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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1500. aquak9
no prob, pat. Happy v-day old man.

Best damn roses I ever ate.
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1499. Grothar
Quoting PcolaDan:


Been reading the blog and the barbs flying left and right for days. For those whom the shoe fits...
If it doesn't pertain...


Yo, Dan. I wented to college too. And I am not an egotist, either. I go to church. LOL

How you doing stranger?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


You might want to stick to insulting one person at a time... you have already dug a pretty deep hole as it is.

You were egged on with the first one.. and its sort of understandable. Picking one with a longtime member on here is not going to help your case what so ever.


Help my case? I will never bite my tongue when someone attacks me personally. Sure, they can disagree with what I write, but when they insult me through the anonymity of the internet it pisses me off.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting Patrap:
Was she a white G.Shepherd? I had a solid black one who lived for 11 years.....still miss him very much., as I know you miss Nova.

AKC ,yes..and from a Line I had since 89',she was the last of that line,Nova was.


I have a new one Now,Nola Roux


So glad you have another best friend. Gorgeous dog.
My John Henry was from a litter of one...lol..he was a huge dog....weighed about 120....awesome dog.
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The Red River Valley is a lot flatter than most of Saskatchewan except the part around Winipeg, I reckon. :-)
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1495. Patrap
Thanx aquaK9..

I know she met you,,and thats always going to be close to us,,always.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Quoting PcolaDan:


Hey Big Fish. Think the fires and ice are both out for now. (it was a controlled burn I saw earlier) And getting up to 70 later this week. Loving it


I see BF had ice on the bayou again... you guys can keep that cold stuff in the deep south where it belongs. We are back to golfing weather up here.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting JohnTucker:


Thank you. When someone important notices it ill correct it.


Quite an attitude for an 11 day member- this might help....



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Quoting Orcasystems:
t

Since we now know that almost anyone can be termed a "Scientist" you going to have to come up with a better definition as to what you call a "Scientist"

Here is what I have found...

If you study a system, collect verifiable data, form testable hypotheses about the system's properties, and evaluate those hypotheses objectively, then you are arguably practising science . Usually "scientists" are associated with the study of naturally-occurring physical and biological systems, but it is commonly assumed that human cultural systems (such as religion, politics, society, or business) can be studied scientifically as well.

Of course, it is also widely believed that "social" scientists have generally been much less successful than "natural" scientists, and the principles that govern human cultural systems remain poorly understood at best.

In practice, the title of "scientist" is almost completely unregulated, and anyone can legally claim it, regardless of education or profession. In some states, you could be restricted from using titles like "soil scientist" or "wetlands scientist" due to licensing rules.


Going by this definition... "anyone" working with the data, could be called a "Scientist"



Anyone can call themselves a "brain surgeon"--but that doesn't necessarily make them one, now does it? The thing is, a person needs to be scientifically literate to be considered a scientist:

"Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities. In the National Science Education Standards, the content standards define scientific literacy.

"Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it.* Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately." (http://www.literacynet.org/science/scientificlite racy.html)

* - In case anyone's wondering, this is the reason sites like WUWT and "scientists" such as Lindzen, Spencer, and Pielke are regarded with disdain by true scientists.
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Quoting Cochise111:


If you're speaking of me, it was only because I was accused of not going to college. Maybe you should read the entire blog before you make comments.


Been reading the blog and the barbs flying left and right for days. For those whom the shoe fits...
If it doesn't pertain...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Cochise111:


If you're speaking of me, it was only because I was accused of not going to college. Maybe you should read the entire blog before you make comments.


You might want to stick to insulting one person at a time... you have already dug a pretty deep hole as it is.

You were egged on with the first one.. and its sort of understandable. Picking one with a longtime member on here is not going to help your case what so ever.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Hey PD.. hows the Fire & Ice going?


Hey Big Fish. Think the fires and ice are both out for now. (it was a controlled burn I saw earlier) And getting up to 70 later this week. Loving it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
EyestoSea-

Nova rode in a small boat. The trees were still dripping. A trolling motor, to hear better, the sound of not-silence.

Tap on a roof, tap-tap on a roof, at water level..."Where are they Nova? Where are they, girl?"

Nova would whine, wag- "over there daddy" and on again with the trolling motor.

Slowly slowly, listen, listen- then chop like mad thru a roof. While standing in a little boat. While Nova wagged and whined.

If I remember correctly, Pat told me "it was like Christmas morning" when live hands came outta the freshly chopped roof-hole, eyes squinting in the sunlight.

Lest we EVER forget....



What a great story :)....thanks for sharing....and I shall never forget !
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1486. Grothar
Quoting Orcasystems:


Fargo... isn't that a lot like Saskatchewan... you can watch your dog run away for 3 days??


Now that's cruel! LOL
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Quoting RecordSeason:


I see you haven't made it to 9th grade physical science yet, because that is an example of CONDUCTION and has nothing to do with radiation.


What? Conduction HELPS get the heat energy into the water. Waters ability to heat up fairly quickly and hang onto heat is due in part to it's absorption properties.

If a material does not respond in the region of IR radiation, then heat passes through it. For example, if you hold a germanium plate up in front you and took a IR picture, it would appear as if you were holding nothing in front of you. Your body heat goes straight through it like it wasn't even there.



You should also know that water vapor and liquid water are two different things.



What? No they're not.

A material doesn't change it's spectral response just because its state has changed. In fact, it's that very property that makes spectral analysis so useful to begin with.


You should also know that not everything you read in a text book is entirely correct.




Really? Well if you can point me to a peer reviewed source that says water doesn't respond to any wavelength of EM radiation AND where a state change can effect it's spectral emissions, I would be most interested.

Do you realize a microwave oven has an 1800watt input, and a 1000watt output focused beam of 100% at the exactly correct frequency, that is only an inch across, depending on model?


That's not how a microwave works. A microwave uses a magnetron to create microwaves at a specific wavelength that water responds to. The waves are sent into the chamber where they bounce around and (unfortunately) form a standing wave pattern. This creates multiple "hot spots" within the microwave and is the main reason why pretty much all modern microwaves have turn tables. Without them, you end up one part of a frozen dinner still practically frozen and another part piping hot.

Microwaves do not focus their energy into a 1 inch square.


You can't seriously be comparing that to something like the ocean or a glass of water sitting in sunlight across all spectra.


What are you talking about?

You made the statement that water doesn't respond to any EM radiation. I disproved this by using a microwave, which uses the fact that water absorbs microwave radiation and converts it to heat. I don't think this is too hard to understand.



Then why, WHY does a fresnel lens burn something after going through several feet of water?

Why would a water lens work at all if water is allegedly absorbing so much of the radiation?


Maybe you missed this part, but water is TRANSPARENT to the visible spectrum. Visible light will pass on through water. Other EM radiation will be blocked, absorbed, reflected, or changed depending on the wavelength, but visible wavelengths will just zoom on through.

Therefore, concentrating a beam of intense visible light onto a substance that reacts to visible light by converting it to heat can catch on fire even if shone through several feet of water.

Now if you were attempting to concentrate an intense beam of IR radiation though water and assuming you are using materials that can work in that wave band, then the wood wouldn't catch on fire as the water would absorb about 60-70% of the incoming radiation (well, eventually it would if you focused enough energy on it but you'd flash boil the water first).

Another way to demonstrate this would be to fill an IR transparent tank of water then stand behind and take your picture in IR or use an IR video camera. It would almost look like you walked behind a wall.

Actually, a few years back the museum of science in my area was running a demonstration similar to this. They had an IR camera set up and several "walls" of materials you could walk behind and see what happened. They had water, CO2, and a couple of others.

Anyways...

Water lenses work because water is a medium, and therefore can be used to guide and manipulate the path that light takes through it. This is independent of spectral response, as the wavelengths of light themselves are not affected significantly. They can be bent, split, reflected, and refracted based on the optical properties and configuration, but the light itself isn't changed into IR radiation or microwave radiation.



Have you even looked at the damn videos YET, or ever tried this yourself?

If you had, you'd know how ridiculous you look right now.


The videos only show expected physical phenomena. There's nothing mysterious going on, nor is there anything that contradicts anything I've said. Unless I'm missing something, there's nothing in the videos that contradicts known physics in any way.

You made statements about the spectral response of water. I showed that they were incorrect and provided evidence. You then go on to say that I'm wrong and post videos. Those videos actually back up my points.

If this keeps up, I won't have to post rebuttals as you'll be doing all the work for me.

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Quoting PcolaDan:
What a bunch of egotistical idiots.


Hey PD.. hows the Fire & Ice going?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks - Yahoo

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_alaska_climate
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Quoting PcolaDan:
What a bunch of egotistical idiots.


If you're speaking of me, it was only because I was accused of not going to college. Maybe you should read the entire blog before you make comments.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting Ossqss:


I just could not pass that up :)

It does draw some parallel inferences through out and the end, LOL


LOved it then...still watch the reruns now.... good, fun, clean humor :}
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1480. aquak9
EyestoSea-

Nova rode in a small boat. The trees were still dripping. A trolling motor, to hear better, the sound of not-silence.

Tap on a roof, tap-tap on a roof, at water level..."Where are they Nova? Where are they, girl?"

Nova would whine, wag- "over there daddy" and on again with the trolling motor.

Slowly slowly, listen, listen- then chop like mad thru a roof. While standing in a little boat. While Nova wagged and whined.

If I remember correctly, Pat told me "it was like Christmas morning" when live hands came outta the freshly chopped roof-hole, eyes squinting in the sunlight.

Lest we EVER forget....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1479. Patrap
Was she a white G.Shepherd? I had a solid black one who lived for 11 years.....still miss him very much., as I know you miss Nova.

AKC ,yes..and from a Line I had since 89',she was the last of that line,Nova was.


I have a new one Now,Nola Roux
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
What a bunch of egotistical idiots.
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Quoting JohnTucker:


Your wrong and corrected. Brave would find a specific case of dishonesty from said scientists and use your expertise to pursue it. But no you are posting smears and threats anonymously in a weather chat room. Big, big man.

I rather doubt your credentials.


I really don't care if you doubt my credentials, but I didn't even include all of them. Graduated from Holy Cross College (New Orleans) in 2000 and LSU Law Center in 2003. And, for the record, I wasn't threatening anyone. I was just stating a fact. If you weren't online, you wouldn't be making these comments. And another fact: if we were in person, you wouldn't be making them to me.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting Grothar:


You didn't like mine?


Fargo... isn't that a lot like Saskatchewan... you can watch your dog run away for 3 days??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1474. Grothar
Quoting BahaHurican:
Now, having caught up w/ the blog, I will try to find a Fargo pic for my friend in ND....



You didn't like mine?
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1473. Patrap
SH132011 - Tropical Cyclone BINGIZA

2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
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1471. Patrap
Les the Bon Tomps Roule,,.

At Least Uptown..

ACK!!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
1470. jwh250
Quoting JohnTucker:


You're wrong and corrected.
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Quoting Patrap:


Im a Big Bob Fan fo sho..

Thanx,,thats from our FEMA Trailer days here.

Nova passed in Dec 08,,she was 14yrs old.


Was she a white G.Shepherd? I had a solid black one who lived for 11 years.....still miss him very much., as I know you miss Nova.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Again, we find that the water itself absorbs almost no EM radiation.

He has a heat sink submerged in the water as a "target" for the concentrated solar radiation.

Video


Floating wood and underwater leaves burn in water

These leaves are about an inch or two under water, and they experience conflagration when the beam hits them. The water is largely unaffected.

Same lens melts glass (~2700f) after 25 to 30 seconds exposure

Anyway, the one with burning wood on the other side of the aquarium I haven't been able to find again.

However, the one burning saturated wood and leaves submerged in water is even more impressive and demonstrates my point even better.
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Quoting Cochise111:


I assume you were attempting humor, which I don't get. I'm from New Orleans and I see you are probably one of those hide behind the keyboard assassins. Brave of mind but not of heart. If I'm wrong, correct me.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting misanthrope:

British Columbia



I personally hope he isn't.. I found his comment to be way out of line and quite childish.

I can see why he thought it.. but I can see no valid reason to type it.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Subject: B3) What names have been retired in the Atlantic and East Pacific basin? Link

Link

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Quoting misanthrope:

British Columbia



I assume you were attempting humor, which I don't get. I'm from New Orleans and I see you are probably one keyboard assassins. Brave of mind but not of heart. If I'm wrong, correct me.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
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Quoting Cochise111:


Victoria in what part of the world?

British Columbia

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1460. Patrap
Nova Von Snowcloud
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
1451 lol!
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1458. Ossqss
Something interesting between rounds 1,221 and 1,222?

Insert "beating dead horse GIF"

Welcome to Today In Weather History for Sunday, February 13, 2011

Frankly, I am surprised you all did not check out the "Frost Quake" stuff in more detail. Some of those folks got shook prdy good ........
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1457. Patrap
Quoting EYEStoSEA:


" Gloom, despair, and agony on you "...like your new avatar, Pat.


Im a Big Bob Fan fo sho..

Thanx,,thats from our FEMA Trailer days here.

Nova passed in Dec 08,,she was 14yrs old.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Now, having caught up w/ the blog, I will try to find a Fargo pic for my friend in ND....

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Quoting misanthrope:

Are you from Victoria?



Victoria in what part of the world?
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting Neapolitan:

So--an "independent group" of non-scientists? I'd look forward to their findings...if I couldn't already find them everyday on WUWT or Fox News... ;-)
t

Since we now know that almost anyone can be termed a "Scientist" you going to have to come up with a better definition as to what you call a "Scientist"

Here is what I have found...

If you study a system, collect verifiable data, form testable hypotheses about the system's properties, and evaluate those hypotheses objectively, then you are arguably practising science . Usually "scientists" are associated with the study of naturally-occurring physical and biological systems, but it is commonly assumed that human cultural systems (such as religion, politics, society, or business) can be studied scientifically as well.

Of course, it is also widely believed that "social" scientists have generally been much less successful than "natural" scientists, and the principles that govern human cultural systems remain poorly understood at best.

In practice, the title of "scientist" is almost completely unregulated, and anyone can legally claim it, regardless of education or profession. In some states, you could be restricted from using titles like "soil scientist" or "wetlands scientist" due to licensing rules.


Going by this definition... "anyone" working with the data, could be called a "Scientist"


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
1452. Patrap
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Quoting Cochise111:


Didn't want to meet up for that kind of thing, if "you get my drift." I'm just tired of people like you making snide comments anonymously with no repercussions. What I was saying is that you couldn't get away with that in person. This comment will probably be removed, but if you attacked me personally face to face, you'd regret it. Because of the protection you have on the net, you can get away with saying anything you want. What have you ever done for this country? You're a miserable piece of crap who probably hasn't had a date in his life. Let the admin read everything. You wouldn't think of saying the things you do if you weren't living in your fantasy world. Similar to the AGW fantasy world.

Are you from Victoria?

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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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