Update on Next U.S. Cold Air Outbreak

February 21st, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Global NWP models continue to forecast another record-setting cold air outbreak for late next week. By Friday, the GFS model has below-zero temperatures knocking on the door in NYC, DC, and Boston, with below freezing temperatures extending well into Florida (model imagery courtesy of WeatherBELL):

GFS model surface temperature (T2m) forecast for 12 UTC, Feb. 28, 2014.

GFS model surface temperature (T2m) forecast for 12 UTC, Feb. 28, 2014.

Of course, as I’ve said before, an unusually cold winter doesn’t disprove global warming any more than an unusually hot summer proves warming. It’s just weather.

41 Responses to “Update on Next U.S. Cold Air Outbreak”

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  1. Chris says:

    The last blog topic created a storm, at least this is just predicting one.

  2. Lance says:

    Well, this climate refugee will be heading out of the Canadian cold very soon, and will be playing golf in Phoenix….FORE!

  3. Arjan says:

    Strong persistence this year. Here in western Europe (Netherlands, 52 degrees N), we have not seen any signs of winter yet. The lowest (minimum) temperature of this winter season (27F, -3 C) was higher than the lowest temperature in Northern Florida if I recall correctly. We were lucky though compared to the UK, having much less rain and stormy weather and and quite some sunshine. Good luck, spring will -eventually- come.

  4. Alec aka daffy duck says:

    My layman’s opinion is The real cause of the polar outbreaks RETURNING is the stratospheric ozone layer, excluding the polar areas, is recovering.

    From the mid 1980s the 1990s, the peak of ozone depletion, there were almost no sudden stratospheric warming events, AO stayed wicked positive.. Here is a graph of AO Jan/Feb/March back to 1950:

  5. Fonzie says:

    SHEESH!!! 450+ comments on that last post! Just mention the word nazi and everyone comes crawling out of the woodwork…

    • Fonzie says:

      (or is it ‘out of “zee voodvork”…’ ?)

      • How many of the avatars were you, Fonzie? I’m guessing at least 3, but possibly as many as 10+. No doubt the now 473 and counting comments were made by approximately 30 people with about 5 comprising 80% of them. Of course, my science isn’t settled on that theory, nor do I have a consensus…Thank God.

        • Fonzie says:

          I counted 4… I’m not exactly graced with the gift of gab so I prefer to read others

          • Fonzie says:

            500 !

          • Ya, it’s ridiculous. I give up on it. It’s too large and cumbersome at this point and full of malarkey. Controversial blogs attract the nut jobs. This is no different.

            Remember a couple of weeks ago some nut job said he was going to send his 165,000 followers to Roy’s blog and asked Roy if he wanted to do an interview? Well, I think they arrived. Poor Roy. This is not good. These nutters believe HAARP creates and controls the weather. I did a little research on it and hoped they wouldn’t descend…but I’m afraid they have. You don’t want them on you side but here they are and types like this won’t leave easily.

  6. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Nice to see a picture of the real temperature.
    It is so easy to be confused with anomalies.
    Like big alarm that the Antarctic anomaly has gone up one degrees C. What does it matter, it is still far below 0 C, and water still only change state around 0.

  7. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    We got one more day before hell freezes over (again).
    No doubt that WeatherBell delivers a good product. Thanks for the free advice.

  8. lemiere jacques says:

    well, let s debate about weather

  9. Of course, as I’ve said before, an unusually cold winter doesn’t disprove global warming any more than an unusually hot summer proves warming. It’s just weather.

    Thank you for restating this because it can’t be stated enough. The AGW Consensus crowd likes to look to the weather to support their claims, but so too do some who take the opposite side of the debate. I don’t see this as a debate, though. I see your stance as “the case is still open…wide open, and much more research into the process of the weather and climate must take place before we could hope to predict/control it and make policy attendant to it.” There are those in the AGW Consensus crowd who want to corner you into taking the opposite side of their coin, but there are also people who do take the opposite side of that coin and want to pretend you’re part of their effort.

    Pursuant to that, I saw this on National Geographic the other night. There is definitely an agenda afoot.


  10. Jeremy says:

    Do you ever worry that you’re wrong? Aren’t the consequences bad enough that it’s better to reduce greenhouse gases and “play it safe”?

    • Lewis Guignard says:

      Jeremy: What consequences? That Miami will flood and people will have to move. That New Orleans will also? How about the new arable land which becomes available in Greenland, Russia and Canada?

      Personally, after this winter reminding us in the south what winters can be like, I’d prefer a bit more warming. As we say when it gets cold and white around here: Where’s global warming when you need it?

      To reiterate what has been said numerous times: the benefits of using hydrocarbons stored in the earth’s crust for energy has been a great boon to mankind. Stopping that will be detrimental to man. So, knowing that, why would you stop? For the future of man? But the future is also now!

      • John Olson says:

        Indeed, Lewis, we won’t make it to the future of unlimited “renewable” energy without using the resources that had been locked underground for so many years. The next Ice Age is coming, and we need every ounce of that CO2 in the atmosphere to help reduce its terrible ecological impact.

    • Jeremy, what is Roy wrong about? Your post underscores the point I’ve made in the post preceding your own. Roy is the one being open-mined, critical and objective in this case, not the AGW Consensus crowd. That crowd has explicitly stated, in no uncertain terms, they are certain that the science is settled, that their view is now set in stone. Roy’s stance is open-ended and calls for more study and research of the complexity of weather and the climate.

      • Sorry, open-minded, not “mined.” Although the AGW Consensus crowd does seem to be mining his harbor and he’s open about allowing them to…which is rather magnanimous of him. Try pulling these criticisms at a AGW Consensus site, which are the majority of them, and your comments get deleted and you get banned.

    • Fonzie says:

      “Do you ever worry that you’re wrong?”

      Look Jeremy, I’m a better safe than sorry guy, too. I once posted a comment on this blog about my disdain for GMOs and got hit in the back of the head with a hockey puck. (Hello, Bill…) I’d be more than happy if they were to create a panel on that issue. (We could call it the “ipbb”; “the intergovernmental panel on bumble bees”…)

      In the case of the ipcc, it’s already been demonstrated that THEY are wrong. Their models have all failed. So they most certainly have to fix them (at the very least) before any action is taken, right? And then there also is the issue of trust, if they’ve botched the issue this badly (and they have) then how are we to trust them in the future? As Dr. Spencer has oft said you can flip a coin as to whether or not we’ll see future warming. And you know that if we do see warming they’ll claim it as anthropogenic… Do we entrust our future to the flip of a coin?

      • Fonzie says:

        A good read on this crisis within the ipcc is an interview done with Hans von Storch by Spiegel on June 20, 2013. He is a “warmist” so it’s a fairly easy read for any one of that persuasion…

    • Ritchie Cunningham says:

      Jeremy, I guess what everybody is trying to say is that we should make sure that we have a problem before we attempt to fix the problem. And we aren’t there yet…

  11. Aren’t the consequences bad enough that it’s better to reduce greenhouse gases and “play it safe”?

    Jeremy, do you dispute that water vapor is the greatest greenhouse gas of all? How do you reduce it, Jeremy? Please point me to AGW Consensus studies and literature that reveal how humans can reduce water vapor to “ideal” levels and what exactly those “ideal” levels of water vapor may be?

    Roy, thankfully, has been focusing his research on cloud formation and cover in response to warming. The AGW Consensus models are significantly flawed since they have no accurate mechanism for predicting cloud formation and coverage in response to their predicted warming, and that’s just one of many things the models don’t get right.

    The deeper you dive into this, Jeremy, the more you realize there are just too many variables at play and it’s much too complex for the rather simple theory that’s been postulated. As such, governments and the people who pull the strings should not be making policy off of a theory that is clearly not settled except in word and obeisance only.

    • John Olson says:

      Quite right, CNH. If anyone is interested, I’ve studied the 169 papers credited to Dr. James E. Hansen: the self-annointed “father” of CO2 AGW pseudo-science.

      Would anyone visiting Dr. Spencer’s site be surprised to learn that 122 of those 169 publications (some still pending) are either opinion pieces, articles (not scholarly papers at all), or else papers written by others who needed Hansen’s name to get their pseudo-scientific work published?

      In fact, careful review of Hansen’s list of 169 papers and publications will show that only 12 papers contain any real science: that is, science not contaminated by the false computer models of climate created by Hansen and his team at the GISS (in one building on the campus of Columbia U. in the heart of NYC).

      Those 12 papers with “real” science content were published between 1967 and 1974. The 1967 paper was Hansen’s PhD thesis on the atmosphere and surface temperature of Venus; the paper has long since been proven incorrect. It was clearly poorly conceived, as one might expect from a grad student. However, it is illuminating to read Hansen’s early work – before he learned how to pile it high and deep!

      If anyone has trouble finding Hansen’s early papers, I have copies available for personal use.

      • D J C says:

        Yes I would very much appreciate them as possible material for my second book. Please email;
        [email protected]

        • John Olson says:

          Sorry, D J C, but you didn’t pass my internet background check. Therefore, I’m not willing to give you my email address.

          However, you can get most of what you need at the following links:

          fromjameshansen. blogspot

          columbia. edu/~jeh1

          The curriculum vitae contains hotlinks to most of Hansen’s papers.

  12. D J C says:

    Of course, as Roy Spencer has said before, an unusually cold winter doesn’t disprove global warming.

    Global warming (being 100% natural) will reappear between 2030 and 2060 but eventually there will be another 500 years of natural global cooling.

    What we can prove is that it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

    If you still think water vapour and radiating gases warm the surface, then what is the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapour, Roy?

    Now go and find evidence that rain forests are 20 degrees hotter than dry deserts.

  13. D J C says:

    Comments appear frozen it seems, because Roy cannot answer the question above, and nor can anyone else. You are all stumped, because it is not radiation which is the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures at all – not on Uranus – not on Venus – not on Earth or any planet with an atmosphere.

    So what right do you, Dr Roy Spencer, have to propagate your fictional “luke warming” model based on your conjecture that there would be isothermal conditions in the absence of radiating gases? That would be a complete violation of the maximum entropy conditions of the Second law of Thermodynamics, because maximum entropy requires isentropic conditions, and isentropic conditions require a thermal gradient which thus evolves spontaneously.

  14. Threepwood says:

    we keep hearing from the media and pop science that this record cold and snow does not disprove global warming

    kinda it does..

    an enhanced greenhouse effect -as a form of insulation- would show up disproportionately at the lower end of the temp scale not the higher. It would effect winter nights at high latitudes far more than midday on the equator. We would be seeing less record cold in Minnesota rather than more record highs in the Amazon… this is not controversial, in fact it’s one of the few things we can actually be fairly sure of- but it is always overlooked.

    But more importantly- we all know global warming of any significant amount, relies not on CO2 at all, but on those infamous computer simulated ‘feedback loops’-
    a principle among them being the albedo effect, where less snow= less reflection= less snow. Recent growing and record global ice and snow cover absolutely disproves that this key feedback loop is happening at all.

    More importantly still.. we are still counting the enormous cost in lives, livestock, energy, crop failure and general economic damage associated with record cold- the negative effects of colder weather are unambiguous. As opposed to debating the pros and cons of slightly more pleasant temps, longer growing seasons, less energy requirements for most of the world.

  15. Baart1980 says:
    February 23, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    but why we have temperatures above 0 in February in Poland ?

    Consuming too much sauerkraut leads to localized dangerous and uncontrollable methane plumes?

  16. D J C says:


    Roy Spencer still cannot prove with any valid physics his crazy postulate that there would be isothermal conditions in Earth’s troposphere in the absence of water vapour and radiating gases. The greenhouse conjecture depends totally upon this garbage “fissics” that would violate the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. All the models depend totally on this weird idea which is never observed anywhere on any planet or moon, not even on Uranus where the base of the nominal troposphere is hotter than Earth.

    Roy only needs to look at the data for the Uranus troposphere to realise that thermal gradients (aka “lapse rates”) evolve spontaneously at the molecular level. Radiating gases reduce the gradient (and thus cool the surface) due to inter-molecular radiation. They help energy escape faster up the troposphere and eventually to space. Radiation that strikes any warmer surface is just pseudo scattered.

    There is no need for advection (upward rising gases) or any direct solar radiation or a surface: the lapse rate just forms autonomously as gravity acts on molecules in free flight between collisions.

    That is why the (badly named) “lapse rate” on Earth, Venus, Uranus, the outer crust of Earth, the core of the Moon – everywhere – evolves spontaneously in solids, liquids and gases. That is why radiative forcing is not what is the primary determinant of any planet’s atmospheric or surface temperature – gravity is – gravity traps energy.

    Water vapour reduces the insulation effect – just consider the problem with moist air in double glazed windows. Moist regions are cooler than dry regions – I have proved that with real world temperature records.

    You’ll find the study in my book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” available late April from Amazon etc. and from which I quote …

    “The world will one day look back upon a small slice of history that began in the 1980’s and sadly have to conclude that never in the name of science have so many people been so seriously misled by so few for so long. Never have so many careers, so much time and so much money been spent in the pursuit of such a misguided and ineffective goal to reduce human emissions of carbon dioxide, a harmless gas which comprises about one molecule in every two and a half thousand other molecules in the atmosphere of our planet, Earth.”

  17. Mark says:

    If weather has seasons and climate is just weather over a long time, doesn’t it stand to reason that the climate could also have seasons and these seasons can last years? Like the weather we get spikes/abnormal highs and lows. Has this ever been considered?

  18. Gunga Din says:

    I sure wish your forecast would be wrong sometimes. I’m getting tired of all this Human Caused Global Warming Cold! 😎
    (But I’m not a thirty-something so of course I’ve seen worse.)

  19. Jeremy says:

    I guess I see it this way: humans are eventually going to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, either because we run out in a few hundred years, or because we choose to do it sooner. The only difference is whether we have dumped all of that carbon into the atmosphere in the meantime. If we do burn the carbon and the majority opinion of climate scientists turns out to be correct, then we have left a large burden of ecological and environmental damage for our descendants in exchange for temporary savings on our energy bills. If Dr Spencer and his colleagues are correct, then, well, we were going to have to change over sooner or later.

    • Fonzie says:

      Jeremy, perhaps that’s the upside of all this… We may NEED to start moving on to other sources of fuel right away so that when we do run out of fossil fuels we won’t be with out. But THAT should be the stated reason for doing so. (not the faulty opinion of a majority of scientists…)

  20. Villabolo says:

    “Of course, as I’ve said before, an unusually cold winter doesn’t disprove global warming any more than an unusually hot summer proves warming. It’s just weather.”

    There’s no equivalence. Heat records are more common than cold records globally as one can see here, for last month:


    And here for all of last year:


    Sticking to the United States and other limited regions of the Earth while ignoring, not merely the other regions, but the totality of the entire world is misleadingly selective.

    Big picture, little picture.

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