Wunderground launches new Local Climate Change section

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:10 PM GMT on April 20, 2012

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In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, wunderground has launched a new Climate Change Center, which gives people resources to understand how the climate is changing both globally and in their local neighborhoods. I am particularly pleased with our Local Climate Change feature, which allows one to see how temperature and precipitation have changed over the past 100+ years at the nearest station with a long period of measurements. Predictions from climate models on what the next 100 years may bring are overlaid for each station. Data for most U.S. stations goes back to 1895; we have data for a few stations in Europe that extend back to the 1700s. Berlin has the longest period of record in this database, with data back to 1702.


Figure 1. Screenshot of the Local Climate Change page for Washington, DC. Measured temperatures since 1820 are shown in grey. By clicking on the "Show post-1900 trend:" box, we see that the trend since 1900 has been for an increase in temperature of 1.5°C (2.7°F) per century. Moving the thin vertical red line over the image using the mouse shows that the warmest year on record in Washington D.C. was 1991. Predictions for a future with low emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide are shown in yellow; the high emissions prediction is shown in red. Separate tabs are available to examine precipitation and snow.

Skeptical?
Also included in the new Climate Change Center is a section addressing the common skeptical arguments made against climate change. We offer three levels of explanation. The "Basic" level is the default, but one can also see more technical in-depth discussions by clicking on the "See All Explanation Levels" link. The material was developed by physicist John Cook for his excellent skepticalscience.com web site, which is widely referenced in the climate science communication community.


Video 1. I'm featured in this video on extreme weather and climate change done by veteran videographer Peter Sinclair for the Yale forum on Climate Change and the Media this month. I'm also featured in Part 1 of this series. Our new Climate Change Center has a section for climate change videos, which includes a twice-monthly feature from GreenTV detailing the world's notable wild weather events of the past two weeks.

Earth: the Operator's Manual airs Sunday night
Penn State climate scientist Dr. Richard Alley hosts parts II and III of Earth: the Operator's Manual on PBS beginning at 7pm Sunday, April 22--Earth Day. Part I of this excellent series aired in April 2011. The series gives an overview of climate change, but primarily focuses on what we can do to help slow down climate change though smart energy choices. Dr. Alley, a registered Republican, geologist, and former oil company employee, is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University, and one of the most respected and widely published world experts on climate change. Dr. Alley has testified before Congress on climate change issues, served as lead author of "Chapter 4: Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground" for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is author of more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific articles on Earth's climate. He is also the author of a book I highly recommend--The Two Mile Time Machine, a superb account of Earth's climate history as deduced from the 2-mile long Greenland ice cores. Dr. Alley is an excellent and engaging speaker, and I highly recommend listening to his 45-minute keynote speech, "The Biggest Control Knob: CO2 in Earth's Climate History", given at the 2010 American Geophysical Union meeting, via this very watchable recording showing his slides as he speaks in one corner of the video. If you want to understand why scientists are so certain of the link between CO2 and Earth's climate, this is a must-see lecture.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post. I'd like to thank Wunderground meteorologist, Angela Fritz for spearheading the creating the new Climate Change Center; it's a product I'll be referring to frequently in the future, and one we'll be updating in the coming months with data on local sea level rise, fire risk, and drought.

Jeff Masters

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Sun is out here...
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:
Thank you to those who posted more information on Tampa's hurricane history. I think it is safe to say that the area can expect a full-blown direct hurricane impact very roughly every 100 years.

Based on some of the graphics posted of this Gulf Low, could it be that the Low is drawing in copious amounts of dry air?
Yes my local met. just said drier air, but said in the last few frames that self-destructive heating is starting to pop some storms out there, he went on to say that he doesn't expect a widespread even, but can't rule out an isolated strong storm. So this isn't over until the low pulls out of the area, then the focus shifts to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States.
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Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting hurricanealley:
Hey Pat,

Nice seeing you again.

Its been muggy all day.


Nice to see yas as well alley.

Cooling off here now as the NW Flow comes blowing in..

The front door sill has hummed a few times already.


Uptown, New Orleans
Elevation
20 ft


Mostly Cloudy
Temperature
66.3 F
Feels Like 66.3 F
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Which is ironic, as Tampa is called the 'lightning capital of the US' sometimes.



Big difference from afternoon thunderstorms and a cat4. However, we all know that Tampa will get hit one day.
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Hey Pat,

Nice seeing you again.

Its been muggy all day.
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Quoting reedzone:


Yeah there was too much cloud cover and rain in South Florida. However, north into Central Florida/North Florida, there was many times the sun peaked out, heck I had partly cloudy skies for a long time today. So the severe weather risk remains in tact for Central Florida as we are seeing pop up showers and storms develop along the cold front in the GOM. This should create clusters of storms, organize into a small squall line. This is what I'm seeing for now.


The Sun has finally punched through the cloud cover here on the backside of the earlier rain area. That should make the evening hours warm and breezy, in front of whatever decides to develop over the Gulf and move in later tonight.

Also remember that the moisture feed can get reestablished rather quickly with such a well-formed well stacked low pressure system out over the Loop Current.
Member Since: October 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 715
We were unscathed..thankfully. : )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
GOM WV loop gives some idea what is going on with our developing low.
Link
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Thank you to those who posted more information on Tampa's hurricane history. I think it is safe to say that the area can expect a full-blown direct hurricane impact very roughly every 100 years.

Based on some of the graphics posted of this Gulf Low, could it be that the Low is drawing in copious amounts of dry air?
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Quoting Patrap:
Went for a Dog Walk round Audubon Park, Gusty with Buckmoth caterpillars falling out the Oaks too.


Ow.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5951
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Quoting jrweatherman:
The Tampa shields worked again in keeping severe weather away!!!!! No hurricanes, no tornadoes, no 70mph winds as people thought. I am dissappointed because I thought we would see very beneficial rains but that really didn't happen either.


Ummm... It aint over until that second final front swings through. You know... the one attached to that big swirling deepening low in the gulf.
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GFS model


i have noticed that the GFS is forecasting the first storm of the eastern pacific 300 plus hours from now
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, I said late last night that the models were showing a Severe Weather Outbreak. Really hould have looked at the CAP first...


This would end up near the 1 year anniversary of the Super Outbreak last year
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
The GFS still shows high Cape values at 108 hours


Yeah, I said late last night that the models were showing a Severe Weather Outbreak. Really should have looked at the CAP first...

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Chapter 2:
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3619
Went for a Dog Walk round Audubon Park, Gusty with Buckmoth caterpillars falling out the Oaks too.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting Littleninjagrl:


LOL!! We here in Tampa seem to miss EVERY weather event. It always goes above, below or around us! Therefor, we have a shield. Old tale that I heard is that the Indians performed a ritual here so that we would never get hit with severe/damaging storms. SO far so good and I have lived here 31 years!
Tampa's going to be in a really bad situation when u guys finally do get dealt one by Mother Nature. Nobody's going to believe the storm will really come, and that little centre part of Tampa is like... 10 feet above sea level in an area where the surge can be 20+ feet in a major hurricane.

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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Not much there, there really wasn't much to work with as CAPE Values never exceeded 1000. The low actually took a dive towards the south and the models saw this. The Severe weather risk wasn't ever really high, what was it a slight risk of 5%? Now as this low pressure moves ashore any residual moisture left behind could cause hail as the column is cold enough to support this. Already had some hail reports today and yesterday. Hopefully as the low moves by there will be some more rain to help give us drought relief.

Slight risk starts at 5% tornado, 15% hail/wind and ends at a 10% tornado, 30% hail/wind on a Day 1 outlook. Anything higher is a Moderate risk, and anything lower is a See Text.
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The GFS still shows high Cape values at 108 hours

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Quoting charlottefl:
I think you can see where the moisture flow is and all of the energy. This is the most recent, but it's probably a few hours old.

Not much there, there really wasn't much to work with as CAPE Values never exceeded 1000. The low actually took a dive towards the south and the models saw this. The Severe weather risk wasn't ever really high, what was it a slight risk of 5%? Now as this low pressure moves ashore any residual moisture left behind could cause hail as the column is cold enough to support this. Already had some hail reports today and yesterday. Hopefully as the low moves by there will be some more rain to help give us drought relief.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Which is ironic, as Tampa is called the 'lightning capital of the US' sometimes.


Proof it is:
Link
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:


Does anybody know if there is a single historical instance of a hurricane's center coming within 10 miles of the Tampa Bay area (aside from the 1921 hurricane)?


1848 = Cat 4 landfall in the Tampa Bay area.

1950 = Hurricane Easy passed within about 10-25 miles offshore of St. Pete.

There have been others, especially "minimal" hurricanes. But those two come to mind offhand.
Member Since: October 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 715
Quoting charlottefl:
I think you can see where the moisture flow is and all of the energy. This is the most recent, but it's probably a few hours old.


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Quoting hurricane23:
severewx diminished across the area due to extensive cloud over the area. Made for a rather cool dreary day across sfl.

latest weather briefing


Yeah there was too much cloud cover and rain in South Florida. However, north into Central Florida/North Florida, there was many times the sun peaked out, heck I had partly cloudy skies for a long time today. So the severe weather risk remains in tact for Central Florida as we are seeing pop up showers and storms develop along the cold front in the GOM. This should create clusters of storms, organize into a small squall line. This is what I'm seeing for now.
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7832
I think you can see where the moisture flow is and all of the energy. This is the most recent, but it's probably a few hours old.

Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
severewx diminished across the area due to extensive cloud cover. Made for a rather cool dreary day across sfl.

latest weather briefing
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
what ya what radar or vis sats


Surprise us.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25345
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Confirmed tornado on the southern storm

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SIOUX FALLS SD
421 PM CDT SAT APR 21 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SIOUX FALLS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CLAY COUNTY IN NORTHWEST IOWA...

* UNTIL 445 PM CDT

* AT 421 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A CONFIRMED TORNADO NEAR SPENCER. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED
THIS TORNADO MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 35 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL AFFECT MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF CLAY COUNTY...
INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS DICKENS AND GILLETT GROVE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4292 9494 4317 9532 4326 9526 4326 9520
4317 9491 4295 9491
TIME...MOT...LOC 2121Z 306DEG 28KT 4316 9521

$$

HANKO
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If the models where this off about the severe weather, I wonder if they where off about the cooler weather too in FL.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Which is ironic, as Tampa is called the 'lightning capital of the US' sometimes.



Oh it is. Actually it's a triangle between Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Myers. The only other place in the world that has a higher occurrence of lighting is sub Saharan Africa. Just because we get a lot of lightning though doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to have bad weather, it is kind of ironic I guess.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
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Quoting jrweatherman:


How many hurricanes or really severe storms have hit the Tampa area? Shields are up and protecting us.

Several have come close but this is the last one to give the city a direct hit

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EVENING all.

It's weird to have such wintry wx here this late in April... marked temp shift happened around 3 p.m. as this front moved in... we got some decent rain showers in some parts of the island, though the SW stayed pretty dry.



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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:


Does anybody know if there is a single historical instance of a hurricane's center coming within 10 miles of the Tampa Bay area (aside from the 1921 hurricane)?
Hurricane Easy 1950 and Hurricane Alma 1966 my avatar :)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Which is ironic, as Tampa is called the 'lightning capital of the US' sometimes.



I know! LOL!!!
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 843
Quoting EugeneTillman:
What is the Tampa Shield?


How many hurricanes or really severe storms have hit the Tampa area? Shields are up and protecting us.
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Quoting Littleninjagrl:


LOL!! We here in Tampa seem to miss EVERY weather event. It always goes above, below or around us! Therefor, we have a shield. Old tale that I heard is that the Indians performed a ritual here so that we would never get hit with severe/damaging storms. SO far so good and I have lived here 31 years!


Which is ironic, as Tampa is called the 'lightning capital of the US' sometimes.

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Quoting Littleninjagrl:


LOL!! We here in Tampa seem to miss EVERY weather event. It always goes above, below or around us! Therefor, we have a shield. Old tale that I heard is that the Indians performed a ritual here so that we would never get hit with severe/damaging storms. SO far so good and I have lived here 31 years!


Does anybody know if there is a single historical instance of a hurricane's center coming within 10 miles of the Tampa Bay area (aside from the 1921 hurricane)?
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I'm hoping the clouds hold off long enough up here tonight for me to catch a glimpse of the Lyrid meteor shower which peaks this weekend since there will certainly be clouds tomorrow...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I don't see anything besides one little storm that will move ashore within the next hour..



Can't just go by the NAM.. This looks to be the beginnings of a good outbreak of storms, then should organize into a small squall line tonight. That's what I'm seeing at this time.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Interesting the 18z NAM40 still has the low pressure offshore at 6am.



They are coo coo!!
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 843
Quoting EugeneTillman:
What is the Tampa Shield?


Well, their area has not been blown away from a hurricane in what over 50 years... hence
"The Tampa shield"....

their time is coming, everyone's time comes eventually...

Who are you? I recognize your comments and I know you have been around longer than your
anniversary date shows on this handle..

Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 297 Comments: 40881
Interesting the 18z NAM40 still has the low pressure offshore at 6am.

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Who would've thought our worst severe weather of the day would be happening in Minnesota?

Two different tornado touchdowns and a funnel cloud report.

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I don't see anything besides one little storm that will move ashore within the next hour..

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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.