The global tropical cyclone season of 2010: record inactivity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 AM GMT on April 03, 2011

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The year 2010 was one of the strangest on record globally for tropical cyclones. Each year, the globe has about 92 tropical cyclones--called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the Western Pacific, and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. But in 2010, we had just 68 of these storms--the fewest since the dawn of the satellite era in 1970. The previous record slowest year was 1977, when 69 tropical cyclones occurred world-wide. Both the Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific had their quietest seasons on record in 2010, the Atlantic had its 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851, and the Southern Hemisphere had a below average season. As a result, the Atlantic, which ordinarily accounts for just 13% of global cyclone activity, accounted for 28% in 2010--the greatest proportion since accurate tropical cyclone records began in the 1970s. Global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for 2010 was the lowest since the late 1970s (ACE is a measure of the total destructive power of a hurricane season, based on the number of days strong winds are observed.)


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of 2010's strongest tropical cyclone: Super Typhoon Megi at 2:25 UTC October 18, 2010. A reconnaissance aircraft measured a central pressure of 885 mb and surface winds of 190 mph in the storm, making Megi the 8th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Image credit: NASA.

A record quiet 2010 Northwest Pacific Typhoon Season
The Western Pacific set records for fewest number of named storms (fifteen, previous record seventeen in 1998) and typhoons (nine, tied with the previous record of nine in 1998. Note that Tropical Storm Mindulle was upgraded to a typhoon in post-analysis after the season was over.) Reliable records began in the mid-1960s. For just the second year in history, the Atlantic had more named storms and hurricane-strength storms than the Western Pacific. The only other year this occurred was in 2005. Ordinarily, the Western Pacific has double to triple the amount of tropical cyclones of the Atlantic. One other notable feature of the 2010 season was the lack of a land-falling typhoon on the Japanese mainland. This is only the second such occurrence since 1988.

In 2010, there was only one super typhoon--a storm with at least 150 mph winds--in the Western Pacific. However, this storm, Super Typhoon Megi, was a doozy. Megi's sustained winds cranked up to a fearsome 190 mph and its central pressure bottomed out at 885 mb on October 16, making it the 8th most intense tropical cyclone in world history. Fortunately, Megi weakened significantly before hitting the Philippines as a Category 3 typhoon. Megi killed 69 people on Taiwan and in the Philippines and did $700 million in damage, and was the second deadliest and damaging typhoon of 2010. Category 3 Typhoon Fanapi was the deadliest and most damaging typhoon of 2010, doing over $1 billion in damage to Taiwan and China and killing 105.

The record quiet typhoon season in 2010 was due, in part, to the La Niña phenomena. During such events, the formation region for Western Pacific typhoons moves northwestward, closer to China. Thus, storms that form in the Western Pacific spend less time over water before they encounter land, resulting in a lesser chance to become a named storm, and less time to intensify. They also accumulate a lower ACE due to their shorter duration. Since the Western Pacific is responsible for 35% of the world's major tropical cyclones, the global ACE value is strongly tied to year-to-year variations in the El Niño/La Niña cycle.


Figure 2.
Statistics for the global tropical cyclone season of 2010. The two numbers in each box represent the actual number observed in 2010, followed by the averages from the period 1983-2007 (in parentheses). Averages and records were computed using the December 23, 2008 release of NOAA's International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship.

A record quiet 2010 Eastern Pacific Typhoon Season
In the Eastern Pacific, it was also a record-quiet season. On average, the Eastern Pacific has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes in a season. In 2010, there were 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The previous record quietest season since 1966 was the year 1977, when the Eastern Pacific had 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and zero intense hurricanes. La Niña was largely responsible for the quiet Eastern Pacific hurricane season, due in part to the cool sea surface temperatures it brought. It is quite remarkable that both the Eastern and Western Pacific ocean basins had record quiet seasons in the same year--there is no historical precedent for such an occurrence.

Climate change and the 2008 global tropical cyclone season
We only have about 30 years of reliable global tropical cyclone data, and tropical cyclones are subject to large natural variations in numbers and intensities. Thus, it will be very difficult at present to prove that climate change is affecting global tropical cyclone activity. (This is less so in the Atlantic, where we have a longer reliable data record to work with.) A common theme of many recent publications on the future of tropical cyclones globally in a warming climate is that the total number of these storms will decrease, but the strongest storms will get stronger. For example, a 2010 review paper published in Nature Geosciences concluded: "greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2 - 11% by 2100. Existing modeling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6 - 34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modeling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre." Last year, I discussed a paper by Bender et al that concluded that the total number of Atlantic hurricanes is expected to decrease by the end of the century, but there could be an increase of 81% in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms. The net effect of a decrease in total number of hurricanes but an increase in the strongest hurricanes should cause an increase in U.S. hurricane damages of about 30% by the end of the century, the authors computed, assuming that hurricane damages behave as they did during the past century. A new paper just published by Murakami et. al predicts that Western Pacific tropical cyclones may decrease in number by 23% by the end of the century, primarily due to a shift in the formation location and tracks of these storms.

In light of these theoretical results, it is interesting that 2010 saw the lowest number of global tropical cyclones on record, but an average number of very strong Category 4 and 5 storms. Fully 21% of last year's tropical cyclones reached Category 4 or 5 strength, versus just 14% during the period 1983 - 2007. Most notably, in 2010 we had the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea (Category 4 Cyclone Phet in June) and the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Myanmar/Burma (October's Tropical Cyclone Giri, an upper end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds.) It is too early to read anything into this year's global tropical cyclone numbers, though--we need many more years of data before making any judgments on how global tropical cyclones might be responding to climate change.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Record heat over southern Asia in May helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal, and the exceptionally warm SSTs helped fuel Tropical Cyclone Phet into the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea. Phet peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone. Phet killed 44 people and did $700 million in damage to Oman.


Figure 4. Visible MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Giri taken at 2:55am EDT October 22, 2010, just prior to landfall in Myanmar/Burma. At the time, Giri was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giri killed 157 people and did $359 million in damage. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting hydrus:
We are going to get whacked again here on the plateau....bbl


Yeah it sure looks like it!

I'm probably just gonna get some decent thunderstorms this time instead of a direct hit from a monster rotating super cell.

BTW, I checked the NWS to see the actual path of the tornado, it technically would have made a direct hit including my house, but the tornado happened to lift into the air just before crossing over me than came back down to cause significant damage to St Pete/Clearwater Int'l airport right behind me.


I'd like to think it was a little bit of divine intervention. I never got to see the tornado or what would have been a funnel cloud when it passed over me. However it may have been due to the fact that I had a rainfall rate of 5 inches per hour and 60 to 70 knot winds at the time. It was like a water cannon was being blasted on my windows, I couldn't see anything but white and tree debris brushing by the windows and literal rumbling and rattling of my house.

Interesting to find I could have had a disturbing encounter with a direct hit from a tornado if it hadn't had lifted. I am obsessed with weather, even more so severe weather, but I am thankful that tornado lifted while it passed over me.

It surreal seeing the damage it left nearby before crossing over and touching down again on the other side of me. It also reminds me that if the unlikely chance of a tornado has happened right here, its only a matter of time before the eye wall of a hurricane take the same path...
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7561
Can anyone post and discuss the latest SOI graph. TIA
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With the Jet Stream moving North, this will allow abundant moisture and warm temperatures to filter into the Central Plains and Northeast. It will also increase the moisture and unstable air over Florida. This could allow conditions to be very favorable to produce severe weather anywhere in these areas.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26426
Quoting Jedkins01:



I'm not too concerned about the severe threat in Florida this Tuesday... Some reasons being include the fact that the parent low and its upper disturbances will be way north of here. We will have plenty of heating and moisture. However as some of you may already know, relying on daytime heating as your source to worry about severe weather with a cold front is really not that significant. A great example of this was in Florida on Thursday. Moisture was high in South Florida like Central Florida, and daytime heating was the greatest. Forecasters expected severe storms to spread into South Florida because of this. However the critical error here is when it comes to frontal systems, upper level energy is far more important of a factor for severe weather than heating of the air mass. That is why massive severe outbreaks can occur in places that don't necessarily even have high moisture or heating.


The severe thunderstorm the blew through my area in Pinellas County with a tornado had no heating whatsoever. It was 69 degrees and it had already been raining all night. Forecasters said the severe threat may not have been as high for Central Florida and wo0uld end up being higher further South because it was cool, cloudy, and wet here, while it was warm and sunny further south. But that turned out wrong. The highest concentration of severe weather and heavy rain was further north in my area in the cool, cloudy mess not further south in the warm heating. This was because Central Florida had a strong upper disturbance sweeping through, as well as a strong low level jet and impressive helicity values. We continued to get massive amounts of lighting in heavy rain all day, this system was not relying on heating, because it didn't need to.



My point is, is that many of those conditions that made that severe weather even on Thursday in Florida will likely not be present, at least that's what the models agree on so far. The only real thing we will have going for us is a decent vort max will swing into Central Florida. I do believe chance for severe weather will exist. However looking at the models, unless they change significantly, I am not really worried about the severe risk in Florida this Tuesday. Keep in mind I am talking about peninsular Florida mainly. Like the Tampa/Orlando zone.


Know of any damage in Palm Harbor?
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Quoting Jedkins01:


DBZ exceeding 70 up north many times just represents large hail due to a colder atmosphere.
We are going to get whacked again here on the plateau....bbl
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21409
Quoting Grothar:
Following the early morning damaging wind threat in the Northeast, possibly including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., the southern end of the cold front may spark severe t-storms in the light-shaded red area below, from the eastern Carolinas to, yet again, parts of Florida.




I'm not too concerned about the severe threat in Florida this Tuesday... Some reasons being include the fact that the parent low and its upper disturbances will be way north of here. We will have plenty of heating and moisture. However as some of you may already know, relying on daytime heating as your source to worry about severe weather with a cold front is really not that significant. A great example of this was in Florida on Thursday. Moisture was high in South Florida like Central Florida, and daytime heating was the greatest. Forecasters expected severe storms to spread into South Florida because of this. However the critical error here is when it comes to frontal systems, upper level energy is far more important of a factor for severe weather than heating of the air mass. That is why massive severe outbreaks can occur in places that don't necessarily even have high moisture or heating.


The severe thunderstorm the blew through my area in Pinellas County with a tornado had no heating whatsoever. It was 69 degrees and it had already been raining all night. Forecasters said the severe threat may not have been as high for Central Florida and wo0uld end up being higher further South because it was cool, cloudy, and wet here, while it was warm and sunny further south. But that turned out wrong. The highest concentration of severe weather and heavy rain was further north in my area in the cool, cloudy mess not further south in the warm heating. This was because Central Florida had a strong upper disturbance sweeping through, as well as a strong low level jet and impressive helicity values. We continued to get massive amounts of lighting in heavy rain all day, this system was not relying on heating, because it didn't need to.



My point is, is that many of those conditions that made that severe weather even on Thursday in Florida will likely not be present, at least that's what the models agree on so far. The only real thing we will have going for us is a decent vort max will swing into Central Florida. I do believe chance for severe weather will exist. However looking at the models, unless they change significantly, I am not really worried about the severe risk in Florida this Tuesday. Keep in mind I am talking about peninsular Florida mainly. Like the Tampa/Orlando zone.
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
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Quoting Skyepony:
For other followers of Emanuel he did a presentation to the House the other day. Good point about how scientists tend to underestimate a bit..among others.

Dealing with the risks entailed in climate change will be extraordinarily difficult, and reasonable people will differ on questions of strategy. Citizens will expect their representatives to confront this issue in an open and honest way; making mascots of scientific mavericks or shooting the messengers are not rational options.

Nations that are first off the mark in developing new technologies and policies that address the climate issue, and selling these technologies to rapidly developing countries, will prosper.

We revere our forefathers for making material and mortal sacrifices for our benefit. One hopes that our descendents will hold us in similar regard.


Good point about scientists underestimating climate change? I'm not even gonna get into that... Lest I fall into anger :)
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


DBZ exceeding 70


DBZ exceeding 70 up north many times just represents large hail due to a colder atmosphere.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Wow the gulf is really warm.And the carribean will catch up to.
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Quoting emcf30:
Are you using IE. This was happening to me so I switched to Mozilla Firefox last week and love it. everything is working fine

Thanks Fix
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Are you using IE. This was happening to me so I switched to Mozilla Firefox last week and love it. everything is working fine
Quoting Gearsts:
Can anyone help me? I cant post links or anything i only see 2 squares where a post comments... How can i put those settings back again?

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Can anyone help me? I cant post links or anything i only see 2 squares where a post comments... How can i put those settings back again?
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This looks like an Ohio and Tennessesse Valley problem coming. The Northern parts of the SE States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and all of Arkansas needs to watch this very close.
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Models have not changed much from last nite. Does not seem that South Florida won't see the tornado's that was on Thursday. But, straight line winds might be a threat. The models are not showing nearly the severe stuff they was showing last week before the system came together.
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Quoting eddy12:
neopolitan r u naive about corporations from what i read you posting u have to be big this big that without big this and big that you would not live the way you do


Uhhh......
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't respond to eddy12.Is'nt he that troll that stays on tropical chat or is hat someone else?.If that's someone else then I apoligize.


Yeah, he's always on there, might I add he's a South Florida wishcaster.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't respond to eddy12.Is'nt he that troll that stays on tropical chat or is hat someone else?.If that's someone else then I apoligize.
Okay hmm hat should be that,and it should be is he the troll that stays on tropical chat.So I fixed my own mistakes.Ha!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I'd be happy to answer, if you'll kindly translate that into English...
Don't respond to eddy12.Is'nt he that troll that stays on tropical chat or is hat someone else?.If that's someone else then I apoligize.
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:


530 km depth? that can't be right.

WTO


That sounds wrong, considering that the thickest that the crust ever gets is 50 km.
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Quoting eddy12:
neopolitan r u naive about corporations from what i read you posting u have to be big this big that without big this and big that you would not live the way you do


What???
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One Day After Record 84-Degree Heat, Storm Brings Snow To Denver.
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Quoting eddy12:
neopolitan r u naive about corporations from what i read you posting u have to be big this big that without big this and big that you would not live the way you do

I'd be happy to answer, if you'll kindly translate that into English...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Quoting Nea "(Some figure is off; 37.9 meters is clearly not higher than 38.2 meters. But I'm sure they'll get that straight. In any event, yes, that's roughly the size of a 12-story building. Wow."

Looks like they measure height in the same manner as radiation level.
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Atomic forensics is helping to fill in some blanks as to just what has happened at Fukushima. I'm glad that this capability exists. TEPCO and Japanese regulators can't bury the results.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (NYT Article)
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1269
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


530 km depth? that can't be right.

WTO

In a subduction zone, it can be. I've seen quakes near Indonesia in the 700km range.
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:
Fiji 6.2:

== PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE REPORT ==



Region: FIJI REGION
Geographic coordinates: 17.622S, 178.603W
Magnitude: 6.2 Mb
Depth: 530 km
Universal Time (UTC): 3 Apr 2011 14:07:07
Time near the Epicenter: 4 Apr 2011 02:07:07
Local standard time in your area: 3 Apr 2011 06:07:07

Location with respect to nearby cities:
528 km (328 miles) NW (317 degrees) of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga
3075 km (1911 miles) W (265 degrees) of PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia


ADDITIONAL EARTHQUAKE PARAMETERS
________________________________
event ID : US c0002i39

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist at NEIC
For subsequent updates, maps, and technical information, see:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Q uakes/usc0002i39.php
or
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/


530 km depth? that can't be right.

WTO
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1269
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Fiji 6.2:

== PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE REPORT ==



Region: FIJI REGION
Geographic coordinates: 17.622S, 178.603W
Magnitude: 6.2 Mb
Depth: 530 km
Universal Time (UTC): 3 Apr 2011 14:07:07
Time near the Epicenter: 4 Apr 2011 02:07:07
Local standard time in your area: 3 Apr 2011 06:07:07

Location with respect to nearby cities:
528 km (328 miles) NW (317 degrees) of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga
3075 km (1911 miles) W (265 degrees) of PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia


ADDITIONAL EARTHQUAKE PARAMETERS
________________________________
event ID : US c0002i39

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist at NEIC
For subsequent updates, maps, and technical information, see:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Q uakes/usc0002i39.php
or
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1269
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LAT...LON 4371 8924 4364 8924 4364 8921 4355 8922 4356 8942 4375 8939 4375 8924 TIME...MOT...LOC 1458Z 277DEG 45KT 4365 8926 WIND...HAIL <50MPH 1.75IN
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38-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake

A tsunami that hit a coastal city in Iwate Prefecture after the March 11 massive earthquake is estimated to have reached 37.9 meters [124.3 feet] in height, a field survey by a researcher at the University of Tokyo showed Sunday.

The tsunami measured in the Taro district in the city of Miyako was higher than the domestic record of 38.2 meters marked in the city of Ofunato in the prefecture in the 1896 Meiji Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami, according to Yoshinobu Tsuji, associate professor at the Earthquake Research Institute at the university.

Tsuji and his team checked the drift displacement from a port in the district and found that lumber from the port had reached the slope of a mountain some 200 meters away from the coast.

Tsuji calculated the height of the tsunami from the points at which the lumber was found. The team also found fire engines and fishing boats washed away to the nearby points.

Tsuji's team also plans to thoroughly examine the area as there were some traces of water found at places higher than the 37.9-meter point, the researcher said.

Kyodo Article...

(Some figure is off; 37.9 meters is clearly not higher than 38.2 meters. But I'm sure they'll get that straight. In any event, yes, that's roughly the size of a 12-story building. Wow.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Quoting hydrus:
That nasty doppler purple with a touch of white.....I,d bring the dog in da house...mornin Keep..
morin hydrus
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Dam Grothar, I hope you are getting royalties from all those vampire spin offs.I know this comment is about as funny as two hookers and a Charlie Sheen.
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Complete Update





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tomorrows roughest wx imo w/be in northern alabama/Mississippi and Tennessee imo
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Quoting jasoniscoolman2010xo:
look like severe weather will be north of madison that good news for them
Yep, they even have a  thunder snow storm in the Green Bay area also
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Quoting Skyepony:
Tweaking the climate to save it: Who decides?

"I'm queasy about some billionaire with a messiah complex having a major role in geoengineering research," Hamilton said.

SRM (solar radiation management) is Big Energy's ultimate dream come true: it can continue pumping vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, then turn around and claim that, since aerosols and airborne particulates provide a shading, cooling effect, they need to a) be allowed to stop filtering and scrubbing their industrial emissions, and b) get paid for polluting, as they are providing a valuable service for GW mitigation. Win-win, it is! Of course, combating a self-induced summer by instituting a self-induced winter seems incredibly stupid, especially when there are other things we can try such as, you know, alternate energy or--heaven forbid--conservation. But where there's a Koch Brothers will, there's a Koch Brothers way, so you never know.

Meanwile:

--Government officials in Thailand are placing the blame for the recent, ongoing, and unprecedented flooding squarely at the feet of climate change.. Some parts of the nation have seen more than 86" of rain in just the past four months, killing at least 41.

--The Philippines government says that an uptick in insect-borne illnesses in that nation is likely caused by warming. "Higher temperatures and more humid climates caused by climate change favor the growth in the populations of insects and vectors that spread diseases," says a spokesperson.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


DBZ exceeding 70 poss tornadic cell
That nasty doppler purple with a touch of white.....I,d bring the dog in da house...mornin Keep..
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DBZ exceeding 70
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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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