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The Future of Extreme Weather Dr. Jeff Masters Director of Meteorology The Weather Underground, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "The Future of Extreme Weather Dr. Jeff Masters Director of Meteorology The Weather Underground, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Future of Extreme Weather Dr. Jeff Masters Director of Meteorology The Weather Underground, Inc.

2 Education: University of Michigan B.S. in Meteorology, 1982 M.S. in Meteorology, 1983 Thesis: A Characterization of the Detroit Wintertime Aerosol Ph.D. in Meteorology, 1997 Thesis: Vertical Transport of Carbon Monoxide by Wintertime Mid-Latitude Cyclones Me

3 Served as Flight Meteorologist for NOAAs Aircraft Operations Center, 1986 - 1990 Correction of Inertial Navigation with Loran-C on NOAA's P-3 AircraftCorrection of Inertial Navigation with Loran-C on NOAA's P-3 Aircraft A Record Minimum Sea Level Pressure Observed in Hurricane GilbertA Record Minimum Sea Level Pressure Observed in Hurricane Gilbert Wind Measurement From AircraftWind Measurement From Aircraft Flying Into the Eye of a HurricaneFlying Into the Eye of a Hurricane Meteorology at BrockportMeteorology at Brockport Publications:

4 My Hurricane Hugo flight:

5 Will Hurricanes Increase in Frequency and Intensity?

6 Costliest U.S. Hurricanes of all time 1.Katrina (LA/MS/AL/SE FL)20053$133,800,000,000 2.Andrew (SE FL/SE LA)19925$40,000,000,000 3.Ike (TX/LA/MS)*20082$27, 000,000,000 4.Wilma (FL)20053$17,100,000,000 5.Rita (LA/TX)20053$17,100,000,000 5.Charley (FL)20044$16,500,000,000 6.Ivan (FL/AL)20043$15,400,000,000 7.Hugo (SC)19894$15,300,000,000 8.Frances (FL)20042$9,900,000,000 10.Agnes (NE U.S.)19721$8,602,500,000 *Ike did an additional $4.4 billion in damage as an extratropical storm


8 Expect a 5% increase in hurricane winds per °C of ocean warming (Emanuel, 2005). Expected increase in SST by 2100: 1-2 °C. Hurricane wind speeds should increase by 5- 10%. Difference in wind speed between a Cat 3 and Cat 4: 15%. Thus, major hurricanes in 2100 should do 1.5 - 3 times more damage than they do now.



11 The U.S coast is very vulnerable to sea level rise

12 1910-1920: NJ coast was exposed to high water levels from extreme storms less than 200 hours per year. Early 1990's: Coast was exposed to high water from storms of the same magnitude 700 to 1200 hours per year. No increases in storm intensity or frequency that might account for the increasing high water levels. Conclusion: Increase in storm surge exposure of the coast was due to sea-level rise of 1 foot over the 80-year period (Zhang et al.,1997) Sea level rise will lead to increased storm surge damage

13 Are Tornadoes Increasing in Frequency and Intensity?

14 Borden and Cutter, 2008




18 Hurricane Igor as seen from the International Space Station 2010: A Year of Incredible Weather Events

19 Coldest January-February in Florida since at least 1937 in Florida since at least 1937

20 January 2010: Strongest winter storm on record wallops Southwest U.S.

21 Snowmaggedon: February 2010 41 killed, $2.4 billion damage

22 Winter Storm Xynthia 63 killed, $3 billion damage

23 Brazilian Tropical Storm Anita

24 Warmest and wettest March in Rhode Island history

25 Rio de Janeiro floods, April 2010 246 killed, $14 billion damage

26 May 2010 Tennessee floods 31 killed, $1.5 billion damage

27 Cyclone Phet: 2 nd strongest ever in Arabian Sea 44 killed, $ 0.8 billion damage

28 Tropical Storm Agatha hits Guatemala 317 killed, $1.1 billion damage

29 China summer floods and landslides 4245 killed, $51 billion damage

30 Monsoon floods cause worst natural disaster in Pakistans history; 1780 killed, $43 billion damage

31 Russian heat wave and drought 15,800 killed, $15 billion damage

32 Hurricane Igor: Newfoundlands worst hurricane in memory 4 killed, $ 0.2 billion damage

33 Hurricane Karl: first major hurricane ever in Bay of Campeche 22 killed, $5.6 billion damage

34 Cyclone Giri, strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit Myanmar 157 killed, $ 0.4 billion damage

35 Super Typhoon Megi: 8 th strongest tropical cyclone in world history 69 killed, $ 0.7 billion damage

36 October 22, 955 mb super-cyclone: Strongest non-coastal storm in U.S. history

37 Hurricane Tomas: latest hurricane on record so far south 41 killed, $ 0.6 billion damage

38 Floods cause worst natural disaster in Colombias history 300+ dead, $5 billion damage

39 Queensland, Australia floods 20 killed, $10 – 30 billion damage

40 January 2011: Rio de Janeiro flood Deadliest natural disaster in Brazils history 900+ killed, $1.2 billion damage

41 January 2011: 100-year flood in Sri Lanka 43 killed, $0.5 billion damage

42 Arctic sea ice extent, Sep. 19, 2010, 3 rd lowest on record 2010: A year of remarkable climate events

43 2010: Earths warmest year in history

44 2010: Earths wettest year in history

45 Winter of 2009 – 2010: most extreme Arctic Oscillation pattern in the 145-year record leads to severe winter in Europe and Eastern U.S., but Canadas warmest and driest winter ever Snow covers the U.K., January 7, 2010

46 A strong El Niño and a strong La Niña in the same year

47 Amazons 2 nd 100-year drought in 5 years

48 2010: Greenlands warmest year in history

49 Greenlands Petermann Glacier calves 100-square mile ice island

50 Is the weather getting more extreme?

51 The National Climatic Data Centers Climate Extremes Index (CEI): 1.Percentage of U.S. with max temperatures much below normal and much above normal. 2.Percentage of U.S. with min temperatures much below normal and much above normal. 3.Percentage of U.S. in severe drought and with severe moisture surplus. 4.Percentage of U.S. with a much greater than normal proportion of precipitation derived from extreme (equivalent to the highest tenth percentile) 1-day precipitation events. 5.Percentage U.S. with a much greater than normal number of days with precipitation and without precipitation.







58 Is U.S. weather getting more extreme? Yes. NOAA (Gleason et al., 2008) concluded that the percentage of the U.S. seeing extreme temperatures and precipitation has generally been increasing since the early 1970s. These increases were most pronounced in summer. No trends were noted in winter. 4 of the 10 most extreme years in the past century occurred since 1996.

59 Sixteen Potential $10 billion+ U.S. Weather Disasters of the Next 30 Years

60 $10 billion+ U.S. Weather Disasters Since 1980 RankDisasterYearDeathsDamage (2007 dollars) 1.Hurricane Katrina, LA/MS/AL/FL20051833$133,800,000,000 2.Midwest/Eastern Drought19887,500$71,200,000,000 3.Midwest/Eastern Drought198010,000$55,400,000,000 4.Hurricane Andrew, FL/LA199226$40,000,000,000 5.Midwest Floods199348$30,200,000,000 6.Hurricane Ike, TX/LA/MS2008112$27,000,000,000 7.Hurricane Wilma, FL200535$17,100,000,000 8.Hurricane Rita, LA/TX2005119$17,100,000,000 9.Hurricane Charley, FL200415$16,322,000,000 10.Midwest Floods200824$15,000,000,000 11.Hurricane Ivan, FL/AL200457$15,400,000,000 12.30-State Drought20020$11,400,000,000 Source:

61 16) Pacific Northwest Extratropical Storm Probability: 20% Damage from the 1962 Columbus Day Storm

62 NYC LaGuardia Airport after the November 1950 Noreaster 15) Northeast U.S. Extratropical Storm Probability: 40%

63 14) Southeast U.S. Hurricane Probability: 80% Hurricane Floyd (1999) hits North Carolina; $7.4 billion damage

64 Lake Lanier, Georgia in October, 2007 13) Southeast U.S. Drought Probability: 60%

65 12) Texas Hurricane Probability: 80% 1900 Galveston Hurricane damage

66 11) New Orleans Hurricane Probability: 60% New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, 2005

67 10) Tampa Bay Hurricane Probability: 30% Bayshore Drive, Tampa FL, after the 1921 Hurricane

68 9) EF-5 Tornado hits major city Probability: 10% Greensburg, Kansas after the May 2007 tornado

69 8) Upper Mississippi/Missouri River Flood Probability: 90% Waterloo, Iowa during the June 2008 flood

70 7) New England Hurricane Probability: 40% Rhode island Yacht Club during Hurricane Carol, 1954


72 6) Midwest Drought Probability: 90% Texas Drought, 2006

73 5) Miami Hurricane Probability: 60% Miami Beach, 1926 Hurricane

74 4) California/Southwest U.S. Drought Probability: 90% San Bruno, California Fires, June 2008

75 3) Lower Mississippi Flood causes failure of the Old River Control Structure Probability: 40% Old River Control Structure on the LA/MS border at normal water


77 June 4, 2004 levee breach in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta 2) California ARkSTORM Flood Probability: 30%


79 1) Catastrophic Geomagnetic Storm Probability: 30% X-22 Class Solar Flare of April 2, 2001Strongest Solar Flare on Record


81 Transformer at Salem Nuclear Plant fried by geomagnetic storm in 1989

82 A geomagnetic storm like the Carrington Event of 1859 or the 1921 storm would likely cause a collapse of the U.S. power system lasting years

83 Predictions for the 2011 hurricane season

84 Seasonal Predictions, December 2010: Dr. Bill Gray: Dr. Bill Gray: 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes TSR, Inc: TSR, Inc: 15.6 named storms, 8.4 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes Climatology: Climatology: 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes Since 1995: Since 1995: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes

85 Since 1995number of Atlantic named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes 5 El Niño years:1997 8,3,1 2002 12,4,2 Average: 11, 5, 3 200415,9,6 200610,5,2 20099,3,2 6 La Niña years:199519,11,5 199814,10,3 Average: 14, 9, 4 199912,8,5 200015,8,3 200715,6,2 201019,12,5 5 Neutral years:199613,9,6 200115,9,4 Average: 18, 10, 5 200316,7,3 200528,15,7 200816,8,5



88 NOAA CFS Forecast made Dec. 30, 2010

89 The fearless 2011 Atlantic hurricane season forecast: 16 named storms 16 named storms 9 hurricanes 9 hurricanes 4 intense hurricanes 4 intense hurricanes May the steering currents be your friend!

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