The new hottest place on Earth: Death Valley, California

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:18 PM GMT on September 13, 2012

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As any weather aficionado can avow, Earth's most iconic weather record has long been the legendary all-time hottest temperature of 58°C (136.4°F) measured 90 years ago today at El Azizia, Libya on September 13, 1922. One hundred thirty six degrees! It's difficult to comprehend that heat like that could exist on our planet. For 90 years, no place on Earth has come close to beating the unbelievable 136 degree reading from Al Azizia, and for good reason--the record is simply not believable. But Earth's mightiest weather record has been officially cast down. Today, the official arbiter of Earth's weather records, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), announced that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya "is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature." The WMO committee found five major problems with the measurement. Most seriously, the temperature was measured in a paved courtyard over a black, asphalt-like material by a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread. The observer improperly recorded the observation, which was consequently in error by about 7°C (12.6°F.) The new official highest hottest place on the planet is now Death Valley, California. A remarkable high temperature of 56.7°C (134°F) was measured there on 10 July 1913, at Greenland Ranch.


Figure 1. The trading post at Al Azizia, Libya in 1923. The photo was taken from the Italian military fort located on a small hill just south of the trading post. It was at this fort that the temperature of 58°C (136.4°F) was observed on Sept. 13, 1922 (used with permission from the family of Gen. Enrico Pezzi).

The story behind the overturning of Earth's most hallowed weather record
Today's announcement is the culmination of a 3-year research effort begun by wunderground weather historian, Christopher C. Burt. His blog post today, World Heat Record Overturned--A Personal Account, provides a fascinating detective story on how the record came to be cast down--and how the Libyan revolution of 2012 almost prevented this from happening.


Figure 2. The new official hottest place on the planet: Death Valley, California. Wide open spaces, infinite views, intensely salty water, mind-boggling heat. What's not to love about this place? Image credit: Wunderphotographer SonomaCountyRAF.

Dead Heat: The Video
Don't miss the 25-minute wunderground video, Dead Heat, a detective story on how the El Azizia record was overturned.

Atlantic tropical update
Tropical Storm Nadine is recurving to the northwest and north well east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, on a track that would likely keep this storm far out at sea away from any land areas. However, Nadine may eventually threaten the Azores Islands or Newfoundland; the models are divided on how the steering currents will evolve next week, and we cannot be sure which way Nadine will go during the middle of next week.

The models predict that a trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast may serve as the focus for development of a non-tropical low pressure system on Sunday or Monday, but this low will likely form too far to the north to become a tropical storm. The GFS model has been predicting a tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa may develop next week, but has not been consistent with the timing or location of the development.

In the Western Pacific, Super Typhoon Sanba is an impressive top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, and is headed north-northwest towards a possible landfall in Korea early next week.

Given the importance of the new world record all-time high temperature, I'll leave this post up until Saturday afternoon, when I'll post an update on the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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CHICAGO — Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, the real danger facing humanity is not global warming, but more likely the coming of a new Ice Age.

What we live in now is known as an interglacial, a relatively brief period between long ice ages. Unfortunately for us, most interglacial periods last only about ten thousand years, and that is how long it has been since the last Ice Age ended.

How much longer do we have before the ice begins to spread across the Earth’s surface? Less than a hundred years or several hundred? We simply don’t know.

Even if all the temperature increase over the last century is attributable to human activities, the rise has been relatively modest one of a little over one degree Fahrenheit — an increase well within natural variations over the last few thousand years.

While an enduring temperature rise of the same size over the next century would cause humanity to make some changes, it would undoubtedly be within our ability to adapt.

Entering a new ice age, however, would be catastrophic for the continuation of modern civilization.

One has only to look at maps showing the extent of the great ice sheets during the last Ice Age to understand what a return to ice age conditions would mean. Much of Europe and North-America were covered by thick ice, thousands of feet thick in many areas and the world as a whole was much colder.

The last “little” Ice Age started as early as the 14th century when the Baltic Sea froze over followed by unseasonable cold, storms, and a rise in the level of the Caspian Sea. That was followed by the extinction of the Norse settlements in Greenland and the loss of grain cultivation in Iceland. Harvests were even severely reduced in Scandinavia And this was a mere foreshadowing of the miseries to come.

By the mid-17th century, glaciers in the Swiss Alps advanced, wiping out farms and entire villages. In England, the River Thames froze during the winter, and in 1780, New York Harbor froze. Had this continued, history would have been very different. Luckily, the decrease in solar activity that caused the Little Ice Age ended and the result was the continued flowering of modern civilization.

There were very few Ice Ages until about 2.75 million years ago when Earth’s climate entered an unusual period of instability. Starting about a million years ago cycles of ice ages lasting about 100,000 years, separated by relatively short interglacial perioods, like the one we are now living in became the rule. Before the onset of the Ice Ages, and for most of the Earth’s history, it was far warmer than it is today.

Indeed, the Sun has been getting brighter over the whole history of the Earth and large land plants have flourished. Both of these had the effect of dropping carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to the lowest level in Earth’s long history.

Five hundred million years ago, carbon dioxide concentrations were over 13 times current levels; and not until about 20 million years ago did carbon dioxide levels dropped to a little less than twice what they are today.

It is possible that moderately increased carbon dioxide concentrations could extend the current interglacial period. But we have not reached the level required yet, nor do we know the optimum level to reach.

So, rather than call for arbitrary limits on carbon dioxide emissions, perhaps the best thing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the climatology community in general could do is spend their efforts on determining the optimal range of carbon dioxide needed to extend the current interglacial period indefinitely.

NASA has predicted that the solar cycle peaking in 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries and should cause a very significant cooling of Earth’s climate. Will this be the trigger that initiates a new Ice Age?

We ought to carefully consider this possibility before we wipe out our current prosperity by spending trillions of dollars to combat a perceived global warming threat that may well prove to be only a will-o-the-wisp.



Gerald Marsh is a retired physicist from the Argonne National Laboratory and a former consultant to the Department of Defense on strategic nuclear technology and policy in the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Administration. Readers may e-mail him at gemarsh@uchicago.edu


Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
746. etxwx
Quoting guygee:
So you can go live on a rusted-out oil tanker and serve under a cigerette-smoking one-eyed captain in Water World?


Now I'm craving that one last tomato from the garden...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
As ash billows out of Guatemala’s 12,346-foot-high (3,763-meter-high) Volcano of Fire, the director of the national disaster agency says officials are carrying out “a massive evacuation of thousands of people.”

The evacuees are leaving some 17 villages around the Volcano of Fire (Volcan de Fuego), which sits about 10 miles (16 km) from the colonial city of Antigua.

The evacuation began after the volcano began spewing lava nearly 2,000 feet (600 m) down its slopes on Thursday.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
Quoting TomballTXPride:
HPC 5 day

looks like texas just might get that rain..good luck
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Brrr. The models have been very consistent with that now. Time to bring out the fall weather gear.
It makes me excited.Hopefully GW can bring me that 24" blizzard I've been wanting.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting goalexgo:
Comment # 1 is amazing. I could read it 100 times!!! Such insight, such imagination. It's why this blog is so great!!!


Keep reading it..........
go ahead, alex, go..
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Because you were the only person who checked :)

I plussed it mostly for the story, btw.... :D
I saw to chicks with bikinis on and the pluses rise.So I thought the women in bikinis might attract some male attention.And Wahllah!.
Quoting LargoFl:
watched a great story on the earth and how it went thru the ages etc..forget about GW..we are inbetween ice ages..when the next one comes...poof we go..perhaps..our supposed man induced GW..is a plus, forestalling the coming next ice age?....something to think about
Oh don't say that..Remember the earth is suppose to get hotter and never see another ice age again thanks to man...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Right. :)


:D

On a weather note, its back 2 school for me so i leave you with this

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Comment # 1 is amazing. I could read it 100 times!!! Such insight, such imagination. It's why this blog is so great!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomballTXPride:

I didn't. Thought about it, but then I saw the tattoos.

I didn't even see the Tattoos. I was to busy trying to work out which Sydney beach it was.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting elvette:


looks like a wet weekend in Florida to me
yes they have us at 70% rain chances monday, a wet few days next week for florida
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
Quoting washingtonian115:
Lol.Why am I not surprised that the people that plused the comments are all males mmmm.


Because you were the only person who checked :)
What about kwgirl?

I plussed it mostly for the story, btw.... :D
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Quoting TomballTXPride:
Neapolitan. Do you want Greenland to melt. Are you rooting for this. I'm under this impression.

If so, why?
watched a great story on the earth and how it went thru the ages etc..forget about GW..we are inbetween ice ages..when the next one comes...poof we go..perhaps..our supposed man induced GW..is a plus, forestalling the coming next ice age?....something to think about
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41842
Quoting TomballTXPride:
Neapolitan. Do you want Greenland to melt. Are you rooting for this. Is this something you are clinging to hope for. I'm under this impression.

And if so, why?
So you can go live on a rusted-out oil tanker and serve under a cigerette-smoking one-eyed captain in Water World?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomballTXPride:
Neapolitan. Do you want Greenland to melt. Are you rooting for this. Is this something you are clinging to hope for. I'm under this impression.

And if so, why?
To prove the GW theory is right and do the I told you so dance.Lol.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting washingtonian115:
Lol.Why am I not surprised that the people that plused the comments are all males mmmm.


Well if you click the link you'll see it's exactly the same as the news website has the story.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
Big dry spell coming for Australia



AUSTRALIA faces a big dry spell after our wettest two years on record, it was claimed today.

A dramatic shift in ocean temperatures through the Pacific and Indian oceans is about to cause the dramatic shift in our weather, according to Tom Saunders, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

Australia is now rapidly drying out, he said this morning.

"In July weather patterns started to shift, evident only a month later when the nation recorded its fifth driest August in 113 years of records," Mr Saunders said.

"The nation's dry August was not just random variability, it was due to changes in water temperatures across the Pacific and Indian oceans.

"A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has now firmly developed off Australia's west coast. A positive IOD refers to a pattern of colder waters off the west coast of Indonesia and warmer waters off the east coast of Africa. This reduces the amount of evaporation and moisture carried from the tropical oceans into the atmosphere over Australia, and this reduction in moisture eventually reduces rainfall through the country," says Saunders.

The effects of the abnormal ocean temperatures are already being felt.

"Coolangatta has recorded its longest dry spell on record with 48 consecutive days without rain. Alice Springs is less than a week away from recording its longest dry spell on record while Brisbane has recorded only 0.2mm of rain over the past 54 days," Mr Saunders said

"When you combine the positive IOD with an emerging El Ni%uFFFDo we are very confident rain will be below average over most of the country through the remainder of 2012, particularly through south-eastern states."

"Even though we are expecting below average rain there will still be short periods of relief. In the short term the dry spell for some parts of Australia including south-east Queensland will break, with a spell of storms and showers likely next week.%u2019%u2019

Yesterday saw the first rain in Sydney for more than three weeks. Despite warnings of a big dry Sydney is forecast to see showers for most of next week after a mostly sunny weekend.

Link
Lol.Why am I not surprised that the people that plused the comments are all males mmmm.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
723. etxwx
A wee bit of good news for Haiti...

Tropical Storm Isaac triggers microinsurance payments for Haiti's budding entrepreneurs

From CSM and WSJ:
In Haiti, insurance payouts are landing in the bank accounts of small business owners as fast as Tropical Storm Isaac landed onshore. Through a for-profit reinsurance company called MiCRO (Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation), formed in March 2011 by the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps and Haiti’s largest microfinance institution Fonkoze, female microentrepreneurs who hold policies will have their loans cancelled and receive a $125 payout to replace damaged inventory or repair homes or businesses.

The program is an example of the growing use of so-called microinsurance to help protect some of the world's poorest people from the devastating economic effects of catastrophes. While business owners in the developed world count on insurance to help them rebuild and recover after a disaster, people in places like Haiti have historically had to start from scratch. Haiti, plagued by more than its share of devastating earthquakes and floods, is Exhibit A for how Mother Nature can deliver massive setbacks. Fonkoze's borrowers, which include shopkeepers, hairdressers and farmers, have suffered major losses in recent years.

“For many years, I watched women entrepreneurs struggle to climb the ladder out of poverty, only to be knocked down time and time again by catastrophic losses from hurricanes or earthquakes,” said Anne Hastings, CEO of Fonkoze. “Now for the first time, MiCRO has made it possible for those women to quickly recover their losses, rebuild their source of income, and avoid a potential poverty trap.”

More of the story here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Most seriously, the temperature was measured in a paved courtyard over a black, asphalt-like material by a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread


Wow. That's incompetence.

In other weather news:

The Super-Typhoon Sanba appears to be taking the eastern side of the cone. This is going to be a close call for Okinawa and parts of mainland Japan.
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721. etxwx
What a long strange trip it must have been....

Monarch butterfly blown across Atlantic to Dorset

From BBC:
More than a thousand wildlife fans flocked to Dorset to see a rare monarch butterfly which was swept 3,500 miles across the Atlantic by Hurricane Isaac. They were huddled around a bush in a Portland park after reports the striking orange, black and white butterfly was feeding. Some of the twitchers had been in the region to see a rare short-billed dowitcher spotted in Weymouth. They had travelled from as far as Cumbria and Scotland.

Experts believe the monarch butterfly - which has a four-inch wingspan - had been blown off course as it attempted to migrate from North America to Mexico. Martin Cade, from Portland Bird Observatory, said: "It looks very tropical and exotic so it sticks out like a sore-thumb."

Story con't here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Randy Jackson and the rappers do it.So it's hip!(is that what the young people say?.


We dont call it anything like that....thats what adults trying to be cool with kids do....
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Quoting kwgirl:
The cold also minimizes smells. When I lived on the Clyde River in Scotland, and even though it was mild (above freezing) I could not smell the water until the weather grew warmer. Being used to smelling salt air, fish, rotten seaweed, it is strange to be on a body of water and not be able to smell it.
Lol.You should come to D.C in the summer.You can smell the creek and river before you can even see.Sometimes they don't smell so nice :(.
Quoting icmoore:


Yes it does seem like sometimes on cold days the sky is so bright and so blue, very beautiful... and the silence is because everything is frozen :)
Oh yeah.The birds weren't really chirping and the squirrels were quite.I didn't hear much traffic.Instead people stayed in doors rather than face the cold.
Quoting ILwthrfan:


The Analog I used was that exact set up actually.
If that's the case I'll be one happy women.Snow and cold everywhere!
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting washingtonian115:
Looks like a 09-10 winter when all the cold arctic air was trapped down in the U.S and all the warm air up there.


It will be interesting to see what kind of conditions will set up for this season. I want snow. Much of it too. :D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Big dry spell coming for Australia



AUSTRALIA faces a big dry spell after our wettest two years on record, it was claimed today.

A dramatic shift in ocean temperatures through the Pacific and Indian oceans is about to cause the dramatic shift in our weather, according to Tom Saunders, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

Australia is now rapidly drying out, he said this morning.

"In July weather patterns started to shift, evident only a month later when the nation recorded its fifth driest August in 113 years of records," Mr Saunders said.

"The nation's dry August was not just random variability, it was due to changes in water temperatures across the Pacific and Indian oceans.

"A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has now firmly developed off Australia's west coast. A positive IOD refers to a pattern of colder waters off the west coast of Indonesia and warmer waters off the east coast of Africa. This reduces the amount of evaporation and moisture carried from the tropical oceans into the atmosphere over Australia, and this reduction in moisture eventually reduces rainfall through the country," says Saunders.

The effects of the abnormal ocean temperatures are already being felt.

"Coolangatta has recorded its longest dry spell on record with 48 consecutive days without rain. Alice Springs is less than a week away from recording its longest dry spell on record while Brisbane has recorded only 0.2mm of rain over the past 54 days," Mr Saunders said

"When you combine the positive IOD with an emerging El Ni%uFFFDo we are very confident rain will be below average over most of the country through the remainder of 2012, particularly through south-eastern states."

"Even though we are expecting below average rain there will still be short periods of relief. In the short term the dry spell for some parts of Australia including south-east Queensland will break, with a spell of storms and showers likely next week.%u2019%u2019

Yesterday saw the first rain in Sydney for more than three weeks. Despite warnings of a big dry Sydney is forecast to see showers for most of next week after a mostly sunny weekend.

Link
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I just love it.I can still remember it vividly.It was bright and sunny outside and silent.It's like the cold brings the silence with it.This year since it was warm I did not hear such.
The cold also minimizes smells. When I lived on the Clyde River in Scotland, and even though it was mild (above freezing) I could not smell the water until the weather grew warmer. Being used to smelling salt air, fish, rotten seaweed, it is strange to be on a body of water and not be able to smell it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
I just love it.I can still remember it vividly.It was bright and sunny outside and silent.It's like the cold brings the silence with it.This year since it was warm I did not hear such.


Yes it does seem like sometimes on cold days the sky is so bright and so blue, very beautiful... and the silence is because everything is frozen :)
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Quoting ILwthrfan:


With this forecasted you can expect a massive warm air anomaly around greenland.



The result is that these cold air anomilies in the heart of the United States can favor these type of set ups for Arctic in general.

Looks like a 09-10 winter when all the cold arctic air was trapped down in the U.S and all the warm air up there.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting icmoore:


YIKES!! You are Super Woman my blood would freeze in my pipes :)
I just love it.I can still remember it vividly.It was bright and sunny outside and silent.It's like the cold brings the silence with it.This year since it was warm I did not hear such.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting percylives:
Another rather amazing observation for this date, 9/14/12, is the North Pole Web camera #1 showing water droplets on its lens. These may be frozen droplets; that is impossible to discern but that they arrived on the lens as liquid attests to quite warm temps at the top of the world. The picture also shows some of the melt ponds as not yet snowed over.



In one week the sun will depart from the pole for the six months of winter and now is just barely above the horizon.


With this forecasted you can expect a massive warm air anomaly around greenland.



The result is that these cold air anomilies in the heart of the United States can favor these type of set ups for Arctic in general.

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Quoting 7544:


yeap keeping one eye on them both where will the bahamas blob go is the ? looks ene from here


looks like a wet weekend in Florida to me
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't be so exegetic.
Okay Gro, that's two words I had to look up this morning. You are really working to show my ignorance! But thanks, I do like learning new words. I doubt I will be able to use them, but at least I know their meanings. :)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I remember standing in 11 degree weather :) with no problem.
That's when my pipes were frozen...


YIKES!! You are Super Woman my blood would freeze in my pipes :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
707. 7544
Quoting elvette:


Those blobs 1)Near Bahammas and 2 the one in east of the gulf have both blown up in size Click link to see expansion

Link



yeap keeping one eye on them both where will the bahamas blob go is the ? looks ene from here
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
Quoting Chicklit:

Hey, that's not a 'real' word!
Good morning all. LOL I had to look it up. At first it did not appear in the computer thesaurus, but when I searched all references it came up. To be vituperative is to be highly critical. So I interpret Grothar's comment to mean that the blob has been highly criticized. Am I right Grothar? Best I could do so early in the morning.... for me!:)

Edited: for spelling.
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Quoting icmoore:


I am such a wimp with cold weather anything under 70 is cold :) not quite long john weather that would be under 50 degrees LOL!
I remember standing in 11 degree weather :) with no problem.
That's when my pipes were frozen...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting 7544:
morning all new blob watch today bahammas and gom , cent. atl .


baha blob going ne ?

gom blob going east ?

cent atl going west tia ?


Those blobs 1)Near Bahammas and 2 the one in east of the gulf have both blown up in size Click link to see expansion

Link

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Quoting washingtonian115:
Fall will be arriving early here.Highs only suppose to be in the 70's most days.After that the models show even more cooler air coming.I'm very excited for this upcoming winter :).


I am such a wimp with cold weather anything under 70 is cold :) not quite long john weather that would be under 50 degrees LOL!
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Quoting icmoore:


Yep I always breathe a little easier after Oct :)
Fall will be arriving early here.Highs only suppose to be in the 70's most days.After that the models show even more cooler air coming.I'm very excited for this upcoming winter :).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting washingtonian115:
Good morning icmoor.Tropical season seems to be winding don.Of course October is infamous for horrible storms.


Yep I always breathe a little easier after Oct :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
700. 7544
morning all new blob watch today bahammas and gom , cent. atl .


baha blob going ne ?

gom blob going east ?

cent atl going west tia ?
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Lol, you look stupid talking like that.
Randy Jackson and the rappers do it.So it's hip!(is that what the young people say?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658
Quoting icmoore:


Good morning, Wash and everyone.
Good morning icmoor.Tropical season seems to be winding don.Of course October is infamous for horrible storms.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17658

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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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