NOAA’s map of February temperatures across the United States got New England all wrong. It wasn’t “near normal,” at all, as the people of the region can well attest. Oh, and the data, too: Hartford, CT, as an example was actually 5.1 degrees below normal.
(Update two: Thanks to Tamino for the correction. Boston’s mean was warmer and Hartford’s colder than I had originally. I have updated the numbers. See bottom of post for first update.)
As the map above shows, NOAA seems to have struggled in creating a temperature map that accurately conveys what New Englanders recently experienced: a frigid February. Hartford was 5.5 degrees below normal for the month; Boston was 2.7 degrees below normal. Providence was 3.5 degrees below normal for the month. And yet all three locations fall within the “near normal” portion of NOAA’s map. What’s up with that?
Joe D’Aleo has been at the center of American meteorology throughout his career.
Joe D’Aleo has been at the center of American meteorology throughout his 40-year career. He was a co-founder and first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel. Later he was content manager and “Dr. Dewpoint” for Intellicast.com. He was a college professor of meteorology for six years at Lyndon State College, and has authored many peer-reviewed papers. While there, he inaugurated the Northeast Storm Conference, now in its 39th year. Currently, he is co-chief meteorologist at WeatherBell Analytics.
TATW: If you were speaking to a 10-year-old child curious about meteorology, what would be the most vital idea to leave the child with?
D’ALEO: First of all, it is a wondrous world in which we live, and weather affects our lives every day in every way. There is great majesty in big storms or a beautiful sunrise or sunset. But there are benefits regardless of the career chosen to pay attention to the weather and its effects on you business, and making the right, sometimes life-or-death, decisions about if, where, and when you go. Continue reading
John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Photo courtesy of The Huntsville Times.
John Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Along with Roy Spencer, he developed the first satellite temperature record of the Earth. Skeptical about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, he has been invited to speak before Congress several times. He is the director of the Earth System Science Center at UAH.
TATW: What would be the single piece of information that you would convey to people who have strong opinions about climate and little knowledge? Continue reading
Skim sea ice re-forms on Greenwich Cove, January 21, 2013.
I’m falling in love with the cove.
Part of that is recognizing that, at least at present, I’m better off walking than running. I’m capable of the 2-mile jog past the water that I did last year forty or fifty times. But it meant I didn’t get a chance to drink in the cove’s wonders as I have more recently. Continue reading
The less you know about swans, the more beautiful they are. A pair of the gorgeous birds in a New England waterway similar to my local cove in East Greenwich, RI.
Today at the cove, I learned that there is a more significant population of swans than I had realized before. I counted 50 of them, but some were distant. I will try to confirm the count in the days to come.
It often seems to me that birds have a sense of impending weather. The swans looked keen to take all the food they could, submerging their heads, with their tails skyward, gorging ahead of tomorrow’s snow and bitter cold. Continue reading
AccuWeather Elliot Abrams, whose favorite weather is also his dog’s favorite weather: fluffy snow. Photo courtesy of Penn State University.
Today marks the start of Talking About Weather With and Talking About Climate With, a pair of regular features that will appear once a week or so on talkingabouttheweather.com. The inaugural subject is a giant in American forecasting, AccuWeather’s Elliot Abrams. In addition to his meteorological skills, Abrams is a talented and frequently hilarious writer.
Elliot Abrams earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Meteorology from Penn State University. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Officer Training School. He joined AccuWeather in 1967, and was a co-founder of AccuWeather’s radio service in 1971. He is now a Senior Vice–President and Chief Forecaster for AccuWeather. He is one of only two people to have earned the accredited status of Certified Consulting Meteorologist and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Seal of Approval for both radio and television.
Just as background: Abrams kindly acknowledges that talkingabouttheweather.com is based in Rhode Island.
TATW: What is the polar vortex?
Elliot Abrams: A polar vortex can be found on maps of the wind flow aloft (such as 3-6 miles overhead) almost every day of the year. In summer, it is relatively weak and far north. In winter, it often quite large. Sometimes it will consist of a central core surrounded by lobes that can greatly range in size. When one of these lobes is oriented such that the flow comes from the northwest Canada to the Great Lakes or Northeast states, it can be extremely cold. At other times, a major lobe can extend from northern Canada to the western states. In that case it can be very cold in the West, but the flow exiting from the eastern side of this lobe or extension is often a southwest flow that brings warmth to the Northeast. Continue reading
Posted in Accuweather, Elliot Abrams, polar vortex, talking about the weather, weather news
Tagged accuweather, elliot abrams, polar vortex, snow, talking about the weather, talkingabouttheweather.com, weather news
If one thing became clear during the recent cold snap, it was that people would sort of, kind of like to learn more about meteorology. Even Al Roker seemed interested, with his (fully inaccurate, but whatever) talk of winter hurricanes. In other words, while the weather itself wasn’t new, the urge to put labels on it, in the era of perceived climate change, was suddenly epic.
For those who may have cringed through the labeling mayhem and rather conventional outbreak of winter weather, I hope the polar vortex rap video above will salve the wounds. I know it did mine.
If you need further assistance feeling better, you could always read a book about climate cycles and the chances of global cooling in the next few decades.
(h/t to Phil Adams)
Not all rabbits are so easily controlled.
This is what’s happening: Global sea ice just had its best year, basically a full calendar year with a zero-anomaly, since 2004. Scientists told us that global warming was accelerating at the poles, through the polar amplification process. Part of that, they said (after consulting global circulation models), was that both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice would diminish. When Antarctic sea ice stubbornly refused to shrink as predicted, scientists scrambled for an ex-post-facto explication. This was a little like a magician whose rabbit has jumped off the stage explaining to the audience that this was part of the show.
This is what’s happening: The rabbit’s not coming back on stage. Continue reading
There was an important appearance by Mark Jacobson on David Letterman recently, during which Jacobson extolled the virtues of “wind, water, solar.” The spot is here.
Of special note: Jacobson explaining the plan that his team at Stanford have come up with to make New York state 100-percent renewables powered. This will, Jacobson explained, require 15,000 turbines, 12,700 of them off Long Island. I asked Jacobson if he’d consulted with anyone in the maritime trades, or any recreational fishermen, or any biologists about the impact that almost 13,000 turbines just off Long Island might have. His answer: the bulk of in-shore New York waters would become “exclusion zones.” Continue reading
With its decision to ban letters questioning AGW, the L.A. Times has entered the realm of leftist McCarthyism.
As most here will know, the L.A. Times decided once and for all to end the climate change debate (or try) by printing a policy to never again publish a letter questioning man-made global warming. That motivated me to send the paper, and the editor who formed the policy, a little note (see below).
Dear Mr. Thornton,
A few facts about anthropogenic global warming:
1. The Holocene interglacial, in which you find yourself living, is the coolest of the last 5 interglacials, by one to two degrees Celsius; the Holocene is also experiencing lower sea level than the interglacials prior. Compared to the Eemian interglacial (the most recent before it), sea level is roughly 4 to 6 meters lower today than, for instance, 115,000 years ago.