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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AGW science in its infancy
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
C'mon JFLORIDA. Take a breather man.

Aren't there still a couple Karl Marx books left under the tree that you haven't even unwrapped yet?

That might help.


Nah I'm pretty sure he's already read every book about Marx there is to know :)
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
177 EQUAL RIGHTS FOR THE INCORRECT?

That beats all. Talk about politically correct - so no one is ever wrong. Truth by consensus.

See thats where it just breaks down - When you ditch reason.


Oh so only people like you are right and we are wrong?

Give me a break, I think I just gave up all hope for people like you.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Please link to references of global cooling - as you obviously are so sure as to issue bumper sticker truisms. If you are halfway competent you would have them ready before issuing your proclamation.


"If you are halfway competent you would have them ready before issuing your proclamation."

Global warming has me so pessimistic that I consider myself halfway INcompetent.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
C'mon JFLORIDA. Take a breather man.

Aren't there still a couple Karl Marx books left under the tree that you haven't even unwrapped yet?

That might help.


dude, you are the zingster tonight!

the zingman!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
I see that the backwards, un-American march against science continues:

1) A Tennessee state legislator (Bill Dunn [R-District 16]) has introduced a bill (House Bill 368) that would basically require schools and teachers to give equal time and credence to the non-science of AGW denialism, along with the just as non-scientific pseudo-theory of "intelligent design" (aka "A certain creation myth disguised as science").

2) U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced the “Energy Tax Prevention Act” after a closed-door meeting with a list of who's who of big time polluters (the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.). The ETPA argues that the EPA doesn't have the authority to regulate GhGs under the Clean Air Act--despite that fact that the Supreme Court already said it did.

3) On an only slightly different note, Saudi Arabia has apparently overstated its petroleum reserves by 40%, according to some Wikileaks cables. 40%. That's 300 billion barrels--greatly speeding up the arrival of peak oil. Of course, oil companies often overstate the amount of reserves for the very same reason they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince people that the planet isn't warming: to keep us using their product like we're sailors on our first shore leave in two years. But despite the wishful thinking of some--"We'll never run out of cheap oil in our lifetimes!"--those of us who don't die in the next year or two almost certainly will.
Hi Nea, Well, I guess we don't have to worry since the End of the world is only 18 months away!!!!!(HEAVY ON Sarcasm)
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
Btw all racial supremacy doctrine flows from incorrect and unreasonable assumptions and stereotypes. So what that state legislator is doing by circumventing reason and scientific thought is a step in that direction.

Sad and inept - This is what you get for not maintaining a reasonable foundation for discussion.


Not quite true. Sterotypes originate somewhere. And everyone is racist (nativist) whether they admit it or not. Everyone also discriminates. You discriminate in every decision you make.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 320
But -- TomTaylor, I play video games and... I'm older than you.
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Quoting MrMixon:
If I place a thermometer in an oven that's already at 200 degrees, then turn the temperature up to 400 degrees, the thermometer WILL show me a rise in temperature as the oven warms up, even though it was in a pretty darn hot place to start with.

Climate change analyses are based on delta-T values, not just T values.



.Quoting Cochise111



But if the temp is actually 50 degrees and the placement shows 55 degrees because it's next to an a/c exhaust? Hmmm. The readings are extremely space-specific also, because the surrounding countryside temperature might be a great deal lower than the area of the thermometer.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 320
Quoting HaloReachFan:


I gave you the tool now go and find what you find interesting.

It isn't my job to prove that AGW is man made.

It is your job.

You have to prove it.

The link of the 850 papers proved you wrong.

Are you going to apologize to me?

If not you can find what you want.


Halo, the man is stubborn like a bull. JF just thinks he's always right and always will be, and he criticizes others for not believing what he thinks and not doing what he thinks is right. The best thing to do is to pay no attention to him at all, and move on.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Remember the rules of climate change.

1) Cooling is temporary
2) Warming is permanent
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Looks like the Swiss are getting a little better. Took them a little longer to give up some of that Nazi money, I believe. Oh well I guess the only protect it now if your in power.
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Quoting JupiterKen:
And how old are you -- TomTaylor. What does it matter?

Because I see he plays video games, so I am just wondering.

It doesn't matter at all, he doesn't have to tell me.
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Quoting jwh250:
I don't feel tardy


well, one person at least.. : )

back in the day
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


I gave you the tool now go and find what you find interesting.

It isn't my job to prove that AGW is man made.

It is your job.

You have to prove it.

The link of the 850 papers proved you wrong.

Are you going to apologize to me?

If not you can find what you want.


Wait a minute.

It's been proven co2 absorbs infrared wavelength electromagnetic radiation. It has been proven the more co2 there is in the atmosphere, the more heat is retained.

It has been proved humans are adding co2 to the atmosphere.


So where is it shown that humans are not adding to the temperature of the planet?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
lol Allen Combs word on Fox News about the revolution in Egypt was right. If anybody else heard it.
Quoting Neapolitan:
I see that the backwards, un-American march against science continues:

1) A Tennessee state legislator (Bill Dunn [R-District 16]) has introduced a bill (House Bill 368) that would basically require schools and teachers to give equal time and credence to the non-science of AGW denialism, along with the just as non-scientific pseudo-theory of "intelligent design" (aka "A certain creation myth disguised as science").

2) U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced the %u201CEnergy Tax Prevention Act%u201D after a closed-door meeting with a list of who's who of big time polluters (the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.). The ETPA argues that the EPA doesn't have the authority to regulate GhGs under the Clean Air Act--despite that fact that the Supreme Court already said it did.

3) On an only slightly different note, Saudi Arabia has apparently overstated its petroleum reserves by 40%, according to some Wikileaks cables. 40%. That's 300 billion barrels--greatly speeding up the arrival of peak oil. Of course, oil companies often overstate the amount of reserves for the very same reason they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince people that the planet isn't warming: to keep us using their product like we're sailors on our first shore leave in two years. But despite the wishful thinking of some--"We'll never run out of cheap oil in our lifetimes!"--those of us who don't die in the next year or two almost certainly will.


Yep because giving other view points a chance is un-American? Have you lost your mind?

Because a Tennessee State Legislator decides he wants to be fair and give others a chance at equal rights, you consider that un-American?

You are sounding about as fair and balanced is the white power groups of early America. You call anyone who denounces your narrow minded views of anti-God and GW bias a "denier".

Seriously, step exalting yourself and open your eyes. You are an elitist and full of prejudice, you obviously don't know what freedom means, what it means to be America, and you obviously are too arrogant to know what it means to be an honest scientist.

You GW warming fanatics level of arrogance is like a flu virus to the stomach.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
have read a recent article that discloses the belief that 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some type of mental disorder. When I look at the most liberal half of the liberals and the most conservative half of the conservatives I am convinced that I have fully identified the groups that suffer from some type of mental disorder in the U.S.

I think your percentages are defintely in the ball park...
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And how old are you -- TomTaylor. What does it matter?
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
When the deniers can complete college - graduate and write a simple article challenging all of climate science in a legitimate source - then ill listen to their opinion. Somehow after 30 years of climate science focusing on climate change change not a single one has been able to do that. Not a single article disputing the science that stands.

Considering the stuff dragged into here I have to trudge through it aint because no one will listen.

Incidentally you could have gone through kindergarten to a PhD in the amount of time this has been a mainstream issue.


"...Show me one peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out natural, internal climate cycles as the cause of most of the recent warming in the thermometer record..."

After all, as you say, they've had 30 years of work focused on climate change. Should be easy.
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Because I'm ready means others aren't?

It isn't my fault.

Or is it?

Somehow someone else's problem is my problem.

Oh I get it.


LOL.

Btw reach is the worst of all the halos.

And how old are you? I'm just curious because you obviously play video games
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Quoting FFtrombi:
Ok I apologise for asking him to read a few pages.

Maybe we should leave the kid alone.


Can't you do it?

We were told nothing helps our case.

Proven wrong by one link.

I'm leaving to go do something productive because you never know when life will end you need to enjoy it.

Quit being depressed people.

Have fun and read something for a change.

Or go out.

Enjoy the link again.

Hopefully you'll find something you'll like.
850 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm
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Even Russia is trying to curb global warming http://www.telegram.com/article/20101128/NEWS/112 80404/1052/rss01&source=rss
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Ok I apologise for asking him to read a few pages.

Maybe we should leave the kid alone.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
160 yes most "everyone is crazy" except of course for you. Someone has to maintain the balance. Thank you.

I am still waiting for the synopses on the our resident prodigy regarding 850 papers I will now not have to read.


I'm waiting on an apology.

Which won't come.

Get over yourself.

You have yet to prove anything.

NOTHING.

At all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I see that the backwards, un-American march against science continues:

1) A Tennessee state legislator (Bill Dunn [R-District 16]) has introduced a bill (House Bill 368) that would basically require schools and teachers to give equal time and credence to the non-science of AGW denialism, along with the just as non-scientific pseudo-theory of "intelligent design" (aka "A certain creation myth disguised as science").

2) U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced the “Energy Tax Prevention Act” after a closed-door meeting with a list of who's who of big time polluters (the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.). The ETPA argues that the EPA doesn't have the authority to regulate GhGs under the Clean Air Act--despite that fact that the Supreme Court already said it did.

3) On an only slightly different note, Saudi Arabia has apparently overstated its petroleum reserves by 40%, according to some Wikileaks cables. 40%. That's 300 billion barrels--greatly speeding up the arrival of peak oil. Of course, oil companies often overstate the amount of reserves for the very same reason they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince people that the planet isn't warming: to keep us using their product like we're sailors on our first shore leave in two years. But despite the wishful thinking of some--"We'll never run out of cheap oil in our lifetimes!"--those of us who don't die in the next year or two almost certainly will.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13455
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Yes share with us your superior intellect.




Which papers did you find most stimulating
Halo?


I gave you the tool now go and find what you find interesting.

It isn't my job to prove that AGW is man made.

It is your job.

You have to prove it.

The link of the 850 papers proved you wrong.

Are you going to apologize to me?

If not you can find what you want.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrMixon:
Halo, I'm still waiting for your short list.

The "best of the best", so to speak.

Looks like I'm not the only one.

Will you help us?




It depends on what exactly you want.

I told you to go all of them are good.

You just have to find which ones suit you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have read a recent article that discloses the belief that 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some type of mental disorder. When I look at the most liberal half of the liberals and the most conservative half of the conservatives I am convinced that I have fully identified the groups that suffer from some type of mental disorder in the U.S. When I see people here making purely political comments on an AGW topic, I am convinced that some wish to increase the percentage of those that suffer from some type of mental disorder in the U.S..

...... And now, for the weather. Houston, Texas is cold and will be colder tonight. Tomorrow appears to be a better day. I, for one, certainly hope so. Those of us that live along the GOM buy long sleeve T-shirts for winter gear. Our wardrobe is becoming stressed, to say the least.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


Because I'm ready means others aren't?

It isn't my fault.

Or is it?

Somehow someone else's problem is my problem.

Oh I get it.


Another Zinger, man! Dude that Zinger is totally you! you're gonna get some leg tonight for sure!

Tell us how you do.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Halo, I'm still waiting for your short list.

The "best of the best", so to speak.

Looks like I'm not the only one.

Will you help us?

Quoting FFtrombi:
I too would be interested in which of the 850 papers Haloreach has read, and in his analysis of it.

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Quoting TomTaylor:


Well good on ya, that's thinking for yourself, mate.

Now, when you are ready for more advanced thinking, try thinking about other on this planet


Because I'm ready means others aren't?

It isn't my fault.

Or is it?

Somehow someone else's problem is my problem.

Oh I get it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I too would be interested in which of the 850 papers Haloreach has read, and in his analysis of it.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btwcir8w7KI&fe ature=player_detailpage
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Can't believe we are talking about hurricane season, it seems like the last one just ended yesterday!
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


If it really happened.

It wouldn't bother me.

Shoot the other day somebody said you are going to get sick wearing shorts and flip flops in this 20 degree weather.

I said bring it.

I've made peace with that and anything else.

I'm ready for the worst.


Well good on ya, that's thinking for yourself, mate.

Now, when you are ready for more advanced thinking, try thinking about other on this planet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If I place a thermometer in an oven that's already at 200 degrees, then turn the temperature up to 400 degrees, the thermometer WILL show me a rise in temperature as the oven warms up, even though it was in a pretty darn hot place to start with.

Climate change analyses are based on delta-T values, not just T values.



.Quoting Cochise111


Retraction? Herein lies the problem which has caused AGW proponents to lose credibility in the eyes of the world: I show you evidence that 90% of NOAA's surface stations around the world are placed improperly according to their own rules. The improper placements almost invariably would result in improper temperature measurements biased toward the warm side. Only global warming proponents or government propagandists would concur that placement near exhausts or on man-made foundation material would have no effect on temperature when almost all of the stations are affected. It simply defies analytical thinking. I understand why, because if AGW were to admit that their temperature reading were incorrect (too high) over the past thirty years, it would completely destroy their religion. Even with these biased temperature reading, government sponsored climatologists have had to go back and adjust historical temperatures downward to show more contemporary warming. Data manipulation is the key, whether purposeful or accidental.

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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.