defined an "air traffic delay" as a plane delayed more ber of diseases. He noted that many of the potential than 15 minutes en route from takeoff to arrival. impacts remain poorly quantified, but significant im- Branch said the average time a plane is delayed var- pacts are already unavoidable. ies between 35 and 50 minutes. He noted there has been an increase in air traffic delays from 1998 to 2000 due to airline overscheduling, outdated FAA equip- ment, and increased runway traffic volume. However, according to Branch, 70% of all air traffic delays are NW S Commende d fo r Souris caused by weather, with thunderstorms being the big- Floo d Warnings gest influence. Branch stated that recent changes in meteorologi- The National Weather Service (NWS) Kan- cal and climatological variables have led to an increase sas City River Forecast Center and the Bismarck in thunderstorm activity during peak traffic periods Weather Service Forecast Office have been com- and in high traffic areas. To offset delays, ATS has re- mende d by Secretary of Commerce Elliot cently developed and implemented a new set of col- Richardson for their excellent work in North Da- laborativ e convective forecast products used to kota during the serious flooding of the Souris forecast impending thunderstorm activity in order to River in April 1976. The Secretary of Commerce minimize air traffic delays.—Mary Beth Howard noted that "the early warnings combined with continual observation of the Ne w Yor k City/Long Island situation avoided a disaster." On 27 February 2001, the chapter held its first of In a write-up in the NWS two joint meetings with the Atmospheric Sciences Centra l Region newsletter, Section of the New York Academy of Sciences. Jerry Herman Mondschein, hydrolo- D. Mahlman, former director of the NOAA Geophysi- gist in charge, Kansas City cal Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, spoke on "Human- River Forecast Center, noted Caused Climate Warming: Implications for Practically that the NWS could be credited Everything." Mahlman stated that although most of the with preventing $50,000,000 of United States population has heard about global warm- floo d damages. Mondschein ing due to the emission of carbon dioxide into the at- stated that the early River Forecast Center out- mosphere, it has been perceived as more a political looks alerted the Souris Basin and disaster offi- than a major global environmental problem. His talk cials to make plans at least six weeks before explained the basic science of human-caused climate melting temperatures unleashed an abnormally warming, but in a larger context of its implications for heavy and still growing snowpack on soils future life on earth. He reviewed the science of "green- highly saturated from record fall rains. Flood house" warming, the role of mathematical models, the forecasts were continually updated as the pat- lessons from climate change over the past century, terns of melting temperatures in the United States expected climate changes over the next several centu- and Canada were observed and forecast [... ] ries, the basics of long-term carbon dioxide accumu- Threatened with the most potentially damag- lations in the atmosphere, likely impacts of climate ing flood ever to hit Minot, the city had evacu- change on life systems, and the role of societal choice ated over 4,000 families in the Souris flood plain, in dealing (or not dealing) with the issue. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rein- According to Mahlman, potential impacts of cli- forced, elevated, and accelerated the construction mate change include decreases in agricultural produc- of levees already underway. By the time the tivity, changes in forest resources, increased flooding flood hit the city, preventive measures—such as in coastal areas and along waterways, increased dry- dike building, channel improvements, and area droughts, loss of water resources, and unmanaged evacuations—were complete. ecosystems. He showed plots suggesting changes to both average temperatures and more pronounced rises in heat indices in midlatitude locations, such as the Bull Amer. Meteor. Soc57, 1038. United States. He also noted that some of these changes could foster an increased occurrence of a num- Vol. 82,, No. 8, August 2001
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 1, 2001
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