82 million to see at least inch of snow in East Coast Blizzard: What does history say?

Before pundits and poor scientists begin pronouncing the expected east coast winter “storm of the century” to be a direct product of global warming/climate change/climate disruption, one might take a lesson from historical climatology.

2015-blizzard-watch


 

What Does the Peer-Reviewed Literature Say About Trends in East Coast Winter Storms?

Commentary by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. (reposted from his website with permission)

hirschecws

The image above comes from a 2001 paper by Hirsch et al. (here in PDF) titled, An East Coast Winter Storm Climatology. The top curve shows all East Coast winter storms, and the bottom shows the most intense storms. for the period 1948 to 1997.

As the figure implies, they concluded in that analysis:

the frequency of ECWS show a downward tendency over the study period but at insignificant levels. One test found a decreasing trend in strong ECWS significant for an alpha = 0.10.

So there was no trend 1948 to 1997, or a slightly downward trend. This is interesting because over the latter half of that period one analysis (Willett et al. 2010) found an increase in the water content of the lower atmosphere over the US East Coast. So those who argue for a simple relationship between increasing water content of the atmosphere and storm strength, data do not support such a claim over this multi-decadal period, in this region.

In 2010 Frankoski and DeGaetano published an update to Hirsh et al. 2001, extending data through 2006. They concluded:

No significant time-dependent trends were identified for precipitation or snowfall from East Coast Winter Storms or for the percentage of precipitation or snowfall from East Coast Winter Storms.

Such research is likely why the IPCC AR5 concluded in 2013:

In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900 is low.

What that means in climate-speak is that the detection of trends in winter storms has not been achieved. It also means that the IPCC has not attributedany trends to human influences. Detection and attribution are explained in some detail in my recent book.

You can of course find fringe views on both detection and attribution out there on the internet (carefully cherry picked).  There are also plenty of smart folks trying to do their own analyses without referencing the IPCC or the peer reviewed literature on the subject. Minority views and amateurs are legitimate and worth hearing, as they can add valuable new perspectives. But if these folks really wanted to contribute to scientific understandings they should seek to publish their alternative theories in the peer reviewed literature.

No one – least of all those who consider themselves professional journalists – should confuse these alternative perspectives for what is found in the peer-reviewed literature and the assessments of the IPCC.

For further reading, see Vose et al. 2014 and Wang et al. 2008.


 

And then there’s this:

173 thoughts on “82 million to see at least inch of snow in East Coast Blizzard: What does history say?

    • But but the weather channel explained to me how global warming is to blame for this storm. Moist air didn’t come off the ocean like this in the past!

      • Let me put this here about what they, including the IPCC, said about warmer / less snowy winters, and earlier Springs.

        I hear the US might see a little of that white stuff. These are climate impacts as citizens empty supermarket shelves following the ‘hottest year evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah’ The US is the fastest warming place afterall, along with the EU, Africa, China, ……………………………………….

      • Junior wrote the article, but his Dad wrote the tweet. The former is a Prof at U Colorado, but the latter is a former Prof at Colorado State. Or is it the other way ’round???? ;)

    • US mountain skiing is doomed.

      EPA
      Northeast
      Impacts on Winter Recreation

      Winter recreational snow and ice activities generate about $7.6 billion for the Northeast economy annually.[4] These activities include snow sports (skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding) and ice-based activities (ice fishing and skating).[4] Projected increases in temperature could reduce snow cover and shorten winter snow seasons, limiting and altering these activities….
      http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts/northeast.html

      It’s doomed to ground level!

      24 January 2016
      Storm slams into Eastern U.S. with snow, strong winds
      …By Friday night, parts of Kentucky, the Virginias and North Carolina had already received well over a foot of snow, while more than a half a foot had fallen in some areas of Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

      The snowstorm was greeted happily at Virginia’s ski resorts.

      “We’re thrilled,” said Hank Thiess, general manager at Wintergreen ski resort in central Virginia. “Going forward, we’re set up to have just a terrific second half of the ski season.”

      He said he’s expecting 40 inches of dry, powdery snow, perfect for skiing.

      “We’re going to have a packed snow surface that will just be outstanding,” he said.
      http://www.570news.com/2016/01/24/storm-slams-into-eastern-u-s-with-snow-strong-winds/
      ————

      Jan 23, 2016
      East Coast blizzard brings rare whiteout conditions to Washington, D.C.
      Despite the warnings of danger, downtown D.C. residents were delighted to wake up Saturday to see major city streets transformed for a few hours into an alpine resort. Some people walked out wearing ski goggles, snapped selfies and pushed one another into snowbanks.
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/east-coast-blizzard-washington-1.3417223

  1. Roger,

    A great article, as usual. Your pointer to Nate Silver’s article at 538 is interesting, telling us much.

    “There are also plenty of smart folks trying to do their own analyses without referencing the IPCC or the peer reviewed literature on the subject.”

    Silver is a businessman, and well knows his liberal-left audience. The reception of your article at 538 demonstrated that they have little interest in object reporting about climate science. He reads the news, and sees how mention of the IPCC has almost disappeared in articles warning about climate change (“too conservative”). So he writes articles like “Big Blizzards Have Become More Common In New York” — giving his readers what they want.

    He’s a smart guy that understands that news is a product. Or rather (since we won’t pay for it), our attention is the product (sold to advertisers) — and “news” is the bait.

    • The Silver article was actually well done. It was pretty factual and balanced and he only said at the end that AGW was a plausible cause, he did not say that it WAS the cause. Facts are facts. If the same amount of snow is falling every year, but in fewer days, then saying Big Blizzards have become more common is true. Pielke is right that he is a smart guy doing his own analysis

      • The problem is that it is insinuation. The reports magically become a point that becomes a fact. All of the reports hide behind, if maybe or could be. Politically, they become a pressure point.

      • Aphan,

        I disagree. Silver uses the same format as the thousands of articles by skeptics that have been denounced by the Liberal-Left (the core readers of 538, imo). Do some calcs on a small area, cite a few studies, and give no context — such as citing the IPCC and mentioning any contrary studies. It gives the impression that they’re stating consensus opinion, rather then making up their own amateur conclusions.

        It’s dual standards. Pielke’s article was well-supported by the p-r literature and the IPCC’s work — but the Left disliked the conclusions — so Silver dropped him. Silver does his own calculations which produce pleasing results, doesn’t mention contrary p-r research or the relevant IPCC conclusions — and gets applause from his audience

        Roger stated the bottom line.

        “No one – least of all those who consider themselves professional journalists – should confuse these alternative perspectives for what is found in the peer-reviewed literature and the assessments of the IPCC.”

      • Been terminated from your job recently for giving the politically incorrect answer? As if anything that doesn’t support CAGW could get published, or the morals called into question, or maybe suffering from delusion, or on the payroll of big oil, or have a problem with authority, or mentally sick….. All those millions of climate refugees that could die because of my denial. That’s the new scientific method.

      • AGW was a plausible cause, he did not say that it WAS the cause

        But the fact that AGW is almost always referenced in any “weird” weather story helps keep the notion persistent in the readers’ minds (refreshing the memory stack, if you will). It’s as if it is desirable for listeners/readers/watchers to automatically think “climate change” if today’s weather is anything out of the ordinary. Sort of a form of programming or conditioning.

      • I agree with rishrac’s comments on being terminated from your job. Even if I was a skeptic, if I worked for a entity (NOAA, etc.) that required creating output consistent with their viewpoint I would tend to do what they wanted if I wanted to keep that job. As an engineer I know it’s pretty easy to take all of the data on a subject and spin it towards whatever the objective is, especially if the output required can be rather vague and need only trend toward a ‘correct’ answer. You only need to be smarter than the customer of your data which is usually pretty easy in my opinion. Add in the ability to ‘correct’ some data and you’ve really made your job easier. I think a lot of people who work at these places know most of CAGW/CO2 theory is BS, but if you’re 55 and making $150k, you may think twice before rocking the boat. “Look at this! You were right boss! Wow , you’re right on with your intuition! Can we talk about that raise now? I need to get my last two kids through college!”

      • The very mention of the term AGW in any article about “extreme” weather, whether or not it is stated as a probable cause, is enough to connect it in the reader’s mind long after the details of the article are forgotten. Advertisers use the same technique. All they want you to do is remember the name of their product so that the next time you are shopping, that product’s name pops up in your mind. it works.

      • FM-“I disagree.”
        Aphan- Good for you.

        FM-“Silver uses the same format as the thousands of articles by skeptics that have been denounced by the Liberal-Left (the core readers of 538, imo). Do some calcs on a small area, cite a few studies, and give no context — such as citing the IPCC and mentioning any contrary studies. It gives the impression that they’re stating consensus opinion, rather then making up their own amateur conclusions.”

        Aphan- says you. I really don’t give a rat’s behind what the Liberal-Left denounces. Since liberal leftists are the minority here in the US, most people don’t care either. Anyone who cites their sources, and indicates repeatedly that they did their own calcs etc, does NOT cite the IPCC (where the official consensus statement originated and is heralded today) and is obviously an amateur, shouldn’t give anyone the opinion that they are stating the concensus. Why would someone who ignores the IPCC (consensus central) give anyone the impression that they are stating consensus opinion? That makes no sense!

        FM- “It’s dual standards. Pielke’s article was well-supported by the p-r literature and the IPCC’s work — but the Left disliked the conclusions — so Silver dropped him.”

        Aphan-Waaaaaa cry me a river. It happens all the time. But how is it double standards if Silver does the exact opposite and his audience loves him? It would only be a double standard if Silver was doing the exact same thing Pielke did AND the Left loved him. You make no sense.

        FM- “Silver does his own calculations which produce pleasing results, doesn’t mention contrary p-r research or the relevant IPCC conclusions — and gets applause from his audience.”
        Aphan-I didn’t check with his audience at all. Couldn’t care less about them. And the article was written last year…so maybe his audience froze to death.

        FM- “No one – least of all those who consider themselves professional journalists – should confuse these alternative perspectives for what is found in the peer-reviewed literature and the assessments of the IPCC.”
        Aphan- Um…and? WUWT has articles all the time in which “alternative perspectives” are presented that disagree with the PR literature and the assessments of the IPCC. WE LIKE IT. He’s allowed to present his alternative perspective just like anyone else. Especially when it’s his website. I disagree with the IPCC on many things AND I disagree with a lot of the peer-reviewed literature too-especially the crap that agrees with some kind of “consensus”.

        FM-“Prof Pielke Jr. proved that it can get published in a high-profile public forum – once. He studies sports now. Mission Accomplished.”

        Aphan- Drama much? He’s still on the faculty of the University of Colorado as a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). He also runs his own blog and has written many books and has just completed another one. Not writing at fivethirtyeight isn’t exactly a career killer, nor would anything he had to say be well received there anyway. Why do you seem to want him to waste his time there?

      • Not that smart. 100 years looks impressive but when carved up into 20 blocks of 5 and not that different to 45-50, it hardly looks unusual.

        Without the linear trend line, which is not appropriate for something that you hardly expect to be constant throughout the century, its very hard to see what point he is trying to make. The trend suggests 1″ less (±2″) in the past 10 years than 45-50, so it is (after adjustment) a 1 in 20 lustra event? Even if true, hardly unusual enough to need an explanation.

      • Robert B- “… hardly looks unusual.”
        ” its very hard to see what point he is trying to make”

        His point is simply-the trend is flat, but fewer days of snow means more snow falls on the days that it does snow to make up for the loss of days. He’s not claiming anything monstrous or problematic. He just calculated some data.

        This article from Pielke and Silver are over a year old anyway. I don’t know why old news is in the news, but it’s not like Silver did some kind of robo modeling etc and came up with something insane.

        Silver-“Overall, the trend over the past 100 years is flat. Smooth out the year-to-year fluctuations, and Central Park is getting about as much snow as it always has.”

        “If the overall amount of snow has held steady while the number of snow days has decreased, that necessarily implies New York has been getting some heavy snowfalls to make up for the decreased frequency.”

      • No one – least of all those who consider themselves professional journalists – should confuse what is found in the peer-reviewed literature and the assessments of the IPCC…as having any bearing on reality

      • Aphan says…
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “Silver uses the same format as the thousands of articles by skeptics that have been denounced by the Liberal-Left (the core readers of 538, imo). Do some calcs on a small area, cite a few studies, and give no context”
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        Nice assertion without evidence. I find the opposite. Skeptics often take a longer and broader historic look, especially when it comes to extreme events, and global GAT. ( For instance the satellite’s are a far more extensive data base with MORE measurements over greater area using consistent methodology and verification, compared to the surface stations. It is CAGW proponents who consistently look at short durations, usually cherry picked from the 1970s lows and not just when that is the length of our data base, and neglect to mention the NATURAL warmer periods in the recent past and in the last 12,000 years. Some examples…

        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/spectacular-antarctic-lies-to-start-the-morning/ (one reading in Antarctica ignoring 30 plus years of observations over the entire continent)
        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss-2/ (Governor Brown blames the drought on CAGW, ignoring that 40 years earlier in talking about an equally severe drought it was blamed not on warming, but on the ice age scare and global cooling)
        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/fridays-featured-climate-fraudster-heidi-cullen/ (Hedi Cullen cherry picking the ice age scare cooling, ignoring a longer data record and the 1940s warmth.)
        Fifty more if you wish!

        In addition Studies done by the NIPCC use vast amounts of peer reviewed literature, often more comprehensive then the IPCC.

        Your post is nonsense except for admitting that Silver’s post ” does some calcs on a small area, cite a few studies, and give no context” No, IMV, a good reason to defend it with false accusations.

      • Aphan says…
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        “Silver uses the same format as the thousands of articles by skeptics that have been denounced by the Liberal-Left (the core readers of 538, imo). Do some calcs on a small area, cite a few studies, and give no context”
        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        Nice assertion without evidence. I find the opposite. Skeptics often take a longer and broader historic look, especially when it comes to extreme events, and global GAT. ( For instance the satellite’s are a far more extensive data base with MORE measurements over greater area using consistent methodology and verification, compared to the surface stations. It is CAGW proponents who consistently look at short durations, usually cherry picked from the 1970s lows and not just when that is the length of our data base, and neglect to mention the NATURAL warmer periods in the recent past and in the last 12,000 years. Some examples…

        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/spectacular-antarctic-lies-to-start-the-morning/ (one reading in Antarctica ignoring 30 plus years of observations over the entire continent)
        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss-2/ (Governor Brown blames the drought on CAGW, ignoring that 40 years earlier in talking about an equally severe drought it was blamed not on warming, but on the ice age scare and global cooling)
        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/fridays-featured-climate-fraudster-heidi-cullen/ (Hedi Cullen cherry picking the ice age scare cooling, ignoring a longer data record and the 1940s warmth.)
        Fifty more if you wish!

        In addition studies done by the NIPCC use vast amounts of peer reviewed literature, often more comprehensive then the IPCC. I see no evidence for your thousands of assertions.

    • Kevin,
      They will all be grandchildren.
      Per the CIA Factbook, 18.99% of Americans are between 0 and 14 inclusive.
      If the affected area is typical, then about 15 million or so will be grandchildren under 15 years old.

      Auto

  2. I grew up on the Potomac just south of DC. Remember many winter storms dumping 8 inches to much more than a foot, decades ago. I am sure there are equivalent snow records going back into the 1800’s. Warmunists are wont to see CAGW in every weather event.
    Distracts the masses from the fact there has been no warming for nearly two decades unless temperatures are karlized, that climate model predictions now diverge greatly from reality, that SLR is not accelerating, that observational ECS is low, that polar bears do not depend on summer ice, that renewables are disastrously intermitent,…

    • Most people do not have very good memory. For those who can actually remember past weather the idea that current weather is warmer than the 1980s for instance is fatuous. In the ’80s in central VA we had many summer days near to or over 100F; this past summer we barely broke 90F on a couple of occasions. And yes I know that in 2014 we had a one day record of 107F but it was a total outlier. Most of that summer was as cool as 2015. In fact it is obvious that in this region climate is cooling despite the current EN.

      • Having grown up in the ’60s just north of DC, I remember a lot of these kinds of storms. Everyone knew this weather pattern when the storm track starts in the NW, drops down to the gulf states and then comes roaring up the coast that you were going to get a lot of snow in winter.
        The other part I remember was that it wasn’t a catastrophe of biblical proportions.
        You hunker down, the kids have a ball in the snow and you were back to normal in a couple of days.
        …and they didn’t name them ‘ winter storm Jonas’, like it was a hurricane.

      • @Ann, Very true. I grew up In Arlington VA. We had plenty of snow incidents 25 ” or more. As kids we used to toboggan down Lee Highway and Spout Run. Some summers got so hot, the government workers were ‘allowed’ to not have to wear coat and tie. A few years ago we had 3 feet and spent four days shoveling out the older folks on the block…just in case. This is nothing. The weather pattern is predictable.

      • Yes, the old outlier trick used by Australia’s BoM (along with the “outliars” where they just forecast a record for headlines and it never happens like the mythical “54C day”).

        We had a cold summer in Sydney, with 30C (say 88F) barely touched. So they relied on the outlier (a 6 hour burst of desert air taking it to 45C before the rain came) and the outliars (created a new purple scale on the heat map, despite the outback never getting anywhere near 54C) to declare a “hot, angry summer.” JoNova wrote that UAH found temps below trend! It didn’t matter that it was fabricated – people will always remember the hot day. I sure will – the trains broke and I spent 5 hours getting home in jeans!

    • I grew up in Northern VA (Manassas, Fairfax, Front Royal, Reston, Herndon, etc), I remember the two jan-feb winters of 95 and 96 as being just as bad. in 95 I think it was we got about 18 inches in one day. In 96 we got about 30 over two days. Epic? Nah.

    • I worked as a super in NYC during the 1970’s when we were hit by one major blizzard after another. In one year, after three storms that dumped more than a foot in less than two weeks, I had to shovel tons of snow off of the roofs and I gave up. He had to give me a bonus to do more shoveling.

      My husband was a student back then in Rochester, NY and he used to jump out of his fourth floor dorm window into the three stories of snow, they all did this for fun.

  3. Tee hee…

    In the old days, one simply didn’t GET at least 3 free days of escalating media hype before a Big Snow came a busting thru. No satellites, and the computer power of a smart watch ruled the climatology errr… weather scene.

    Now we get Big Media corroborating with Big Data and Big Boondoggle Budgeting to create massive FUD events. As my old Soviet friend says, “what – only 1 meter? That’s summer teeshirt weather in Moscow!”

    The people up in Maine and Massachusetts, in Vermont and Buffalo NY are sniggering over their steamy cups of Jo. They actually own mukluks, non-plastic snow shovels; they actually know how to drive in deep snow, and to help others out without expecting more than a ‘thank you very much, buddy’ in return. Its NEVER a media event when Buffalo gets like 70 inches of snow in a single evening. Lake effect and all that. Its a “big one” to the locals, and all night long the ploughs are “doing the streets”. In the morning, when people get up, it looks like a winter wonderland, and the Manly Men are outside prospecting for cars with broom poles. I think locals call it “sounding foah cahs.”

    And they are fast to sweep the great piles of snow off the cars before it thaws and turns to ice. Then, carefully, they trundle to work. Drink gallons of coffee, spend most of the day reminiscing about the previous Great Storm, and continue to laugh at the Washington Sissies. Nothing gets done that doesn’t really need to. its kind of fun in a collegial sort of way. The donut shops do great business. As do the Chinese Take-outs. Friends are made, friendships are renewed, bar owners nip fights in the bud. If you’re able to fight, then get out there and shovel the sidewalk, you bûm.

    Yah, sure – its global climate … change …as it is every year, on a global scale. The climate changes every year like clockwork. Messy, unpredictable, chaotic clockwork, but the master clock – going through the seasons – varies hardly a whit. Mud in the spring, Flies in the summer, Colorful foliage in Fall, Frostbite in winter. Plan on it. You won’t be disappointed. Something to prepare for, to talk about, to reminisce over. Otherwise, imagine how boring it would be!!!

    GoatGuy

    • Hey GoatGuy !! That wasn’t a baaaaad description of life in the Canadian snowbelt region !! Cheers…

    • At least your news channels will have a visual. This morning news in the FL (not making this up) they were at the airport filming the departure cancelled displays.

    • GoatGuy, I wish you would spend the next 30 years living down here in the Sunbelt. Then you could use your excellent writing skills to embellish the positive aspects of +100F / 90% humidity days we get to experience. I would hope it would be equally fascinating.

    • In the 1950s we didn’t have to listen ad nauseam to how 60 or 70 or 80 million were in the path of the storm. During the day of the 15 minute nightly national news (that was all you got) it was simply reported as a winter storm with the anticipated depth. That’s it. End of story. On to more important things.

      The chase for ratings and complicity of networks in the CAGW scare tactics have enabled the media drama queens who love nothing more than a 24 hour, wall to wall horror story.

      • Yes, the constant media desperation in a 5 million channel world to rush to the airwaves and breathlessly report a compelling narrative (the scarier, the better) so as to justify ad billing. We’re supposed to worry over every little thing, but not so much that we miss the next news cycle’s urgent matter that will glue our brains to media.

    • >>As my old Soviet friend says, “what – only 1 meter?
      >>That’s summer teeshirt weather in Moscow!”

      Not entirely true. Being inland, average winter snowfall in Moscow is 60 inches. Heavy, but not that heavy.

      R

      • @ ralfellis, 1.32 pm, 60 inches? It is about 150 cm (1.5 mtrs ) seeing that I am 72 (180 cm) inches tall at least I could still see where I would be going. The thing is that in Moscow those snowfalls are generally during very cold temps because of their “land climate, or continental climate”. The current storm on the US east coast does not seem to have that kind of cold air and seems to a mix of warm air from the Gulf and Atlantic warm air mixing with cold air ( blamed on Canada as usual) from a polar outbreak. Frankly I personally blame the polar outbreak on the Russians , that’s where it started!

      • 60 inches is the total snowfall, not the depth on the ground. After wind dispersal plus insolation ablation, the average ground-depth in the winter tends to be about 20 inches (keeping away from drifts). And that equates to my experience in Moscow and the surrounding countryside.

      • Having been there during a pleasant 15C autumn I can confirm Moskovites dress warmly in 15C like everyone in Sydney. They feel the cold just like anyone else who spends their winters in heated buildings.

        So do the Shanghaiese, who fell over themselves seeing me wearing a T shirt in 9C.

    • GoatGuy
      your celebration of peasant survival skills is quaint
      don’t you follow the news?
      DC is the center of the universe
      along with LA and NYC
      the rest of the country is vaguely angry for no reason due to their lack of education
      and cultural sensitivity

  4. Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go,let it snow let it snow let it snow.

    This storm is just a storm. One of many.

    Wait for it to fall. Dig out. It will melt in a couple of weeks.

    Just like always.

  5. I would like a scientific explanation of how the southern Pennsylvania border limits snow accumulations as per the above model.

    • A nice ridge of high pressure stretching from the the US midwest across Ontario and Quebec is holding the storm line south of the Great Lakes. The bad news is the combined NE flow from the bottom of the high and the top of the storm low is running down the fetch of Lakes Ontario and Erie, giving the south shores of both of those lakes some lake effect flurries and light snow out of the NE.

  6. Since when is 2 feet of snow…..in the middle of winter…..a big deal, much less the storm of the century?

    • When I lived in Blind River, Ontario, Canada as a child we got we would get a dump of 4 feet of snow at least once a year in one night !! Liberals have turned North Americans into wimps !!

    • Weell, it doesn’t happen every year. I remember 30″ in March of ’93 in our area (within hollerin’ distance of Harper’s Ferry) for sure, and then in ’95 or ’96 there was so much ice that the kids had a whole two, maybe three days IN school in February. And another 30″ or so in . . . ’04? And then of course Snowmaggedon and Snowpocalypse a few years ago. Right now (almost 6 pm 1/23/16) I’ve got 30″ in my yard and it’s still coming down (accuweather dot com says we currently have a 62% chance of snow).

      Then there was the year — ’74, ’75, maybe? — when my dad got cross-country skis for Christmas and not one lousy flake fell all winter.

      OMG, it’s WEATHER!

  7. Remember the coming ice age of 1975? Listen to Jimmy Carter in 1977 comment on the 1977 “Worst Storm Ever”

  8. What would be the most important things for Americans to have during a severe blizzard ?? HEAT from cheap, reliable energy !! Cold kills !

  9. We’re in DC and not looking forward to this bullshit. We’re really afraid of losing power because then we can’t heat the house. Looking at 60 mph winds coming. And to top it off, yesterday some POS broke into our house and stole some things, leaving the back door busted up. And with the stock market killing my investments, 2016 has really gotten off to such a great start!

    • because then we can’t heat the house

      Look at the bright side: by the time you won’t be able to afford electricity due to hope, change, necessarily skyrocketing and the fundamental transformation, you’ll be used to it.

    • Modern central heat and air systems put many souls in the same boat. North America already experiences over 100,000 annual premature Winter deaths, as a matter of course. It’s just a matter of time until a great North American Winter tragedy, killing many more people, arises as a result of widespread Winter electric grid blackouts.

      • Alan- if you have no facts to back up the implication that 100,000 people die of hypothermia due to grid blackouts, you are arguing falsely while you entice the unaware to foolishly accept a bald assertion with zero evidence.
        Stats or it didn’t happen.
        BS is BS is BS is BS.
        No BS is good BS.

      • gnomish,
        Good catch.
        PIMF. I’d accidentally edited out .2 per(100,000) before hitting the post button and didn’t read it, later. Current US deaths are somewhere around 1,000- 2,000/yr. according to online information at CDC.
        Based on information from death certificates, approximately 8,000 deaths in the US were attributed to “excessive natural cold” during 2006-2010. source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr076.pdf

        In 2003, US hypothermia deaths were reported as ~ 600/yr.
        http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5308a2.htm

        Ps You’re right that BS is BS.
        Search around for excess cold deaths in the UK each year- shocking figures attributed to fuel poverty and poorly insulated homes. I won’t get political and claim that with the continuance of the current US administrations green/anti- fossil fuel policies, such could be coming to a town near you (but I could.)
        Oh, maybe even reread what I wrote (even with errors) and find out if you mounted an argument against some future that I didn’t predict.

      • “North America already experiences over 100,000 annual premature Winter deaths, as a matter of course.”

        A report released by the US National Center for Health Statistics in 2014 found that weather-related deaths in the US from 2006-2010 numbered about 2000 per year. Of these, about 63% were caused by exposure to cold or hypothermia or both. That means about 1260 deaths per year in the US can be attributed to cold/hypothermia. Canada’s population is about 1/10 of the US, and Mexico’s is about 1/3. We can probably expect a somewhat higher death rate from cold in Canada, and lower in Mexico. Even so, it’s unlikely that 98,740 people die from cold in Canada and Mexico every year.

        Sorry, Alan, but it’s pretty obvious that you (or whoever you might be quoting) pulled that number out of the air.

      • cool.
        because i found that hawaii and south america and middle east all have seasonal variation in death rates (more in so.called winter months) – temperature can not be the cause of that.
        correlation, yadda…

      • Alan Robertson:
        “Search around for excess cold deaths in the UK each year- shocking figures attributed to fuel poverty and poorly insulated homes.”

        I did this a little while ago when I questioned the meme. This was the result:

        http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2013-14–provisional–and-2012-13–final-/stb.html#tab-Final-Excess-winter-mortality–EWM–in-2012-13-by-underlying-cause-of-death-

        this was one paper i found that examined the indirect effects of cold on the immediate cause.of.death

        http://journals.co-action.net/index.php/ijch/article/viewFile/17477/19825

        it indicates the the ‘optimum temperature’ for human beans is 18C – a curiosity.

        (and it’s all hearsay to me)

      • gnomish says: (and it’s all hearsay to me)
        ——————–
        That’s a simple statement, but it approaches the profound. (Occam’s Razor’s been taken, maybe- gnomish’s aftershave.)

        Regarding excess Winter deaths, the information available is just as divided by agendas and misinformation as any other subject which has political undertones and especially, any info which is tied to the AGW meme and resultant energy policies. Here’s a link with very good information and minimal rhetoric:

        http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/index.html

        UK information is used, as info from elsewhere is scant. UK figures for excess Winter deaths have been around ~25,000/yr since 2000 ([nearly] 45,000 reported last Winter.) Those figures seem to have leveled off, after coming down for a few decades, as housing has improved and more importantly, society has learned more about the vulnerability of older people to cold temps.

        For me, the arguments boil down to this:
        a) was the death preventable, i.e. would it have taken place anyway?
        b) if the death was preventable, was causative circumstance the result of government policy?
        c) did the implementation of that policy override known concerns of excess deaths?
        d) should such a policy remain in order to achieve an agenda, or be changed?

      • should read- (nearly 45,000 reported last Winter.)

        I need an editor… or maybe just not talk so much.

        [Writing is fine. To right wrong writings is never wrong, right? .mod]

    • ” . . . leaving the back door busted up.”

      I suggest that everyone get supplementary steel-framed “security doors” installed front and back. Put in the wood supplementary framing yourself if necessary to get the dimensions right (check with the seller), then call a seller to install them, I’d guess they’d be about $1000 each installed as of now.

      [Is a busted up back door better than a busted down front door? .mod]

    • Juice January 22, 2016 at 9:51 am
      Best of luck
      remember to leave the faucets on a trickle.
      Do you know how to prepare for a event like this?

      michael

      • Good advice.
        In ’78 where I worked much of the staff lived on grounds in mobile homes. Almost all of them were away for some conference. I spent those hours with another guy going home to home making sure the faucets were still dripping.
        Worst case, shut off your main water valve and open all your faucets. Then open the drain on your hot water tank to drain your plumbing.
        (Of course, that’s only if you live in a house and not an apartment.)
        If possible, double check this advice for your situation before going before going beyond “make sure your faucets are dripping”.

      • Don’t forget to have a bottle of antifreeze or alcohol for the water traps in the sinks and commodes.

    • It’s called emergency preparedness. Living in a city in which blackouts occur, you really should have some alternative source of heat/light etc. Us Rocky Mountain folks always have that kind of stuff handy. It’s called smart. Fix the damn back door, be glad you have a house, a computer, internet connection and some investments at all. If one little storm gets your knickers in a knot, you’d better hope you don’t live long enough to watch the grid go down.

    • Check out ventless, bio-ethanol heaters (sold on Amazon and elsewhere). That’s assuming you don’t have any way to vent something like a wood stove or fireplace. They are small enough to store and not very expensive, including the fuel. At least you could keep one room heated for the well-being of your family. Depend on others as little as possible for basic survival needs.

  10. It has been a long time since I watched The Weather Channel, I only tune in for the big weather events.
    I think I’m gonna have to tune in for this event, just to see what they got.

    • Many agree with you. TWC has become an unrestrained propaganda mouthpiece since John Coleman departed.

    • I don’t think of it as “The Storm Channel” for nothing. “Storms” are all they highlight anymore. Even the local forecast are less reliable.
      What a waste of what was a valuable and useful resource for us viewers.
      (To those who were a part of it when it really was about “The Weather”, thank you. It’s not your fault what it is now. To paraphrase Joe Friday, “The name hasn’t changed but we know who are innocent.”

      • I was watching the channel for the last 12 hours or so (on and off).
        All I can say, is that Stephanie Abrams is having way too much fun.
        She is like a kid in a candy store.
        Her on the street interviews are heartfelt, and when she asks the studio if she might get a thunder snow,
        they hem and haw…
        Her reply was.. “just tell me there is a chance”.
        She made it fun, running around in the snow checking her snow depth ruler, etc.

      • Is that supposed to be snow? Looks more like a modest frost. I can’t believe all the silliness about this storm. I spent the 60s 20 miles north of Boston, ten inland, and recall more than one snow event where we could jump off the second story roof into snow drifts and never hit the ground.

    • A point all to often obfuscated, while avoiding the question: “What is the ideal climate from which we have “changed”?”…..and “whoa! that’s some LONG historical record!!!”….relative to Earth History. What was the ideal climate 151 years ago?

  11. And then there was early January of 1978. Started on the Monday, and by Friday DFW was iced up and closed. One of the most memorably unpleasant business trips of my life. Boston, Newark, DC, StLouis and had to cancel Dallas.

  12. I’ve read about huge runs on snow shovels and it makes me wonder what they did with the huge run on snow shovels from last winter ??

      • Aphan,
        I was wondering… By “We”, do you mean, you’ve trained your Texas husband to shovel snow? I know that you told us you were from up North and were used to getting 6″ and more, but you married a Texan who’d never even seen 2″…

      • I agree with Ric W.

        Plastic and wider for lifting and a steel edge for life and lifting the ice. Here in the snow belt it is also wise to clear the snow as soon as it stops. It is so much easier to clear four inches twice than eight inches once.

    • Serial snow shovels are the norm. My ex took off with one of my snow shovels. I tried to get it back, but she wanted me to shovel her drive. I don’t really like her much, so bought a new one.

    • Chuckle. We got just a dusting of snow in metro-Atlanta. That we didn’t get more deprived me of watching ‘immigrants from the North’ shovel their driveways. It’s very amusing.

      You see, there are two very basic reasons why you don’t shovel driveways here. First, say you do, then what? We don’t plow, salt, or sand the local roads, only the interstates. Are you going to shovel your way to the interstate access ramp? If you can drive on the local roads, your unshoveled driveway should be no problem. The second reason not to shovel here is that, by the time you are through, the snow has mostly melted.

      Some find it entertaining to watch people from snow areas try to drive here. I tend not to enjoy the misery of others. Some, of course, know how to drive in the snow, but many (most?) of them are from cities with a very flat topology. When they hit a hairpin curve at the bottom of a steep slope….
      They also expect snow all the way to the road’s surface. The vast majority of the time, though, the road surfaces here are well above freezing when the snow starts falling. It melts, then refreezes as the surface temps drop below freezing, leaving a layer of ice covered by snow. No one can drive on ice. Local TV stations post camera crews at well-known spots, and show cars spinning out of control virtually every time we have a winter event.

  13. This is interesting because over the latter half of that period one analysis (Willett et al. 2010) found an increase in the water content of the lower atmosphere over the US East Coast.

    This coincides with a shift of the jet stream allowing more tropical moist air out of the gulf up the east coast, the changing ratio of tropical air vs polar air over the land masses of the northern hemisphere is where most of the warming came from as well.

    Lastly, when I lived in Maryland, we had 2 24″+ blizzards in the 90’s, one about 92, and another not long after, and they were both caused by a warm moist low out of the tropics moving up the east coast, getting hit by a polar blast between the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

  14. There’s already a story about why AGW is causing this storm here, from the trifecta of Romm, Mann and Trenberth. Turns out it’s the same reason that baseball players on steroids hit more home runs. Comments are kind of good, I must admit.

  15. Good post, but I don’t think the insistence on peer-review is realistic. In an ideal world, yes, but when the gate-keeping is intense and/or corrupt – as has happened at times in the past – there needs to be an alternative way of making progress. R Pielke Snr has been very successful at getting work peer-reviewed, but is it realistic to expect those in different situations (employment-wise eg.) to be able to? Today, open source journals are starting up, which may well prove to be a valid alternative to peer-reviewed journals. “We” will need to learn their strengths and weaknesses before full benefit can be obtained, but there is now a possible alternative way forward.

    I have been urged by some here to write up some of my WUWT posts for peer-review, but I suspect that it would take an amount of time and effort that I just don’t have. I intend to test this in due course by approaching a peer-review journal with some stuff that I’m currently working on. I’ll report back here.

    • Thanks Mike for ” “We” will need to learn their strengths and weaknesses before full benefit can be obtained, but there is now a possible alternative way forward.”

      There will be pushback from the “clubs” to keep P-R at top. But, it needs to be done to allow really good research to be accepted without gob support.

      I am building my wish list of things that will be needed or modified to merge data collection into the high tech, high def instant world. The delays of data collecting have come down but with the possible increase of world wide data access, even the cloud may be clogged up. We really need a new method of data collecting that takes advantage of this high speed world. It would be nice to at least see the temperature of the earth in one decimal place just like they do the national debt, with a click.

      LeeO

  16. If this storm is being caused by CAGW how do you account for similar storms that occurred when there was much less CO2 in the atmosphere? This is unusual, but not unprecedented by a long shot.

    To doubters, check the weather radars for that area. This baby is on the way. The only weak point in the forecast is how much snow New York and Boston get. It depends on the track of the low that’s coming up the coast driving all this stuff.

    • similar storms that occurred when there was much less CO2 in the atmosphere?
      ===========================
      Where have you been? Read the Press. There were never any storms before Global Warming. CNN is running this 36 hours a day. Its bigger than both gulf wars combined. It even bigger that Snarkanado. Its Snowmagedon. The end of the world as we know it.

      • You’re probably right. I read that Obama’s motorcade got stuck in it. (Or maybe they just had to turn on their windshield wipers. I forget.)

  17. It is going to be fun to watch the webcams while I sit in sunny Yuma, AZ. This storm, however, while unusual is hardly unprecedented. Similar pressure patterns have produced similar results in the past. The only weak spot in predicting amounts is in New York and Boston. That is mostly dependent on the track of the low pressure system moving north off the coast.

  18. 22 Jan: Shanghai Daily: Xinhua: Airport, highways closed as China sees worst cold in decades
    Starting from 8 a.m. on Friday, highways in at least 12 provinces and municipalities have been closed due to blizzards and snowstorms.
    A large part of Jiangxi province, in eastern China, was hit by snowstorms on Friday. The airport in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi was closed Friday morning. Several sections of the highways in the province were also closed.
    Jiangxi’s coldest weather since 1992 is expected from Jan. 23 to 26.
    Temperatures in Beijing dropped to minus ten degrees Celsius on Friday and is expected to hit a 30-year low of minus 17 degrees Celsius on Saturday, Beijing meteorological station forecast…
    On the streets of Genhe, icy fog clouds the city street and fish vendors can easily snap a frozen fish into two parts.
    Ergune and surrounding areas have seen temperatures fall to minus 40 degrees.
    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/national/Airport-highways-closed-as-China-sees-worst-cold-in-decades/shdaily.shtml

    • It was very cold in Beijing in December 2015. In November it was also unusually cold with Mongolia really cashing in early too. The November cold was interesting because the climate scare conference was on in Paris and the international news channels were parading the PM2.5 levels of Beijing every hour.

      What the climate kooks didn’t realise was that a lot of what they were looking at was ice fog. They showed long distance telescopic shots of buildings disappearing into the ‘smog’. Beijing in early winter is very humid and it was so bloody cold it was terrible to walk in. The PM2.5 count went to 300 and they rejoiced in Paris as the BBC blamed the fog and ice and smoke on coal combustion in the city (the city doesn’t have a coal combustion problem, they have a car problem).

      So the saving grace for the Chinese government PR people was that apparently the BBC correspondents can’t drive so they couldn’t visit cities to the north and northeast where the PM2.5 count reaches 2000 to 3000 on bad days, like Ulaanbaatar used to. I have seen it well over 1000 in Beijing, actually. In 2015. 300 is chicken feed.

      That the brutal winter continues doesn’t surprise me. It is going to really bad for Hebei (which surrounds Beijing) and it’s smoke problem – they still burn coal badly in 18m home heaters. As the solar pause continues for the next twenty years it is only going to get worse. They will need a lot more energy or a transformation in the heating, technologies.

  19. 82 million Amnericans to see piles of snow in East Coast Blizzard: When did the Global Warmistas/CAGW/Climate Change Mob forecast this sort of thing. I thought that it was all settled and we were going to fry. At least that was their story.

    • The major hurricanes the climate alarmists predicted have morphed into major blizzards. The AGW hypothesis has everything covered: drought, flood, snow, ice, wind and rain – it is all our fault. AGW, the hypothesis that keeps going because it can never be disproven.

      • Standard (correct) climate theory predicts warming REDUCES frequency and intensity of extreme events. Because polar warming, tropical stasis.

  20. The Great Blizzard of 1888 dumped about 60 inches (5 feet !!!!) of snow on NYC.
    Just goes to show that you can choose ANY time period or climate event of convenience to “prove” whatever you wish. .

    I await a comparison of present day global average temperatures with those extant during the age of dinosaurs, or even the Medieval Warm Period.

    By the way, where the hell is the National Academy of Science re: the AGW scam/fraud??
    Why are they remaining silent??

  21. Don’t you just love the wordsmiths at the IPCC?

    “In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900 is low.”

    Could they have gotten the words “confidence” and “low” any further apart? Why not this:

    “In summary, there is low confidence in large scale changes…”

    And I wonder what their confidence level was for “very small scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones”? Was it very high, perchance? Why not say that?

    • “Confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900, in summary, is low.”

      That would be the furthest ;)

  22. 82 million Americans experienced some winter today. No doubt headline writers will always be one step ahead of climate and weather with alarm. It’s their job.

  23. I can’t remember that last time people were ordered to stay off the highways because it was hot outside.

    According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

    “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

  24. Notice in recent years that winter storms have been given names to empower them like hurricanes. But all they are is ordinary winter weather. When I was in high school, in suburban Boston, 1964-68, we had lots of snow, but only one day where school was cancelled. The wimps have taken over.

  25. Estimate 20 – 22″ here so far in western MD. Power still on, thankfully. Snow is fairly dry, so not sticking as much as a wet snow.

  26. Reality check needed! “Hottest year ever” was claimed recently, this snow storm isn’t real… lol

  27. Imagine if this climate change continues. Wind and Solar are completely ineffective. Washington DC is relying on Coal and Oil right now to survive. There are no electric Snow Plow Trucks, there are no Wind Powered Snow Blowers, wind and solar offer zero solution to the challenges society actually face. The only thing Wind and Solar offer are money laundering schemes to keep the Democrats in power. Solyndra produced far far far more in political donations than profits.

    This is a successful solution to a Liberal.

    • Solyndra was a significant employer in a certain powerful California congressional district. The number of employees was unusually large for being a mostly invisible and insignificant player in its sector with unproven technology. It was looked at and rejected by all due diligence experts that looked at it including those who would evaluate it for a potential IPO filing. But it is most noteworthy for the politically directed orders to DoE program officers to look the other way while it failed with maximum exposure for the taxpayers. This is yet another black mark on political games. That money did not serve the needy or the climate or the economy. That episode should be a guidepost into the unprofessionalism of the political leaders in charge—the ones from Chicago.

  28. What was the CO2 level in 1977? 333ppm. What is the CO2 level today? 400ppm. What was the CO2 level in the Little Ice Age? 280ppm. Clearly CO2 is the cause. What was the CO2 level during the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warming Periods? All below 280ppm. Clearly this climate change is due to CO2.

  29. These consensus experts want to return the globe to 350 ppm CO2. WUWT should commission an article on what the sea level was like back at 350, its rate of change, what the climate was like, the global temperatures, the global sea temperatures, the number of hurricanes, the number of tornadoes, the droughts, the floods, etc etc. My bet is that people would much prefer today vs the period before 350, especially considering the Little Ice Age.

    http://350.org/

    • co2islife,

      May I translate your link? Thank you:

      “We need to cause mass starvation because we don’t like those brown and black people who subsist on $2 a day.”

    • WMO Fact Sheet No. 4 [August 1989] presented the greenhouse gases measuring stations around the globe. Also prosented changes in carbon dioxide increase from 1960 to 2000 projections. Very few stations are measuring changing composition of the atmosphere especially in tropics [by that time no data] and the Southern Hemisphere [by that time only three sites]. With such data sets, presenting unbelievable smooth curve. In 1959 carbon dioxide sites are 45 and methane sites were 5, suspended particulate matter at 84 sites. Carbon dioxide presents high diurnal variations.

      While historical data/records show the unusualweather events are not new, they were there in the past and will be there in future. They are the result of combination of weather systems of a location or region.

      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  30. This is a video clip of 350.ORG . I wouldn’t hire these people to walk my dog, let alone determine policy for the globe. I love how they guy from Kentucky is singing about Coal, and now Obama has destroyed all their job opportunities.

  31. 71 years on this planet! Some years the lake across the street freezes over in early December and some years in January. The Asked Donald Trump about Climate Change. His answer was today is warm tomorrow will be cold and it is Called WEATHER>

  32. All but 2 (maybe 3 if you count 1960) of the costliest Hurricanes occurred before man started making significant CO2:

    Costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricanes 1900–2010
    Total estimated property damage, adjusted for wealth normalization[32][33]
    Rank Hurricane Season Cost (2010 USD)
    1 “Miami” 1926 $164.8 billion
    2 Katrina 2005 $113.4 billion
    3 “Galveston” 1900 $104.3 billion
    4 “Galveston” 1915 $ 71.3 billion
    5 Andrew 1992 $ 58.5 billion
    6 “New England” 1938 $ 41.1 billion
    7 “Cuba–Florida” 1944 $ 40.6 billion
    8 “Okeechobee” 1928 $ 35.2 billion
    9 Ike 2008 $ 29.5 billion
    10 Donna 1960 $ 28.1 billion

    • Don’t you think that 1992 was after man was making significant CO2? Also Hurricane Sandy caused $75 billion damages and certainly qualifies, why did you omit it?

  33. There was an ice storm in the NYC area in the late 1970s.

    I was there on business with a crew, arriving after the storm.

    We drove quite a ways down Long Island and saw ice coating trees. People way down LI were without power for days.

  34. Hmm. It wasn’t January, but I recall a February storm in 1979 that dumped over 2 ft of snow in the Washington DC area with drifts over 3′, and bad snow all the way to Ohio at least. My memory is pretty clear because I parked my 1977 Camaro at my fiancee’s house outside of DC and we drove out to look at furniture at my Grandmother’s house in Ohio (with her parents in their Suburban). It was bad, blowing snow the whole way out. When we got back, my Camaro was buried above the roof line and it took quite a bit of digging before I could get it out and on the road back to Annapolis.

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