PRESS CALL TODAY: Record snowstorms, extreme weather and climate change science

Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters and I will discuss impacts of climate change on recent extreme weather events:

In Vancouver, B.C. they have experienced the warmest January on record resulting in the need to airlift snow in for the Olympics, meanwhile, the nation’s Capitol, Philadelphia, New York City and much of the Mid-Atlantic were hit by two major snowstorms in just the past week.

The most recent review of climate science by The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) concluded the strongest cold-season storms “are likely to become stronger and more frequent” – even as the planet warms overall.

Dr. Jeff Masters, Director of Meteorology for the Weather Underground and former Hurricane Hunter with Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Dr. Joseph Romm to discuss how heavier, more frequent snowstorms and other extreme weather events are consistent with the predictions of leading climate scientists throughout the world that global warming is occurring.

When: Today, February 11, 2010 at 1 p.m. EST

Please contact Suzi Emmerling at if you plan to attend the call.

Please don’t bombard Suzi with emails if you aren’t media.  I will be posting the audio online as soon as we have it.

17 Responses to PRESS CALL TODAY: Record snowstorms, extreme weather and climate change science

  1. Dano says:

    Good luck today Joe and please tone down the hyperbole. The facts shout loud enough as it is.



  2. Dr. Romm, given how much of this is complicated by the weak knowledge of science in this country perhaps it might be worthwhile inviting the authors of _Unscientific America_ Chris Mooney & Sheril Kirshenbaum to do a guest blog sometime. I know that in my own work in this area I find the insights in their book very useful.

  3. John McCormick says:

    From Peru (earlier post)

    gave us the following link to Atlantic Coast sea surface temperature anomalies

    See here the Gulf Current hitting South Greenland:

    Temperature in Greenland yesterday was 54 deg F and similar temps earlier in the week.

    Any wonder why the Middle Atlantic States got buried?

    John McCormick

  4. Andy says:

    This story about Vancouver’s lack of snow is from a Houston reporter.

    The real story here is that the atmosphere seems more and more capable of fueling massive storms, either rain or snow.

    This is what was predicted. It’s going to get worse.

    What happens when some place like Washington DC gets 3 feet of snow followed by 10 inches of rain?

  5. Andy says:

    The Sea Surface Temperature anomoly map is very interesting. The latest research tends to show that the recent massive losses of Greenland’s ice sheet are largely due to increased sea temps and subsequent melting of glaciers at their subsea grounding lines. Most of Greenland is below sea level. It’s basically an atoll with a massive ice cube sitting in the middle.

  6. Leif says:

    John, #3: Thank you for bringing that link up again. The interesting thing to me is the way the Gulf Stream now quite clearly loops into the Davis Strait. Other current charts show the Labrador Current flowing out of the Davis Strait and the Gulf Stream a relatively smooth arch across the Atlantic. In my mind this implies a weakling of the Labrador Current, or a strengthening of the Southern winds. Either way that circulating pool of warm water is having profound effects in the winter and will surely hold thru the summer as it is difficult to change currents once established. The stronger Southerly inflows are the A&B response of stronger Polar out flows of the continental winter. (When I try to scare people I call it the “hot stove pipe effect!” Just BIG and SLOW.) If it is currently 54F, 13C, up there that would imply a lot of melt water next summer… Additional fresh water further destabilizing the Gulf current… With further polar Ice melt, and vigorous South winds, the thought of even a new route for the Gulf Stream itself. Adding fuel to the fire so to speak.

    Or not ???

  7. mauri pelto says:

    Andy there is no ability for this warm seawater to penetrate beyond the grounding lines, which are quite close to the end of the outlet glaciers in Greenland. So this warmer sst is not leading to most of the increased melting. Yes these glaciers have all accelerated and that is the key to most of the mass loss. Is it due to warmer sst melting the base of the glaciers is far from answered to date. This is far different from the Pine Island Glacier where there is a huge amount of glacier base exposed, particularly as the glacier retreats from the current grounding line. The increased snowfall maximum for lake effect and noreasters has long been associated with warm water anomalies, and is a fascinating subject.

  8. knoxkp says:

    This is all so very sad and emblamtic of a dumbed down culture. There is an awful lot of peer reviewed science on the subject if you’re genuinely interested that is. From the melting cryosphere to increased ocean acidity and thinning of the east antarctic ice sheet. There are changes in the migratory patterns of birds increased insect infestations caused by climate change. On mmy university radio show I’ve taken to calling it “global weirdness” ™ as you now never know what kind of weather you’re going to get or when.

    Anyhow, love and rely on ClimateProgress – keep up the good work!

    And, is it just me or has the NYYT’s Revkin fella’ turned into a wanker?

  9. lgcarey says:

    knoxkp, it’s not just you.

  10. From Peru says:

    Well, there is a lot of interest here for Greenland.

    So, check here:

    And specially here:

    I quote:
    “The best fitting trend finds that Greenland ice loss is accelerating at a rate of 30 Gigatonnes/yr2. Greenland’s mass loss doubled over the 9 year period.”

    “Figure 2 shows Greenland’s total mass balance broken into its two components: Surface Mass Balance and Discharge. We see that not only is Discharge increasing sharply due to faster moving glaciers, the Surface Mass Balance also fell sharply. Greenland’s total mass loss over 2000 to 2008 is equally split between Surface Mass Balance changes and Ice Discharge.”

    Dischage is the flow of glaciers to the sea, Surface Mass Balance(SMB) is precipitation minus runoff.

    Greenland is BOTH melting from above(increased runoff, mainly in summer) and from below (warm water eroding ice and lubricating the glacier flow, leading to accelerating discharge for all the year, even in winter)

  11. Stuart says:

    knoxkp – global weirdness – I like it. People may have a feeling that things just aren’t right with the weather and that phrase seems to capture that feeling of unease.

  12. billy t says:

    IPCC Synthesis Report Section 3.2:
    “Increases in the amount of precipitation are very likely in high-latitudes”

    See figure 3.3 – northern hemisphere winter predicted to have greater precipitation in northern parts of North America and Europe/Asia.

    Seems to be happening already…

  13. Lou Grinzo says:

    From Peru: That Figure 2 illustration is very unnerving, to put it mildly.

    Everyone else: If you’re not a regular reader of Skeptical Science, you should be. The proprietor, John Cook, does an outstanding job, as deomstrated in the links From Peru posted. (And no, I have no connection with him or his site, other than as a regular reader.)

  14. From Peru says:

    Lou Grinzo: in effect, fig 2 is like a bridge caught in the act of collapsing!

    A bridge of melting ice!

  15. From Peru says:

    The Southern Oscillation index is at record low for the 2009-2010 El Niño:

    So El Niño is strenguening again(note the tongue of warm waters below equator. A week ago wasn’t there):

  16. Dear Dr. Pelto,

    In the past, I remember the GrIS mass balance data through August being presented at the Fall AGUs, but I can find it only through July 25, 2009, this time round.

    August 2009 was a major melt month. The enormous melt lakes all drained out. This would register as a major loss in the GRACE data.

    Please, would you know where I could find this data?

  17. All success to you, today, Joe, and to Jeff.