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Subject:  Re: Snowstorm Nemo: denial vs. reality Date:  2/10/2013  11:28 PM
Author:  putnid Number:  1858891 of 1947770

This is a x-post from the Climate Change Board:

So it came to be that New England had itself a righteous snowstorm. Yeppers, it happens. And sure as the sun rises in the east, there were those who cited the event as some sort of claim against global warming. True to form, they equated snowfall to cold temperatures and, of course, they were waaaaay off base. Sad, really.

Here's the thing: the water vapor content of the atmosphere is directly related to the temperature of the atmosphere. Simply put, the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold and the more moisture in the atmosphere, the greater the potential precipitation (either as snow, ice or rain depending on the temperature of the air). Most of us learned that basic physics principle in grade school or high school. Here's a handy chart (and lesson plan) to help inform the woefully ill-informed:

http://tinyurl.com/aefnzml

As one can readily see, air (at approximately 32 degrees) can exhibit twice the moisture content of air at 14 degrees. Hey, that's physics for ya! Simple stuff, even for simpletons.

Truly frigid air holds precious little water (just check the chart again).

So...what happened in New England as a consequence of the storm named Nemo? Well, a WARM air mass ascending along the eastern seaboard collided with a colder air mass moving west to east. That WARM air mass held a LOT of water vapor. The colder air mass wasn't all that cold (consequently, it, too contained a lot of water vapor), but it was cold enough to precipitate water vapor onto the ground as snow. Voila! Record snowfall in some parts of New England.

The Denialists, Obfuscators, the totally "Foxed-up," the brain-damaged "Campfire Smoke Inhalers" and other scientifically illiterate sorts equate record snowfall to cold temps when the exact opposite is true. Sad, really.

So...how cold is it in Milford, Conn. where, by some accounts, the snowfall was the greatest? Here's the weather forecast for the area:

http://tinyurl.com/a7fa8lk

Not all that cold, actually. In fact, the daytime temperatures will remain above freezing for the coming week. This wasn't no frigid winter blast, folks. No, it was warm air colliding with moderately colder air that caused all that snow. Milford, Conn. will now resume its temperate winter climate. By the by, it was a "tell" that the air wasn't that cold to begin with given that it was raining in the general area before the air masses collided. Yeppers, the air wasn't all that cold...it just got cold enough to eventually snow...in spades.

Interestingly enough, global temperature data indicate that January has been anomalously WARM:

http://tinyurl.com/bgzdbpd

Yep, Dr. Roy Spencer (a fan favorite of "Skeptics") reported that the January global temperature anomaly was .51 deg. C. Wowza! That's one big temperature increase! Here's what Doctor Roy said about that:

Due to the rather large 1-month increase in the temperature anomaly, I double checked the computations, and found that multiple satellites (NOAA-15, NOAA-18, and Aqua) all saw approximately equal levels of WARMING versus a year ago (January, 2012), so for now I’m accepting the results as real.

Meanwhile, over at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, they were reporting that:

Air temperatures at the 925 hPa level were 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average across much of the Arctic Ocean.

and that,

Average Arctic sea ice extent for January 2013 was the sixth lowest for the month in the satellite record. Through 2013, the linear rate of decline for January ice extent is -3.2 percent per decade relative to the 1979 to 2000 average.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
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