Damage losses and climate change

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:58 PM GMT on January 03, 2012

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During 2011, a series of violent tornado outbreaks hit the Plains and Southeast U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period. The epic tornado onslaught killed 552 people and brought three of the five largest tornado outbreaks on record in a six-week period, including the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history--the April 25 - 28 Super Outbreak, which did $10.2 billion dollars in damage. Insured losses due to thunderstorms and tornadoes in the U.S. were at least $25 billion in 2011, more than double the previous record set in 2010. Damages from thunderstorms and tornadoes since 1980 have shown a clear increase since 1980 (Figure 2.) Disaster losses world-wide from weather-related natural disasters have also shown a significant increase in recent years, as has the number of these disasters. But how much of this is due to a change in the climate, and how much might be due to increases in population, wealth, and other factors?


Figure 1. Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the April 27, 2011 EF-4 tornado. Image credit: NOAA.


Not enough evidence to judge if climate change is affecting tornadoes
As I discussed last week in my post, 2011: Year of the Tornado, as far as we can tell, the number of damaging tornadoes has not increased in recent years, though the quality of the data set is to poor to know for sure. This is largely due to the fact that we never directly measure a tornado's winds--a tornado has to run over a building before we can make an EF-scale strength estimate, based on the damage. As tornado researcher Chuck Doswell said in a 2007 paper, "I see no near-term solution to the problem of detecting detailed spatial and temporal trends in the occurrence of tornadoes by using the observed data in its current form or in any form likely to evolve in the near future." My 2008 post, Are tornadoes getting stronger and more frequent?, discussed how a better way to assess how climate change may be affecting tornadoes is to look at how the large-scale environmental conditions favorable for tornado formation have changed through time. The most important ingredients for tornado formation are usually high atmospheric instability (as measured by the Convective Available Potential Energy, or CAPE), and high amounts of wind shear between the surface and 6 km altitude. Not enough work has been done on the subject to judge whether or not climate change is affecting severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, though.


Figure 2. Insured losses due to thunderstorms and tornadoes in the U.S. in 2011 dollars. Data taken from Property Claims Service MR NatCatSERVICE. Image credit: Munich Re.

Are the number of weather-related disasters increasing?
At a talk given last month at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Mark Bove of Munich Re insurance company examined trends in both damages and number of natural disasters since 1980. These numbers have shown significant increases since 1980. After we take out the increase in disasters reported due to an increasing population, greater wealth, and more advanced communications, is there a trend due to climate change? One way to check is to compare natural disasters due to geophysical events--earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions--to weather-related disasters. Geophysical disasters should remain relatively constant in number in a changing climate (unless sea level rise is occurring so rapidly that it is causing significant changes in stress on earthquake faults, something that is theoretically possible, but has not yet been observed.) If we then look at trends in the number of geophysical disasters versus weather-related disasters reported, it should give us an idea of how much of the recent increase in weather-related disasters may be due to climate change. Between 1980 and 2010, geophysical disasters increased by about a factor of 1.5, while weather-related disasters increased by a factor of 2.7 to 3.5 (Figure 3.) Bove stated that he thought weather-related disasters were likely subject to a higher increase in reporting rate than geophysical disasters, but not enough to account for the huge difference. Climate change was the likely reason for a large portion of the increase in weather-related disasters in recent years, he argued. His talk concluded, "there is quite some probability that natural catastrophe losses are driven already by human-caused climate change."


Figure 3. The number of natural disasters reported has increased markedly worldwide since 1980, particularly for weather-related disasters. Image credit: Munich Re.

However, this conclusion is controversial. A 2010 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Netherlands researcher Laurens Bouwer titled, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", looked at 22 disaster loss studies world-wide, published between 2001 and 2010. All of the studies showed an increase in damages from weather-related disasters in recent decades. Fourteen of the 22 studies concluded that there were no trends in damage after correcting for increases in wealth and population, while eight of the studies did find upward trends even after such corrections, bringing up the question whether or not climate change could be responsible for the increased disaster losses. However, Bouwer found that "studies that did find increases after normalization did not fully correct for wealth and population increases, or they identified other sources of exposure increases or vulnerability changes or changing environmental conditions." In all 22 studies, increases in wealth and population were the "most important drivers for growing disaster losses." He concluded that human-caused climate change "so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters."

Using storm surge to evaluate damage normalization studies
Damage from landfalling storms can be used to estimate if hurricanes are growing stronger with time, but damage estimates must first be corrected to account for changes in wealth and population over time. A 2008 study by Pielke et al. found that although hurricane damages had been doubling every ten years in recent decades, there were no increases in normalized hurricane damages in the U.S. from 1900 - 2005. They used census and economic data to adjust for how increases in populations and wealth may have affected hurricane damages over time. However, Grinsted et al. (2012) questioned whether or not this was done correctly. They found that storm surge heights of U.S. hurricanes and tropical storms correlated very well with metrics that looked at storm intensity, when looking at many decades of data to see long-term trends. However, the researchers found that while short-term trends in normalized hurricane damage estimated by Pielke et al. (2008) did correlate well historical storm surges, these normalized damages had poor correlation with the storm surge record, when looking at decades-long time scales. This implies that the corrections were biased. Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia makes the case that efforts such as the one done by Pielke et al. (2008) to normalize disaster losses are probably biased too low, since they only look at factors that tend to increase disaster losses with time, but ignore factors that tend to decrease disaster losses. These ignored factors include improvements in building codes, better weather forecasts allowing more preparation time, and improved fire-fighting ability. He writes, "Most normalization research to date has not accounted for those variables because they are extremely difficult to quantify. (And most researchers have been at pains to point that out; e.g., Neumayer & Barthel, 2011, pp. 23-24.) In effect, normalization research to date largely rests on the oddly inconsistent pair of assumptions that (a) we have built up enormous wealth during the 20th century but (b) did so without any technological advance whatsoever." For example, during a severe October 2013 windstorm that did over $1 billion in damage to France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, "The insured losses for the St. Jude's Day storm would have been significantly higher but for the accuracy in weather forecasting several days ahead of the storm's formation", said financial information services company Fitch Services, since "policyholders have more time to protect their property from potential damage, while government agencies, utility firms and transport companies can make logistical arrangements to minimize disruption to power supplies and transport networks."

Conclusion
Studies showing no increase in normalized damage from storms have high uncertainty, and it is possible that higher economic damages due to stronger storms is indeed occurring, though the current research does not show this. Looking at disasters losses to make an argument that climate change is affecting our weather is difficult, due to the rarity of extreme events, and the changes in wealth and population that also affect disaster losses. We are better off looking at how the atmosphere, oceans, and glaciers are changing to find evidence of climate change--and there is plenty of evidence there.

References
Tornado researcher Dr. Harold Brooks has a May 2012 op-ed in New Scientist that discusses the difficulty in predicting how climate change will impact tornadoes.

Bouwer, L, 2010, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", BAMS, January 2011, DOI:10.1175/2010BAMS3092.1

Doswell, C.A., 2007, "Small Sample Size and Data Quality Issues Illustrated Using Tornado Occurrence Data", E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology Vol 2, No. 5 (2007).

Del Genio, A.D., M-S Yao, and J. Jonas, 2007,
Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L16703, doi: 10.1029/2007GL030525.

Grinsted, A., J. C. Moore, and S. Jevrejeva, 2012, "A homogeneous record of Atlantic hurricane surge threat since 1923," PNAS 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1209542109

Marsh, P.T., H.E. Brooks, and D.J. Karoly, 2007, Assessment of the severe weather environment in North America simulated by a global climate model, Atmospheric Science Letters, 8, 100-106, doi: 10.1002/asl.159.

Neumayer, E. & Barthel, F. (2011). Normalizing economic loss from natural disasters: A global analysis Global Environmental Change, 21, 13-24.

Pielke et al., 2008, "Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005", Natural Hazards Review, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42.

Riemann-Campe, K., Fraedrich, K., and F. Lunkeit, 2009, Global climatology of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and Convective Inhibition (CIN) in ERA-40 reanalysis, Atmospheric Research Volume 93, Issues 1-3, July 2009, Pages 534-545, 4th European Conference on Severe Storms.

Trapp, R.J., N.S. Diffenbaugh, H.E. Brooks, M.E. Baldwin, E.D. Robinson, and J.S. Pal, 2007, Severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing, PNAS 104 no. 50, 19719-19723, Dec. 11, 2007.

Jeff Masters

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Trying to post a music video, for the sole reason that the song contains the word "oscillation".

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

nowai.


I like thundersnow...!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SPLbeater:
at this point, i think i would trade half a foot of snow for a decent thunderstorm. i really do miss the rapid precipitation and the lighting bolts, and the thnder especially

...seems that once i started interest in weather i lost ALOT of interest in snow.

nowai.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32249
at this point, i think i would trade half a foot of snow for a decent thunderstorm. i really do miss the rapid precipitation and the lighting bolts, and the thnder especially

...seems that once i started interest in weather i lost ALOT of interest in snow.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting Neapolitan:

No, he didn't. In his excellent award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Gore said that warmer water causes stronger hurricanes. (That is, by the way, a point on which many hurricane experts agree.) He mentioned several storms from 2004 and 2005--Emily, Dennis--then he showed on satellite how Katrina intensified when it moved off of Florida into the GoM. (Gore didsort of make an unproven connection in the movie between GW and hurricane frequency, but at no time did he say or even hint that Katrina was caused by GW.)

I have a copy of the documentary I can send you, if you'd like... ;-)
What is the most important piece of evidence that scientists have that mankind is causing or increasing the current warming trend. I realize that the C02 levels are extra-ordinarily high, and a lot of measurements show the industrial age may have caused such a rise, but what is, in your opinion, the single hardest piece of evidence science has recorded that shows man is the cause or significantly affecting the global climate.?
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Quoting WxGeekVA:


I personally keep An Inconvenient Truth in my DVD library next to The Day After Tomorrow and Ice Twisters in my Sci-Fi section.....


Well they have the same footage in them.
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Hey Gro, just make sure you come back in time for the 2012 hurricane season. Happy New Year.
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Quoting Grothar:
Grothar is going away again for a while. Have a good New Year. Just to let you know that not everyone in government is out to get you. There are some very fine people who are doing their best to protect you and serve your best interest, as they always have. For those of you who believe that they are all watching you and out to get you, you may be right. I gave them all your numbers. LOL Take care and I wish all the good weather you can have. Play nicey, nice now. Remember, the intelligence you insult, may be your own.



Grothar, come back soon. This mainly lurker really enjoys your insights and humor.
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
Quoting Neapolitan:

No, he didn't. In his excellent award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Gore said that warmer water causes stronger hurricanes. (That is, by the way, a point on which many hurricane experts agree.) He mentioned several storms from 2004 and 2005--Emily, Dennis--then he showed on satellite how Katrina intensified when it moved off of Florida into the GoM. (Gore didsort of make an unproven connection in the movie between GW and hurricane frequency, but at no time did he say or even hint that Katrina was caused by GW.)

I have a copy of the documentary I can send you, if you'd like... ;-)


I personally keep An Inconvenient Truth in my DVD library next to The Day After Tomorrow and Ice Twisters in my Sci-Fi section.....
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:




Hyper tropical seasons of 04 and 05 blamed on AGW. Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW. Since then 6 years w/o a big storm hitting the US, blamed on AGW. Last year the Snowmegeddon amd Snowpocalypse storms blamed on AGW. This year lack of snow blamed on AGW. Last summers drought in TX blamed on AGW. If it floods in TX next summer guess what will get the blame? My point is the AGW crowd argues both ways and uses whatever logic they need to, to get to their conclusion.


I doubt you'll find many, if any, climate scientists that completely blame global climate change for these events as you suggest. It's a straw man argument, because it's not what climate science is saying.

Severe droughts and significant rainfall events can be consistent with climate change due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. An amplified hydrologic cycle can contribute to making droughts and floods worse. It does not cause floods. It does not cause droughts. But it does have an ever-increasing impact on these events.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3197
Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Yes he did.

No, he didn't. In his excellent award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Gore said that warmer water causes stronger hurricanes. (That is, by the way, a point on which many hurricane experts agree.) He mentioned several storms from 2004 and 2005--Emily, Dennis--then he showed on satellite how Katrina intensified when it moved off of Florida into the GoM. (Gore didsort of make an unproven connection in the movie between GW and hurricane frequency, but at no time did he say or even hint that Katrina was caused by GW.)

I have a copy of the documentary I can send you, if you'd like... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13549
Quoting Jedkins01:


However I do agree there are some who are obsessively biased in trying to prove AGW and they could feasibly just use data collected at growing urban heat island effects.


Do you have any evidence of any actual climate scientists actually doing this?
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3197
Quoting NavarreMark:


Peace and tranquility Gro.



Too late, Mark. I've already read the blog. But thanks anyway. :)
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:

Yes he did.

No he didn't.
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If it doesn't warm up here in Florida pretty soon my goldfish are going into hibernation!
It's colder in New Smyrna Beach right now than it is in Stuttgart, Germany!
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224. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
RSMC Reunion
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
============================

On latest satellite imagery, we can depict initiation of low level clockwise circulation near 15S 40.8E close to the coastlines of Mozambique. From Friday, Available European numerical weather prediction models forecast a low deepening within this area.

For the next 48 hours, there is no potential for the development of another tropical depression. Beyond, risk becomes poor to fair in the Mozambique Channel.
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Quoting Xandra:

Gore hasn't said Katrina was caused by AGW.


Yes he did.
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Greece warns of euro-exit as EU economies drift apart

By Valentina Pop

BRUSSELS - Greece may have to exit the eurozone if it fails to secure its second EU-IMF bail-out its government has warned, amid new protests against spending cuts.

"The bailout agreement needs to be signed otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro," government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Skai TV on Tuesday (3 January).

Manufacturing and employment went down in the last three months. Only Germany has registered strong economic data, with record low unemployment figures (6.8 percent), while crisis-hit Spain now has almost five million jobless people - some 21.5 percent of its workforce.

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Quoting barbamz:


Grothar, all the best for you, wherever you choose to go. Ich hoffe, wir sehen uns hier bald wieder! Outside windstrom Andrea is howling in Germany, but til now it's not too bad. Hope to hear soon from you! Barb.



I have been watching the storm. It appears you have been getting more storms than we.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Note the "Snow Hole" over my area.... Arrrgh...
trollface.jpg
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Quoting yqt1001:


Gustav became a category 4 hurricane before Cuba, passed over Cuba and held MH intensity until the the loop current area of the GoM where it weakened to a 2. Similar(ish) situation with Ike.

Now I agree with Katrina and Rita, the loop current and the TCHP associated was definitely the main factor of intensification at that time (Tom you listening? :P). Some could argue that the intensity of the loop current is enhanced by global warming though?


i doubt that any human climate theory influenced it, i think it was just the La Nina pattern or what not. idk. not done no research lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting PensacolaDoug:

Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW.

Gore hasn't said Katrina was caused by AGW.
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Quoting Grothar:
Grothar is going away again for a while. Have a good New Year. Just to let you know that not everyone in government is out to get you. There are some very fine people who are doing their best to protect you and serve your best interest, as they always have. For those of you who believe that they are all watching you and out to get you, you may be right. I gave them all your numbers. LOL Take care and I wish all the good weather you can have. Play nicey, nice now. Remember, the intelligence you insult, may be your own.


Grothar, all the best for you, wherever you choose to go. Ich hoffe, wir sehen uns hier bald wieder! Outside windstrom Andrea is howling in Germany, but til now it's not too bad. Hope to hear soon from you! Barb.
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Light snow reported around D.C. Note the "Snow Hole" over my area.... Arrrgh...
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Quoting SPLbeater:


i blame Katrina, Rita and 2008's Gustav on the loop current that these 3 systems passed over. Gustav made cat 4, katrina 5 and Rita 5. they weakened after. and the #2 reason i blame these 3 storms' intensity on the loop current is because the so called'global warming' mot likely, maybe 100% dont exist :D


Gustav became a category 4 hurricane before Cuba, passed over Cuba and held MH intensity until the the loop current area of the GoM where it weakened to a 2. Similar(ish) situation with Ike.

Now I agree with Katrina and Rita, the loop current and the TCHP associated was definitely the main factor of intensification at that time (Tom you listening? :P). Some could argue that the intensity of the loop current is enhanced by global warming though?
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1286
Quoting PensacolaDoug:




Hyper tropical seasons of 04 and 05 blamed on AGW. Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW. Since then 6 years w/o a big storm hitting the US, blamed on AGW. Last year the Snowmegeddon amd Snowpocalypse storms blamed on AGW. This year lack of snow blamed on AGW. Last summers drought in TX blamed on AGW. If it floods in TX next summer guess what will get the blame? My point is the AGW crowd argues both ways and uses whatever logic they need to, to get to their conclusion.


i blame Katrina, Rita and 2008's Gustav on the loop current that these 3 systems passed over. Gustav made cat 4, katrina 5 and Rita 5. they weakened after. and the #2 reason i blame these 3 storms' intensity on the loop current is because the so called'global warming' mot likely, maybe 100% dont exist :D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486

Quoting PensacolaDoug:




Hyper tropical seasons of 04 and 05 blamed on AGW. Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW. Since then 6 years w/o a big storm hitting the US, blamed on AGW. Last year the Snowmegeddon amd Snowpocalypse storms blamed on AGW. This year lack of snow blamed on AGW. Last summers drought in TX blamed on AGW. If it floods in TX next summer guess what will get the blame? My point is the AGW crowd argues both ways and uses whatever logic they need to, to get to their conclusion.
I agree. I think it's a bit fallacious to attribute every single weather event to global warming, which does seem to be happening recently.

However, the evidence for human-induced climate change is there. It is not a theory. It is a fact.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:




Hyper tropical seasons of 04 and 05 blamed on AGW. Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW. Since then 6 years w/o a big storm hitting the US, blamed on AGW. Last year the Snowmegeddon amd Snowpocalypse storms blamed on AGW. This year lack of snow blamed on AGW. Last summers drought in TX blamed on AGW. If it floods in TX next summer guess what will get the blame? My point is the AGW crowd argues both ways and uses whatever logic they need to, to get to their conclusion.
Tell,em what you really think Doug..lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting Grothar:
Grothar is going away again for a while. Have a good New Year. Just to let you know that not everyone in government is out to get you. There are some very fine people who are doing their best to protect you and serve your best interest, as they always have. For those of you who believe that they are all watching you and out to get you, you may be right. I gave them all your numbers. LOL Take care and I wish all the good weather you can have. Play nicey, nice now. Remember, the intelligence you insult, may be your own.
see ya later secret agent man
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting washingtonian115:
I hope that storm brings snow to us here in D.C.We need the snow!!!!!.Been a dull winter so far.
still got 48 hrs worth of models to watch reflection comes sat from the nw towards the the sw
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
cya Gro.
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Quoting Grothar:
Grothar is going away again for a while. Have a good New Year. Just to let you know that not everyone in government is out to get you. There are some very fine people who are doing their best to protect you and serve your best interest, as they always have. For those of you who believe that they are all watching you and out to get you, you may be right. I gave them all your numbers. LOL Take care and I wish all the good weather you can have. Play nicey, nice now. Remember, the intelligence you insult, may be your own.
Emotions and ratings arrange government more and more each election. jmo. Maybe some day there will be truly intelligent compromises to win over it. Hope ya get back soon...:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Quoting TomTaylor:
please explain where the convoluted logic is Pensacola.


What Scott posted is logical and makes perfect sense, you just refuse to accept that.




Hyper tropical seasons of 04 and 05 blamed on AGW. Gore even said Katrina was caused by AGW. Since then 6 years w/o a big storm hitting the US, blamed on AGW. Last year the Snowmegeddon amd Snowpocalypse storms blamed on AGW. This year lack of snow blamed on AGW. Last summers drought in TX blamed on AGW. If it floods in TX next summer guess what will get the blame? My point is the AGW crowd argues both ways and uses whatever logic they need to, to get to their conclusion.
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..Capice
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Quoting Patrap:
Gro,

..Happy Trail's, to you...


Thanks, Pat. ......they just pull you back in!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gro,

..Happy Trail's, to you...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Grothar is going away again for a while. Have a good New Year. Just to let you know that not everyone in government is out to get you. There are some very fine people who are doing their best to protect you and serve your best interest, as they always have. For those of you who believe that they are all watching you and out to get you, you may be right. I gave them all your numbers. LOL Take care and I wish all the good weather you can have. Play nicey, nice now. Remember, the intelligence you insult, may be your own.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I hope that storm brings snow to us here in D.C.We need the snow!!!!!.Been a dull winter so far.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17071
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


A cut-off low drops onto Texas, rides up the Eastern Seaboard and converges with an incoming trough from Canada...

BAM!!
This model has the storm movement at 45 to 50 mph around New England..Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting PensacolaDoug:


It sure is convienient, being able to blame any weather on AGW when you use such convoluted logic.
please explain where the convoluted logic is Pensacola.


What Scott posted is logical and makes perfect sense, you just refuse to accept that.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Climate change: How do we know?

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.


"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.

Certain facts about Earth's climate are not in dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Global Climate Change: Vital Sign's of the Planet
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Not my best effort, so I took it down.
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NASA Finds Russian Runoff Freshening Canadian Arctic

PASADENA, Calif. - A new NASA and University of Washington study allays concerns that melting Arctic sea ice could be increasing the amount of freshwater in the Arctic enough to have an impact on the global "ocean conveyor belt" that redistributes heat around our planet.

Lead author and oceanographer Jamie Morison of the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, and his team, detected a previously unknown redistribution of freshwater during the past decade from the Eurasian half of the Arctic Ocean to the Canadian half. Yet despite the redistribution, they found no change in the net amount of freshwater in the Arctic that might signal a change in the conveyor belt.

The team attributes the redistribution to an eastward shift in the path of Russian runoff through the Arctic Ocean, which is tied to an increase in the strength of the Northern Hemisphere's west-to-east atmospheric circulation, known as the Arctic Oscillation. The resulting counterclockwise winds changed the direction of ocean circulation, diverting upper-ocean freshwater from Russian rivers away from the Arctic's Eurasian Basin, between Russia and Greenland, to the Beaufort Sea in the Canada Basin bordered by the United States and Canada. The stronger Arctic Oscillation is associated with two decades of reduced atmospheric pressure over the Russian side of the Arctic. Results of the NASA- and National Science Foundation-funded study are published Jan. 5 in the journal Nature.

Between 2003 and 2008, the resulting redistribution of freshwater was equivalent to adding 10 feet (3 meters) of freshwater over the central Beaufort Sea.

The freshwater changes were seen between 2005 and 2008 by combining ocean bottom pressure, or mass, data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites with ocean height data from NASA's ICESat satellite. By calculating the difference between the two sets of measurements, the team was able to map changes in freshwater content over the entire Arctic Ocean, including regions where direct water sample measurements are not available.

"Knowing the pathways of freshwater is important to understanding global climate because freshwater protects sea ice by helping create a strongly stratified cold layer between the ice and warmer, saltier water below that comes into the Arctic from the Atlantic Ocean," said Morison. "The reduction in freshwater entering the Eurasian Basin resulting from the Arctic Oscillation change could contribute to sea ice declines in that part of the Arctic."

"Changes in the volume and extent of Arctic sea ice in recent years have focused attention on melting ice," said co-author and senior research scientist Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., which manages Grace for NASA. "The Grace and ICESat data allow us to now examine the impacts of widespread changes in ocean circulation."

Kwok said on whole, Arctic Ocean salinity is similar to what it was in the past, but the Eurasian Basin has become more saline, and the Canada Basin has freshened. In the Beaufort Sea, the water is the freshest it's been in 50 years of record keeping, with only a tiny fraction of that freshwater originating from melting ice and the vast majority coming from Russian river water.

The Beaufort Sea stores more freshwater when an atmospheric pressure system called the Beaufort High strengthens, driving a counterclockwise wind pattern. Consequently, it has been argued that the primary cause of freshening is a strengthening of the Beaufort High, but salinity began to decline early in the 1990s, when the Beaufort High relaxed and the counterclockwise Arctic Oscillation pattern increased.

"We discovered a pathway that allows Russian river runoff to feed the Beaufort gyre," Kwok said. "The Beaufort High is important, but so are the hemispheric-scale effects of the Arctic Oscillation."

"To better understand climate-related changes in sea ice and the Arctic overall, climate models need to more accurately represent the Arctic Oscillation's low pressure and counterclockwise circulation on the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean," Morison added.

For more on Grace and ICESat, visit: http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace/ , http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/ , and http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/icesat/ .

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.



Alan Buis 818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

Sandra Hines 206-543-2580
University of Washington, Seattle
shines@uw.edu
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128617
Quoting StormTracker2K:


This system starts bombing over the SE US then goes crazy as the system rides up the eastern seaboard.
well let's not get too carried away..the storm on that run is not that intense..and what a model shows 8 days out is often not very reliable.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:



And what solution is there for overpopulation? Kill the "ignorant masses" in favor of superior minds? Overpopulation is a elitist myth, don't buy into it.

Ridicule me if you like but its a load of crap. Population is an issue because so many people adhere to greed and selfishness and don't care about their poor brother.

Overpopulation is an issue. It occurs all around us in the natural world and is happening right now with humans.

The best way to manage this problem is certainly up for debate, and outright killing people is definitely not the way to go, but to say it is a myth is ridiculous. Our planet was not meant to hold an infinite amount of organisms - resources are finite.
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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.