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 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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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.

They just cant cut it.


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.
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I know that there has been talk of one more monster snowstorm/blizzard before the end of Winter. To say that we might have a Presidential Day Blizzard is not that far fetched, there are elements in play that could and I am saying could have that occur. Now whether the Northeast itself can handle another one is a totally different setup.

MichaelSTl, what is your take on the last snowstorm occurring, when do you see that happening?
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Quoting greentortuloni:


FACT!

What is this, the Liverpool-Manchester United board?


I was thinking "The Office"

Maybe a little Dwight Schrute.
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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.


Here you go here's as I quote you.

"Not a singe one has been able to do that"

Well you only asked for one but here is 850.

Link

LOL

If he really thinks peer reviewed papers are the best way to go about this.

Then he is mislead.

So many corrupt people out there.

Welcome to the church of AGW.

I'm not a college drop out.

LIAR.
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opps. ride is her. friday night, i'm out hair.
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Quoting Cochise111:


Why are so many cold records being broken when the earth is supposed to be warming? That answer is beyond our capability of reasoning? We have to be members of the pseudo-scientific field of climatology to understand how global warming AKA "climate disruption" defies logic and, more important, defies the laws of physics. The answers lies somewhere in the similar question is how can someone be a liberal? There are several peer-reviewed papers (people here love that term) demonstrating that liberalism is a mental disorder, because liberalism also defies logic. Liberals wish to reward those who do not produce by taking from those who do. The global warming hoax is similar in that those who push it want to punish nations that produce and provide for the rest of the world. Climatology is a pseudo-science, because its results cannot be replicated. With all other fields of science, the scientific method is employed -- but not climatology. Current climate models cannot reproduce past weather conditions, much less future conditions. In my opinion, meteorology has taken a step backward since the introduction of computer models. In my area of Colorado, same-day forecasts are often inaccurate. Just remember, when perusing this blog you must dismiss all semblance of logic and reason. There are certain bloggers here who belong to the sect of global warming religion, and any who question their dicta are scorned ( their motives are certainly questionable). These people are the same as those who said the era of white winters was over for the US and Britain. I also recall 30 years ago when the earth was heading for a mini ice age according to these Nostradamuses. Global warming proponents scream that the earth is warming (be it by tenths of a degree), but they cannot show that increase without relying on manipulation of data or faulty surface temperature stations. Enjoy this site. Read frequently and you will be amused.


Wow. When in doubt resort to lies. If you're what conservatives are these days... we're in a lot of trouble.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128217
Ironically , while debating AGW,looking out my window here in Knotts Island,N.C. We have 5 inches of snow on the ground! 
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I have read JFLORIDA's last post 3 times and I still don't know what the heck he said...I will put on my best high heels and re-read it again
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


No the government dumbs people down so they can easily pass their agenda.

Proven.

FACT.


FACT!

What is this, the Liverpool-Manchester United board?
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Quoting FtMyersgal:

Indeed. Seems like if you don't agree with someone's opinion you call him out belittle them. Not very scientific LOL


Hey I'm not belittling anyone.

You'll notice what side does it on this blog.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Getting out of hand

Indeed. Seems like if you don't agree with someone's opinion you call him out belittle them. Not very scientific LOL
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In the words of Jack............"Here's JFLORIDA"
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
To enjoy more spring time like temps you really need to be in Greenland.


Regional.

And

What is happening there is "Weather"

I told you they do this!!!!
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I get that MichaelSTL.   But one could argue that is a cycle,look at the graph,trending down on the highs then back up. Needs to be for say a 2,3,or 500 year period.
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Quoting oracle28:
"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 Ni�a 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."

Right, because COOLING is temporary, but WARMING is permanant.

Makes perfect sense to me. Could I have some more Kool-Aid?


Now that's funny. I don't care who you are.
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Getting out of hand
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Quoting Grothar:


I have many of them. Unfortunately, too graphic for a family blog. Thought you would enjoy it.


What worries me is.

Why do you have many of them?

Incase some crazed person like me asks for them?

I'm going to go with a yes.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


HAHA.

Great.

Glad I got a link right away.

Sorta made my day.

Although I wonder what year that is and she hit him with a purse.

Not taking anything away from you finding that though.

Congrats.


I have many of them. Unfortunately, too graphic for a family blog. Thought you would enjoy it.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26110
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Ahhh. Ok, Neapolitan. You might be on to something here.

Meteorologist vs. a Climatologist?

So, is this kinda like when one chooses to access the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) database in an effort to look at crime statistics as opposed to eagerly tuning into NPR itching to hear Al Sharpton's latest segment on the problems (and lack of problems) with crime in this country.

Kinda like that? Is that a fair analogy?

Word for word what you cut-and-pasted earlier, and which I already answered. Go back and catch up, if you want.
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After reading my own quotes in people's posts.

I realize.

Half the time I rush through typing something.

Horrible grammar.

But the blame goes to the Public School System.

AKA

The government.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


You don't have to listen to Neo.

I'm pretty sure he is just on the political side of things.

But if today it broke the warmest temperature record.

I'm sure he'd be the first saying Man Caused this.

Yet Cold temperature records are being broke and he says that is weather.

Not climate.

Hypocrite yes.
naw... a hypocrite is someone using broad assumptions to classify another's viewpoints as invalid claiming them to be broad assumptions.
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Quoting oracle28:


Is it running out or freezing up?

Because Fayetteville, AR hit -18 F air temperature two nights ago.

Granted, it would have been -19 F without man-made global warming.


Well I'm in Houston.

I put a bottle of water outside my window last night.

Although I did wake up at 10 it wasn't frozen.

It was a disappointment.
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Quoting Grothar:




HAHA.

Great.

Glad I got a link right away.

Sorta made my day.

Although I wonder what year that is and she hit him with a purse.

Not taking anything away from you finding that though.

Congrats.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HaloReachFan:


What flavor?

We are running out quick.


Is it running out or freezing up?

Because Fayetteville, AR hit -18 F air temperature two nights ago.

Granted, it would have been -19 F without man-made global warming.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Quoting HaloReachFan:


You don't have to listen to Neo.

I'm pretty sure he is just on the political side of things.

But if today it broke the warmest temperature record.

I'm sure he'd be the first saying Man Caused this.

Yet Cold temperature records are being broke and he says that is weather.

Not climate.

Hypocrite yes.
But you can still learn from him, He seems like a very well read man.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


But they all seem to be on this site.

Wonder why?
it would seem to me these supposed 'marxist sunglasses' more likely cause their viewer to see only Marxism when encountering others who differ from their own political bent. as long as it's not benefiting them, any socially beneficial program democratically initiated is a marxist scheme. (*but not their roads, children's schools, cheap food, etc.)
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


I don't believe in speed limits.

Really I don't.

Why have them?

They just need suggested speeds.

The Germans got it right.

Don't you people hit me up with graphs falsifying data because I've seen them.

But you don't see media figures get hit here in the States.

Or if you do I'd love a link.


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26110
Quoting oracle28:
Right, because COOLING is temporary, but WARMING is permanant.

Makes perfect sense to me. Could I have some more Kool-Aid?


What flavor?

We are running out quick.
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Does everyone drive slow in the fast left lane in your state? Did the rule change?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"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 Nia 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."

Right, because COOLING is temporary, but WARMING is permanant.

Makes perfect sense to me. Could I have some more Kool-Aid?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
maybe a presidents day of 2011 Nor'easta??......time will tell,if its cold enough,it'll be possible!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Because weather isn't the same as climate. If you'd like, I can guide you to some educational resources on the differences between the two; there's a lot of information you might find fascinating.
              O.K.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


I for one saw Violence.

Didn't anybody else see Cooper get hit?

That is an act of violence.

Whether I laughed or not in not a question here.

I like Cooper...BUT, It was no worse of an attack that we see everyday here in the states. It is bad all over, Not just the 3rd world countries... Heck, I drive a maze of danger everyday here in south Florida. I have learned through years of experience to control a certain finger, even with the local police dept. who pass me everyday in the ever rush to get to the local bacon and egg establishent.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
any chances of a snowstorm in the NE over the next 2 weeks??
Link IT has a missing image..:(
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Quoting JupiterKen:
MichaelSTL... you post graph after graph yet make no point. Do you have one?


I've been asking that.

For a long time now.
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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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