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What's happened before can happen again.

By: hcubed , 6:46 PM GMT on June 14, 2012

The following story bears out the re-phrased comment "Those who forget about past extreme weather events are doomed to state that current weather extremes are unprecedented".

Also, there are still those who insist that extreme weather has no natural drivers, that today's weather is a result of CO2, and CO2 alone.

"...COLUMBIA, Mo. – This past March was the second warmest winter month ever recorded in the Midwest, with temperatures 15 degrees above average. The only other winter month that was warmer was December of 1889, during which temperatures were 18 degrees above average. Now, MU researchers may have discovered why the weather patterns during these two winter months, separated by 123 years, were so similar. The answer could help scientists develop more accurate weather prediction models.

Tony Lupo, chair of the Department of Soil, Environment and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU, created computer models with global weather records and ship captains’ logs to determine why these two months were unusually warm. He discovered that the preceding months were also dry and warm, as well as the previous summers, which led him to determine that both 2012 and 1889 were La Niña years.

“During a period of La Niña the sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean are lower than normal by 3 to 6 degrees,” Lupo said. “This typically directs the jet stream from the Pacific on a northeastern path over Canada. Rain storms follow the jet stream, leaving the central and south-central states dry, while blocking air from moving south into the Midwest, resulting in higher temperatures.”

The discovery of the similarity between these two months, even though they are separated by 123 years, could help scientists understand the variability within climate patterns and assist them with future weather predictions. Thus, scientists could further understand how climate is changing and how variable it is becoming.

As well as being La Niña years, 2012 and 1889 also featured strong Artic Oscillations, a pattern of air pressure that wraps itself around the North Pole. During these times the air pressure is low and the oscillation traps and keeps cold air in the artic. With oscillation keeping cold air to the north, records showed a strong “ridge” over central North America. Ridges often bring record heat into an area, explaining the unusually warm winter temperatures, Lupo explained.

“The La Niña pattern has continued into the summer and will continue to affect the weather,” Lupo said. “This will cause droughts and above average heat throughout the Midwest from Texas to Iowa. A new El Nino pattern could develop this fall and bring favorable weather conditions to the Midwest; however, I don’t see this happening.”

Lupo is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in London and is a member of the International Panel for Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007..."

Amazing. This was just as simple as examining past records, using knowledge of weather patterns, and applying common sense.

It's refreshing to read articles in which man wasn't mentioned as a cause for current weather extremes.

If man HAD been mentioned, they would have had to explain how CO2 can drive one but not the other.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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3. hcubed
7:53 PM GMT on June 18, 2012
And, as a continuation of the above, the Govt did step in to help.

"...The Great Plains Shelterbelt was a project to create windbreaks in the Great Plains states of the United States, that began in 1934.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the project in response to the severe dust storms of the Dust Bowl, which resulted in significant soil erosion and drought. The United States Forest Service believed that planting trees on the perimeters of farms would reduce wind velocity and lessen evaporation of moisture from the soil. By 1942, 220 million trees had been planted, stretching out 18,600 miles in a 100-mile-wide zone from Canada to the Brazos River.

Even as of 2007, "the federal response to the Dust Bowl, including the PSFP (Prairie States Forestry Program which planted the Great Plains Shelterbelt) and creation of the Soil Erosion Service, represents the largest and most-focused effort of the (U.S.) government to address an environmental problem."..."

Quite a few of those trees are still there.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. hcubed
7:44 PM GMT on June 18, 2012
Some of the dust bowl conditions were aggravated by the farming practices of the time. It wasn't just drought.

From Wiki:

"...The phenomenon was caused by severe drought coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops or other techniques to prevent wind erosion.

Deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains had displaced the natural deep-rooted grasses that normally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during periods of drought and high winds.

During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away eastward and southward in large dark clouds..."

As long as common farming practices are observed, the effects of any future drought would be less.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. sampsondog
8:10 PM GMT on June 16, 2012
They have been airing a show about the Dust Bowl in the 1930's on The Weather Channel. Let's hope this drier weather extreme in the midwest doesn't cause another one.
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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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