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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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))
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
That would put your eye out kid

It is funny that I'm watching that movie right now on DVD.
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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.


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.
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Quoting Bielle:


It is possible, though, obviously, you are not on mine. You might be caught up in one of the filters if some people are not using "show all". What do you think is not being seen? All my numbers from 501 are on screen; there are no gaps.


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 TropicalAnalystwx13:

955 knot (1100 mph) winds would probably do some damage here on Earth.
That would put your eye out kid
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"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."

from what Xandra quoted in 561
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569. etxwx
Quoting WunderYakuza:
Sorry about this. It should work now that if you hit pause, after you reload it will remain paused.


Thank you WunderYakuza...yes, it does stayed paused now. The tin can, the string, and I appreciate the fix. :-)
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568. VR46L
Quoting Luisport:
Can anyone comment this?




Its a deep Extrop storm it happens frequentely in the North Atlantic its not as Crazy a mb as you think @ 945 mb ...
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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!!

955 knot (1100 mph) winds would probably do some damage here on Earth.
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Live Doppler 7 HD http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/livenow?id=6664986
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
These Rainbow colored lasers are for the one month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and shine towards some of the hardest hit areas:







Amazing and I glad you clarified the why. I was assuming it was a GLBT thing...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This, guys, is a true superstorm.

I'd hate to be on Saturn.



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!!
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
[b]Event: Flash Flood Watch

Flash Flood Watch issued November 29 at 11:22AM PST until November 30 at 3:00PM PST by NWS Monterey


DEFAULT OVERVIEW SECTION ...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM PST THIS EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR A PORTION OF CALIFORNIA...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS...COASTAL NORTH BAY...INCLUDING POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE...NORTH BAY INTERIOR VALLEYS...NORTH BAY MOUNTAINS...NORTHERN MONTEREY BAY...SAN FRANCISCO...SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA COAST AND SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS.

* FROM 7 PM PST THIS EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON

* RAIN IS SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE TONIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH THE NIGHT AND INTO FRIDAY. COPIOUS AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED IN HIGHER ELEVATION AREAS...UP TO SEVERAL INCHES. GIVEN THAT WATERSHEDS ARE SATURATED FROM THE PRIOR STORM ON TUESDAY...SOME SMALLER CREEKS MAY APPROACH OR OVERTOP BANKS. VALLEY BOTTOM CREEKS IN THE NORTH BAY...PARTICULARLY THOSE IN NAPA AND PETALUMA NEED TO BE MONITORED CLOSELY.

* STORM DRAINS MAY BE OVERWHELMED AND CULVERTS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DEBRIS...URBAN FLOODING IS LIKELY. AT TIMES...RAINFALL RATES MAY EXCEED GUIDANCE THRESHOLDS FOR PRODUCING DEBRIS FLOWS AND SLIDES IN MOUNTAINOUS AREAS.


Target Area: Coastal North Bay Including Point Reyes National Seashore; North Bay Interior Valleys; North Bay Mountains; Northern Monterey Bay; San Francisco; San Fransisco Peninsula Coast; Santa Cruz Mountains[/b]
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See here the 2012 Atlantic season in 4.5 minutes.

Link
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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.
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Jim Cantore‏@JimCantore

4 NE Mount Rose SKI ARE, NV b-- mesonet reports NON-TSTM WND GST of M80.00 MPH -- at the base of the Mount Rose highway near Galena. #NVwx

2 minJim Cantore‏@JimCantore

5 SE Reno [Washoe Co, NV] asos reports NON-TSTM WND GST of M59.00 MPH at 10:55 AM PST -- measured at the Reno-tahoe international airport
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Quoting Luisport:
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

GFS 12z shows minimum pressure of 945 mb for Labrador Sea extratropical bomb at 12z Friday. http://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/274251617145061 376/photo/1
Can anyone comment this?
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I keep getting confused about who is a wacko and who is mad...

I'll have to read back over the comments to see if I can figure it out.

On to the weather - I will be shocked if we don't see at least one good landslide from this:

Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Storm Forecast
Valid: Fri 30 Nov 2012 06:00 to Sat 01 Dec 2012 06:00 UTC
Issued: Thu 29 Nov 2012 20:27
Forecaster: TUSCHY
A level 1 was issued for the Aegean Sea and SE Greece mainly for isolated large hail, severe wind gusts, heavy rain and an isolated tornado event.

Level 1 areas were issued for parts of the E-Adriatic Sea (heavy rain) and NE Tyrrhenian Sea (heavy rain and an isolated waterspout risk).

SYNOPSIS

A broad branch of the polar vortex covers most of Europe with cold air advecting far south. Disturbances along its fringes mark the foci for thunderstorm development. Isolated lightning activity is forecast over the North Sea beneath very cold mid-levels.

DISCUSSION

... Aegean Sea and adjacent areas ...

Brisk SW-erly flow affects the area of interest with DLS in excess of 20 m/s and enhanced LL shear mainly along the coasts. GFS evolves a weak wave/low south of Greece during the night, which moves to the northeast and results in enhanced backing of the LL wind field (increasing directional shear). Rich BL moisture and drier / cooler air atop assist in 500-1000, locally up to 1500 J/kg MLCAPE and therefore long-lived and deep convection is likely.
Well organized multicells race from SW to NE and produce severe wind gusts, isolated large hail and heavy rain. Given improving LL shear, an isolated tornado event is possible, too. Isolated excessive rainfall amounts can't be ruled out mainly along the coasts of the NE/E Aegean Sea with repeatedly onshore moving showers and thunderstorms.

... C-Mediterranean ...

Placed beneath cold mid-levels, isolated to scattered CI is forecast. The main activity is sub-severe, however, a few level 1 areas were issued to cover a heavy rainfall risk along the coasts and a waterspout risk north of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Scattered thunderstorm development also occurs west of the Iberian Peninsula, but despite isolated marginal hail, nothing severe is expected.

http://www.estofex.org/
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ABC7 News‏@abc7newsBayArea

National Weather Service says a flash flood watch will be in effect from 7pm PST through Friday afternoon. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/severeweather?pt=detail &&zone=CA124CD0C20B08.FlashFloodWatch.124CD0D1E0F0 CA.MTRFFAMTR.a7702fd9376aaebbe25c252ef1e418b3 #BayAreaRain
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

GFS 12z shows minimum pressure of 945 mb for Labrador Sea extratropical bomb at 12z Friday. http://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/274251617145061 376/photo/1
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This, guys, is a true superstorm.

I'd hate to be on Saturn.

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Quoting nymore:
I never called Trenberth a wacko, I called Joe Romm one.

Neo does the smiley face to be an arrogant _______
;-)
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Quoting nymore:




He very well being doing such, but until his paper has been reviewed and published I have to accept the one that is peer reviewed.

Don't get mad at me for posting an Article in the journal Nature.


Of course, you can accept or reject whatever you want. I just thought it was worth pointing out to the other readers of the blog that Kevin Trenberth is a well-published scientist and not just some "wacko" as you had called him.

PS - your comment about us being "mad" is probably the reason why Nea is always using those smiley faces. I can only speak for myself, but I wasn't mad. As I said earlier, tone of voice is completely lost in typed text and unfortunately it leads to a lot of misunderstandings. Peace.
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
12,26,2001..South China Sea..I found it
Thanks anyway..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6916
Quoting CybrTeddy:
The closet to the equator any cyclone has ever gotten was Tropical Storm Vamei which formed at 1.4N.


Which basin and year was that Cybr?
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6916
The closet to the equator any cyclone has ever gotten was Tropical Storm Vamei which formed at 1.4N.
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Quoting WunderYakuza:
Sorry about this. It should work now that if you hit pause, after you reload it will remain paused.


Thanks for the fix..
Kinda like the idea behind it..
I sometimes have multiple windows open and this is one way to keep up with the blog..
We shall see.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6916
Quoting Neapolitan:
"Wacko" website? You mean that one run by Dr. Joe Romm, who holds a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT? Who taught at Columbia University? Who held various Secretary-level positions at the U.S. Department of Energy? Who is widely regarded as an expert on climate change and energy efficiency? Who's authored several highly-regarded books on climate? Who's been brought before Congress numerous times to tesify as an expert witness? That "wacko" website?

Nah, to me a "wacko" website would be one run by a non-degreed guy whose singular meteorological cred was "earned" working as a weather reader for a medium-market broadcast station, yet who nonetheless fancies himself some sort of expert on climate science despite being debunked and discredit by virtually every credible scientist alive. Now that's a "wacko" website...


Handing out spankings today Nea?? LOL.. :)
I see your point in the post however..
A simple black and white comparison..well put..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6916
...just in case those who talk about Antartic ice "increases" didn't notice

The new study referenced in #522 notes:

Between 1992 and 2011, ...
the Antarctic ice sheet shed 1,320 billion metric tons.
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
??? Other than USGS, any other source for earthquake info? It would seem that these past couple of weeks that the majority of quakes are about the same latitude. Also wonder if anyone else has noticed this?


I use RSOE EDIS..
It has a Google like format..
Hope that helps.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6916
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Current latitude has it pegged at an insane 3.6N. It's not getting any of the Coriolis effect for organization needed.

Yep. That is insane.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't understand why it's taking so long to intensify, to be honest. It is in a low wind shear environment with an abundance of upper-level divergence and lower-level convergence and dry air isn't being sucked into the circulation according to the precipitable water loops.

Not much coriolis down at 4 N.
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540. VR46L
Quoting plutorising:


here's that irish postman weather guy calling for heavy snows before xmas.


I will be able to let you know if he is right lol ...mind ya its been a very cold year for us
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't understand why it's taking so long to intensify, to be honest. It is in a low wind shear environment with an abundance of upper-level divergence and lower-level convergence and dry air isn't being sucked into the circulation according to the precipitable water loops.


Current latitude has it pegged at an insane 3.6N. It's not getting any of the Coriolis effect for organization needed.
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Quoting WunderYakuza:
Sorry about this. It should work now that if you hit pause, after you reload it will remain paused.


Thanks, WonderYakuza. That was speedy and helpful (being another 'old fart' with little bandwidth).
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Quoting JustPlantIt:

Anywhere that I can get earthquake info other than USGS? Posted this earlier today. To ME... these earthquakes seem to have the same latitude? Maybe just a simple me.. but would like to get more info. Think you would know about this.


why you you want another one...USGS is the best page I know...
try WCATWC
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Quoting VaStormGuy:


WHOA

WHOA

WHAT IS THIS


See #531.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


...according to that standard, you would also have to accept the numerous other ones that indicate that droughts are increasing. "Numerous" outweights "one."

This isn't just about posting an article from Nature, clearly.
Is that how science works by popular vote. HUH
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WHOA

WHOA

WHAT IS THIS
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Quoting nymore:




He very well being doing such, but until his paper has been reviewed a published I have to accept the one that is peer reviewed.

Don't get mad at me for posting an Article in the journal Nature.


...according to that standard, you would also have to accept the numerous other ones that indicate that droughts are increasing. "Numerous" outweights "one."

This isn't just about posting an article from Nature, clearly.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3327
531. WunderYakuza (Admin)
Quoting etxwx:


Because some of us don't have much bandwidth or speed on our internet. Seriously...I'm like tin can and string here... barely above dial up. Plus it's annoying to have to pause it again when you refresh the page. And we old folks get all crotchety about this new fangled stuff... :-p
Sorry about this. It should work now that if you hit pause, after you reload it will remain paused.
Quoting ScottLincoln:


The point isn't moot, it's quite clear. You are consciously ignoring the obvious difference. Some people are credible, others are not. Some others fall in the gray middle. The situation Nea is discribing is not an example of the gray middle.

One more time. Dr. Joe Romm is an established scientist who has been active in climate science for a number of years. Dr. Romm, as a scientist, was skeptical of a new paper saying droughts were not changing when so many other papers had said the opposite. Being a skeptic by nature, scientist Dr. Joe Romm asked other respected scientists who have researched - and published - and changes to the hydrologic cycle due to climate change. The other experts indicated that there were issues with the new paper that needed to be addressed, and these issues may directly impact the results.

The PDSI is just one index, one of several. As we know from other aspects of science, there can be numerous different indeces to represent the same thing (for example CAPE, LI, TotalTotals) but they may not always show the same thing. Some are better than others in different situations. If new science paper wants to indicate that all other science papers on drought are wrong because of his one paper of model results using one index, then said scientist would be wise to discuss the discrepencies and resolve why his answer does not jive with the existing answer.

Welcome to science.


Quoting MrMixon:


How much do you guys think I should charge for my google searches?

FYI, Trenberth has published NUMEROUS peer-reviewed papers (<-click the linky for the proof at Google Scholar).

He very well may be working on a paper to discuss this drought issue right now.


He very well being doing such, but until his paper has been reviewed and published I have to accept the one that is peer reviewed.

Don't get mad at me for posting an Article in the journal Nature.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


yes... and i might have been a little conservative.. The 5' go for Idaho mostly...look for 3-4' in the Sierra Nevada
Anywhere that I can get earthquake info other than USGS? Posted this earlier today. To ME... these earthquakes seem to have the same latitude? Maybe just a simple me.. but would like to get more info. Think you would know about this.
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Quoting goosegirl1:
Well, I am going to make the great intellectual leap that I have someone's ignore list. This amuses much more than it should :)


It is possible, though, obviously, you are not on mine. You might be caught up in one of the filters if some people are not using "show all". What do you think is not being seen? All my numbers from 501 are on screen; there are no gaps.
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Quoting nymore:
Trenberth should put together his own research and submit it for review.

Instead of spewing out stuff on a wacko website.


How much do you guys think I should charge for my google searches?

FYI, Trenberth has published NUMEROUS peer-reviewed papers (<-click the linky for the proof at Google Scholar).

He very well may be working on a paper to discuss this drought issue right now.
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
It has been a month since Sandy hit....

No doubt about its retirement
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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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