Arctic sea ice bottoms out near all-time low; August was Earth's 4th - 8th warmest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:11 PM GMT on September 17, 2011

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Arctic sea ice extent hit its minimum on September 9 this year, falling to its second lowest value since satellite measurements began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center . More than one third (35%) of the Arctic sea ice was missing this summer, compared to the 1979 - 2000 average. This is an area about the size of the Mediterranean Sea. The 2011 sea ice minimum was very close to the all-time record low set in 2007; in fact, the University of Bremen rated the 2011 loss the greatest on record. For the fourth consecutive year, and fourth time in recorded history, ice-free navigation was possible in the Arctic along the coast of Canada (the Northwest Passage), and along the coast of Russia (the Northeast Passage.) Mariners have been attempting to sail these waters since 1497.

While the record low sea ice year of 2007 was marked by a very unusual 1-in-20 year combination of weather conditions that favored ice loss (including clearer skies, favorable wind patterns, and warm temperatures), 2011's weather patterns were much closer to average. The fact we pretty much tied the record for most sea ice loss this year despite this rather ordinary weather is a result of the fact that large amounts of thicker, multi-year ice has melted or been flushed out of the Arctic since 2007. As a result of the loss of this old, thick ice, both 2010 and now 2011 set new records for the lowest volume of sea ice in the Arctic, according the University of Washington PIOMAS model. Given the very thin ice now covering most of the Arctic, we can expect truly dramatic sea ice loss the next time 1-in-10 year or 1-in-20 year warmth and sunshine invades the Arctic. We are definitely on pace to see the Arctic virtually sea ice-free in summer by 2030, as predicted by several leading Arctic sea ice scientists. I expect we'll see more than half of the Arctic ice gone and the North Pole liquid instead of solid by the summer of 2020, and probably sooner.


Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent in 2011 (blue line) compared to the record low year of 2007 (dashed green line) and average (thick grey line.) Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center .

When was the last time the Arctic was this ice-free?
We can be sure the Northwest Passage was never open for ice-free navigation--particularly ice-free navigation for multiple years in a row--between 1900 and 2000, as we have detailed ice edge records from ships (Walsh and Chapman, 2001). It is very unlikely the Passage was open between 1497 and 1900, since this spanned a cold period in the northern latitudes known as "The Little Ice Age". Ships periodically attempted the Passage and were foiled during this period, and the native Inuit people have no historical tales of the Passage being navigable at any time in the past.

The Northwest passage may have been open multiple years in a row for ice-free navigation at some period during the Medieval Warm Period, between 1000 and 1300 AD. A better candidate was the period 6,000 - 8,500 years ago, when the Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. Funder and Kjaer (2007) found extensive systems of wave generated beach ridges along the North Greenland coast that suggested the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in the summer for over 1,000 years during that period. Prior to that, the next likely time was during the last inter-glacial period, 120,000 years ago. Arctic temperatures then were 2 - 3°C higher than present-day temperatures, and sea levels were 4-6 meters higher.

However, it is possible that the recent summer low-ice conditions in the Arctic are unprecedented for the past 800,000 years, according to a 2011 press release by Project CLAMER, a European group dedicated to climate change and European marine ecosystem research. They found that a tiny species of plankton called Neodenticula seminae that went extinct in the North Atlantic 800,000 years ago has become a resident of the Atlantic again, having drifted from the Pacific through the Arctic Ocean thanks to dramatically reduced polar ice. The 1999 discovery represents "the first evidence of a trans-Arctic migration in modern times" related to plankton, according to the UK-based Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, whose researchers warn that "such a geographical shift could transform the biodiversity and functioning of the Arctic and North Atlantic marine ecosystems."

It is possible we'll have a better idea of historical ice-free conditions in the Arctic in the next few years. A new technique that examines organic compounds left behind in Arctic sediments by diatoms that live in sea ice give hope that a detailed record of sea ice extent extending back to the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago may be possible (Belt et al., 2007). The researchers are studying sediments along the Northwest Passage in hopes of being able to determine when the Passage was open during the past 12,000 years.

References
Belt, S.T., G. Masse, S.J. Rowland, M. Poulin, C. Michel, and B. LeBlanc, "A novel chemical fossil of palaeo sea ice: IP25", Organic Geochemistry, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-27.

Funder, S. and K.H. Kjaer, 2007, "A sea-ice free Arctic Ocean?", Geophys. Res. Abstr. 9 (2007), p. 07815.

Walsh, J.E and W.L.Chapman, 2001, "Twentieth-century sea ice variations from observational data", Annals of Glaciology, 33, Number 1, January 2001 , pp. 444-448.

August 2011: Earth's 4th - 8th warmest on record
August 2011 was the globe's 8th warmest August on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated August the 4th warmest on record. Land temperatures during August were the 2nd warmest on record, and ocean temperatures were the 12th warmest on record. Ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean's Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from the coast of Africa to the coast of Central America between 10°N and 20°N latitude, were 0.8°C above average, the 4rd warmest August on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 6th or 3rd warmest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). For more details on global extremes during August, see the details from weather historian Christopher C. Burt.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average for August 2011. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Maria hits Newfoundland
Hurricane Maria hit Newfoundland, Canada yesterday afternoon near 3:30 pm local time as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. However, the hurricane's strongest winds were over water, and the storm brought very little in the way of strong winds or heavy rain to the island. Cape Race at the southeast tip of Newfoundland saw sustained winds of 41 mph, gusting to 54 mph at 3:30 pm Friday as the center of the storm passed. Winds in the capital of St. John's peaked at 37 mph, gusting to 46 mph, at 10:30 am local time. Maria's strike makes this Newfoundland's second consecutive year with a hurricane strike, something that has never occurred since hurricane record keeping began in 1851. Last year, Hurricane Igor killed one person on Newfoundland, and damage exceeded $100 million, making Igor the most damaging tropical cyclone in Newfoundland history.


Figure 3. Satellite image of Hurricane Maria taken at 12:15 pm EDT September 16, 2011. At the time, Maria was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Image credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab.

Invest 97L
For the first day since August 18, we don't have a named storm in the Atlantic. However, we have a new area to watch. A tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa Friday and is now 300 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands is moving west at 10 - 15 mph. The wave has developed a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity and spin, and has been designated Invest 97L by NHC. Wind shear as diagnosed by the SHIPS model is light, 5 - 10 knots, and is predicted to stay light to moderate through Tuesday morning. Ocean temperatures are 27.5°C, one degree above the threshold typically needed for a tropical storm to spin up. Water vapor satellite images show 97L is embedded in a moist environment.

Most of the models develop 97L into a tropical depression by Tuesday; NHC gave the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday in their 2 pm Tropical Weather Outlook. 97L should head west or west-northwest towards the Lesser Antilles over the next six days, and could arrive in the islands as early as Friday--though most of the models predict a later arrival. It is likely 97L will encounter the usual troubles storms this year have had with wind shear and dry air on the long trek across the Atlantic.

I'll have a new post on Monday, when I'll discuss the long-range hurricane outlook for the rest of September.

Jeff Masters

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I cannot find anywhere from NHC that says 98L is going NNE. Can you provide evidence of this?

This is also what I found...
Link

98L is headed for Antilles as far as I can see atm.
Here's the wind forecast. Link
There is no center as yet so we know everything can change once/if it organizes.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11452
676. jpsb
Quoting Xyrus2000:


And the oft repeated "the scientists in the 70's said there was going to be an ice age" is at best an exaggeration. Very few scientists were in support of such a notion, and most of the papers written on the topic were shown to be incorrect. The media at the time, latched onto this and ran with it. Most of the scientific community did not think the globe was permanently cooling.



Revisionist history alert

True is here
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I have not received any rain since June but I did have Dense Fog this morning, something i have not seen since Winter, pretty cool.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Maria did finally manage to get its act together into a hurricane near the end though..
Yes, this year it seems that once they get rid of the hostile environment ironically down the deep tropics they get stronger, happened with Maria and Irene that from a Cat1 in PR, bacame cat three near NC. Let see what will happens with this little swirls, if they ever make it closer to the islands.
Member Since: May 31, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1008
Quoting stoormfury:
no chicklit, check the graphics IIN 35.2 W moving NNE. winds 30 mph. i also said that the direction of the models are not in sink with the statement. believe ADMIN should correct what seems to be a contradictin


98L
Time Lat Lon Wind(mph) Pressure Storm type
------------------------------------------------- ------------
06 GMT 09/18/11 10.7N 35.2W 25 1009 Invest
06 GMT 09/18/11 10.7N 35.2W 25 1009 Invest
12 GMT 09/18/11 11.0N 35.2W 25 1009 Invest
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11452
no chicklit, check the graphics II N 35.2 W moving NNE. winds 30 mph. i also said that the direction of the models are not in sink with the statement. believe ADMIN should correct what seems to be a contradiction
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This morning's rain seems to be staying more south in general - along the coast. But that's good since they didn't get much yesterday. I would think Galveston will get 1-2 inches for sure today at the minimum. Isolated parts of Houston might get close to that today but it's probably more likely most of Houston gets less than half an inch today.

At the very least, this 3-5 day rain event should get us out of the exceptional drought category and maybe just extreme? Lol - the dry creeks near my house look healthy again. It might be too late for the fish and the yards but the trees and other animals will definitely appreciate it.
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Quoting stoormfury:
i am lost on the image page for 98L they have moving NNE while the computer models have it going west. some one tell me


Maybe you're mixing it up with 99L?

Or maybe they think it will get sucked into 99L?
Dunno but would like to hear people who know what they are talking about discuss the effect of 99L on 98L and vice versa.
Ensemble models for 98L all point to Caribbean.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11452
i am lost on the image page for 98L they have moving NNE while the computer models have it going west. some one tell me
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Quoting Barkeep1967:
I love the agenda. check the ice levels at the South pole. Let Al Gore lead you ? Geesh

I do not deny there is a problem but I also know in the 70's there was ice age forthcoming. The over hype of this has become beyond ridiculous. Sorry Dr M but Dr Gray and Steven Hawking 2 of the smartest men on the planet disagree with you.

Please use your own brain and do not be a lemming people. So many untruths are being used to further an agenda it is pathetic.
My $ are gone from this site. I can deal with trolls but the ridiculous absolute GW truth is too much.


This is yet another example of a non-scientific post on the subject laced with inflammatory statements.

The ice levels at the south pole will not be affected by a warming globe to the same level as the Arctic (not in the immediate future, at least). Almost the entire area of sea-ice around the Antarctic is comprised of one-year ice that forms and melts every year. The only multi-year ice near the ocean is from glacial activity (which has been shown to be increasing in activity) and the ice shelves (which have been melting and breaking over the past couple of decades).

Comparing the arctic and antarctic is comparing apples to oranges. They operate and are influenced by different dynamics.

And the oft repeated "the scientists in the 70's said there was going to be an ice age" is at best an exaggeration. Very few scientists were in support of such a notion, and most of the papers written on the topic were shown to be incorrect. The media at the time, latched onto this and ran with it. Most of the scientific community did not think the globe was permanently cooling.

Just because someone is intelligent doesn't make them an expert on all things. I wouldn't go to a biologist to review the design of a nuclear plant. I wouldn't go to an architect for open heart surgery. So making unsubstantiated claims on behalf of other people in unrelated fields adds nothing to your position, especially when said statements are incorrect. Hawkings, for example, does NOT disagree with the science on this matter, and he has stated as much. An while Dr. Gray is a skeptic and is in a related field, none of his claims or research on the matter have stood up to peer review.

Then of course, you lay down the agenda and conspiracy theory cards. How else better to discredit 100 years of science and research than by making up an "evil conspiracy" that no one can "prove" except for those who have "seen the light"? How does this further useful discussion on the subject?

Sorry, but if anyone is being a troll, it is you. You make broad unsubstantiated claims and inflammatory remarks that, at best, add nothing to a well reasoned discussion of the topic.
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LinkShearMap

Quoting CaribBoy:
Actually the 98/99L situation looks complex. Maybe models don't handle it well at the moment


That's an interesting discussion.

Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11452
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SUN SEP 18 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

1. A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL ATLANTIC ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN THE LESSER ANTILLES AND THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA CONTINUES TO PRODUCE A LARGE AREA OF DISORGANIZED
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WESTWARD. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.


Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11452
VERY NICE LIVE CAM HERE IN THE N LEEWARD!

Link
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I honestly wouldn't be surprised if in the northern part of maria when it was that far north, it snowed
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6540
Post season analysis this year has to focus on how to better predict the issues that have impacted storm development this season, notably low instability, dry air / dust that are not SAL, and speed shear. I think Maria was the only storm this season whose problems with shear were caused by the "normal" ULL situation.
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Quoting CaribBoy:


yes at 30N..


Hit Newfoundland too.
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Actually the 98/99L situation looks complex. Maybe models don't handle it well at the moment
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6539
did mjo return i have been gone
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6540
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Maria did finally manage to get its act together into a hurricane near the end though..


yes at 30N..
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6539
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I think because they move it slowly more to the north than in past runs and the strong shear is in that direction.


yes again a shear issue. 2011 is the SHEARED TS/TD year after all..
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Just got all the Invest up and going on the Website for you all. Busy again times possibly coming.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
Why in the world intensity models AGAIN show weakening for 98L just like MARIA. Boring... MARIA was such a mess lol


Maria did finally manage to get its act together into a hurricane near the end though..
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Quoting islander101010:
looks as if the one to the south is close to being classified it will take a wk or so to get close to the windwards at this pace more likely never


98L come here in the Leewards, MARIA and iRENE, but especially MARIA were ridiculous. 99L as well come here. We love interesting weather. lol
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6539
Quoting CaribBoy:
Why in the world intensity models AGAIN show weakening for 98L just like MARIA. Boring... MARIA was such a mess lol


I think because they move it slowly more to the north than in past runs and the strong shear is in that direction.
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In the mountainous region on the border between Nepal and China. Imagine the rockslides...

quake

Magnitude 6.8
Date-Time

Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:40:48 UTC
Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 06:10:48 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 27.730°N, 88.082°E
Depth 20.7 km (12.9 miles)
Region SIKKIM, INDIA
Distances 68 km (42 miles) NW of Gangtok, Sikkim, India
119 km (73 miles) NNW of Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
272 km (169 miles) E of KATHMANDU, Nepal
572 km (355 miles) N of Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 14.4 km (8.9 miles); depth +/- 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
Parameters NST=258, Nph=258, Dmin=369.6 km, Rmss=1.17 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
Source

Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
Why in the world intensity models AGAIN show weakening for 98L just like MARIA. Boring... MARIA was such a mess lol
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6539
looks as if the one to the south is close to being classified it will take a wk or so to get close to the windwards at this pace more likely never
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Morning all. Sure is an interesting surface map this a.m... What's with the Wward tracking low way up North of 30N???

I was wondering about that too unless they are expecting it to move sw initially.
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Quoting Barkeep1967:
I love the agenda. check the ice levels at the South pole. Let Al Gore lead you ? Geesh

I do not deny there is a problem but I also know in the 70's there was ice age forthcoming. The over hype of this has become beyond ridiculous. Sorry Dr M but Dr Gray and Steven Hawking 2 of the smartest men on the planet disagree with you.

Please use your own brain and do not be a lemming people. So many untruths are being used to further an agenda it is pathetic.
My $ are gone from this site. I can deal with trolls but the ridiculous absolute GW truth is too much.


You are a lemming. Most of what you posted is irrelevant or inapplicable.

If you don't want to be a lemming, try examining the data and develop your own conclusions instead of following the opinions of others.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Australia's cyclone Inigo's replacement name is, don't laugh, IGGY. LOL
Iggy's Castle, Super Mario World for SNES.
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What rain in Tx looks pretty scattard though but better then none






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Morning all. Sure is an interesting surface map this a.m... What's with the Wward tracking low way up North of 30N???

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Quoting Cotillion:


Just because the Chinese make them, doesn't mean they use them ;)


Touche'
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Good gracious, folks. I went to sleep last night with 1 invest and discussion on the blog about this is a lull and won't see anything for another 6-8 days, and woke up to THREE invests out there???? For the couple of bloggers who have said the season is over, I think (my OPINION) you all just might be wrong! LOL

Florida and gulf coast folks, now is the time of the season for us to really be alert.

Good morning all. Going back to lurking and enjoying my coffee. You all play nice now!
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gfs makes no sense pulling 98L north once it enters the carribean/ 2 reasons it doesnt make sense: a: the trough isnt diving in very deep on the run and lifts out fast. b: the storms in that run is at most a moderate tropical storm. we would need a cat 2 or 3 for that trough to have any effect on 98L. im thinking west through the northern windwards and into the central and western carribean
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happy birthday leftovers where ever you are?
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99L...Bam, Bam, Bam

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1# would be out of season but im watching #1 and to be # 4 near the western carib.
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98L updated...

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99L? Looks like the lull is over, 3 invests in the Atlantic.

*CORRECTION - 97L just got deactivated.. so two.
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"Sir.. umm.. Mickey Mouse fell in the custard."

"Again!?"
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Quoting Barkeep1967:
I love the agenda. check the ice levels at the South pole. Let Al Gore lead you ? Geesh

I do not deny there is a problem but I also know in the 70's there was ice age forthcoming. The over hype of this has become beyond ridiculous. Sorry Dr M but Dr Gray and Steven Hawking 2 of the smartest men on the planet disagree with you.

Please use your own brain and do not be a lemming people. So many untruths are being used to further an agenda it is pathetic.
My $ are gone from this site. I can deal with trolls but the ridiculous absolute GW truth is too much.

Professor Hawking said following when he spoke at the Royal Society in London january 2007,

"As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again, to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces,"

"As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth"

"As citizens of the world, we have a duty to share that knowledge. We have a duty, as well, to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change"


In 2006 Hawking said he was "very worried about global warming and was afraid that Earth might end up like Venus, at 250 degrees centigrade and raining sulfuric acid."

Hawking warns: We must recognise the catastrophic dangers of climate change Link
Stephen Hawking warns about global warming Link

...and Dr Gray and global cooling... you can read more about that in this Link
Excerpt from the link; "Gray is known for using a 1975 Newsweek about global cooling to discredit the climatologists"
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...And another one:

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al992011.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201109181154
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 99, 2011, DB, O, 2011091806, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL992011
AL, 99, 2011091706, , BEST, 0, 163N, 386W, 20, 1010, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2011091712, , BEST, 0, 168N, 402W, 20, 1010, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2011091718, , BEST, 0, 170N, 413W, 20, 1010, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2011091800, , BEST, 0, 172N, 423W, 20, 1010, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2011091806, , BEST, 0, 173N, 433W, 20, 1010, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
Quoting SunriseSteeda:


I studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing last year, and there was no evidence of solar panels or wind turbines. However, the smog was so bad that I had to go to the hospital within 2 weeks of arriving. Most of us (from UNCC, FAU, UPRM (Mayaguez) were sick from the smog. Not sure where they are stashing the green technology :)

Although I must say, there was a noticeably less consumption of paper (no paper towels, etc), and the "A/C" wasn't really cold. No freon. A/C just meant indoors was about 10 degrees cooler than outdoors.

Odd balance of things. I didn't even know we were near mountains until I saw them one rare clear day a good 3-4 weeks into my stay.



Just because the Chinese make them, doesn't mean they use them ;)
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Quoting indianrivguy:
Good morning gang!
On the subject of Hurricanes, The U defeated the buckeyes last night MUCH to my surprise. It will sure make life easier given I work with a psycho buckeye fan.

Today is the anniversary of the 1926 Miama hurricane. It was Mikatnight who reminded me yesterday about this, so blame HIM for all my posts on this subject :)

It was a killer and it finished breaking the land boom that had been going on for years there.

Miama Beach. That is Indian Creek behind the ocean beach


Bakers Haulover bridge "before" Notice the rock jetty.


after, notice the rock jetty and a lot of ocean beach is gone. Andrew took the fishing pier, but did not damage the inlet like this, but it was compact and came in further south.






Have a great morning, I am off to open the Snook Nook with Henry!


Thanks i r guy - I can see haulover bridge and indian creek island from my condo. I hope history doesn't repeat itself. to think of the damage it would do today - scary
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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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