Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:53 PM GMT on May 31, 2012

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The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4°C (72.3°F) at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on May 31, 1991. The 25.2°C at Narsarsuaq on June 22, 1957 is the only June temperature measured in Greenland warmer than yesterday's 24.8°C reading. Wunderground's extremes page shows that the all-time warmest temperature record for Greenland is 25.5°C (77.9°F) set on July 26, 1990. The exceptional warmth this week was caused by the combination of an intense ridge of high pressure and a local foehn wind, said the Danish Meteorological Institute. The unusual May heat has extended to Scotland, which had its hottest May temperature on record on May 25 at Achnagart: 29.3°C (85°F). Greenland's Narsarsuaq has seen a string of 3 consecutive days over 70°F this week--the 3rd, 7th, and 12th warmest days there since record keeping began in 1941. The ridge of high pressure responsible is expected to stay in place several more days, bringing additional 70° days over Southern Greenland. The warm May temperatures could be setting the stage for a big Greenland melt season this summer--the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is predicting a 50 - 60% that the southern 2/3 of Greenland will experience above-average temperatures this summer. They forecast just a 10 - 15% chance of below-average temperatures.


Figure 1. Difference between the number of melt days in 2011 and the average number of melt days during the period 1979 - 2010. Large sections of the island experienced twenty more days with melting conditions than average. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Why Greenland is important
If the massive icecap on Greenland were to melt, global sea level would rise 7 meters (23 ft). Temperatures in Greenland are predicted to rise 3°C by 2100, to levels similar to those present during that warm period 120,000 years ago. During that period, roughly half of the Greenland ice sheet melted, increasing sea level by 2.2 - 3.4 meters (7.2 - 11.2 ft.) However, the 2007 IPCC report expects melting of the Greenland ice sheet to occur over about a 1,000 year period, delaying much of the expected sea level rise for many centuries. While Greenland's ice isn't going to be melting completely and catastrophically flooding low-lying areas of the earth in the next few decades (sea level is only rising about 3 mm per year or 1.2 inches per decade at present), the risk later this century needs to be taken seriously. Higher sea levels will cause increased erosion, salt water intrusion, and storm surge damage in coastal areas, in addition to a loss of barrier formations such as islands, sand bars, and reefs that would normally protect coastal zones from battering by waves and wind. Additionally, coastal zones are sites of incredible economic and agricultural activity, which would also be negatively affected by higher sea levels. Currently, melting ice from Greenland is thought to cause about 0.7 mm/year of global sea level rise, which is about 20 - 25% of the global total, according to an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, in an article published the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012. In 2007, the IPCC estimated that Greenland ice melt was responsible for only 10 - 15% of the total global sea level rise. Ice loss in Greenland is accelerating, and if current ice loss trends continue for the next ten years, Greenland's contribution to sea level rise will double to 1.4 mm/yr by 2022. The increased ice loss in Greenland is being driven by a combination of warmer air temperatures, warmer ocean temperatures, and loss of Arctic sea ice. Ocean temperatures surrounding Southern Greenland have increased by 1 - 2°C since 1990 (figure at right.)

Figure 2. Monthly unsmoothed values of the total mass (in gigatons, Gt), of the Greenland ice sheet from the GRACE satellites. On the horizontal axis, each year begins on 1 January. Each small + symbol is a monthly value. Between 2003 - 2009, Greenland lost an average of 250 gigatons of ice per year. In 2011, the loss was 70% greater than that. Image credit: Arctic Report Card

Update on the 2011 Greenland melt season
According to the 2011 Arctic Report Card, it was another very warm year in Greenland in 2011, which led to substantial melting of the ice. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

1) The area and duration of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2011 were the third highest since 1979.

2) Increased surface melting and below average summer snowfall in recent years has made the icecap steadily darker. In 2011, the icecap had the lowest reflectivity (albedo) of any year since satellite measurements of reflectivity began in 2000.

3) The area of glaciers that empty into the sea continued to decrease, though at less than half the rate of the previous 10 years.

4) Total ice sheet mass loss in 2011 was 70% larger than the 2003 - 2009 average annual loss rate of -250 gigatons per year. According to satellite gravity data obtained since 2002, ice sheet mass loss is accelerating.

Resources:
Wunderground's Greenland page.
Wunderground's sea level rise page.
Danish Meteorological Institute's extremes page for Greenland.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Patrap:
FRESCA anyone?


Short Wave IR
Its going to have to Battle some Dry air in the Gulf, especially wrapping in from the SW side, around the Bay of Campache as it pulls into the Gulf.
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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
GAC027-075-185-312145-
/O.NEW.KTAE.SV.W.0164.120531T2100Z-120531T2145Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
500 PM EDT THU MAY 31 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL BROOKS COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA...
SOUTHEASTERN COOK COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA...
NORTHWESTERN LOWNDES COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA...

* UNTIL 545 PM EDT

* AT 500 PM EDT...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DETECTED A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING HALF DOLLAR SIZE HAIL...AND
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 10
MILES SOUTHWEST OF HAHIRA...OR NEAR MORVEN...AND MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 20 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO I-75
AT EXIT 29 AND CECIL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT
AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

&&

LAT...LON 3109 8339 3097 8323 3080 8352 3088 8362
TIME...MOT...LOC 2101Z 224DEG 16KT 3089 8348

$$

18-WOOL
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Quoting hydrus:
looks like an active day here tomorrow huh Hydrus
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21782
When did posting 10,000 local radars become a thing here...
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Climate Modeling 101 - Grid Resolution


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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


That why we need to just build some gigantic mirrors, put them in the Sahara, then BOOM. problem solves we are all millionaires.


The mirrors would actually have to be placed in orbit above Earth. Once the sun's energy has reached the surface then a percentage of this energy still remains trapped due to the greenhouse effect. Certainly the mirrors would be more beneficial than dark land areas or dark waters. A plan has already been suggested to place an array of mirrors in orbit. As silly as it sounds, it may actually work. Much, much smarter people than I would have to do the feasibility study on this.
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Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21782
FRESCA anyone?


Short Wave IR
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374. MTWX
Quoting MississippiWx:


Things are good!! Just a little dry, but looks like that might change shortly. Have a good MCS heading in from the west, so maybe we can get a drop or two! Hope you're well!


Will be, once I get that dang radar fixed!! LOL! Looking foward to the rain here too!
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Uploaded by ncarucar on Oct 3, 2011

NCAR scientists Marika Holland and David Bailey used the Community Climate System Model to study the possible future impacts of climate change on sea ice in the Arctic. The visualizations of their research in this video show the percent of ocean water covered by ice, which is called the sea-ice concentration.

The first visualization uses monthly data from their computer simulation, from 1979-2007. The second shows the computer model's portrayal of the state of the ice every September, from 1850-2100.

(Visualization by Tim Scheitlin, NCAR)

More about the Community Climate System Model:

http://www2.ucar.edu/magazine/features/ccsm-cesm


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting MTWX:


Hows things been goin' down there on the coast?


Things are good!! Just a little dry, but looks like that might change shortly. Have a good MCS heading in from the west, so maybe we can get a drop or two! Hope you're well!
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371. MTWX
Quoting MississippiWx:


Man, that thing is down all of the time. Can't help it here in MS...Y'all know weez po.


Semi true... LOL! Actually we are a DoD site so we don't have a redundant system. Most NWS sites have two transmitters that you can toggle between to have continued coverage while performing maintenance. The reason it is "down all the time" is because we have to take it down for inspections and alignments, but unfortunately this time it is broke for now.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting ScottLincoln:


The urban heat island effect and position of land-based thermometers has been looked into time and time again, and been shown to cause only a marginal affect on temperatures. In fact, analysis by NOAA shows that thermometer ranked as "poor" in independent analysis by skeptics were shown to bias results colder rather than warmer.

Even if the urban heat island effect were having a major influence on the warming trend, it is caused by human activities, and thus would be an anthropogenic forcing.


Yes. I believe that you are referencing the BEST report conducted by a team at the University of California-Berkley. A well know physicists, Richard Muller, was skeptical of the temperature data for the past 100 years and executives of the oil industry help to fund Muller's research to verify/disprove the temperature data. Richard Muller found that the warming is probably greater than previously thought to be. You can read more about this here - Berkley Report Disappoints Climate-Change Skeptics
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
.......................................alot of nasty storms out there tonight, be careful out there folks, listen to your local warnings ok
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
446 PM EDT THU MAY 31 2012

GAC183-191-312130-
/O.CON.KCHS.SV.W.0085.000000T0000Z-120531T2130Z/
LONG GA-MCINTOSH GA-
446 PM EDT THU MAY 31 2012

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 530 PM EDT
FOR NORTHWESTERN MCINTOSH AND SOUTHEASTERN LONG COUNTIES...

AT 447 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM NEAR TIBET...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 5
MPH.

PREPARE NOW FOR THE FOLLOWING HAZARDS...
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH...
HAIL UP TO QUARTER SIZE...
TORRENTIAL RAIN WHICH MAY PRODUCE LOCALIZED FLOODING...

SOME LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...EULONIA...
JONES...TIBET AND TOWNSEND.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS THUNDERSTORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING VERY HEAVY RAIN...WHICH MAY
FLOOD ROADS...DITCHES AND LOW-LYING AREAS. AVOID FLOOD PRONE AREAS
AND DO NOT DRIVE INTO PLACES WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER SUCH AS HAIL...DOWNED TREES...LIMBS...AND
POWER LINES...PLEASE CONTACT THE CHARLESTON NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
TOLL FREE AT 1-888-383-2024 OR EMAIL YOUR REPORTS TO
CHS.SKYWARN@NOAA.GOV.

&&

LAT...LON 3150 8162 3159 8167 3167 8165 3166 8146
3149 8140
TIME...MOT...LOC 2047Z 300DEG 4KT 3160 8158

$$
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364. MTWX
Quoting MississippiWx:


LOL. Sounds like us.

You just gotta know which part of the state to visit. Here in the SE part of the state, we got them fancy flyin' machines, teeth, money, shoes and a mullet or two. Can't say the rest of the state is as fortunate. LOL.


Hows things been goin' down there on the coast?
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Quoting pcola57:


Now thats funny!!!
Thats what my relatives tell me when I ask them where is my Xmas presents!!..lol
(They do offer to send me some black-eyed peas though)


LOL. Sounds like us.

You just gotta know which part of the state to visit. Here in the SE part of the state, we got them fancy flyin' machines, teeth, money, shoes and a mullet or two. Can't say the rest of the state is as fortunate. LOL.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
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Quoting pcola57:


Is Columbus radar being down your fault?...lol :)


Man, that thing is down all of the time. Can't help it here in MS...Y'all know weez po.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Here is the forecast track.


Another recurver... Should be a nice typhoon too.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Wow I'm good! See comment 320, lol.

True... I wish we could get a more accurate measurement though.


Here is the forecast track.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14574
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
First JTWC warning.


Wow I'm good! See comment 320, lol.
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

And it likely was a strong tornado. HOWEVER, considering it did not significantly impact any structures, you can only base its intensity off of what it destroyed--trees, and dirt.

True... I wish we could get a more accurate measurement though.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Quoting CybrTeddy:


It would be a record if it developed before June 11th, the previous record holder is 1887.

I doubt it'll be able to do that, but it would take second place which is still remarkable.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Haha.

The MJO should just be coming back around that time, and 500 mb. pressure anomaly maps show negative values across the Gulf of Mexico around that time as well. The bad thing is, once you have something in the Gulf of Mexico, it has to hit land.

If "Chris" developed in June, it would be the earliest formation date for the third named storm in the 21st century. Not sure whether or not that would be a record though.



It would be a record if it developed before June 11th, the previous record holder is 1887.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24489
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I don't believe that at all... You saw it just as well as I did... It was reported as a large, rain wrapped tornado and reported as being strong with a possible debris ball on radar.

And it likely was a strong tornado. HOWEVER, considering it did not significantly impact any structures, you can only base its intensity off of what it destroyed--trees, and dirt.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
First JTWC warning.



WTPN31 PGTW 312100
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
REF/A/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/302151Z MAY 12//
AMPN/REF A IS A TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
RMKS/
1. TROPICAL DEPRESSION 04W (FOUR) WARNING NR 001
01 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE IN NORTHWESTPAC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
311800Z --- NEAR 13.6N 126.8E
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 315 DEGREES AT 11 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 025 KT, GUSTS 035 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
REPEAT POSIT: 13.6N 126.8E
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
010600Z --- 15.2N 125.6E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 030 KT, GUSTS 040 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 330 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
011800Z --- 16.8N 124.7E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 040 KT, GUSTS 050 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 060 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
055 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 355 DEG/ 07 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
020600Z --- 18.1N 124.6E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 050 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 075 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
065 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
065 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 025 DEG/ 07 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
021800Z --- 19.4N 125.3E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 060 KT, GUSTS 075 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 035 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
035 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
030 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 100 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
100 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
090 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
090 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 040 DEG/ 08 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
031800Z --- 21.7N 127.4E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 080 KT, GUSTS 100 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 030 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
030 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 055 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
055 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 130 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
120 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 050 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
041800Z --- 24.2N 130.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 075 KT, GUSTS 090 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 055 DEG/ 12 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
051800Z --- 26.9N 134.9E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 070 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL
---
REMARKS:
312100Z POSITION NEAR 14.0N 126.5E.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 04W, LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 350 NM EAST
OF MANILA, PHILIPPINES, HAS TRACKED NORTHWESTWARD AT 11 KNOTS
OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS. THIS WARNING SUPERSEDES AND CANCELS
REF A, JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN 302151Z MAY 12 TROPICAL CYCLONE
FORMATION ALERT (WTPN21 PGTW 302200). MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT
WAVE HEIGHT AT 311800Z IS 10 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 010300Z,
010900Z, 011500Z AND 012100Z.//
NNNN
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14574
346. MTWX
Quoting pcola57:


Is Columbus radar being down your fault?...lol :)


No it's mine... LOL, hopefully we will have it back up tomorrow.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

All three tornadoes produced by the supercells were rated EF0s.

I don't believe that at all... You saw it just as well as I did... It was reported as a large, rain wrapped tornado and reported as being strong with a possible debris ball on radar.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
The maps in comment 42 are completely whacked. Sea level rise covering parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming more than 3,000 feet above sea level while leaving parts of Florida unsubmerged.

Seriously. The mountain west covered by sea level rise while all of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma stay above sea level. Nonsense and any kid should be able to see that.

And defaming the US Navy by slapping it's supposed approval on the map is even worse.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

No way... That had to have been a different one as there were a couple others last night...

All three tornadoes produced by the supercell were rated EF0s.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
Quoting bluenosedave:


It also helps put up an avatar. Our regular trolls tend not to, so any avatar at all will help you appear non-troll.
tend to agree there.. and it's not like it has to be pretty or anything ;)
<<<
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yes it has. It was rated an EF0.

No way... That had to have been a different one as there were a couple others last night...
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Quoting LargoFl:
BE CAREFUL OVER THERE pATRAP


Thats 100 miles north of him
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337. MTWX
.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Very true... Though I believe if that tornado from last night had gone over a populated area it would have taken that award... Has that one been given a rating yet? Radar indicated it was probably at least EF 3.

Yes it has. It was rated an EF0.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Haha.

The MJO should just be coming back around that time, and 500 mb. pressure anomaly maps show negative values across the Gulf of Mexico around that time as well. The bad thing is, once you have something in the Gulf of Mexico, it has to hit land.

If "Chris" developed in June, it would be the earliest formation date for the third named storm in the 21st century. Not sure whether or not that would be a record though.



Hasn't rained much here lately...bring it on. Ever since we finished the dam on the lake we built, it hasn't rained. We probably created the biggest drought ever. If we go bust the dam, well, the flood gates will open (pun super intended).
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Quoting lightning75:


Thank you will try to


It also helps put up an avatar. Our regular trolls tend not to, so any avatar at all will help you appear non-troll.
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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.