Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:53 PM GMT on May 31, 2012

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The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4°C (72.3°F) at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on May 31, 1991. The 25.2°C at Narsarsuaq on June 22, 1957 is the only June temperature measured in Greenland warmer than yesterday's 24.8°C reading. Wunderground's extremes page shows that the all-time warmest temperature record for Greenland is 25.5°C (77.9°F) set on July 26, 1990. The exceptional warmth this week was caused by the combination of an intense ridge of high pressure and a local foehn wind, said the Danish Meteorological Institute. The unusual May heat has extended to Scotland, which had its hottest May temperature on record on May 25 at Achnagart: 29.3°C (85°F). Greenland's Narsarsuaq has seen a string of 3 consecutive days over 70°F this week--the 3rd, 7th, and 12th warmest days there since record keeping began in 1941. The ridge of high pressure responsible is expected to stay in place several more days, bringing additional 70° days over Southern Greenland. The warm May temperatures could be setting the stage for a big Greenland melt season this summer--the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is predicting a 50 - 60% that the southern 2/3 of Greenland will experience above-average temperatures this summer. They forecast just a 10 - 15% chance of below-average temperatures.


Figure 1. Difference between the number of melt days in 2011 and the average number of melt days during the period 1979 - 2010. Large sections of the island experienced twenty more days with melting conditions than average. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Why Greenland is important
If the massive icecap on Greenland were to melt, global sea level would rise 7 meters (23 ft). Temperatures in Greenland are predicted to rise 3°C by 2100, to levels similar to those present during that warm period 120,000 years ago. During that period, roughly half of the Greenland ice sheet melted, increasing sea level by 2.2 - 3.4 meters (7.2 - 11.2 ft.) However, the 2007 IPCC report expects melting of the Greenland ice sheet to occur over about a 1,000 year period, delaying much of the expected sea level rise for many centuries. While Greenland's ice isn't going to be melting completely and catastrophically flooding low-lying areas of the earth in the next few decades (sea level is only rising about 3 mm per year or 1.2 inches per decade at present), the risk later this century needs to be taken seriously. Higher sea levels will cause increased erosion, salt water intrusion, and storm surge damage in coastal areas, in addition to a loss of barrier formations such as islands, sand bars, and reefs that would normally protect coastal zones from battering by waves and wind. Additionally, coastal zones are sites of incredible economic and agricultural activity, which would also be negatively affected by higher sea levels. Currently, melting ice from Greenland is thought to cause about 0.7 mm/year of global sea level rise, which is about 20 - 25% of the global total, according to an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, in an article published the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012. In 2007, the IPCC estimated that Greenland ice melt was responsible for only 10 - 15% of the total global sea level rise. Ice loss in Greenland is accelerating, and if current ice loss trends continue for the next ten years, Greenland's contribution to sea level rise will double to 1.4 mm/yr by 2022. The increased ice loss in Greenland is being driven by a combination of warmer air temperatures, warmer ocean temperatures, and loss of Arctic sea ice. Ocean temperatures surrounding Southern Greenland have increased by 1 - 2°C since 1990 (figure at right.)

Figure 2. Monthly unsmoothed values of the total mass (in gigatons, Gt), of the Greenland ice sheet from the GRACE satellites. On the horizontal axis, each year begins on 1 January. Each small + symbol is a monthly value. Between 2003 - 2009, Greenland lost an average of 250 gigatons of ice per year. In 2011, the loss was 70% greater than that. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Update on the 2011 Greenland melt season
According to the 2011 Arctic Report Card, it was another very warm year in Greenland in 2011, which led to substantial melting of the ice. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

1) The area and duration of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2011 were the third highest since 1979.

2) Increased surface melting and below average summer snowfall in recent years has made the icecap steadily darker. In 2011, the icecap had the lowest reflectivity (albedo) of any year since satellite measurements of reflectivity began in 2000.

3) The area of glaciers that empty into the sea continued to decrease, though at less than half the rate of the previous 10 years.

4) Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003 - 2009 average annual loss rate of -250 gigatons per year. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating.

Resources:
Wunderground's Greenland page.
Wunderground's sea level rise page.
Danish Meteorological Institute's extremes page for Greenland.

Jeff Masters

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HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
232 PM EDT THU MAY 31 2012

...HEAVY RAINFALL POTENTIAL THROUGH EARLY THIS WEEKEND...

A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE WILL CONTINUE TO SET UP OVER THE CENTRAL
UNITED STATES ALLOWING FOR DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE TO SPREAD NORTH
ACROSS THE KEYS AND INTO SOUTH FLORIDA TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY.
TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS THROUGH THIS PERIOD ARE FORECAST TO
RANGE FROM 2 TO 4 INCHES OVER SOUTH FLORIDA. AS TYPICALLY
OBSERVED DURING THESE EVENTS...LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS WILL
CERTAINLY BECOME A POSSIBILITY WHERE THE HEAVIER ACTIVITY BECOMES
CONCENTRATED. INTERESTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO MONITOR LATER FORECASTS
FOR UPDATES THROUGH THIS TIME. AS CONFIDENCE CONTINUES TO
INCREASE...A FLOOD WATCH MAY BECOME NECESSARY PORTIONS OF SOUTH
FLORIDA.

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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:


nope it's this Link

=D

:D
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Local hodograph for tomorrow... I need to chase!!!
Have fun and stay safe.
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480. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting Articuno:

Is this really what the dancing avatar is about?


nope it's this Link

=D
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Local hodograph for tomorrow... I need to chase!!!
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Quoting naviguesser:
Canadian 12Z spins something up at about 50 hrs off east FL heading NE toward BER. NOGAPS sees it as well.

It's cold-core...not tropical.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32875
Quoting BobWallace:


I think you're being optimistic about Antarctic ice.


We're just now learning that the Antarctic ice shelves are melting from underneath much more rapidly than we expected.

Launched in January 2003, NASA%u2019s ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) studied the changing mass and thickness of Antarctica%u2019s ice from its location in polar orbit. An international research team used over 4.5 million surface height measurements collected by ICESat%u2019s GLAS (Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) instrument from Oct. 2005 to 2008. They concluded that 20 of the 54 shelves studied %u2014 nearly half %u2014 were losing thickness from underneath.

Melting of ice by ocean currents can occur even when air temperature remains cold, maintaining a steady process of ice loss %u2014 and eventually increased sea level rise.

%u201CWe can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt,%u201D said Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and the study%u2019s lead author . %u201CThe oceans can do all the work from below.%u201D



Link

The ice shelves keep other land-based ice from sliding into the ocean. Melt the shelf ice and watch out for land ice sliding on in.

The Antarctic ocean has been warming. Ice that gets into the water will raise sea level and that ice will melt. When that happens the sunlight that hits the South Pole region will have less total ice to melt and air temps will rise.

--

Now, why you would feel that it's OK to screw up the lives of your great-grandchildren, that's a puzzle.

I sort of think that the Native American rule of looking out for the next seven generations is short-sighted. What a terrible legacy for our generation to leave those who follow us.
How do we in this time period, know that in 3 generations time the earth wont cool again? the earth goes thru these changes time after time, hot,cold and hot and cold, all thru time, so the people IN those times adjust..or perish, be we today have more things to worry about in my view, like how to pay the bills next month or..how to pay the huge doctor bills etc..just my take on things, no one in my view is right or wrong on this..plant some tree's and be happy
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42272
Quoting Articuno:

Is this what the dancing avatar is about?
I remember them playing this on the radio in the late 80's early 90's.When I first saw the video I couldn't believe what the guy looked like.

By the way some of his relatives live in Virginia.
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Canadian 12Z spins something up at about 50 hrs off east FL heading NE toward BER. NOGAPS sees it as well.
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Rainy in the Antilles. I guess TropicalAnalyst was right, the Atlantic is moist. :)

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Never gonna give you up,Never gonna let you down...
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Quoting Grothar:


Getting rain there. It has been near 100 F almost every day.

Yikes.
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Quoting Articuno:

Looks like a big blob over Haiti, bad weather conditions over there, how are they doing over there?


Getting rain there. It has been near 100 F almost every day.
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Quoting PlazaRed:

Thanks for that one.
Most of the people on here don't go back behold 1958 either!


My ancestors moved to Greenland over 1000 years and they kept pretty good records, but they left the place in runes.
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Quoting chrisdscane:
that has to be a mid level spin noway the NHC is letting it go unoticed



any1 else has the same opinion
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Quoting Grothar:

Looks like a big blob over Haiti, bad weather conditions over there, how are they doing over there?
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Looks like the local channels here in West Palm Beach missed their forecast for rain all day again....All I hear at work now about the local forecast is how Kait Parker looks today....Go figure



It's been rather comical, they've missed a few forecasts the past couple weeks, bad too, lol. Both yesterday and today were to feature widespread storms exclusively for PBC yet, both have been mostly dry.
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Quoting hungurdiskar:
One should note that the Greenland extremes page at the Danish Met. Institute only goes back to 1958.

Thanks for that one.
Most of the people on here don't go back behold 1958 either!
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Quoting aspectre:
457 Articuno: Quoting Articuno: bWhat's up guys...
...and everyone ignores me...


This isn't chat. What would be polite in chat is impolite in a forum... as well as against blog rules.

Okay.
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Quoting Walshy:
Statement as of 09:05 am CDT on May 31, 2012


... Record daily minimum low temperature tied at International Falls
MN...

a record daily minimum low temperature of 29 degrees was tied at
International Falls MN this morning. This joins the old record of 29
set in 1910.


One person in town is a multimillionaire.

That proves that we are all filthy rich....
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
457 Articuno: Quoting Articuno: bWhat's up guys...
...and everyone ignores me...


This isn't chat. What would be polite in chat is impolite in a forum... as well as against blog rules.
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Quoting txjac:



Well here there Articuno ...long time no see ...hows the world been treating you?

lol good.
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Quoting Articuno:

...and everyone ignores me...
I can see you.I gave your post a plus.
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458. txjac
Quoting Articuno:

...and everyone ignores me...



Well here there Articuno ...long time no see ...hows the world been treating you?
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Quoting Articuno:
What's up guys..

...and everyone ignores me...
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Quoting hydrus:
I will visit Grothars sight tonight. I am in and out of the blog. Remember it is very early in the year for the Bermuda high to establish itself. How it is configured, its overall strength, NAO phases and the Nino will be the some of yhe important factors as always..bbl.

Thanks for that one.
If that Bermuda high stays where it is then we might have a bit of a problem a couple of months down the line, plus maybe a slingshot effect up into the Arctic on the northwest side like we had for the last 2 years but a bit closer to the Caribbean than comfort would require.Remember how all those hurricanes and storms went directly up North after the mid Atlantic had done with them?
The Indian Ocean isn't looking too"cool," either?
I don't see why the Bermuda high should move at the moment and I don't like being in its firing line from its top/north side, which might just bring the remains of Beryl over here to spoil; our unblemished skies!
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Chocolate rain...

i wish
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454. txjac
Quoting washingtonian115:
Chocolate rain...



???? Chocolate rain??? I'd just love some of the regular rain ...
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Chocolate rain...
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Quoting weatherh98:
someone i think it was dr m came on and said the bermuda is pretty much in place
I will check it out .
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Quoting LargoFl:
i would not be too worried GT..its not going to happen,not in 3 lifetimes, antartica has 91% of all the ice in the world, its over 2 miles thick and the temps there dont go over freezing..


I think you're being optimistic about Antarctic ice.


We're just now learning that the Antarctic ice shelves are melting from underneath much more rapidly than we expected.

Launched in January 2003, NASA’s ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) studied the changing mass and thickness of Antarctica’s ice from its location in polar orbit. An international research team used over 4.5 million surface height measurements collected by ICESat’s GLAS (Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) instrument from Oct. 2005 to 2008. They concluded that 20 of the 54 shelves studied — nearly half — were losing thickness from underneath.

Melting of ice by ocean currents can occur even when air temperature remains cold, maintaining a steady process of ice loss — and eventually increased sea level rise.

“We can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt,” said Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and the study’s lead author . “The oceans can do all the work from below.”



Link

The ice shelves keep other land-based ice from sliding into the ocean. Melt the shelf ice and watch out for land ice sliding on in.

The Antarctic ocean has been warming. Ice that gets into the water will raise sea level and that ice will melt. When that happens the sunlight that hits the South Pole region will have less total ice to melt and air temps will rise.

--

Now, why you would feel that it's OK to screw up the lives of your great-grandchildren, that's a puzzle.

I sort of think that the Native American rule of looking out for the next seven generations is short-sighted. What a terrible legacy for our generation to leave those who follow us.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
One should note that the Greenland extremes page at the Danish Met. Institute only goes back to 1958.
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National Weather Association has all kinds of Grants, Scholarships, Internships, and Job information.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
One of New York City's most iconic buildings -the Empire State Building - is slated to cut its energy use by 38 percent, thanks to a retrofit project


Occupancy when the $550 million project started in 2009 = 78%
Occupancy in March of 2012 = roughly 50%

I would hope energy consumption is down...
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Are "They" gone yet?
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Quoting hydrus:
I will visit Grothars sight tonight. I am in and out of the blog. Remember it is very early in the year for the Bermuda high to establish itself. How it is configured, its overall strength, NAO phases and the Nino will be the some of yhe important factors as always..bbl.
someone i think it was dr m came on and said the bermuda is pretty much in place
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting ncstorm:
another week of rain..NWS, Wilmington, NC

.SYNOPSIS...
AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG UPPER TROUGH AND ASSOCIATED COLD FRONT WILL
BRING STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS TO THE EASTERN CAROLINAS
FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. DRIER AND SLIGHTLY COOLER AIR WILL
OVERSPREAD THE REGION SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FOLLOWING THE COLD
FRONT. ANOTHER COLD FRONT WILL CROSS THE AREA TUESDAY MORNING.
AN UPPER TROUGH LINGERING ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD COULD BRING
ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS MUCH OF NEXT WEEK.

&&


.SHORT TERM /FRIDAY THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT/...
AS OF 330 PM THURSDAY...STRONG TO SEVERE TSTMS IN THE CARDS FRIDAY
AFTERNOON AND EVENING AS AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG UPPER TROUGH AND
ASSOCIATED COLD FRONT TRAVERSE THE REGION. SPC MAINTAINS A SLIGHT
RISK OVER THE EASTERN CAROLINAS FRIDAY. THIS SYSTEM WILL NOT HAVE
NEARLY THE COLUMN MOISTURE WE SAW RECENTLY WITH BERYL BUT BECAUSE
OF SIGNIFICANT HEIGHT FALLS...BROAD ASCENT AND POTENTIALLY GOOD
SURFACE HEATING...TSTMS WILL BE CAPABLE OF TORRENTIAL RAIN...LARGE
HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. TIMING WISE A SQUALL LINE OR BROKEN LINE
OF ORGANIZED CONVECTION MAY ENCROACH OUR WRN ZONES IN THE MIDDLE
OR LATE AFTN...TRANSLATING EAST TO THE COAST IN THE EVENING OR
OVERNIGHT.


COLD FRONT WILL MOVE OFFSHORE SATURDAY MORNING...AND THE START OF
THE WEEKEND WILL BE MUCH IMPROVED COMPARED TO FRIDAY AS DRIER AND
COOLER AIR FILTER INTO THE REGION.

WITH ENOUGH BREAKS IN SUNSHINE SOME OF OUR INTERIOR LOCATIONS MAY
APPROACH 90...BUT SUSPECT DEVELOPING CLOUDS AHEAD OF THE UPPER
TROUGH WILL LIKELY KEEP MOST AREAS IN THE MIDDLE/UPPER 80S FOR
MAX TEMPS FRIDAY. MIN TEMPS SATURDAY NOT CLEAR CUT AT ALL DUE TO
TIMING OF THE COLD FRONT RIGHT AROUND DAYBREAK. HAVE OPTED FOR
MILDER SIDE OF GUIDANCE DUE TO CLOUDS AND WINDS...AND COOL AIR
ADVECTION HELD BACK WEST. MAX TEMPS SATURDAY COOLER THAN NORMAL
FOR LATE MAY...LOW TO MID 80S. UNSEASONABLY COOL MORNING LOWS
EARLY SUNDAY UPPER 50S INLAND AND COLD SPOTS AND LOW TO MID 60S
AT THE COAST.

&&


Well... about 200 miles to your north it will be worse. Here the SPC is considering upgrading our risk of severe weather to moderate for much of the mid atlantic, which is quite rare, and a once a year type event. The NWS in Wakefield is saying that a squall line will form ahead of the cold front and ahead of the cold front there could be some cells that form. That would spell trouble because those can easily rotate. Crossing my fingers that all goes well here in central VA. Don't want something like what Suffolk back in April of 08 experienced. (the tornado they experienced was out ahead of the main line)
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Quoting PlazaRed:
Hydrus,
If you are alive and kicking out there?
What do you recon to Grothers map of the Atlantic high this year? It looks dangerously low in the latitudes and if and when something comes out of Africa its going to get railroaded into the Caribbean?
Thanks for the charts etc. Plaza.
I will visit Grothars sight tonight. I am in and out of the blog. Remember it is very early in the year for the Bermuda high to establish itself. How it is configured, its overall strength, NAO phases and the Nino will be the some of yhe important factors as always..bbl.
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What a whimpy front :) 93 today in Austin but Humidity much Lower. Trace amounts of rain in Austin and at my house, have a great evening.
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What's up guys..
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that has to be a mid level spin noway the NHC is letting it go unoticed
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BBL
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41 GTcooliebai: I guess I'll have to pack my things up and move...Now I assume without research this [6metre sea-level rise map] illustrates the worst case scenario.
405 LargoFl: I would not be too worried GT..its not going to happen, not in 3 lifetimes. Antartica has 91% of all the ice in the world, its over 2 miles thick and the temps there don't go over freezing...

"Yeah. Don't worry about retirement and health care, your kids will take care of it." A 1or2foot (0.3to0.6metre) sea-level rise alone is gonna cause tens of billions of dollars worth of problems.

The main political*opposition to immediate funding for an emergency QuikSCAT replacement was that its data proved that the WestAntarcticIceSheet is melting, and that the STRONGest probability lay in the direction that the EastAntarcticIceSheet is melting (back when denialists were claiming that the EAIS was growing sufficiently to overwhelm any claimed Arctic and WAIS ice-melt).
The subsequent GRACE data backed the QuikScat findings, AND showed a HIGH probability of accelerating Antarctic ice-sheet melt: enough that it appeared to be in the process of catching up with Greenland's accelerating rate of ice loss.
GOCE confirmed GRACE's findings and even more strongly confirmed QuikSCAT's finding concerning Antarctic ice-sheet loss; with more acceleration in Greenland's rate of ice-loss, and an even greater acceleration in Antarctica's.
Haven't run across either GRACE's or GOCE's 2011 figures for Antarctica as yet, but I would be surprised if Antarctic ice-sheet loss failed to come close to matching (if not exceeding) Greenland's for the year.

* NHC lead-forecasters oughtta be ashamed for ducking out of the political battle by claiming that they didn't need a QuikSCAT to track tropical weather. True, in the sense that they wouldn't die from the lack.
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Quoting Walshy:
Statement as of 09:05 am CDT on May 31, 2012


... Record daily minimum low temperature tied at International Falls
MN...

a record daily minimum low temperature of 29 degrees was tied at
International Falls MN this morning. This joins the old record of 29
set in 1910.
i knew i shoulda waited till the 4th of july to plant those seeds
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From the metoffice/UK

Alberto and Beryl were not included in this. Ace for 2011 was 124

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435. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Service and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #2
TROPICAL DEPRESSION AMBO
5:30 AM PhST June 1 2012
=======================================

Tropical Depression "AMBO" has maintained its strength as it continues to move northwestward

At 4:00 AM PhST, A Tropical Depression was located at 13.4°N 127.3°E or 260 km northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots. The depression is reported as moving northwest at 9 knots.

Signal Warnings
===================

Signal Warning #1

Luzon Region
============
1. Catanduanes

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

Warning Signal over Samar Provinces is now lowered.

Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under signal #1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-15 mm per hour (heavy) within the 400 km diameter of the Tropical Depression.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the eastern seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and Northeastern Mindanao.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 AM today.
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One of New York City's most iconic buildings -the Empire State Building - is slated to cut its energy use by 38 percent, thanks to a retrofit project managed by a team of organizations, including the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program, an aligned partner of C40.


Measurements show that the Empire State Building is currently exceeding its year one energy-efficiency guarantee by five percent, creating savings of $2.4 million. These results are important as they establish a successful, commercial real estate model for reducing costs, maximizing return on investment, increasing real estate value, and protecting the environment.

Forty percent of energy in the United States is consumed by buildings, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In dense urban settings like New York City, commercial buildings account for up to 75 percent of energy used.

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/05/3 1/empire-state-building-beats-savings-estimates-on e-year-after-innovative-retrofit-project/
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Hydrus,
If you are alive and kicking out there?
What do you recon to Grothers map of the Atlantic high this year? It looks dangerously low in the latitudes and if and when something comes out of Africa its going to get railroaded into the Caribbean?
Thanks for the charts etc. Plaza.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.

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