Nineteen Atlantic tropical storms 3 consecutive years: a very rare event

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:13 PM GMT on November 28, 2012

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The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season closes this Friday with another top-five tally for named storms--nineteen. This is the third consecutive year with nineteen named storms in the Atlantic, which is a remarkable level of activity for a three-year period. The closest comparable three-year period of activity occurred during 2003 - 2004 - 2005, when each season had fifteen-plus named storms. Since 1851, only two seasons--2005 (28 named storms) and 1933 (20 named storms)--have been busier than 2010, 2011, and 2012.


Figure 1. Preliminary tracks of the nineteen named storms from 2012. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

How rare are 3 consecutive top-five hurricane seasons for named storms?
It is tremendously rare to get three consecutive top-five years in a database with a 162-year record. This would occur randomly just once every 34,000 years--assuming the database were unbiased, the climate were not changing, and a multi-year climate pattern favorable for active seasons were not present. However the database IS biased, the climate IS changing, and we have been in an active hurricane period that began in 1995. So, which of these factors may be responsible for recording three consecutive years with nineteen named storms? It is well-known that prior to the arrival of geostationary satellites in December 1966 and aircraft hurricane reconnaissance in 1945 that tropical storms in the Atlantic were under-counted. Landsea et al. (2004) theorized that we missed up to six named storms per year between 1851 - 1885, and up to four between 1886 - 1910. Landsea (2007) estimated the under-count to be 3.2 named storms per year between 1900 - 1965, and 1.0 per year between 1966 - 2002. Other studies have argued for lower under-counts. So, if we assume the highest under-counts estimated by Landsea et al. (2004) and Landsea (2007), here would be the top ten busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1851:

2005: 28
1887: 25
1933: 23
1995: 20
2012, 2011, 2010, 1969, 1936: 19

So, 2012, 2011, and 2010 would still rank as top-five busiest seasons since 1851, but the odds of having three consecutive seasons with nineteen named storms would drop from a 1-in-34,000 year event to "only" a 1-in-5800 year event. More recently, Landsea et al. (2010) showed that the increasing trend in North Atlantic tropical storm frequency over the past 140 years was largely due to the increasing trend in short‐lived storms (storms lasting 2 days or less, called “shorties”), after the 1940s (Figure 2, top). They did not detect a significant increasing trend in medium‐ to long‐lived storms lasting more than 2 days. They wrote that “while it is possible that the recorded increase in short‐duration TCs [tropical cyclones] represents a real climate signal, we consider it is more plausible that the increase arises primarily from improvements in the quantity and quality of the observations, along with enhanced interpretation techniques.” Villarini et al. (2011), in a paper titled, "Is the recorded increase in short-duration North Atlantic tropical storms spurious?", agreed. They attempted to correlate increases in tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures in recent decades to the increase in short-lived Atlantic tropical storms, and were unable to do so. They wrote: using statistical methods combined with the current understanding of the physical processes, we are unable to find support for the hypothesis that the century‐scale record of short‐lived tropical cyclones in the Atlantic contains a detectable real climate signal. Therefore, we interpret the long‐term secular increase in short‐duration North Atlantic tropical storms as likely to be substantially inflated by observing system changes over time. These results strongly suggest that studies examining the frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms over the historical era (between the 19th century and present) should focus on storms of duration greater than about 2 days. So, let's do that. If we look during the past three hurricane seasons at how many "shorties" were observed, we see that a large number that stayed at tropical storm strength for two days or less: six storms in 2010, six in 2011, and seven in 2012. This leaves the hurricane seasons of 2010, 2011, and 2012 with twelve to thirteen tropical storms that lasted more than two days. This doesn't stand out that much when looking at trends since 1878 (Figure 2, bottom); there are now 25 years in the 135-year record with twelve or more long-lived tropical cyclones. However, there are no previous occurrences of three consecutive years with at least twelve long-lived tropical storms, so 2010, 2011, and 2012 still represent an unprecedented level of tropical storm activity in the historical record, and we would expect such an event to occur randomly about once every 157 years. That's a pretty rare event, and it is possible that climate change, combined with the fact we are in an active hurricane period that began in 1995, contributed to this rare event.


Figure 2. Atlantic tropical cyclones between 1878 - 2012 that spent two days or less at tropical storm strength (top) and more than two days at tropical storm strength or hurricane strength (bottom.) Figure updated from Villarini, G., G. A. Vecchi, T. R. Knutson, and J. A. Smith (2011), "Is the recorded increase in short-duration North Atlantic tropical storms spurious?", J. Geophys. Res., 116, D10114, doi:10.1029/2010JD015493.

References
Landsea, C. W., C. Anderson, N. Charles, G. Clark, J. Dunion, J. Fernandez‐Partagas, P. Hungerford, C. Neumann, and M. Zimmer (2004), "The Atlantic hurricane database re‐analysis project: Documentation for 1851–1910 alterations and additions to the HURDAT database," in Hurricanes and Typhoons ‐ Past, Present, and Future, edited by R. J. Murnane and K. B. Liu, pp. 178–221, Columbia Univ. Press, New York.

Landsea, C. W., (2007), "Counting Atlantic tropical cyclones back to 1900," Eos, 88(18), 197-202.

Villarini, G., G. A. Vecchi, T. R. Knutson, and J. A. Smith (2011), "Is the recorded increase in short-duration North Atlantic tropical storms spurious?", J. Geophys. Res., 116, D10114, doi:10.1029/2010JD015493

Jeff Masters

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Quoting beell:


A little late to the party but an even-handed response and summary of the salient points contained in the Princeton study, Mr. M.

It may have already been posted (too much noise/crap to read through!)....the full and the free document
www.princeton.edu/geosciences


No, nobody had located or linked to the original article. That's awesome - thanks! I just gave it a quick read and will look at it in more detail when I have time. But it was quite clear from my quick read of the full article that the Register news piece referenced earlier today was WAY off the mark.

The lesson here is to ALWAYS skip the news article and go straight to the source when/if you can (knocking down or circumventing more of these journal paywalls would help tremendously...)
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Bopha looks on the virge of being a Typhoon. Here is the latest microwave.

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623. yoboi
Quoting ScottLincoln:

Or maybe it says something about the source that is "debunking" it? Maybe it isn't really debunking anything at all, but is part of what the article is addressing in the first place?



no it's the big taboo to say on here because i had never seen it discussed on here before
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Quoting Xandra:
From Media Matters for America:

Meet The Climate Denial Machine

Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening." The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied away from the "controversy" over climate change and have failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will address this global threat. When climate change is discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of mounting evidence.

Here, Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.




Media Matters??!!

Bunch of left-wing haters.

LMAO!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
621. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #35
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM BOPHA (T1224)
9:00 AM JST November 30 2012
=======================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon Near Caroline Islands

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Bopha (990 hPa) located at 3.6N 146.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 6 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Gale Force Winds
===============
150 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 4.6N 143.4E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Caroline Island
48 HRS: 5.9N 140.3E - 65 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Caroline Island
72 HRS: 7.2N 136.3E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Caroline Island
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44687
that's the funny thing. these are the same guys who demanded Nea cough up his own personal carbon budget, despite the fact that that has nothing at all to do with whether climate change is real or not, and have hounded him for it for the last week or so.

yet when one of them says that the actual anomaly data set others bring up is dead wrong, and we ask him to show us some better or alternate data, we get crickets.

apparently in their world, some dude on the internet's personal energy usage really is a more important metric in judging the reality of climate change than 100 years of temperature measurements. god help us all.

Quoting indianrivguy:


Yes, I recall your repeated attempts.. He has failed to produce a credible source to support his claims despite efforts by others as well as you. Don't let it bother you. I learned stuff from the exchange, I'll bet you did too, focus on that.
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Quoting indianrivguy:
Mornin' Aussie!

Mornin' Mate!



Scott McPartland is on the Barometer Bob Show right now talking about Hurricane Sandy.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
618. yoboi
Quoting indianrivguy:


Yes, I recall your repeated attempts.. He has failed to produce a credible source to support his claims despite efforts by others as well as you. Don't let it bother you. I learned stuff from the exchange, I'll bet you did too, focus on that.


i have data to debunk some things i posted it the other night and within 2 min it was removed and i was banned for 12 hrs....there is 2 sets of rules on here...
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Quoting yoboi:



i can post something that debunks that, but if i do i get a 12 hr ban...seems like there is 2 sets of rules on here at times...

Or maybe it says something about the source that is "debunking" it? Maybe it isn't really debunking anything at all, but is part of what the article is addressing in the first place?
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Quoting indianrivguy:


Yes, I recall your repeated attempts.. He has failed to produce a credible source to support his claims despite efforts by others as well as you. Don't let it bother you. I learned stuff from the exchange, I'll bet you did too, focus on that.



I'm not at all hurt by this, and I got all the info I needed. No worries!
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Mornin' Aussie!
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2514
614. beell
Quoting MrMixon:

The original study (abstract here - full article paywalled, unfortunately) is probably sound. But that Register article makes several conceptual leaps which are far beyond what is said in the abstract.

For instance:

"If the Greenland ice losses aren't accelerating, there's no real reason to worry about them."

I'm not sure how the editors let that statement go through. First - Greenland is, indeed, still losing ice at a rapid clip (~200 gigatons per year according to the article). Moreover, the losses ARE still accelerating... just perhaps hot as quickly as the initial measurements suggested.

Besides, to say that 200Gt/yr of ice loss is not a concern because it isn't accelerating is like saying you shouldn't be concerned if your car is barreling towards a brick wall so long as the car maintains its current speed.


A little late to the party but an even-handed response and summary of the salient points contained in the Princeton study, Mr. M.

It may have already been posted (too much noise/crap to read through!(on both sides!))....the full and the free document
www.princeton.edu/geosciences
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*****Starting in Now*****

The end of the 2012 Hurricane Season Barometer Bob show is on tonight your time at 8pm eastern. This will be a 3 hour special. So make sure you are prepared and ready to join us for this broadcast.
Bob's first guest is Scott McPartland, we will talk about Hurricane Sandy and his experiences with this storm in New York. Also other chaser discussion and news.
Bob's second guest is John Ruggiano from Ruggie Weather located in New Jersey. Bob and John will discuss John's Winter Weather outlook, and chat about other outlooks for the 2012/2013 Winter.
Then being it's the end of the 2012 Hurricane Season we will talk about it and Sandy.
Lots of controversy about whether watches and warnings should have been issued for Sandy. Bob will be laying it on the line and giving his personal opinion.
Join us in Storm Chat and watch the show live at http://irc.barometerbob.net/
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
The tornado in Italy a few days will likely be classified as an upper-end EF3 to EF4. The video below shows the tornado with a brief horizontal vortex, something you only see with tornadoes at the very top of the scale.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31409
Quoting wxchaser97:

I thought it was the very end of November, not early to mid October. The high should range from the low 50s to 60F over the next few days in SE MI.


I filled up the pool and washed the car.

What did you do to mess up the weather?
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Anyone think we will see Winterstorm Caesar soon?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3994
Quoting Dakster:
Welp. I thought we were in the dry season, but it still won't stop raining here.


I thought it was the very end of November, not early to mid October. The high should range from the low 50s to 60F over the next few days in SE MI.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Welp. I thought we were in the dry season, but it still won't stop raining here.

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Quoting Bielle:


How far do I go back? Well, I remember watching Hurricane Hazel move up the staircase inside my house on Toronto Island. If you mean how far do I go back on this site, I found it only about a year before my join date. I've only ever been "Bielle".


Yikes!!
1176 deaths from Hazel after Carribean,Carolina's,and Canadian landfalls..
I wouldn't forget that either..
And yeah my old handle "rnydzy" didn't describe me in any way so I changed when I joined..
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Tomorrow is the end of the 2012 Hurricane Season.
Highlights this year that immediately come to mind include Isaac nearly messing up the Republican convention, Isaac proving the new infrastructure to prevent flooding in New Orleans works, but won't prevent flooding in Terrebonne.

Sandy gave New York, New Jersey and Long Island a wake up call.
Oh yeah, and western Caribbean was very quiet even though they had very high SSTs. (Are they in a drought?)
Texas got some relief but still could use more water, correct?
Haven't been on much lately due to horrendous work load this fall.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Great movie.. I just found out that the mom was the same lady in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

Yes it is and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is good too. I like Independence Day just a little better though.

Bopha sure looks to be wrapping up and could become a typhoon soon. An eyewall is forming based off of microwave imagery.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting pcola57:


How far do you go back Bielle?
I had a different handle before I joined in.."rnydzy"


How far do I go back? Well, I remember watching Hurricane Hazel move up the staircase inside my house on Toronto Island. If you mean how far do I go back on this site, I found it only about a year before my join date. I've only ever been "Bielle".
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 615
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Great movie.. I just found out that the mom was the same lady in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
And I did put my tongue on the monkey bars when I was a little girl in Ohio
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
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Quoting goosegirl1:


I keep asking serious questions to someone that get met by silence. I am not being disrespectful, I don't recall any name-calling, and I am unsure why this is... but it is. It amuses me because I am such a peaceful kind of person and don't try to offend anyone, so I am not used to stoney silence and it seems funny somehow.


Yes, I recall your repeated attempts.. He has failed to produce a credible source to support his claims despite efforts by others as well as you. Don't let it bother you. I learned stuff from the exchange, I'll bet you did too, focus on that.
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2514
Quoting wxchaser97:

It is funny that I'm watching that movie right now on DVD.
Great movie.. I just found out that the mom was the same lady in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
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.
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:
re: a question asked earlier.

Cat5hurricane is a handle permabanned from wu that has returned time and again under different handles and got banned again and again.


Thanks for the response.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 615
597. yoboi
Quoting Xandra:
From Media Matters for America:

Meet The Climate Denial Machine

Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening." The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied away from the "controversy" over climate change and have failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will address this global threat. When climate change is discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of mounting evidence.

Here, Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.



i can post something that debunks that, but if i do i get a 12 hr ban...seems like there is 2 sets of rules on here at times...
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re: a question asked earlier.

Quoting Bielle:


I was referring to what TomballTXPride said. Who, or what, is Cat5?
Cat5hurricane is a handle permabanned from wu that has returned time and again under different handles and got banned again and again.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
Quoting bappit:

He has demonstrated that he is not here to educate. I would not bother asking him questions.



True, it was wasted effort. And I really was curious, too :)
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Quoting MrMixon:
Ice Sheet Loss at Both Poles Increasing, Major Study Finds

WASHINGTON -- An international team of experts supported by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has combined data from multiple satellites and aircraft to produce the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date of ice sheet losses in Greenland and Antarctica and their contributions to sea level rise.

In a landmark study published Thursday in the journal Science, 47 researchers from 26 laboratories report the combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica has increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year (equivalent to sea level rise of 0.04 inches or 0.95 millimeters) as they were in the 1990s (equivalent to 0.01 inches or 0.27 millimeters). About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica.

The new estimates, which are more than twice as accurate because of the inclusion of more satellite data, confirm both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice. Combined, melting of these ice sheets contributed 0.44 inches (11.1 millimeters) to global sea levels since 1992. This accounts for one-fifth of all sea level rise over the 20-year survey period. The remainder is caused by the thermal expansion of the warming ocean, melting of mountain glaciers and small Arctic ice caps, and groundwater mining.

Link to full article


(View through the alignment scope of the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL))



Antarctica now too? Oh goodie goodie, just what we wanted to hear...
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Quoting pcola57:


Cool huh?
WU keeps getting better over the years..(I was Lurker for many years but finally took the leap in 2009.big $10 bucks..woohoo)
Shoulda seen it in 2000..Shoulda seen my computer in 2000..My hair and glasses too..LOL..


In 2000 . . . That's not far enough back for me to remember.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 615
Quoting MrMixon:


Here is another view of the semi-permanent superstorm that rocks the north pole of Saturn:



And there is a similar storm on Saturn's south pole:



Just imagine trying to hang onto your umbrella there.... wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,100 mph!!



1100 mph would shred all human structures including sky scrapers like a lawn mower cutting grass!

I can't even imagine...
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Quoting pcola57:


Hey goosegirl1,
If most of your questions are Climate related,like mine are alot of times,I go to the tab at the top of this page where it says "Climate" and the drop down selection I choose is usually "Feeling Skeptical" because it takes each topic one by one and then I,(being pretty hard-headed and all) can understand it..
Takes time really..for me it did anyway..
I hope this helps some with your questions and sorry I hadn't responded to you before now.. :)
I got frustrated at first but that went away..Hang in there.. :)
PS..Kick around on those other tab topics too.. :)



I had not noticed that feature, cool. But (not to be a bone head) the questions mentioned were not directed towards you. I was trying to get someone else to give us some data and links supporting their viewpoint instead of clever come-backs. Alas, this was not to be.
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590. yoboi
Quoting goosegirl1:


I keep asking serious questions to someone that get met by silence. I am not being disrespectful, I don't recall any name-calling, and I am unsure why this is... but it is. It amuses me because I am such a peaceful kind of person and don't try to offend anyone, so I am not used to stoney silence and it seems funny somehow.



????
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Quoting Bielle:


I'd never even noticed that feature. Thanks for pointing it out.


Cool huh?
WU keeps getting better over the years..(I was Lurker for many years but finally took the leap in 2009.big $10 bucks..woohoo)
Shoulda seen it in 2000..Shoulda seen my computer in 2000..My hair and glasses too..LOL..
And yes Pottery I had hair..still have some LOL..
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Quoting pcola57:


Hey goosegirl1,
If most of your questions are Climate related,like mine are alot of times,I go to the tab at the top of this page where it says "Climate" and the drop down selection I choose is usually "Feeling Skeptical" because it takes each topic one by one and then I,(being pretty hard-headed and all) can understand it..
Takes time really..for me it did anyway..
I hope this helps some with your questions and sorry I hadn't responded to you before now.. :)
I got frustrated at first but that went away..Hang in there.. :)


I'd never even noticed that feature. Thanks for pointing it out.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 615
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Positive aspect. There is a ski resort in the town of Mt. Shasta. Looked yesterday (edit: maybe it was two days ago) and they had rain forecast. Wonder if that's for the town itself or up on the mountain - Mt Shasta?

It is for the mountain itself, and the town is getting several inches of rain.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Mt. Shasta, California.
Positive aspect. There is a ski resort in the town of Mt. Shasta. Looked yesterday (edit: maybe it was two days ago) and they had rain forecast. Wonder if that's for the town itself or up on the mountain - Mt Shasta?
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
Quoting goosegirl1:


All the way back to 371, and a day or two ago that I didn't look up.


Hey goosegirl1,
If most of your questions are Climate related,like mine are alot of times,I go to the tab at the top of this page where it says "Climate" and the drop down selection I choose is usually "Feeling Skeptical" because it takes each topic one by one and then I,(being pretty hard-headed and all) can understand it..
Takes time really..for me it did anyway..
I hope this helps some with your questions and sorry I hadn't responded to you before now.. :)
I got frustrated at first but that went away..Hang in there.. :)
PS..Kick around on those other tab topics too.. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Angela Fritz is was on The Weather Channel.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31409
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Mt. Shasta, California.

Thanks. I would take that over the super storm on Saturn, but that's just me.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting goosegirl1:


All the way back to 371, and a day or two ago that I didn't look up.


Ah yes. Well, given the question and the persona being questioned, it might be wiser to assume that it is the question that is being ignored and not you, the questioner.

It is also possible it just wasn't seen.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 615
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
When the weather is bad at your house...

...it's always worse somewhere else.



Looks like all systems go on ski season out there.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7597
Quoting goosegirl1:


All the way back to 371, and a day or two ago that I didn't look up.

He has demonstrated that he is not here to educate. I would not bother asking him questions.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5935
Quoting wxchaser97:

With wind gusts of major hurricane strength and 176-218 inches of snow, that's pretty sucky. What city/area is that?

Mt. Shasta, California.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31409
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
When the weather is bad at your house...

...it's always worse somewhere else.



With wind gusts of major hurricane strength and 176-218 inches of snow, that's pretty sucky. What city/area is that?
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting Bielle:


Can you give us the numbers where your questions appear? Perhaps they just weren't seen. I have missed questions to me that were "hidden" in a group I didn't check between visits.


All the way back to 371, and a day or two ago that I didn't look up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When the weather is bad at your house...

...it's always worse somewhere else.


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31409
Ice Sheet Loss at Both Poles Increasing, Major Study Finds

WASHINGTON -- An international team of experts supported by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has combined data from multiple satellites and aircraft to produce the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date of ice sheet losses in Greenland and Antarctica and their contributions to sea level rise.

In a landmark study published Thursday in the journal Science, 47 researchers from 26 laboratories report the combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica has increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year (equivalent to sea level rise of 0.04 inches or 0.95 millimeters) as they were in the 1990s (equivalent to 0.01 inches or 0.27 millimeters). About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica.

The new estimates, which are more than twice as accurate because of the inclusion of more satellite data, confirm both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice. Combined, melting of these ice sheets contributed 0.44 inches (11.1 millimeters) to global sea levels since 1992. This accounts for one-fifth of all sea level rise over the 20-year survey period. The remainder is caused by the thermal expansion of the warming ocean, melting of mountain glaciers and small Arctic ice caps, and groundwater mining.

Link to full article


(View through the alignment scope of the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL))
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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.