while they’re fresh in my mind:
Earlier estimates of a Strong or even Super El Nino appear to have been overdone and overblown. Newer model data suggests a Moderate or even Weak El Nino, which makes a difference. Every El Nino episode is different. In general, however, Moderate or Weak El Ninos taken by themselves have not been shown to necessarily correlate to a milder than average winter in our part of the country, while especially Strong El Ninos do appear to have such a correlation. So, it may take other variables in our atmosphere to produce a milder winter, none of which is predictable at this time (we had a number of experts in this field address us at the conference).
The danger of hyperthermia/heat stroke/death of children left in cars is even greater than you may have heard. Color of car makes no real difference, nor does “cracking a window”, and such deaths have been increasing even at more northerly latitudes. Here is the report from Jan Null, AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist of San Francisco State University, written for laypeople: http://www.ggweather.com/heat/
-Beware of Alarmist Gibberish from unqualified Facebookers & other Social Media, presented by my scholarly friend Dan Satterfield: http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/2014/01/31/the-great-facebook-blizzard/
-Future Weather Warnings may have more clarity, and less confusion…but it will take a while. The current list of color codes and warning/advisory criteria by the National Weather Service has become all but overwhelmingly confusing and difficult to digest on busy weather/severe weather days. The British Met Office has had great success with simplification by presenting Public Impact colors–just 3– ranging from Yellow (Be Aware) to Amber (Be Prepared) to Red (Take Action). While our weather is often more complex and severe than that of Great Britain, even Storm Prediction Center expert Greg Carbin has been impressed by these ideas from our friends across the sea. The watches, warnings, and advisories will still have to be fitted to individual threats, but the Public Impact color code is being examined by NOAA, the NWS, Emergency Manager organizations and others. The Met Office presentation was well received: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/#?regionName=uk&tab=map&map=Warnings&zoom=5&lon=-3.50&lat=55.50&fcTime=1403409600
There is some debate on the rate of current and future global warming, but evidence remains extremely strong that human activity is the primary forcing mechanism for the ongoing warming (which is currently focused more in the oceans than in the atmosphere, along with increasing rates of acidification–a danger to coral and many shellfish–due to increased amounts of carbon being absorbed by the oceans). Sea levels continue to rise, more than 90% of the earth’s glaciers are in retreat, and CO2 is at its highest level in at least 850,000 years, 400 parts per million, compared to 280 parts per million prior to the industrial revolution (up 40% from those levels). Due to continued industrial growth and building of coal fired power plants in nations such as China & India, CO2 emissions are likely to continue to rise rapidly. As I’ve frequently posted, one of the best sites for those who want to learn more about these topics is: http://climate.nasa.gov/
-It was a great conference, held in Squaw Valley CA, by Lake Tahoe…and a terrific learning experience. Thanks for WIVB/WNLO Lin Media for allowing me (and other LIN meteorologists) to take in this valuable continuing education.
The links in this text appear in usable form in the first comment below.