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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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.


But it won't happen.

Fantasy vs. Reality.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting overwash12:

This is it,climate change is a natural cycle,whether we agree on the culprit behind the change or not,the show must go on!


The show goes on.

Thought the language was bleeped it isn't.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:


Then what did you want?

I said an asteroid could plummet our temperatures to record lows.

And you said bring it on.

Maybe you should reconsider the implications of what you wish for.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
cat5, where do you live to be able to say that you are looking forward to the season
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Quoting HaloReachFan:
Although I have asked this before.

What is the set temperature the Earth most maintain each day to keep everybody happy?
This is it,climate change is a natural cycle,whether we agree on the culprit behind the change or not,the show must go on!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting oracle28:



2. No where, has anybody ever said that warming will continue. It has always been, "IF this warming continues" and, "the planet HAS" been warming." notice the past tense of has.

So Global Warming ended?

I must have missed that proclamation.

What? Did you think that I knew the earth would be warmer in 5 years from now?

I have no idea.

Nor does anyone else, it's all a guess.

However, it would probably be smarter to predict that it would be warmer in 5 years, since over the course of the past 40 years, the temperatures have been rising.


And as I already stated, whether our global temperatures rise or fall, if humans are still contributing more CO2 to the atmosphere than they are removing, than we are contributing to the warmth of the planet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:


Then what did you want?

I said an asteroid could plummet our temperatures to record lows.

And you said bring it on.

Maybe you should reconsider the implications of what you wish for.
Mr. Taylor, you are better off ignoring HaloReach than conversing with him. I believe he is purposely looking for a fight. He seems to be a very angry person.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Well im waiting for a retraction from Cochise - that is what reputable scientists do when they make a mistake, omit or the science moves unexpectedly forward.


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 proponents were to admit that their temperature readings were incorrect (too high) over the past thirty years, it would completely destroy their religion. Even with these biased temperature readings, 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.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 347
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Never said that.

Thanks for putting words in my mouth.


Then what did you want?

I said an asteroid could plummet our temperatures to record lows.

And you said bring it on.

Maybe you should reconsider the implications of what you wish for.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HaloReachFan:
Although I have asked this before.

What is the set temperature the Earth most maintain each day to keep everybody happy?


Out planet exhibits a wide variety of temperatures and climates all across the planet. If you are not satisfied with the current temperatures, then stop being a lazy human, and be more like every other animal inhabiting this planet: MOVE!
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Quoting TomTaylor:


Doing well, just waiting for hurricane season to get here already.

GW stuff gets way to redundant, and people go back on proven facts way too often.



Oh so you still want catastrophic problems, but just on the cooler side of things as opposed to the warming extreme?

glad I understand where you are coming from.


Never said that.

Thanks for putting words in my mouth.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
Just a reminder to the AGW folk out there...


All the AGW folk, look at the latest data and say, "look we aren't warming, this disproves global warming."

Yes, you are right, we are cooling relative to the peak in temperatures during November. You are 100% correct. I can read a graph, and it shows plainly, that the temperatures did drop.



HOWEVER, this does nothing to disprove the fact that CO2 does contribute to the warmth of our planet. It does nothing to disprove the fact that humans are adding to the level of CO2 to the atmosphere. And therefore, does nothing to disprove the fact that humans are adding (really, it's retaining, not adding) AT LEAST some additional heat to the atmosphere, that would not be there without us. To what extent we are warming, will likely never be known because our Earth's systems are just so complex.


And again, please stop fooling yourselves, agw folk. We are saying the earth has been warming in the past, and, if this continues trouble is eminent. However, NO WHERE, do we say it will continue warming, we have no clue what will happen. For all we know an asteroid could hit us tomorrow and plummet the temperatures to record lows.



The point of this post:

1. Humans are still adding to the temperatures of our planet. Whether our global temps are rising or lowering, if we are adding more CO2 to the atmosphere than we are taking away, we are having an effect on the temperatures.

2. No where, has anybody ever said that warming will continue. It has always been, "IF this warming continues" and, "the planet HAS" been warming." notice the past tense of has.

3. One last thing, try and keep in mind that as a whole, the temperature of the last 40 years has been rising. One little dip over the course of one month in 2011, means hardly anything when you look at the whole picture.



2. No where, has anybody ever said that warming will continue. It has always been, "IF this warming continues" and, "the planet HAS" been warming." notice the past tense of has.

So Global Warming ended?

I must have missed that proclamation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Mr. Tom Taylor,

How you been buddy!?


Doing well, just waiting for hurricane season to get here already.

GW stuff gets way too redundant, and people go back on proven facts way too often.

Quoting HaloReachFan:


Never said it was. But some people want us to be.


Oh so you still want catastrophic problems, but just on the cooler side of things as opposed to the warming extreme?

glad I understand where you are coming from.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
But which did you find most convincing?  Is there a reason why you won't answer that question?  You have read at least a few of those 850 articles, haven't you?  So tell me which ones you read so I can understand your perspective.

Quoting HaloReachFan:


Anything that was free, they all have great information in them.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Although I have asked this before.

What is the set temperature the Earth most maintain each day to keep everybody happy?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:


oh my god.

Global Cooling is no better than global warming.

get over yourself


Never said it was. But some people want us to be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrMixon:
Halo,

I cannot afford to pay for access to all 850 of those articles, so if you could narrow it down to a few of your favorites I'd appreciate it.  Surely you've read some of them.  Which articles did you find most convincing?

Thanks!


Anything that was free, they all have great information in them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HaloReachFan:


I'm ready...

Got myself 2 bottles of lemonade and some goldfish.

Do I need a jacket?


oh my god.

If global temperatures rise or drop more than 2 degrees C, you have catastrophic problems on both ends of the scale, global cooling and global warming.

get over yourself
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Halo,

I cannot afford to pay for access to all 850 of those articles, so if you could narrow it down to a few of your favorites I'd appreciate it.  Surely you've read some of them.  Which articles did you find most convincing?

Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Switzerland freezes Mubaraks assets
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting Orcasystems:
Are you retired Military... or just maybe a little bored and in a rut... This morning I discovered how to get that old feeling back... the excitement and adrenaline rush you used to get in the field... and yes, even those 5 second of pure panic and fear..

This morning in the store started off as per normal.. coming in and setting things up... then the ritual making of the coffee in my new fangled coffee maker, which has one of those side tanks on it, that can be filled with clean filtered water from a water dispenser.

Michelle was working with me yesterday... and as per normal the little water tank was almost empty.. so I went to the water dispenser to refill it.. lo and behold the 5 gallon bottle that sits on top is empty (explains why the coffee machine was empty.. kids).

No problem... just put a new 5 gallon tank bottle of water back on top :)

I took the old bottle off and grabbed one of the new full ones.... that's when the day started to go bad...

I have linoleum floors on a cement pad... when that 5 gallon water jug was about 3 feet of the floor... it slipped out of my hand. Have you ever seen what happens to a 5 gallon plastic jug of water when you drop it from 3 feet onto a cement floor??? It was spectacular.

Bang... excitement and adrenaline rush out your ying yang... $1000 of dollars of product on the show room floor... and a small Tsunami heading for it. Towels, clothes, paper towels, and mops all over the place.

Took me forever to stop the flood from spreading and really causing a major FUBAR situation... after much work and mopping I got the water under control and cleaned up....

Where is the 5 seconds of Fear you say????

As I am congratulating myself for having the situation under control.. I noticed a small trail of water leading under my front counter... actually, it was a rather wide and deep trail of water???

WTF... oh Crud... I know whats on the other side of that counter... its my UPS and Power bars for the computer systems... now we have the 5 seconds of Fear and Panic.... there is a low spot on my floor... want to guess where it is??

Luckily... no sparks and flames... but a lot of wet stuff... it was not deep enough to get to anything important... but it sure got me going..


So everyone..... how is your day going :)
Just some excitement Orca, to see if you were still alive. Nothing like getting the heart pumping. I hope that is all the "Fear and Panic" you feel today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey there Flood, how ya doing so far this winter?

Btw what was all that talk in the news about some asteroid around the size of 900 ft.
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Hi DJ. I think we should call it the Global Climate Change War.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
For all we know an asteroid could hit us tomorrow and plummet the temperatures to record lows.


I'm ready...

Got myself 2 bottles of lemonade and some goldfish.

Do I need a jacket?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Ahhh...don't worry about him. Things are always a bit convoluted for those who refuse to take the Marxist sunglasses off.


Oh look, it's Joe McCarthy...I thought you was dead?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Why does MichaelSTL post about Surface Stations then I reply back with great information and he doesn't respond.

Oh because he ignored me.

Atleast I think he did.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just a reminder to the AGW folk out there...


All the AGW folk, look at the latest data and say, "look we aren't warming, this disproves global warming."

Yes, you are right, we are cooling relative to the peak in temperatures during November. You are 100% correct. I can read a graph, and it shows plainly, that the temperatures did drop.



HOWEVER, this does nothing to disprove the fact that CO2 does contribute to the warmth of our planet. It does nothing to disprove the fact that humans are adding to the level of CO2 to the atmosphere. And therefore, does nothing to disprove the fact that humans are adding (really, it's retaining, not adding) AT LEAST some additional heat to the atmosphere, that would not be there without us. To what extent we are warming, will likely never be known because our Earth's systems are just so complex.


And again, please stop fooling yourselves, agw folk. We are saying the earth has been warming in the past, and, if this continues trouble is eminent. However, NO WHERE, do we say it will continue warming, we have no clue what will happen. For all we know an asteroid could hit us tomorrow and plummet the temperatures to record lows.



The point of this post:

1. Humans are still adding to the temperatures of our planet. Whether our global temps are rising or lowering, if we are adding more CO2 to the atmosphere than we are taking away, we are having an effect on the temperatures.

2. No where, has anybody ever said that warming will continue. It has always been, "IF this warming continues" and, "the planet HAS" been warming." notice the past tense of has.

3. One last thing, try and keep in mind that as a whole, the temperature of the last 40 years has been rising. One little dip over the course of one month in 2011, means hardly anything when you look at the whole picture.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Well im waiting for a retraction from Cochise - that is what reputable scientists do when they make a mistake, omit or the science moves unexpectedly forward.


But you won't apologize about lying about me.

Hypocrite.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The thing is we have the freakish season of 05 which has really thrown every season from there on, into a loop. So what I meant is I am trying to find something that would explain the extreme cold and dry season we have had to what would happen possibly during summertime here.
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Neutral is likely, but some models are trending towards an El Nino, like this one:



Given the exceptionally high heat content in the western Pacific, that doesn't look unlikely, although it remains to be seen if the atmosphere itself switches over during the critical spring-early summer transition period (never mind that model predictions past that period are much less accurate than after).


Just remember that near-record heat content in the western Pacific is expected with a near-record strength La Nina. It has little to do with the probability of an El Nino this summer.
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Michael, would it be correct to correlate the hurricane season that everyone in the US dealt with during the summer of 1961 to the season we have before us this year? The reason I ask this, that was as you said the only other time that the US dealt with such historical cold temperatures, also down here in Florida we have been below normal on rainfall this winter, what does that relate to in past winters and would that then correlate as well to a more than busier hurricane season?


The thing about that though is that the season before looked nothing like 2010, and the period of the late 1950s and early 1960s was a very neutral ENSO time, which is the opposite of what we have going on right now with massive swings back and forth.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Are you retired Military... or just maybe a little bored and in a rut... This morning I discovered how to get that old feeling back... the excitement and adrenaline rush you used to get in the field... and yes, even those 5 second of pure panic and fear..

This morning in the store started off as per normal.. coming in and setting things up... then the ritual making of the coffee in my new fangled coffee maker, which has one of those side tanks on it, that can be filled with clean filtered water from a water dispenser.

Michelle was working with me yesterday... and as per normal the little water tank was almost empty.. so I went to the water dispenser to refill it.. lo and behold the 5 gallon bottle that sits on top is empty (explains why the coffee machine was empty.. kids).

No problem... just put a new 5 gallon tank bottle of water back on top :)

I took the old bottle off and grabbed one of the new full ones.... that's when the day started to go bad...

I have linoleum floors on a cement pad... when that 5 gallon water jug was about 3 feet of the floor... it slipped out of my hand. Have you ever seen what happens to a 5 gallon plastic jug of water when you drop it from 3 feet onto a cement floor??? It was spectacular.

Bang... excitement and adrenaline rush out your ying yang... $1000 of dollars of product on the show room floor... and a small Tsunami heading for it. Towels, clothes, paper towels, and mops all over the place.

Took me forever to stop the flood from spreading and really causing a major FUBAR situation... after much work and mopping I got the water under control and cleaned up....

Where is the 5 seconds of Fear you say????

As I am congratulating myself for having the situation under control.. I noticed a small trail of water leading under my front counter... actually, it was a rather wide and deep trail of water???

WTF... oh Crud... I know whats on the other side of that counter... its my UPS and Power bars for the computer systems... now we have the 5 seconds of Fear and Panic.... there is a low spot on my floor... want to guess where it is??

Luckily... no sparks and flames... but a lot of wet stuff... it was not deep enough to get to anything important... but it sure got me going..


So everyone..... how is your day going :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Michael, would it be correct to correlate the hurricane season that everyone in the US dealt with during the summer of 1961 to the season we have before us this year? The reason I ask this, that was as you said the only other time that the US dealt with such historical cold temperatures, also down here in Florida we have been below normal on rainfall this winter, what does that relate to in past winters and would that then correlate as well to a more than busier hurricane season?
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?



LOL...


You sent me a chart from NOAA. What do you expect them to say? That their own data is faulty. Give me a break. If you read the study, they adjusted the data (read: manipulated). Answer this question: if a station does not follow their NOAA's own rules for placement, is the data accurate? Why do you think they developed such rules? I'll answer my own question: to maintain data accuracy. Do you really think a station placed at an airport around jet exhaust is accurate? Many of them are placed in such areas. You alarmists can't even accept basic reason and logic in your attempt to push this cultism.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 347
Surface Stations.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

How about this one is this one not warm biased MichaelSTL?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Is this one warm biased?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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Quoting MichaelSTL:
The deniers have been grossly overhyping the effects of La Nina for decades:

Big Chill for the Greenhouse
Monday, Oct. 31, 1988

Says meteorologist and oceanographer James O'Brien of Florida State University: "We are predicting that by next year, average global temperature will retreat to 1950s levels, slowing up planetary warming by 30 to 35 years."


Although, to give that article some credit, it does say this (but "probably" obviously shouldn't be there):

...some scientists believe that this winter La Nina will bring on a dramatic, though probably temporary, drop in average global temperatures...


In reality, the drop in temperature was indeed only temporary and 1989 was only 0.1°C cooler than 1988, which was the then-warmest year on record - only to be surpassed in 1990...

will we have a neutral La Nina this summer or what phase will we be going into for Hurricane Season?
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Quoting Cochise111:


It ain't science, brother. Not provable or replicable. Disproving a negative -- proving that global warming is not happening -- is much more difficult than proving it is occurring, and the AGW crowd can't even do that. There is no consensus among climatologists. So much for it being a "science." Not a single article disproving the stats? You just refuse to read them. You mean to tell me that when surface stations are placed on asphalt or next to jet engine exhausts that the temperature readings are accurate? Not to mention that the thermometers are almost never calibrated or replaced due to age. 90% of surface temp stations in the country are improperly sited. Don't tell me that that study was disproved. That would complete dismiss logic and physics. If a thermometer is placed next to an a/c exhaust or on concrete, the results are completely erroneous. There is no question.



Link

But then they'll tell you that they don't use these methods anymore.

When did they stop?

How do they combine proxies with surface stations to satellites?
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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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