Half of the USA is covered in snow

This is something you don’t see every day. We recently heard that Canada had a white Christmas EVERYWHERE, the first time in four decades. Here we see that the USA has an increased albedo (surface reflectivity) for about 1/2 of it’s land area.  The increased albedo combined with low sun angle this time of year conspires to keep ice and snow unmelted.

Look for a long and extended winter weather pattern as we head towards the spring equinox, which can’t get here fast enough.

Here is a more colorful view of snow depth on Dec 25th from the National Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center:

Click for larger image

Jim G reports in comments:

On Dec 18th, the coverage was 59.4%

h/t to Ron de Haan and Fresh Bilge

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119 thoughts on “Half of the USA is covered in snow

  1. More climate scientists need to step away from their computer monitors, walk out of their “climate controlled” offices and discover the real world outside the building.

  2. Yup, a lot more people gonna be shovelin’ a lot more global warming this winter!! I’ll listen to the Farmers Almanac before the IPCC and Modelers.

  3. International Falls is running over 11 degrees below the December average so far this month based on NWS prelim. data summaries. Brrrrrrr

  4. Agree, it is rather snowy.

    And, here is a website from NOAA that shows the northern hemisphere ice (in yellow) and snow cover (in white). This is updated daily.

    “If it were not for global warming,
    We would all be living in igloos.”

  5. You’d think all that change in albedo would cause some sort of tipping point. The fact that it hasn’t tells me that the climate isn’t nearly as sensitive to internal changes as we’re led to believe.

  6. From Western NY, downwind of Lake Erie —

    With temps in the 40’s and some serious rain on Christmas Eve, the foot and a half of snow out front has diminished to a couple inches. Technically, a white Christmas was had, though it was more a covering of frozen white slush. Saturday promises more rain with temps nearing 60, which should pretty much finish off that white stuff by Sunday.

    Unfortunately, this is but a temporary reprieve. Until the lake finally freezes, we face not only the snow from the normal winter storm but also periodic lake effect snow events.

    Overall, with so much snow on the ground this early in the season, it looks like we’re facing a really long cold season.

  7. The tipping point is avoided so long as the snow appears only in the winter, when we get relatively little sunlight anyway. If we had 50% of the US covered in snow in July that would be a big problem.

    I used to have the impression that the precession of the equinox (about 24,000 years) would cause ice ages when the winters were farther from the sun and summers closer. More recently I’ve realized that the ice age would happen the other way around. It’s cold summers that causes ice ages; our albedo is lowest in the summer and so it is the distance of the earth to the sun in summer that influences norther hemisphere ice ages. Now I’m going to go look up the data and see if this agrees with what the experts are saying. It’s been decades since I’ve read any of this stuff.

  8. Mick (00:08:31) :

    To be fair to Paul it does mention “potential” for “some” record breaking warmth in the Midwest. Que sera, sera.

    Having watched precipitation events for the last couple of months, partly out of my dislike of HadleyMet/CRU and their pantomime villain predictions, I am not surprised by close to 60% snow coverage of the US. The amount of record precipitation events is very interesting and we will see extended and deeper cold in Jan/Feb/Mar. Couple that with moisture and we get chaos here in the UK where even the “wrong kind of leaves” will disrupt train travel and the average driver fails to appreciate the dynamics of rubber and oil forming as a layer over tarmac that water/snow then turns into “all icerinks lead to Rome”.

    I predict record sales of snow-chains ;-)

    “Oh no you don’t”.

  9. I’ve posted this before, but thought it is appropriate again here.

    (To the tune “Let it Snow)

    Oh the weather outside is frightful.
    But to the “skeptics” it’s so delightful.
    Temps have dropped down low.
    Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

    Al Gore promised global warming.
    But instead it’s been cold and storming.
    And solar activity has dropped way low.
    Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

    Since sunspots have dropped out of sight.
    A Global Cooling trend has started to form.
    Proves the “skeptics” are proven right,
    More CO2 does not cause Earth to warm.

    The Solar Cycle is still slowly dying,
    And Global Warming we are “good-bying”.
    So as long as sunspots stay at zero,
    Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

  10. The World is cooling, glaciers in the Alps will start to recover and I fear that Britain will have in the next two years a fearsome Winter ala 1947, I must admit at this juncture that a bit of Global Warming is not so bad!! I do not read climate models and I hope that I am wrong but I do read the signs Like the PDO and that tells me that the Northern Hemispere is cooling – the United States is feeling it now and we have saying over here that
    ;
    “what happens over there will happen over here.”

    Once again I hope that I’m wrong. In the studies I made when I studied Glaciology, always what fascinated and amazed was the fact that weather could change so rapidly and I am talking (as you are all aware) of years even months!!!

  11. Mick
    The headline on Drudge for this was Record Warmth. I agree with you, but that was the headline. Was it sarcastic?

  12. OT: Nice to see the Arctice sea ice extent has started to climb again. Anyone know why it stalled there for a few weeks? Canada (where most of the arctice sea ice is) has been in a deep freeze for the since around December 12, which is when the stall happened. While snow built up all over Canada, the sea ice stoped freezing. This is very odd to me.

  13. carlbrannen (23:16:29) :

    The tipping point is avoided so long as the snow appears only in the winter, when we get relatively little sunlight anyway. If we had 50% of the US covered in snow in July that would be a big problem.

    … It’s cold summers that causes ice ages; our albedo is lowest in the summer and so it is the distance of the earth to the sun in summer that influences norther hemisphere ice ages.

    In the 1970s during the news coverage about the incipient ice age (you know, the coverage that didn’t really happen), one suggestion was that if one winter’s snowfall didn’t melt during the following summer that would be enough trigger a rapid ice age. Flying across the country the following winter I concluded that the snow would have to cover all the conifers to have any hope of surviving the summer. Conifers are dark trees – I have a lot photos on Kodachrome 64 film, a fairly contrasty slide film. Pines and spruces in settings that include other ground or sky are nearly black, a lot less than the 18-19% refectance photographers expect from an average scene.

    So I got a lot less concerned about a new ice age. And I had nearly reconciled myself to getting to watch the start of a historic event. Sigh.

    This decade I had nearly reconciled myself to seeing New York City become the new Venice and Orlando develop a seacoast theme park. Fortunately I was holding out for the solar minimum that was expected a couple years ago and the next PDO flip. Still waiting for an official declaration of solar minimum. Still hoping for a paralyzing snow storm in Washington DC for Inauguration Day.

  14. We’re forecast for temps in the mid-60s around Boston on Sunday. That might not be “record”…but it’ll take care of what snow we have left. The rains and 50deg temps yesterday knocked off most of the 16″ I had at my house, probably down to about 4-5″ now, with some bare spots on the lawn.

    Very strange weather patterns.

    I finally took a look at Tamino’s site yesterday. Very interesting. They seem to take all of the jokes we make about “snow” being “proof” that there’s no AGW, and claim we’re being serious about the statements…kind of funny to read. Most of the posts seemed pretty self-righteous, at least to me.

    One thing I didn’t see was much scientific discussion.

    Oh well.

    JimB

  15. I’ve read (Was it Isaac Asimov?) that the thing that starts an ice age is an increase in precipitation. Apparently the extra snow lasts longer into each summer which cools the earth until it hits the “tipping point”. So I guess that’s a reverse tipping point.

    At this site:

    http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

    You can look at the last three years and see the trend on maximum snow depth in the continental USA.
    12-26-2006-418.4″
    12-26-2007-597.3″
    12-26-2008-719.2″

    The last one is almost 60′ deep. I guess it’s somewhere in the Rockies. I wonder how much of it is compressing into ice?
    If you check summer dates you can see that more snow is hanging around through the summer.
    Probably means nothing but it IS interesting.

  16. Karl Brennen: “It’s cold summers that causes ice ages”
    December with La Nina in Lima,Peru (Now) Max.Temp:24°C, Min:18°C
    December with 1998 El Nino, same place, Max.Temp.32°, Min:…
    If, as it is obvious, there´s a temperature lag in the oceans ( a time for heating up and a time for cooling down) something happened a few years before or years before that 98´ El Nino, though Dr.Leif says nothing unusual happened just in 98 it would be interesting to revise figures before this event. (We know what happened after…the warming hysteria)

  17. As I’m driving today from the mid-South, through Tennessee, Kentucky, and up into southern Ohio, I’m thankful that the “record warmth” that Paul is referring to will keep the roads free of ice and snow. I hope this warming continues until after the new year, when I return home.

    But I’ve got my chains, just in case. ;)

  18. That snow coverage looks very close to the ice coverage at the end of the last ice age . . . a little further south in the west, but darn close.

    Is the map trying to tell us something. We are right on schedule for the next ice age as this current interglacial period is very long in the tooth.

  19. Let’s see. Dec. 18th, coverage 59.4%, Dec. 26th 49.7% ??!!?? From this url http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/index.html?region=National&year=2008&month=12&day=18&units=e
    posted above by Jim G (22:34:34). Does this make sense? The record snowfall for Aspen Mtn. in Dec. is about 80″. They’ve had over 100″ this year, so far. Expecting another 5-10″ today, with about 15″ yesterday. I’ve got 2-3 hours of work to clear my drive this AM, time for a hearty breakfast.

  20. The downside of alternate and renewable, clean energy technologies. The reality of “new-old” technologies sets-in.

    New opportunity for entrepreneurs: Solar panel and turbine blade defrosters.
    ————————————————————-
    Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/business/26winter.html?_r=4&adxnnl=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1230300295-m38cWwO1E79yQnnfwx6riA

    Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy.

    This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine.

  21. ” Still hoping for a paralyzing snow storm in Washington DC for Inauguration Day. ”

    I second the motion. A blizzard so bad that the swearing in must be done indoors and the speech as well, forcing Obambi to strike out the passages about global warming and the need to combat it.

  22. “So what about the record warmth being forecast?..”
    Paul

    Didn’t you know? This is warm Global Warming snow….

  23. What about the 10 degree drop in wintertime temps we got this year?
    Alright, who’s the wise guy? Who shrunk the ionosphere?
    All that darn warming, and our winter is back to what it was 100 – 150 years ago.
    The sign says “Welcome to Freezerville”.

  24. We had a welcome bout of thawing yesterday, but there’s still a lot of snow left, and the snowploughs haven’t reached our little corner of Vancouver Island for the past three days so travel is still difficult out here in the boonies. Sidewalks on the way into Nanaimo are up to three feet plus deep in snow, and snow is still coming down.

    “Weather isn’t climate.” Well next time there’s a nice warm day and the pro AGW crowd are clamouring that it’s the ‘nth warmest on record’ and ‘we should do something’, maybe those of us on the skeptical side of the fence should remind them; it’s just weather, the cyclic behaviour of which we have little or no influence over.

    Last Canadian White Christmas in 1971? Oh well, the next one won’t be back for another forty or so years and maybe we can have a nice Christmas barbeque instead as usual next year. In the meantime; back to shovelling.

  25. Roger Sowell (22:45:46) :

    Agree, it is rather snowy….

    “If it were not for global warming,
    We would all be living in igloos.”

    The really good news is that Global Warming may be over.

    The really-really bad news is that Global Warming may be over.

  26. Nobody here is thinking ahead much. What will happen in spring when all of this snow/ice accumulation starts thawing out?

  27. carlbrannen (23:16:29) :

    The tipping point is avoided so long as the snow appears only in the winter, when we get relatively little sunlight anyway. If we had 50% of the US covered in snow in July that would be a big problem.

    If that were so we’d never have gotten out of the first ice age which occurred. There are forces which drive the albedo, not the other way around, IMHO. Albedo, CO2, they’re followers not leaders.

  28. Our nearest lake has about 8 inches of ice already. Thank goodness we live in one of the “banana belts” of Montana or it would be thicker. It has been horrific over East and North of Billings with lots of sub-zero and wind.

  29. David Segesta (08:52:17) : Covering that much desert with foil and expecting it to stay in one place with wind and all? I think those guys are wearing aluminum foil hats.

    Dell Hunt: Without Global Warming, I’m not sure many of us would be living at all. Food production depends on being able to grow food. :)

    In southern CO, some of our snow has evaporated, but we are supposed to get more this afternoon. Last year I had 130 consecutive days of some snow in the back yard, beating the old record of 76 days. Only 26 so far this year.

  30. Back into the 80’s this weekend here on the southwest coast of Florida. Sorry.

  31. problems with mass of atmosphere calculations:

    assume 90 percent of the atmosphere is within 20 km.

    the volume of the 20 km is 8000 *4/3 *pi or about 32000 km^3

    this is about 3 e18 liters. Since the average density in those 20 km is about about .4 there is about 40 liters per mole or about
    7.5 e 16 moles of gas in the total atmosphere. this is about e3 to e4 different than the usual 10^20 moles of gas quoted in the literature. what am I doing wrong?

  32. Pretty soon you are going to be telling us because only 1/2 the country is covered in snow, it’s a sure sign of man caused global warming.

  33. Europe is just starting into one of thire coldest weather patterns in decades right now as well, after near record snow this autumn in the Alps, Pyrenees and North Africa.

  34. Jeff (06:05:20) :

    Jeff, that is one strange looking curve.

    Note, those who like to follow these things should capture that image. I think it’s volatile.

  35. Roger Sowell’s link doesn’t work [it appears that a subscription is required], but there is a fascinating exchange in the Letters to the Editor section: click

    Dr. Latour’s deconstruction of AGW is well worth reading [see "Author's reply" following the first letter].

  36. As a native of one of the farthest northerly states, blanketed with snow, I am now happy to be a transplant to one of the most southerly states…without snow! Sorry family!!

  37. Smokey (12:23:54) — Thanks for the assist. This is the same site I was trying to link to.

    This article is fascinating, I agree. I would like to read others’ assessment of Dr. Latour’s argument.

    Below is a brief bio of Dr. Pierre Latour, excerpted from an article found at

    http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2004/236.html

    Pierre R. Latour is “a recognized authority in process automation technology and successful entrepreneur in several process control ventures. Latour began his career in the early 1960s with DuPont and Shell Oil after receiving a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Purdue.

    He worked on the first Shell computer control project (FCC–Deer Park Refinery 1966). A two-year tour as a captain in the U.S. Army followed at NASA’s Manned Space Flight Center managing the Apollo Docking Simulator development.

    After mustering out, Latour co-founded Biles & Associates (later acquired by Invensys) and Setpoint (later acquired by Aspen Technology). Latour served in a business development capacity as Vice President at Aspen prior to launching his current consultancy–CLIFFTENT, Inc.”

  38. Jamie,

    “Nobody here is thinking ahead much. What will happen in spring when all of this snow/ice accumulation starts thawing out?”

    Well, here in the West (Southern Colorado) all that snow/ice becomes water going down the Arkansas (that’s pronounced Ark-an-saw here) River to irrigate farm fields so the rest of the world will have food (or raw materials for bio-fuels)

    They’ve been thinking ahead like that for more than a century here…

    Mike

  39. Catherine, please cite your references for your contention that melting glaciers produces more moisture which falls as snow.

  40. In craggy mountain areas, some snow will melt into rivers for sure but most of it melts into the ground and feeds deep underground reservoirs and shallow ground water. A case in point, the Metolius River in Central Oregon simply appears out of the base of a mossy hillside just East of the Cascades, fully formed as a smallish river. That river comes from snow melt. The amount and temperature of water coming out of the hillside varies only a tiny amount. Even in times of drought.

  41. Catherine (13:30:53) :

    It’s called global warming people. Since the glaciers are melting, there is more moisture and that turns into snow.

    Catherine, most glacier ice is not right at 0 degrees C, ready to melt at the slightest hint of warming. Most of the world’s glaciers are well below freezing.

    That being the case, can you explain your belief that a temporary 0.6 degree C rise in the global temperature [which has since been completely reversed] is causing the planet’s glaciers to melt?

  42. Michael J. Bentley (14:04:11) :
    Jamie,

    “Nobody here is thinking ahead much. What will happen in spring when all of this snow/ice accumulation starts thawing out?”

    Well, here in the West (Southern Colorado) all that snow/ice becomes water going down the Arkansas (that’s pronounced Ark-an-saw here) River to irrigate farm fields so the rest of the world will have food (or raw materials for bio-fuels)

    Hopefully not leading to extensive flooding such as occurred last spring?

  43. Here in Portland, we have broken all existing weather records for the month of December. Our storms started about 10 days ago and personally I am tired of all of our events, including Christmas Services, being cancelled. Fortunately, we are now thawing out and will be able to attend all of the postponed events including Christmas programs. http://www.pdxfirefly.com

  44. Re: Catherine (13:30:53) :

    If the air is warm enough to melt the glaciers, isn’t it too warm to snow?

    Take your time . . .’

  45. My son is an executive team leader at a Target store in Portland, Oregon, and spent most of his days lately ferrying workers back and forth to their store locations. I don’t remember ever having to don chains to drive downtown. I don’t think this series of storms will be the last.

  46. Phil,

    Hey! what happens down stream stays down stream! (Wait a minute is that lost wages???) Actually down here on the flatlands (Pueblo, CO) it was a pretty dry year. The mountains got the precip, and gave us plenty of water, but south Colorado remained in character – a pretty dry grassland or wet desert.

    So far this year has been somewhat warm, with low precip in the mountains and less down here. I hear the mountain snowpacks are increasing though. Snow or rain predicted for tonight. I hope we get a little, I just hate watering the patch of grass (small) and ornamentals in mid-winter…

    Happy New Year!

    Mike

  47. We live in Southwest Colorado and at one time had 8 feet of snow on the ground in January 2007. So far this year we have about 4 1/2 ft of snow on the ground and more to come. Most years we can see the ground. Some of the old timers tell me that it has been 15 – 20 years since they recall snow levels like the past two years…

  48. Does anyone know of any “hotspots” that might affect this months temperature data? I know Russia had record heat until recently.

    What I’m really hoping for is another very very cold January which will affect the 2009 temps downwards.

  49. Jaime (09:50:13) :

    Nobody here is thinking ahead much. What will happen in spring when all of this snow/ice accumulation starts thawing out?

    Last year central New Hampshire may have missed setting an all time record for snowfall because the Co-op observer took a vacation. I’m just north of Concord, and got more than the record, but I was in the middle of axis of most snow for a couple storms. Concord did record more snow than any year in the 20th century.

    The area lucked out – spring warmed gradually and didn’t bring much rain so no flooding. However, some of our worst floods have been from warm rains on snow.

    Last year on this date I had 15″ of snow, this year about 7″.

  50. well (08:09:45) :
    Roger Sowell (08:09:45) :
    “Chemical Engineers Know AGW is Bunk

    Not only scientists are skeptics. Recently Dr. Pierre R. Latour, world-renowned PhD and professional licensed chemical engineer, offered this scathing analysis of the entire matter.

    http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/index.html?Page=14&PUB =22&SID=715446&ISS=25220&GUID=D5E78EC9-18EA-4C76-9A48-D4D92 79140FB”

    Roger, The link does not deliver.
    Do you have another link to find the article?
    Thanks.

  51. Tonight in the Los Angeles area, the low temperature is forecast as 29 degrees. A year ago it was 43. The record low for Dec 26 was 35, in 1987.

    In the surrounding mountains and valleys it will be a bit colder.

    Brrrr….especially for southern California!

  52. Question (16:48:22) :

    You can get a rough idea here.

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html

    Replace the 07 in the URL with 30 to get the 30 days average. (You will not find a hot spot in Canada.)

    Unfortunately, the brackets are a bit wide, so it’s not fool-proof for predicting how the monthlies are going to turn out. You should check the SST anomalies as well. For that, check the link in Per Strandberg (15:20:46) comment above.

  53. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and we unfortunately spoiled the EVERYWHERE. It was sunny, mostly green and +10C here on Christmas Day. Snowed the day before though. Many other parts of Nova Scotia were snow-covered. Halifax is often south of the jet stream as it runs up through the province, and we would normally have about a 50-50 chance of a white Christmas. We are further south than Seattle though. Hey Santa brought “The Chilling Stars”; very interesting so far. Happy New Year, all!

  54. Catherine (13:30:53) :

    It’s called global warming people. Since the glaciers are melting, there is more moisture and that turns into snow.

    Hmm, more snow would mean glaciers would grow, not shrink. It also has to be cold enough to snow, ya know.

  55. Ron de Haan and Roger Carr:

    That link doesn’t work. But you can read a very interesting response from the same Dr. Latour here. [It's the second letter down, under the heading "Author's Reply".] Well worth reading, IMHO.

  56. Ron de Haan, Roger Carr, yes, that link seems broken. Smokey has a better link to it, see his post of 20:56:32. And, thanks again, Smokey.

    The link Smokey provided is to the same article I referred to.

  57. Smokey (20:56:32).
    Thanks, Smokey. Very, very interesting material in your link. The “Author;s Reply” is compelling reading. Delighted in these two clips from it:

    ” I have learned to read the fine print to confirm whether the scientific methods of Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Albert Einstein, competent physicians, car mechanics and refinery engineers have been violated. Analysis before synthesis, always.”

    “This was when President John F. Kennedy charged competent control engineers rather than lawyers to design national control systems.”

  58. I just hope everyone in the AGW camp is happy to be paying additional taxes (there coming…) to switch on the heating….

  59. Patrick Henry (12:20:05) :
    Europe is just starting into one of thire coldest weather patterns in decades right now as well, after near record snow this autumn in the Alps, Pyrenees and North Africa.

    I’m not sure which bit of Europe you are referring to, but I think your comments are a bit wide of the mark right now. I was ski-ing in Europe XMas/New Year of 1984/5 in France and we had minus thirty Centigrade for a fortnight or so – the fuel in the bus taking us home solidified so the driver had to inject antifreeze after hacking open the fuel tank! We got back home to snow in London. It’s green here right now.

    There is no analagous freeze right now in Western Europe. Temperatures in Scandinavia are around freezing. Temperatures in the Alps are around freezing. Temperatures in the UK are about normal.

    Please would you clarify your comments and provide a data source. Including a source for a future ‘big freeze up’. I’d appreciate it for future planning.

  60. From the BBC “Erratic weather ‘harms wildlife'”

    quotes
    insects have all suffered from a cold, late spring
    Bees were hit hard in April by frost and snow
    The cold and wet October
    wet and cold June

    Not one metion of warm conditions but dont worry its not global warming its climate change so its still all our fault.
    “Climate change is not some future prediction of what might happen, it’s happening now and having a serious impact on our countryside every year.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7800869.stm

  61. Looking forward to some of this winter weather. Hope it gets here.

    I know that this group is big on anecdotal observations so here are some anecdotals from someone who has lived here in Northern Vermont USA for 55 years.

    Today I hear my neighbor’s maple sugar line pumps working as we head into the second thaw this week. Used to be sugaring happened in March, now the trees are tapped and sugar houses steaming December -March.

    Lake Champlain has not frozen across in a decade at least and will not again this year. Last year the larger bays barley froze. Ice fishing was a limited event.

    While last February was the snowiest on record for Burlington , the end of February saw about and inch of snow on the ground. That because of the prodigious rainfall that accompanied each snowfall.

    A good indicator of cold here is lack of snowfall. When it’s struggling to get out of the single digits F during the day and -20 or -30F at night for a week or two each January and again in Feb, it doesn’t snow here. That hasn’t happened for a decade or more either.

    The January thaw, which used to come in late January and stay for a few days, now occupies most of January and is bleeding into December and March.

    Lilacs still are past bloom for Memorial day in Burlington (my mother used to cut them for the family graves on Memorial Day).

    So all wintery hub bub that I read about in this blog would be attributed by us old timers to simple flatlander hype as we sit in our rockers about the Round Oak wood burners in the local general store. ‘Cuz if this is winter, you ain’t never seen winter.

    Still hoping that you all are right about global warming, but just not seeing it here in Fletcher where all climate is local.

  62. Roger Carr (22:00:08) :
    Smokey (20:56:32).
    Thanks, Smokey. Very, very interesting material in your link. The “Author’s Reply” is compelling reading.

    Not to mention such nonsense as this!

    “No planet has ever had its temperature intelligently controlled,”

  63. Patrick Henry et al,

    I see in my original post I was more general than I intended. Pueblo is in the southeastern part of the state at the very start of the “Great Plains”. Yes, I agree, the Colorado mountains are getting slapped hard with this series of storms. The ski areas are measuring feet of snow. It doesn’t take a lot of altitude to get into it either. We’re just over 5100 feet here, and at about 6K things start to change.

    Eastern Colorado near the “Front Range” (of the Rocky Mountains) is full of areas where weather can vary widely in just a few miles. Pueblo is one of those areas that doesn’t get much precip usually. I’m told by long time residents we’re in a “rain shadow”.

    According to today’s paper Pueblo has about ten and a half inches of precip for the year, with about 12 and a half being normal. Snow for this season is about four inches, with more than 14 being normal.

    A few miles (literally) up the hill, small communities are digging out from a bunch of snow. We could see it yesterday on the Wet Mountains, but here it topped out at almost 50 F. Today, we’ll be around 32 F. Ain’t weather interesting?!

    Mike

  64. Dan, if you really want to make sense of the fact that it is raining in some places, snowing in others, freezing and dry in still other places, and sunny somewhere else, check out jet stream patterns here:

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html

    You can add to that a standard weather site that allows you to look at cold and warm fronts around the globe, precipitable water and water vapor on land and sea, cloud-top pressure, etc. I would add a global study of ocean currents and the cyclical nature of these currents. The more global your study, the better understanding you will have. The deeper you go in the study, the more overwhelming evidence you will discover about the strength of these various unstable and fairly stable weather drivers.

    As for me, I don’t go along with the notion that weather is anecdotal. Weather is where it’s at. Weather is data. And as data, it is very informative. Climate can be learned in any grade school science text book, is very much tied to landforms in relation to sources of moisture, and is therefor relatively stable over 1000’s of years (temperate climates, desert climates, high mountain climates, etc are easily understood, very stable, and assigned on a long term basis to our landforms). Weather is far more difficult to wrap your brain around and is worth studying. It is also more important than climate studies. Weather is often an immediate danger and can kill within 24 hours of arrival. Weather driver change (such as a current flip) can also bring decades of cold or warmth, forcing rather quick adaptations and much suffering, or on the other hand, profit. Climate has no such data to focus on.

    Trust me, farmers could not give a rat’s ass about climate change. They do study weather patterns and trends. Closely. If they don’t, you don’t eat. So the next person who says that weather is anecdotal, try not eating for a day and then come back and write about the importance of weather versus climate.

  65. addendum:

    The dust bowl era was a real thought changer for farmers and ranchers across the US. Instead of quickly adapting to the dryer weather trend, farmers kept trying to grow corn where corn would no longer flourish. And they kept at it year after year till they lost their farm. The devastating effects of not quickly recognizing and adapting to weather trends was branded deep into the psyche of farmers everywhere. Slowly but surely, more effort was given to studying weather trends and farming practices, such as the use of strip farming as a way to work around periods of low rain fall. University research centers began studying frost/freeze resistant crops when weather trends turned cold. Up until now, farmers did a good job being flexible with their growing practices. I’m not so sure now. My concern of late has been that some newer farmers, and large corporate farms with money to lose, have forgotten those lessons and have sunk all their eggs into produce that is either not able to withstand changing weather trends or are not geared up to readily replace a crop with something else when weather trends turn against their current crop. We could be returning to the pre-dust bowl era when farmers thought that their current weather trend was a long-term, decades long environment that would assure their crop’s success in perpetuity. God forbid that farmers are led to believe that the climate is getting warmer. Let us hope instead that farmers study weather.

  66. Pamela, Thanks for the jetstream link, and your comments on weather, but mostly for the interesting perspective that weather is not only a single or multiple day event, but has multi-decadal trends. It is this latter that the catastrophic AGWers have mistaken for climate. People that have to be, or even want to be out in the weather take it much more seriously than the inconvenience of precipitation or cold/hot temperatures most look at weather as. Not dressing for the worst conditions can be fatal. Interestingly, These conditions always involve cold…

  67. Yes especially in areas near Northern Atlantic, temperatures seems to change a lot:
    In general, the AMO is still warm, bringing warm Atlantic waters north. At the same time we have Cold PDO in the Pacific and a sun slumbering perhaps like in the Dalton minimum.

    But if you check out Africa, South America, Australia and more it has been slightly more steady cooling for months.

    If you look at daytoday UAH temps, it appears the UAH for dec seems to be headed to for a dip down to the level of 2007 DEC, slightly higher.

    The interesting part is, that in 2007 DEC we had a quite powerful La Nina, but this year we seem to make almost same level without a powerful La Nina.

  68. Pamela,
    Thanks for your take on the difference between climate and weather. It is very different than what has been thrown around lately, but it certainly has the ring of truth. Because of this insight of yours I have begun to think a little differently, which is almost always a good thing. For one thing, the Global Climate Models should obviously be called Global Weather Models. These models should, therefore be updated weekly, and should match the previous weeks weather perfectly. Also they should not be counted on for anything whatsoever beyond a week. Anything that we call a climate model, on the other hand should run for a hundred years. At the end of the hundred years we will take a look and see how it did… :)

  69. : Anyone know why [Arctic sea ice extent] stalled there for a few weeks?,/q>

    http://www.nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    “Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean stayed well above average during November, partly because of continued heat release from the ocean to the atmosphere and partly because of a pattern of atmospheric circulation transporting warm air into the region.”
    [...]
    “The period of very rapid increase in ice extent that characterized October and early November has ended. The rise in ice extent through the remainder of November and early December has been much slower. The daily rate of ice growth has slowed simply because there is less physical room for ice to grow: the area of open water shrinks as ice fills it.”
    [...]
    “Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean stayed warm through November, partly because of continued ocean-to-atmosphere heat transfer. However, some of the warmest anomalies were located well north of the open water areas seen in September. This regional pattern of warming points to the strong role of atmospheric circulation, pumping warm air into the region from the south.”
    [...]
    “In November, winds between the high-pressure cell north of Alaska and the unusually low-pressure cell on the Atlantic side of the Arctic Ocean have brought warmer-than-average air into the region. This is consistent with the pattern of temperature anomalies shown in Figure 3.”

  70. I believe this letter from Pierre R. Latour referenced in several comments above can play a critical role in returning truth and balance to climate science.
    It is comprehensive. Powerful. Exacting.
    I urge all who read here to send the link to as wide a public as possible.
    href=”http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/index.html?Page=14&PUB=22&SID=715446&ISS=25220&GUID=D5E78EC9-18EA-4C76-9A48-D4D9279140FB” target=”_blank”>HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

    Due to it being published as a “letter of reply” it is useful to add the following information when sending this link out as it is not immediately apparent where the letter is:

    Letters to the Editor: “Is the Earth’s thermostat surging forward or limping into retrograde?”
    This is my reply to the comments of Jeff Temple.
    Pierre R. Latour, PhD, PE. Houston, Texas

  71. Another try at that link to the Pierre R. Latour letter:
    href=”http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/index.html?Page=14&PUB=22&SID=715446&ISS=25220&GUID=D5E78EC9-18EA-4C76-9A48-D4D9279140FB” target=”_blank”>HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

  72. They didn’t have Monsanto, and the other crazy gene-splicers in the thirties. I’ve often thought that if I was absolutely forced ,at the point of a gun, to place a bet on the next decade’s climate I’d try to find out what the seed companies are working on.

  73. Dr. Latour is incredible. For those of you who don’t know, he works on models. However, his models work and control things. Those big, massive oil refineries and chemical plants are run by some of his models. Bottom line is this guy understands “DYNAMICS” and also the pitfalls of models. If his models are wrong, things blow up.

    So if he has reviewed the modeling and found big problems, you can bet there are big problems. His example of convective heat transfer is a prime example. Global models are concerned about radiant heat transfer, but convective heat transfer is much more powerful.

  74. Pamela Gray wrote:

    My son is an executive team leader at a Target store in Portland, Oregon, and spent most of his days lately ferrying workers back and forth to their store locations. I don’t remember ever having to don chains to drive downtown. I don’t think this series of storms will be the last.

    So true. My sister had to drive to work from downtown Portland. She now plans on buying chains…as soon as the stores have stock. Apparently, they’re sold out.

  75. James D, Roger Carr, and others who read the Latour article:

    he is a world-renowned expert in process control. I never met him, but know him by reputation and from working with others who worked for him at Setpoint in Houston.

    I also worked in dozens of oil refineries and petrochemical plants around the world, as a chemical engineer, and dealt with many models of those processes. We had both the steady-state and dynamic process models, and the process controls used both along with optimizers.

    The point I want to make is that Dr. Latour is absolutely correct when he maintains that it is impossible to control the Earth’s temperature by manipulating CO2 in the atmosphere. To control a system, there must be a proven, repeatable, dependable response between the controlled variable and the manipulated variable. As we now know from several good studies, there is no proven response of average Earth temperature (or climate) to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    We also know that whatever weak relationship exists, Dr. Latour has it as 0.6 degrees C in 33 years, it is not repeatable. We have data that shows CO2 rose while average temperature fell. And, vice-versa.

    Further, in the world of process control, we try to manipulate the variable(s) that have the strongest effect on the controlled variable, not the weakest. In the case of climate, the strong variables include solar output, and water vapor in the atmosphere. Since both of these are difficult or impossible to control (absent a space-mounted solar shield), we are left with adjustments to reflectivity or albedo.

    It appears that a part of Earth’s self-regulatory albedo mechanism is already kicking in this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, as evidenced by the abundant snow and the wide extent.

    Stay tuned, sports fans. This article by Dr. Pierre Latour has stirred up many people. Hydrocarbon Processing has a huge following world-wide. It will be very interesting to watch as the AGW crowd attempts to discredit him. I predict they will start by saying he knows not whereof he speaks, because refinery control systems have time responses on the order of a few seconds up to a couple of hours, but planetary climate change has a time lag measured in hundreds of years.

    The AGW crowd will also likely say that climate modeling is far more complex than anything Dr. Latour has dealt with, and on that one they would be wrong. There are few things on this planet more complex from a control standpoint than a refinery unit known as a Fluidized Catalytic Cracker, or FCC as we call it. The FCC has around one hundred measured variables, at least two dozen of which are independent. The variables are highly interactive, thus the need for the sophisticated control algorithms perfected by Dr. Latour.

    Dr. Latour’s controls are used successfully on many hundreds of process units world-wide, operating 24/7, and have done so for decades.

  76. Roger Sowell (23:35:20) Thanks for that important (and impressive) background on Dr. Latour.

    I find his letter quite stirring and inspirational and will do all I can to spread it. Perhaps, Anthony. you would consider featuring it?

  77. Anthony, good morning, sir! Wonderful blog, this!

    A word of caution, regarding the suggestion to feature Dr. Latour’s comments on WUWT. And, to Roger Carr, I fully appreciate and concur with the spirit in which the suggestion was made, to disseminate more widely important information. I have done exactly that by publishing the link not only on this forum, but also on a few other blogs and sending the link to many in my email address book.

    However, articles and letters-to-editor in Hydrocarbon Processing are copyrighted, so I would suggest contacting Mr. Les Kane, Editor, for written permission first. I received written permission from Mr. Kane to re-publish on my own website an article I wrote and had published in HP some years ago. He was quite gracious, requiring only that I include proper attribution to the original publication. I was glad to do it.

  78. From above: Frank. Lansner (13:05:58) :

    “If you look at daytoday UAH temps, it appears the UAH for dec seems to be headed to for a dip down to the level of 2007 DEC, slightly higher.”

    Where are day-to-day UAH temperatures available at? I’ve only seen the end-of-month graphs. Sure, like the stock market, sunspots, or the weather, you can’t change or influence day-to-day temperatures, but it is interesting to watch….A train wreck coming.

  79. “Pamela Gray (09:54:34) :

    Dan, if you really want to make sense of the fact that it is raining in some places, snowing in others, freezing and dry in still other places, and sunny somewhere else, check out jet stream patterns here:”

    Pamela

    The point of my post was to indicate that, while I see a lot of anecdotal posting of cold events on WUWT as implied indications of global cooling, back here at the Fletcher PO and General Store, we are seeing consistent year to year anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I don’t see jet stream considerations being taking into account to explain the cold events, so why resort to non anecdotal evidence to explain the warm events? I consider myself skeptical of all arguments on climate change and would incorporate both groups of anecdotal evidence in my evaluation process if I was to use anecdotal evidence. Thanks for the links in any case.

  80. So true. My sister had to drive to work from downtown Portland. She now plans on buying chains…as soon as the stores have stock. Apparently, they’re sold out.

    I didn’t need chains up on Whidbey Island, my 4×4 F250 did just fine in the foot of snow we ended up with after a week. My wife’s small economy car, however, only just now has been able to get out after a week and a half.

  81. Here in Copenhagen the temperatures appears to dive through the floor in the new year:

    @Robert A Cook PE
    The UAH day-to-day:

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps

    Press “draw graph”.
    Nov 2008 UAH: 0,26
    DEC 2007 UAH: 0,11
    difference 0,15K or around 0,3 F. So if not UAH in average is 0,3F higher than last year, we will see dive from nov 2008 to dec 2008.
    The last 2 days difference where higher than +0,3F but else far from.

    I know that there are different sorts of adjustments to be used when calculating precisely, so “you never know for sure” the monthly result.

  82. It appears that a part of Earth’s self-regulatory albedo mechanism is already kicking in this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, as evidenced by the abundant snow and the wide extent.

    I disagree. The snow was a result of cold are from the north. The cold air was NOT a result of snow. As soon as the cold air mass passed through, our temps went back to “normal” for December here in Western Washington. If albedo had anything to do with it we would have gotten colder and colder. As it was the initial cold blast was the worst, plunging us into the teens. After the snow fell, it went up near 30 and stayed there for a few days.

  83. Jeff Alberts (15:11:32)

    Possibly, but Western Washington alone is not the whole story.

    Check this out for snow cover in North America.

  84. Warm day in New Hampshire today. Here at home a warm front brought temps from 35F to 56 at 1400 (2PM). A cold front came through a couple hours later. While the new air is dryer, it hasn’t cooled off much. We’ll be back to below normal by the time 2009 starts.

    The warm day was much appreciated for clearing snow and ice of around our yurt, though when we got there it and most everything else was covered in heavy dew.

    Dew points above freezing make for a remarkable amount of snowmelt. An old reference to “Snow eating fog” has it backward – the snow chills the air and as water vapor condenses on snow and in air, snow melt and fog happen.

  85. Dan, you said,
    ” while I see a lot of anecdotal posting of cold events on WUWT as implied indications of global cooling…”

    I don’t believe that Anthony is trying to imply anything of the sort. At the top of the page you can see what drives this blog:

    “Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts”

    To ascribe any other motivations to Anthony is, I believe simply incorrect.

  86. Dan Gibson (05:59:10) :

    While last February was the snowiest on record for Burlington , the end of February saw about and inch of snow on the ground. That because of the prodigious rainfall that accompanied each snowfall.

    Seems to me there was 2 rain events in Burlington last February. One on the 1st (.61″) and another on the 18th (.32″). And the snowcover at the end of the month was 10″, not the 1″ you so claim.

    A good indicator of cold here is lack of snowfall. When it’s struggling to get out of the single digits F during the day and -20 or -30F at night for a week or two each January

    Just go back and look a mere 4 years ago to January 2004. 10 days with highs in the single digits or below zero and 10 nights of low temperatures -10°F or less; the lowest being -20°F on 1/15. Snowfall that month was 14.9″ but came in only .47″ of liquid equivalent and the monthly temperature departure was -9.2°F.

    You can’t expect near record cold all the time.

  87. “It’s called global warming people. Since the glaciers are melting, there is more moisture and that turns into snow.”

    Yes, yes, this is a new understanding of science. When the earth warms, due to mankind exhaling CO2, it causes a backlash of cold that freezes the planet. See who horrible this all is? It’s getting hot, melting the glaciers, then that causes the earth to freeze. People need to stop breathing out CO2 – or they should pay a tax for the privilege. Or we’re all gonna die! We’re gonna burn up and freeze to death, all at the same time!

    [Um, snip ~ Evan]

  88. Tc jr. (21:33:17) :

    Dan Gibson (05:59:10) :

    While last February was the snowiest on record for Burlington , the end of February saw about and inch of snow on the ground. That because of the prodigious rainfall that accompanied each snowfall.

    Seems to me there was 2 rain events in Burlington last February. One on the 1st (.61″) and another on the 18th (.32″). And the snowcover at the end of the month was 10″, not the 1″ you so claim.

    I track snowfall and snow depth for several locations around New England at http://wermenh.com/sdd/index.html . Unfortunately, I don’t have time to record data from Coop observer reports, though that may be getting to be something I could automate. I do go out of my way to track the “famous Mt. Mansfield snowstake” near Stowe, but my web pages only have monthly data.

    I’ve concluded that snow depth is nearly as awful a way to gauge climate as are Atlantic Hurricanes. However, it is interesting. While Burlington had 1″ (or was that 10″) at the end of February, I had 34″ near Concord NH on the morning of Feb 29th. (The peak depth of the season was the next morning, 39″, far, far above average.) Over at the snow stake, they had 87″. I get that data from a site that Pierre should like, http://www.uvm.edu/skivt-l/?Page=.%2Fmansel.php3&dir=. Other than the latish start and earlyish end, their season had well above average snow depth.

  89. Roger Sowell (15:58:52) :

    Possibly, but Western Washington alone is not the whole story.

    Check this out for snow cover in North America.

    I know, wasn’t trying to imply that it was. But I’ll wager the same cold air mass hit the rest of the now snow-covered places in much the same way. The cold had to come first, otherwise it wouldn’t have snowed.

    As I’ve said before, it’s blatantly apparent to me that albedo is a follower and not a leader or driver.

  90. Ric Werme (05:25:55) :

    ” And the snowcover at the end of the month was 10″, not the 1″ you so claim.”

    You know, you are correct. I checked-the snow’s were down to 1 inch or so 2 weeks later. So much for anecdotal memory.

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