A dramatic greening of the Arctic over the past 30 years

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:30 PM GMT on March 18, 2013

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A remarkable transformation in the vegetation of the Arctic has occurred over the past 30 years, according to a study of satellite data published on March 10, 2013, in Nature Climate Change. The authors found that Arctic vegetation growth and temperatures in 2011 resembled what occurred 250 - 430 miles farther to the south back in 1982. That's the approximate distance in latitude between San Francisco and San Diego, or Washington D.C. and Atlanta. More greening occurred in Eurasia than North America, and the Arctic's new greenness is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and trees. Large patches of vigorously productive vegetation now span a third of the northern landscape, an area about equal to the contiguous United States. "Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more," said co-author Dr. Ranga Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment, in a NASA press release. "In the north's Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems." The changes in the Arctic's vegetation are being driven by human-caused global warming, which is occurring in the Arctic at more than double the rate of the rest of the planet. This so-called "Arctic amplification" is due, in part, to the increased melting of ice and snow near the pole. When ice and snow melt, they uncover darker surfaces underneath, which absorb more sunlight and increase Arctic temperatures in a vicious cycle which melts even more ice and snow. Using 17 climate models, the researchers predicted that a continuation of warming in the Arctic in coming decades could lead to over a 1300 mile latitudinal shift in Arctic vegetation zones by the year 2100, compared to the period 1951 - 1980. That's a distance greater than the north-south extent of the contiguous United States. However, more frequent forest fires, increased pest outbreaks, and summertime droughts due to a warming climate might slow down Arctic plant growth.


Figure 1. Of the 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometers) of northern vegetated lands, 34 to 41 percent showed increases in plant growth (green and blue), 3 to 5 percent showed decreases in plant growth (orange and red), and 51 to 62 percent showed no changes (yellow) over the past 30 years. Satellite data in this visualization are from AVHRR and MODIS. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.


Figure 2. Trees take hold as permafrost thaws near the Altai Mountains in Russia. Credit: Terry Callaghan, EU-Interact/Sergey Kirpotin, Tomsk State University.

Commentary
One often hears complaints that global warming may be greatly overestimated, due to many temperature sensors being located in increasingly urbanized areas where local "urban heat island" effects are not being properly considered. If this were true (and it isn't), then we would not expect to see "nature's thermometers"--plants and animals--change their behavior and ranges much. But plants and animals are responding in major ways to the warming climate, and the greening of the Arctic is merely one more example of "nature's thermometers" telling us that the planet is warming significantly. Some other examples:

Fall is falling back: During 1982 to 1999, the end of the growing season was delayed by 4.3 days in the Northern Hemisphere. During 2000 to 2008, the end of the growing season was further delayed by an additional 2.3 days. In the U.S., fall now occurs ten days later than it did 30 years ago.

Spring is springing forward: Spring events, like bird and butterfly migrations, flower blooming times, and frog mating, have been advancing by about three days per decade over the past 30 years.

Animals are changing migration patterns: New species have colonized previously ‘cool’ regions, including sea anemones in Monterey Bay, and lichens and butterflies in Europe. Over the past 50 years, maximum range shifts vary from 200 km (butterflies) to 1,000 km (marine copepods).

Related blog post: New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for gardeners shows a warming climate

Dr. Myneni's petition to protect Earth from climate change
Professor Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth & Environment, co-author of the greening Arctic study, has developed a simple one-sentence petition that he hopes one billion people will sign by Earth Day, 2014:

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon,

We, the People of the Earth, request You to act judiciously and expeditiously to protect the Earth from anthropogenic climate change.

Respectfully,
People of the Earth


The petition, which I have signed, is at: https://yourclimatechange.org/, and was recently featured by Discovery News.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Temperatures are still upside down across parts of the world. For example: it's 35 in Thule, Greenland, a location 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and less than a thousand miles from the North Pole. Meanwhile, it's below zero in parts of the Upper Midwest--and Lanai City in Hawaii is just 20 degrees or so warmer than Thule.


Oh, wow; that is just scary sick (the temps part, not the political sub-part! Or, maybe that too...LOL)!
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Either a new and improved radar technology, or someone registered to vote as both a Republican and a Democrat. ;-)


LOl Nea.. :)
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Quoting ScottLincoln:

The upgrade that virtually every NWS radar has been undergoing for over a year:
http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/dualpol/document s/FAQsOnDualPolRadar.pdf


Thank you Scott..
A great Q and A on it.. :)
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Temperatures are still upside down across parts of the world. For example: it's 35 in Thule, Greenland, a location 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and less than a thousand miles from the North Pole. Meanwhile, it's below zero in parts of the Upper Midwest--and Lanai City in Hawaii is just 20 degrees or so warmer than Thule.
Quoting pcola57:
What is Dual-Pol??
Either a new and improved radar technology, or someone registered to vote as both a Republican and a Democrat. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13304
Mass

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting pcola57:


Ok I give up MTWX..
What is Dual-Pol??

The upgrade that virtually every NWS radar has been undergoing for over a year:
http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/dualpol/document s/FAQsOnDualPolRadar.pdf
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this has changed,now only 30% instead to 50/60%....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
NWS did a nice snowfall map for the snow we got...check it out
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting PedleyCA:


The newer radar version...


Thanks to you as well PedleyCA.. :)
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


dual polarization.... ???

A: Dual polarization technology is the most significant enhancement to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler was installed in the early 1990s. It provides weather forecasters with new information so they can more accurately track, assess, and warn the public of high‐impact weather.

Q: How does dual polarization technology work?
A: Conventional Doppler radars send out a horizontal pulse that gives forecasters a one‐dimensional picture of whatever is in the air, precipitation or non‐precipitation. It can see precipitation, but can’t tell the difference between rain, snow, or hail. Dual‐pol radar sends and receives both horizontal and vertical pulses, providing a much more informative two‐dimensional picture of whatever is out there. This information helps forecasters clearly identify rain, hail, snow or ice pellets, and other flying objects, improving forecasts for all types of weather.

go here...there are some helpful tips...


Thanks for that response Max,
Will study it more so I can better understand it..
Thanks again my friend.. :)
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Morning everyone.

Radar screen-shots of the "possible tornado" near State Highway 18 near the Meriwether/Pike County line in GA last evening. It looked amazing on radar. Not sure if it has been confirmed if it touched down or not though.

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Quoting pcola57:


Ok I give up MTWX..
What is Dual-Pol??


dual polarization.... ???

A: Dual polarization technology is the most significant enhancement to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler was installed in the early 1990s. It provides weather forecasters with new information so they can more accurately track, assess, and warn the public of high‐impact weather.

Q: How does dual polarization technology work?
A: Conventional Doppler radars send out a horizontal pulse that gives forecasters a one‐dimensional picture of whatever is in the air, precipitation or non‐precipitation. It can see precipitation, but can’t tell the difference between rain, snow, or hail. Dual‐pol radar sends and receives both horizontal and vertical pulses, providing a much more informative two‐dimensional picture of whatever is out there. This information helps forecasters clearly identify rain, hail, snow or ice pellets, and other flying objects, improving forecasts for all types of weather.

go here...there are some helpful tips...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting pcola57:


Ok I give up MTWX..
What is Dual-Pol??


The newer radar version...
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Quoting OrchidGrower:
Good morning, Wunderbloggers (and "Evenin', Aussie!")! There is a stunning article on Reuters.com this morning, on how nature is trying to adapt to climate change. The comments section is also fantastic.

I'm not great with links -- and I'm at work, so don't have a lot of time to play with this -- but here's my attempt: Link

Happy start to the morning here in SW Florida, because we had RAIN yesterday and last night - Woo-hoo!!

Have a great day, Everybody.... :-)


Great article OrchidGrower,
It explains alot about adaptation..
Seems the animal kingdom is way ahead of our Congress and other Governmental bodies..
My grandparents always looked to the natural world for predictions and we as a society have lost that..
We better wake up..
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I had to leave to school yesterday by the time a tornado was forming east of Gay heading to Concord, was there any significant damage from it..?
never got to find out...

this one


it's rural...im sure they'll report something from a survey
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
sky yesterday was so green/black when the storms passed over...in the blink of an eye.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
James Spann  ‏@spann
Highest measured wind gust in Alabama yesterday was 88 mph, recorded on the shores of Lake Neely Henry, south of Gadsden
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Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting MTWX:


The Dual Pol is great Scott!! You will enjoy it!


Ok I give up MTWX..
What is Dual-Pol??
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the budding low off the coast draws cold air down into the SE messing up the warm sector...if we could weaken it and convince the trough to go up a state of so, we could have another repeat of yesterday, albeit further south

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
Potentially big day of severe weather in 5 days. Negatively tilted trough with 60kts shear at 500mb.



Winds are a little veered (southwesterly), and thus inhibitive for significant tornado activity according to this run:



Solid dewpoints (60F up to central Arkansas).



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Quoting washingtonian115:
The local mets aren't feeling the storm the the GFS is spewing out.Temps will be to warm...


agree with you....but we don't know what the storm has in mind...
got 4" today
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
The local mets aren't feeling the storm the the GFS is spewing out.Temps will be to warm...
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Good morning, Wunderbloggers (and "Evenin', Aussie!")! There is a stunning article on Reuters.com this morning, on how nature is trying to adapt to climate change. The comments section is also fantastic.

I'm not great with links -- and I'm at work, so don't have a lot of time to play with this -- but here's my attempt: Link

Happy start to the morning here in SW Florida, because we had RAIN yesterday and last night - Woo-hoo!!

Have a great day, Everybody.... :-)
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im sure minneapolis would enjoy

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Mike Bettes %u200F@TWCMikeBettes
Two storm-related deaths in Georgia yesterday. One in Polk County, one in Talbot County.


I had to leave to school yesterday by the time a tornado was forming east of Gay heading to Concord, was there any significant damage from it..?
never got to find out...

this one
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869



EURO HAS IT OVER NORTH GEORGIA WHILE GFS IS MORE OVER CENTRAL
GEORGIA. THIS PLACEMENT WILL BE CRITICAL AS TEMPS LOOK TO BE COLD
ENOUGH BOTH AT THE SURFACE AND ALOFT TO SUPPORT SOME WINTRY PRECIP
INITIALLY. TRIED TO REFINE PRECIP TYPE A BIT BETTER WITH THIS
PACKAGE AND LOOKS LIKE MAINLY A LIGHT SNOW/SLEET EVENT IN STORE
WITH SOUTHERN EXTENT TAKING IT INTO PORTIONS OF EAST CENTRAL
GEORGIA. WARM NOSE SHOULD CHANGE OVER TO ALL RAIN AT SOME POINT
EARLY FRIDAY WITH RAIN SHIELD EXPANDING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
Mike Bettes ‏@TWCMikeBettes
Two storm-related deaths in Georgia yesterday. One in Polk County, one in Talbot County.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
Good Morning everyone. RAIN! We finally got rain in the keys. About 1-2" depending where you live. And more is arriving this morning. My plants are all taking a big gulp and look the better for it. Everyone have a good day and stay safe in the warned or icy areas.
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461. MTWX
Quoting ScottLincoln:

Gotta upgrade to dual-pol and unfortunately there can be active weather in this part of the country virtually any time of the year.


The Dual Pol is great Scott!! You will enjoy it!
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Good morning guys...

Happy because even though I increased my snowfall for the coast in Conn... much above what the NWS said (above the initial 2-4", then they raised it to 3-5" after I did my map increasing it to 3-7"), it still verified.... check my blog for more info...

:)
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Quoting weatherh98:
KLIX picked a horrible night to go down

Gotta upgrade to dual-pol and unfortunately there can be active weather in this part of the country virtually any time of the year.
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Things look like they could become explosive later on today as we heat up into the mid to upper 80's. C & N FL really need to be on alert for some big time hail producing storms later on.


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Very interesting discussion from the NWS in Tampa this morning.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
408 AM EDT TUE MAR 19 2013

...ANOTHER RAINY AND POSSIBLY STORMY DAY ON TAP FOR MUCH OF WEST
CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA...

.SHORT TERM (TODAY THROUGH THURSDAY)...
A MEANDERING 700 MB JET CONTINUES TO PROMOTE RAIN SHOWERS ACROSS
PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA THIS MORNING. EVEN AS THE LLJ SHIFTS
EASTWARD INTO THE ATLANTIC LATER TODAY...A STRONG UPPER LEVEL JET
SETTLES ACROSS SOUTHERN FLORIDA CONTINUING TO BRING INCREASED CLOUD
COVER AND PRECIPITATION CHANCES TO MUCH OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA AND
PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA. FROM THE NORTH...A BOUNDARY FROM
THE PRE-FRONTAL SQUALL LINE THAT MOVED THROUGH MS/AL/GA MAY ALLOW
FOR SOME THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE NATURE COAST.

SOUTHWESTERLY TO WESTERLY SURFACE FLOW TODAY SHOULD AID IN KEEPING
THE MAJORITY OF THE CONVECTION ON THE EAST COAST...BUT THUNDERSTORM
AND RAIN CHANCES FOR THIS AFTERNOON REMAIN ELEVATED OVER THE
INTERIOR OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA. ONE DETAIL TO NOTE
IS THAT THE 00Z GFS HAS HIGHER 18Z MUCAPE VALUES /ABOVE 2000 J/KG/
ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE NATURE COAST SUGGESTING THAT STRONG TO SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS ARE NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION IN THIS AREA LATER TODAY
AS THE COLD FRONT BEGINS TO MOVE IN. 0-6 KM BULK SHEAR VALUES REMAIN
RESPECTABLE BETWEEN 35 AND 45 KTS...WITH 0-1 KM BULK SHEAR VALUES
STRUGGLING AROUND 10 KTS. THIS SUGGESTS THAT THE MAIN THREAT FROM
THESE STRONGER STORMS MAY BE IN THE FORM OF STRONG WINDS. 18Z NATURE
COAST LAPSE RATES BETWEEN -10C AND -30C /PRIME TERRITORY FOR HAIL
GROWTH/ ARE ABOVE 7 C/KM ACCORDING TO THE GFS AND ECMWF...AND
NEARING 7 C/KM IN THE NAM. CANNOT RULE OUT SOME THREAT FROM SMALL
HAIL...ALTHOUGH HAILSTONES ARE NOT AS LIKELY TO SURVIVE TO THE
SURFACE DUE TO FORECASTED FREEZING LEVELS OF 3600 METERS IN THE AREA.
FOR COMPARISON...THE 00Z TBW SOUNDING SHOWS A FREEZING LEVEL OF 3797
METERS. 500 MB TEMPERATURES ARE BELOW -10C ACROSS ALL OF THE CWA
WITH AREAS NORTH OF I-4 BELOW -14C.

THE FRONT SHOULD CONTINUE TO MEANDER ACROSS THE PENINSULA OF FLORIDA
ON TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING. ASSOCIATED CONVECTION WILL
SUFFER THE LOSS OF DIURNAL HEATING OVERNIGHT. WITH SUNRISE ON
WEDNESDAY...THE STALLED FRONT WILL BE ABLE TO AGAIN BRING AN
ELEVATED RAIN CHANCE AND CLOUDY SKIES TO MUCH OF THE CWA. DIURNAL
HEATING WILL ALLOW SHOWERS AND STORMS TO FIRE AGAIN AND PROVIDE MORE
RAIN ACROSS THE AREA UNTIL THE FRONT FINALLY IS PUSHED OUT BY THE
DRY AIR OF THE BUILDING RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE ON THURSDAY
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Hail size pic
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Morning/Evening!

Wow, that house in Mississippi looks like a scene from Bonnie and Clyde, after the shoot out.
Hail at an angle is bad!
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454. 900MB
Ended up w 3" here in NYC. Mostly melted here, but I'm sure Central Park looks nice!

We'll see what next week's storm brings!
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Hail damage in Pearl, MS yesterday
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alabama has numerous school closings and delays


School Closings and Delays for Tuesday, March 19, 2013:

Attalla City Schools: Closed

Blount County Schools: 3-hour delay

Boaz City Schools: 3-hour delay

Cold Springs Schools: Closed

Coosa Christian School (Gadsden): Closed, Daycare open

Etowah County Schools: Closed

Franklin County Schools: Closed

Friends Childcare in Warrior: Closed

Gadsden City Schools: Closed

Good Hope Schools: Closed

Jasper City Schools: Closed

Randolph Park Elementary School in Anniston: Closed, All other Anniston City schools are open

St. Clair County Schools: Closed

St. James Catholic School (Gadsden): Closed

Wallace State Community College (Hanceville): Open at 10 a.m.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
N MS/AL/GA may see flurries in a week
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UKMET blesses the SE with an outbreak and the NE with a blizzard in a a week.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Everyone, have a great Tuesday! Aussie, have a great Wednesday!
thanks have a good one
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Everyone, have a great Tuesday! Aussie, have a great Wednesday!
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Good morning. Haven't been outside to look/measure yet but based on my estimates and nearby reports I'd say probably about 5" of new snow on the ground this morning, about what was expected. Currently a light mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain with a 31F temperature. Rain/snow line has come north as the precip has let up, probably little if any accumulation left to go, though the sleet and freezing rain are making a slippery mess. 2 hour school delay :)
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446. MahFL
The band of rain approaching JAX is weakening significantly.
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445. MahFL
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I saw 75mph wind gusts and nickel sized hail...torrential rain.


How do you know is was 75 mph ?
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Quoting LargoFl:
Looks like the keys etc getting some good rains....


Mornin' all...
We got about an inch in 30 minutes starting at 3:30 this morning. It's been light showers off and on since.
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Good morning to all,evening Aussie.

Scattered showers with periods of sun will be the rule in the weather for today in PR and adjacent islands.


AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
545 AM AST TUE MAR 19 2013

.SYNOPSIS...SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE NORTH OF THE AREA WILL CONTINUE
TO DOMINATE THE LOCAL REGION THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK. PATCHES
OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE WILL MOVE ACROSS THE AREA FROM TIME TO TIME.
A COLD FRONT IS FORECAST TO APPROACH THE REGION AT THE END OF THE WEEK.

&&

.DISCUSSION...SHOWERS INCREASED OVERNIGHT AS PATCHES OF LOW LEVEL
MOISTURE AFFECTED THE LOCAL REGION. THE SHOWER ACTIVITY WAS MOVING
QUICKLY ACROSS THE NORTHERN HALF OF PUERTO RICO AND OVER THE
COASTAL WATERS...WITHOUT ANY SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS.
THIS TREND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY...AS EAST TO NORTHEAST
WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO TRANSPORT MORE SHOWERS ACROSS THE REGION.
A SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL CONTINUE DOMINATING THE WEATHER
CONDITIONS THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK.

FOR FRIDAY...A COLD FRONT IS FORECAST TO APPROACH THE LOCAL
REGION...WITH AN INCREASE IN CLOUDINESS AND SHOWER ACTIVITY.
HOWEVER..AT THIS MOMENT...WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION IS NOT EXPECTED
WITH THIS SYSTEM. IN THE LONG TERM...COMPUTER MODELS INDICATED
RELATIVELY DRY CONDITIONS WILL PREVAIL ACROSS THE LOCAL AREA...AS
ANOTHER HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ACROSS THE AREA MONDAY AND TUESDAY
NEXT WEEK.

&&

.AVIATION...E TRADE WNDS WL CONT WITH PATCHY CLOUDS/SHRA. VFR CONT
BUT ISOLD/BRIEF IFR/MVFR POSBL AND MTN OBSC IN STRONGEST SHRA. WIND
BLO FL100 E 12-20 KT WEAKENING TO 10-15 KT BY 18Z TURNING SE ON WED.

&&

.MARINE...THE BUOY 41053 IN SAN JUAN AS WELL AS 41043...FLUCTUATED
BETWEEN 5 TO 6 FEET AS NORTHERLY SWELLS CONTINUED TO SUBSIDE. AS A
RESULT...SMALLCRAFT SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION ACROSS MOST COASTAL
WATERS. SEAS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN THE 3 TO 5 FOOT RANGE ACROSS
THE LOCAL WATERS FROM MIDWEEK THROUGH THE UPCOMING WEEKEND.


&&

.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
SJU 84 73 84 73 / 50 30 30 20
STT 85 74 84 74 / 50 40 40 30
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Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie. A little colder this morning, back down to 54 degrees with a high in the low seventies today.

Glad you're getting the rain you need Largo.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Steak and eggs, hash browns, fresh fruit and orange juice.
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Looks like the keys etc getting some good rains....
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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.