Archive for January, 2012

Warm but not the warmest…Final Update
January 31, 2012

January in Baltimore finished up with Spring-like temperatures on Tuesday, a fitting end to an unseasonably mild winter month.  However, digging back into the record books reveals this January is not even close to being the warmest in Baltimore. With a high of 66F on Tuesday, the average temperature for the month barely reached the top 25 warmest on record.  Including Tuesday’s 66F, the average temperature for the month was 38.3, tying it with 1952 for the 25th warmest January ever.  To break into the top ten warmest Januarys, the average temperature had to top 41.7 which was last measured in 1876.  The warmest January on record was 1932 when the average temperature was a balmy 47.4.

Tom Tasselmyer

Bad Weather At Sandy Point Park
January 27, 2012

WBAL-TV photographer Bob Moore sent us some interesting photos Friday morning from Sandy Point State Park after storms and strong wind moved through the area. Meteorologist John Collins said the storm included lightning and 40 mph wind gusts.

Jennifer Franciotti sent us this photo:

The storm had mostly moved offshore by noon, Collins said. Polar Bear Plunge activities are continuing at the park today and Saturday.

Click to watch video from Sky Team 11.

–Chris Vaughn, WBALTV.com Managing Editor

Another Massive Solar Flare
January 23, 2012

They are known as coronal mass ejections and they are the result of magnetic storms on the sun. The earth was targeted by a flare that burst from the sun’s surface on January 19. Another powerful CME took place yesterday.

Source: NOAA

The NOAA caption for the image above reads as follows: The sun erupted late on January 22, 2012 with an M8.7 class flare, an earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), and a burst of fast moving, highly energetic protons known as a “solar energetic particle” event. The latter has caused the strongest solar radiation storm since September 2005 according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

 NASA’s Goddard Space Weather Center’s models predict that the CME is moving at almost 1,400 miles per second, and could reach Earth’s magnetosphere – the magnetic envelope that surrounds Earth — as early as tomorrow, Jan 24 at 9 AM ET (plus or minus 7 hours). This has the potential to provide good auroral displays, possibly at lower latitudes than normal.

In addition to the aurora displays, communications disruptions and power grid surges and outages are possible as the intense wave of energy strikes the earth’s magnetic field.

You can view a brief NASA animation of the CME as observed by the SOHO satellite by clicking the following link:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=129883621

John Collins

Pacific Storm Packing A Punch!
January 18, 2012

Arctic air has been bleeding south and west out of Canada into Washington and Oregon as a powerful Pacific storm moves toward the coast.  The cold air and the wet, windy storm will collide over the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday producing heavy snow inland and hurricane force winds along the coast.  The Seattle metro area is expecting 5-10″ of snow with 12-24″ in the mountains.  Farther south, 90-100 mph winds and 25-35 foot waves are expected to crash onto the Oregon beaches.  This storm will track through Midwest and may bring us some rain, possibly beginning as a wintry mix, on Saturday.

Tom Tasselmyer

Baltimore’s Coldest Ever
January 17, 2012

30 years ago today the temperature plunged to 7° below zero, tying the record for the coldest temperature ever officially recorded here.  Baltimore’s all-time record low has been reached 5 times, most recently on January 22, 1984.

Tom Tasselmyer

Digging Out From Under 322″ Of Snow!
January 16, 2012


The Anchorage Daily News visited Valdez, AK to find out how the town is coping with the 98.5″ of snow that has fallen since January 1st, the 250″ of snow they have received since December 1st, and the 322″ of snow that has fallen since last Fall!

Tom Tasselmyer

Pictures of Valdez, AK: Buried under 26.8 feet of snow!
January 14, 2012

A couple of transplanted Marylanders/Ravens fans now living  in Valdez, AK sent me these pictures of the phenomenal snowfall they have been dealing with this winter.  As of Friday afternoon, January 13th, the town has been buried under 322″ since the snow started falling last Fall, with 98.5″ of that coming in just the past 13 days.

Cecilia tells me snowshoes are a necessity for getting around town but Valdez is well prepared for heavy snow (the record for one season is 560″!), and there have been only “minor inconveniences” so far.  Nonetheless she says, “There has been a call-out for all available people to grab a shovel and help shovel the roofs of public buildings; my husband and I have been helping a lot of friends and the fire department with snow removal.  The snow load now exceeds one hundred pounds per square foot, and has caused some structures to go unoccupied until snow removal can be completed.”

By the way, Valez is just one of several towns in southern Alaska dealing with record snowfalls this winter.  Cordova (east of Valdez), made national headlines when the National Guard was called out to help clear the streets this week, and Anchorage (northwest of Valdez), has now measured 89.3″ of snow.  That’s 15″ above the normal for an entire winter and the most the state’s largest city has ever measured this early in the season.  This report from the National Weather Service in Anchorage:

...ANCHORAGE REMAINS ON PACE FOR THE SNOWIEST WINTER EVER...

THE MOST RECENT STORM DROPPED ANOTHER 7.9 INCHES OF SNOW AT THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE ON SAND LAKE ROAD (THE
OFFICIAL CLIMATE STATION FOR ANCHORAGE). THIS BRINGS THE SEASONAL
SNOWFALL TOTAL TO 89.3 INCHES...WHICH IS THE MOST SNOW ANCHORAGE 
HAS EVER ACCUMULATED THROUGH JANUARY 13TH SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN
1915. THIS TOTAL EXCEEDS THE AVERAGE SNOWFALL FOR AN ENTIRE SEASON 
WHICH IS 74.5 INCHES. ANCHORAGE REMAINS ON PACE TO BREAK THE 
SEASONAL RECORD FOR SNOWFALL OF 132.8 INCHES IN THE WINTER OF
1954-1955. FOR THE TIME BEING HOWEVER...A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
PATTERN WILL LEAD TO DRY CONDITIONS FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT WEEK.

TOP 5 SNOWFALLS THROUGH JANUARY 13TH
1. 89.3 INCHES 2011-2012
2. 77.8 INCHES 1994-1995
3. 74.7 INCHES 1955-1956
4. 73.9 INCHES 2003-2004
5. 67.9 INCHES 1965-1966

TOP 5 WINTER SNOWFALLS
1. 132.8 INCHES 1954-1955
2. 128.8 INCHES 1955-1956
3. 121.5 INCHES 1994-1995
4. 113.8 INCHES 2003-2004
5. 111.0 INCHES 1948-1949

Tom Tasselmyer

 

Where’s The Snow? Alaska!
January 11, 2012

Ten days into January and less than 16% of the lower 48 has snow on the ground.  At BWI-Marshall, the official weather station for the Baltimore area, there has been less than 1/2″ of snow so far this winter.  But record breaking snows are falling in one part of the Nation: Alaska.  The news headlines have been focusing on the small town of Cordova, Alaska, where snow shovels are in short supply and the National Guard was called in to help dig out the town.  But the entire southern coast of Alaska has been buried under very heavy snow this winter thanks to a series of powerful storms tracking through the Gulf of Alaska producing blizzard conditions.  In Valdez, AK, where the snow started falling in October, another 6.5″ fell as of late afternoon Tuesday, boosting the seasonal total to 297″ in a town where the normal for an entire snow season is 326″.  In Anchorage, the numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping, but they have now measured 81.4″ of snow this season, which is less than an inch from the normal amount of snow (82.4″) for an entire season.  The record for snowfall in Anchorage in a season is 132.8″ set in 1954-55.

A blizzard warning remains in effect around Valdez and Cordova into Wednesday morning, with snow expected to continue into Thursday.

Tom Tasselmyer

2011 Global Temperature Report
January 5, 2012

October Global Temperatures

Satellite based analyses of global temperatures for 2011 show last year was the 9th warmest of the 33 year satellite record.  1998 remains the warmest year on record.  Details below.

Tom Tasselmyer

Jan. 4, 2012
Vol. 21, No. 8

For Additional Information:
Dr. John Christy
john.christy@nsstc.uah.edu
Dr. Roy Spencer
roy.spencer@nsstc.uah.edu

2011 was the 9th warmest year
in the 33-year satellite record

Global Temperature Report: December 2011

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade

December temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.13 C (about 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.20 C (about 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.06 C (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Tropics: +0.04 C (about 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

November temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.12 C above 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.08 C above 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.17 C above 30-year average

Tropics: +0.02 C above 30-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Notes on data released Jan. 4, 2012:

2011 was the ninth warmest year (globally averaged) in the 33-year global satellite record despite La Niña Pacific Ocean cooling events at the start and finish of the year, according to John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Globally averaged, Earth’s atmosphere was 0.15 C (0.27 degree Fahrenheit) warmer than the 30-year average in 2011; That was less than half of the warming anomaly seen in 2010.

Average annual global
temperature anomalies,
warmest to coolest
1979 – 2011

1998   0.424
2010   0.411
2005   0.251
2002   0.22
2009   0.187
2003   0.185
2006   0.175
2007   0.168
2011  0.15
2001   0.112
2004   0.104
1991   0.025
1987   0.018
1995   0.018
1988   0.017
1980  -0.003
1990  -0.017
1981  -0.04
2008  -0.041
1997  -0.044
1999  -0.051
1983  -0.056
2000  -0.056
1996  -0.071
1994  -0.104
1979  -0.165
1989  -0.202
1986  -0.239
1993  -0.24
1982  -0.245
1992  -0.284
1985  -0.304
1984  -0.348

Archived color maps of local temperature anomalies are available on-line at:

http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

The processed temperature data is available on-line at:

vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.