantial I would say.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/self/index.html


This still doesn't cancel out the fact that humans are contributing...

And volcanoes of the magnitude of pinatobo are maybe a 1 in 20 year occurrence.

Humans are constant and only inceasing.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting RecordSeason:


Don't you see how the historical examples of how these geologic and meteorological forces happened even thousands of years ago is strong evidence that man has little to nothing to do with these things?

In what fashion do you suppose humanity would have been responsible for the water level rise off western Israel? Or just what in the world would you propose anyone do, even today, to "prevent" a permanent ten meter water level rise?

This had nothing to do with climate change or certainly humanity. The land sank, and the entire mediteranean basin tilted. Any pathetic human efforts to build a levee or flood wall were doomed before they even started.

At the time this started happening, world population was allegedly around 200 million. World energy consumption was limited to burning wood, fruit and vegetable oils, and animal fat.


That's just it, I don't know that humans are directly responsible. BUT you don't know that humans are directly not responsible. To assume either one is to be in denial for making an assumption.

However, I am not assuming either one, you are the one assuming we are not responsible. I never once said we are directly responsible.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357

Quoting TomTaylor:

Yea volcanoes add to co2 levels. But that doesn't mean humans don't.

Humans add around 24 billion tons of co2 annually through burning fossil fuels
              I know and it doesnt look like that figure will go down,but rather increase which is why we need to develop other sources of energy,but that will not happen as long as big oil keeps lining the pockets of politicians. 
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1460
816. Skyepony (Mod)
Bingiza Bombed..
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Quoting twincomanche:


If you had been reading earlier you would have seen that some glaciers are advancing it's afunction of snowfall up in the snowfields not a function of temperature. I don't begin to know jack about coral reefs and sea ice is highly variable so we just have to wait and see for the first time we can record.


Sea ice is not highly variable and it's been accurately measured since before satellites existed.

Glacier levels are a function of snowfall AND temperature. If the temperature is high enough, obviously there will not be a glacier.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting TomTaylor:

Yea volcanoes add to co2 levels. But that doesn't mean humans don't.

Humans add around 24 billion tons of co2 annually through burning fossil fuels


Check out the implication of just one. Comparatively substantial I would say.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/self/index.html
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting Ossqss:


Psst, how dat happen?



http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/ourlakes/background. html


Psst when did I say natual cycles don't exist? I said humans are adding to the temperature of our earth.

I also said our planet is currently warming and that evidence for this can be found in nature and on any temperature graph.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting overwash12:
I found out where all this co2 is coming from  http://www.vacationideas.me/asia/the-door-to-hell -burning-gas-crater-darvaza-turkmenistan/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Darvaza Gas Crater at Night with Silhouettes of People

Yea volcanoes add to co2 levels. But that doesn't mean humans don't.

Humans add around 24 billion tons of co2 annually through burning fossil fuels
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting TomTaylor:


Oh, so you think glaciers have margins of error? Sea ice too? Does that have a margin of error? What about corral reefs?

Temperature graphs only reflect what we see in nature. Saying there is an error is pointless because multiple agencies have all shown warming over the same periods of time.


Psst, how dat happen?



http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/ourlakes/background. html
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
I found out where all this co2 is coming from  http://www.vacationideas.me/asia/the-door-to-hell -burning-gas-crater-darvaza-turkmenistan/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Darvaza Gas Crater at Night with Silhouettes of People
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1460
Quoting twincomanche:

Sigh, nor you.


Nope, but I don't claim to know how much, whereas you state it's a tenth of a degree.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting twincomanche:


Take a deep breath. Have you ever heard of the margin of error? There's a lot of numbers coming from a lot of places leading to a certain margin of error.


Oh, so you think glaciers have margins of error? Sea ice too? Does that have a margin of error? What about corral reefs?

Temperature graphs only reflect what we see in nature. Saying there is an error is pointless because multiple agencies have all shown warming over the same periods of time.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting twincomanche:


What's your point? A tenth of of a degree is A not a big deal and B possibly a statistical glitch.


That's my point, you don't know how much we've contributed. Is it a tenth? You have no idea.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
803. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #16
CYCLONE TROPICAL INTENSE BINGIZA (05-20102011)
4:00 AM Reunion February 13 2011
=====================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Intense Tropical Cyclone Bingiza (953 hPa) located at 15.6S 53.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 90 knots with gusts of 130 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 4 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
30 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
==================
55 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
===============
85 NM from the center

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
110 NM from the center

Dvorak Intensity: T5.5/5.5/D3.0/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
============================
12 HRS: 15.9S 52.3E - 100 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
24 HRS: 16.2S 50.9E - 105 knots (CYCLONE Tropical Intense)
48 HRS: 16.8S 48.0E - 30 knots (Depression sur Terre)
72 HRS: 18.4S 44.8E - 20 knots (Depression sur Terre)

Additional Information
======================

Assuming a continuing DT at 5.5 during the eclipse, 3 hours and 6 hours mean of T number gives now a FT at 5.5. This is in line with ADT which is at 5.4 at 2330 PM UTC with raw T numbers at 6.3. The system has resumed a west southwestward track under the influence of the steering flow generated by the rebuilding southwestward mid tropospheric subtropical ridge. Today it should accelerate significantly. Little change in the present forecast. Landfall over the eastern coast of Madagascar is still expected Monday between Masoala Peninsula and Sainte-Marie Island likely near Antanambe. The system should rapidly decay inland as it moves westward. however, at the end of the forecast, synoptic pattern on numerical weather predictions fields is favorable for a recurvature towards the southeast (strong mid level ridge to the northeast). There is some uncertainities about the timing of this recurvature. If it moves over the Mozambique Channel, Bingiza has the potential to re-intensify before moving back overland but if it remains inland the system could eventually dissipate.

BEFORE THAT TIME THE THREAT IS GETTING STRONGER FOR THE EASTERN COAST OF MADAGASCAR AND IT BECOMES VERY IMPORTANT FOR UNHABITANTS OF THIS REGION TO CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS DANGEROUS SYSTEM.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Seychelles Meteorological Services will be issued at 6:30 AM UTC..
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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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