Fourth warmest January on record for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:25 PM GMT on February 08, 2012

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It wasn't the warmest January in U.S. history, but it sure didn't seem like winter last month--the contiguous U.S. experienced its fourth warmest January on record, and the winter period December 2011 - January 2012 was also the fourth warmest in the 117-year record, reported NOAA's National Climatic Data Center yesterday. The percent area of the U.S. experiencing extremes in warm maximum temperatures was 56 percent--the second highest value on record. Twelve of the 550 major U.S. cities with automated airport weather stations broke or tied all-time records for their hottest January temperature:

Craig, CO 82°F
Bakersfield, CA 82°F
Duluth, MN 48°F
Minot, ND 61°F
Mitchell, SD 68°F
Fargo, ND 55°F
Jamestown, ND 56°F
Huron, SD 65°F
Aberdeen, SD 63°F
Iron Mountain, MI 52°F
Alma, GA 83°F
Omaha, NE 69°F

However, extremely cold air settled in over Alaska in January, and several cities in Alaska had their coldest average January temperatures on record: Nome (-16.6 degrees F), Bethel (-17.3 degrees F), McGrath (-28.5 degrees F), and Bettles (-35.6 degrees F).


Figure 1. State-by-state rankings of temperatures for January 2012. Nine states had top-ten warmest Januarys on record, while no states had below-average temperatures in January. Records go back to 1895. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

28th driest January for the contiguous U.S.
The first week of January was almost precipitation-free across the entire contiguous U.S., but a series of storms over Texas, the Ohio Valley, and the Pacific Northwest later in the month boosted precipitation totals enough to make January 2012 the 28th driest in the 118-year period of record. Remarkably, Texas had its 30th wettest January on record, and was the 2nd wettest state during the month. Texas also had a very wet December, their 19th wettest December. It is very rare for Texas to receive so much precipitation during a La Niña winter. Texas had not experienced two consecutive months with above-average precipitation since January - February 2010, during the last El Niño event.


Figure 2. State-by-state rankings of precipitation for January 2012. Three states had top-ten driest Januarys on record, while no states had a top-ten wettest January. Records go back to 1895. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

3rd least-snowy January
According to the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average U.S. snow extent during January was the 3rd smallest January snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record. The National Weather Service sends out a daily "Weather and Almanac" product for several hundred major U.S. cities that we make available on underground. The February 6 statistics for those cities that reported measurable snow this winter show that only fifteen cities in the lower 48 states reported above-average snowfall as of February 6, and 155 had received below-average snowfall.


Figure 3. The new "Blue Marble" image of Earth on January 4, 2012, as seen by the VIIRS instrument on the new Suomi NPP satellite. The U.S. and Canada are virtually snow-free and cloud-free, which is extremely rare for a January day. The lack of snow in the mountains of the Western U.S. is particularly unusual. I doubt one could find a January day this cloud-free with so little snow on the ground throughout the entire satellite record, going back to the early 1960s. NOAA's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service shows that only one state--Washington--had areas where precipitation accumulated more than 0.25" on January 4, 2012, which is an extraordinary occurrence for a January day. Image credit: NASA.

Drought expands in January
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of January 31st, 2012, about 3.3 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing the worst category of drought--called D4 or exceptional drought--about the same as the beginning of the month. However, the percent area of the U.S. experiencing drought of any severity increased from 32 percent at the beginning of January to 38 percent at the end of the month. Most of the drought expansion occurred across the Upper Midwest and the western states.

2nd most January tornadoes on record
With 95 preliminary tornado reports, January 2012 is likely to end up with the 2nd most January tornadoes since 1950 (the record is 218, set in January 1999.)

I'll have a new post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

A Foot of Snow (den117)
The winter in Marquette has been a mild one, but we still have a foot of snow on the ground.
A Foot of Snow
Avalanche (snodog)
Juneau had over a dozen avalanches on Thursday. Thane Rd, about a mile south of downtown was closed by one on Mt Roberts.
Avalanche
Contrasts (NicholasLee)
Looks ominous , but never turned into anything. Silver mountain, elevation 6300', with 6.5 feet of powder!
Contrasts
Houston Flood Day Skyline (SurfYak)
I shot this skyline during a short break in the rain today. We needed rain so badly here in Houston but we got too much of it all at once and now there's flooding all over the city! For my live webcam view approxiamtely where this was taken (you can see the webcam in the photo), Click here. For more of my photography, visit my Flickr page.
Houston Flood Day Skyline
Wind damage (clehouser)
Southwest Michigan first snow of 2012.
Wind damage

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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Scary for all of Louisiana. I read recently that they have a massive coastal protection system in the works. I hope that will come to be and help. Meanwhile here just across their border the 7 meter rise map looks almost identical to the surge map from Ike in my county. So we know what that would look like already. We have talks in progress to get a levee system. That would probably be a good idea. :)



The entire coastline of Louisiana was about wiped out by Katrina and Rita. My town has more than doubled I believe since Katrina and Rita.
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Oh, and this year wasn't the first time Jose was puny...

Jose 1981
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Or this.... Karl (1980)

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

All of your other forecasts have been good or relatively good, but this one...phew!

Lol.


We have our ups and downs haha
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499. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #4
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE GIOVANNA (09-20112012)
4:00 AM RET February 10 2012
================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Giovanna (992 hPa) located at 14.7S 63.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west southwest at 10 knots.

Gale Force Winds
=================
30 NM radius from the center

Near Gale Force Winds
=====================
50 NM radius from the center, extending up to 60 NM in the southern semi-circle and up to 90 NM in the northwestern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0/3.0/D1.0/24 HRS

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

12 HRS: 15.6S 62.1E - 55 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
24 HRS: 16.5S 60.4E - 65 knots (Cyclone Tropical)
48 HRS: 17.5S 57.7E - 80 knots (Cyclone Tropical)
72 HRS: 17.1S 53.9E - 90 knots (Cyclone Tropical Intense)

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

For the last 6 hours, system has intensified with a active convective band wrapping in the west of the the central cloud mass. Between 1710 PM UTC and 2110 PM UTC, sea level pressure of 23946 buoy is stable despite system is going away westward.

System is tracking west southwestward at about 10 kt on the north-western edge of the low-mid level subtropical ridge situated in the southeast. Within the next 36 hours, system should keep this track.

On Saturday, it is expected to slow down a bit due to a weakness in the mid level anticyclonic belt in the south. Beyond 48 hours, track should recurve westward with the rebuilding of high pressures south-east of Madagascar. Available numerical weather prediction models are in rather good agreement for this track. In regard of previous run, ECMWF forecast that system will go down less toward the south on Saturday with a less important deceleration. Consequently, RSMC official forecast track has been a little bit readjusted.

On this track, environmental conditions are favorable for a regular intensification up to Sunday. Oceanic heat potential is very good. Vertical wind shear is weak and divergence is good mainly southward. Poleward outflow channel is expected to improve within the next 36 hours, as the system is approaching of an upper level trough transiting in the south. On Sunday evening and after, Giovanna should undergo a weak to moderate easterly vertical wind shear on the northern side of rebuilding upper level high pressures. Consequently intensity should level off then a bit reduce before the landfall on the eastern coast of Madagascar that is expected on Tuesday early in the morning.

Inhabitants of Mascarenes Islands and of the eastern coast of Madagascar are invited to follow with attention the evolution of this system. Official forecast track bring Giovanna very closely of Saint Brandon on Saturday in the morning.

The next tropical cyclone advisory on TC GIOVANNA issued by Mauritius Meteorological Services will be issued at 6:30 AM UTC
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The same snow the DGEX predicted a week in advance...

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497. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Wellington
Hurricane Warning
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE JASMINE (12F)
13:00 PM NZDT February 10 2012
=====================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Jasmine (965 hPa) located at 25.2S 172.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southeast at 8 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
30 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
==================
50 NM from the center in the western quadrant
70 NM from the center in the sector from northwest through northeast to southwest

Gale Force Winds
=================
80 NM from the center in the western quadrant
120 NM from the center in sector from northwest through northeast to southwest
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Quoting yqt1001:


Ahem. That wouldn't drive the blog as crazy as THIS would. Global warming? No, global boiling!


I was just about to post something about that....lol
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Snow in Florida.. Quickly saved the radar, January 2010.

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Quoting yqt1001:


Ahem. That wouldn't drive the blog as crazy as THIS would. Global warming? No, global boiling!
Global insanity....
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
This would have driven this blog insane...



Subtropical Storm Alpha (1972)

I could see it now:
"FIIIIIIIISSSSSSSHHHHH!!!!!"
"OMG DOOM!"
"Cat 5 to Jacksonville then New Orleans"
"This is GLOBAL WARMING!!!"



Ahem. That wouldn't drive the blog as crazy as THIS would. Global warming? No, global boiling!
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Quoting reedzone:
6. BAD - Tropical Storm Ingrid and (ghost) "Jerry"


Ummm... yeaaahh

All of your other forecasts have been good or relatively good, but this one...phew!

Lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34167
Actually, you were within your cone, and the intensity was just a category too high....

Of course I was in the cone.. The cone was like the width size of Alaska :P
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This would have driven this blog insane...



Subtropical Storm Alpha (1972)

I could see it now:
"FIIIIIIIISSSSSSSHHHHH!!!!!"
"OMG DOOM!"
"Cat 5 to Jacksonville then New Orleans"
"This is GLOBAL WARMING!!!"

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
I still like Lenny because of the fact he traveled backwards and he was the most intense November Hurricane.
But the best looking Hurricane is Isabel.
Bleh to Isabel she had knocked power out in my nieghboorhood.For two sticken weeks!!!....Grrrr.You should see Isabel without her make-up.She makes even scary god mother look pretty...
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8. GOOD - Tropical Storm Barry 2007
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Quoting reedzone:
4. BAD - Hurricane Noel 2007


Uhh... yeah, was wayy off on that one.


Actually, you were within your cone, and the intensity was just a category too high....



Quoting reedzone:
5. BAD - Hurricane Karen


.... no comment ....


Yeah, but you did still have the possibility that shear could dissipate her....
Quoting reedzone:
6. BAD - Tropical Storm Ingrid and (ghost) "Jerry"


Ummm... yeaaahh


Yeah.... Epic fail there.... And yeah, Jerry was nowhere near there.
Quoting reedzone:
7. GOOD - Hurricane Humberto 2007


Got banned on Flhurricane for saying this was going to strengthen more then forecast. The ingredients were ripe for rapid development.


Good forecast.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
7. GOOD - Hurricane Humberto 2007


Got banned on Flhurricane for saying this was going to strengthen more then forecast. The ingredients were ripe for rapid development.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
12S


According to Meteo France, 12S has been named Giovanna.
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6. BAD - Tropical Storm Ingrid and (ghost) "Jerry"


Ummm... yeaaahh
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5. BAD - Hurricane Karen 2007


.... no comment ....
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4. BAD - Hurricane Noel 2007


Uhh... yeah, was wayy off on that one.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


I liked Ronald Reagan. Still do in fact.

Good morning all.

It's 6 a.m. The fear is gone.
I'll say this much: I like him better now than I did thirty years ago.

Bah-dah-BOOM!

No, Ronnie was alright. I even shook his hand a time or two (my mom worked for his gubernatorial and presidential campaigns). But presslord is correct: Reagan wouldn't be welcome now, when the heads of his own party are so far to the right they can see their own left ears. For that matter, the current Democratic party leadership is to the right of where Reagan was back in the day...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14447
The behavior of outflow glaciers lubricated by meltwater and unimpeded by ice shelves is open to question.
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bright spot
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3. GOOD - Hurricane Alex 2010


this was when models and the NHC had it steering due west towards the southern part of Mexico.

Next.. Some of the bad forecasts.
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


No. The polar ice is already in the water, so other than tiny increases due to thermal expansion you won't get a net ocean rise.

If you're talking about the ice sheets on land, such as Greenland's ice cap, then yes you would get a significant amount of sea level increase. However, the Greenland ice sheet is quite thick so the chance of it melting off within your lifetime is very unlikely.

Current projected sea rise due to accelerated melting is expected to be anywhere from one foot to one meter by the end of this century.
Some prominent climate scientists find the "official" projections of between half a meter and two meters by 2100 to be too conservative, and believe that we could see up to a five meter rise by the turn of the century.

Not that I'll be around to collect (or pay out), but I'd put good money on a much bigger and quicker rise than officially expected. If nothing else, remember when it was believed that the Arctic Sea couldn't possibly be ice free in summer for at least another 50 years, and now projections are that it could reach that point in just five years?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14447
Quoting Xyrus2000:


There's nothing wrong with constructing new nuclear power plants, as long as they aren't using 30 and 40 year old designs to do it.


Best to use tried and true technology Xyrus. Boot up the abacus!

Kidding of course.
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2. GOOD - Hurricane Irene 2011


This was after I had originally though Irene would hit Georgia.
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Quoting presslord:


here's some honesty for ya: Reagan was WAY to liberal to be able to get any traction in republican circles today...


I liked Ronald Reagan. Still do in fact.

Good morning all.

It's 6 a.m. The fear is gone.
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Quoting KeysieLife:
And just when you thought it was enough already...BAM!

NRC approves first new nuclear plant in 3 decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's first new nuclear power plant in a generation won approval Thursday as federal regulators voted to grant a license for two new reactors in Georgia.

Sigh...


There's nothing wrong with constructing new nuclear power plants, as long as they aren't using 30 and 40 year old designs to do it.
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Gonna go through some good forecasts of mine in the past...... and bad...

GOOD - Hurricane Earl 2010

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Link
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Quoting PlazaRed:
Noteing:-452. aspectre

"A naive 7 meter maximum coastal flooding map of Florida."



It gets even more interesting when you look a bit further afield to New Orleans?


Scary for all of Louisiana. I read recently that they have a massive coastal protection system in the works. I hope that will come to be and help. Meanwhile here just across their border the 7 meter rise map looks almost identical to the surge map from Ike in my county. So we know what that would look like already. We have talks in progress to get a levee system. That would probably be a good idea. :)

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I've not had any snowfall this year. Usually, I then turn to tracking Severe Weather. But there isn't any of that either, so I'm reduced to making fake outlooks. Lol.



That's really good actually.. I can make radar images on paint ;) They come out pretty good haha.
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Remembering Andy Gabrielson on the Barometer Bob show tonight. Starting now... #RIPAndy

Go to my blog and watch or follow the link
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Quoting LargoFl:
a friend asked that very question awhile ago, if all the artic ice melts, would florida again..be under water? is there that much ice up there??? i told him I do not know the answer to that one


No. The polar ice is already in the water, so other than tiny increases due to thermal expansion you won't get a net ocean rise.

If you're talking about the ice sheets on land, such as Greenland's ice cap, then yes you would get a significant amount of sea level increase. However, the Greenland ice sheet is quite thick so the chance of it melting off within your lifetime is very unlikely.

Current projected sea rise due to accelerated melting is expected to be anywhere from one foot to one meter by the end of this century.
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You guys thru beating up the Republicans for the evening? Ya'll need a new hobby.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
This is when Congress will finally pay attention to climate change.

Welcome to D.C. Shore!!!!

We don't want to get too enthusiastic at this early stage!
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Quoting presslord:


here's some honesty for ya: Reagan was WAY to liberal to be able to get any traction in republican circles today...
Well, he did start out as a democrat..:0
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 24749
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjmtSkl53h4
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Jasmine
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
12S
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
This is when Congress will finally pay attention to climate change.

Welcome to D.C. Shore!!!!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Quoting hydrus:
This is true..I cannot count how many times I have heard ", thats not what Ronnie Reagan would do". Reagan was a good president, but I dont like so many people riding his coattails. Times have changed, and Reagans views on government, defense, economic problems, etc will not be as effective as they were 30 years ago..Just my opinion..:)


here's some honesty for ya: Reagan was WAY to liberal to be able to get any traction in republican circles today...
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Quoting Patrap:
Shuck's these GOP backed think tankers of AGW ,like Inhofe, and other's that follow that line are like a herd of Buffalo approaching a cliff.

..get da picture?
This is true..I cannot count how many times I have heard ", thats not what Ronnie Reagan would do". Reagan was a good president, but I dont like so many people riding his coattails. Times have changed, and Reagans views on government, defense, economic problems, etc will not be as effective as they were 30 years ago..Just my opinion..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 24749
Shuck's these GOP backed think tankers of AGW ,like Inhofe, and other's that follow that line are like a herd of Buffalo approaching a cliff.

..get da picture?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133309
Post 454.
Nice example, and well put forward.
But JupiterKen is already convinced that the Worlds climate is cooling down. That's just the way it is.

But keep up the struggle anyway.
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Happy 142nd to N.W.S...History of the National Weather Service


The National Weather Service has its beginnings in the early history of the United States. Weather has always been important to the citizenry of this country, and this was especially true during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today started on February 9th, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary of War

"to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms"

After much thought and consideration, it was decided that this agency would be placed under the Secretary of War because military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations. Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the Signal Service Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Meyer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.
Grant photo
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 24749
Quoting JupiterKen:
Finally, the beginning of the end of AGW


why would you say that?

Even though it's reportedly globally colder than average year, it's still not even the coldest year within the past 30 years.

By the time you adjust for heat of fusion and heat of vaporization, the total heat capacity of the earth is probably as hot or hotter than ever.

Recall, phase changes mask most of the "heat" from being recorded as "temperature."

If you toss a cubic meter of ice at 0C into an 80 cubic meter pool which is 20C, the ice will melt and lower the average temperature by absorbing much of the heat.

average temperature of the 81 cubic meters of water and ice is roughly 20*80/81 at the start.

As the ice absorbs enough heat for a phase change, the temperature drops.

The heat of fusion of the cubic meter of ice is about 335,000,000 Joules.

The heat capacity of the 80 cubic meters of water is: 336,000,000 Joules per 1C, or 6,720,000,000 Joules.

So if you subtract the heat of fusion of the ice cube from the heat capacity of the liquid water, you are left with:


6,385,000,000 Joules

Now divide back by volume(81) and specific heat capacity of a meter of water(4,200,000) to get average temperature after melting:

This gives an average TEMPERATURE of 18.768C....

A significant decrease in temperature, even as the HEAT went up or stayed the same...


This goes under "lies my thermometer told me".


Where does this happen in nature?

Oh yes, the sea ice and glaciers that are melting, absorbing enough heat for a phase change from the atmosphere and surrounding environment, and mixing 0C water back into the rivers, lakes, and oceans.


So the HEAT actually goes up, even as the average TEMPERATURE goes down.

Mathematics shows how that is possible due to phase changes.

Not only is the Earth warming, it is warming much faster than the average TEMPERATURE implies...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Noteing:-452. aspectre

"A naive 7 meter maximum coastal flooding map of Florida."



It gets even more interesting when you look a bit further afield to New Orleans?
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About

Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

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Sunset at Fort DeSoto