Chicago Indymedia: First Annual Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook - Upper Midwest - Pat N Self_Only
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First Annual Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook - Upper Midwest
- Pat N Self_Only
Tuesday, 28 February 2006
Summary: Pat N: Chanhassen MN Snow Hydrologist
28 Feb 2006
There hasn't been a decent winter in southern Minnesota and Wisconsin (the heart of the Upper Midwest) since 2001. Lake ice this year never got thick enough for ice fishing.
The really unusual thing about the winter of 2006 was the absence of cold air. Climate stations in eight states in the north central U.S. had record high January average daily mean temperatures (100-110 year long periods of record to current). Temperatures readings show that the far north had only a few below zero F days, with most of February 2006 having mild days and nights by old time Upper Midwest standards.
Snow depths and rankings in Minnesota are shown at the link below. On Feb 23rd there was less than one inch of no snow cover in a band from southwest Minnesota through the southern Twin Cities area into western Wisconsin. That area is near or at the bottom of the snow depth ranking scale, as compared to historical records of snow depth. Weather forecasts try to account for the bare ground heating in their forecast adjustments from the modeled forecasts, especially on days with lots of sun, but it still often gets warmer than what they issue. The explanation given to the public is that it's getting so unusually warm because of all the bare ground around which usually isn't snow free in late February. There is rarely if ever any mention of climate change or global warming in the explanations given to the public.
The ultimate source for snow ... The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) National Snow Analysis. NOHRSC is the third NWS office in Chanhassen, MN, one building for 3 NWS offices.
NOHRSC has national operational responsibility for modeling and measuring snow depth and snow water equivalent. NOHRSC measures the water equivalent of a snowpack by making many flights above hundreds of established flight lines. NOHRSC has been operational for the last 25 years. The water equivalent flight line data is used to update snow hydrologic models which are used in NWS river forecast center probabilistic spring flood outlooks, and river forecasting. Is the data worth the cost in money and GHG emissions? What do you think is the public value of NOAA NWS NOHRSC National Snow Analysis? Positive or negative?
For more info, please see:
* Highest of record (1897-2006) for January Avg. Daily Mean Temp.
*Leech Lake Dam MN
*Milan 1 NW, MN
*Park Rapids 2 S MN
*Pine River Dam MN
*Prairie Du Chein WI
*New London WI
*Solon Springs WI
*Spooner Exp Stn WI
*Stevens Point WI
*David City NE
22 and counting
Temperature plots at:
I'm monitoring the monthly temperature averages for the period of record in the regions for each of the NWS Cooperative Climate Stations (rural, forested and small town areas) and creating average monthly temperature plots because I think someone needs to be doing this. This should be a government agency function but I don't see any government agency people doing it. I think the gov people are afraid to stick their neck out and show the public that the climate is indeed warming. The proof is in the data, but the agencies that collect the data aren't doing anything with it to show the public what's happening, nor are they monitoring what's really going on.
In my opinion, the government agencies in the U.S. are failing badly in serving the public good on climate change. They're not doing what they should be doing in a time of global crisis... then they fired me for wanting to do what I believed was my job - to evaluate and take account of climate changes on the hydrology within the NC states of the U.S. for modeling and flood prediction purposes. It made no sense to me to use the same one set of calibrated parameters for snowmelt, evaporation and transpiration in a basin where I knew climate change was going on within the historical period of runoff calibration for the river basin.
PS Upper Midwest Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook: Forecast for Minneapolis, MN for March 1, 2006: high temp.43 F, rain. It is too early in the season for specific numerical guidance that means anything. River ice action will be below normal due to not much ice.
Pat N Self Only
Chanhassen Snow Hydrologist
Update - Plotted temperature averages (1888-2005: monthly, annual) for public view at:
Global warming, let's do something about it. Our heart should be where our home is.
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