Is weather more severe? by CRAIG JAMES I had a good laugh a couple of months ago when the mayor of Moscow promised there would be no snow in that city this winter because he was going to have the clouds seeded, causing all of the snow to fall somewhere else. Well, his plan hasn’t worked too well so far. As of Christmas, about 20 inches had fallen on Moscow this season, with more to come. The first heavy snowfall was apparently way under forecast by meteorologists, which prompted one city official to demand “serious consequences” for the head of the city’s weather service. Sounds like a trip to Siberia to me. By the way, 63% of the United States had an inch or more of snow on the ground this past Christmas Day. The only states that didn’t have any snow were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Oklahoma City received its biggest snowfall of record with 14.1 inches. There was apparently a problem with the article I wrote for the December 24 issue of this paper; half of it didn’t get printed. So here, hopefully, is the entire section where I take a look at whether tropical storms have become more numerous and more intense. Complete coverage of tropical storm activity across the globe has only been possible since 1979 when satellites began monitoring these storms. Between 1944 and 1978, in order for there to be an estimate of a tropical storm’s strength, a reconnaissance aircraft had to fly into the storm or a ship had to be near the center. Prior to 1944, there were no aircraft flights into storms, so the only reports came from ships or when a storm made landfall. The National Hurricane Center believes many storms were not recorded prior to these aircraft flights, and the peak intensity of storms out over ocean waters may well have been missed if there was not an aircraft or ship in the immediate vicinity at the time of the peak. Since we have been able to monitor these storms nearly continuously since 1979, we now have a 30-year very reliable record of whether there has been a trend up or down in tropical cyclone frequency or intensity. Ryan Maue from Florida State […]
Is weather more severe? by CRAIG JAMES Before I get to the main topic of this article, I’d like to point out what an amazing and severe turn to winter there has been across Canada and the United States this month. For the seven-day period of Sunday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 12, there were 815 new snowfall records, 304 low temperature records, and 403 lowest maximum temperature records set in just the United States alone. On Sunday, Dec. 13, the temperature hit 51 degrees below zero with a wind chill of 73 below zero at Edmonton, Canada, for the coldest December day on record. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Jordan, Montana recorded a low temperature of 40 degrees below zero, which was 46 degrees below average. The only warm weather in the country this month has been in Florida. Los Angeles and Phoenix were close to 4 degrees below average for the first two weeks of December, and even Honolulu, Hawaii was nearly 2 degrees below average. It has been very wet in New Orleans. For the first two weeks of the month, over 24 inches of rain were measured in that city, making it the wettest month on record. Valdez, Alaska received 77 inches of snow in four days on Dec. 14 through 17. They are so used to heavy snowfall there that schools stayed open! And that brings me to the main point of this article: Has the weather gotten more severe? Are there stronger storms than in the past due to global warming? My answer to that, at least in regards to tropical storms and tornadoes, is definitely a resounding “NO!” Let’s take a look at tropical storms first. Complete coverage of tropical storm activity across the globe has only been possible since 1979 when satellites began monitoring these storms. Between 1944 and 1978, in order for there to be an estimate of a tropical storm’s strength, a reconnaissance aircraft had to fly into the storm or a ship had to be near the center. Prior to 1944, there were no aircraft flights into storms, so the only reports came from ships or when a storm made landfall. The National Hurricane Center believes many storms were not recorded prior to these aircraft […]
by CRAIG JAMES I want to thank the folks at The Rockford Squire for giving me the opportunity to write about two of my favorite subjects, weather and climate. Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” That is the best summary of the distinction between the two I have heard, and I am sure rarely a day goes by when you don’t hear a comment about one or the other. It is my hope that maybe I can shed a little light on both subjects. I am a firm believer in another Mark Twain quote, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” Too often it seems, especially on the subject of “climate change,” you don’t hear all the facts, frequently just the politically correct ones. So it is with this in mind—and freely admitting my own biases will enter in to anything I write—I hope to present information you may not have heard. I believe the best way to be educated about a subject is to hear both sides of an argument. The first thing I want to write about is the expected weather for this upcoming winter. You may have heard there is an El Niño occurring in the Pacific Ocean again this year, which means there is a pool of warmer-than-normal surface water located in the central Pacific Ocean. You can see in the graphic from NOAA there is an area of water along the Equator in the central Pacific Ocean between two and three degrees warmer than normal. This is a classic moderate El Niño look. It seems as if the popular belief has been if we are in an El Niño pattern, the winter will be warm, and if we are in a La Niña pattern, the winter will be cold. However, the truth is much more complicated than that. All El Niños and La Niñas are not the same. The exact location of the warm water, how much warmer than normal the water is, and whether the water temperatures peak in winter or in spring make a big difference in the downstream weather over the United States for the coming winter. There are other ocean circulations in the […]
Recently, Squire reporters Cliff and Nancy Hill traveled to the Canadian Rockies with a bundle of The Rockford Squire newspapers and a 40-member tour group hosted by retired Wood TV8 Chief Meteorologist Craig James. Pictured (from left) are our globe-hopping staffers Nancy and Cliff, along with horse trainer and equestrian Marjas Becker of Gainesville, Fla., and Craig James, who came through on a guarantee of perfect weather for the entire 10 days. The unbelievably turquoise blue lake in the background is Peyto Lake, a glacial lake at the base of 7,000-foot Bow Mountain. Here, 100 miles north of Banff, Alberta Canada, the group displays recent Squire editions. James is holding the Dec. 3, 2008, edition where he received front-page coverage in debunking the current theory of placing total blame on mankind for being the entire cause of the latest cycle of global warming. Watch next weeks Squire for the whole story.