Record Cold in a Warming World

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on March 04, 2014

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An impressive blast of Arctic air has toppled more records for all-time March cold over the Eastern U.S., in the wake of the major snowstorm that brought 4 - 8" of snow from Missouri to Maryland. Fresh snow is very efficient at radiating heat to space, and the 3.8" of snow that fell in Baltimore on Monday helped drive the temperature down to 5°F on Monday night, tying the city's all-time March low temperature record set on March 4, 1873. The temperature eventually dipped down to 4°F Tuesday morning, breaking the March record. Atlantic City, NJ, which got 5.5" of snow on Monday, also set a new all-time cold record for the month of March on Monday night, when the temperature fell to 2°F. The previous all-time low for the month of March was 3°F set on March 4, 2009. Official records for the Atlantic City area date back to 1874.

At least five other cities have set or tied all-time March cold temperature records during the current cold wave:

Charlottesville, Virginia set an all-time March low of 1°F Tuesday morning (previous record: 7°F on March 4, 1943.)

Billings, Montana set an all-time March low of -21° on March 2, 2014 (previous record: -19°.)

Pierre, South Dakota set an all-time March low on both March 1 and March 2, dipping to -20° (previous record: -19°F on March 11, 1998.)

Flint, Michigan set an all-time March low of -16° on March 3 (previous record: -12°.)

Rockford, Illinois tied its all-time March record low of -11° on March 3.

At least five U.S. cities have set records for their coldest winter on record, as detailed by wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt in his latest blog post. He has not yet compiled a list of cities that have set a record for their warmest winter on record during 2013 - 2014, but I know of at least two: Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tucson, Arizona.


Figure 1. Departure of surface temperature from average as diagnosed by the GFS model at 00 UTC March 4, 2014. A negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) allowed cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic over the Eastern U.S., bringing temperatures up to 36°F (20°C) below average. Compensating warm air flowed northwards into the Arctic underneath a ridge of high pressure over Europe. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

How can a planet that is warming experience record cold?
This week's impressive cold blast brings up the question: How can a planet undergoing "global warming" experience record cold? Well, it's a big planet, and the weather has naturally crazy extremes. We expect to see many locations experience all-time daily and monthly cold records each month. It's just that the number of these cold records will be outnumbered by all-time heat records, when averaged over the globe, and over decades. It is called Global Warming for good reason! A 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO found that in the U.S., the ratio of the number of record daily highs to lows was near 1:1 in the 1960s and 1970s, but had increased to more than 2:1 during the decade of the 2000s, due to our warming climate. The ratio for the 2010’s was approximately 2.4-to-1 for daily records, for the four years 2010 - 2013, as explained in detail at Guy Walton's wunderblog. If "business as usual" emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide continue this century, this ratio of record highs to record lows is expected to increase to 20:1 by the year 2050, and 50:1 by 2100. So, even on planet experiencing extreme global warming, we will still see a few record low temperatures in the 22nd Century.


Figure 2. Ratio of record daily highs to record daily lows observed at about 1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States from January 1950 through September 2009. Each bar shows the proportion of record highs (red) to record lows (blue) for each decade. The 1960s and 1970s saw slightly more record daily lows than highs, but in the last 30 years record highs have increasingly predominated, with the ratio now about two-to-one for the 48 states as a whole. ©UCAR, graphic by Mike Shibao; data from a 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO.

Two Years Ago: Summer in March
When we do break all-time heat records in the current warming climate, we should expect that some of these new records will crush the old records in phenomenal ways. That was the case during the astonishing U.S. record-breaking "Summer in March" heat wave just two years ago, in 2012. It was the warmest March on record for the contiguous U.S., 8.6°F above the 20th century average for March, and 0.5°F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began in 1895, only one month, January 2006, had a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012. Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March, and 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. All-time March records were broken at 290 stations, with some stations breaking their all-time March record four times. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date. Four stations broke daily records by 30°F or more.


Figure 3. "This is the kind of sunset that you can expect to see in July, not in March. 77°F when I took this," said the caption on this wunderphoto taken on March 17, 2012 in Windom, Minnesota by wunderphotographer sally.

Jeff Masters

Apostle Islands Ice (walcek)
You drive on 3-ft. minimum thick ice for a couple miles out to these islands on frozen Lake Superior. (Saves on kayaking workout)
Apostle Islands Ice
Frozen Silence (RevMac)
No one else was out walking a very popular Nashville park on a frozen ice and snow storm day in early March.
Frozen Silence

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Quoting 148. ScottLincoln:

Too many half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" to debunk point by point. But I assure you as an actual degreed scientist, that "film" is nonsense. Grade A balogney.

Use critical thinking skills, get a better source.


Bologna or boloney, get a better dictionary
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“Forests precede man, deserts follow him”.
Aldous Huxley

Waterless World: China’s ever-expanding desert wasteland

For decades, researchers have battled desertification in this part of Inner Mongolia, which sends sandstorms blasting into Beijing every spring. Scientists first came in the 1960s to tame sand dunes that had spread because of excessive farming and grazing.

In the 1980s institutes like the Naiman Semi-Arid Research Center were founded to develop methods to help bring back the grasslands. They planted trees such as poplars and aspen pines, and enclosed fields to encourage the growth of native grasses.

When it came to slowing local causes of desertification, their efforts were largely successful. From 1985 to 2005, the amount of degraded land in Naiman decreased from 733 square miles to 463 square miles (an area about the size of New York City’s five boroughs).

But now climate change is bringing drier, hotter weather, threatening to undo all their work.

Since the turn of the century, average rainfall has decreased 10 percent in this part of Inner Mongolia, according to the Naiman research center. The average temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Link
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Quoting 178. ncstorm:


they only got 20 years to figure it out..
they will never figure it out to many variables and occurrences that they have no idea about the end results
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Hi everyone, what are we going to do to stop the earth from warming? I know the answer do you? Any takers all you global warming experts?
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Quoting 178. ncstorm:


they only got 20 years to figure it out..
well climate models can go 90 years in the future. I think they should hire climate scientist to make computer models.
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Quoting 173. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


that's going to be the weathermans greatest challenge forecasting the weather in a changing world
gonna suck when everything they have learned will have to be thrown out the window and start all over again


they only got 20 years to figure it out..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14627
Quoting 174. Barefootontherocks:
That Apostle Island ice photo - Wow! Then I read comments about the theory a more open Arctic could bring glacial ice formation "at lower altitudes and more southerly latitudes..." One (One = me) wonders also if another effect of a low to ice-free Arctic Ocean might be fewer and/or less powerful northern hemisphere tropical cyclones. I guess watching the temperature maps for "blues" along the equator might be a worthwhile pass-time for hurricane fans.

Reading back, couple more thoughts...
...sounds like an ice storm happening in SE TX. Sympathies.

...I only eat the Frosted Flakes.


How do you think they get "frosted" :)
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176. jpsb
Quoting 171. jpsb:


There is a cycle, 12,000 years of relative warmth, 100,000 years of cold. Earlier the cycle was 12,000 warmth 40,000 years of cold. Cycles of a duration like 12, 40 and 100 thousand years suggest orbital forcings.
And if orbital forcing does in fact drive climate then there is very little mankind can do to prevent "climate change". Our current interglacial is 12,000 years old. Interglacials typically last 12,000 years.

I did not know anything about our "Polar Vortex" so I had to research it. One interests aspect of our Polar Vortex is that it mostly forms in the winter and dissipates in the summer. But lets say something has changed and that the vortex last longer into and sometimes thru the Arctic summer. What would that mean for temps in N.A? While it might be warm in the tropics could temps in N.A. support a return of glaciers simply be persisting a Polar Vortex a couple of months longer? Hmmmmm
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-
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That Apostle Island ice photo - Wow! Then I read comments about the theory a more open Arctic could bring glacial ice formation "at lower altitudes and more southerly latitudes..." One (One = me) wonders also if another effect of a low to ice-free Arctic Ocean might be fewer and/or less powerful northern hemisphere tropical cyclones. I guess watching the temperature maps for "blues" along the equator might be a worthwhile pass-time for hurricane fans.

Reading back, couple more thoughts...
...sounds like an ice storm happening in SE TX. Sympathies.

...I only eat Frosted Flakes.
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Quoting 166. ncstorm:


this winter has made many meterologists here in eastern NC scratch their heads..forecasting has been difficult for some..


that's going to be the weathermans greatest challenge forecasting the weather in a changing world
gonna suck when everything they have learned will have to be thrown out the window and start all over again
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Quoting 168. ScottLincoln:

I don't "believe" in the theory of anthropogenic climate change due to the enhanced greenhouse effect any more than I "believe" in the laws of thermodynics, gravity, or motion.

It is known by scientists with little doubt that:
1. Humans burn fossil fuels.
2. Burning fossil fuels produces CO2
3. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere raises its concentration if it is not removed at the same or greater rate
4. CO2 absorbs and re-emits longwave infrared radiation.
5. Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere thus raises the global temperature, all other forcings being equal
6. The record of past climate changes confirms this process

Theories become widely accepted because they provide the best explanation for observable phenomenon at the present time. If evidence changes, the predominant theories will change, and it will be because of evidence, not because of something I "believe."


Maybe a 7) As to what is absorbing the majority of the extra heat energy.

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171. jpsb
Quoting 158. yonzabam:


Everyone knows about the Milankovitch astrophysical cycles. They take place with periodicities of >12,000 to >100,000 years. They have nothing to do with current warming.

Also, Milankovitch's theory omits an extremely important mechanism. When the world begins to warm due to his proposed mechanisms, CO2 is released from warming oceans, and this boosts the warming.


There is a cycle, 12,000 years of relative warmth, 100,000 years of cold. Earlier the cycle was 12,000 warmth 40,000 years of cold. Cycles of a duration like 12, 40 and 100 thousand years suggest orbital forcings.
And if orbital forcing does in fact drive climate then there is very little mankind can do to prevent "climate change". Our current interglacial is 12,000 years old. Interglacials typically last 12,000 years.
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thanks scott
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KUALA LUMPUR: Haze shrouded Malaysia’s capital and its surroundings on Tuesday, causing “unhealthy” air quality due to fires from a drought that has led to water rationing.

While dry spells are common in the tropical nation, the current two-month heatwave has been unusually long, sparking bushfires and water supply cuts to more than two million people as reservoirs threaten to run dry.



Read more: Link
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Quoting 155. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
so as a degreed individual do you believe in climate change

I don't "believe" in the theory of anthropogenic climate change due to the enhanced greenhouse effect any more than I "believe" in the laws of thermodynics, gravity, or motion. It's not about faith it's about evidence.

It is known by scientists with little doubt that:
1. Humans burn fossil fuels.
2. Burning fossil fuels produces CO2
3. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere raises its concentration if it is not removed at the same or greater rate
4. CO2 absorbs and re-emits longwave infrared radiation.
5. Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere thus raises the global temperature, all other forcings being equal
6. The record of past climate changes confirms this process

Theories become widely accepted because they provide the best explanation for observable phenomenon at the present time. If evidence changes, the predominant theories will change, and it will be because of evidence, not because of something I "believe."
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Quoting 157. CarolinaHurricanes87:


I didn't want to leave. Was temporarily banned for defending Dr Masters and his positions on his blog. Or for "violating community standards", as they say. Page after page of Ukraine war discussion during a major winter storm yesterday was okay, though. The hypocrisy is enough to make me realize I have better things to do on this great day! See you all later, folks
there was not page after page a couple of comments per page more like it if yer going to comment regarding something at least be honest

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Quoting 159. absurfer:
freezing rain here unforecasted go figure


this winter has made many meterologists here in eastern NC scratch their heads..forecasting has been difficult for some..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14627
Quoting 149. aburttschell:


Absolutely. Global Warming is the term used when we are having abnormally warm weather. Climate change is what is used when we are having cool weather.


There have been heatwaves in Slovenia and Australia, snow in Vietnam and the return of the polar vortex to North America. Britain has had its wettest winter in 250 years but temperatures in parts of Russia and the Arctic have been 10C above normal. Meanwhile, the southern hemisphere has had the warmest start to a year ever recorded, with millions of people sweltering in Brazilian and southern African cities.

Link
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Quoting 160. CuriousAboutClimate:


global warming described exactly that. climate change describes exactly that. two different things. cool weather isn't bringing the global average down.

hot records are consistent with a warming world. cold records are not inconsistent with a warming world because, while they are still going to happen, the ratio will be towards more hot records, as shown by Dr. Masters.


I understand the concepts of the two. I was just trying to add a bit levity to the conversation.
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It has been sleeting and frz rain all morning here in Hammond La.
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Quoting 53. CarolinaHurricanes87:


Extinction of republicans


You need some of these
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It seems the grumpier people are, the more traffic on the blog. Original blog post by Dr. Masters at 2:58 PM GMT. 150 blog posts by 4:47 PM GMT. Thats one post every 43.6 seconds. It's getting to the point where arguing about AGW gets more blog activity than major weather events.
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Quoting 149. aburttschell:


Absolutely. Global Warming is the term used when we are having abnormally warm weather. Climate change is what is used when we are having cool weather.


global warming described exactly that. climate change describes exactly that. two different things. cool weather isn't bringing the global average down.

hot records are consistent with a warming world. cold records are not inconsistent with a warming world because, while they are still going to happen, the ratio will be towards more hot records, as shown by Dr. Masters.
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Quoting 141. ncstorm:
Climate175 is right..its a weather blog..I digress..my apologies to everyone..

did you know its 29 degrees here now..will we make it over freezing?
freezing rain here unforecasted go figure
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Quoting 147. jpsb:



Milankovitch theory describes the collective effects of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate, named after Serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milutin Milanković, who worked on it during his internment as a First World War POW. Milanković mathematically theorized that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth through orbital forcing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles



Everyone knows about the Milankovitch astrophysical cycles. They take place with periodicities of >12,000 to >100,000 years. They have nothing to do with current warming.

Also, Milankovitch's theory omits an extremely important mechanism. When the world begins to warm due to his proposed mechanisms, CO2 is released from warming oceans, and this boosts the warming.
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Quoting 154. jpsb:
Yeah, don't leave, we discuss AGW all the time here. Well except when a TS is headed towards the US.


I didn't want to leave. Was temporarily banned for defending Dr Masters and his positions on his blog. Or for "violating community standards", as they say. Page after page of Ukraine war discussion during a major winter storm yesterday was okay, though. The hypocrisy is enough to make me realize I have better things to do on this great day! See you all later, folks
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156. NCstu
Quoting 147. jpsb:



Milankovitch theory describes the collective effects of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate, named after Serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milutin Milanković, who worked on it during his internment as a First World War POW. Milanković mathematically theorized that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth through orbital forcing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

This is actually a promising natural experiment. We're supposed to just now be starting a cold cycle so we'll see what happens. Most research I have read says that CO2 totally trumps solar activity.
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Quoting 148. ScottLincoln:

Too many half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" to debunk point by point. But I assure you as an actual degreed scientist, that "film" is nonsense. Grade A balogney.

Use critical thinking skills, get a better source.
so as a degreed individual do you believe in climate change
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154. jpsb
Quoting 143. CarolinaHurricanes87:
So calling the creator of the blog a "professional cherry picker" does not violate community standards.... talking all day yesterday about the Ukraine war does not violate community standards.... but talking about AGW does? Interesting. Bye
Hey, don't leave, we discuss CAGW all the time here. Well except when a TS is headed towards the US.
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Quoting 149. aburttschell:


Absolutely. Global Warming is the term used when we are having abnormally warm weather. Climate change is what is used when we are having cool weather.

No. Although related, they are not exactly the same thing.

You might want to start here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-change-gl obal-warming.htm
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**Lurkers Be Warned!**

Today's blog comments seems particularly acrid for some reason. Lurk at your own risk, and it is highly recommended that you please leave immediately if you are having an emotionally challenging day.
Have a great day!
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Quoting 117. Birthmark:

Well, why don't you do it and prove your point? That would be interesting.

It came from freely available data. People could put forth the effort to actually find evidence for their assertions, but they probably won't. It's easier just to make comments that insinuate some ulterior motive.
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Quoting 137. Climate175:
Is this a weather blog or Congress, it's getting confusing???

Nobody is paying attention to them on Rood's blog so they have to come over here.
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Quoting 49. CarolinaHurricanes87:


You do understand the difference between "global warming" and "climate change", right? If not.... maybe you should do a little learning before you make such ridiculous comments, like the one above.


Absolutely. Global Warming is the term used when we are having abnormally warm weather. Climate change is what is used when we are having cool weather.
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Quoting 99. FishingDaddy:
Wake up in here, please.

[snipped]

Too many half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" to debunk point by point. But I assure you as an actual degreed scientist, that "film" is nonsense. Grade A balogney.

Use critical thinking skills, get a better source.
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147. jpsb
Quoting 127. NCstu:
Here's the wikipedia gospel that I'm preaching

"Another theory proposed by Ewing and Donn in 1956[39] "



Milankovitch theory describes the collective effects of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate, named after Serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milutin Milanković, who worked on it during his internment as a First World War POW. Milanković mathematically theorized that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth through orbital forcing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

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I don't know but I am getting tried of it


here you go keep...lord knows i can find it often enough...LOL

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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1569
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Climate175 is right..its a weather blog..I digress..my apologies to everyone..

did you know its 29 degrees here now..will we make it over freezing?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14627
freezing rain here again in beaufort nc www extended till 5
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Quoting 115. Patrap:
OK, here is the deal "lil" ones.

If you wanna come and beat up the Entry writer and the Science, at least bring sumthing other than yer opines to er, "show us da light".


Zulu has past Gallier Hall and Rex is rolling.




Pat..were there any energy efficient vehicles used in the mardi gras for those floats? asking a question only so please go easy on me....
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Quoting 127. NCstu:
Here's the wikipedia gospel that I'm preaching

"Another theory proposed by Ewing and Donn in 1956[39] hypothesized that an ice-free Arctic Ocean leads to increased snowfall at high latitudes. When low-temperature ice covers the Arctic Ocean there is little evaporation or sublimation and the polar regions are quite dry in terms of precipitation, comparable to the amount found in mid-latitude deserts. This low precipitation allows high-latitude snowfalls to melt during the summer. An ice-free Arctic Ocean absorbs solar radiation during the long summer days, and evaporates more water into the Arctic atmosphere. With higher precipitation, portions of this snow may not melt during the summer and so glacial ice can form at lower altitudes and more southerly latitudes, reducing the temperatures over land by increased albedo as noted above."

"May not melt in summer" is the key phrase. Currently, the snow is melting in the summer. That may not be the case down the road, of course.
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Is this a weather blog or Congress, it's getting confusing???
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136. NCstu
Quoting 129. ricderr:
A 2 feet rise is sea levels is not going to make the Earth unsuitable for life.


you're right...but the ramifications to homes and businesses will be catastrophic....just a small example would be the florida keys....every house would have to be retrofitted to withstand storm surge from even a minor hurricane...the cost would be staggering
Something just occurred to me. So part of the reason water is rising along the east coast is because of easterly winds, but if the super el nino comes along, would it push the water back down?
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Quoting 126. jonger1150:



Assuming that that graph is on the up-and-up (which is a big concession, given the website it comes from), it looks like we had one anomalous warm decade in the US -the 1930s, not the 1930s and 1940s, as you claimed.

But that graph isn't comparable to Dr. Masters' graph since Dr. Masters' graph shows the ratio between record highs and lows. Yours doesn't, so there's no real way to compare the two graphs, or to claim that Dr. Masters' graph leaves out anything important.

IOW, that graph doesn't support your claim even if it is right. It also makes a logically unsupported claim of its own, but that's not important in this discussion.
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Quoting 129. ricderr:
A 2 feet rise is sea levels is not going to make the Earth unsuitable for life.


you're right...but the ramifications to homes and businesses will be catastrophic....just a small example would be the florida keys....every house would have to be retrofitted to withstand storm surge from even a minor hurricane...the cost would be staggering


A 2 foot rise, and most of the Keys will be underwater. Will have to be another Stiltsville :D
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Quoting 79. ricderr:
I agree with your post but to some length..you dont think there isnt money to push global warming..my goodness the President is proposing 1 billion dollars towards Global Warming relief..where will that money come from to fund it?

government has funded relief from weather damage for decades


higher taxes, special alternative energy interests groups and more taxes..still didnt answer where the money will come from but I thought I would help you with it..

we have kids dying in Chicago from gang war violence, record number of homeless people, mental facilities closing down due to lack of funding..families living below poverty, record unemployment but lets take away relief from those problems to come up with a fund to combat an effort that isnt accepted by all..

ask the US public what is important right now..


"When we asked about climate change again in a survey conducted in Feb. 2013, only 34% of the public viewed new climate change policies as something that was essential for the White House and Congress to tackle last year."

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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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