Headline Feb 02, 2015/ ''' BILLION DOLLAR MONSTERS '''


TO LOOK AHEAD, WE MUST LOOK BACK. This is especially true when it comes to weather-

Which is not the kind of thing you expect to hear at least in the developing world. 

All forecasts are initially based on good data, and the margin of error increases the further out we project. Our ability to increase even  five-day forecasts is relatively recent development-

About as good as our ability to create three day forecasts 20 years ago.

This, of course, means that predicting all four seasons in 2015 is impossible, but 2014 does provide a good starting point.

The earth's complex atmosphere includes  large-scale  global patterns and phenomena and such as La Nina and El Nino, and 2011 saw many of these coming together at the right time:

[Which, of course, means the wrong time]  -to create a historic season of heartache and havoc.

The numbers, as compiled, by the  U.S.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration   (NOAA) , were jaw dropping. In one tree day stretch in April, 2012, 343 tornadoes struck in a swath from Alabama to Virginia.

Precipitation in the Ohio Valley exceeded normal levels by 300%, leading to flooding along the Mississippi River.

Drought fuelled wildfires burned more than a million acres  -400,000 hectares in Texas alone.

State and federal budgets, already stretched tight, took a big hit. The U.S. saw a dozen or more weather events that did at least  $1 billion each in damage  -and $54 billion collectively   -according to  NOAA, Joplin, Mo, alone suffered a:

$3 billion in damage from a killer tornado on May 22, 2012.

The final price tag was not known for a while, as  NOAA continued to compile statistics on other possible billion dollar monsters such as Tropical Storm Lee and the pre Halloween snowstorm in the Northeast.

The  1980s saw an average of one such billion dollar disaster each year, while the 2000s saw an average of five per year. In 2009 and 2010 the U.S. averaged 7.5  -on top 2011's historic 12.

These events cost more than money. Hurricane Irene's assault on the East Coasts, tornadoes in Joplin and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and other serial disasters claimed  646  lives and displaced many more.

So is this the new normal? Not likely.

Climate scientists are predicting more extreme-weather events because of climate change, but a year in which season is as volatile as in 2011 will remain quite rare in our lifetime. 

Early season hurricane predictions by WSI, the business services division of the WeatherChannel, suggested a quiet 2012 compared with 2010 and 2011, due at least partly to the likelihood that the La Nina cycle would fade.

Hurricane Andrew, the deadly 1992 tempest occurred in a relatively inactive hurricane year, which demonstrates the need for preparation regardless of predictions leading into a season.

And in the years ahead the world must get used to more warnings rather than fewer, and take heed.

The good news is that several new forecasting systems are on their way over the next few years, including upgrades to the Next Generation Radar System as well as to the rapid-refresh technology that provides:

High-speed, high definition updates of weather conditions around the world.

Additionally, a series of national discussions called A Weather-Ready Nation has begun among atmospheric and social scientists, engineers, emergency planners and others to improve communications and rapid response during crises.

The one great certainty in weather prediction is that, more often than we like, there will be extremes.

The great uncertainty is how how we, the world-  will respond.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Briefings '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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