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07 February 2010

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Steve Enos

"January temperatures were the warmest on record and the trend is continuing this month, says Environment Canada meteorologist Matt McDonald, one of 30 forecasters working the Winter Games".

Rest of the story is below... is this "just weather" too?

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

VANCOUVER — For nearly 40 years, Erickson Air-Crane and its partners have been dispatching a fleet of helicopters around the world to fight forest fires, harvest timber and lift giant air-conditioning units to the tops of office towers.

This is the first time, however, the company's specially fitted Sikorsky S-64 has been hired to make it snow.

For the past week, the giant helicopter and a convoy of dump trucks have been shuttling tons of snow from higher elevations in a frenzied effort to salvage two Olympic events from the grip of El Nino.

The persistent warm weather pattern, which draws warm, humid air from the Pacific Ocean, has prematurely coaxed daffodils into bloom, produced veils of pink and purple on confused ornamental trees throughout the city and on Saturday brought families to sun themselves on the scenic waterfront concourses. But in the mountains — specifically on Cypress Mountain, where snowboarders and freestyle skiers will soon be competing for Olympic gold — blue skies and balmy temperatures have produced nothing but anxiety.

January temperatures were the warmest on record and the trend is continuing this month, says Environment Canada meteorologist Matt McDonald, one of 30 forecasters working the Winter Games.

This year, the average temperature in January was 44.9 degrees, besting the previous warm record of 43.3 in 2006 and well above the historic average of 37.9 degrees, according to Environment Canada weather data.

McDonald says the mild temperatures are expected to continue, and rain — not snow — is expected for much of the week.

"It's not looking so great for the day of opening ceremonies (Friday)," McDonald says.

Mercifully, weather won't be a factor for the indoor opening ceremony, but it has sparked a "huge" effort on Cypress Mountain, says Tim Gayda, vice president of sport for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

The centerpiece of that effort is the unusual snow-lift operation involving Erickson affiliate Canadian Air-Crane.

Starting last Wednesday, the helicopter's giant bucket, with a capacity between 13,000 and 15,000 pounds, has dumped an average of 780 tons a day into the Cypress Mountain bowl, says Dennis Hubbard, a company spokesman.

Hubbard says the helicopter has been shuttling snow from nearby Mount Strachan, where a backhoe has been digging and loading buckets for the short flight to Cypress Mountain.

Russ

Yes, Steve it is just weather. I have posted some graphics and a link a discussion of the El Nino weather patterns by NOAA, which includes a future forecast for the west coast this winter and spring here.

Steve Enos

So..... record warm and dry in BC is weather, but snow back east is global cooling per George.

As George said... "Weather! It’s just weather! Squawk!"

Russ

Steve,

Here is another discussion of weather vs climate change following a Time Article asking: Another Blizzard: What Happened to Global Warming?

Here are the details on why Time is wrong, it is not Global Warming at Watts Up With That by Dr Pielike, Climate Science.

The article correctly writes:

“….it’s a mistake to use any one storm — or even a season’s worth of storms — to disprove climate change (or to prove it)…”
and

“Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries. And while our ability to predict the former has become reasonably reliable, scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate.”

However, the article contains misinformation. I briefly comment on two issues presented in the article.

1. It is written

“The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years.”

The current set of snowstorms in the Middle Atlantic states this winter actually have become intense further south than average.  New England is certainly accustomed to these nor’easters.  In an earlier post (see figure top), illustrates that the jet stream (as represented by the lower tropospheric temperature anomalies) was well south of its average position across the northern  hemisphere.  It is the polar jet stream which is where winter storms develop and intensify.

2. It is written

“As global temperatures have risen, the winter ice cover over the Great Lakes has shrunk, which has led to even more moisture in the atmosphere and more snow in the already hard-hit Great Lakes region, according to a 2003 study in the Journal of Climate.”

A new paper in EOS titled Severe Ice Cover on Great Lakes During Winter 2008–2009 [subscription needed]
writes
“After a decade of little ice cover, from 1997–1998 to 2007–2008, the Great Lakes experienced extensive ice cover during the 2008–2009 winter. The area of Lake Superior covered by ice during the 2008–2009 winter reached 75,010 square kilometers on 2 March 2009, nearly twice the maximum average of nearly 40,000 square kilometers. By this time, Lake Superior was nearly completely ice covered, as were Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair, a small basin between Huron and Erie (Figure 1a). Even northern Lake Michigan experienced severe ice cover.”

These news articles would be more accurate (and effective) if the actual behavior of the climate system were presented.

Tony

As George is so fond of links to blogs I feel free to do it here

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1427

1) A near-record amount of moisture in the air (or a very slow moving storm).
2) Temperatures cold enough for snow.

It's not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the globe warmed 0.74°C (1.3°F) over the past 100 years. There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming, with plenty of opportunities for snow. The more difficult ingredient for producing a record snowstorm is the requirement of near-record levels of moisture. Global warming theory predicts that global precipitation will increase, and that heavy precipitation events--the ones most likely to cause flash flooding--will also increase. This occurs because as the climate warms, evaporation of moisture from the oceans increases, resulting in more water vapor in the air.

We will see more hot dry air from climate deniers.

Mikey McD

3 feet of snow keeps the bastards out of Washington to discuss cap-n-tax laws and still the true believers shout global warming. Frickin' funny if it did not attack my liberty in the process.

Russ

Tony,

"Global warming theory" Well the theory is unproven. As Phil Jones, lead author on UN IPCC reports and head of the CRU admitted in a BBC Interview:

Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

Further, Jones acknowledged that, far from being unprecedented, the rate of warming in the modern era is nearly identical to prior warming periods. In other words, goodbye, hockey stick:

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

... Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.
1860-1880: 21 0.163 Yes
1910-1940: 31 0.15 Yes
1975-1998: 24 0.166 Yes
1975-2009: 35 0.161 Yes

And, all this warming in the 1800 and early 1900 was before CO2 was increasing. So, the whole global warming theory is just that an unporvien theory.

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