Tag Archives: weather

In poll, many link eather extremes to climate change

I know, only too well, what right-wingers and conservatives in general think of the New York Times. And they are likely to scream “liberal” this and that upon reading the headline above. OK, whatever makes your day. But the article under this headline spells it out pretty well. I have talked with several of my new neighbors here in Vermont and they agree when the conversation turns to the winter we’ve just finished. What happened to the big snows?

Weather disasters: An artful graphic looks at the whole shebang

Look at this newspaper graphics package. Then get ready for the next high wind, thunderstorm, etc.

How climate change relates to the daily weather events

From Climate Progress:

The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….

The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and in turn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatly amplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land and caught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributes to more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring.

Weather may be culprit in decline of Atlantic fish

And that would be the striped bass. NPR offers this fresh look at the species, and the work of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist to figure out what’s going on with this Chesapeake Bay fishery.

An almanac of extreme weather

I just finished reading this top-notch op-ed from today’s New York Times. It’s written by a Minnesota farmer and it’s on target regarding weather, climate and the future. Most Americans, let’s remember, think that food — their food — comes from the grocery store, not from fields that are sometimes thousands of miles away from their homes. And how did that food get to their local grocery? By trucks burning a fossil fuel, as in diesel and gasoline. Wake up, folks.

Weird weather in a warming world

Andrew Revkin writes this piece in today’s NY Times. Read it, and then shake your head over our wasteful, gas-guzzling habits.

In weather chaos, a case for global warming

More solid reporting here from the NY Times. Come on, politicians. Wake up, please.

Global warming and weather psychology


Quote of the day

“Climate is what you expect to see. Weather is what you get. Having said that, one storm does not say anything about what the global climate system is doing,” said Chris Bouchard, a meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

To read the entire article from which I pulled this quote, click here.

Some words about the weather and tomorrow’s climate

My next newspaper column. Thanks to the Air Force for giving me the chance to experience these places, and more.

You know when one is about to hit. Grocery stores swell with shoppers stocking up on bottled water, canned goods, milk and bread. Municipal snowplows make preemptive sanding and salting runs through the streets and cul-de-sacs of suburbia. Nothing sends Northeasterners into a tizzy quite like a good nor’easter.

What is it that makes these storms that blow from the wrong way so powerful? Before attacking that question with my snow shovel, let me say this about one tired old cliché: There is no such thing as “bad weather.” There is only “weather,” as in rain, snow, wind, lightning, ice, sleet, cold waves, heat spells, cold fronts and warm fronts, etc. You get the idea. Remember that the next time you’re watching a TV weather talker. I hope my friend, Penn State meteorologist Jon Neese, would agree. Jon, for relative newcomers, is on the University Park faculty and is formerly of Penn State Hazleton, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and the Weather Channel in Atlanta.

Now back to the meteorological question of the day: Nor’easters are known to bring enormous amounts of precipitation and wind gusts upwards of 50 mph. In the winter, which seems to be much of the time in the North Country of New York State (where I once lived), all of that wind and rain translates into a lot of snow and ice. I have some sharp snapshots showing me with snow shovel in hand at Plattsburgh, N.Y. The snow is knee deep. (On this Monday, Jan. 18, there’s not a trace left out-of-doors in Conyngham borough).

A nor’easter is basically a wet and windy storm that blows up the East Coast. Although these storms can occur at anytime on the calendar, the prime season is September to April when frigid Arctic air blows southeast from the Canadian plains and meets northbound warm air on the Gulf Stream. This collision of warm and cold air masses creates a cyclonic storm off the coast that equates to the winter version of a tropical storm.

These storms occur often and usually aren’t very strong, but when they do get big, they can pack a wallop. As I write, Burlington, Vt., is still digging out from the nearly three feet of snow it picked up in early January, but that was an isolated total. Most of the Adirondacks got only six inches so.

Most nor’easters result from the collision of warm and cool air masses, and the more extreme the difference between temperatures of the air masses, the more powerful the storm. We just happen to live in a part of the world where extremely cold air blows down from Canada to collide with warm air moving up the East Coast.

Some personal observations and milestones of the weather, not “bad” weather:”

-        Flying into, as an Air Force media escort officer, two Gulf Coast hurricanes in the early 1980s,  on board WC-130 aircraft of the Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. These flights continue to be flown, many of them staging from Keesler Air Force Base in southern Mississippi, to collect data for the National Hurricane Center in Florida. Read more and view some great photos of aircraft and storms at www.hurricanehunters.com

-        One of the storms I flew into the eye of in August 1980 was Hurricane Allen. Read details of this storm, from the National Oceanic and Atmosphric Administration, at www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/rain/allen1980.html


-        A visit some years ago to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. Home to the Mt. Washington Observatory (weather!), Mt. Washington is famous for its windy summit. From the observatory’s Web site (www.mountwashington.org): “During a wild April storm in 1934, a wind gust of 231 mph (372 kilometers per hour) pushed across the summit of Mount Washington. This wind speed still stands as the all-time surface wind speed record.”

-        Listening to a tornado warning siren sounding off in our Oklahoma neighborhood, probably in 1983. We never did see a tornado that day or any other time during our nearly three-year residency in the Sooner State, but our hometown at the time, Moore (a bedroom community to Oklahoma City) was hit by a big one a decade or so ago). The airmen and civilians at nearby Tinker Air Force Base do not ignore storm forecasts and even today, I’m sure, regularly practice moving aircraft around to limit the damage should a tornado someday strike the expansive base in the midst of the fabled “tornado alley.”

-        Watching in wonderment as three waterspouts (tornadoes that form over water) blow across the U.S. Air Force’s Kunsan Air Base in South Korea in late 1985, blowing apart a refreshment stand adjacent to a ball field and giving my staff and I some headline-making material for the base newspaper.

Learn more about these weather events from the National Weather Service at www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/?n=waterspouts

-        Walking home from work on Robins Air Force Base, Ga., in the early 1980s after a half-inch of very wet and heavy snow fell, prompting the base commander to shut down early for the day.

-        Watching, again in wonderment (this time as a  Vermont-bound passenger) as a ferry, loaded with cars, smacked its way through foot-thick ice on Lake Champlain between New York State and the Green Mountain State.

-        Snowshoeing up and cross-country skiing down more than a few Adirondack mountains.

-        Picking peaches in central Georgia as temperatures climb past 100 degrees and humidity levels also climb toward the century mark.

-        From the observer’s cabin of an Adirondack fire tower, watching migrating red-tailed hawks soar out of the leading edge of an early November snow squall.

What effect will our changing climate have on the weather of the future and our fish and wildlife? For starters, take a look at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Web site: www.fws.gov/home/climatechange

To begin with, climate scientists, like NASA’s Dr. James Hansen (author of the just-released book “Storms of My Grandchildren), predict an increased frequency of extreme weather events.