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 Niña 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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The Ephemeral Islands is the name of a rather interesting book about Bahamian geology and biology. The title references the geological history of these islands, which, depending on the part of the cycle the world is in, can be completely submerged to as much as 500 ft above sea level. I've got a copy here somewhere, and I read the book quite a few years ago, but I don't remember much detail about how LONG it takes to go from plateau to shoal on our Bahama banks. Along with archipelagos like the Maldives, The Bahamas is quite sensitive to sea level change.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22322
Quoting twincomanche:
We just need to remember that CO2 is 0.038% if the air. Not 4% or four tenths of a percent but four hundredths of one percent.

Our temperature increases have been tenths of a degree not big increases. Possibly measurable error according to some.

And you true believers wonder why the public is skeptical? Get a clue.


Maybe someone can help with this info. I cannot disprove the calculations without water vapor included. Perhaps someone can ? Have at it!

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data .html
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting twincomanche:
And you true believers wonder why the public is skeptical? Get a clue.

They probably missed the chemistry lessons at school Link
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Quoting TomTaylor:


Co2 absorbs outgoing infrared wavelength in the atmosphere.
The greater co2 concentration the greater the absorption.
Humans are adding to co2 in the atmosphere and therefore he concentration.


That is how man made warming is proven. PLEASE TRY to prove it wrong. I am waiting.
Sure,I agree that we are burning way to much fossil fuel,but the earths climate goes through natural cycles. I already posted an article on a glacier melting exposed tree stumps,what does that mean? I bet money that we have some very harsh,cold winters still ahead of us. Unfortunately this means burning more wood,coal,gas and oil to keep warm.
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
Quoting RecordSeason:


That is on a barrier island a few hundred feet wide to a few thousand feet wide.

You can take a look at google maps and see a system of underwater channels in the region which has clearly been submerged and perhaps uplifted and re-submerged. It has clearly been in the process for all of history and is just more of the same.

The detail of google maps really is amazing some times.

Islands this size have been disappearing since the beginning of time.

You can also find ancient European settlements on the bottom of the North Seas and English Channel between Britain and europe, as well as ancient submerged Israeli settlements in the Mediteranean several miles off shore (now ten meters under water,) and as well as ancient submerged settlments in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea, tens and hundreds of feet below present water levels.

Hog Island hurricane and Last Island hurricanes also happened long before any alleged influence of modern man made pollution, destroying entire island resorts, and the island itself.

This stuff happens, and has always happened, long before the invention of the modern steam engine or the discovery of petroleum or the invention of the automobile.

Unfortunately, NOLA, Tampa Bay, and Galveston will all likely go this way eventually just due to normal erosion processes, several decades to maybe a couple hundred years from now...


Island submersion has always been happening. But if sea levels rose it would obviously become more common.

And I love that classic argument "it's happened in the past so it's ok now"

You know what else has happened in the past? Asteroids have struck our planet and caused mass extinctions. Hell, even a holocaust happened once upon a time.

I'm not going to say this warming is as bad as either of those two, but the man made aspect of global warming is certainly preventable and, although it has happened, it is not a good thing.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Thank goodness for all the bloggers squeezing posts about that also-ran topic, tropical weather, [in the form of Bingiza info] on this obvious Global warming blog....

And if I myself may also squeeze... It's not looking like 14 S will make it beyond this stage, what with it heading into somewhat cooler waters...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22322
Quoting twincomanche:
We just need to remember that CO2 is 0.038% if the air. Not 4% or four tenths of a percent but four hundredths of one percent.

Our temperature increases have been tenths of a degree not big increases. Possibly measurable error according to some.

And you true believers wonder why the public is skeptical? Get a clue.


Really tenths of a degree? You have no proof. You have no idea how much we have or haven't added. Get a clue.

And a tenth of a degree is a big deal. Especially when we are only polluting more and more. Get a clue.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Picking one reconstruction of a single species at a single lake is absurd anyway as a climatic indicator for a region - especially when there is a abundance of research and diversity of not only locations but proxies as well.

For instance:

A 700-YEAR PALEOECOLOGICAL RECORD OF BOREAL ECOSYSTEM
RESPONSES TO CLIMATIC VARIATION FROM ALASKA.



LOL, like the Yamal tree ring Hockey Stick the IPCC uses ?

The Yamal implosion
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting overwash12:
I don't think people not believing in man-made global warming should be labeled as deniers,we are just not that gullible, to believe all the hype.


Co2 absorbs outgoing infrared wavelength in the atmosphere.
The greater co2 concentration the greater the absorption.
Humans are adding to co2 in the atmosphere and therefore he concentration.


That is how man made warming is proven. PLEASE TRY to prove it wrong. I am waiting.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting RecordSeason:
That's pretty significant.

The U.S. has 6.76% "area" is fresh water, which is 1204 persons per square mile water.

Madagascar has only 0.13% water, which is like 70,100 persons per square mile water.

So the U.S. has 58 times more water (area) per capita than Madagascar...

In all likelihood, our lakes and rivers are deeper too, great lakes and Mississippi, Minnesota, etc.


Makes you wonder how they've grown that high in population at all.
Probably they have had a more consistent weather / rainfall pattern there in the past. On top of that, one also takes into account changes in government that may change approaches to agricultural development etc...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22322
Patrap: we patriotic Americans appreciate the sacrifice you made for your country, and would never stoop to disparaging a fellow countryman's military service no matter how frustrated we became over people more clear-thinking than us continuously pointing out our fallacious logic.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
Quoting Cochise111:


Never thought a fellow Marine would embrace this Gaia baloney. Must be PTSD.


I apologize in advance, but I could not resist :) LOL!

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
I don't think people not believing in man-made global warming should be labeled as deniers,we are just not that gullible, to believe all the hype.
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
Out 'til later.
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Quoting McBill:

So then, you disagree with the authors of the study about the value of the study for assessing anthropogenic warming?



The study goes on to say:

"The youngest sample of the record spans the period of AD 1968–1972, falling within the cooler interval of the 20th-century in Alaska (Chapin et al., 2005). Although the Moose Lake TJuly record displays an increasing trend over the past 150 years, the TJuly values in several warm intervals of the past 6000 years were comparable to or exceeded early 20th-century values. For example, the TJuly values during the MCA were generally higher than the early 20th-century values (Fig. 4C). This pattern contrasts with previous high-resolution temperature reconstructions from Alaska. For example, 20th-century climate was among the warmest periods of the past two millennia on the basis of δ18O data from Farewell Lake (Hu et al., 2001; Fig. 4D), and a summer temperature increase of 2.0 °C over the past 150 years was inferred from a biogenic silica (BSi) record from Hallett Lake (135 km west of Moose Lake) (McKay et al., 2008; Fig. 4E). We are uncertain about the reasons for these discrepancies. One possible explanation is that our midge-based TJuly estimates for the 20th-century were compromised by lake physical and chemical changes as a result of the railway construction and logging near Moose Lake in the early 1900’s. However, the TJuly estimate of our youngest sample matches well with the mean of instrumental temperature measurements for the same period (see Section 4.2). Other possibilities include potential proxy-specific biases of temperature inferences. For example, BSi-based temperature estimates can be skewed by better preservation of diatoms in near surface than older sediments, whereas midge-based temperature estimates may be influenced by lake depth fluctuations. Ultimately, a network of temperature reconstructions from the region is needed to differentiate climate signals from potential local effects and help explain the discrepancies among these existing temperature records."

The point is that there are discrepancies between different paleoclimatological data sets, which is why I posted it after Pat posted an article about Alaska. Paleoclimatological data sets are all subject to major issues capable of skewing the temperature record derived from them. They are not the best thing in the world.
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Nassau, The Bahamas
64 °F
Feels Like 64 °F Light Rain

Outside my door it's 60 deg. F. The rain has held up for the moment.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22322
Food fer thought fer dee uninformed maybe?

US-Cuba Conference

Posted by: Patrap, 12:17 PM CST on November 24, 2009



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We'll get there, Pop. We'll get there.
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Interesting, thought some would appreciate it :)

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/atmrivers/

For those with access to the supplements, some pretty good reads contained here.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/atmrivers/pubs/

A pic of a prior event.

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting RecordSeason:
Patrap:

I don't believe in GW because the data does not support GW, or even "climate change".

It doesn't make you a "denier" when you look at the data and actually find that there is no trend of change which can't be attributed to human error or instrumentation.

It's just like the frequency of intense hurricanes. The article posted the other day claiming they had doubled in the past 30 years, but if you went back to 30 years prior to that, as I did, you can find 30 year periods that had exactly 1 less intense storm than modern times. By the time you adjust for "missed" storms, there were probably more storms back then than now. I was able to find a 30 year continuous period which does not overlap with the past 30 years, and which was within 1 of this past 30 years period.

How is it so hard for you to see that proves there is no long term upward trend in intense storms? And if there is no long term trend, then there is no "climate change" as it regards intense storms...

"climate change" requires some sort of statistical trend, and the reality is that there is NO statistical trend on record...using the GOVERNMENT AGENCY data...

Of course, you can post your goofy "psychology of a denier" thing as much as you like. I for one prefer to make my own posts, instead of letting someone else think for me...



Ahahahaahaha this post made my day.


No trend... Good god.

Idk WTF data you are looking at, but let's say for some reason it didn't show warming, HOW DOES THAT DISPRROVE man made warming?????

Let's say the earth was cooling right now, does that mean we aren't adding to the heat?


No. It's been proven that co2 retains heat in out atmosphere, and it's been proven the greater the concentration of co2 the greater this trapping effect is.

Therefore it is a KNOWN FACT humans are contributing to the temperature of this planet.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Mikey, I'm smart. I was passed over!


Funny, you don't look Jewish. ;)
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756

Marines dont sing wussy songs dats why.

Only our Hymn,,

...and were older that the Country by a year.

Anything else ?

Good,,then yer dismissed
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Mikey, I'm smart. I was passed over!



You're taking this very personal. Tom, this is business and this man is taking it very, very personal.
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Quoting Patrap:



A Kum bah ya moment............


Lets sing together,




I'm sure you know the words. Most Gaia proponents do. Why don't you lead?
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Quoting Patrap:
www.solarcycle24.com

Sunspots (Saturday)


[SDO] Magnetogram



Solar Activity on the Rise
02/12/2011 by Kevin VE3EN at 22:15
Comment on Message Board

Solar Update - The solar flux on Saturday stands at 96 which ties a Cycle 24 record set exactly 1 year ago on Feb 12, 2010. A solar flux of 96 is not all that high, but perhaps a step in the right direction.

Several B-Class flares and atleast one C-Class flare have taken place within the past 24 hours around Sunspot 1159 and newly numbered 1160 which is located on the eastern limb and rotating into view. A few of these flares caused some CME's that are seen in the latest Lasco C2 movie blasting off the eastern limb. There will continue to be a chance for C-Class flares and perhaps an M-Class event.

Old sunspot region 1149 has rotated back into view and it appears to be spotless at this time.


Someone explain why higher solar activity is desirable. Oh, I know, because the temperature might begin to rise.
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Quoting McBill:

If I'm interpreting your plot correctly, you're showing temperatures for the entire 60N to 72N band. Yes, that includes Alaska but it also includes a whole lot of other real estate as well. I'm not saying that you're wrong but the plot that you show does not support your assertion.



Direct your attention to the top left of the image and note the longitudinal boundaries.
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Bingiza gets the Humdinger Name Award so far for 2011.
Strange to my ears but perhaps that is translateable to "Bill" in another language?

It's not just the speed but the navigability I like about the new format.
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Quoting RecordSeason:
neapolitan:

You aren't seriously trying to claim that thing is reliable or that there have been any reliable world wide temperature data for 100+ years? And no, sorry, a contraption like that certainly doesn't qualify for what has been in use in modern times.

Mercury thermometers are prone to bad data from something as simple as being bumped or tilted, which could easily happen because of wind or some other event.

Stuff like this happens all the time. I got a spring thermometer in the back yard that always says 95f. It doesn't make it accurate just because it says so. In fact, it's a piece of garbage.

If you've ever had to calibrate instruments, you should know that even brand new instruments can be broken, or have terrible inconsistencies or loss of calibration. In QC, we used to be required to re-calibrate micrometers, scales, and other custom instruments for EVERY measurement, because they lose calibration that fast, even in a climate controlled environment. It used to annoy the hell out of me, because we literally recalibrated EVERY instrument 12 times per shift.

You people are basing an entire theory on interpretation of data sets from instruments that sit in a box in all the variable forces of weather all day long, and act as if there's no uncertainty in calibration issues or bad instrumentation.


A personal experiencial connection:

Yes, temperature and pressure gauges and minimum and maximum indicators and similar things get stuck too. This happens all the time in manufacturing, even with almost fully automated modern systems, which is one reason why half the people in a plant are Quality Control and do nothing other than check the work of other people or machines. You can have a whole line of product that is defective, and yet it passed EVERY gauge and every fail safe in the automated testing process. And if you're not paying attention, you've already made an hour's worth of garbage, instruments be damned.

We used to also be required to not even scratch out a mistake on paper, but single line through it, because QC wants to see the process tech's mistake, and QC manager wants to see the QC tech's mistake, because their "corrections" could be mistakes.

The point I'm making is I've at least some experience in dealing with instruments that give wrong values.

Does anyone here not get the obvious contradiction of how you can be claiming record high world wide temperatures while simultaneously having record snow falls and accumulations?

We had icicles, 100% natural icicles, in Springfield, Louisiana, and people on this site are trying to claim this winter is somehow warmer than average. I call BS.

It's certainly one of the 3 coldest winters in my memory.

Did it not occur to you that either the records are wrong or your interpretation is wrong?


I guess we'll have to put up with another 30 years of this crap before you guys finally catch on...

Whoa there, cowboy; I merely responded to your statement that max/min thermometers had only been around for a few decades by showing that they were actually invented nearly 230 years ago. That's all..
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
Quoting McBill:

Your headline is a more than a bit misleading. You might want to try something like "Study finds Moose Lake summer temperatures to have been higher than today during the last 3000 years." But even that is not really correct. From the Quaternary Science Reviews paper by Clegg :

"The Moose Lake TJuly record is of limited value for assessing anthropogenic warming in the context of the long-term natural variability because of the relatively coarse temporal resolution and potential impacts of human activity on the lake chemistry."





Considering one set of paleoclimatological data as a rough proxy for the state of Alaska is no different than considering a paleoclimatological data set from Antarctica or Greenland and using it as a proxy for global temperature. In fact, it's better given the far smaller square area being considered.
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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.