Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let the rumor mill turn !!!

Here we go !! Big holiday weekend only days away and the high drama begins in VT. And yes, the snow event for Thursday night is still on the calendar. This is not an aesthetically appealing system on the weather map. It is the first in a series of events resulting from split flow in the jet stream. In the end however, it will never become a very organized storm and the light snow Thursday night into early Friday morning will total between 2 and 5 inches. Temperatures at the base of the mountain will also be close to freezing giving the snow a wetter consistency. Higher elevations should see some decent powder.

If Thursday night's storm is "beer in a shot glass" then the storm Sunday can be described as the "full keg". Its all about the split flow in the jet performing its normal tasks. Energy rotating through the southern branch of the jet early in the weekend will begin sucking moisture out of the Gulf Saturday. By early Sunday, a major winter storm will be moving northeast out of the southern states and toward the east coast. 3 Successive runs of the American GFS model complete the proverbial "bomb" with this storm, rapidly deepening the system as it tracks close to Long Island and over Cape Cod. Heavy snow, high winds, the whole gamut would be the result for later Sunday and Sunday night. Hypothetical snowfall totals ? well I think one can get the drift, no pun intended.

The reality, even without the repeated frustrations that have been so prevalent this winter, is this. The consensus of model guidance still takes this amazing looking weather system too far out to sea. The Canadian model is not so subtle by suggesting, "what storm?". The European shows a nice looking storm moving from the Gulf Coast to the Virginia Tidewater area, but the storm never takes a critical northward turn up the coast and rides innocently out into the Atlantic bringing rain and snow to areas much farther south. Even some of the American GFS ensemble members seem to suggest some internal strife in model-land. Interestingly, I have been told the GFS has recently had a "physics" upgrade which we all hope will improve the performance of a model that has performed quite bad this winter. It will have an early chance to prove its worth this weekend.

It is really just a timing question at this point. A clipper system is rotating through the Great Lakes just as this massive Gulf storm is strengthening. The American model is moving the southern energy along more efficiently allowing the upper air support from the clipper to inject its energy from behind, the we would prefer it. By moving the southern stream energy slower, the European shows the clipper system moving atop the Gulf storm, thus making it more difficult for the storm to make the northward turn. This is certainly a potentially big event and worth watching but the chances for big snow are still less than 50 percent right now. What was that line Jim Carrey unleashed in Dumb and Dumber ? "So your saying there's a chance".

Beyond Sunday La Nina will try and show its dark side again. One and perhaps two pushes of mild weather could impact the region between the middle of next week and the weekend of the 25th and 26th. It is still possible much of the mild air is confined to the Mid Atlantic and southeastern states so we will just wait and see.

So we found out today that there are organizations out making a concerted effort to poison the global warming debate with propaganda. The goal ? Plant the seeds of doubt and hope the garden grows. It worked, it seems half the country's political establishment feels the issue isn't even credible. The science is crap they say, look at what happened with climate-gate, the data was manipulated. Funny because if it doesn't come form a misguided politician, it comes from shadowy places and dark alleyways. Never does it actually come from a credible scientific group who are actually willing to go on the record with serious contradictory evidence. Well now, one of those dark alleyways got illuminated.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/science/earth/in-heartland-institute-leak-a-plan-to-discredit-climate-teaching.html

There is nothing wrong with being a skeptic and be cynical of the aggressive assertions made by the climate science community. I know plenty of people in my own circle who wear that with pride. To brush the issue aside as non-credible is just plain silly. Certain political leaders should be wasting less time trying to undermine climate scientists and more time assessing the actual risks involved with climate change and devising policies to deal with it accordingly. It isn't just about whether or not you like Al Gore, the stakes are much higher.

17 comments:

Eric said...

Just great. We have richies trying to protect what they have not understanding that everything they have will be gone if we dont act. Just look at 2011 and the magnitude of the storms the fact that winters continue to get more mild and or extreme. Guess it took a long time for people to recognize the earth wasn't flat, hopefully we will come together on this before it is to late.

Tim said...

Great comment, Josh. Really top-shelf info you're providing. I always wonder why weather people are so reluctant to discuss the elephant in the room. The Single Chair Blog is my go-to site for long range weather - please keep it going!

I'm consulting with my personal deities right now, trying to brew us up some snow to change the arc of this horrible, horrible winter. Bring it on, please!

Jim said...

Josh, I wonder what entomologists will have to say if/when some data comes together about messed up bug patterns. I NEVER can recall a winter in NH when my dog has ticks, or gnats are circling my porch light in February! As always, the animals are the first sign of real danger...

Jim said...

Oh yea, and we heard cicadas when we were hiking Stark this summer. Cicadas in Vermont?! I grew up in PA so I recognized the sound but my wife grew up in Peacham, VT and she had no idea what it was. Big red flag...

John said...

Josh, I respect your forecasting abilities but I do believe that you are missing the point on climate change. It is not that some folks are claiming that it is impossible but rather that they are trying to contain the potential damage caused by the rampant and indiscriminate "greening" of America. Climates change, that is a fact, whether humans are causing inappropriate change, that is the question. Our tendency as a society to shot first and ask questions later is irresponsible and can hurt a lot of people.

Joshua Fox said...

John, the point I am trying to make is that you have politically motivated special interests deliberately trying to ambush a non-political group of climate scientists and doing so with propaganda. Then you have a large faction of political leaders that seem content to not only be doubters but self-proclaimed experts on a field where they have no erudition. Its crazy !!! Would these same politicians and lobbyists be self proclaimed experts if they had to deal with a medical emergency for a loved-one or would they trust a doctor ? Why is this any different ?

I understand the questions John that you pose. Some of my closest friends and colleagues say the same thing. Even if climate change turns out to be total BS there are still things we can do, easy things, to help address the risk. What happened to Cap & Trade, a George Bush Sr initiative. We watched Duke Energy and Shell Oil spend millions opposing it, we watched how it gradually evolved into a "Carbon Tax" thanks to our friends at Fox News. Ask yourself why ? Do the likes of Shell Oil and Duke Energy have our environmental interests at heart ? Of course they don't. What happened to the Cross States Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). It would have phased out the dirtiest coal generators in the country. Many of those generating units were uneconomic anyway and would have been forced to decommission or install scrubbers and burn cleaner coal. CSAPR was temporarily killed by a district court in DC after intense pressure from the coal industry.

In my opinion we should do even more but it should be frustrating to everyone to watch simple and very achievable initiatives aimed at addressing the problem of greenhouse gases get destroyed by special interests that do not represent the wishes of you and me.

R Lawson said...

Heh, I really like your weather blog, but just thought I'd add this to the discussion:

>> Never does it actually come from a credible scientific group who are actually willing to go on the record with serious contradictory evidence. >>

Here are a few scientists with some "street cred" that would disagree.

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There's no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy.

Editor's Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB

10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

Joshua Fox said...

Read the article. This is political not scientific. Where is the serious contradictory evidence ? I would be so happy if it were real, believe me. The article cites 16 people, most of whom are not climate scientists (one a former senator and astranaut) who have a problem with the word "incontrovertible". Nothing wrong with those objections, I certainly can respect it and I hope they are right. But if they want to debate the science they have to come back with science not semantics.

In the end though it doesn't change the risk profile or the point I am making. Just because something may not be "incontrovertible" doesn't mean it isn't a risk. 98 percent of climate scientists is a consensus. The consensus of experts say (at the minimum) that it is a risk. We can treat it like a "risk" or we can trust all those special interest dollars who suggest do nothing.

EO said...

Here's an informed rebuttal of the nonsensical WSJ article.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/01/29/413961/panic-attack-murdoch-wall-street-journal-finds-16-scientists-long-debunked-climate-lies/?mobile=nc

brian said...

i just want a dump.......which for this season 6 inches would do. but i dont see it happening all the predictions of snow alway either miss us or it snows then rains after. awful season. skiing sucks

Eric said...

Josh, The consensus of experts is not that its a risk but the most substantial challenge humanity will ever face. If we look at any of the worlds major features, they are all in trouble. Ie acidification of our Oceans, Rainforests, Mountains, our forests, water supply etc etc. All of the things that are going on should hit every one of us like a good shot to the head. Most climate scientists concur that we have passed the tipping point on of all the worlds glaciers, look at last year with the storms worldwide and the record temps across the world, decreased food production, drought.

Nobody wants to change their quality of life, I get it. The earth is going to that for us, and it is going to happen quickly. Most climate scientists have no agenda Like James Hansen the NASA scientist who originally testified in 88 to congress on the facts of global climate change, and now worries about RUNAWAY global warming...just like it sounds deniers....read up on this stuff we dont have long to change our trajectory.

John said...

Josh:
I appreciate the thoughtful response. I agree that the political winds are doing the steering but am at a loss for a solution as a politician, Al Gore, was the one to bring this to the forefront. If the scientist had thing might be different.

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Tuck said...

I presume you've seen this? The Heartland Institute's plan to knock down Global Warming was faked:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/peter-gleick-admits-to-deception-in-obtaining-heartland-climate-files/

By Dr. Peter Glieck, a leading climate scientist.

Tuck said...

Whoops, here's that link in a clickable format:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/peter-gleick-admits-to-deception-in-obtaining-heartland-climate-files/

Benedict Gomez said...

Josh,

Any comments given that the issue you were so gravely concerned about a few days ago regarding Global Warming has turned out to be a fraud?

Benedict Gomez said...

Josh,

Any comments given that the issue you were so gravely concerned about a few days ago regarding Global Warming has turned out to be a fraud?