The future of intense winter storms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on March 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
Heavy snowfall in a warming world

A rare Deep South snow event breaks Dallas' all-time snowfall record, where I point out that more heavy snowstorms occur in warmer-than-average years.

Jeff Masters

Xynthia - High seas in Carcavelos (Portugal) (rozzopt)
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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These waves were about 30 feet high. Not usual for the mediterranean. I would not turn my nose up at this one, not in a heartbeat! Cruisin the mediterranean, are you kiddin me?
Sign me up. I'll stay away from windows.
As far as the exercise goes, I force myself to do 2 or 3 times a week. But my scale is still stuck on the same number. As you get older, everything becomes more painful and you're basically working your buns off to just try not get any worse than you already are!
It's always a surreal moment to see the shuttle go up. Even after so many years, everyone watches in awe. The manned ones usually garner more attention, though, and many people line the roadways and beaches to watch each one go up. It hasn't gotten old yet.
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Hi, Chicklit, I'm still amazed at this:

Was riding my bicycle home tonight after going to the gym and the grocery store

Wow, you are one dedicated earthling, thank you...

As for the cruise ship, I believe it's been mentioned... but I still want to know what cruise line that was, so I can avoid it.

I've been on a couple cruises in some weather, one storm was so bad the cruise was green... I don't do too well, have to have a seasick patch even in calm waters...too bad, I really like cruising.
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
Was this part of 2005 also below normal for tornadoes?


Yes for February anyway.



Edit: sorry got 2006 up by accident...their site didn't label them well.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting Chicklit:
Was riding my bicycle home tonight after going to the gym and the grocery store when I saw a bright orangy light in the sky followed by a familiar trail of white plume coming out of Canaveral Seashore. What a fantastic and amazing world! I think. Something is getting launched. Even better to find it was a new GOES weather satellite! Cool day.
Congrats to everyone at KSC.
We are all sad here about the shuttle program ending in just about 3 or for more launches.
This will mean a lot of jobs lost in my area too since we are only an hour or so away.


Hope is still there for the shuttle given the Ares shutdown. Link

Although, unfortunately, the Goes-Q has been canceled as of now.

Nice video about the Goes-P and what the Q might have been:

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Quoting Jeff9641:


Look at the EURO below!

http://www.dejongonline.com/weather/weathermodel.htm


You're talking about one storm. I'm talking about the month of March as a whole. The next 5 days will seem very much like the first signs of spring for the country, but that turns around again later.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Have you all already talked about the big waves that hit that cruise ship in the Mediterranean? Two people died from broken shards of glass. I'm kinda surprised they don't use a more plexi-glass compound.
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Was riding my bicycle home tonight after going to the gym and the grocery store when I saw a bright orangy light in the sky followed by a familiar trail of white plume coming out of Canaveral Seashore. What a fantastic and amazing world! I think. Something is getting launched. Even better to find it was a new GOES weather satellite! Cool day.
Congrats to everyone at KSC.
We are all sad here about the shuttle program ending in just about 3 or 4 more launches.
This will mean a lot of jobs lost in my area too since we are only an hour or so away.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Maybe you might want to look at the weather setup with temp profiles for the next few weeks because severe wx will begin to unleash on the south starting Monday in Texas.


I didn't say there would be NO severe weather. I said it would be below normal, and I was talking about tornadoes not necessarily all severe thunderstorms, although they usually go hand in hand. I'm basing that on the fact that the March weather pattern will be similar to February, and the Gulf of Mexico will remain very very cold. This won't provide a lot of warm, moist air to feed the kind of thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes, and therefore I think numbers will be below normal just like February.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting Seastep:


Again, bite your tongue. LOL.

I'll check out prior shear forecasts, but I question how accurate it could be. I see it like intensity forecasts... they aren't the same as track.


To follow up, it is also a true prediction vs. SST's which are observed to be higher than normal at this point and time. That is the case, not a prediction and they will only get warmer.
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Quoting LowerCal:


LOL, my second one today.


You're on a roll.
wait
shrimp
roll
po boy
brb

p.s. isn't it funny how an oxy can change the whole meaning of a word ;)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting hydrus:
I think your observation is correct.


Interesting site I found here
. Volcanoes, earthquakes and impact craters.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Jeff9641:


Yes, Infact we will start seeing this occur next week across the south. I expect mid to late March to be very active with some major TORNADO OUTBREAKS.
i am very surprized that there were no tornadoes in feb this year
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Quoting altesticstorm10:

Wrong - it's not virtually impossible to predict that. Most experts on this blog have proved that shear is going to be much more calm than average this year by pointing out a number of factors, from the to-be-dead El Nino to the weak subtropical highs to another shear-reducing factor the MDO which is supposed to be negative and reduce the shear quite signficantly in May which will pretty much last most or all of the hurricane season.

SAL is forecast to be average or below average, as Sahel rainfall is predicted to be normal or above normal. Let's not forget that in 2005, SAL was above average, and we still ended up with the infamous 27/16/7 season.


Again, bite your tongue. LOL.

I'll check out prior shear forecasts, but I question how accurate it could be. I see it like intensity forecasts... they aren't the same as track.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


Isn't giant shrimp an oxymoron? ;)


LOL, my second one today.
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Hopefully shear and SAL is high. Virtually impossible to predict that.
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But, the indications so far do point to an active and/or intense season.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys it's starting to look like the 04-05 season already


Bite your tongue!
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hey guys it's starting to look like the 04-05 season already
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Mag. 6.4 earthquake in Vanuatu:



Mag. 6.3 in Northern Chile (unrelated to the big quake in Central Chile):



Maybe the shocks are migrating northward. The fault may be rupturing and this could affect places like Peru and Colombia as well.
I think your observation is correct.
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549. xcool
TampaSpin hey
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15705
Just made the logic entry on my temperature record if anyone would care to view.

Link
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thats cool thats why i posted what i did just in case some one read it and got the wrong idea no harm done post will be removed
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
ok just for the record -

I NEVER MEANT TO POST KOG & PATRAP'S quote together.

i posted and walked away and saw it later.

i would never purposely do something like that. i don;t know how to double quote.

now seeing it and thinking about it, it looks horrible and i would never make comments like that especially about earthquakes.


Don't worry WW, we understood it was a mistake and know you would not intentionally do something like that. That is DEFINITELY not in your nature. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Mag. 6.4 earthquake in Vanuatu:



Mag. 6.3 in Northern Chile (unrelated to the big quake in Central Chile):



Maybe the shocks are migrating northward. The fault may be rupturing and this could affect places like Peru and Colombia as well.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Earlier this evening I saw the International Space Station by chance. It was fairly bright (estimated mag. -2, turned out to be -2.2) and briefly formed a neat triangle with Procyon and Sirius. Is that a possible South Atlantic tropical cyclone I see in the other posts? The waters off southern Brazil are warmer than in 2004 when cat. 2 Cyclone Catarina hit Catarina. But this one could be farther north. If we can get South Atlantic hurricanes this southern summer then we'll likely have a very active North Atlantic hurricane season as the warm pool of water partly migrates north.


Oh these waters are waaaay warmer than Catarina....the entire south Atlantic was well below normal in March of 2004. This year it's averaging 1C above normal east of Brazil.

Yes it is a closed circulation of low pressure near the tail-end of an old front that got stalled east of Brazil. It is currently losing convection but it just went through the diurnal min. It has several days to play around in the same general area so there is definitely a chance for tropical development.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting Levi32:


This month will be below normal too. There have been years where it only took one month to turn that around though. If the NAO stays generally negative then it could turn into a potent tornado season.


yeah agreed. man, 04 was a bad year for extreme weather.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting hydrus:
04 is seared in my mind.


'04 is too seared in my mind as well
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Earlier this evening I saw the International Space Station by chance. It was fairly bright (estimated mag. -2, turned out to be -2.2) and briefly formed a neat triangle with Procyon and Sirius. Is that a possible South Atlantic tropical cyclone I see in the other posts? The waters off southern Brazil are warmer than in 2004 when cat. 2 Cyclone Catarina hit Catarina. But this one could be farther north. If we can get South Atlantic hurricanes this southern summer then we'll likely have a very active North Atlantic hurricane season as the warm pool of water partly migrates north.
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Quoting tornadodude:


yeah, that makes sense. So this year we should probably not expect an extremely active year, especially since last month was the first month on record with no reported tornadoes


This month will be below normal too. There have been years where it only took one month to turn that around though. If the NAO stays generally negative then it could turn into a potent tornado season.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting Levi32:


Not necessarily. The correlation isn't perfect because there are many other things involved, but a La Nina is generally more favorable for severe weather because the subtropical jetstream usually runs further north over north America during La Nina than during El Nino. This results in more frequent intrusions of warm, moist, tropical air into the heart of the country. When you combine this with a negative NAO, it spells major trouble for severe weather.


yeah, that makes sense. So this year we should probably not expect an extremely active year, especially since last month was the first month on record with no reported tornadoes
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
ok just for the record -

I NEVER MEANT TO POST KOG & PATRAP'S quote together.

i posted and walked away and saw it later.

i would never purposely do something like that. i don;t know how to double quote.

now seeing it and thinking about it, it looks horrible and i would never make comments like that especially about earthquakes.
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Quoting tornadodude:


oh ok, well would an el nino that carries over into the spring cause more severe weather outbreaks?


Not necessarily. The correlation isn't perfect because there are many other things involved, but a La Nina is generally more favorable for severe weather because the subtropical jetstream usually runs further north over north America during La Nina than during El Nino. This results in more frequent intrusions of warm, moist, tropical air into the heart of the country. When you combine this with a negative NAO, it spells major trouble for severe weather.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting Levi32:


WindSat has been around for years.....it just has poorer resolution and less coverage. It isn't as effective as QuikScat, but at least we still have a satellite to measure surface winds, which will continue to be a big help to us.


Thanks for the response Levi.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


No, just nuetral conditions.


oh ok, well would an el nino that carries over into the spring cause more severe weather outbreaks?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


well there was quite the bout of sever weather in 04, so we shall see
04 is seared in my mind.
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Quoting opsman27N82W:
Question guys: Last fall Doc Masters lamented the impending doom of QuikScat that helped us all watch storms for a long time. Will this new satellite pick up the slack?


WindSat has been around for years.....it just has poorer resolution and less coverage than QuikScat. It isn't as effective as QuikScat, but at least we still have a satellite to measure surface winds, which will continue to be a big help to us.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26746
Quoting hydrus:
yes. But it was weakening by the time hurricane season arrived in 2004. It was officially called the 2002-2003 El-Nino, there was still some leftover in 04. We got spanked anyway.


well there was quite the bout of sever weather in 04, so we shall see
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360


Isn't giant shrimp an oxymoron? ;) lol. Like a small volcanic eruption, they are never small.
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Quoting tornadodude:


was there an el nino in the winter of 03-04?
yes. But it was weakening by the time hurricane season arrived in 2004. It was officially called the 2002-2003 El-Nino, there was still some leftover in 04. We got spanked anyway.
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Quoting hydrus:
It will not be long before we have to track spring storms across our country. Still waiting for someone to go out on a limb and make a prediction how much severe weather we receive.


was there an el nino in the winter of 03-04?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360

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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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