The future of intense winter storms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT en Marzo 03, 2010

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When Winter Storm Xynthia powered ashore over Europe last weekend, it brought hurricane-force wind gusts, flooding rains, and a 1-meter storm surge topped by 8-meter high battering waves that overwhelmed sea walls in France, killing scores of people. Today, AIR Worldwide estimated the insured damage from the storm at $1.5 - $3 billion. Intense extratropical cyclones like Xynthia, with central pressures below 970 mb, make up less than 20% of all wintertime cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere, but cause the vast majority of the devastation and loss of life. The ten deadliest winter storms to hit Europe over the past 60 years all had minimum pressures lower than 970 mb. The situation is similar for North America, though the storms generally do not get as intense as their European counterparts (the four major Nor'easters this winter have had central pressures of 968, 969, 978, and 972 mb). It is important, then, to ask if these strongest of the strong storms are changing in frequency, and whether a future warmer world will have more or less of these storms.


Figure 1. Winter Storm Xynthia, as captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. Image was acquired in two separate overpasses on February 27, 2010. MODIS captured the eastern half of the image around 10:50 UTC, and the western half about 12:30 UTC. Forming a giant comma shape, clouds stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to northern Italy. Xynthia peaked in intensity at 18 UTC February 27, with a central pressure of 966 mb. Image credit: NASA.

Have intense Northern Hemisphere winter storms increased in number?
Most of the material for this post comes from three sources: the 2007 IPCC report, a 2009 review titled, Extra-tropical cyclones in the present and future climate: a review, and Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate, a 2009 report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). An increasing number of intense winter storms in some regions of the Northern Hemisphere over the last few decades of the 20th century was a common theme of many of the studies reviewed. However, the studies used different measures as to what constitutes an "intense" storm, and have some disagreement on which areas of the globe are seeing more intense storms. A 1996 study by Canadian researcher Steven Lambert (Figure 3) found a marked increase in intense wintertime cyclones (central pressure less than 970 mb) in the latter part of the 20th century. Most of this increase occurred in the Pacific Ocean. Other studies (Geng and Sugi, 2001, and Paciorek et al., 2002) found an increase in intense winter storms over both the North Atlantic and North Pacific in the latter part of the 20th century. Benestad and Chen(2006) found an increase in the number of intense storms over the Nordic countries over the period 1955-1994, but no trend in the western parts of the North Atlantic. Gulev et al. (2001) found a small increase in the number of intense North Pacific storms (core pressure below 980 mb), a large increase in the Arctic, but a small decrease in the Atlantic. McCabe et al. 2001 found an increase at both mid-latitudes and high latitudes, particularly in the Arctic. Hirsch et al. (2001) found that the number of intense Nor'easters along the U.S. East Coast (storms with winds > 52 mph) stayed roughly constant at three storms per year over the period 1951 - 1997. Over the period 1900 to 1990, the number of strong cyclones (less than 992 mb) in November and December more than doubled over the Great Lakes of North America (Angel and Isard, 1998). With regards to Europe, Lionello et al. conclude, "the bulk of evidence from recent studies mostly supports, or at least does not contradict, the finding of an attenuation of cyclones over the Mediterranean and an intensification over Northern Europe during the second part of the twentieth century".


Figure 2. Trends in strong extratropical cyclones with central pressures less than 980 mb, for the period 1989 - 2009, as estimated using thirteen different methods, M02 - M22, defined in Neu et al., 2012. The error-bars represent the 95% confidence range of the trend estimate. A trend is significant at 5% level if the error-bar does not include zero. Four of the thirteen methods showed a slightly significant downward trend in both summertime and wintertime Northern Hemisphere strong extratropical cyclones during the period. None of the methods showed a statistically significant trend in Southern Hemisphere strong extratropical cyclones during either summer or winter. Image credit: U. Neu, M.G. Akperov, N. Bellenbaum, R. Benestad, R. Blender, R. Caballero, A. Cocozza, H.F. Dacre, Y. Feng, K. Fraedrich, J. Grieger, S. Gulev, J. Hanley, T. Hewson, M. Inatsu, K. Keay, S.F. Kew, I. Kindem, G.C. Leckebusch, M.L.R. Liberato, P. Lionello, I.I. Mokhov, J.G. Pinto, C.C. Raible, M. Reale, I. Rudeva, M. Schuster, I. Simmonds, M. Sinclair, M. Sprenger, N.D. Tilinina, I.F. Trigo, S. Ulbrich, U. Ulbrich, X.L. Wang, and H. Wernli, "IMILAST – a community effort to intercompare extratropical cyclone detection and tracking algorithms: assessing method-related uncertainties", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, pp. 120919072158001, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00154.1

In summary, the best science we have shows that there has not been a statistically significant increase in the number of intense wintertime extratropical storms globally in the past two decades, but there has been and increase in the North Pacific and Arctic. Increased wave heights have been observed along the coasts of Oregon and Washington during this period, adding confidence to the finding of increased intense storm activity. The evidence for an observed increase in intense wintertime cyclones in the North Atlantic is uncertain. In particular, intense Nor'easters affecting the Northeast U.S. showed no increase in number over the latter part of the 20th century. This analysis is supported by the fact that wintertime wave heights recorded since the mid-1970s by the three buoys along the central U.S. Atlantic coast have shown little change (Komar and Allan, 2007a,b, 2008). However, even though Nor'easters have not been getting stronger, they have been dropping more precipitation, in the form of both rain and snow. Wintertime top 5% heavy precipitation events (both rain and snow) have increased over the Northeast U.S. in recent decades (Groisman et al., 2004), so Nor'easters have been more of a threat to cause flooding problems and heavy snow events. In all portions of the globe, tracks of extratropical storms have shifted poleward in recent decades, in accordance with global warming theory. Note that the historical data base for strong winter storms is in better shape than the data base we are using to try to detect long-term changes in hurricanes. The Ulbrich et al. (2009) review article states:

The IPCC AR4 (cf. Trenberth et al. 2007, p. 312) states that the detection of long-term changes in cyclone measures is hampered by incomplete and changing observing systems. Recent studies found, however, a general reliability of results for cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. There are no sudden shifts in intensities that would indicate inhomogeneities, and also a comparison with cyclone activity estimated from regional surface and radiosonde data (Wang et al. 2006b; Harnik and Chang 2003) confirmed the general reliability of the data".

However, the data is not as good in the Southern Hemisphere, so the finding that intense winter storms are also increasing in that hemisphere must be viewed with caution.


Figure 3. Number of intense winter cyclones with central pressure less than 970 mb in the Northern Hemisphere, North Pacific, and North Atlantic between 1899 - 1991. Image credit: Lambert, S.J., 1996: Intense extratropical Northern Hemisphere winter cyclone events: 1899-1991. J. Geophys. Res., 101D, 2131921325.

Intense winter storms may increase in number
General Circulation Models (GCMs) like the ones used in the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report do a very good job simulating how winter storms behave in the current climate, and we can run simulations of the atmosphere with extra greenhouse gases to see how winter storms will behave in the future. The results are very interesting. Global warming is expected to warm the poles more than the equatorial regions. This reduces the difference in temperature between the pole and Equator. Since winter storms form in response to the atmosphere's need to transport heat from the Equator to the poles, this reduced temperature difference reduces the need for winter storms, and thus the models predict fewer storms will form. However, since a warmer world increases the amount of evaporation from the surface and puts more moisture in the air, these future storms drop more precipitation. During the process of creating that precipitation, the water vapor in the storm must condense into liquid or frozen water, liberating "latent heat"--the extra heat that was originally added to the water vapor to evaporate it in the first place. This latent heat intensifies the winter storm, lowering the central pressure and making the winds increase. So, the modeling studies predict a future with fewer total winter storms, but a greater number of intense storms. These intense storms will have more lift, and will thus tend to drop more precipitation--including snow, when we get areas of strong lift in the -15°C preferred snowflake formation region. For completeness' sake, some of the studies that show more intense winter cyclones in a warmer world are Lambert (1995), Boer et al. (1992), Dai et al. (2001), Geng and Sugi (2003), Fyfe (2003), Lambert (2004), Leckebusch and Ulbrich (2004), Lambert and Fyfe (2006), Pinto et al. (2007), and Lionello et al. (2008). A review article be Ulbrich et al. provides a nice summary. However, two studies--Pinto et al. (2007) and Bengtsson et al. 2006--suggest that the more intense winter cyclones will affect only certain preferred regions, namely northwestern Europe and Alaska's Aleutian Islands. At least three other studies also find that northwestern Europe--including the British Isles, the Netherlands, northern France, northern Germany, Denmark and Norway--can expect a significant increase in intense wintertime cyclones in a future warmer world (Lionello et al., 2008; Leckebusch and Ulbrich 2004; and Leckebusch et al., 2006). None of these studies showed a significant increase in the number of intense Nor'easters affecting the Northeast U.S. One interesting new study (O'Gorman, 2010) found that wintertime extratropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere would increase in intensity by 2100 primarily because the surface would heat up more than the upper air, making the atmosphere more unstable. In summer, the models predict a decrease in extratropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, these storms were predicted in increase in intensity year-round. The models studied were the 2007 IPCC suite of climate models.

What the IPCC models say
The Lambert and Fyfe (2006) study, titled, "Changes in winter cyclone frequencies and strengths simulated in enhanced greenhouse warming experiments: results from the models participating in the IPCC diagnostic exercise", looked at thirteen models used to formulate the 2007 IPCC Climate Change report. Of these models, eleven simulated an increase in the number and intensity of the most intense cyclones (<970 mb pressure) in the climate expected by 2100. Two of the models did not, so it is fair to say that there is some uncertainty in these results. Nevertheless, the model results are compelling enough that the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a scientific advisory board created by the President and Congress, concluded this in their 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report: "Cold-season storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are likely to become stronger and more frequent". The USGRP concluded that an increase of between four and twelve intense wintertime extratropical storms per year could be expected over the Northern Hemisphere by 2100, depending upon the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air (Figure 3). If we assume that the current climate is producing the same number of intense winter storms as it did over the period 1961-2000--about 53--this represents an increase of between 8% and 23% in intense wintertime extratropical storms.


Figure 4. The projected change in intense wintertime extratropical storms with central pressures < 970 mb for the Northern Hemisphere under various emission scenarios. Storms counted occur poleward of 30°N during the 120-day season beginning November 15. A future with relatively low emissions of greenhouse gases (B1 scenario, blue line) is expected to result in an additional four intense extratropical storms per year, while up to twelve additional intense storms per year can be expected in a future with high emissions (red and black lines). Humanity is currently on a high emissions track. Figure was adapted from Lambert and Fyfe (2006), and was taken from Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate, a 2009 report from the the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The USGRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which called for "a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change".

Conclusion
The best science we have suggests that there has not been an increase in intense wintertime extratropical cyclones globally in recent decades, though there has been an increase in the Pacific and Arctic. Research by Barredo (2010) suggests that Europe has not yet seen a significant increase in damaging winter storms, since normalized damages from severe winter storms did not increase between 1970 - 2008. The 2013 IPCC report sums it up this way:

"Confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low. There is also low confidence for a clear trend in storminess proxies over the last century due to inconsistencies between studies or lack of long-term data in some parts of the world (particularly in the SH). Likewise, confidence in trends in extreme winds is low, due to quality and consistency issues with analyzed data."

The report says that extratropical cyclones are expected to shift poleward in a warming climate, but does not have any conclusions on how the most intense storms may change, other than to dump more precipitation.

References
Auer, A.H. Jr. and J.M. White, 1982: The Combined Role of Kinematics, Thermodynamics, and Cloud Physics Associated with Heavy Snowfall Episodes. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 60, pp 500-507.

Barredo, J.I., 2010, "No upward trend in normalised windstorm losses in Europe: 1970–2008," Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 97-104, 2010, doi:10.5194/nhess-10-97-2010

Bengtsson L, Hodges KI, Roeckner E (2006): Storm tracks and climate change. J Clim 19:35183543

Boer GJ, McFarlane NA, Lazare M (1992) Greenhouse gas-induced climate change simulated with the CCC second generation general circulation model. J Climate 5:10451077

Dai, A., et al., 2001b: Climates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries simulated by the NCAR Climate System Model. J. Clim., 14, 485519.

Feser et al., 2014, Storminess over the North Atlantic and Northwestern Europe - A Review, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1002/qj.2364.

Fyfe, J.C., 2003: Extratropical southern hemisphere cyclones: Harbingers of climate change? J. Clim., 16, 28022805.

Geng, Q.Z., and M. Sugi, 2003: Possible change of extratropical cyclone activity due to enhanced greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols - Study with a high-resolution AGCM. J. Clim., 16, 22622274.

Groisman, P.Y., R.W. Knight, T.R. Karl, D.R. Easterling, B. Sun, and J.H. Lawrimore, 2004, "Contemporary Changes of the Hydrological Cycle over the Contiguous United States: Trends Derived from In Situ Observations," J. Hydrometeor., 5, 64-85.

Komar, P.D. and J.C. Allan, 2007a: Higher waves along U.S. east coast linked to hurricanes. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 88, 301.

Komar, P.D. and J.C. Allan, 2007b: A note on the depiction and analysis of wave-height histograms. Shore & Beach, 75(4), 1- 5.

Komar, P.D. and J.C. Allan, 2008: Increasing hurricane-generated wave heights along the U.S. East coast and their climate controls. Journal of Coastal Research, 24(2), 479-488.

Lambert, S.J., 1995: The effect of enhanced greenhouse warming on winter cyclone frequencies and strengths, J Climate 8:1447-1452

Lambert, S.J., 1996: Intense extratropical Northern Hemisphere winter cyclone events: 1899-1991. J. Geophys. Res., 101D, 2131921325.

Lambert S.J., 2004: Changes in winter cyclone frequencies and strengths in transient enhanced greenhouse warming simulations using two coupled climate models. Atmos Ocean 42:173 181

Lambert, S.J., and J.C. Fyfe, 2006: Changes in winter cyclone frequencies and strengths simulated in enhanced greenhouse warming experiments: results from the models participating in the IPCC diagnostic exercise. Clim. Dyn., 26, 713728.

Leckebusch, G.C., and U. Ulbrich, 2004: On the relationship between cyclones and extreme windstorm events over Europe under climate change. Global Planet. Change, 44, 181193.

Lionello P, Boldrin U, Giorgi F (2008) Future changes in cyclone climatology over Europe as inferred from a regional climate simulation. Clim Dyn 30:657671

Neu, U., M.G. Akperov, N. Bellenbaum, R. Benestad, R. Blender, R. Caballero, A. Cocozza, H.F. Dacre, Y. Feng, K. Fraedrich, J. Grieger, S. Gulev, J. Hanley, T. Hewson, M. Inatsu, K. Keay, S.F. Kew, I. Kindem, G.C. Leckebusch, M.L.R. Liberato, P. Lionello, I.I. Mokhov, J.G. Pinto, C.C. Raible, M. Reale, I. Rudeva, M. Schuster, I. Simmonds, M. Sinclair, M. Sprenger, N.D. Tilinina, I.F. Trigo, S. Ulbrich, U. Ulbrich, X.L. Wang, and H. Wernli, "IMILAST – a community effort to intercompare extratropical cyclone detection and tracking algorithms: assessing method-related uncertainties", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, pp. 120919072158001, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00154.1

O'Gorman, P.A., 2010, Understanding the varied response of the extratropical storm tracks to climate change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011547107

Pinto JG, Ulbrich U, Leckebusch GC, Spangehl T, Reyers M, Zacharias S (2007c) Changes in storm track and cyclone activity in three SRES ensemble experiments with the ECHAM5/MPIOM1 GCM. Clim Dyn 29:195210

Ulbrich, U., Leckebusch, G.C. and J.G. Pinto (2009), Extra-tropical cyclones in the present and future climate: a review, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Volume 96, Numbers 1-2 / April, 2009 DOI 10.1007/s00704-008-0083-8

Related posts
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High seas an waves from storm Synthia, with storm-surge taking over the entire beach, and "attacking" bars usually 30meters away from the sea.
Xynthia - High seas in Carcavelos (Portugal)

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"I wouldnt...I turn on a dime, and next thing i say, You will be hating my guts."

But, for this one moment in time, we are in harmony - no?

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Quoting misanthrope:
Obviously Jeff Masters can say it a lot better than me, so this is his take on satellite based temperature measurements from a recent blog:

"Error sources in global atmospheric temperatures measured by satellite
Satellite-measured temperatures of Earth's atmosphere, in my judgment, are inferior to using the surface based system of ground stations and ocean buoys for measuring global temperature changes. I have two reasons for saying this:

1) The satellite temperatures show large global increases when there is an El Ni%uFFFDo event. While the surface also experiences an upward spike in temperatures during an El Ni%uFFFDo, it is much less pronounced than the atmospheric heating that occurs. Since we live at the surface, those temperatures are more relevant.

2) According to a description of the MSU data available on the Remote Sensing Systems web site where the data is archived,


"The instruments in the MSU series were intended for day to day operational use in weather forecasting and thus are not calibrated to the precision needed for climate studies. A climate quality dataset can be extracted from their measurements only by careful inter-calibration of the eleven distinct MSU instruments."

In other words, it's very tricky to make an accurate measurement of Earth's temperature going back to 1979, when satellite measurements began. You have to merge data from eleven separate satellites, whose instruments were never designed to make the kind of precise long-term climate measurements that are being asked of them. While surface stations also have error sources, I believe that the uncertainty in the satellite-based global temperature measurements are higher.


Yeah well guess what the surface data is far more prone to error from urban island heat effects and poorly placed thermometers. Our network of surface obs is also far from complete with many holes worldwide.

Satellites may have not been designed for climate research, but I believe they give us the most objective data set we have. Too many things are being done to the surface data. Also taking readings of the entire troposphere and stratosphere give a far more complete picture of global climate changes than just looking at the surface, which is a terrible way to monitor global temperature changes. We don't have near enough radiosondes to do that on a global scale from surface stations.

And yeah....if we have 11 satellites then woohoo!! Averaging them up should be awesome. We don't have 11 different surface sets to compare. Anyway I don't think any of us know enough to debate the fine details of the science involved in measuring temperature by satellite, so it's just opinion right now. There are, however, facts that show major problems with surface stations.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Quoting misanthrope:

I agree!


I wouldnt...I turn on a dime, and next thing i say, You will be hating my guts.
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting RitaEvac:
temperature of surface? that's what a damn ground thermometer is for.

I agree!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Obviously Jeff Masters can say it a lot better than me, so this is his take on satellite based temperature measurements from a recent blog:

"Error sources in global atmospheric temperatures measured by satellite
Satellite-measured temperatures of Earth's atmosphere, in my judgment, are inferior to using the surface based system of ground stations and ocean buoys for measuring global temperature changes. I have two reasons for saying this:

1) The satellite temperatures show large global increases when there is an El Niño event. While the surface also experiences an upward spike in temperatures during an El Niño, it is much less pronounced than the atmospheric heating that occurs. Since we live at the surface, those temperatures are more relevant.

2) According to a description of the MSU data available on the Remote Sensing Systems web site where the data is archived,


"The instruments in the MSU series were intended for day to day operational use in weather forecasting and thus are not calibrated to the precision needed for climate studies. A climate quality dataset can be extracted from their measurements only by careful inter-calibration of the eleven distinct MSU instruments."

In other words, it's very tricky to make an accurate measurement of Earth's temperature going back to 1979, when satellite measurements began. You have to merge data from eleven separate satellites, whose instruments were never designed to make the kind of precise long-term climate measurements that are being asked of them. While surface stations also have error sources, I believe that the uncertainty in the satellite-based global temperature measurements are higher.
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temperature of surface? that's what a damn ground thermometer is for.
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Satellites are best used to look at clouds, movement of clouds, cloud temps, rain rates from clouds, and thats about it
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting Levi32:


You'll have to get more specific than that I don't readily see anything about satellite measurements being inaccurate.

Even the Hadley Center surface temperature record has a much slower rate of warming than the GISS set. The Hadley set has us 0.4C warmer than 1979, whereas GISS has us 0.6C warmer. The satellite record has us 0.3C warmer. Big differences from the GISS set.


On the satellites, I again encourage you to read some of the references at the end of the wiki article. I will say that there are discrepancies between RSS and UAH. It's not cut and dried.

The differences between GISS and Hadley, I think, are adequately explained by the link SSIGuy posted earier. Hadley doesn't cover the entire Arctic or Antarctic -which is where some of the most dramatic warming is occurring.

But all measurements, satellite and ground, show warming that is inexplicable without AGW. And, except for the UAH (working from memory, feel free to correct me), that warming is within the MoE of the warming predicted.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's pretty much proven too since the GISS data has us nearly 0.6C warmer globally than 1979, but satellites have us only 0.3C warmer since 1979 (when satellite monitoring began), half of GISS's rate of warming. There is no dispute about which set of data is more accurate. Satellites are clearly better so those are the records that should be looked at and trusted.


I'd like to see the evidence on which you base your claim that the satellite data is more accurate. I'd say it's more comprehensive but, at the same time, it represents an indirect measure of temperature. The most accurate way to measure the temperature at any point on the surface is to use a thermometer.
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Two dead when wave hits cruise ship

* From correspondents in Barcelona
* From: AFP
* March 04, 2010 9:34AM

A HUGE wave has slammed into a cruise ship carrying almost 2000 people in the Mediterranean, leaving two people dead and six injured.

The freak wave "smashed windows in the lounge area" of the Maltese-flagged Greek Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty, a spokesman for Spain's maritime rescue service said.

He said the accident occurred on Wednesday evening off the coast of Spain's northeastern Catalonia region as the vessel was en route for the Italian port of Genoa.

After the accident the captain rerouted the ship to the Spanish port of Barcelona, where it arrived late on Wednesday to evacuate the dead and injured.

Police in Greece said one of passengers killed was German and the other was Italian, but gave no further details.

They said there were 1350 passengers and 580 crew on the ship, including the Greek captain.

Spanish news reports said five people slightly injured while a 62-year-old woman was in serious condition with her both her legs broken.

A spokeswoman for the Barcelona port authority said the vessel had set off from Cartagena in southeast Spain earlier on Wednesday. She said it would continue to Genoa after evacuating the victims in Barcelona.

The 200-metre-long, 41,000-tonne
Louis Majesty has 732 cabins.
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What the eyes see and ears hear, the mind believes.... it's called misconception folks, your being brainwashed
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
But in 1960 they didnt know what they know now, so throw that 1960 map out the window
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
1960 Chile Quake had much worse Tsunami...


Maximum tsunami wave amplitude model from Feb. 27, 2010 earthquake (Courtesy: NOAA)




Maximum tsunami wave amplitude model from 1960 Chilean earthquake (Courtesy: NOAA)

Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting Birthmark:


I'm not so sure satellite measurements are better. Yeah, it's wikipedia, but follow the references.


You'll have to get more specific than that I don't readily see anything about satellite measurements being more inaccurate than surface obs.

Even the Hadley Center surface temperature record has a much slower rate of warming than the GISS set. The Hadley set has us 0.4C warmer since 1979, whereas GISS has us 0.6C warmer. The satellite record has us 0.3C warmer. Big differences from the GISS set.

Hadley Graph
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Quoting Levi32:


I'm glad they're very open about it but I prefer satellites now that we have them. Surface stations are too prone to error, like the map that skeptical showed the other day with 2C biases in most CONUS stations. Satellite records are also global and cover the entire grid, which we can't do with surface obs.


I'm not so sure satellite measurements are better. Yeah, it's wikipedia, but follow the references.
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Rising Temperatures in the Midst of Heavy Snow?

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 12:28:28 AM | NASA's Earth Science News Team |






The last few months have been a bit odd. Too much snow in the mid-Atlantic. Too little for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. And a dusting nearly everywhere else. Meanwhile, a blizzard of confusing and often conflicting commentary has left many people asking: Is the climate really warming? Warming faster than ever? Or perhaps just weirding out?

Since NASA scientists have been tracking global temperatures and climate change for decades, we checked in with researchers from across the agency to get their take on the state of Earth's climate (which, it's worth noting, isn't the same thing as Earth's weather). The result is a collection of feature stories, videos, and web interactives that describe what we've found on NASA's Global Climate Change Site. Here's a sampling:

• Why the Arctic Oscillation has made this winter one to remember (Article)

• How the ocean's natural rhythms can hide or accentuate global temperatures (Article)

• Why the last decade has been the warmest on record (Article)

• On the record about the temperature record (Q&A)

• Piecing together the temperature puzzle (Video)

• 2009 Temperature update (Video)

• Sorting out the squiqqles in the global temperature record (Interactive graphic)

• Watching the world’s changing temperature (Data Visualization)

• Snaps from space: The impact of a warming world (Image gallery)

--Adam Voiland, NASA's Earth Science News Team
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127633
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Well globally January and February 2010 were the warmest first two months of the year--according to satellite measurements. So surface observations are not applicable in that measurement. I wonder how long it will be before the global heating deniers attack the satellite measurements.


I'm talking average here....not just taking what the temperature was in January 1979 and comparing it to January 2010. You can't measure from a valley to a spike and call that the difference between the two years. The average trend is very different between the two data sets. I trust the satellite data as it has very few issues, although the sites using exclusively NOAA-15 data are warm-biased due to that particular satellite's diurnal drift in orbit. The data from the stable AQUA satellite which has stabilizing rockets has been merged in since 2002 which has fixed that problem in the main data set that we usually show in here.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Correcting Ocean Cooling
by Rebecca Lindsey November 5, 2008





On a Thursday evening in February 2007, Josh Willis stood in front of his laptop, his wife cajoling him to get ready to go out to dinner. He looked with a sinking feeling at the map he had just made. Willis, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, specializes in making estimates of how much heat the ocean stores from year to year.



The oceans are absorbing more than 80 percent of the heat from global warming, he says. If you arent measuring heat content in the upper ocean, you arent measuring global warming.

In 2004, Willis published a time series of ocean heat content showing that the temperature of the upper layers of ocean increased between 1993-2003. In 2006, he co-piloted a follow-up study led by John Lyman at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle that updated the time series for 2003-2005. Surprisingly, the ocean seemed to have cooled.

Not surprisingly, says Willis wryly, that paper got a lot of attention, not all of it the kind a scientist would appreciate. In speaking to reporters and the public, Willis described the results as a speed bump on the way to global warming, evidence that even as the climate warmed due to greenhouse gases, it would still have variation. The message didnt get through to everyone, though. On blogs and radio talk shows, global warming deniers cited the results as proof that global warming wasnt real and that climate scientists didnt know what they were doing.



That February evening, Willis says, he was updating maps and graphs with the data that had become available since the 2006 ocean cooling paper was published. He was preparing for a talk he had been invited to give at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The topic was Ocean cooling and its implications for understanding recent sea level trends.

He was looking at a map of global ocean temperatures measured by a flotilla of autonomous, underwater robots that patrol the worlds oceans. The devices Argo floats sink to depths of up to 2,000 meters, drift with the currents, and then bob up to the surface, taking the temperature of the water as they ascend. When they reach the surface, they transmit observations to a satellite. According to the float data on his computer screen, almost the entire Atlantic Ocean had gone cold. Unless you believe The Day After Tomorrow, Willis jokes, impossibly cold.


Oh, no, he remembers saying.

What's wrong? his wife asked.

I think ocean cooling isnt real.
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127633
Deep Thoughts on the Ocean and a Scientist's Responsibility


Posted on Mar 02, 2010 07:23:10 AM | Michael Carlowicz

Oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was recently honored by the White House as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Willis studies the ocean — particularly the height of the sea surface — with satellite data, though he also works with colleagues who put instruments below the surface of the water. By blending such measurements, he has already made a scientific mark in the study of sea level rise. We caught up with Josh — shown below with White House science advisor John Holdren and NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver — to discuss his inspiration, the importance of the ocean, and the necessity of communicating science.
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127633
Quoting Skepticall:


Got it up on the global warming blog right after he posted that!


It's pretty much proven too since the GISS data has us nearly 0.6C warmer globally than 1979, but satellites have us only 0.3C warmer since 1979 (when satellite monitoring began), half of GISS's rate of warming. There is no dispute about which set of data is more accurate. Satellites are clearly better so those are the records that should be looked at and trusted.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Some recent articles concerning global heating from GISS: Link Link and on surface temperature record Link


I'm glad they're very open about it but I prefer satellites now that we have them. Surface stations are too prone to error, like the map that skeptical showed the other day with 2C biases in most CONUS stations. Satellite records are also global and cover the entire grid, which we can't do with surface obs.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Could be some record-low temps. for the area the next few days: Miami NWS

HERE ARE THE FORECAST LOWS AND RECORD LOWS FOR FRI MARCH 5TH:

CITIES FORECAST LOWS RECORD LOWS
MIAMI 43 44 - 1930
FORT LAUDERDALE 42 35 - 1930
WEST PALM BEACH 37 40 - 1930
NAPLES 45 36 - 1971
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and enjoyed watching the world end.

Skeptical...move to Calif and you can watch it on a daily basis....
Member Since: Enero 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting StormW:


That's because it's a little different critter.

The CFS I'm referring to is off the accuweather pro site models page. CFS being Climate Forecast Ssystem. It shows the actual mean pressure and position of the A/B High.


Thanks W for the clarification.
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Quoting StormW:


Ya...I would have to go with 15;15S...in fact, when ya look at it, the QBO may just have more of an effect on Cape Verde systems south of 15N, as well as aiding/hindering intensity of those.

As far as the phase...I don't know...looking at the graph, (bottom) I think it's close to starting back up toward positive numbers.



That may be. It doesn't look like it would get back up to 0 before the last couple months of the season though. It appears to be a slightly slower cycle (less steep slope downward) similar to the one between 1999 and 2001, which took 2 years from ridge to valley instead of the usual 12-15 months. This cycle has already been heading down for 17-18 months and hasn't reached the average minimum value yet.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Skeptical..."2012" was worse...lame lame lame....John Cusack just needed a paycheck....
Member Since: Enero 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Thanks for the blog post, Dr. Masters. The intersection of climate change and weather is quite interesting. As you point out, the word "uncertain" plays a key role right now. There's much to learn.

I've seen some statements here by posters that I think need addressing:

1. The IPCC has NO climate models. The climate models used by the IPCC are all run by other entities.

2. The IPCC science appears to be relatively flawless. WG1 is the portion of the IPCC concerned with the science. I am unaware of even one valid complaint about the information in WG1.

3. There were two mistakes in IPCC WG2 -which is unsurprising to me since there is so little peer-reviewed material for the subject matter of WG2 or WG3. One of the mistakes appears to be a simple wrong citation; correct author, wrong paper. The other is, of course, the Himalayan Glacier statement. Neither is cause for grave concern, though they aren't terribly important errors. Care should be taken to eliminate such errors, but throwing out the whole IPCC is rash and uncalled for.

4. The IPCC has been largely conservative in its statements. A quick read of the sea-level rise and glacial melt portions will show this except for the Himalayan glaciers, of course.
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that movie was just awful....
Member Since: Enero 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
"Live without Limits",


Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NOLA Conference 3/10/2010





On behalf of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, it is my pleasure to invite you to Live without Limits, an informational meeting about the Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center, taking place on Wednesday, March 10th at The Ridgeway in Metairie, Louisiana.



The Paralysis Resource Center is a free national resource on paralysis and we hope to spread awareness of our free services with this meeting. We would also like to provide a networking opportunity to all in attendance.

We are inviting a cross section of members from the richly diverse Louisiana community.



Local organizations such as yours have been a valuable source of strength and empowerment for people with disabilities for many years. And, I feel confident that we can do a better job educating people with disabilities and their caregivers about the various resources available to them when organizations like ours work together.



Attached is an invitation to attend our meeting. Please feel free to pass it along to other organizations who you feel would benefit from attending our meeting.



If you do plan on attending please RSVP at your earliest convenience by emailing me at Pmehta@christopherreeve.org.
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127633
Quoting Skyepony:
Levi~ I'll take that bet:)

But without tropoposal collapse how can we have any good cheesy weather disaster movies??

I like your numbers for the up coming season.


Lol, didn't "The Day After Tomorrow" have some sort of tropoposal collapse? It's been 6 years since I've seen it but I remember something about cold air pouring down into the troposphere out of the stratosphere, which caused a massive polar vortex....lol. That movie started out with Global Warming too. I can't remember how it was supposed to lead to an ice age.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Giant waves (26 feet) in the Mediterranean weather related. buoy reading 45 mp/h
cnn-report-link

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Quoting StormW:


Ya...in fact at the peak of 2005, it was in an easterly phase...didn't make sense to me either...until I did some more research. Found out the QBO is basically limited to the equatorial winds. I've seen 2 values given...the QBO lies between 10N;10S...and another one, which went into some detail stated it had an effect from 15N to 15S. Keeping that in mind, look at the 2005 tracking map. Where did most of the storms develop (latitude)?



That's an interesting observation. If the QBO does have a significant effect I think it would have to be the 15S to 15N one, due to the rarity of Atlantic storm developments south of 10N. 1995 did have more tracks south of 15N than 2005, especially in the eastern tropical Atlantic:



The current trend on the graph looks like we're going into a predominantly easterly phase this summer. Let's hope this dampens the effect of all the focused heat over the deep tropics.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
134. Skyepony (Mod)
Levi~ I'll take that bet:)

But without tropoposal collapse how can we have any good cheesy weather disaster movies??

I like your numbers for the up coming season.
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Quoting StormW:


Go here:
Monthly Atmospheric and SST Indicies

Go down to QBO.U30.Index and QBO.U50.Index. The data portion gives tha actual values, and the graphic is a time series graph (which is easier at looking at the phase). Negative values indicate an easterly phase, and positive values indicate a westerly phase. Easterly is less favorable for Atlantic Hurricane development than a Westerly phase. Right now, the phase is predominately easterly.


Thanks Storm. Interesting that the 2005 hurricane season came just before a peak in the easterly phase of the QBO. 1995 came during a westerly phase.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556
Quoting StormW:


Go here:
Monthly Atmospheric and SST Indicies

Go down to QBO.U30.Index and QBO.U50.Index. The data portion gives tha actual values, and the graphic is a time series graph (which is easier at looking at the phase). Negative values indicate an easterly phase, and positive values indicate a westerly phase. Easterly is less favorable for Atlantic Hurricane development than a Westerly phase. Right now, the phase is predominately easterly.
Quoting StormW:


Also, the CFS is prediciting, with the exception of June and July, a relatively weak A/B High. As of today's forecast, the CFS is projecting the following monthly mean SLP readings for the A/B High:

APR: 1023mb
MAY: 1021mb
JUN: 1024mb
JUL: 1026mb
AUG: 1024mb
SEP: 1022mb
OCT: 1016mb
NOV: 1016mb


StormW,I have the link to CFS but I cant find the part about the Azores/Bermuda Highs.

Link
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Quoting tornadofan:


Tsunami's usually only affect coastlines. Looks like the random rogue wave.


I agree.
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Quoting StormW:


Those numbers look good too, Levi. I may up mine by June 1st, but I want to see how SST's are going to hold until then, how much TCHP is available by then, and the phase of the QBO.


Yeah I'm keeping it conservative too until I see what happens in May.

By the way where do you get your data on the current phase of the QBO? It's a fairly new thing to me and the only links I have are papers on the subject.
Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26556

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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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