Arctic sea ice bottoms out at second lowest on record; tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 13:38 (GMT)

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Our lull in Atlantic hurricane activity continues, and there are no signs anything will develop over the next two days. Heavy thunderstorm activity has diminished over the Lesser Antilles Islands today, and any development of this system (93L) will be slow to occur. Wind shear is marginal for development, 15-20 knots, and is forecast to remain 15-20 knots for the next five days. The NHC is giving 93L a low (<20% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. None of the computer models develop 93L. Still, we need to keep a careful eye on this system.

The more likely place for development of the next tropical storm is off the coast of Africa. A strong tropical wave with some solid heavy thunderstorm activity is emerging from the coast today, and the GFS and NOGAPS models are predicting this system will develop into a tropical depression by early next week. Wind shear is predicted to be in the moderate range, 10-20 knots. Many of the models are also predicting development of a strong storm off the coast of North Carolina about seven days from now, but this will probably be extratropical--the season's first Nor'easter.

Arctic sea ice bottoms out at second lowest extent on record
The extent of the sea ice in the Arctic has reached its annual minimum, and is now beginning to re-freeze, according to data released by the National Snow and Ice Data Center this week. This year's minimum came on September 12, and came close to, but did not exceed, last year's record minimum set on September 16, 2007. For the second straight year, the fabled Northwest Passage explored by Roald Amundsen in 1905 opened. Explorers have been attempting to sail the Northwest Passage since 1497, and 2007 and 2008 are the only known years the passage has been ice-free. In addition, 2008 saw the simultaneous opening of the Northeast Passage along the coast of Russia. This means that for the first time in recorded history, the Arctic ice cap was an island, and one could completely circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean in ice-free waters.


Figure 1. Daily Arctic sea ice extent for September 12, 2008. The date of this year's minimum (white) is overlaid on September 16, 2007--last year's minimum extent (dark gray). Light gray shading indicates the region where ice occurred in both 2007 and 2008. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

While it is good news that Arctic sea ice did not set a new record low, the fact that this year's decline almost matched last year's startling sea ice loss underscores the fact that the Arctic sea ice is in serious trouble. Skies were cloudier and surface air temperatures were considerably cooler (Figure 2) over the Arctic this year compared to last year, yet sea ice loss almost matched last year's record. A repeat of last year's above normal warmth and sunshine in a future summer would readily break 2007's record.


Figure 2. Difference in surface temperature (°C) between the summer of 2008 and the summer of 2007. Blues and purples indicate areas where is was cooler this summer. The biggest change is seen over the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, where exceptionally sunny weather with southerly winds in 2007 caused record-breaking warmth. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

The implications
The unprecedented melting of Arctic seas ice the past two summers will have little immediate impact on the climate or on sea level rise. Since the ice is already floating in the ocean, melting it does not change sea level much--just like when ice melting in a glass of water will not change the level of liquid in the glass. In the case of sea ice, there is a slight sea level rise, since the fresh melt water is less dense than the salty ocean water it displaces. If all the world's sea ice melted, it would raise global sea level by only 4 mm. This is a tiny figure compared to the 20 feet of sea level rise that would occur from complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet--which is on land.

The biggest concern about Arctic sea ice loss is the warmer average temperatures it will bring to the Arctic in coming years. Instead of white, reflective ice, we will now have dark, sunlight-absorbing water at the pole, leading to a large increase in average temperature. Warmer temperatures will accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The official word on climate, the 2007 IPCC report, predicted only a 0.6-1.9 foot sea level rise by 2100, due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet and other factors. These estimates did not include detailed models of ice flow dynamics of glaciers, on the grounds that understanding of the relevant processes was too limited for reliable model estimates. The IPCC estimates were also made before the shocking and unexpected loss of Arctic sea ice of the past two summers. In light of these factors, a large number of climate scientists now believe the IPCC estimates of sea level rise this century are much too low. The most recent major paper on sea level rise, published by Pfeffer et al. in the journal Science this month, concluded that a "most likely" range of sea level rise by 2100 is 2.6-6.6 feet (0.8-2.0 meters). Their estimates came from a detailed analysis of the processes the IPCC said were understood too poorly to model--the ice flow dynamics of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. The authors caution that "substantial uncertainties" exist in their estimates, and that the cost of building higher levees to protect against sea level rise is not trivial. Other recent estimates of sea level rise include 1.6-4.6 feet (0.5-1.4 meters) by Rahhmstorf (2007).

What would 3 feet of sea level rise mean?
Rising sea levels will lead to permanent and intermittent flooding in low-lying coastal areas across the world. A global sea level rise of .9 meters (3 feet) would affect 100 million people worldwide, mostly in Asia. The impact of hurricane storm surges will significantly increase as a result of sea level rise. Given a 3 foot rise in sea level, Hurricane Ike's storm surge would have overwhelmed the levees in Port Arthur, Texas, flooding the city and its important oil refineries. Galveston's sea wall would have been overtopped and possibly destroyed, allowing destruction of large portions of Galveston. Levees in New Orleans would have been overtopped, resulting in widespread flooding there, as well.

For more information
The wunderground sea level rise page has detailed background info on sea level rise.
The wunderground Northwest Passage page is also a godd reference.
realclimate.org has a nice post summarizing the recent sea level research.

Hurricane Ike relief
A group of wunderground members that are spearheading their own Hurricane Ike relief effort, aimed at providing assistance and supplies to people that are not in the mainstream relief areas. Donations are tax-deductible, and can be made in several ways:

Patrap's wunderblog
www.stormjunkie.com
www.portlight.org

Of course, contributing to the Red Cross or your local church is another great way to help out. Thanks!
Jeff Masters

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472. twifob
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:31 (GMT)
Quoting iluvjess:
These municipalities should stockpile diaster relief supplies, i.e. water, MREs, clothing, personal hygene, and medical suppplies enough to properlay aid the residents of the municipality in the event of a disaster.


The problem is that those supplies have to be protected FROM the disaster, and kept from going bad between disasters. And the vehicles to deliver them have to be acquired and maintained.

Each HOUSEHOLD should be maintaining their own disaster supply stuff, and have the mother wit to get out of Dodge when they are warned that they are in a "no-survival" situation.

When my aunt lived in the Florida Keys, she had a 3-week supply of no-cook edibles, water, lighting, and medication. She'd just kept rotating stock.
471. h6
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:21 (GMT)
NEW BLOG

NEW BLOG
470. jcpoulard
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:20 (GMT)
New Blog ! New Blog !
Member Since: 15.09.2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
469. CaptnDan142
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:18 (GMT)
Quoting surfmom:
And I'm still worried about the bio-hazards -- we have to trust people did their job correctly.... and what if they didn't what are the consequences--geeze... I'm wondering if we'll be able to follow a plume.... Katrina's was evident


Explain please?
Member Since: 21.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
468. surfmom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:17 (GMT)
Getting ready to sign off -- I guess I have to stop ignoring this seedling out there/93L. Could be Kyle's first pushes to life. We'll see what tomorrow morning brings. G'nite all.....

a nightlight of hope for Ike's victims www.portlight.org
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
467. CaptnDan142
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:15 (GMT)
Quoting 786:
...secondly I thought we have learnt already..go back to the previous blogs and you will see everyone saying Dolly was dead when she was an invest, Gustav was dead when he was an invest so why on earth


For a brief while one night, there were people saying that Gustav was falling apart and would be RIP soon. The storm was just north of Cuba at that time, if memory serves.

Considering how fast some like to pull the plug on systems, I'm kinda glad they aren't doctors. ;-)
Member Since: 21.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
466. surfmom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:14 (GMT)
Good Evening Miss Nadia - right about the chainsaws -- not alot of people know that
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
465. jcpoulard
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:13 (GMT)
Quoting h6:
bonsoir jcpoulard,

how are you doing ? As far as I know Port-au-Prince was not affected much by the 4 recent storms. But food prices must have been increasing sharply recently I guess.


Hanna give Port au Prince a severe Blow with wind gust at 65 mph some source say.... Some house have been destroy, trees and electric Pylon was down.
Port au Prince had chance because in this 4 storm all the bigest convection pass very far of the capital .... But this chance can turn at any time.
Member Since: 15.09.2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
464. MissNadia
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:11 (GMT)
Quoting tropics21:
you know he may be on to something two Oaks were cut down on our block
they just suddenly died over two years the tree botanist said it's some
new kind of disease starting to affect Oaks, but they still can't seem
to put their finger on it

You must be careful when having tree work done...this disease can be spread by dirty chainsaws!
Member Since: 27.07.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2882
463. surfmom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:10 (GMT)
And I'm still worried about the bio-hazards -- we have to trust people did their job correctly.... and what if they didn't what are the consequences--geeze... I'm wondering if we'll be able to follow a plume.... Katrina's was evident
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
462. h6
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:08 (GMT)
bonsoir jcpoulard,

how are you doing ? As far as I know Port-au-Prince was not affected much by the 4 recent storms. But food prices must have been increasing sharply recently I guess.
461. surfmom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:06 (GMT)
#431skyepony - I was wondering about that... I think that when Dolly passed through it was all good, but IKE on the other hand has turn the gulf into a cesspool. I'm hoping the wildlife is getting outta there
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
460. homelesswanderer
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:04 (GMT)
A note about Ike we found a half a fishing pole and part of a bait bucket in our yard when we got home. We are pretty far inland though we did get some surge here. Dont know if they came in on the surge or were blown in. It was just strange. We didnt have any damage this time. But our neighbors two doors down lost everything. As did so many others. We got a long way to go but we'll recover. Just hope nothing else heads our way. Or anybodys way.
Member Since: 15.08.2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
459. surfmom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 21:02 (GMT)
Quoting presslord:
I.m Catholic....pennance can ceratinly be purchased...


Oh thank goodness, sigh of relief, "cha-ching, cha ching" www.portlight.org ....hmmmm "cha-ching!
ROTFL
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
458. jcpoulard
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:58 (GMT)
Quoting 786:
MANNN, sometimes I can't believe what I read on this blog..firstly the amount of crap being discussed on a tropica blog is unfortunate when there is a system in the Caribbean...secondly I thought we have learnt already..go back to the previous blogs and you will see everyone saying Dolly was dead when she was an invest, Gustav was dead when he was an invest so why on earth should anyone believe this one is dead when its going into the hottest waters of the Atlantic and shear is relaxing. This could be a dangerous system and it will not go north of DR it is not mathematically possible (just like everyone was saying Gustav was going N of DR) unless it goes NW now and it is going W. I think this will go through the NW Caribbean and may get into the N. gulf. And I do think this one will be named.


Absolutely agree with you on this issue, this systeme will be Kyle some where between saturday in sunday.... hope he will remain a weak Tropical Storm to the caribean ..... but hope is out of question here ..... It's just fluid dynamics
Member Since: 15.09.2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 114
457. JetManDo
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:58 (GMT)
Quoting presslord:
I.m Catholic....pennance can ceratinly be purchased...


Press; don’t think you would have to give over a buck!:)
Member Since: 14.01.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
456. sarahjola
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:56 (GMT)
al god doesn't need to be president to change things. he could have done some good with all that carbon credit money, but yet to see anything from him. the world goes through changes every 400,000 years or so. no one can change or stop that but the good lord above. al god is a joke!!! he needs to get real footage and stop using hollywood movies to scare people into giving him money. ALL FACTS!!!
Member Since: 10.09.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
455. 786
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:49 (GMT)
MANNN, sometimes I can't believe what I read on this blog..firstly the amount of crap being discussed on a tropica blog is unfortunate when there is a system in the Caribbean...secondly I thought we have learnt already..go back to the previous blogs and you will see everyone saying Dolly was dead when she was an invest, Gustav was dead when he was an invest so why on earth should anyone believe this one is dead when its going into the hottest waters of the Atlantic and shear is relaxing. This could be a dangerous system and it will not go north of DR it is not mathematically possible (just like everyone was saying Gustav was going N of DR) unless it goes NW now and it is going W. I think this will go through the NW Caribbean and may get into the N. gulf. And I do think this one will be named.
Member Since: 18.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 910
454. weathermanwannabe
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:47 (GMT)
I am also a bit surprised as to the NHC "upgrade" to medium potential on 93L when I've been seeing lots of shear today, that huge upper level low in the mid-Atlantic still sucking away at it, and don't really see much westward movement at all....Even if the shear does lower a bit, it will have to get away from the influence of that ULL and I think it's looking worse right now than it did this morning...........
Member Since: 8.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8311
453. Dar9598
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:45 (GMT)
If a storm form in the coast of Africa the next couples of days it is likely until october like 1998,2000,2003 and 2007(see on the hurricane archive).
452. tropics21
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:43 (GMT)
Quoting TheMom:
Did you just make that up? I mean I do think you are being overbearingly boorish and there are other ways to give information that does not make you come across as a condensing little twit that is in his 3rd year internship and bound to save the world single handedly... but I really want to know if that is real since will be a cool thing to have DS look up since he wants to be a botanist specializing in taxonomy.
you know he may be on to something two Oaks were cut down on our block they just suddenly died over two years the tree botanist said it's some new kind of disease starting to affect Oaks, but they still can't seem to put their finger on it
Member Since: 23.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 263
450. Fshhead
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:42 (GMT)
Ahhhh Doc has a new blog up....
Member Since: 19.11.2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
449. centex
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:41 (GMT)
Quoting TheMom:
See Storm's blog looks like shear is going to be relaxed over the short term and there seems to be some more convection so might be why?
I thought storm said sheer would remain the same than increase. Comments that sound like poof to me. Anyway JM said we should watch this wave.
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3217
448. TheMom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:37 (GMT)
Quoting centex:
See NHC raised 93L to medium potential. What has changed?
See Storm's blog looks like shear is going to be relaxed over the short term and there seems to be some more convection so might be why?
Member Since: 3.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
447. chrisrw
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:35 (GMT)
Quoting greentortuloni:
415.

check the debates and speeches during hte election. also check his record. i doubt he needs a buck.


Certainly not short of a $ or two. Goes almost everywhere by private jet and has a new 100' boat. Guess he'll be looking for some carbon credits to buy as well!
446. riblet2000
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:35 (GMT)
We need a global warming rant ignore button...for both sides.

I'm not sure what 93L is up to but it doesn't look like much to me right now. Just a bunch of thunderstorms. What am I missing?
Member Since: 17.04.2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 37
445. TheMom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:33 (GMT)
Quoting OceanMoan:


Ok, LOL but now I am picturing you wearing a cheerleader outfit with a big WU on the front.
If you start imagining him in pigtails ala Jim Carey that's where I draw the line...
Member Since: 3.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
444. OceanMoan
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:32 (GMT)
Quoting Maighstir:


I was being sarcastic cause Cyberteddy likes to see storms develop into monsters...

She got mad at me one time when I suggested a storm was weakening from shear..


Ok, LOL but now I am picturing you wearing a cheerleader outfit with a big WU on the front.
Member Since: 7.09.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 229
443. intunewindchime
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:31 (GMT)
Surfmom,
I agree, I am tired of H canes too. Ike was enough....
Member Since: 11.09.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 403
442. centex
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:31 (GMT)
See NHC raised 93L to medium potential. What has changed?
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3217
441. TheTracker08
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:30 (GMT)
enough with the politics,and ike is done, poof, dead!!!!! Kyle is almost here and he needs some attn!!!!!!!!!! I am praying for all of the victims of ike, seing as i lost my house for 2 yrs after wilma!
440. greentortuloni
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:21 (GMT)
434. keywestbrat "so what if he doesnt need a buck I guess spotlight is more what i was getting at"

or else he had a cause he believed in and chose the best way he knew to act.

anyway, gotta get back to work so won't clog the blog anymore.
Member Since: 5.06.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
439. 996tt
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:19 (GMT)
I really do not want to be morbid, but I am curious if death toll stabilized or went haywire in Galveston area. Did most people evacuate from those real low lying areas that were completely devastated or is the jury still out on their location.

Although we sure could use a swell here, I am glad to see the tropics quiet.
Member Since: 5.09.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
438. tkeith
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:17 (GMT)
FLDART1, how many hours will you be on the road from Carleston to Houston 18-20?
Member Since: 1.11.2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8912
437. greentortuloni
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:16 (GMT)
431. Skyepony - thanks.

I was hoping the waves and the upwelling (and presumable somewhere downwelling) would help to circulate and oxidate the water. I ahdn't considered the pollution runoff.
Member Since: 5.06.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
436. 996tt
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:16 (GMT)
Quoting IMA:
426. keywestbrat In between rages, yep! LOL Hey, life's too short -- I choose mostly smiles & laughter with only brief interruptions for tears, frowns, or anger.

My dogs are going to chew through the computer cords if I don't run (o.k., hobble -- I don't run anywhere). Have a great afternoon, y'all. BBL


Litium.
Member Since: 5.09.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
433. IMA
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:12 (GMT)
426. keywestbrat In between rages, yep! LOL Hey, life's too short -- I choose mostly smiles & laughter with only brief interruptions for tears, frowns, or anger.

My dogs are going to chew through the computer cords if I don't run (o.k., hobble -- I don't run anywhere). Have a great afternoon, y'all. BBL
Member Since: 8.07.2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1261
432. KatyGal
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:10 (GMT)
Quoting RMM34667:
Does anyone have a link to maps or list that show the cities affected by IKE? Trying to put a list together of our customers in that area and I am geographically challenged. Thanks


Just got off the phone with a customer in Columbus. He sounded just like the people in Houston -- no power, tree limbs everywhere. Said people were amazed because they had 75-80 mph winds but no clouds; the sun was shining.
431. Skyepony (Mod)
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:09 (GMT)
green~ I've looked into the hurricanes effects on the dead zones... How conflicting. One camp. Hurricane cools it so the dead zone recovers. Other camp any 'cane big enough to cool things enough is gonna cause enough oil/hazardous spills & pesdicide/fertilizer run off to add to the dead zone.
Member Since: 10.08.2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36178
430. iluvjess
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:08 (GMT)
Is seems that after every disaster (hurricanes specifically) we here the same complaints... not enough supplies, relief is to slow and unorganized, etc. While I agree that there is a certain amount of personal resposibility for individuals that live in coastal communities (like myself), I believe that the local governments in these communities could also be more proactive. Most coastal community municipalties are quite lucrative. These municipalities should stockpile diaster relief supplies, i.e. water, MREs, clothing, personal hygene, and medical suppplies enough to properlay aid the residents of the municipality in the event of a disaster. This would ensure the relief was at ground zero immediately and allow state and federal diasaster relief efforts time to mobilize. Just a thought...
429. Maighstir
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:08 (GMT)
Quoting OceanMoan:


ummmm what?????


I was being sarcastic cause Cyberteddy likes to see storms develop into monsters...

She got mad at me one time when I suggested a storm was weakening from shear..
428. FLDART1
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:08 (GMT)
ok thanks i'll try that. Not much has changed thus far in the areas that were heading to. Spoke with Bridge City Fire Department about an hour ago. Still not a lot of assistance coming in yet.
Member Since: 4.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 201
427. KatyGal
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:07 (GMT)
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Warning #93
3:00 AM JST September 20 2008
==========================================

SUBJECT: CATEGORY TWO TYPHOON IN SEAS SOUTH OF JAPAN

At 3:00 AM JST, Severe Tropical Storm Sinlaku (990 hPa) located near 34.3N 139.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 60 knots with gusts of 85 knots. The storm is reported as moving east-northeast at 16 knots.

Storm-Force Winds
================
25 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
===============
90 NM east from the center
60 NM west from the center

Forecast and Intensity
==========================
24 HRS: 35.6N 147.1E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 36.6N 154.2E - (EXTRATROPICAL)


my son lives in Okinawa. Before Ike hit he called because he'd noticed we live on about the same lattitude on different sides of the planet and we were both about to get hit by big storms. Funny world.
425. theshepherd
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:07 (GMT)
More rumbles in the ACLU jungle.
CYA
Member Since: 11.09.2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
424. OceanMoan
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:05 (GMT)
Quoting Maighstir:


You're right we have to pick our pom poms and cheer on this next storm


ummmm what?????
Member Since: 7.09.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 229
423. IMA
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:05 (GMT)
406. RMM34667 O.K. Sent you WU mail, will check for reply after walking/feeding dogs :)
Member Since: 8.07.2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1261
422. TheMom
19. syyskuuta 2008 klo 20:05 (GMT)
Quoting FLDART1:br /
You have to upload them to your WU account so even us firewalled peeps can see.... :-(

How many trips you done now? Any updates to share on what you are hearing from the people?
Member Since: 3.08.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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