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27 January 2015

Making Snowfall Forecasts More Accurate

We are at the cusp of some amazing technology that will hopefully make forecasting snowstorms, like the one predicted yesterday, much more accurate. I was on a local program produced by the TV station I work for (WBOC-TV) last week, and I showed a couple of smart phone apps that may eventually make a real difference in forecasting. Making better forecasts requires higher resolution models and that means more data …

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14 January 2015

Mountain monitoring system artificially inflates temperature increases at higher elevations

In a recent study, University of Montana and Montana Climate Office researcher Jared Oyler found that while the western U.S. has warmed, recently observed warming in the mountains of the western U.S. likely is not as large as previously supposed.

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13 January 2015

Hanging With Smart People at AGU

The AGU meeting every December in San Francisco is truly an amazing experience, and while I only was able to be there for two days, it was well worth flying across the entire continent and back in 48 hours. Here are some sights and sounds from the AGU that I and others made. Up first is meeting Geoph Haines-Stiles one of the senior producers of the original COSMOS with Carl …

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9 January 2015

City Lights, On A Cold and Snowy Night

The Suomi satellite has the ability to get images of the Earth at night, and this week it grabbed one of the prettiest shots yet, under the light of a full Moon. With clear skies and snow on the ground, you can see the snow and if you look closely you can see some high clouds on top of the lights across portions of Iowa and Minnesota. You can get a much …

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Not just rain: thunderstorms also pour down ozone

A new study in Geophysical Research Letters offers for the first time unequivocal evidence that large storms move significant amounts of ozone from the stratosphere down to the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere.

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11 December 2014

Super-Fast Jet Makes Jets To Europe Super-Fast

Departures were being delayed from the U.S. to the UK to keep aircraft from arriving to early in Europe. You have to feel for the folks flying from Heathrow to Seattle though; add two hours to an already LONG flight! I experienced this once on a flight from Atlanta to London, and arrived an hour early. We sat on the plane though waiting for a gate to open up!

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2 December 2014

Seems It Finally Rains In Southern California (and it snows too!)

Heavy rain and snow is moving into California tonight, as an intense surface/upper level low pressure system taps warm tropical air to the south and shoves it into California. California gets most of its rain in winter and you might be surprised to know that most if it comes from just 5-6 storms. The water vapor imagery from the GOES shows the storm well. Keep in mind that you are …

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24 November 2014

The Governor of New York Owes an Apology to a Bunch of Meteorologists

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, really stepped in it on Saturday. He’s now getting a firestorm of criticism, and he deserves every bit of it, but I want you to understand why before I go into what he said. There is an old rule among weather forecasters, and it goes like this- “Never forecast a record, you will probably be wrong!”. Now I, and many others, have broken …

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14 November 2014

Indian Summer For The End of November?

There are growing sign,s that after one more blast of even colder air next week, we will see some much warmer air over the Central and Eastern U.S. as we head into Thanksgiving. Indian summer may be on the way! The forecast below is based on an average of many long-range model runs of the Climate Forecast System. Research shows that an average of model runs provides a more accurate …

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23 October 2014

Forecasters and Science Writers Knock Weather.Com For Hype

A low-end nor’easter is bringing wind and rain to much of the Northeast U.S. this evening, and Gale Warnings have been posted in the Atlantic as well. As nor’easters go, this is not really a big one, and we will see far worse over the coming months, with some of them bringing snow instead of rain.This is what I told my viewers here in Maryland/ Delaware, and so did many …

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8 October 2014

How rain falls – not just how much – may alter landslide risk

New research finds that it’s not just the amount of rain that falls on a hillside, but the pattern of rainfall that matters when trying to determine how likely a slope is to give way. This new information could improve forecasts of landslides, which are typically hard to predict, said the scientists conducting the research.
Different rainfall patterns—a short, heavy deluge, a light, steady downpour, or sporadic showers—will trigger different numbers of landslides with varying amounts of debris, according to the new study published today in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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7 October 2014

Detecting avalanches from sounds we can’t hear

Researchers have developed a new avalanche monitoring method that uses sound below the range of human hearing to detect and track these deadly and destructive snow slides. The technique can detect an avalanche from the moment it starts, picking up the unheard thump of a rupture in the snowpack that can precede the snow cascade. It can then track the avalanche’s path second by second down the mountain.

In a new study published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, scientists report using an array of infrasound detectors on a mountainside to pick up low-frequency sound waves emitted from one of a series of January, 2012, avalanches in Idaho’s Canyon Creek corridor.

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6 October 2014

Scientists turn Hurricane Sandy destruction into future readiness

This December, USGS will release a beta version of interactive computer models created from data collected by that laser-equipped plane—known as the second generation Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL-B)—and other equipment that mapped and monitored the New Jersey coast. The online portal will allow anyone to look at storm intensities and directions, evaluate wave attack scenarios and coastal vulnerabilities, and anticipate the impacts to landscapes ahead of time, said Neil Ganju, a USGS research oceanographer, at a 19 September congressional briefing on the Department of the Interior’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

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26 September 2014

Saharan Dust Storm Below Towering Thunderstorms

Here are the particulars of the image, and what you are seeing from NASA Earth Observatory: More dust blows out of the Sahara Desert and into the atmosphere than from any other desert in the world, and more than half of the dust deposited in the ocean lifts off from these arid North African lands. Saharan dust influences the fertility of Atlantic waters and soils in the Americas. It blocks or reflects …

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13 August 2014

Crazy Summer Weather pattern Is About To Flip

The summer of 2014 has been unusually mild in the Midwest and portions of the East, and brutally hot and dry in the West. The heat and drought in the NW corner of North America has led to raging forest fires that have spread dense smoke over the northeast and across the Atlantic to France, and the drought in California has reached the worst possible level: exceptional drought. Mother Nature is …

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8 August 2014

This Is Why Canada and The West Are Burning

NASA posted this map of the temperature anomalies over North America for July, and you can easily see why we there is so much wildfire activity in the U.S. West and Canada North. This is why dense smoke is travelling thousands of miles to the Eastern Seaboard. The heat out west has now pushed much of California into Exceptional Drought” status.

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29 July 2014

Wildfire Smoke Makes Cool East Coast Temps Even Cooler

In spite of an unusually dry and cool air mass over the eastern seaboard of the U.S. this afternoon, the sky is a milky white due to smoke from the wildfires in Western and far northern Canada. An even denser layer of smoke covers the western portions of Hudson Bay as well. Here is the view of the sky over Maryland at 630 PM, and the usual deep blue sky …

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24 July 2014

Dropped cell phone calls become rain gauges in West Africa

A shaky cell phone connection during a rainstorm can be an annoying nuisance. But now scientists are showing that these weakened signals can be used to monitor rainfall in West Africa, a technique that could help cities in the region better prepare for floods and combat weather-related diseases.

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23 July 2014

The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014

At the AMS Broadcast Meteorology conference last month in Lake Tahoe, I presented a talk about widespread rumors on Facebook last January that a paralyzing snowstorm was coming. This is just one example of the love/hate relationship that meteorologists have with Facebook, and I was quoted in an article on TV News Check about this as well a couple of weeks ago. As I told the reporter for TV News …

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10 July 2014

Mid-Summer Taste of Autumn Next Week? Probably!

What is going on? Is it the revenge of the polar vortex? Actually, it’s probably connected to Japanese Typhoon Neogori that at one time was packing 260 kph winds. It is moving into southern Japan now, but the global weather models all indicate that it will push a lot of warm and humid air into the high latitudes north of Japan. This will push the jet-stream northward, and the downstream …

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