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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Seems dere is no help fo sum.

; )
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Well, boys and girls, my sweetie and I are going out today and have some fun in the real, as opposed to virtual, world. Ya'll carry on. I'm hoping, by the time I get back, you've got the whole global warming issue worked out. :-)
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Quoting 68. CarolinaHurricanes87:


We have been going on like this .... not just all day, but for years.... and yes, we've gotten no where.

Which brings me to my point.... extinction of republicans is the only solution. Get them out of the way, and progress will occur. The party of "no", the party of scientific fact deniers, have no business creating laws that impact the entire world. I hope Americans do the right thing in upcoming elections.... or we can just say screw it, live how we want, and leave behind a big ball of polluted garbage for future generations. Maybe we can wrap it up, put a bow on it, and a tag saying "to: future, from: republicans"



Maybe we should round up the republicans and put them in some type of camps or something. Try to reeducate them and, if that fails, well....

The idiocy on this forum is nauseating sometimes. Does anybody actually read stuff before they post it anymore. Here's a way to reduce your carbon footprint, turn off your computer and go plant a tree or something.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 553
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
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Happy Mardi Gras.

; P
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Quoting 69. sar2401:

Any D's in South Carolina supporting that bill? Research it and get back to me.


I live in NC, not SC. And not that I know of. This was a partisan bill, crafted in a (currently) extreme right-wing state legislature. Read the article and do the research yourself if you care to find one single democrat who supported it.... the bottom line is that republicans are clearly the ones intentionally holding back any movement towards solving the climate change issue. If you don't believe it, keep your head deep in the sand and start writing "I'm sorry" letters to future generations

Link
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Lol! What a headline. The earth is flat is the only one that was better. Climategate and now cold is warmer.Still waiting for major hurricanes forecasted 10 years for United States
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@ CarolinaHurricanes87

The year 2100 is a long way off, no one knows for sure how much the sea levels will rise.
Also no politicians in power now will be in power year 2100.
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Quoting 66. sar2401:


From your link:
The battery pack in the Tesla Roadster...

This applies only to the roadster, which is now out of production. Only about 2600 people in the world had the $109,000 it took to buy one. The other Tesla vehicles have lead acid batteries. I own Tesla stock and know a little about what they make.

I don't think your reading comprehension holds up under scrutiny.

Here is a link to the Tesla S. It also uses lithium-ion batteries. ("Model S is a rear wheel drive electric vehicle. The liquid-cooled powertrain includes the battery, motor, drive inverter, and gear box.
60 kWh microprocessor controlled, lithium-ion battery")


I'm afraid I'm going to have to have something other than your word as evidence.
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72. jpsb
Quoting 51. NCstu:
Ok, I have a question. What would cause the earth to cool back down? It happens so there must be a cause.
Excellent question and probably a big prise to whoever figures out the answer. Best guess right now is orbital variations and chances in the Earth axis tilt. One thing I like to point out is that the big glaciers seems start in North America. North Canada to be more exact.
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quote
1. BruceVoigt 1:01 AM GMT on February 17, 2014
@Dr. Ricky Rood, hate to burst bubbles but on your next Arctic trip ask the locals if they have noticed the location of spring sunrise and sunset to be abnormal!
"There is no such thing as global warming"!
Mostly longitudinal, erratic back and forth earth tipping has the earth changing its exposure to both sun and moon.
Moon exposure the reason for water movement (ocean level), sun exposure the reason for the melting of Kilimanjaro.
These tipping's for now have alternating cooling and warming happening. Where it is warmer in one area it will be cooler in another. (more water in one area less in another. That's for now, eventually and again the arctic becomes tropical and the ocean resides in Nevada.
It is of GREAT IMPORTANCE to establish a constant monitoring system for Canada's North Magnetic Pole Movements.
PS – No such thing as plate tectonics. Earth moves around and about its meandering north south magnetic axis.

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Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


Tell republicans to quit denying facts, then we can have a discussion. Until R's admit there is a problem, theres no point in coming up with a solution because they won't let the solution happen (see article I posted on page 1 about NC republicans refusing to even look at climate change data.... and making it a law that such scientific studies must be ignored). It's like a college professor attempting to teach a pre school class. Like every other issue, the R's block progress for no logical reason

Any D's in South Carolina supporting that bill? Research it and get back to me.
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Quoting 56. sar2401:

Or reduction in hot air from democrats. We can go on all day like this and get nowhere.


We have been going on like this .... not just all day, but for years.... and yes, we've gotten no where.

Which brings me to my point.... extinction of republicans is the only solution. Get them out of the way, and progress will occur. The party of "no", the party of scientific fact deniers, have no business creating laws that impact the entire world. I hope Americans do the right thing in upcoming elections.... or we can just say screw it, live how we want, and leave behind a big ball of polluted garbage for future generations. Maybe we can wrap it up, put a bow on it, and a tag saying "to: future, from: republicans"

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Quoting 59. Birthmark:

To cool back down probably requires something on the order of a mega-volcanic eruption, a big decrease in solar output, a very large meteoric strike...or a few centuries to millenia, after we stop putting out more CO2 than the Earth can absorb.

Or maybe if the left stopped blowing all that hot air....
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Quoting Birthmark:

You specifically mentioned Tesla. The article you link to discusses local pollution from lead-acid batteries. However, Tesla uses litium-ion batteries, not lead-acid.

I don't think that your criticism of Tesla holds up under scrutiny.


From your link:
The battery pack in the Tesla Roadster...

This applies only to the roadster, which is now out of production. Only about 2600 people in the world had the $109,000 it took to buy one. The other Tesla vehicles have lead acid batteries. I own Tesla stock and know a little about what they make.

I don't think your reading comprehension holds up under scrutiny.
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Quoting 58. yoboi:



I do know what you mean.....in the year 2000 we had this knee slapper......According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.


Well Dr. Viner please come down to Louisiana for Mardi-Gras today....:)

That neatly highlights the reason one should look at what scientist's publish in the peer-reviewed literature rather than what they might say in a public forum. The former is science. The latter is all too often opinion.

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63. jpsb
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.


That is disingenuous, catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is theory that forms the fountain of "climate change".
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Quoting 56. sar2401:

Or reduction in hot air from democrats. We can go on all day like this and get nowhere.


Tell republicans to quit denying facts, then we can have a discussion. Until R's admit there is a problem, theres no point in coming up with a solution because they won't let the solution happen (see article I posted on page 1 about NC republicans refusing to even look at climate change data.... and making it a law that such scientific studies must be ignored). It's like a college professor attempting to teach a pre school class. Like every other issue, the R's block progress for no logical reason
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Quoting 52. ncstorm:


but you are doing the same thing by showing its hot in other places..I can't understand how some can't see that same reasoning..you posted earlier about other places being hot and the US and Asia experiencing cold yet but yet you threw in the "its not global for the cold places"..nor are the other places that are hot either..I cant see your point when you do the same thing that you are accusing others of doing..



When using a specific warm weather event as "evidence".... it fits in line with a clear trend. It makes sense and it fits a long-term pattern we are seeing.

When using a specific cold weather event as "evidence", it's a complete outlier when looking at the big picture of data.

GW/Climate change is not an instant, overnight process, and with the extreme heat will come extreme cold...... does not change the fact that the averages show a clear warming trend and leads a rational person to a pretty clear understanding of whats going on
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Quoting 51. NCstu:
Ok, I have a question. What would cause the earth to cool back down? It happens so there must be a cause.

To cool back down probably requires something on the order of a mega-volcanic eruption, a big decrease in solar output, a very large meteoric strike...or a few centuries to millenia, after we stop putting out more CO2 than the Earth can absorb.
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Quoting 53. CarolinaHurricanes87:


Extinction of republicans
I'm being serious. I saw an article that said if water stops flowing from the equator to the poles, then the earth will cool down. I've read other stuff that says volcanoes and meteors will do it. Other stuff says that volcanoes and meteors have a very brief impact, like in the 1-2 year range. I can't read everything so I wanna know if other people know.
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Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


Extinction of republicans

Or reduction in hot air from democrats. We can go on all day like this and get nowhere.
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Hurricane Season is just three months away.
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Quoting 48. sar2401:

A start. Google=friend. Use it.

You specifically mentioned Tesla. The article you link to discusses local pollution from lead-acid batteries. However, Tesla uses litium-ion batteries, not lead-acid.

I don't think that your criticism of Tesla holds up under scrutiny.
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Quoting 51. NCstu:
Ok, I have a question. What would cause the earth to cool back down? It happens so there must be a cause.


Extinction of republicans
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Ok, I have a question. What would cause the earth to cool back down? It happens so there must be a cause.
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Quoting 17. luvtogolf:
Certain people post on here when we break all-time record highs citing GW. Right now and we're breaking all-time record lows and they completely down play it. Can't have your cake and eat it too when you live in fantasy land.


Some cake to choke down -
The joint study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Meteorology said temperatures across Australia were, on average, almost 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than a century ago.

Seven of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998 while over the past 15 years the frequency of very hot months has increased five-fold, it said.

The scenario was starkly illustrated in 2013, which was Australia's hottest year since records began in 1910 and included a prolonged national heatwave.



Read more at: Link
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Quoting 17. luvtogolf:
Certain people post on here when we break all-time record highs citing GW. Right now and we're breaking all-time record lows and they completely down play it. Can't have your cake and eat it too when you live in fantasy land.


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.
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Quoting Birthmark:

Evidence?

A start. Google=friend. Use it.
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THOUGH TIMING STILL NEEDS TO BE DEFINED...BELIEVE AT SOME POINT
DURING THE MORNING AN ORGANIZED SQUALL LINE WILL MOVE FROM THE EAST
GULF ONTO THE WEST-CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST AND TRACK ACROSS EAST
CENTRAL FLORIDA DURING THE DAY. PARAMETERS ARE AS SUCH THAT
STRONG/SEVERE STORMS WITH POTENTIALLY DAMAGING STRAIGHT LINE
WINDS...LARGE HAIL...TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS WILL ALL BE IN PLAY AS
THIS LINE OF CONVECTION MOVES OVER THE AREA. WHILE THERE MAY BE SOME
LINGERING SHOWERS OVER LAND DURING THE EVENING...SUSPECT MUCH OF THE
HEAVIER ACTIVITY WILL ALREADY BE OFF OF THE EAST COAST AND MOVING
AWAY FROM THE AREA THU NIGHT.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42120
I'm just going to be lurking today.Why not take action in your community instead of worrying and talking down to grown people who don't want to learn on a internet forum?.See ya's.
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Certain people post on here when we break all-time record highs citing GW. Right now and we're breaking all-time record lows and they completely down play it. Can't have your cake and eat it too when you live in fantasy land.

two things.....yes..the other day i did see what you posted...and yes...it did surprise me.....


to a point i agree with you....such as the title of docs blog....record cold IN A WARMING WORLD....at times i feel agw is pushed down my throat and i believe in it...to me...record cold would have sufficed...i'm smart enough to know that we can still have record low numbers..they just won't be as often as before and will lessen over time...but i also think this is in large part due to a combined effort of moneyed people and businesses that have done whatever they can both ethical and unethical to deny agw
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44. jpsb
Quoting 32. washingtonian115:
It hit -1 at Dulles airport this morning.


Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport broke a 141-year-old record low temperature, reaching 4 degrees. The National Weather Service said the low reached early Tuesday broke a 5-degree record set on the day in 1873. It was also a record low for the month of March.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42120
14K still powerless in Dickson County.. Can Not Wait for the melt this afternoon!
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Quoting 35. jpsb:
Lake Michigan 90 Percent Covered In Ice, Equals Highest Level EverBTW, you were correct about the article I posted the other day. The author was not credable, after you objected I researched him hoping to rebut your claim. I was wrong.

We will see if all the snow melts, cannons and other dark place may allow some of it to survive until next winter.

Ladies and gents, that is class. I truly appreciate that post, jpsb.

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Quoting luvtogolf:


"Know what I mean?"

I'd respond to your fantasy but being since you are a denialist it isn't worth the time or energy.


He has a point, regardless of what you might think of his style. In general, if it's cold one place, it almost has to be warm somewhere else. The Earth stays in balance that way. The colder it is North America, there has to be counterbalancing heat somewhere. It happens to be the Artic right now. That is undeniable.
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Quoting 17. luvtogolf:
Certain people post on here when we break all-time record highs citing GW. Right now and we're breaking all-time record lows and they completely down play it. Can't have your cake and eat it too when you live in fantasy land.


If you see a daily high record cited as AGW evidence, challenge it. I sure would.

Thankfully when Dr. Masters points out record high temperatures he does so in the context of trends, you know, like three decades of warmer global temperatures.

Daily records are interesting, cold or hot. Monthly records are slightly more interesting, for example, where I live now, it hasn't been this cold in March (Baltimore) since the late 1800s.

However, in terms of cimate since the dawn of man, the warming since the dawn of the industrial era is mind-blowing when you think about it in context.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 366
Quoting 26. Birthmark:

Oooh, aggressive. While some babble about the cold in the Eastern US, they seem blissfully unaware of the warmth in the Arctic this winter.



So even though it's cold where you are, it's very warm other places -like the Arctic.

Ignore him.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1063
Quoting 29. sar2401:

No. They are much worse than equal if you live in parts of China

Evidence?
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Quoting 26. Birthmark:

Oooh, aggressive. While some babble about the cold in the Eastern US, they seem blissfully unaware of the warmth in the Arctic this winter.



So even though it's cold where you are, it's very warm other places -like the Arctic.


To get it cold in the USA, it must get warm in the Arctic/Alaska...best cold shots ever with record warm in Alaska.
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35. jpsb
Lake Michigan 90 Percent Covered In Ice, Equals Highest Level Ever
Quoting 21. Birthmark:

Not until the ski slopes stay open through summer rather than "until".
BTW, you were correct about the article I posted the other day. The author was not credable, after you objected I researched him hoping to rebut your claim. I was wrong.

We will see if all the snow melts, cannons and other dark place may allow some of it to survive until next winter.
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Quoting 17. luvtogolf:
Certain people post on here when we break all-time record highs citing GW. Right now and we're breaking all-time record lows and they completely down play it. Can't have your cake and eat it too when you live in fantasy land.


they kinda go hand in hand...
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42120

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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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