Five Weathercasters Who Made History

Happy National Weatherperson’s Day! This American holiday takes place each year on February 5, the birthdate of John Jeffries (1745-1819). Jeffries was a military surgeon during the American Revolution, and later the family physician to future President John Adams, but he gained his greatest meteorological fame by taking observations from a hot-air balloon above London.

To salute the occasion, I thought I’d spotlight a tiny sample of the hundreds of ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Absurd January Warmth in Arctic Brings Record-Low Sea Ice Extent

This winter’s freezing season in the Arctic is falling short. The extent of Arctic sea ice this week is hovering near record-low values for early February, based on observations that extend back to the start of satellite monitoring in 1979. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that last month had the lowest overall Arctic sea ice extent of any January in the satellite record (Figure 1). As detailed in an NSIDC report on Thursday, the total...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Groundhog Says: Early Spring! Plus: a Groundhog Day Tornado Outbreak?

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the world's most famous prognosticating rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, gloomy clouds prevailed at sunrise on Tuesday morning, preventing Punxsutawney Phil from seeing his shadow. His fearless prognostication for the remainder of winter, as presented as his official web site, looks like this, then:

“Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Now, this Second Day of February, Two Thousand and Sixteen, the One Hundred a...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Blizzard Sweeping into Central States; A Cold February in Store?

In the state of Iowa, Monday night looks to be a wild one both politically and meteorologically. The first-in-the-nation 2016 presidential caucuses are scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm CST, just as a powerful winter storm begins to roll into the state. Blizzard warnings are out from eastern Nebraska into northwest Iowa from very early Tuesday morning into Wednesday. The onslaught is part of a sprawling, energetic winter storm that crashed ashore in Southern California ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

How Much Will El Niño Help to Quench California’s Grinding Drought?

With hillsides greening up fast, and chunks of coastline falling into the sea, it’s obvious that generous rains (and mountain snows) have returned to large parts of California this winter. But it remains an open question exactly how much this winter will help the state recover from a brutal four years of drought.

We can thank El Niño for the moisture return. One of the three strongest El Niño events since reliable records began in 1950 is still keepi...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Winter Storm Jonas: Fourth Strongest Nor'easter since 1950

The massive blizzard that rocked the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. last weekend, killing at least 58 and leaving over $2 billion in damage, has been rated the 4th most severe snowstorm to hit the area in the past 66 years, said NOAA. A Category 4 or “Crippling” rating was given to the storm using NOAA’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, also known as NESIS. NESIS scores are a function of the area affected by the snowstorm, the amount of snow, and the number o...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Celebrates its Four-Year Anniversary

Whenever scientific research uncovers truths that threaten the profits of large and powerful corporations, those companies--and the politicians these corporations' money help elect-- inevitably fight back by attacking the scientists. As I discussed in detail in my 2009 blog post, The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy, we've seen this behavior most clearly with the tobacco industry, but manufacturers of chlorofluorocarbons, asbestos, benzen...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Sixteen National/Territorial All-Time Extreme Heat Records Set in 2015

In addition to being the warmest year on record when averaged over the entire globe, 2015 was also notable for all-time extreme heat records. Sixteen nations or territories tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history in 2015, and two (Israel and Cyprus) set all-time cold temperature records. For comparison, only two nations or territories set all-time heat records in 2014, and nine did in 2013. The most all-time national heat recor...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Freakish Sleet, Snow, and Cold Sting Southeast Asia

At least 87 deaths have been reported from a cold wave over the last week that’s brought dangerously chilly temperatures and wintry precipitation to tropical and subtropical latitudes of Southeast Asia, as well as brutally frigid readings further north. The culprit is a southward extension of the upper-air circulation that rings the Arctic (a.k.a. the “polar vortex”), which allowed an unusually strong Siberian surface high to build southeastward (see Figure 1)...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>