Winter Returns to New England this Weekend

January 22nd, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

After almost two months of mostly balmy winter weather, a pair of winter storms will bring a foot or more of snow to much of New England starting this weekend.

The first storm will travel up the East Coast on Saturday as a nor’easter, then an Alberta Clipper type storm will follow on Monday and Tuesday. The second storm could be the more potent one, with higher winds and disrupting the work-week.

Here are the currently forecast snow totals ending next Wednesday morning, Jan. 28 (graphic courtesy of, click for full-size):

Total snow accumulation my Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, from the GFS forecast model ( graphic).

Total snow accumulation my Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, from the GFS forecast model ( graphic).

20 Responses to “Winter Returns to New England this Weekend”

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  1. Gary says:

    Looks like winter will finally come to southeastern New England. The snow blower is fueled up, but it’s been nice not to have needed it so far.

  2. planetary_physics says:


    It’s time for you to stop your mockery of myself and the expanding group “Planetary Physics” (Planetenphysik) of English and German speaking physicists I have established.

    The issue of temperatures and heat transfer mechanisms in a planetary system is totally within the realm of physics. With respect, you and 99.9% or more of “scientists” in various disciplines (including climatology) do not correctly understand thermodynamics.

    In particular they don’t know about or understand the brilliant work of the 19th century physicist Loschmidt (Maxwell’s teacher) and so they do not realize that the Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates that there will be a density gradient (yes, density) and, simultaneously a temperature gradient that forms autonomously in a gravitational field, even in sub-surface regions.

    This gradient represents the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. That means that convective heat transfers “follow” that gradient in all directions even downwards towards warmer regions. The consequences and the evidence are on our groups’s website and there’s an email address where physicists may request membership.


    • jimc says:

      Take a long vertical rod and cut in half (two of equal mass). Suspend both from the ends of a similar length wire thrown over a pulley so their vertical positions can be swapped with no net work input. With them vertically stacked, let then touch an wait for the gravio-thermal gradient to establish itself. Now reverse their positions vertically and let them make contact through a thermopile. Convert the thermopile output to work as the gradient reestablishes itself. Continue swapping the two halves until all the heat energy in the universe is converted to work.

      • Planetary_Physics says:

        “Continue swapping” = “no net work input” ????

        The combined system will tend towards a new state of thermodynamic equilibrium which has maximum entropy and no remaining unbalanced energy potentials. There it will remain unless you do something to it, affecting its entropy or the constraints pertaining to maximum entropy.

        You cannot assume that the Second Law will not function. Your problem is that you just don’t understand it. Now go and read the entire website (including the “Evidence” page) because you would have found similar on the “WUWT errors” page. May I remind you that …

        “The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

        —Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

    • jimc says:

      Loschmidt only did a thought experiment. He did not discover any new science. And Maxwell never accepted his logic.

      • Planetary_Physics says:

        Yes, Maxwell was wrong in not doing so, because the Loschmidt effect is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and is thus proven. Copious empirical evidence throughout the Solar System, and over 800 experiments this century confirm the validity thereof. Now go and read our website including the “Evidence” and “WUWT errors” pages and don’t come back until you understand thermodynamic equilibrium and why the Second Law implies that a density gradient will evolve, which I trust you don’t dispute happens. Your previous example indicates to myself, who has been helping undergraduates with physics fro nearly 50 years, that you have a lot of physics to learn and, more importantly, understand. I say that because you don’t understand entropy for a start.

        Who’s next to take us on at “Planetary Physics” ???

    • jimc says:

      “… where physicists may request membership”.
      I think you should charge admission.

  3. planetary_physics says:

    In case you think Robert Brown successfully refuted the Loschmidt gravito-thermal effect on WUWT there is a page at headed ‘WUWT errors’ which refutes that. As I said, the temperature gradient and the consequent downward convective heat transfers are a direct result of the Second Law.

    Those heat transfers obviate the need for the assumed heat transfers by back radiation which cannot happen.

    The Sun cannot raise the temperature of the surfaces of Venus or Earth to the observed values in the first place. So no amount of slowing of radiative cooling (not other cooling anyway) will help the Sun to achieve higher temperatures.

    • Norman says:

      Is it even remotely possible for you to comment on the topic of the thread which is severe weather moving into the Northeastern US (I know you are having summer in Australia at this time but it is winter here for us).

      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.
      I am a broken record.

      • Planetary_Physics says:

        What would you like? A boring two-liner about the weather in New England? I think you’ll find most readers are interested in climate, not weather. But go ahead .. write your own response to the topic. There’s a total of two lines on the topic in just the first comment above. No-one else seems interested in weather either. But still, it is better that Roy keeps to weather, because he sure bungled his thermodynamics in that “Misunderstood” post in which he said temperatures would be isothermal in the troposphere without GH gases. That was a huge mistake, the same one James Hansen made in ignoring the implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which dictates that density and temperature gradients occur when thermodynamic equilibrium is approached.

      • dp says:

        You could substitute with “Everyone is wrong but me” with equal effect.

        • Planetary_Physics says:

          Yes – in regard to those who are gullible enough to think that water vapor warms by 10 to 15 degrees per 1% in the atmosphere and so moist regions can be 30 degrees hotter than dry regions – yes they are all wrong.

          And what do you believe? Does water vapor warm like that?

          Yes or No?

          • Aaron S says:

            Doug when you say temperature do you mean energy bc obviously temperature does not reflect energy in a variable fluid (like atmosphere)? I dont know anyone that thinks a 30 degree day in Houston is the same as arizona!

      • Planetary_Physics says:

        Just to recap where Roy went wrong in his “Misunderstood” post linked above. His 6 points were as below in italic and my response follows …

        1) The greenhouse effect does not necessarily require solar heating. If the climate system was heated by intense geothermal energy rather than the sun, the greenhouse effect would still operate.

        There is a huge difference. The mean solar radiation being absorbed by the surface is about 168W/m^2 which has a black body temperature of -41°C. Internal energy generation would have to be far greater. But terrestrial energy outflow is about 70 milliwatts/m^2, so it’s not worth considering an Earth so far removed from reality. The Sun cannot heat Earth’s surface to a mean of 14°C with direct solar radiation – nowhere near it. So the rate of cooling is irrelevant.

        2) Temperatures in the climate system are the result of energy fluxes gained versus lost. An equilibrium temperature is reached only after the rate of energy absorbed by a layer (of atmosphere, soil, or water) equals the rate of energy loss. This is contrary to the common misconception that energy input alone determines temperature.

        There is huge energy input by way of downward convective heat transfer. If I were wrong then the Venus surface would be hundreds of degrees colder. Thermal energy from radiation does not continue heating a black body indefinitely.

        3) The greenhouse effect does not violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

        The energy in radiation from a colder source to a warmer target does not become thermal energy in the target. It only slows the radiative cooling, but, for targets like Earth’s surface which are not black bodies, it has no effect on the rate of other cooling processes, though these may accelerate to nullify any slowing of radiative cooling.

        4) The rate of IR absorption by an atmospheric layer almost never equals the rate of IR emission. …

        So what? There are other heat transfer mechanisms at play, so a layer is not a black body and so we don’t expect radiation in = radiation out. That only applies for the whole Earth+atmosphere system. This is a trivial point you make.

        5) Each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward.

        That statements misleads those who don’t understand that thermal energy is only transferred one way by radiation – from lower warmer regions to higher cooler regions in the troposphere or Space. Only electro-magnetic energy travels both ways, and that is what you are measuring. It is not heat transfer that you measure in radiative flux.

        6) The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect.

        Totally incorrect because you are ignoring the autonomous propensity towards maximum entropy which is the state with no unbalanced energy potentials, this meaning (PE+KE)=constant and so there is a temperature gradient which more than accounts for that “33 degrees of warming” as it in fact overshoots and water vapor then cools by a few degrees.

  4. jimc says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    Could they possibly be using your model?

    “The IPCC has long predicted that doubling the CO2 in the air might eventually warm the Earth by 3.3 °C. However, the new, simple model presented in the Science Bulletin predicts no more than 1 °C warming instead – and possibly much less.”

    Peer-reviewed pocket-calculator climate model exposes serious errors in complex computer models
    Jan 21, 2015

  5. Thanks Dr. Spencer.
    The cold is coming even to the South-East USA.

  6. rah says:

    I remember a time when we used to call it “winter” and it was what it was without the characterization of an “attack” or “assault” or any such thing as we are constantly being bombarded with these days when ever a new “Polar Vortex” is forecast. It was a time when adults expected the worst and hoped for the best and children always hoped for the worst. But someone was always thankful no matter how it turned out.

    Kids would be thankful for the “snow days” when they got off school because of the weather and being able to play in the snow even if their parents weren’t at times. But even many of us sappier grown ups were/are happy when we had/have a white Christmas. But all in all, having a warmer than normal winter was perceived by most adults as a good thing.

    I pity those that never had some of those experiences I remember as a child. Never made snow forts and lined up in opposing armies, each side using it’s fort as a base and had massive snow ball fights. Or never tunneled in the snow drift making all kinds of rooms and chambers and then trudged off to the best hill around to sled.

    Then coming home with cold and toes and fingers stinging as they warmed and Mom who dutifully had a big pot of hot cocoa on the stove and helped us strip out of our snow laden outer garments. How good that all felt; the warmth, the relaxed state of exhaustion, and feeling of security and being just as happy to be warm as one was excited when they left to go play in the snow.

    But that was in a time before every snow fall and blast of cold air was characterized as something unusual or unexpected. A time when people understood they cannot control nature, but just had to prepare to live with it. A time when though a kid might learn about “the green house effect” in Jr. HS class they weren’t indoctrinated to believe that it was man that was causing weather.

  7. rah says:

    Looks like I’ll get a chance to personally check out the accuracy of this forecast. Depart at 09:00 Sunday for Ayre, MA with a load of new soda cans for the Pepsi facility there. Will take a 10 hour break along I-90 in NY near Oneida (E. of Syracuse) about 21:00 that night and then proceed on the Ayre (about 25 mi NW of Boston) to deliver Monday afternoon.

    Quite a change since I was in Laredo, TX Wed this week with my windows rolled down enjoying the moderate warm temp.

  8. dave says:

    “…massive snowball fights…”

    Went to a large English direct-grant grammar school in the 1950s. Whenever there had been a real snowfall in the morning, there would be a solemn battle at lunch-time – the 6th form of about 200 would take up their position on the tennis courts and the 800 of the rest of the school would attack them by mortaring over the netting. At first the Masters would try to break it up, then the inevitable, “Right Dave, you little bastard. It’ll be snow shoved down your neck!” There wasn’t much work done during the first period after lunch – people just slumped, and steamed by the radiators.

    According to Sky News in England, New York is preparing for the worst snow storm EVER. Yes, EVER – in the whole 4 Billion years of Earth history, apparently. I don’t suppose the excitable, young, news-writers have heard of the “Snowball Earth” hypothesis.

  9. vicky says:

    Also with all the cuts to legal aid you never know.

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