La Niña is still on its way

Delayed weather phenomenon helps big December snow

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La Niña is still on its way; it's just a little behind schedule.

Jim Pringle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said he still expects the state to experience warmer and drier than normal weather this season. But it will arrive later than climatologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration originally thought.

"The onset of the typical weather patterns experienced during a moderate to strong La Niña event were delayed by at least a month but still are expected to occur beginning later in January," Pringle said. "There are probably not many people complaining about the abundant December precipitation across the region."

The La Niña effect on climate involves fluctuations of water temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean off South America. It tends to produce heavier than typical precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and drier than normal conditions on the Colorado Plateau. Northwest Colorado is often rated as a toss-up in terms of winter snowfall during a La Niña event.

The early December blast of snow that blanketed the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado and the West Elk Mountains near Crested Butte came as a surprise to Pringle and his colleagues at NOAA. However, Pringle's original outlook for Steamboat Springs, delivered in November, wasn't far off the mark. On Nov. 22, Pringle said extreme Northwest Colorado - with an emphasis on the northwest corner of Moffat County - had a slightly stronger chance of above-average precipitation in the early winter.

Steamboat saw an unusually mild November. The opening of Steamboat Ski Area was delayed 10 days, and on Nov. 20, longtime Steamboat weather observer Art Judson recorded a daytime high of 65 degrees.

But Steamboat began to see a more typical winter weather pattern in December, a month with snowfall on 23 of its days so far.

Early in the month, a southern flow brought only moderate amounts of snow to Steamboat. Judson explained that southern storms never produce large amounts of snow in the Park Range because they don't generate enough lift. The largest snow totals are always produced by a westerly flow, Judson said. The air masses in storms that strike the west-facing slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area head-on rise faster, he said. The greater the lift, the greater the rate at which "condensate" forms, he added, and the greater the snowfall.

By mid-December, the storm track had shifted to the northwest, and the ski area began to see storm totals climbing - this month has produced more than 100 inches at mid-mountain.

Pringle believes winter will be moderate in January.

"The weather pattern for Western Colorado is still expected to transition to warmer than normal conditions for mid- to late-winter, with a trend towards drier weather," Pringle said. "The area most likely to be drier than normal during mid- to late-winter is still expected to be in the south, with equal chances of at least normal precipitation in the north."

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

freshair 6 years, 7 months ago

The fact is this is one of the coldest winters in history thru most of the middle part of the country. The global warming cult is working on their 'explanation' for this apparent anti-global warming trend as I type this.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 7 months ago

The 2008 Old Farmers Almanac says; Jan 08: above ave. precip with below ave. temps Feb 08: ave. temps with below ave. precip. Mar 08: above ave. temps with ave. precip. April 08: above ave. temps and above ave. precip. January is calling for periods of snow all month with cold temps. February is calling for a more mild month of weather. What February doe's not deliver, March will. March will deliver it's usual mixed bag of snow storms to keep us in reality that we live in the mountains. April calls the typical mud season blues of greyness and snow mixed with rain, until late month. I've been a observer and student of weather for about 25 years here in Steamboat. These mountains have a way of tossing forcasters on their butts when it comes to snow! The Almanac comes within 80% of it's predictions. Pringle believes winter will be moderate in January.
"The weather pattern for Western Colorado is still expected to transition to warmer than normal conditions for mid- to late-winter, with a trend towards drier weather," Pringle states. This forecast runs somewhat parallel to the almanac. I just hope that we recieve enough snow pack to sustain water for summer usage in the west and make winter sports enjoyable. Happy New Year!

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dave reynolds 6 years, 7 months ago

mother nature takes care of its self..gobal warming i question..growing up in eastern montana there never was warming it was damn right cold..30 below with 10mph winds do the math i agree Al Gore go away..things just s..k in cali right now so blame it on global warming..how bout over development..seems to be happening here too..if you are stupid enough to build your home on a 60 percent grade the expect it to slide or almost impossible to acess in his climate..its not rocket science

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 7 months ago

Mother nature takes care of herself?

Sorry but the 6,500,000,000 people scrambling for resources on Mother Earth we need to be proactive and not assume "She'll take care of herself".

Steamboat and the surrounding areas could easily be trashed in a matter of years if we treated the Yampa Valley with that attitude.

Although I'm not sold on "Global warming" per say there is no doubt that our waters, air, soils etc are being polluted at an alarming rate and that concerns me.

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JazzSlave 6 years, 7 months ago

My carbon footprint is bigger than yours (not as big as Al Gore's; but I'm working on it)!

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 7 months ago

Before the mud starts a flinging too much about global warming issues, let me add to the above comentaries. The Old Farmers Almanac in printed statement in the 2008 issue that: for the first time in the many years of it's data collection of weather, they had a difficult time with the accuracy of their forcasts since 2000. They base their forcasts on data collected every 30 years. The last group of 30 year data collected ended in 2000. They base their predictions on that weather data along with solar activityies on the sun. In their opinion,"nothing in the universe happens haphazardly and that there is a cause and effect to all phnomena on the earth". Could global warming be the cause recent extreme weather shifts or could it be solar activities of the sun or maybe a combination both? My personal speculation is that it is a little of both factors. Some of our control and some beyond our control. Who's in control? It's our mother earth! We just watch in awe! I also believe we can help out by being good stewards for her and that is also a works in progress. Thanks!

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old_town 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes, climate change is a global conspiracy of scientists and liberals trying to change our way of life with Al Gore leading the charge. Who really cares about Al Gore? The people behind the climate change are scientists, not politicians. If you want to argue against it, bring some data.

The NOAA(scientists) makes it pretty clear with just one of many indicators: (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071213_climateupdate.html) "Including 2007, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997." Short term variability in weather is no smoking gun to discredit studies of long term change and likewise the changes might be less pronounced to us here in Colorado compared to other areas. Just because it is cold and snowy in Steamboat today is no indicator of whether the climate is changing across the country and world. Talk to anyone in New England, they are seeing the seasons change first hand.

Regardless of your do you really think we can have so much industry, so many cars/trucks, and continued growth in China and India and not have an effect?

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 7 months ago

I warned everyone that GW would bring out the evil sbore. hey bore it really wont matter because on Dec. 21, 2012 the earth will reverse its magnetic poles and it will all be a moot point. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012

2012 is sometimes claimed to be a great year of spiritual transformation (or apocalypse). Many esoteric sources interpret the completion of the thirteenth B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the Maya calendar (which occurs on December 21 by the most widely held correlation) to mean there will be a major change in world order.

Accordingly, several eclectic authors claim that a major, world-changing event will take place in 2012:

* The 1995 book The Mayan Prophecies linked the Maya calendar with long-period sunspot cycles.
* The book 2012: Mayan Year of Destiny claims the Maya may have been instructed in their wisdom by disembodied entities from Orion and the Pleiades. Contact was maintained through shamanic rituals conducted in accordance with the movements of planets and stars. However, some Mayan priests living and working in Guatemala assert that there is no legitimacy to this theory.
* The 1997 book The Bible Code claims that, according to certain algorithms of the Bible code, a meteor, asteroid or comet will collide with the Earth.
* The book The Nostradamus Code speaks of a series of natural disasters caused by a comet (possibly as above) that will allow the third Antichrist to disperse his troops around the globe under the guise of aid in preparation for a possible nuclear war, although in the strictest sense it is unspecific as to nuclear war or some other natural or man caused destruction.
* The book The Orion Prophecy claims that the Earth's magnetic field will reverse.
* The 2005 book Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy by Geoff Stray reviews several theories, prophecies and predictions concerning 2012 and finds where authors have used faulty information or have bent the truth to fit their theories.
* The 2006 book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck discusses theories of a possible global awakening to psychic connection by the year 2012, creating a noosphere.
* The 2007 book Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End by Lawrence Joseph does not make any specific new predictions, but it reviews a number of 2012 predictions made by various sources, and presents arguments for the possible existence of dangerous positive feedback loops involving solar storms, Earth's magnetic field, cosmic rays, hurricanes, global warming, earthquakes, and supervolcanoes that may be on the verge of erupting.
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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 7 months ago

continued:

Other prophecies and apocalyptic writings and hypotheses for this year include:

* Terence McKenna's numerological novelty theory suggests a point of singularity in which humankind will go through a great shift in consciousness.
* Some proponents of a peak oil catastrophe place major events in 2012. Richard C. Duncan's book The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road To The Olduvai Gorge claims that the Olduvai cliff will begin and permanent blackouts will occur worldwide. Several studies predict a peak in oil production in or around 2012.

and http://alignment2012.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSCFHO... and http://survive2012.com/why_2012_fractal.php hope sbore and Mr/Ms Coulter are around to see it. Boom

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old_town 6 years, 7 months ago

sbvor speaks with as much certainty as Al Gore and discount the work of hundreds of scientists and that is certainly reason to be skeptical.

Yes, the present Holocene period is not as warm as the previous interglacial periods, but I disagree that the current concern over rapid changes can be lessened simply because it has been warmer in the past. And there is some level of natural variability and even the possibility of abrupt climate change that could rapidly change our climate, but a few of the google articles you linked state that our changing of the atmosphere's composition will simply make abrupt climate change more likely?

Also, to your point that Co2 is driven by temperature, i agree that Co2 did not trigger the initial warming and cooling of ice ages, but that does not challenge the idea that adding more Co2 along with other greenhouse gases heats the planet as a feedback loop?

I don't see how your use of wikipedia, google and the internet constitutes peer review. The current consensus about warming has come about over years of research and is hardly an effort by scientists or journalists to make money or environmentalists to have more influence. Thankfully it is getting attention and more discussion even from our own president.

For anyone looking for responses some of sbvors claims and some more perspective, I would suggest the magazine NewScientist: http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462

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JazzSlave 6 years, 7 months ago

old_town sez:

"sbvor speaks with as much certainty as Al Gore and discount the work of hundreds of scientists and that is certainly reason to be skeptical."

To which hundreds of scientists do you refer? Do the ones cited in last week's Senate report count? http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport

Excerpts:

"Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore...

...Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears "bite the dust." In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement. "

It is unsurprising that the report has been buried by the mainstream media.

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summerbird 6 years, 7 months ago

To paraphrase Will Rogers: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

That's because you can't.

Take one day at a time, be thankful for what Mother Nature has given you this day!

Shut up and ski!

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grannyrett 6 years, 7 months ago

No matter what you all say, it's darn cold out there!

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justathought 6 years, 7 months ago

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling", thanks Gore!

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

Isn't it denial comforting? Most people are soooooooooo qualified to discuss this. Yeah, a bit of arctic air heads our way for a month or too, big deal. Yeah you can say it's cold. Just look at the larger trend around the WORLD (looking out your window won't help you here). The vast majority of scientist agree it's happening because of us. And it is cold outside, but not as cold as it was four or five decades ago this time of year.

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seeuski 6 years, 7 months ago

So skiday11, you should invest in some future beach front property in Hayden and wait for the 20' rise in the oceans that Al Gore has promised you. I will deny that I recomended it to you if you cash in, what in 2012?.

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grannyrett 6 years, 7 months ago

It's cold and the wind is a blowin'. I can remember when it would get below zero and stay there for a while. I can also remember snow drifts in the scrub oak that were still there in July. It just feels colder the older I get. So many facts and links it makes my head spin. Who looks these things up any way, and why?

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1234 6 years, 7 months ago

grannyrett, i can remember the same kind of winters you rememeber. these people seem to not know what a real colorado winter can be all about,can they? these people can do there lil links and go to who ever they want , to try to get some point across that the world is crashing, but the winters can be hard and they can change. a lot of people will say every year , "this has been a different kind of winter", and it may have been a different kind of winter. but compared to what. the last winter, or the winter before, or when ever! i have lived in colorado since 03/02/1962, and the winters have not been the same each year, or decade. so lets just take it as it comes and deal with it. if you like the snow, be happy when it snows!!! if you dont like the snow, you need to like dry weather and burning crops, or you need to move!!!

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

Seeuski, ok, this is getting boring, but anyway.... I don't think I mentioned Al Gore. I haven't seen his documentary. I get my point of view through observation. sbvor, I think I'm referring to Climatologists. Many, if not most of the scientists on the list are not so. For example, Philip Abelson, a physicist. Many of them are older scientist who are now dead and/or signed the petition before more substantial longer-term evidence of global warming appeared (pre-1990). The petition is not great evidence for your case.

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seeuski 6 years, 7 months ago

Skiday11, Youre response,"Seeuski, ok, this is getting boring, but anyway.... I don't think I mentioned Al Gore. I haven't seen his documentary. I get my point of view through observation". So you are the all knowing galactic observer that we should all just fall in line with? If it was not Al's Nobel winning movie then what observations lead you to believe we are doomed to his global oven predictions and farces? Were you on board with the predictions of 5 giant hurricanes this last season? We had one that hit the US. The storyline that started this thread is the continuation of daily stories that we should believe the global warming alarmists. The scientists that bring their bodies of work showing opposite theories to the alarmists(politicists)are routinely condemned by the media and some have had there carreers threatened unless they comply. We will all see what reality is in maybe 50 or 100 years, who was right or wrong. In the mid 70"s we were threatened with an ice age...

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powderhound 6 years, 7 months ago

Both those who deny and those who accept the anthropogenic aspects of our climate would do well to check out the following website: http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics. This page details "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic". Most importantly it presents a rational and logical approach to climate. Unfortunately one of the biggest problems with the global warming skeptics and deniers is the fallacious manner in which they try to refute what is happening. Most notably this involves cherry picking, but also involves other logical errors. (For an interesting discussion, please see http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/fallacies.html).

Bottom line: climate change is real. The question is how much is contributed by man. The overwhelming evidence suggests a real and significant one. However, the reality is that taking steps to ameliorate and minimize our impact on the planet can be both beneficial and economical, even if global warming per se is overstated.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 7 months ago

grannyrett, I remeber those sub zero days! I have a picture that was taken in downtown Steamboat of the Intrawest Bank, now Wells Fargo Bank clock registering -66 below in January 1984. 1985 had some -55 days and 1986 had more -45 degree days. I can remeber -17 degree days in October of the late 1990s during second season of elk hunting. Snow levels early in the year in the elevations above 7500 feet were much deeper earlier as well!I've onlylive in Steamboat 25 years and I've noticed that the seasons have changed. We have a shorter mud season in both fall and spring and the summers are registering more 90 degree days than 80 degree days. We never heard of drought, not like we do now because snow pack was pleanty and so was regular moisture. Call it what you want, but things in the weather are changing either way you look at it. The last decade has proven that! Happy New Year!

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

sbvor, thank you for your enthusiasm! I think you're wrong though. Clearly, you are truely dedicated to your believes...... I don't have the time to type an essay; I don't care all that much. To sum up this debate I'll say that if even GWB believes something as terribly distracting as human-induced global warming to be true, then how could anyone not!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html

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grannyrett 6 years, 7 months ago

Anybody here remember when it got to -61 in Craig? Have lived in Colorado 53 years, and it isn't as cold now as it was when I was a kid. Don't need links to tell me that. Went to Alaska last year and took a glacier cruise. The Captain said we were closer to the glacier than he had ever been in over 20 years. Winters aren't as cold as they used to be. Summers are hotter than they have ever been. Don't need links to tell me that either. Life 101.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 7 months ago

sbvor, I believe heat island effect is a contributor to many aspects of climate change. As far as CO2 levels go, the emission of CO2 from fossil fuel emissions in the last 50 years has increase dramatically with world industrialization. I don't believe valcanic activity had the sulfer and other pollutants in its content like fossil fuel emissions do today. I would find it a hard sell not to say that fossil fuel emissions was not another contributing factor to climant change. More people, more industry, more automobiles, more home heaters, more demands on all aspects of the enviroment including water. We have been having serious eco issues since the 1970's. I feel, there are reasons for climatic change and we need to be proactive with research and take it seriously for ourselves and our future generations. Like I said before, Steamboat weather has changed since I moved here in 1982. Interesting links!

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thalgard 6 years, 7 months ago

here is another example of sbore quoting industry scientists in his never ending quest to keep his cretinous head in the proverbial sand http://www.fanweb.org/patrick-moore/liar.html we all know what an intolerant jerk he his, it is no wonder he quotes the scientists who work for the oil and gas lobby or the timber industry!

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thalgard 6 years, 7 months ago

sbore...how unlike you to not call me a commie or al-quaeda operative...you must be heavy into the egg nog by now...how are those social security checks treating you?

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thalgard 6 years, 7 months ago

sbore...certainly, all jesting aside, you cannot argue the fact that 21st century humanity is doing irreperable harm to our environment worldwide even without considering the somewhat debatable phenomena known as global warming. Clean water, clean air, healthy forests all are getting increasingly rarer. WE, as a species( if you actually believe we are a "species"), really are wiping out other species all over the globe at a alarming rate. Even a cretin like you must be able to see that!

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thalgard 6 years, 7 months ago

sbvor...how surprising that you're unwilling to address the irrefutable evidence that our species is doing irrevocable damage to almost every ecosystem on the planet...shoot, your party of dimwitted morons are still coming to terms with the fact that we evolved from apes...my how I wish your parents believed in birth control...what a wonderful world this could be....it's a glorious time to be free...hope you are enjoying your social security checks!

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thalgard 6 years, 7 months ago

sbboring...oh how predictable a coward you are...hilarious

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seeuski 6 years, 7 months ago

There is a Chilean Valcano eruption in todays news, I wonder if that is counted as a man made global warming event? HMMM. Will it be ignored by the alarmists?

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powderhound 6 years, 7 months ago

Regarding sbvor's posting re: my Jan 1 comment:

I am impressed with the apparent vehemence of your post. It seems that you indeed would attack the messenger - there is obviously no need for this - you just debase your well articulated arguments. While you may wish to demean the blogger who has put together the http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics site, he does a nice job of presenting other's scientific data. I believe that you are a bit unfair to imply that his site should not be given some credence because he is a musician. Furthermore to call him a pimp possibly reveals more about you than him.

On the other hand, I do agree with you that a climate scientist who publishes regularly in the peer review literature can speak from a stronger position. However, does that mean that someone who is not a climate scientist is unable to marshall information to present a reasoned argument about climate?

You do engage in a logical fallacy just in your initial post commenting upon mine. You set up a straw man to shoot him down by bringing in the DDT story. (Interestingly, I agree very much with the conclusion that DDT has gotten a bum rap.) There are economic studies that look at benefits that can accrue, but I do not have them at my fingertips. In that regard, you are right to be skeptical, but please be civil enough not to denigrate my statement as propaganda. (I actually said "can" and was not absolute in my statement.) One area that comes to mind regarding climate, environmental benefit, and economics involves the disadvantages of a predominantly meat-eating culture. The WHO issued a relatively recent report that summarizes some interesting findings in this area.

If I can find some of the references that I have come across, I will post them to this discussion section. But I don't want to promise that I will be able to do that.

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SkiTownUSA 6 years, 6 months ago

Seeuski:

"There is a Chilean Valcano eruption in todays news, I wonder if that is counted as a man made global warming event? HMMM. Will it be ignored by the alarmists?"

Yes.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 6 months ago

18 feet in dec one of the best on record.let it snow we and the ranchers need the moisture

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 6 months ago

Sbvor- When are you going to take anyone else's challenges to you? Why should someone answer your challenge when you don't do the same? Got a case of the "moral equivalents?"

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