By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

A recent post Huffington Post blog (who I also write for) was critical of the influence of meteorologists as it relates to the climate change discussion, citing their tendency toward skepticism of what is considered scientific consensus.

As a meteorologist myself, I try to defer to the climate experts as it relates to climate research and don’t feel obligated to understand all of the details of the science in the unrelated field of climate science, unless climatologists are interested in helping meteorologists are interested in understanding all of the details related to forecasting the weather.

I will say that the tendency of meteorologists to be more skeptical than other scientists as it relates to the climate change debate is most likely because of their knowledge and experience in dealing with the weather for years.

There is a tendency among non-weather experts to judge the climate change debate based on their own local weather or global weather patterns over a short period of time. Meteorologists understand better than most about the intense variability of weather from location to location across the globe and from one season to the next–and often understand that meteorological factors that influence those change are naturally occurring atmospheric phenomena.

Any climate changes that are occurring would need to be judged in addition to those weather factors, kind of like judging weather ocean levels rising needs to be judged based on knowledge above and beyond that of high tide.

I’ve too often heard that “it’s been a cold weather in the U.S., so there is no global warming” while other parts of the globe have more than compensated for the U.S. cold. That was the case in each of the past two winters. I’ve also too often heard that “the warm in the U.S. this winter is proof of global warming” while other parts of the globe have experienced cold that has more than compensated. That’s what’s going on this year.

As long as meteorologists need to explain that global temperature trends are not a reflection of the weather in one country or of one season, they will be viewed as skeptics even if they, like me, willingly admit that they are not experts in the science that truly does determing whether the global climate is changing.

Posted by: pyeager | February 10, 2012

European Death Toll Over 500 in Cold Outbreak

I know the news here is very US-centric, but it seems as if the incredible cold outbreak in Europe is not getting nearly enough coverage considering the scope of the on-going disaster.

As of today (Feb 10), the death toll in Europe has exceeded 500, and with the bitter cold pattern continuing, it’s only going to become more of an international disaster.

Hungary’s Danube River has been closed to traffic, bringing shipping on one of Europe’s busiest waterways to a nearly complete standstill. It’s considered the greatest amount of ice since 1985.

According to the another article, Italian authorities have reported 17 deaths caused by exposure, temperatures have hit -40 degrees F (or C since -40 is the same in both) in Finland, and the death toll is up to 131 in the Ukraine alone. In the Ukraine,  1,800 others have been hospitalized, and snow has isolated 70,000 people in Siberian villages.

Snow has even fallen in Libya.

Posted by: pyeager | February 8, 2012

I’m Still Here!

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

I know that it seems as if I’ve been missing in action lately, but I’m still here!

I plan to make more time to write regular posts here, but in the meantime, remember that I do occasionally write blogs for the Huffington Post. I wrote one yesterday on the latest NOAA climate stats for January. As of this writing, it hasn’t been published yet, so I can’t provide a directly link. It will appear on my archives page when it is posted, though.

Posted by: pyeager | January 5, 2012

Weather Talk on Science Friday

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be on NPR’s popular Science Friday show tomorrow to join host Ira Flatow and fellow guests Andrew Fraknoi and David Mizejewski. The segment will be called Winter Wonderland? Wonder No Longer.

 

Posted by: pyeager | January 3, 2012

Very Dangerous Weather–Snow Squalls

One of the things that I talked about in the book (Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities) is that a relatively innocent sounding forecast of “snow showers” can lead to some of the most dangerous travel conditions on highways. Unsuspecting drivers suddenly run into reduced visibility from heavy snow as roads instanty become icy, often leading to mutli-vehicle accidents.

One such accident occurred on I-80 in Jefferson County in Pennsylvania on Monday. Fortunately, no one was killed in the 45-vehicle accident that included a significant number of tractor trailers. WJAC-TV in Johnstown had some video coverage of the accident.

I-80 is notorious for such accidents, and much of the reason is related to the frequency of snow squalls associated with lake-effect snow, the situation that spawned yesterday’s accident.

Unrelated note:

I know that I have not been posting with great regularity lately, but don’t forget…I do occasionally post blogs on the Huffington Post as well.

Be careful even if the forecast sounds innocent!

Posted by: pyeager | December 13, 2011

NOAA Warning Voice Sings “Deck the Halls”

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

If you’ve followed the blog for the last couple of years, you probably noticed that I think we get a little too Christmas obsessed in this country, but who doesn’t love a Christmas classic song? Here’s one from a familiar voice to all of us: “Deck the Halls” by the fake voice that does the NOAA forecasts and warnings.

Since we’re in the Christmas song theme, here are some “Creepy Christmas Carols for a Less Cheerful Holiday.”

One repeating theme of Christmas songs is that they sound sad and depressing. I mean, do they still play that song about the kid buying a pair of shoes for his mother because she’s going to “meet Jesus” on Christmas eve? I mean, seriously, pass me the rum–I need another shot.

It’s not only the songs, but it’s the way they’re performed. Any time anyone tries to sing a Christmas carol, they try to do so dramatically and with extra emotion–and the result is a whiny, sad song. If it’s such a happy time, then why is everyone so freaking sad?

Posted by: pyeager | December 5, 2011

2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Review–In Video

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

I know that my weather geek side is showing, but I love videos like this.

The video shows a continuous satellite loop of the entire 2011 Atlantic basin hurricane season. I have done a little analysis on the Huffington Post, but even without any analysis, it’s enjoyable to watch.

Posted by: pyeager | November 26, 2011

Drought Uncovers Town Last Seen in 1937

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

The ongoing devastating Texas drought has had one interesting side effect: the appearance of the remnants of an old ghost town, Bluffton, that was flooded in 1937 when a dam resulted in the creation of Lake Buchanan.

The lake is only receiving 10% of its normal water, and the water level is down an astonishing 32 feet. Even when the rain normal or above-normal rainfall returns, it will take years for the lake to return.

Foundations and even a graveyard have been revealed by the drought, and more information can be found on Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Texas drought conditions

 

Posted by: pyeager | November 20, 2011

Year’s Worth of Weather in 5 Minutes; Global Temperatures

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

Remember, just because I don’t post information here, it doesn’t mean that I’m not writing about the weather. Check out my posts at the Huffington Post, which should show up in the RSS feeds on this page as well.

Recently, I highlighted the difference between NOAA and NASA/Remote Sensing Systems global temperatures for October (18th Warmest October or 15th Coolest?).

I also highlighted an interesting video that shows time-lapse video that shows the weather for the past year for the past year in San Francisco. The video shows mini-videos for every day of the year at the same time, giving a truly unique perspective on the weather.

I’ll post the video below, but for more analysis, see the Huffington Post Blog (360 Days of Sun, Clouds, and Rain).

I’d love to see a video like that for a region where the weather is a little more active, and the sky is a little more changeable.

Posted by: pyeager | November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Weather

By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

I know. Many people have been asking me about Thanksgiving Day weather, but I haven’t had a chance to post any information…but…since most of the turkey are still frozen, it’s not too late.

A major storm or two often highlights Thanksgiving Day weather since it’s getting into that stormy time of year; however, it appears as if the holiday that we all seem to barely tolerate before starting the over-hyped and excessively long “Christmas season” (how’s that for an editorial comment?) will be fairly tranquil across the United States.

Here’s a forecast map for early Thanksgiving Day (GFS output from Saturday morning):

GFS Thanksgiving Day forecast

Computer forecast model (GFS) for Thanksgiving Day

If this forecast is right, then there will be some rain and high-mountain snow along the West Coast from two storms–one weakening as it heads through California and a stronger one plowing into the Pacific Northwest. The remainder of the country will generally be dry and mild–perfect turkey-eating weather.

This doesn’t mean that the weather leading up to the holiday–travel days during the first part of the week–will be just as uneventful, though. The storm show in the western Atlantic on the Thursday map will track from the Plains to off the East Coast during the next several days.

Dangerous thunderstorms, including the possibility of isolated tornadoes, will occur in the southern Plains as early as Sunday and, by Tuesday, heavy rain and strong thunderstorms will extend from the Missouri Valley into parts of the Southern Plains. Showers and a couple of thunderstorms will move through the East on Wednesday, with the possibility of being cold enough for snow in parts of New England.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, though, much of the nation will have quiet weather, which is good since we’ll all need time to start obsessing about Christmas–something I’ve written about before: Five Weather Seasons, and Romanticized White Christmas.

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