Weather & Climate

Words on Weather & Climate — April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

More on winter 2009-10 by CRAIG JAMES   I mentioned in an earlier article that meteorological winter is the months of December, January and February. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has now released their summary of this past winter for the United States. You can find the write-up online at On the map shown here, the blue colors represent colder-than-average temperatures with the tan and orange colors warmer than average. It is obvious that most of the United States had a colder-than-average winter. In fact, a few spots in southern Texas and southern Mississippi had the coldest winter on record. In the write-up you will see that NCDC states “63% of the U.S. was cooler than average.” I challenge anyone above a third-grade level to look at the map and tell me the amount of blue doesn’t cover more than 63% of the country. It certainly looks more like at least 75% of the U.S. had a cold winter. Also of note, NCDC does not rank this winter. They always state something like, “This was the third warmest winter of record,” or something like that when the weather is warm, but no mention of where this cold winter ranked. By the way, notice that this winter was called “cooler” than average, not “colder” than average. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Al Gore had stated global warming was responsible for this cold and snowy winter in the south and east. He states on his blog: “Fact: Climate change causes more frequent and severe snowstorms. Record snowstorms need two things: temperatures below freezing, and very high humidity. On a planet warmer by a few degrees on average, the Northeast U.S. will still have plenty of days below freezing; the big difference will be warmer seas producing higher levels of moisture in the air—and therefore more severe cold-season storms.” Not only is this statement at odds with the computer models, but let’s take a look and see whether the seas were actually warmer than normal and whether there has been higher levels of moisture in the air. It is pretty easy to check this out, although something tells me Mr. Gore didn’t bother to see if his theory was supported by the facts. From […]

Words on Weather & Climate — March 4, 2010

March 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

Winter 2009-2010 by CRAIG JAMES The calendar says winter lasts until March 20 this year. However, meteorologists consider winter to be the three full months of December, January and February. Spring is March, April and May, etc. So winter is over, right? Any snow now is spring snow. Can’t you see the difference? So how did the temperatures turn out this winter season in West Michigan? In Grand Rapids, the temperature for the three months was 1.6 degrees above average. In Muskegon, it was 1.1 degrees above average, but in Kalamazoo it was 1.6 degrees below average. So the northern part of our area was a little warmer and the southern part a little cooler. My forecast in the December 10 edition of this newspaper was for temperatures to be “near to a little below average.” I’d give myself a “pretty close but not exactly right on” for the forecast. The snowfall season runs from the first flake to the last flake. The first flakes fell this year on November 26 and the last flakes… well, I would guess we will see flakes this year into April for a six-month snow season. We have seen snow October into May before, so don’t complain. As of the end of February, the total in Grand Rapids was 70.2 inches, in Muskegon 73.2 inches, and 69.7 inches in Kalamazoo. This gives us a snowfall that is a little above average up to this point, but certainly less than the 104.5 inches we had received by this point last winter. Muskegon’s total is almost 20 inches below what they would normally see up to this point in the winter and way below the 147.8 inches they had at this point last year. My forecast for this season was for around 70 inches in Grand Rapids. So, to be right on, I hope it doesn’t snow much more. That is possible, but not likely. Last year, from this point on in the season, we had just 0.4 inches of additional snow. The heaviest snows and the coldest temperatures relative to average this season have been to our south and southeast. In the month of February, the cities of Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia, among many others, had the snowiest month […]

Words on Weather & Climate by Craig James — January 14, 2010

January 14, 2010 // 0 Comments

Cold weather makes headlines by CRAIG JAMES “World copes with Arctic weather…” “Winter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA…” “CHILL MAP…” “3 Deaths Due To Cold in Memphis…” “GAS SUPPLIES RUNNING OUT IN UK…” “Elderly burn books for warmth?” “Vermont sets ‘all-time record for one snowstorm’…” “Iowa temps ‘a solid 30 degrees below normal’…” “Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years…” “Historic ice build-up shuts down NJ nuclear power plant…” “Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow By The Foot…” “Miami shivers from coldest weather in decade…” These are just a few of the headlines from newspapers last week about the very cold weather across much of the northern hemisphere. In the first 10 days of January, there were over 700 cold temperature records either tied or broken in just the United States alone, making it one of the coldest starts to a new year on record. There were snowflakes reported Saturday morning, January 9 as far south as Naples, Florida, and even into the northern portions of Dade County, where Miami is located. The last time that happened was back in 1977. Over 100,000 tropical fish have died in south Florida from the cold and—in one of the strangest reports I have ever seen—giant iguanas became comatose from the cold and fell from trees. The National Weather Service could have issued a falling iguana warning. One winter, obviously, doesn’t make a climate trend and just as you can’t point to one storm or heat wave to prove global warming, you can’t point to one cold wave to indicate the end of global warming. Using one cold wave to claim climate change is equally in error. In a White House press briefing, Friday, Jan. 8, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated, “Worldwide record cold is the result of climate change.” At least he knew how ridiculous it would sound if he had said it was the result of global warming. One weather pattern is not climate. The cold weather this winter can very easily be explained by natural phenomena such as changing ocean currents. However, the fact there hasn’t been any warming in the past decade and that a number of new studies suggest global cooling on the horizon, may indeed indicate a change in the […]

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