A white Christmas will be a U.S. rarity in 2011; November the globe's 12th warmest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:26 PM GMT on December 22, 2011

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A white Christmas will be a rarity across most of the U.S. this year, as December temperatures have been more typical of November, and very little snow has fallen. Large portions of the eastern half of the country have been more than 4°F above average so far in December, with temperatures averaging 8°F above average over portions of North Dakota.This is quite a switch from the previous two winters, which were both much colder and snowier than average. All three winters featured La Niña conditions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, so that cannot explain the difference. A key reason for the December warmth this year and the cold and snowy Decembers of 2010 and 2009 is a weather pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average over the 30-day period ending on December 22, 2011. Image credit: NOAA/CPC.



Figure 2. Top: snow depth measured in the U.S. on December 22, 2011, after a month with a strong positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Bottom: Snow depth measured in the U.S. on December 22, 2010, after a month with a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Image credit: NOAA/NOHRSC.

The Arctic Oscillation and its influence on winter weather
The Arctic Oscillation (AO), and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), are climate patterns in the Northern Hemisphere defined by fluctuations in the difference of sea-level pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. It is one of oldest known climate oscillations--seafaring Scandinavians described the pattern several centuries ago. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic Low and the Azores High, the AO and NAO control the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic. A large difference in the pressure between Iceland and the Azores (positive AO/NAO) leads to increased westerly winds and mild winter in the U.S. and Western Europe. Positive AO/NAO conditions also cause the Icelandic Low to draw a stronger south-westerly flow of air over eastern North America, preventing Arctic air from plunging southward. In contrast, if the difference in sea-level pressure between Iceland and the Azores is small (negative AO/NAO), westerly winds are suppressed, allowing Arctic air to spill southwards into eastern North America more readily. Negative AO/NAO winters tend to bring cold winters to Europe and the U.S. East Coast, but leads to very warm conditions in the Arctic, since all the cold air spilling out of the Arctic gets replaced by warm air flowing poleward. The winter of 2009 - 2010 had the most extreme negative NAO and AO since record keeping began in 1865; a very extreme AO/NAO also developed during the winter of 2010 - 2011. But this year, the pattern has flipped. The AO has been almost as strong, but in the opposite sense--a positive AO, leading to very warm conditions over the U.S. Unfortunately, the AO is difficult to predict more than a week or two and advance, and we don't understand why the AO can vary so much from winter to winter. The latest predictions from the ECMWF and GFS models show this positive AO pattern continuing for at least the next ten days. Real winter conditions won't arrive in the U.S. until the first week of January, at the earliest. Between now and the end of 2011, the only major winter storm the GFS model expects in the U.S. will be in the Pacific Northwest, on December 30 - 31.

This week, NOAA's ClimateWatch Magazine posted an excellent tutorial on the Arctic Oscillation and how it is affecting our winter weather this year.



Figure 3. The departure of temperature from average in Centigrade during the November - December - January period during various phases of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Positive AO conditions lead to warm winters in the U.S., while negative AO conditions lead to cold winters. Image credit: NOAA/CPC.

November 2011: Earth's 12th warmest on record
November 2011 was the globe's 12th warmest November on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). November 2011 global land temperatures were the 16th warmest on record, and ocean temperatures were the 12th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere near average, the 20th or 11th warmest in the 34-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the November 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary.


Figure 4. Departure of temperature from average for November 2011. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

A warm November for the U.S.
In the contiguous U.S., November ranked as the 25th warmest November in the 117-year record. Thirteen states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest recorded a top-ten warmest November, and no states had a top-ten coldest November. Eight states had a top-ten wettest November--Indiana, Ohio, Missouri,Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. One state had a top-ten driest month, Minnesota. Texas had its 39th driest November on record, keeping 76% of Texas under extreme to exceptional drought as of December 13, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

A weak La Niña continues
A borderline weak/moderate La Niña event continues in the equatorial Pacific, where sea surface temperatures were approximately 1.0°C below average during the first half of December. The impacts of a La Niña on U.S. weather are well-defined. It is likely that the drought in the South, especially Texas, will continue, along with above average temperatures. The Northwest can expect cooler than average temperatures, as well as the potential for another winter with a heavy snowpack across the western United States.

Arctic sea ice extent third lowest on record
Arctic sea ice extent was at its third lowest on record in November, behind 2006 and 2010, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Sea ice records date back to 1979.

Donations sought for the East Africa famine
Weather Underground has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help the Horn of Africa region during the ongoing famine. With the help of the Weather Underground community, we hope to raise $10,000 that will go toward helping the refugees survive the crisis. Weather Underground will match the community's donation dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 for a total donation of $20,000. Please visit the East Africa famine donation page to help out. Ninety cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the people in need.

Posts looking back at the remarkable weather events of 2011
Deadliest weather disaster of 2011: the East African drought
Tropical Storm Lee's flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw?
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

This will be my last post until Tuesday. Have a great holiday, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Skyepony:
HIPPO reveals climate surprises
Swooping pole-to-pole plane flights uncover unexpected trends in pollutant releases and spread


Good article. Thank you for posting it. A few things from it...

1) If methane concentrations are increasing in the upper atmosphere at 20 degrees north and south of the equator then would that not make the climate more stable, especially in terms of tropical cyclone development. I guess it all depends where exactly that pollutent layer settles, which is constantly flucuating.

2) Sounds like the runaway train has already left the boarding station. They come out saying methane concentrations are increasing everywhere and at record rates. It's very alarming. The 20 year GWP of methane is 72, which means that if the same mass of methane and carbon dioxide were introduced into the atmosphere, that methane will trap 72 times more heat than the carbon dioxide over the next 20 years.

3) Then theres all that Carbon and Nitrous Oxides they talked about too, especially in the Arctic. It will be very interesting to see how the new models they format will show these changes in their data. Especially with the upper atmosphere methane concentrations that were not forcasted previously.

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Space ballsLink
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Quoting Articuno:
Strong Aftershocks hit ChristChurch New Zealand once again..
2 earthquakes, one 5.8 and the other 5.9
Link
Link

Earthquake Rattles NZ's Christchurch

(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — A series of strong earthquakes struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified holiday shoppers to flee into the streets. There was no tsunami alert issued and the city appeared to have been spared major damage.
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Climate change cognitive dissonance Link
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Strong Aftershocks hit ChristChurch New Zealand once again..
2 earthquakes, one 5.8 and the other 5.9
Link
Link
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An awful lot of red on that temperature map. Seems to always be a lot of red on those maps. Surely not a positive sign of things to come.
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Merry Christmas to weathewr weenies everywhere! Have a safe holiday!
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.
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129. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Advice #9
Tropical Low 04U
4:00 PM CST December 23 2011
===================================

At 3:30 PM CST, Tropical Low 04U (998 hPa) located at 10.8S 132.5E or 40 km north northwest of Croker Island and 250 km northeast of Darwin has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving east southeast at 6 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0/2.0/D1.0/24 HRS

The low is expected to develop but remain slow moving north of the coast over the next 24 to 48 hours.

GALES with gusts to 110 km per hour are expected to develop between Cape Don and Milingimbi late Saturday or early Sunday.

GALES may develop later in coastal areas between Dundee Beach and Cape Don, including Darwin and the Tiwi Islands, and between Milingimbi and Nhulunbuy.

The Territory Controller advises residents from Cape Don to Milingimbi that now is the time to make final preparations to your home shelter or identify which public emergency shelter to use. For communities under Watch, now is the time to put together your emergency kit, clear your yards and balconies, and commence home shelter preparations.

Residents of Darwin and Rural Area are advised that if you DO NOT have accommodation constructed to the Building Code or are unsure of your present accommodation you should determine which public emergency shelter to use. This advice is issued to allow you sufficient time in which to take the necessary precautions before winds reach a dangerous level.

Tropical Cyclone Watches/Warnings
================================='

A Cyclone WARNING has been declared for a developing tropical low for coastal areas from Cape Don to Milingimbi.

A Cyclone WATCH is now current for coastal areas from Dundee Beach to Cape Don, including Darwin, and Milingimbi to Nhulunbuy.

Forecast and Intensity
======================

24 HRS: 10.9S 133.0E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 10.9S 133.0E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
72 HRS: 12.8S 133.3E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
======================

Structure of low has become better organized but still elongated along the trough axis. 24 hour visible imagery comparison shows greater curvature of the low cloud lines and convection becoming more focused around the center. Persistence of organized convection over the past 12 hours is against the diurnal cycle indicating improved potential for development overnight.

Dvorak analysis remains difficult with a lack of banding around the low level center. FT is based on MET=PT=2.0

Pressures continue to drop by around 2hPa per day. Latest AScat pass shows a band of 25kt northwesterlies in the convergent monsoon flow to the north of the low.

The majority of guidance is maintaining slow movement north of the coast for the next 24 to 48 hours due to a fine balance between the monsoon flow and the mid-level ridge to the south. In the longer term the consensus is for an easterly movement as the ridge decays.

The next tropical cyclone bulletin from Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Center will be issued at 13:30 PM UTC..
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Am I the only one still up?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 68 Comments: 25048
127. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Perth Tropical Cyclone Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
FORECAST WESTERN AUSTRALIA REGION BETWEEN 90E-125E SOUTH OF 10S
1:42 PM WST December 23 2011
=========================

At midday WST a tropical low was located near 8S 95E, outside of the Western Region. This low is likely to enter the Western Region during Saturday and move west of 90E late Saturday or early Sunday. This low is not expected to develop into a tropical cyclone in the Western Region.

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
====================================

Saturday: Low
Sunday: Low
Monday: Very Low
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126. Skyepony (Mod)
HIPPO reveals climate surprises
Swooping pole-to-pole plane flights uncover unexpected trends in pollutant releases and spread
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 160 Comments: 37151
Happy Holidays...and how rare, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day falling on a weekend!
Triple emnity if you have to work and it's a holiday and a weekend!

Wrapping up the year, Facing South, a publication by the Institute of Southern Studies) is summing up the year with its reporting on fossi-fuel funded attacks on climate scientists.

...As the climate crisis deepens and public pressure to take action builds, dirty-energy interests are expected to step up their efforts to block a more sustainable future -- and Facing South plans to be there to expose them...
Link Top 5 of 2011 - #4: Who's attacking climate scientists?
Evidently, the infamous Art Pope is also part of this ongoing smear campaign.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11141
Quoting SPLbeater:


im sure lol. when i first joined and made my handle there was trolls trolling every day it seemed, i was wondering "is this normal?" xD

Yes, it is definitely normal. Between Jason and the JFV rumors and spam, it's really unpleasant here during the height of hurricane season.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Should've been here earlier this year...Oh boy..


im sure lol. when i first joined and made my handle there was trolls trolling every day it seemed, i was wondering "is this normal?" xD
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting SPLbeater:


this is example #1 of a advertising troll. report and ignore.

Should've been here earlier this year...Oh boy..
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Quoting ysfabian:
thanks for sharing.
slewing ring bearing


this is example #1 of a advertising troll. report and ignore.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Experiment...Can you guys view this?

Link




link works but if you are going to do Experiments on heree i would 1st testit on your own blog so that way you dont mass up the main blog and get ban for it some in too think about
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Merry Christmas Everyone!

http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/ZG6OmtKYx2JbnvR7 ?cmpid=jj_url
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What a storm, might be a tad bit morth for the brunt to hit Europe
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Quoting seflagamma:
Dr Jeff and all of the gang here,


From our Home to Yours
Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Happy New Year 2012!






"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn%u2019t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn%u2019t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

- Dr. Seuss



For you Gamma...
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
hmm.. a file you have to download.

Don't worry, it's safe, trust me.

It's my preliminary report for Tropical Storm Cindy. I made some changes to the appearance I'll be presenting my reports (see my blog), so I need somewhere to link it and mediafire is the only site I know that shows things in PDF.

(Not sure if anything above here made sense, lol.)
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110. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
hmm.. a file you have to download.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44438
Experiment...Can you guys view this?

Link
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108. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Advice #8
Tropical Low 04U
10:00 AM CST December 23 2011
===================================

At 9:30 AM CST, Tropical Low 04U (999 hPa) located at 10.6S 131.7E or 145 km northeast of Snake Bay and 220 km north northeast of Darwin has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving east southeast at 3 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T1.5/1.5/D0.5/24 HRS

A tropical cyclone is expected to develop early Sunday north of the Top End. GALES are not expected in coastal areas in the next 24 hours, however gales could develop later.

The Territory Controller advises communities under Watch that now is the time to put together your emergency kit, clear your yards and balconies, and commence home shelter preparations.

Residents of Darwin and Rural Area are advised that if you DO NOT have accommodation constructed to the Building Code or are unsure of your present accommodation you should determine which public emergency shelter to use. This advice is issued to allow you sufficient time in which to take the necessary precautions before winds reach a dangerous level.

Tropical Cyclone Watch
=====================

A Cyclone WATCH is current for a developing tropical low for coastal areas from Dundee Beach to Nhulunbuy, including Darwin

Forecast and Intensity
======================

24 HRS: 10.8S 132.8E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
48 HRS: 10.7S 133.0E - 40 knots (CAT 1)
72 HRS: 12.2S 133.1E - 40 knots (CAT 1)

Additional Information
======================

A monsoon low structure has developed with convection focused to the north in the convergent monsoon flow away from the low level center, which appears to be located north of the Cobourg Peninsula based on visible imagery and surface observations.

In general, pressures continue to drop by about 2 hPa per day, upper level diffluent flow is evident as a mid and upper level trough passes to the south.

Due to the lack of deep convection near the center Dvorak DT can not be made. FT based on PT=1.5.

Guidance does suggest that eventually the circulation will extend in depth over the next 24 to 48 hours, and remain slow-moving north of the coast. The system is still likely to be 36 to 48 hours away from reaching TC intensity.

Forecast is based on a consensus of available models.

The next tropical cyclone bulletin from Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Center will be issued at 7:30 AM UTC..
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I know 30 year averages are the standard. I'm assuming that after this year the 30-year average moves to 1981-2010.

But what do I know.


Except for GISS. They're still stuck in the 50's (using the 1951-1980 means). Moving to a later averaging period wouldn't affect the trend, but would make "zero" rise, and actually drop the current .6 above "zero" by a few tenths. Might fall in line with the rest of the datasets, but it wouldn't look as extreme that way.
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Hey, Gams, that is a great card....

Hope your Christmas is wonderful... and appropriately tropical... lol

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Dr Jeff and all of the gang here,


From our Home to Yours
Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Happy New Year 2012!






"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn%u2019t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn%u2019t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

- Dr. Seuss



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Quoting Patrap:
..not as a footnote, but Historically a vivid memory to those who experienced her, Hurricane Camille Hit a Month after Apollo 11 Launched.


Many NASA workers and their families from Louisiana to Mississippi were displaced and affected.

Michoud Assembly Facility, Stennis test Center and the Slidell Computer facility were all NASA employee's.



Hurricane Camille in the Gulf.
Date
16 August 1969


bet it hits florida and texas and then guess where NY city i know horrible,

SARCASTIC LAUGH
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..not as a footnote, but Historically a vivid memory to those who experienced her, Hurricane Camille Hit a Month after Apollo 11 Launched.


Many NASA workers and their families from Louisiana to Mississippi were displaced and affected.

Michoud Assembly Facility, Stennis test Center and the Slidell Computer facility were all NASA employee's.




Hurricane Camille on August 16, 1969. Image capture by NASA's ATS III satellite.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Grothar:


Never heard of them!
Of course not, they were bfore your time....hhhhaaaaa !
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Quoting Grothar:


7 years. You mean all this time you didn't know you liked you and who didn't?


Better off not knowing :) You sure it has not been around just 1 dog-age year?
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Just imagine yourself being interviewed for a company doing business in LAmerica and getting the position.... because of your ability to comunicate.... Learn to master Spanish.... Ahh, Include also Mandarin....


I stop at french...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Pic is from the crew of Apollo 17, better known as AS17-148-22727 by NASA, or the ''Blue Marble'',

Specs on the cyclone,
Crossed Tamilnadu coast close to and north of Cudalore at 2330 UTC on 5th December and was within 50 km WNW of Cuddalore at 0300 UTCon December 6. Maximum wind speed recorded at Cuddalore was 111 KMPH to 148 KMPH (60-80) between 2230 UTC of 5th & 0230 UTC of 6th.80 People killed and 30,000 people rendered homeless in Madras due to flood.Total loss Rs. 40 crores.
Link


my bad, thought they were referring to da video from Neil and 11.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


The Osmonds?

Do you remember this one? ... I only ask because I know what old timers disease is like.

Link

Hello, Grothar! ... Yes, I am fine now. I found the Prozac!


Never heard of them!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 68 Comments: 25048
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Just noticed the new feature (to me), when you place your mouse pointer over the + counter in a post, it lists the users that have plused that entry.

How long has this been active?


7 years. You mean all this time you didn't know you liked you and who didn't?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 68 Comments: 25048
Quoting Patrap:


One can check the archives,, as Apollo 11 Flew from July 16-24 1969.



Pic is from the crew of Apollo 17, better known as AS17-148-22727 by NASA, or the ''Blue Marble'',

Specs on the cyclone,
Crossed Tamilnadu coast close to and north of Cudalore at 2330 UTC on 5th December and was within 50 km WNW of Cuddalore at 0300 UTCon December 6. Maximum wind speed recorded at Cuddalore was 111 KMPH to 148 KMPH (60-80) between 2230 UTC of 5th & 0230 UTC of 6th.80 People killed and 30,000 people rendered homeless in Madras due to flood.Total loss Rs. 40 crores.
Link
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Quoting hydrus:
i cant believe ya posted the osmonds....puke,,vomit...gag..lol


Give me a break. The Prozac has not taken full effect yet. LOL .... Any minute now. fingers crossed
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


The Osmonds?

Do you remember this one? ... I only ask because I know what old timers disease is like.

Link

Hello, Grothar! ... Yes, I am fine now. I found the Prozac!
i cant believe ya posted the osmonds....puke,,vomit...gag..lol i take it back, wrong Osmonds..:)
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Quoting hydrus:
Even after seeing those incredible pictures from the Hubble Telescope, Our Earth is still the crown jewel of it all in my book....


One thing for certain, hydrus. Earth is certainly one of a kind and a crown jewel it is.

Added -
I also see an EPAC system there. Looking at the weather patterns around it, it is going to hit ... wait for it .... FLORIDA!
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Quoting Grothar:


Who remembers this? We thought we were hot stuff back then.




The Osmonds?

Do you remember this one? ... I only ask because I know what old timers disease is like.

Link

Hello, Grothar! ... Yes, I am fine now. I found the Prozac!
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I forgot to take my Prozac. Leave me alone! LOL ... OK, I'm better noooooow. .... OH! Hi, hydrus! .. When did you get here?

They are nice images. Our first look back at our planet. Truly, an amazing view. Before this we could see no more of the planet than from what we view from an airplane.
Even after seeing those incredible pictures from the Hubble Telescope, Our Earth is still the crown jewel of it all in my book.... Our beautiful Mother Earth.. It truly is a special place..:)
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Just noticed the new feature (to me), when you place your mouse pointer over the + counter in a post, it lists the users that have plused that entry.

How long has this been active?
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Even from an airplane it's pretty amazing. The first time I saw the Mississippi River, it was a grey ribbon on the green velvet of LA.... for a kid from a place where the highest spots barely let you look down on the tops of the taller trees, that was pretty... well, something else.
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Quoting hydrus:
I said in my post that the image was taken from a rocket..Post# 56 is the TIROS-1 satellite image.. Did you forget to take your Geritol today Rook?..jk...really..jk.:)


I forgot to take my Prozac. Leave me alone! LOL ... OK, I'm better noooooow. .... OH! Hi, hydrus! .. When did you get here?

They are nice images. Our first look back at our planet. Truly, an amazing view. Before this we could see no more of the planet than from what we view from an airplane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.