Before the Storm

January 31, 2016

NOAA predicted active hurricanes which haven’t happened. Washington DC got buried by a blizzard. Are these related?


Paul Rose is a professional diver and author

I’m obsessed with our planet’s weather patterns and climate. But  lately a number of experts have gotten things wrong. Politicians are throwing snowballs to prove that climate change is a myth. Now DC has been digging out of a blizzard.

The biggest problem in predicting what is happening to our climate on a global scale is the fact that the world is changing so rapidly scientists are scurrying to keep up. One big caveat in the prediction scenario is that not all parts of the planet are changing at the same rate. Let’s start at the top - by starting at the bottom.

Antarctica is feeling the planetary warming trend faster than most other spots on the globe. Climate deniers are asking, why if the planet is getting warmer has the Antarctic shelf actually increased?

First we not only have to look at the breadth of the shelf, we have to look at its depth. The actual mass of ice is shrinking. What once were mountains of packed ice is now only a few meters thick. Second, we have to look at the rate of the seasons. In the antarctic the winter has been reduced by 90 days! All of this has occurred within the last few years.

All of this has obliterated models from the last few years. Everything from krill population to the polar vortex is influenced by the activity at the poles. What we saw in DC was preceded by a winter hurricane. The hurricane didn’t hit land so the press was fairly silent about the activity, but hurricanes are usually relegated to those seasons when the Atlantic is warm. This changed the overall Atlantic weather cycle from normal winter to something more akin to spring.

The storm was strong enough to drop three feet on our nation’s capital and consume beaches up the East Coast. 

This summer NOAA will probably come out with a conservative number compared to the last two years’ predictions. But don’t be fooled, what will most likely happen, given the latest models, will be a few very small and tight storms that could buzz-saw a coast line and quickly disappear. With the polar air warming at a different time and at different rates we may see a slowing of the higher winds aloft promoting hurricane activity. However the warmer ocean temperatures (note that current winter temperatures are 75 degrees - what would be considered a normal spring average) foster higher wind speeds at sea level. This is conducive to rapidly forming small “hurricanelets” that can pack a punch.

The strongest U.S. storm may be rivaled this year.


My book, Hemingway’s Storm retraces the lives of those veterans who experienced a direct hit of such a small intense storm. Don’t let size fool you. Though 1935 was an anomalous year, the conditions may be ripe this year for a similar event to occur. Indeed, the strongest U.S. storm may be rivaled this year. 



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News

Commissioning Artwork
Commissioning Artwork

July 09, 2022

Five Reasons you may want to commission artwork from your favorite artist.

Read More

Mortal Nature
Mortal Nature

December 24, 2020

I am working on this book after taking 2020 to isolate and hibernate. I hope to be done by spring. Hope you like it!

Read More

Why we Can't Swim Like Dolphins
Why we Can't Swim Like Dolphins

February 21, 2020

Read More