Archive for February, 2014

Climate change and the Winter Olympics
February 22, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

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If you watched some of the Winter Olympics over the last two weeks, you may have heard a few stories about how warm it was in Sochi for a few days.  Now a joint study by Canada and Austria researchers believe Sochi, along with several other cities, would never be able to host the Winter Olympics again if climate change trends continue.

The study looked at the 19 former cities that served as host of the Winter Olympics.  Looking at temperatures and snow pack, and how climate change may impact those variables, the study sees if the selected city could host the Winter Olympics again 9 times out of 10.

Eight cities could not meet that criteria, including Sochi.  The site of the last Winter Olympics, Vancouver, also failed according to the study.

More details can be read at livescience.com: Sochi Could Be Too Warm to Host Olympics in 50 Years

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El Nino may return in late 2014, study finds
February 15, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

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More news on the El Nino front, as a new study published suggests that El Nino will return later this year, potentially setting the stage for a record-breaking warm year in 2015.

An international team of researchers published their results on Monday.  An excerpt from an article published by Climate Central said:

“The researchers found that a strong link between air temperatures across the Pacific and air temperatures in the region where El Niño forms appears about one calendar year before an actual El Niño event … This index, the study said, points to a high likelihood of an upcoming El Niño late in 2014.”

The technique used in this study is different than most El Nino monitoring, which typically provides guidance for El Nino events 6 months in advance, not a full year.

More on this study can be found here: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/study-sounds-el-nino-alarm-for-2014-17052

El Nino monitoring system in failure mode
February 9, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

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One of the limitations of weather forecasting comes from the fact that there are not enough weather observations taken around the world.  Since the weather influences every single place on earth, only an observation from every single place on earth can 100% accurately depict the total state of the atmosphere.

For example, the nor’easter that may impact New England on Thursday is still in its infancy stage as a little upper-air disturbance out in the northern Pacific Ocean today (Sunday).  While western Massachusetts has all of the radar technology, real-time observations, and high-resolution computer models to depict the weather here, the middle of the Pacific doesn’t.  This is part of the reason why long-range forecasts drastically change … large gaps in data = inconsistent, troublesome forecasts.

Below is an interesting article I came across regarding weather buoys in the equatorial Pacific, the region that is closely monitored for El Nino/La Nina.  Unfortunately, government budget cuts has forced NOAA to cut back on maintaining these buoys.  As these buoys malfunction, critical data for global weather patterns is in jeopardy.  Anyway … it’s an interesting read, courtesy of nature.com:

http://www.nature.com/news/el-ni%C3%B1o-monitoring-system-in-failure-mode-1.14582

February 2013 blizzard – one year later
February 8, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

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While we had to deal with a winter storm this past Wednesday, it was pale in comparison to the February 2013 blizzard.  One year ago tonight, southern New England was in the middle of true blizzard conditions, with the Springfield area waking up to about 2 feet of snow.

Here are the town-by-town snowfall totals across western Mass from that storm.

The 22.3 inches recorded at Bradley International Airport officially placed this storm 2nd on the list of snowfall totals from one event for the Pioneer Valley.

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As far as this season goes, the 10 inches of snow recorded on Wednesday puts our snowfall totals about 11 inches above normal through the first week of February.  The average snowfall total for one season is 40.5 inches.  It is very possible that Thursday’s potential nor’easter could be the event that gets us to that mark.

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Super Bowl XLVIII and weather
February 1, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

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In a blog entry from 2012, we took a look at some interesting weather/climate stats for the Super Bowl.  It correctly predicted the New York Giants victory over New England in that Super Bowl, and if those odds stay true, it implies the Seattle Seahawks would be the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

Here is the excerpt from that entry in 2012:

This year’s Super Bowl is being played in Indianapolis for the first time, making it the 14th different city to host the Super Bowl… For the 13 cities to host the Super Bowl so far, the first Super Bowl that city hosted has usually been won by the team from the warmer climate.

As it turned out, the New York Giants won that game in Indianapolis, meaning the team from the warmer city has now won 11 of the 14 Super Bowls hosted by a city for the first time.

This being the first time East Rutherford, NJ or the New York City area has hosted a Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks would be favored over the Denver Broncos.  Seattle’s yearly average temperature is 52.6 degrees.  Denver’s yearly average temperature is 50.4 degrees.

In addition to that, Denver has played in one other Super Bowl which was being hosted in a city for the first time.  Their loss to the Washington Redskins in San Diego in 1988 adds to the statistical probability that the team from the warmer climate wins the host city’s first Super Bowl.