Extreme events of 2011: climate change a major factor in some, but not all

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on July 11, 2012

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The science of quantifying how climate change changes the odds of extreme weather events like droughts and floods took a major step forward Tuesday with the publication of NOAA's annual summary of the past year's weather. The 2011 State of the Climate report contains a separate peer-reviewed article published in the July issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society titled, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 From a Climate Perspective. In the paper, a group of scientists led by Peter Stott of the Met Office Centre in the United Kingdom looked at how climate change may have changed the odds of occurrence of some of 2011's notable weather extremes. These kinds of attribution studies require huge amounts of computer time and take many months to do, but the scientists plan to start making this a regular part of the annual NOAA State of the Climate report. Some of their findings for 2011:

- Determining the causes of extreme events remains difficult. While scientists cannot trace specific events to climate change with absolute certainty, new and continued research help scientists understand how the probability of extreme events change in response to global warming.

- La Niña-related heat waves, like that experienced in Texas in 2011, are now 20 times more likely to occur during La Niña years today than La Niña years fifty years ago.

- The UK experienced a very warm November 2011 and a very cold December 2010. In analyzing these two very different events, UK scientists uncovered interesting changes in the odds. Cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur now versus fifty years ago, whereas warm Novembers are now 62 times more likely.

- The devastating 2011 floods in Thailand caused an estimated $45 billion in damage, making it the world's most expensive river flooding disaster in history. The study found, however, that the amount of rain that fell in the catchment area was not very unusual, and that other factors such as human-caused changes to the flood plain and the movement of more people into flood-prone areas were more important in causing the disaster. "Climate change cannot be shown to have played any role in this event," the study concluded, but warned that climate models predict an increase in the probability of extreme precipitation events in the future in the region.

- The deadly drought in East Africa, which killed tens of thousands of people in 2011, was made more likely by warming waters in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. While the scientists did not specifically tie the warming of these waters to human-caused global warming, they noted that climate models predict continued warming of these waters in the coming decades, and this will likely "contribute to more frequent East African droughts during the spring and summer."


Figure 1. An SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14, flies around the Bangkok area with members of the humanitarian assessment survey team and the Royal Thai Armed Forces to assess the damage caused by the 2011 floods. Image credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Villalovos.

Weather on steroids
One interesting aspect of the paper was the scientists' use of the baseball player-steroids analogy to help explain how climate change can increase the odds of extreme weather: "One analogy of the effects of climate change on extreme weather is with a baseball player (or to choose another sport, a cricketer) who starts taking steroids and afterwards hits on average 20% more home runs (or sixes) in a season than he did before (Meehl 2012). For any one of his home runs (sixes) during the years the player was taking steroids, you would not know for sure whether it was caused by steroids or not. But you might be able to attribute his increased number to the steroids. And given that steroids have resulted in a 20% increased chance that any particular swing of the player’s bat results in a home run (or a six), you would be able to make an attribution statement that, all other things being equal, steroid use had increased the probability of that particular occurrence by 20%. The job of the attribution assessment is to distinguish the effects of anthropogenic climate change or some other external factor (steroids in the sporting analogy) from natural variability (e.g., in the baseball analogy, the player’s natural ability to hit home runs or the configuration of a particular stadium)."



Video 1. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Dr. Jerry Meehl explains how climate change's impact on extreme weather is like how steroids affect a baseball player.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting weatherh98:


discussing is fine yelling at each other is not okay
yah they sould behave. throw them out and the rest of us have a civilized debate.
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Quoting VINNY04:
i love these debates. i think its good for people to discuss these things and vent their opinions.


discussing is fine yelling at each other is not okay
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No circulation evident with whatever it is off of Florida.
Member Since: June 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 191
the winds are blowing now as it rains... getting our daily incho rain this afternoon
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Ah! A question that is asked in a non provocative manner. A question that is asked for the sole purpose of a desire to know more than what one now knows. A question that is also known as an excellent question!

Are you being sarcastic?
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Quoting weatherh98:
dis is why we cant debate
i love these debates. i think its good for people to discuss these things and vent their opinions.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Daniel still not dead yet?.
Nope he's a warrior fighting the dry air out there. I think he will lose the battle.

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Quoting washingtonian115:
It's like the little red engine .It just won't quite.


thought it twas blue
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Should be a major hurricane again.

11/1800 UTC 14.7N 117.7W T5.5/5.5 EMILIA -- East Pacific


annular soon
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Quoting weatherh98:


jose looked better
It's like the little red engine .It just won't quite.
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Should be a major hurricane again.

11/1800 UTC 14.7N 117.7W T5.5/5.5 EMILIA -- East Pacific

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32286
dis is why we cant debate
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369. mati
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Do you have the link to the cam?


Link
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368. wxmod
Quoting BobWallace:


I don't think the "3% of climate scientists and 40% of the general public" data is correct.

First, the 97%/3% data was collected prior to skeptic-scientist Richard Muller's two year study of the raw temperature records. In that study Muller found that the planet has been warming and that it seems to be warming even faster than what other scientists had been reporting. (Muller used a lot larger database.)

I'm guessing Muller is no longer part of that 3% and likely brought some other scientists along with him.

Second. a bunch of that 40% is the 27% who vote/cast opinions consistent with right-wing positions even if the position makes no sense.

I'd bet that a lot of those 40% recognize that climate change is underway but declare it not so because that's what one says to "support the team".

If you check this Gallup poll you'll see that a bit over 50% of Americans believe that we're already experiencing climate change. Around 30% think it's in our future. Less than 20% claim that climate change will never happen.

Link

That's a March, 2012 survey. Wonder what the numbers would look like following the recent heat wave?


Bob, you know the real tipping point in the public opinion war is going to be when Santa can't come to Christmas because there's not enough ice to ride his sleigh across. And then the real concern will deepen when there's no more ice at all and Santa and all the little dwarfies are drowned in the deep blue arctic sea.
Oh my! What are we gonna tell the babies!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


ok ill try again


NO POLITICS
Is it not working for you GeorgiaStormz? i guess i was the only one who behaved myself.
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Yobi, you can put words in my mouth if you want. I'm speaking the dead honest truth in my last comment on the last page. I'm not advocating what you insinuate I am, was just stating a universal fact. We've just few, "people first, truth and scientific fact first politicians to vote for" Bought and paid for on both sides of the isle. We need more and better choices; but who's got the money to run these days? But that's the whole point isn't it, it's RIGGED for BUSINESS first, people last. If your wondering what I mean, instead of trying to change my meaning yourself, how bout you ask; or do you just like to distort the truth?
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Quoting LargoFl:
you know what is so great about this particular blog?..look at the posts made today..does not matter if your for or against GW..you ARE talking about what YOU think would be best to handle it or not depending...I say for me..planting a tree or tree's is my way of fighting GW,among other things, if everyone on this planet did something..it would help but I am afraid, mother Nature has other plans, one of our future generations is going to find out the hard way..what it is,wether you plant a tree or not


I certainly don't want to discourage you from planting trees. Plant a lot. Plant "useful" trees that give us food. Plant fruit trees where hungry people can pick some free fruit.

Planting trees is a good thing (done in the right places). But it's not a substitute for moving away from fossil fuels.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Daniel still not dead yet?.


jose looked better
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Quoting yoboi:


well i think alot of people belive in the bible; and if you belive in the bible God knows how and when the earth will end and us humans have no control over it...that is a valid thing to consider...


a lot of people believe the best kind of cucumber's a pickle. has about as much to do with the globe warming as the bible does.

the fact that the globe is getting hotter is irrespective of anybody's beliefs. i'm jewish and my beliefs don't discount the laws of gravity or the fact that you have to stand up to avoid falling down.
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Carlotta should be upgraded to a major hurricane in post-season analysis.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32286
Daniel still not dead yet?.
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360. yoboi
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I sense that this may be a loaded question. ..... or, perhaps, it is this answer that is loaded? ..... I will have to ponder awhile on this one............


?????
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Quoting Tribucanes:
97% of all climate experts believe that GW is man driven. 40% of our public don't believe GW is man driven or don't believe the Earth is even warming. When public opinion is light years away from where scientific opinion is then it's reason for real concern. Scientists are losing the information battle to those who peddle anti-science agendas. In virtually every civilization at the 200-300 year mark apathy sets in and often virtues that made that civilization great are replaced with one of a self serving nature. It's corporations who really elect and control our Representatives, we've just been kidding ourselves.


I don't think the "3% of climate scientists and 40% of the general public" data is correct.

First, the 97%/3% data was collected prior to skeptic-scientist Richard Muller's two year study of the raw temperature records. In that study Muller found that the planet has been warming and that it seems to be warming even faster than what other scientists had been reporting. (Muller used a lot larger database.)

I'm guessing Muller is no longer part of that 3% and likely brought some other scientists along with him.

Second. a bunch of that 40% is the 27% who vote/cast opinions consistent with right-wing positions even if the position makes no sense.

I'd bet that a lot of those 40% recognize that climate change is underway but declare it not so because that's what one says to "support the team".

If you check this Gallup poll you'll see that a bit over 50% of Americans believe that we're already experiencing climate change. Around 30% think it's in our future. Less than 20% claim that climate change will never happen.

Link

That's a March, 2012 survey. Wonder what the numbers would look like following the recent heat wave?
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Quoting LargoFl:
...........get ready Tampa..our turn is coming


see the seabreezes colliding
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
north pole cam 1

watching ice melt



Do you have the link to the cam?
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Just cooled of 12 degrees in a few seconds as an out flow boundary came through

getting ready.
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becoming annular?

see that string going across the eye???
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Quoting yoboi:


so if i want my wood to grow faster and larger just increase the carbon intake???


I sense that this may be a loaded question. ..... or, perhaps, it is this answer that is loaded? ..... I will have to ponder awhile on this one............
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
353. yoboi
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


ok ill try again


NO POLITICS


umm global warming comments, if ya going to be blog police do a proper investigation to what i was responding to......
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352. wxmod
I'm going down town tonight, and I'm gonna plant ten trees, two in the hood of a gas hog, 7 in the middle of a parking lot and one in the top of a winabago.
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350. yoboi
Quoting schwankmoe:


demanding bona fides from people in order to allow them to be a part of a debate over the existence of a certified scientific fact is merely sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting. there is no 'debate'. the globe is warming irrespective of how high you or i set our A/C.

now, as to the actual 'debate' on how we as a nation and a people attempt to either mitigate or adapt to it, i understand that people who are quite wasteful should hardly have the right to lecture everyone else on what they personally need to give up. but the anti- side doesn't seem to even want to go there because it would mean admitting that the globe is actually warming and that something needs to be done and they know that that something is not going to be the business-as-usual to which they've accustomed themselves.


well i think alot of people belive in the bible; and if you belive in the bible God knows how and when the earth will end and us humans have no control over it...that is a valid thing to consider...
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1449
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1230 PM CDT WED JUL 11 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...NORTH/EAST GA AND SC/FAR SOUTHERN NC

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE

VALID 111730Z - 111930Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...40 PERCENT

SUMMARY...AS SCATTERED TSTMS INCREASE IN COVERAGE/INTENSITY THIS
AFTERNOON...LOCALIZED DOWNBURSTS/WIND DAMAGE AS WELL AS ISOLATED
MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE ACROSS PORTIONS OF GA/SC AND
FAR SOUTHERN NC.

DISCUSSION...MODIFIED BY NUMEROUS CONVECTIVE OUTFLOWS FROM THE PRIOR
24-48 HR...A WEAK WSW-ENE ORIENTED FRONTAL ZONE WILL PROVIDE SOME
FOCUS FOR TSTM DEVELOPMENT THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS THE REGION...ALONG
WITH THE INLAND PROGRESSING SEA BREEZE FOR COASTAL AREAS. AS
TEMPERATURES HAVE STEADILY WARMED THROUGH THE 80S F IN CONJUNCTION
WITH NEAR 70 F SURFACE DEWPOINTS...CONVECTIVE INHIBITION IS ALREADY
ESSENTIALLY NIL EARLY THIS AFTERNOON IN MOST AREAS ALONG/SOUTH OF
THE EFFECTIVE FRONT. MODIFICATIONS TO 12Z OBSERVED SOUNDINGS FROM
ATLANTA/CHARLESTON SC SUGGEST AS MUCH AS 1000-2300 J/KG OF SBCAPE
EXISTS ACROSS THE REGION...WITH THE MOST AGGRESSIVE DESTABILIZATION
ACROSS COASTAL SC/EASTERN GA. WHILE VERTICAL SHEAR WILL REMAIN
MEAGER...THE THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT WILL SUPPORT A
PULSE/MULTICELLUAR CONVECTIVE MODE WITH LOCALIZED DOWNBURSTS/SOME
HAIL POSSIBLE THIS AFTERNOON.

..GUYER/CARBIN.. 07/11/2012


ATTN...WFO...RAH...ILM...CHS...CAE...GSP...FFC...

LAT...LON 34747938 34067855 33637883 33127915 32518008 32018086
31678124 32198241 33098407 34548319 34747938

Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7951
348. Skyepony (Mod)
Fresh ASCAT..Blob isn't in the best spot for scatterometers.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Still at T1.0/1.0 for Invest 98E. No classification at 2PM PDT.

11/1745 UTC 12.6N 103.3W T1.0/1.0 98E -- East Pacific



tomorrow morning, if all goes well.
It has survived dmax/dmin thats not much of a problem with these epac stuff, and as it moves north it should get better organized.
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...........get ready Tampa..our turn is coming
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Quoting wxchaser97:


WOW!!! I would think that if she could lose that convection to her southeast and maybe fire off new convection on her northeastern eyewall she would be that much closer to an annular storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Still at T1.0/1.0 for Invest 98E. No classification at 2PM PDT.

11/1745 UTC 12.6N 103.3W T1.0/1.0 98E -- East Pacific

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32286
you know what is so great about this particular blog?..look at the posts made today..does not matter if your for or against GW..you ARE talking about what YOU think would be best to handle it or not depending...I say for me..planting a tree or tree's is my way of fighting GW,among other things, if everyone on this planet did something..it would help but I am afraid, mother Nature has other plans, one of our future generations is going to find out the hard way..what it is,wether you plant a tree or not
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BobWallace:
Making coal is something the Earth used to do. The Earth quit making coal about 300 million years ago.

"... the evolution of fungi capable of breaking down the polymer lignin, which helps keep plant cell walls rigid, may have played a key role in ending the development of coal deposits. With the arrival of the new fungi, dead plant matter could be completely broken down into its basic chemical components. Instead of accumulating as peat, which eventually was transformed into coal, the great bulk of plant biomass decayed and was released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide."

Link

Your link leads to a speculative article. The actual presence of Cretaceous Era coal deposits refutes the premise of your cite. For example, see this link:
"Cretaceous Era. Time: 144 to 66 million years ago

The amount of Cretaceous coal in North America is greater than that of any other geologic period.
"

Also, Deformed Lower Cretaceous coal-bearing strata of the Grande Cache area, Alberta.

There are many occurrences of coal formed during the Cretaceous Era long after the 300 MYA time that you claim.
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Quoting yoboi:



so your saying don't vote???? all elections are rigged??? if that is so why are the 2 cand spending a billion dollars each to get elected if you are correct tell them to stop with all these commercials trying to get votes...


ok ill try again


NO POLITICS
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Quoting yoboi:



just remember before a big change there is always a big debate, talking and debating is a good thing...


demanding bona fides from people in order to allow them to be a part of a debate over the existence of a certified scientific fact is merely sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting. there is no 'debate'. the globe is warming irrespective of how high you or i set our A/C.

now, as to the actual 'debate' on how we as a nation and a people attempt to either mitigate or adapt to it, i understand that people who are quite wasteful should hardly have the right to lecture everyone else on what they personally need to give up. but the anti- side doesn't seem to even want to go there because it would mean admitting that the globe is actually warming and that something needs to be done and they know that that something is not going to be the business-as-usual to which they've accustomed themselves.
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When the deniers start their "I know better than scientists" stuff I'm reminded of the Flat Earth Society...

The Flat Earth Society (also known as the International Flat Earth Society or the International Flat Earth Research Society) is an organization that seeks to further the belief that the Earth is flat instead of an oblate spheroid.

The modern organization was founded by Englishman Samuel Shenton in 1956[1] and was later led by Charles K. Johnson, who based the organization in his home in Lancaster, California. The formal society was inactive after Johnson’s death in 2001 but was resurrected in 2004 by its new president Daniel Shenton.

Aim: To carefully observe, think freely, rediscover forgotten fact and oppose theoretical dogmatic assumptions. To help establish the United States...of the world on this flat earth. Replace the science religion...with SANITY.


The International Flat Earth Society is the oldest continuous Society existing on the world today. It began with the Creation of the Creation. First the water...the face of the deep...without form or limits...just Water. Then the Land sitting in and on the Water, the Water then as now being flat and level, as is the very Nature of Water. There are, of course, mountains and valleys on the Land but since most of the World is Water, we say, "The World is Flat".

Historical accounts and spoken history tell us the Land part may have been square, all in one mass at one time, then as now, the magnetic north being the Center. Vast cataclysmic events and shaking no doubt broke the land apart, divided the Land to be our present continents or islands as they exist today. One thing we know for sure about this world...the known inhabited world is Flat, Level, a Plain World.

We maintain that what is called 'Science' today and 'scientists' consist of the same old gang of witch doctors, sorcerers, tellers of tales, the 'Priest-Entertainers' for the common people. 'Science' consists of a weird, way-out occult concoction of gibberish theory-theology...unrelated to the real world of facts, technology and inventions, tall buildings and fast cars, airplanes and other Real and

Good things in life; technology is not in any way related to the web of idiotic scientific theory. ALL inventors have been anti-science. The Wright brothers said: "Science theory held us up for years. When we threw out all science, started from experiment and experience, then we invented the airplane." By the way, airplanes all fly level on this Plane earth.[22]

The Flat Earth Society recruited members by attacking the United States government and all of its agencies, particularly NASA. Much of the society’s literature in its early days focused on interpreting the Bible literally to mean that the Earth is flat, although they did attempt to offer scientific explanations and evidence.



Link
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7951
Deleted
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
336. yoboi
Quoting Tribucanes:
97% of all climate experts believe that GW is man driven. 40% of our public don't believe GW is man driven or don't believe the Earth is even warming. When public opinion is light years away from where scientific opinion is then it's reason for real concern. Scientists are losing the information battle to those who peddle anti-science agendas. In virtually every civilization at the 200-300 year mark apathy sets in and often virtues that made that civilization great are replaced with one of a self serving nature. It's corporations who really elect and control our Representatives, we've just been kidding ourselves.



so your saying don't vote???? all elections are rigged??? if that is so why are the 2 cand spending a billion dollars each to get elected if you are correct tell them to stop with all these commercials trying to get votes...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:

I'd give it 125 mph.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32286
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
97% of all climate experts believe that GW is man driven. 40% of our public don't believe GW is man driven or don't believe the Earth is even warming. When public opinion is light years away from where scientific opinion is then it's reason for real concern. Scientists are losing the information battle to those who peddle anti-science agendas. In virtually every civilization at the 200-300 year mark apathy sets in and often virtues that made that civilization great are replaced with one of a self serving nature. It's corporations who really elect and control our Representatives, we've just been kidding ourselves.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
331. yoboi
they do make carbon filters, one small carbon filter 12 inches by 12 inches can catch more carbon than 5 trees.....
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About

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