U.S. deep freeze continues; dangerous air pollution episode in Utah

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:27 PM GMT on January 24, 2013

The January 2013 North American cold wave continued to bring bitter cold to much of Eastern Canada and the Midwest and Northeast U.S. this morning. In the U.S., below-zero temperatures were recorded Thursday morning in twelve states east of the Rockies. The most intense cold was centered near the Minnesota/Ontario border, where Embarrass, Minnesota hit -42°F (-41°C) and Crane Lake, Minnesota bottomed out at -36°F (-38°C). The coldest spot in Canada was in Souix Lookout, Ontario, about 100 miles north of International Falls, where the mercury fell to -40°F (-40°C.) The fun continued on the summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire this morning, where a temperature of -26°F (-32°C) combined with a wind of 71 mph to create a remarkable wind chill of -73°F (-58°C). A digression: back in 1986, when I taught weather forecasting at SUNY Brockport in New York, I worked with a meteorologist who used to work on top of Mt. Washington as a weather observer. He said it was standard practice back in the days he worked there to engage in a ritualistic prank whenever a new weather observer joined the staff. On the first day the new observer was there during one of Mt. Washington's classic hurricane-force wind events, he would be sent out with a safety harness and a can of paint to paint the observation platform. The unwitting observer would inch out into the hurricane winds, struggle to pry off the lid of the can of paint, and quickly discover the impossibility of painting during a hurricane--the powerful winds blowing over the top of the paint can would create a powerful Bernoulli Effect, levitating the paint out of the can and hurling all of the paint far downwind. The sheepish newbie weather observer would report back inside and ask, "you really didn't want me to paint the observing platform, did you?" to the sound of uproarious guffaws.


Figure 1. A cold day in New England: cold air flowing off of the New England coast creates thick stratocumulus clouds over the Atlantic Ocean in this true-color MODIS satellite image taken at 12:35 pm EST January 23, 2013. Image credit: NASA.

Dangerous air pollution in Utah
The most dangerous weather in the U.S. this week is occurring in the valleys of northern Utah, where clear skies, light winds, and a strong temperature inversion have combined to create a dangerous 6-day long air pollution episode. (A temperature inversion occurs when air temperature increases with altitude, acting as a stable lid preventing atmospheric mixing; inversions are common in mountain valleys when high pressure dominates.) It's been unusually cold during most of January in Northeast Utah, with Salt Lake City on track to have its 3rd coldest January on record. The cold weather has caused people to use their wood burning stoves more than usual, resulting in high emissions of smoke. More than 100 Utah doctors delivered a petition to state lawmakers on Wednesday, demanding that authorities immediately lower highway speed limits, curb industrial activity and make mass transit free for the rest of winter. "We're in a public-health emergency for much of the winter," said Brian Moench, an anesthesiologist and president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. He estimated that poor air quality contributes to 1,000 to 2,000 premature deaths each year along Utah's Wasatch Front.


Figure 2. View of a smoggy Salt Lake City taken at 2 pm MST January 23, 2013. Webcam image courtesy of University of Utah/TimeScience.

Winds have remained below 6 mph for six straight days in Northern Utah, allowing fine Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (also called PM 2.5) to build up to unhealthful levels. PM 2.5, also known as particle pollution, is a complex mixture of extremely small dust and soot particles that lodge in the lungs and cause large increases in hospital admissions and excess mortality during severe air pollution episodes like this one. The federal standard for PM 2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter, averaged over 24 hours. In Salt Lake City, fine particle air pollution has been above the federal standard for six consecutive days, with a peak value of 91 micrograms per cubic meter on January 19. In nearby Provo, Utah, the pollution has been much worse, with 24-hour average PM 2.5 levels more than triple the federal standard on Thursday morning, at 131 micrograms per cubic meter. If the PM 2.5 levels go above 150 micrograms per cubic meter, this will be in the "Very Unhealthy" category as defined by EPA. At this pollution level, the entire population is likely to be affected, and health warnings of emergency conditions are issued. Compounding the air pollution woes in Provo are high levels of nitrogen dioxide gas, which peaked at 98 ppb on Tuesday, just below the 100 ppb federal standard. Light winds and a strong temperature inversion will continue today, and freezing rain fell over much of the Salt Lake City area this morning, turning the roads into skating rinks, resulting in dozens of traffic accidents. Fortunately, the forecast for Provo calls for snow and rain this weekend due to a low pressure system, and the rain and winds associated with this low should be able to reduce air pollution levels significantly.


Figure 3. Observed air quality in North Provo, Utah, January 19 - 24, 2013. 24-hour average fine Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (also called PM 2.5) levels (black circles, top image) were in excess of the 35 micrograms per cubic meter U.S. standard (orange line) during the entire period, and peaked at 131 micrograms per cubic meter--more than 3 times the Federal standard--Thursday morning. Levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (yellow dots) peaked at 98 ppb, just below the U.S. standard of 100 ppb, on January 22. Note that during the entire 5-day period pictured here, the wind speed at the surface never rose above 6 mph (lower image, black dots.) Image credit: Utah DEQ.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Patrap:
co2now.org


394.39ppm


Atmospheric CO2 for December 2012



You're going to need a bigger chart soon!
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Quoting JNCali:
Yeah, isn't it great? What does it mean.. I'm thinking of using a version which would go something like, "Your canards are tiresome", or maybe, "Your canards are most certainly tired!" I simply can't wait to unleash it on the unsuspecting commenter :D


Google that term. There are all kinds of interesting stuff out there. You might want to preface your own definition in advance. But those sound good.

edited for spelling mistakes and clarity.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
co2now.org


394.39ppm


Atmospheric CO2 for December 2012

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Quoting PedleyCA:


"Tired Wingtips" maybe he means "Tired Feet"
Yeah, isn't it great? What does it mean.. I'm thinking of using a version which would go something like, "Your canards are tiresome", or maybe, "Your canards are most certainly tired!" I simply can't wait to unleash it on the unsuspecting commenter :D
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Quoting wxmod:


Evidence: NASA's information about ship trails is very meager, almost meaningless, and has not always been accurate (until recently, their website said that ship pollution was not an air pollution problem). More evidence: the jet stream moves north and south along the California coast and there is rain in the forecast in the deep desert and people who blog here for a living keep saying that cloud whitening has a "beneficial" effect. There's nothing beneficial about adding particulates to the atmosphere as that decreases the lapse rate and actually decreases rainfall overall. Once again, the government should be studying this, and there is no evidence suggesting that obvious studies are taking place. The lack of information on this topic is astounding, and has to construed as evidence.


Searching google scholar for "ship tracks" yields over 4,500 results. Click that link for access to NUMEROUS papers on this topic. Just because you couldn't locate the research doesn't mean it's not out there...
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Quoting JNCali:
"Tired Canards"

Notice is hereby made that I am co-opting the phrase "Tired Canards" from fellow WU blogger schistkicker. Though the specific definition, connotation, or correct usage is fairly vague to me at this point I will be incorporating said phrase into forthcoming blog comments where applicable or otherwise deemed necessary. You have been advised.


"Tired Wingtips" maybe he means "Tired Feet"
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Quoting Slamguitar:
Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this??
Uh...the guy who created the video has a very tenuous grasp on the basics of climate science? And he is putting a bit too much weight on the words of a non-climatologist TV weather guy? And he doesn't understand what "extent" means?

There's little no doubt that the relatively recent lack of ice in the Arctic over the summer and fall is playing havoc with the "normal" weather patterns to which we've all grown accustomed. That video's creator might be really shocked to hear that things are only going to get worse as the Arctic reaches an ice-free state sometime in the next several years. IOW: he ain't seen nothin' yet...
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"Tired Canards"

Notice is hereby made that I am co-opting the phrase "Tired Canards" from fellow WU blogger schistkicker. Though the specific definition, connotation, or correct usage is fairly vague to me at this point I will be incorporating said phrase into forthcoming blog comments where applicable or otherwise deemed necessary. You have been advised.
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Quoting Minnemike:
since you spend more time looking at pictures, and less time studying how weather works, the explanation will remain out of your grasp.

hit up some textbooks, learn about what makes a cloud form and persist, what conditions must exist to make ship trails visible and persistent, etc.
when you learn how to analyze these occurrences from a meteorological understanding, you might just get insight into why NASA isn't explaining Weather 101, and you might start to understand why conspiracy is an absurd end to your means.
the ships are always shipping.. you're observing WEATHER!!!


I never used the word "conspiracy". The satellite photos I bring to people's attention are the result of business, plain and simple. Unfortunately, I would venture to guess that you did not see any mention of ship trails in your school text books. So how do you make up your mind so clearly on this subject. Certainly there should be a few books written specifically on the subject of ship trails. NOAA certainly should have a mountain of info to share with the world about their makeup and effects on the environment. Where's the info and what gives you the right to have your mind made up?
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Quoting Luisport:
Historic North Atlantic Superstorm Possible for Saturday
.

By Fred Pickhardt On January 23, 2013

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast 12Z 25 January 2013 showing possible historic storm low.

A historic extratropical storm is possible over the central North Atlantic on Saturday, the 26th of January based on the latest computer models. A weak 1014mb low will move off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts early Thursday. It will move rapidly east to northeast, deepening to a 977 mb storm low by 12Z Friday, the 25th, southeast of Cape Race with winds up to 50 knots. Thereafter, this low is forecast to “bomb out” as it moves northeast, dropping 57 mb of pressure to 920 mb by 12Z Saturday, the 26th, with hurricane force winds of 85 knots (nearly 100 mph) likely.

The all-time record for North Atlantic extratropical storms was the Braer Storm of January 1993 that reached a minimum pressure of 914 mb (26.99 in Hg) on January 10th. The 1993 storm caused blizzard conditions across much of Scotland and also led to the final breakup of the oil tanker MV Braer, which had been stranded in rocks off the Shetland Islands by a previous storm.
http://gcaptain.com/historic-north-atlantic-super storm-remains-likely/
..yes the models have been hinting at that for several days now, folks heed your local warnings this weekend
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 8 Comments: 69850
Quoting luvtogolf:
My prediction: February 5 Dr Masters blog - US Contiguous states record the 7th warmest January on record.
Oh, I doubt that. While there have been upwards of 1,100 more record high temperatures than record low temperatures this month--including over the last week, where record daytime highs have outnumbered record overnight lows by 196 to 91--the current cold air mass is expected to linger for a while, so it's doubtful this January will end up in the top 10 or even top 20 warmest. Though I'm certain Dr. Masters will report that, too; he always does...
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Quoting Slamguitar:
Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this??



There is ice in the North Pole?

Just nowhere near as much as their should be. It's about two standard deviations out of normal by area, and missing about half the volume for this time of year.

So while he's certainly incorrect in saying there is "no ice," his point is still valid...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
"Vary" Interesting,...

Dung Beetles Navigate Via the Milky Way, An Animal-Kingdom First

Posted by Christine Dell'Amore of National Geographic News in Weird & Wild on January 24, 2013


The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to recent experiments in South Africa.

“This is a complicated navigational feat—it’s quite impressive for an animal that size,” said study co-author Eric Warrant, a biologist at the University of Lund in Sweden.



Moving in a straight line is crucial to dung beetles, which live in a rough-and-tumble world where competition for excrement is fierce. (Play “Dung Beetle Derby” on the National Geographic Kids website.)

Once the beetles sniff out a steaming pile, males painstakingly craft the dung into balls and roll them as far away from the chaotic mound as possible, often toting a female that they have also picked up. The pair bury the dung, which later becomes food for their babies.

But it’s not always that easy. Lurking about the dung pile are lots of dung beetles just waiting to snatch a freshly made ball. (Related: “Dung Beetles’ Favorite Poop Revealed.”)

That’s why ball-bearing beetles have to make a fast beeline away from the pile.

“If they roll back into the dung pile, it’s curtains,” Warrant said. If thieves near the pile steal their ball, the beetle has to start all over again, which is a big investment of energy.

Seeing Stars

Scientists already knew that dung beetles can move in straight lines away from dung piles by detecting a symmetrical pattern of polarized light that appears around the sun. We can’t see this pattern, but insects can thanks to special photoreceptors in their eyes.



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Well, so much for that, all gone.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Weather or not,

I am backo'

: )
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Quoting MrMixon:


If you've seen ship tracks in other basins then why did you say in the last blog that they only happen off the US Pacific Coast? It appears to me that these happen wherever there are ships of sufficient size/number and the atmospheric conditions are right to support the formation and persistence of condensation plumes.

What evidence do you have to support your hypothesis that ship tracks are part of an effort to directly influence precipitation patterns in the Southwest and are not simply the result of normal shipping activity?



Evidence: NASA's information about ship trails is very meager, almost meaningless, and has not always been accurate (until recently, their website said that ship pollution was not an air pollution problem). More evidence: the jet stream moves north and south along the California coast and there is rain in the forecast in the deep desert and people who blog here for a living keep saying that cloud whitening has a "beneficial" effect. There's nothing beneficial about adding particulates to the atmosphere as that decreases the lapse rate and actually decreases rainfall overall. Once again, the government should be studying this, and there is no evidence suggesting that obvious studies are taking place. The lack of information on this topic is astounding, and has to construed as evidence.
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Did anyone think to video the can of paint 'splosion?
That would be awesome to see.
How often do they get new observers up there?

FYI global warming isn't over when it is winter, or night for that matter... see it got colder! NOT.
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Lake Michigan off of St. Joseph, MI:

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Historic North Atlantic Superstorm Possible for Saturday
.

By Fred Pickhardt On January 23, 2013

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast 12Z 25 January 2013 showing possible historic storm low.

A historic extratropical storm is possible over the central North Atlantic on Saturday, the 26th of January based on the latest computer models. A weak 1014mb low will move off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts early Thursday. It will move rapidly east to northeast, deepening to a 977 mb storm low by 12Z Friday, the 25th, southeast of Cape Race with winds up to 50 knots. Thereafter, this low is forecast to “bomb out” as it moves northeast, dropping 57 mb of pressure to 920 mb by 12Z Saturday, the 26th, with hurricane force winds of 85 knots (nearly 100 mph) likely.

The all-time record for North Atlantic extratropical storms was the Braer Storm of January 1993 that reached a minimum pressure of 914 mb (26.99 in Hg) on January 10th. The 1993 storm caused blizzard conditions across much of Scotland and also led to the final breakup of the oil tanker MV Braer, which had been stranded in rocks off the Shetland Islands by a previous storm.
http://gcaptain.com/historic-north-atlantic-super storm-remains-likely/
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Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this??

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



That is just creepy looking....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Hope you're gettin some rain. Here in Santa Barbara we have received over an inch of rain since yesterday Link. I got absolutely drenched biking to class this morning. Rain rates haven't been too high, but it's been slow and steady -- and warm! Gotta love subtropical moisture. Mountains to our north are squeezing out the moisture nicely too.




It doesn't look like much on radar but the radar is based quite a ways a way from Santa Barbara and is looking fairly high up by the time the beam reaches our area. As a result, the radar likely misses the lowest level of the atmosphere where the subtropical moisture coming from the south is squeezed out of the air by the 3000 ft mountains to the north of Santa Barbara.


They are reporting .16 so far this morning to add to the .03 shown for MTD totals.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Quoting wxmod:



As you know, I watch the MODIS images every day.Ship trails in the NE Pacific are common. Other occurrences are rare, though, as you point out, there are a few. I posted about the photos you posted above, when they occurred.


If you've seen ship tracks in other basins then why did you say in the last blog that they only happen off the US Pacific Coast? It appears to me that these happen wherever there are ships of sufficient size/number and the atmospheric conditions are right to support the formation and persistence of condensation plumes.

What evidence do you have to support your hypothesis that ship tracks are part of an effort to directly influence precipitation patterns in the Southwest and are not simply the result of normal shipping activity?

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Quoting MrMixon:


NASA isn't saying ship tracks only happen off the US Coast in the Pacific because NASA doesn't want to be wrong.

Here's some in the Bay of Biscay:



Here's some in the Atlantic:



And here someone has put together a map showing their general occurrence around the globe:



Do they influence weather? Almost certainly. Are they part of some grand conspiracy? Insufficient evidence.

Given the current body of evidence, I think the safe hypothesis is that they are just another example of humans influencing their environment in a completely unintended manner.

That said, I would be curious if anyone has used ship tracking websites like Marinetraffic.com
to match up specific trails with the ship causing them.

If only we could find someone with a passion for the subject to carry out this research... :)
Quoting MrMixon:


NASA isn't saying ship tracks only happen off the US Coast in the Pacific because NASA doesn't want to be wrong.

Here's some in the Bay of Biscay:



Here's some in the Atlantic:



And here someone has put together a map showing their general occurrence around the globe:



Do they influence weather? Almost certainly. Are they part of some grand conspiracy? Insufficient evidence.

Given the current body of evidence, I think the safe hypothesis is that they are just another example of humans influencing their environment in a completely unintended manner.

That said, I would be curious if anyone has used ship tracking websites like Marinetraffic.com
to match up specific trails with the ship causing them.

If only we could find someone with a passion for the subject to carry out this research... :)

Its just that in the ocean there isn't much condensation nuclei due to a lack of anything other than water, so when a ship drifts by the smoke it releases forms clouds
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Quoting PedleyCA:
Hope you're gettin some rain. Here in Santa Barbara we have received over an inch of rain (1.23in so far) since yesterday Link. I got absolutely drenched biking to class this morning. Rain rates haven't been too high, but it's been slow and steady -- and warm! Gotta love subtropical moisture. Mountains to our north are squeezing out the moisture nicely too.




It doesn't look like much on radar but the radar is based quite a ways a way from Santa Barbara and is looking fairly high up by the time the beam reaches our area. As a result, the radar likely misses the lowest level of the atmosphere where the subtropical moisture coming from the south is squeezed out of the air by the 3000 ft mountains to the north of Santa Barbara.
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Quoting WunderGirl12:
All of you guys that get snow are lucky! I don't even get a flurry here in Florida. :-(

WunderGirl12


Quoting washingtonian115:
That's what happens when you live in Florida :).It is a tropical paradise after all which is why many people who can't take the cold vacation in Florida for about a few months and return back up north when it's warm again.


But it does snow in Florida on rare occasions, not nearly as rare for those who live in the Panhandle or far northern peninsular Florida. It is not accurate to say that one does not even get a flurry here in Florida unless one is referring to the present situation only.

Climate has cycles like everything else in nature, regardless of whatever mitigating effects humans may have on it as well. And for those who have been alive and have lived in Florida for more than a couple of decades, snow has been a reality up close and in person and not just flurries either.

In fact, most any meteorologist would tell you that even a heavy snow event is not impossible in most parts of Florida with the possible exceptions of extreme South Florida and the Keys. It is just that the atmospheric conditions which would have to converge perfectly to produce such an event are extremely rare in this climatological age. But extremely rare does not mean impossible, just very unlikely. Then again, it is also very unlikely that any given human being will be struck and killed by lightning but for those who suffer this most unfortunate fate, those odds mean very little.

Just be patient, WunderGirl12 and you will someday see flurries (at least) in Florida!
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Forecast min temps for this Wednesday
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Quoting wxmod:



As you know, I watch the MODIS images every day.Ship trails in the NE Pacific are common. Other occurrences are rare, though, as you point out, there are a few. I posted about the photos you posted above, when they occurred.
since you spend more time looking at pictures, and less time studying how weather works, the explanation will remain out of your grasp.

hit up some textbooks, learn about what makes a cloud form and persist, what conditions must exist to make ship trails visible and persistent, etc.
when you learn how to analyze these occurrences from a meteorological understanding, you might just get insight into why NASA isn't explaining Weather 101, and you might start to understand why conspiracy is an absurd end to your means.
the ships are always shipping.. you're observing WEATHER!!!
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My prediction: February 5 Dr Masters blog - US Contiguous states record the 7th warmest January on record.
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Quoting CaneFreeCR:
Re: ship tracks: Is it possible that these are mostly or all factory fishing ships cruising the fishing grounds harvesting (or over-harvesting) seafood for a hungry planet? They would be cruising the areas in a pattern like that to get the most fishing in the least area, I should think. They'd also probably emit more than ordinary freighters because of the processing of the catch and running the deep freezers aboard. They would also be beyond the 3-mile or 12-mile limit as these appear to be.

Bob


This is right of the coast from one of the busiest Port Complexes in the Country. So, that is why so many trails.
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Prof Lee did a nice blog entry last week about the Chinese smog issue:
Link
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Re: ship tracks: Is it possible that these are mostly or all factory fishing ships cruising the fishing grounds harvesting (or over-harvesting) seafood for a hungry planet? They would be cruising the areas in a pattern like that to get the most fishing in the least area, I should think. They'd also probably emit more than ordinary freighters because of the processing of the catch and running the deep freezers aboard. They would also be beyond the 3-mile or 12-mile limit as these appear to be.

Bob
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Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 12:00 PM EST Thursday 24 January 2013
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 30.5 inches
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 3

Temperature: 7.5°F
Dewpoint: -3.3°F
Humidity: 61 %
Wind: N 14 mph
Wind Chill: -9
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Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Quoting yonzabam:


Immediately after 9/11, air traffic was grounded throughout the US. Not sure for how long, but researchers concluded that the lack of contrails had a significant warming effect, since contrails block sunlight.

So, airplanes may actually be helping to moderate greenhouse gas induced global warming.

Airplane contrails and their effect on temperature


This is from the article:

"Some have suggested that these results were skewed because unusually clear weather prevailed that week in September 2001. In other words, it was natural variation, not the absence of contrails, that led to the large temperature differential immediately following 9-11.

But there's no doubt that whether the net effect is to cool or warm, contrails can quite dramatically change cloud cover."


There is little doubt that all the things we do have an impact on climate. Some of it is just local influences. Some of it is regional influences. Some of it is global influences.


Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5279

Riverside, California (Airport)
Updated: 31 min 45 sec ago
Rain
54
Rain Mist
Humidity: 93%
Dew Point: 52
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 30.17 in (Rising)
Visibility: 4.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Pollen: 5.20 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Overcast 3700 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 817 ft

Temperature just dropped to 56.3 from 56.7
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Quoting WunderGirl12:


Nice...A "chilly" 65*F here in Florida.

WunderGirl12


When I live in Florida, I AM a Floridian, and I REFUSE to leave the house if the temp is under 70.

Period!
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Nice Blog entry Doc. Those pictures of Utah remind me of the air pollution in Burbank, CA and the SoCal area during the 60-70's before all the rules changed and the SCAQMD started monitoring and fining sources. We get an occasional No-Burn day here. Not many but they happen. The air back here in the Inland Empire is much worse than the L.A. Area as the mountains can contain it like ir does in Utah's. It doesn't get like that though.

56.7 hasn't budged a tenth of a degree since the morning reading. Starting to rain nicely now.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 8455
Well some of the local mets are advertising that they wouldn't be to surprised if someone in the D.C metro area gets perhaps 4-5 inches.I'm hoping.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 22859
Thanks Doc
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Quoting MrMixon:


NASA isn't saying ship tracks only happen off the US Coast in the Pacific because NASA doesn't want to be wrong.

Here's some in the Bay of Biscay:



Here's some in the Atlantic:



And here someone has put together a map showing their general occurrence around the globe:



Do they influence weather? Almost certainly. Are they part of some grand conspiracy? Insufficient evidence.

Given the current body of evidence, I think the safe hypothesis is that they are just another example of humans influencing their environment in a completely unintended manner.

That said, I would be curious if anyone has used ship tracking websites like Marinetraffic.com
to match up specific trails with the ship causing them.

If only we could find someone with a passion for the subject to carry out this research... :)


Immediately after 9/11, air traffic was grounded throughout the US. Not sure for how long, but researchers concluded that the lack of contrails had a significant warming effect, since contrails block sunlight.

So, airplanes may actually be helping to moderate greenhouse gas induced global warming.

Airplane contrails and their effect on temperature
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Thanks Jeff...
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Quoting WunderGirl12:
All of you guys that get snow are lucky! I don't even get a flurry here in Florida. :-(

WunderGirl12
That's what happens when you live in Florida :).It is a tropical paradise after all which is why many people who can't take the cold vacation in Florida for about a few months and return back up north when it's warm again.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 22859
Quoting MrMixon:


NASA isn't saying ship tracks only happen off the US Coast in the Pacific because NASA doesn't want to be wrong.

Here's some in the Bay of Biscay:



Here's some in the Atlantic:



And here someone has put together a map showing their general occurrence around the globe:



Do they influence weather? Almost certainly. Are they part of some grand conspiracy? Insufficient evidence.

Given the current body of evidence, I think the safe hypothesis is that they are just another example of humans influencing their environment in a completely unintended manner.

That said, I would be curious if anyone has used ship tracking websites like Marinetraffic.com
to match up specific trails with the ship causing them.

If only we could find someone with a passion for the subject to carry out this research... :)



As you know, I watch the MODIS images every day.Ship trails in the NE Pacific are common. Other occurrences are rare, though, as you point out, there are a few. I posted about the photos you posted above, when they occurred.
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Quoting Thrawst:


An extremely normal 80 degrees and E wind of about 15 mph here in Nassau!


Nice...A "chilly" 65*F here in Florida.

WunderGirl12
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Thanks, Dr. Masters.

Low 40s an extremely windy here.

An extremely normal 80 degrees and E wind of about 15 mph here in Nassau!
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All of you guys that get snow are lucky! I don't even get a flurry here in Florida. :-(

WunderGirl12
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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