Tropical Storm Lee's flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:55 PM GMT on December 14, 2011

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With one of the wildest weather years in U.S. history drawing to a close, it's time to look back at some of this year's unprecedented onslaught of billion-dollar weather disasters--and the lessons we should have learned. One of these disasters was the approximately $1 billion in damage due to flooding from Tropical Storm Lee, which brought torrential rains along a swath from Louisiana to New York in early September. Among the hardest hit cities was Binghamton, New York (population 47,000), where record rains due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee on September 8 brought a 1-in-200 to 1-in-500 year flood to the city's Susquehanna River. A flood 8.5 inches higher than the city's flood walls spilled over into the city that day, damaging or destroying over 7,300 buildings in Greater Binghamton, and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Damage to Binghamton's sewage treatment plant and city infrastructure alone are estimated at $26 million. Damage to one elementary school is estimated at $11 - 19 million. The total damage to the county Binghamton lies in (Broome) and the downstream Tioga County is estimated at $1 billion. I argue that there is strong evidence that the extra moisture that global warming has added to the atmosphere over the past 40 years could have been "the straw that broke the camel's back" which allowed Binghamton's flood walls to be overtopped, causing tens of millions in damages. Had this event occurred 40 years ago, before global warming added an extra 4% moisture to the atmosphere, the Susquehanna flood would have likely stayed within the city's flood walls.


Figure 1. Front Street Bridge on the Susquehanna River in Vestal, NY, immediately following the flood of September 8, 2011. Image credit: USGS, New York.


Figure 2. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton crested on September 8, 2011, at the highest flood height on record, 25.71'. The previous record flood was 25', set June 28, 2006. Flood records in Binghamton go back to 1846. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. Damage survey of Binghamton, New York after rains from the remains of Tropical Storm Lee sent the Susquehanna River over the city's flood walls on September 8, 2011. Image credit: City of Binghamton.

Binghamton's 2nd 1-in-200-year+ flood in five years
This year's flood is the second 1-in-200 to 1-in-500 year flood in the past five years to hit Binghamton. On June 26 - 29, 2006, tropical moisture streaming northwards over a front stalled out over New York state brought over thirteen inches of rain to portions of southern New York. The Susquehanna River swelled to record levels, triggering devastating flooding that cost at least $227 million. In Binghamton, the Susquehanna River crested eleven feet over flood stage, the greatest flood since records began in 1846. The flood walls protecting Binghamton were overtopped by a few inches, allowing water to pour into the city and cause tens of millions of dollars in damage. This flood is another example of a case where global warming may have been "the straw that broke the camel's back", allowing the flood walls to be overtopped by a few inches. While it is not impossible that the 2006 flood and the 2011 flood could have occurred naturally so close together in time, such a rare double flood has been made more likely by the extra moisture added to the atmosphere due to global warming.


Figure 4. Susquehanna River floodwaters overtop a flood wall along North Shore Drive, Binghamton, NY, on June 28, 2006. Photo courtesy of Alan A. Katz, and available in the USGS report, Flood of June 26 - 29, 2006, Mohawk, Delaware, and Susquehanna River Basins, New York.

The 2011 Tropical Storm Lee flood event on the Susquehanna: a convergence of rare events
Near-record rains fell over much of New York, Pennsylvania, and surrounding states during the first four weeks of August 2011, thanks to an active weather pattern that brought numerous thunderstorms. By August 27, Binghamton, New York had already received nearly double its normal total of 3.45" of rain for the month. When Hurricane Irene swept northwards along the mid-Atlantic coast on August 28, the storm dumped record rains that triggered billions of dollars in flood damage. The Susquehanna River Valley and Binghamton were spared the heaviest of Irene's rains and suffered only minor flooding, but the region received 3 - 5 inches of rain, saturating the soils. The 2.72 inches of rain that fell on Binghamton brought the total rainfall for August 2011 to 8.90", making it the rainiest August in city history (weather records go back to 1890.) Irene's rains helped give New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont their wettest Augusts since record keeping began in 1895.


Figure 5. Rainfall amounts from Hurricane Irene ranged from 3 - 5 inches over Binghamton and the Susquehanna River Valley upstream (northeast) of the city. Image credit: David Roth, NOAA/HPC.


Figure 6. Rainfall amounts from Hurricane Lee ranged from 5 - 10 inches over Binghamton and the Susquehanna River Valley upstream (northeast) of the city. Image credit: David Roth, NOAA/HPC.

Irene set the stage for what was to become the greatest flood in recorded history on the Susquehanna River. On September 5, a front stalled out over Pennsylvania and New York. Tropical moisture streaming northwards in advance of Tropical Storm Lee was lifted up over the front, and heavy downpours resulted. The rains continued for four days, and were amplified by the arrival of Tropical Storm Lee's remnants on September 7, plus a stream of moisture emanating from far-away Hurricane Katia, 1,000 miles to the south-southeast. Binghamton, New York received 8.70" of rain in 24 hours September 7 - 8, the greatest 24-hour rainfall in city history. This was nearly double the city's previous all-time record (4.68" on Sep 30 - Oct. 1, 2010.) The record rains falling on soils still saturated from Hurricane Irene's rains ran off rapidly into the Susquehanna River, which rose an astonishing twenty feet in just 24 hours. By noon on September 8, the rampaging Susquehanna River crested in Binghamton at 25.71', the highest level since records began in 1846. The river would have risen higher had the city's flood walls been higher, but since the water was overtopping the flood walls and spreading out over the city, the river was limited to how high it could rise. By month's end, precipitation in Binghamton for September 2011 totaled 16.58", more than thirteen inches above normal, making it Binghamton's wettest month since records began in 1890.

We can thus see how the record Susquehanna River flood of September 8, 2011 was due to a convergence of rare events, which included moisture from three tropical cyclones:

1) The unusually heavy rains during the first four weeks of August, before the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

2) Hurricane Irene's 3 - 5 inches of rain.

3) The extreme rains from Tropical Storm Lee's remnants.

4) The enhanced rainfall on September 7 - 8 due to a moisture plume from Hurricane Katia.

Had any one of these events not occurred, it is questionable whether the flood walls in Binghamton would have been overtopped. One could also argue that the flood walls would not have been overtopped had there been less development in the Susquehanna's floodplain. Dr. Peter Knuepfer, Associate Professor of Geology and director of the Environmental Studies Program at Binghamton University, and Dr. Burrell Montz, who is now Professor and Chair of Geography at East Carolina University, wrote in a 2007 essay titled, Flooding and Watershed Management, "the 2006 flood might be considered a land use flood, due to the levels of development in floodplains in Conklin and elsewhere in the Binghamton area." They argued that development on the Susquehanna's floodplain has been driven by economics, without enough thought to how development increases flood heights downstream. "It can hardly be argued that we need to reacquaint the river with its floodplain," they concluded. In an email I received from Dr. Knuepfer, he indicated that some positive steps have been taken to reduce flood vulnerability in the Binghamton area before this year's flood: "There's still more development in the floodplain than should be, though there is a little more awareness (but only a little!) about the downstream implications of raising levees and walls (and certainly this seems to be true at the Federal level). From Binghamton downstream--the Susquehanna River had a 200+ year flood (the number one chooses depends on how one treats the historic flood record, but it was clearly an event well beyond the historical record.) Some areas flooded by the river in 2006--houses, specifically--no longer exist due to FEMA buy-outs. Yet there is still development in flood-prone areas, so there is still a degree of floodplain development that contributes significantly to the disaster. On the other hand, this flood overtopped levees and flood walls precisely because it was a bigger natural event than these were designed to withstand. So there's still more exposure than I'd like to see, but this was a natural disaster." To illustrate how development in a flood plain can increase flood height, consider this stat from nrdc.org: a 1-inch rainstorm falling on a 1-acre natural meadow produces about 28 bathtubs full of runoff into local rivers. However, a 1-inch rainstorm falling on a 1-acre parking lot produces sixteen times as much runoff--448 bathtubs full. We obviously can't convert our parking lots into meadows, but we can create permeable pavement, planted swales around parking lots, rain gardens planted along sidewalks, green roofs, and more trees to help absorb rainwater like a sponge. The city of Philadelphia has recently started an ambitious effort to reduce flood through such green infrastructure efforts.


Figure 7. Water vapor satellite image taken at 2:45 pm EDT September 7, 2011, during the height of the heavy rainstorm affecting the Susquehanna River Valley near Binghamton, NY. Moisture came from the remains of Tropical Storm Lee, tropical moisture streaming northwards and lifting over a stalled front, and from Hurricane Katia, located 1,000 miles to the south-southeast, between Florida and Bermuda. White and blue colors show where copious atmospheric moisture lies, while brown colors show dry air. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

The global warming connection
Finally, I'll add one more "straw that broke the camel's back" that contributed to the overtopping of the flood walls in Binghamton: global warming. Had the flood of September 8, 2011 occurred in the atmosphere of the 1970s or earlier, the flood walls would have been less likely to be overtopped. There is a well-established relationship in atmospheric physics called the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, which says that atmospheric moisture will increase by 6% - 7% for every degree Centigrade increase in Earth's temperature. Global sea surface temperatures in the regions where hurricanes form, between 30°S and 30°N latitude, warmed 0.9°F (0.5°C) between 1970 - 2004, due to global warming (Trenberth et. al, 2007.) Satellite observations show that atmospheric moisture over the oceans increased by 1.3% per decade between 1988 - 2003 (Trenberth, 2006), so we can expect that the amount of moisture storms have to work with has increased by 4% since 1970 and 5% since 1900 (IPCC, 2007.) The amount of rainfall a hurricane can now drop as a result of this increase in moisture can be much more than 4 - 5%, though. The extra moisture in the atmosphere helps intensify storms by releasing "latent heat" energy when it condenses into rain. Latent heat is the extra energy that is required to convert liquid water to gaseous water vapor, and this energy is liberated when the vapor condenses back to rain. The released latent heat energy invigorates the updrafts in a storm, allowing it to draw in moisture from an area greater than usual (a typical storm draws in moisture from an area 3 - 5 times the radius of the precipitating region, according to Trenberth et.al, 2003.) This effect is thought to be the main reason why heavy precipitation events--the ones most likely to cause floods--have been increasing over the past 50 years, in general agreement with the predictions of climate models (Figure 8.) A 2008 study in the Netherlands by Lenderink and Meijgaard called "Increase in hourly precipitation extremes beyond expectations from temperature changes," found that "one-hour precipitation extremes increase twice as fast with rising temperatures as expected from the Clausius–Clapeyron relation when daily mean temperatures exceed 12°C. In addition, simulations with a high-resolution regional climate model show that one-hour precipitation extremes increase at a rate close to 14% per degree of warming in large parts of Europe." A 2007 study led by Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, "Water and energy budgets of hurricanes: Case studies of Ivan and Katrina", looked at how much additional rainfall hurricanes might be dropping as a result of global warming. The researchers found that global warming likely increased the amount of rain dropped Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina by 6 - 8%. The authors wrote, "We conclude that the environmental changes related to human influences on climate have very likely changed the odds in favor of heavier rainfalls and here we suggest that this can be quantified to date to be of order 6 to 8% since 1970. It probably also results in more intense storms. The key point is that the value is not negligible, and nor is it large enough to dominate over the natural processes already in place. In the case of Katrina and New Orleans, where rainfalls locally exceeded 12 inches (305 mm), this would mean an enhancement of about 0.75 to 1 inch (19 to 25 mm). Although incremental, such changes can cause thresholds to be exceeded (the straw that breaks the camel's back.) Small differences of a few percent in rainfall can matter a great deal when that extra water is concentrated by a river drainage system to create a flood. For example, observations of flooding events in the Pennsylvania's 7.2 square km Mahantango Creek watershed (Troch et al., 1993) showed one case where two rainfall events with the same maximum precipitation rate generated flow rates in the creek a factor of seven different, even though the difference in total precipitation between the two events was about a factor of two. A modeling study by Jha et al. (2004) predicted that climate change would cause a 21% annual increase in precipitation over the Upper Mississippi River basin by 2040. However, their model predicted that streamflow would increase much more than this--51%. This occurred as a result of rain falling on saturated soils, which creates disproportionately large runoff. Much of the rain falling on dry soils takes time to infilrate the soil, and the arrival of this water into a river is delayed. But if soils are saturated, a greater percentage of the rain runs off immediately into the river, resulting in higher stream flows and higher flood potential. The largest increases in streamflow in their model occurred in spring and summer, when flood danger is at its highest.


Figure 8. Percent increase in the amount falling in heavy precipitation events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) from 1958 to 2007, for each region of the U.S. There are clear trends toward more very heavy precipitation events for the nation as a whole, and particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. Climate models predict that precipitation will increasingly fall in very heavy events in coming decades. Image credit: United States Global Change Research Program. Figure updated from Groisman, P.Ya., R.W. Knight, T.R. Karl, D.R. Easterling, B. Sun, and J.H. Lawrimore, 2004: Contemporary changes of the hydro-logical cycle over the contiguous United States, trends derived from in situ observations. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 5(1), 64-85.

Conclusion
There is strong evidence that the extra moisture that global warming has added to the atmosphere over the past 40 years could have been "the straw that broke the camel's back" in the case of the Susquehanna River floods of June 2006 and September 8, 2011, which overtopped the flood walls in Binghamton, New York, causing tens of millions of dollars in damages. During September 8, 2011 flood, the Susquehanna River rose twenty feet in 24 hours and topped the flood walls in Binghamton by 8.5 inches, so just a 6% reduction in the flood height would have led to no overtopping of the flood walls and a huge decrease in damage. Extra moisture in the air due to global warming could have easily contributed this 6% of extra flood height. It is possible that detailed computer modeling studies of the event may conclude that global warming was not a significant factor in this particular case, but we will see an increasing number of these back-breaking extreme flooding events in the future as the climate continues to warm and we increasingly load the dice in favor of greater extreme rainfall events. It is wildly improbable that two 1-in-200 to 1-in-500 year floods could have occurred on the same river within five years of each other naturally. Increased moisture in the atmosphere due to global warming and increased flood plain development are shifting the odds in favor of more extreme floods occurring more often. Our flood control system, which is designed for the climate of the 20th century and a lesser degree of flood plain development, is bound to be increasingly overwhelmed if we continue to put more structures into flood plains and continue to pump more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, we are not dealing well with the "new normal" for extreme floods. The National Flood Insurance Program, which charges unrealistically low insurance premiums, is $18 billion in debt. A government shut-down was narrowly avoided in September over disputes on how to pay for the damages from this year's 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year floods on the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Souris, Susquehanna, and hundreds of smaller rivers. Federal funding to operate 321 USGS stream gauges critical for issuing accurate and timely flood warnings was eliminated this year, and funding for an additional 69 gauges is threatened, including gauges on the Susquehanna River where this year's extreme flooding occurred. Eliminating funding for stream gauges in an era of increasing floods is like being too cheap to replace your cracked windshield that's hard to see out of, when you're about to drive the most difficult and dangerous road your car has ever attempted, at night, in a heavy rainstorm. You'll be unaware of the coming danger until it's too late to avoid it. Flood damages are going to grow much worse and potentially cause serious harm to the American economy in the coming decades, and our politicians need to adopt intelligent policies that don't cater to special interests in order to deal with the increasingly frequent and larger extreme floods that a warmer climate will bring.

References
IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Jha, M., Z. Pan, E. S. Takle, and R. Gu (2004), Impacts of climate change on streamflow in the Upper Mississippi River Basin: A regional climate model perspective, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D09105, doi:10.1029/2003JD003686.

Lenderink, G., and E. van Meijgaard (2008), Increase in hourly precipitation extremes beyond expectations from temperature changes,, Nature Geoscience 1, 511 - 514 (2008)
Published online: 20 July 2008 | doi:10.1038/ngeo262

Suro, T.P., G.D. Firda, and C.O. Szabo, 2009, Flood of June 26 - 29, 2006, Mohawk, Delaware, and Susquehanna River Basins, New York, USGS Open-File Report 2009-94-1063.

Trenberth, K. E., A. Dai, R. M. Rasmussen and D. B. Parsons, 2003: The changing character of precipitation", Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 1205-1217.

Trenberth, K. E., C. A. Davis and J. Fasullo, 2007: "Water and energy budgets of hurricanes: Case studies of Ivan and Katrina," J. Geophys. Res., 112, D23106, doi:10.1029/2006JD008303.

Trenberth, K.E., J. Fasullo, and L. Smith. 2005. "Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor," Climate Dynamics 24:741-758.

Trenberth, K. E., 2011: Changes in precipitation with climate change. Climate Research, 47, 123-138,
doi:10.3354/cr00953.

Troch, P.A., J.A. Smith, E.F. Wood, and F.P. de Troch, "Hydrologic Controls of Large Floods in a Small Basin: Central Appalachian Case Study", Journal of Hydrology, 156:285-309, 1994.

Other posts looking back at the remarkable weather events of 2011
Wettest year on record in Philadelphia; 2011 sets record for wet/dry extremes in U.S.
Hurricane Irene: New York City dodges a potential storm surge mega-disaster

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting Patrap:
A 1F increase in Global temps, produces a 4% Increase in Water Vapor.

A 1C increase in Global temps raises it by 6-7%.

More available WV increases the Chaos Factors.


The atmosphere will seek chaos as a rule, more WV increases that exponentially.






Okay, in Texas we are either impacted by dry air from the desert Southwest or the Gulf. This summer we were basically cut off from moisture from the gulf since the high pressure systems were pulling dry air from the West and Southwest or just plain stagnant. I can tell you the moisture in our air was very dry this summer. Now that we are in the more southern and moist weather patterns the humidity levels look the same to me. One thing I do know about water vapor is it's mostly related to the surface area of the oceans, I don't think the surface area of the oceans have grown by 6 - 7 %
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Quoting HurrikanEB:
I actually have a question regarding the blog post.

The post points out that increased global temperatures almost directly leads to more moisture in the atmosphere. But it is also widely accepted that increased global temperatures will lead to the dry regions getting drier and the wet regions getting wetter... along the lines of 2011s flooding in the north/drought in the south.

So my question is, is it that there is actually more moisture in the atmosphere, or is it just being redistributed to the places being directly by floods, or (and to what extent) is it a combination?


Think about it this way: warmer temperatures cause some wet areas to receive more evaporative moisture from nearby sources of water, while dry areas get hotter and more water evaporates, drying it even further. However, as we have already seen, both drought and flood often hit the same areas in rapid succession in a warming climate, as dry periods are replaced by wet ones. This is actually bad for agriculture, because floods can wash away, then innundate, previously bake-dried topsoils needed for crop growth. These factors are causing famines worldwide, such as in Somalia. In fact, they likely directly contributed to the Arab Spring, including the Egyptian Revolution, which started in part as a protest against high grain prices.

As well in thunderstorm development, rains will likely be heavier, but the volatile atmosphere means that the storms relieve their rains sooner. Some areas might see more rainfall, but most of the rain comes in extremely heavy bursts interspersed with dry periods, causing the effect of net drought.

Oh, and this:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm somehow unable to post a new blog?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A 1F increase in Global temps, produces a 4% Increase in Water Vapor.

A 1C increase in Global temps raises it by 6-7%.

More available WV increases the Chaos Factors.


The atmosphere will seek chaos as a rule, more WV increases that exponentially.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
The weather in Texas has always been extreme, it can change in a minute in the winter time. I remeber in the 70's playing football outside at christmas and it was 80 degrees. Other times it was snowing(icy :)) and 5 degrees.
If our planet is getting dangerously hot then why in one of the hottest Texas summers did we only break a few daily records and didn't break the hottest ever record set in 1980? There were other dates this hot in the 30's,40's and 50's. There are so many variables in weather making a prediction of our future with some fixed instruments scattered over the planet is hard for me to believe.
I have had many throw back at me that the average temperature in North Texas was higher than any other time in history. Well, I do believe that because those temps were recorded at DFW airport where that area is mostly covered in concrete now than when the 1980 summer was upon us. The main reason the nights were hotter was because it was so dry, another variable!
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anybody here wanna help out with my weather website.....if you do speak up er mail me and i see what i can do :)
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
I actually have a question regarding the blog post.

The post points out that increased global temperatures almost directly leads to more moisture in the atmosphere. But it is also widely accepted that increased global temperatures will lead to the dry regions getting drier and the wet regions getting wetter... along the lines of 2011s flooding in the north/drought in the south.

So my question is, is it that there is actually more moisture in the atmosphere, or is it just being redistributed to the places being directly by floods, or (and to what extent) is it a combination?

Edit: and if it is the effects of both, then would that mean that the areas receiving persistent heavy rainfall should be experiencing the % added by temperature rise (the 4-5% Dr.M mentioned), plus the % being redistributed by changing patterns?
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


I saw nothing wrong with you post. Makes no sense why it was banned.

Thanks. It's just bored (and sometimes jealous) kids having a little childhood fun while their parents aren't watching...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Well, not sure where you got this information but yeah we have all these weather instrunments all over the world now but how long have we had them there? You have to understand being a scientist myself (computer scientist) I have to have adequate data to prove a point. we are talking about weather patterns over millions of years and we are going bonkers and hurting our economy from what 50 years or less of reliable data? are all the temps from the little ice age included in these numbers? it was so much colder then it would definitley change the numbers? I think of all this gloable warming data, the pure data as just inteeresting weather nothing to get our panties in a wad over. We could have some volcanic eruptions over the next 20 years that could change those numbers drastically.

Quoting Patrap:


Global Climate Change Indicators
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center


How do we know the Earth's climate is warming?

Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe. This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys and autonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented with satellite measurements.
These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematic errors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change.
A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes in surface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurement errors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends.

The warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on every continent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels.


Simulated global temperature in experiments that include human influences (pink line), and model experiments that included only natural factors (blue line). The black line is observed temperature change.

Global climate models clearly show the effect of human-induced changes on global temperatures. The blue band shows how global temperatures would have changed due to natural forces only (without human influence). The pink band shows model projections of the effects of human and natural forces combined. The black line shows actual observed global average temperatures. The close match between the black line and the pink band indicates that observed warming over the last half-century cannot be explained by natural factors alone, and is instead caused primarily by human factors.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
pancakes for a #2 dinner. wonderful.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, my, but it must be a slow day over in the Land of the Banned; we've been "blessed" here with lots of visits from the bored bunker dwellers over the last 24 hours or so. Ah, well; they'll doubtless spot something shiny soon and move on again--or so we can all hope. ;-)


I saw nothing wrong with you post. Makes no sense why it was banned.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting yqt1001:
I don't know if I should really worry about global warming. It could as easily be a natural cycle than man-made (we barely know enough about our environment to be able to accurately predict the intensity of a hurricane let alone make a firm conclusion about the causes of GW). I feel that humanity has enough problems in the next few years to worry about, many of which could and probably will be worse than climate change in the next 3 decades.


WELL SAID! :D your considering what others arent, and thats good to notice what your noticing:)

Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR NGULU IN YAP STATE IS CANCELLED. THE THREAT OF DAMAGING WINDS HAS ENDED.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR KOROR AND KAYANGEL IN THE REPUBLIC OF PALAU.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45548
Texas sized soaking on the way!

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting Proveit:
Better warm than cold. The extremes we are facing now are nothng compared to the impacts of the little ice age in the 1800's.
Our technologies these days make it so easy to scare the crap out of people that in the past would never even make it out of the area it was happening unless it was truely a disaster that affect many people. I live in a rural area and we had tornadoes that never got televised because no one got hurt.
In one area we get 100 year floods in others we have all time droughts. Matter of fact we had bad droughts and heat in Texas but some areas it wasn't much different than normal. All the old farmers I talk to said the 30-50's was much worse mainly because of all the farms that were "dust bowls" actually affected the weather. Major wind and dust storms mainly. That's what I love about the weather it's rarely predictable and you never know what is going to happen
We don't get much cold weather here in Texas I enjoy the few days of Winter we get here. Seems like it is Summer about 9 to 10 months out of the year to me, LOL
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #12
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 25
6:00 AM JST December 15 2011
===============================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression Near Caroline Island

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 7.0N 135.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving west northwest at 18 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
======================
24 HRS: 9.0N 129.2E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45548


Global Climate Change Indicators
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center


How do we know the Earth's climate is warming?

Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe. This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys and autonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented with satellite measurements.
These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematic errors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change.
A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes in surface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurement errors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends.

The warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on every continent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels.


Simulated global temperature in experiments that include human influences (pink line), and model experiments that included only natural factors (blue line). The black line is observed temperature change.

Global climate models clearly show the effect of human-induced changes on global temperatures. The blue band shows how global temperatures would have changed due to natural forces only (without human influence). The pink band shows model projections of the effects of human and natural forces combined. The black line shows actual observed global average temperatures. The close match between the black line and the pink band indicates that observed warming over the last half-century cannot be explained by natural factors alone, and is instead caused primarily by human factors.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
I don't know if I should really worry about global warming. It could as easily be a natural cycle than man-made (we barely know enough about our environment to be able to accurately predict the intensity of a hurricane let alone make a firm conclusion about the causes of GW). I feel that humanity has enough problems in the next few years to worry about, many of which could and probably will be worse than climate change in the next 3 decades. Overall, I'm more worried that we will kill ourselves to death in the turbulent times ahead than nature biting back at us. As horrible as this sounds, but it really does sound like this decade will be 1930s-esque.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1286
Better warm than cold. The extremes we are facing now are nothng compared to the impacts of the little ice age in the 1800's.
Our technologies these days make it so easy to scare the crap out of people that in the past would never even make it out of the area it was happening unless it was truely a disaster that affect many people. I live in a rural area and we had tornadoes that never got televised because no one got hurt.
In one area we get 100 year floods in others we have all time droughts. Matter of fact we had bad droughts and heat in Texas but some areas it wasn't much different than normal. All the old farmers I talk to said the 30-50's was much worse mainly because of all the farms that were "dust bowls" actually affected the weather. Major wind and dust storms mainly. That's what I love about the weather it's rarely predictable and you never know what is going to happen
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Quoting SPLbeater:


i would hope so, i would trade winter for hurricane season lol


You have mail!
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Quoting mistymountainhop:

Ha. Because of that, Patrap will mostly get a perma ban from Wunderground.

Shame.

BTW...I like your brownie reference.


Wishful thoughts do not affect the Karma of the enlightened.

Have a nice day.

: )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128630
Quoting JNCali:
Here in Mid TN we are having a lovely 70 degree day (average for today is 49 degrees) with TS forecast later this evening.. did I sleep through the winter??


i would hope so, i would trade winter for hurricane season lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting RitaEvac:


Ever wonder if we are already at the tens of thousands of years end of road, and it's time?


i quoted the scripture last night about that. was removed for 'violating the community standards' crap, lol. if you have a bible on hand,,,take a few mins and read Mark 13:4-37 :D it tells about events to take place before the end.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Don't worry folks the Cold WX is on the way just in time for Christmas.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting Neapolitan:
AGW is preventable; a supervolcano most likely is not. And the world may go on for several thousand--or several tens of thousands--more years before we see a VEI 8 event, while climate change could (and most likely will) cause massive casualties before the end of this century.


Our economic situation globally isn't going to allow it to be prevented, sorry Nea, there's nuttin that can be done. Expect fallout next year. Now you can donate your portfolio and give all your money away, and all the rich 1% can do the same, and that might help out. But I doubt that will happen.
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Here in Mid TN we are having a lovely 70 degree day (average for today is 49 degrees) with TS forecast later this evening.. did I sleep through the winter??
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Quoting Neapolitan:
AGW is preventable; a supervolcano most likely is not. And the world may go on for several thousand--or several tens of thousands--more years before we see a VEI 8 event, while climate change could (and most likely will) cause massive casualties before the end of this century.


Ever wonder if we are already at the tens of thousands of years end of road, and it's time?
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Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Philippine Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
2:00 PM PhST December 14 2011
=================================

A Tropical Depression Is Expected To Enter The Philippines Area Of Responsibility.

At 2:00 PM PhSt, A Tropical Depression located at 5.9°N 139.4°E or 1,400 km east of southern Mindanao has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots. The depression is reported as moving west at 9 knots.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45548
ALmost 80 here with 94 percent humidity and off and on drizzle, no real measurable rain but it sure does not feel like December, hope it gets Cold before Christmas because it feels like July.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

That's true. The eruption of a supervolcano would almost certainly end global warming for a number of years. The problem is that it just might end it forever--or at least the few thousand years it'll take for the remnants of humanity to get back to heavy industry and the wanton befouling of the environment. :-\

Once you end it/it ends, then it is highly unlikely that humanity will be able to reform from its remnants as you remark; for what seems to be a simple reason.
These remnants will not have the technology lying around to restart with an industrial revolution as most of the energy needed is already so difficult to get at it needs all the ingenuity of hungry humans to find and extract it now. There will be plenty of scrap lying around and a lot of very overgrown ruins but technology needs to be kept on the front burner, you cant forge a plough sheer from the remains of a laptop.
My prediction is, that should humanity collapse and arise from its ashes, then it would probably follow a path similar to African tribes and Pacific islanders, pre colonisation American Indians etc.
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Lovejoy is blazing a beautiful tail near the sun, if you like space weather.

To paraphrase a friend, "Houston floods if a mouse ...drinks too much coffee."

With all the drained wetlands that used to keep up humididty, Florida's annual precipitation has decreased. However, urbanization with the decreased wetland storage, means more water in the rivers. The bad part is that the rain tends to come in slugs rather than regular light rainfall. As urbanization continues, without pervious pavement and increased flood mitigation efforts, flood peaks may continue to get higher AND droughts longer.
Keeping the aquifer full to prevent sinkholes, and ensure water supply is only getting more challenging. Population increases in demand must be met with increases in conservation. Even reuse water volumes have become important. My vote is waterloveing ornamental turf grass goes first.
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Thanks for the Terence McKenna link. If nothing else he is entertaining. Maybe he could help me understand some of the posts on here better.

"Just a thought ... ;)"
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The mafia involved in waste recycling in New Jersey?


"We're gonna make him an offer he can't re-use."
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Quoting Patrap:



The Singularity

Terrance McKenna was a good dude.

Smart, and on the edge pushing constantly.

I Note the I-Ching every day.



Shucks Patrap - I missed your #100000 comment!


Higgs Boson maybe ...
Link
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Quoting Neapolitan:

That's true. The eruption of a supervolcano would almost certainly end global warming for a number of years. The problem is that it just might end it forever--or at least the few thousand years it'll take for the remnants of humanity to get back to heavy industry and the wanton befouling of the environment. :-\


We should be more afraid of that kind of stuff than AGW, because that will make the AGW debate of disasters look like baby food
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The Harris-Galveston Subsidence District is a special purpose district created by the Texas Legislature in 1975. The District was created to provide for the regulation of groundwater withdrawal throughout Harris and Galveston counties for the purpose of preventing land subsidence, which leads to increased flooding. The District’s enabling legislation is found in Chapter 8801 of the Special Districts Code.

We achieve our goals through a combination of efforts. Of great importance is controlling subsidence by managing how we use our groundwater resources. This is accomplished through the careful regulation of groundwater withdrawals, working in collaboration with surface water suppliers. And just as significant – short-term and long-term – is the teaching and implementation of water conservation throughout our communities, neighborhoods, businesses, and households…all the way down to the youngest family members.

We are frequently asked, "What, exactly, is subsidence and how are groundwater resources managed? And how do we successfully teach our water users to conserve?"

Let’s start with subsidence. Webster’s defines it as “to sink, to fall to the bottom; to settle.” Well, that’s exactly what some of the land in our area has been doing since the 1920’s. Prior to World War II, areas with significant industrial and petrochemical development, such as Baytown and Texas City, experienced significant, localized subsidence. This trend continued during and after World War II, when rapid industrial and municipal growth began to create broad, regional patterns of subsidence, raising serious concerns over flooding.

In fact, in the critical areas along Galveston Bay, the land surface has sunk as much as 10 feet since 1906! Experts have been studying the subsidence phenomena for almost 100 years, and with each hurricane we have weathered, we’ve seen subsidence and flooding problems worsen.

One dramatic example of this was in the Brownwood subdivision, a coastal community of Baytown where almost continual flooding due to subsidence caused the area to eventually be abandoned.

In 1975, as a result of area residents and local governments becoming increasingly alarmed by the continued impact of subsidence on economic growth and quality of life in the region, the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District was created by the 64th Texas Legislature as an underground water conservation district. Our main role at that time was to provide for the regulation of the withdrawal of groundwater to control subsidence.
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During Allison's floods they had a civil engineer type on TV disputing Neil Frank's reports on the amount of rain that had fallen. The civil engineer was saying it had to have been more. He basically called Frank a liar on air. My recollection is that this engineer was involved in constructing one of the hospitals that was flooded. It seems that what happened is that, unknown to the engineer, because of subsidence one of the geodetic datum bench marks was three feet lower than they thought it was. So when they surveyed for the construction the backup generators in the hospital wound up being built lower than intended. The result was a pretty chaotic situation.

This link is to a PDF report on the Allison flooding and the actions taken/lessons learned. The pictures of the flooding are pretty amazing. One of the actions recommended/taken was to relevel the first order geodetic datum benchmarks.

edit: Darn, forgot the link.
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Houston history:

Early 1940’s: Benchmark relevelings performed - verify that subsidence is occurring (Baytown area had subsided 3.2 feet; Texas City area had subsided 1.6 feet)

1950's: Continued documentation of substantial additional subsidence

1950’s & 60’s: Several studies released linking the relationship between groundwater withdrawal and subsidence (1954: Winslow and Doyle; 1959: Winslow and Wood; 1969: Gabrysch)

1961: Hurricane Carla hits area - brings realization to the region that there is an increased likelihood of flooding due to subsidence.

1975: The Harris-Galveston Subsidence District created by the 64th Legislature

1984: Devastating flood on Brays Bayou renews concern about the effects of subsidence in inland area

1987: A network of 82 benchmarks installed – distributed throughout the districts to determine elevation changes using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

1989: Fort Bend Subsidence District created in legislative session to manage and control subsidence in Fort Bend County

1999: Harris-Galveston Subsidence District adopts its most recent regulatory plan establishing an ultimate groundwater reduction goal for north and west Harris - to reduce groundwater pumpage to 20% of total water demand by 2030.

2003: Fort Bend Subsidence District adopts new regulatory plan establishing groundwater reduction requirements for certain permitees of 30% by 2013 and 60% by 2025.
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #11
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 25
3:00 AM JST December 15 2011
===============================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression Near Caroline Island

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 6.9N 136.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving west northwest at 18 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
======================
24 HRS: 8.9N 130.2E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45548
Quoting Patrap:
Are we going to see this every few days till the 21st of next year?

For every house, building, driveway, parking lot, sidewalk, is just that much more water that cannot soak into the ground but has to runoff and that my friend is why water is increasing. More impervious features...more water, more floods, more disasters, more stupidity

Stupidity on both sides, the ones that keep developing and the ones that blame more moisture content in atmosphere.


DOOM
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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.