Coastal Denial – Flood, what flood?

Bay St. Louis, Miss., officials want high-water markers placed by the state at Mississippi Highway 603 and Interstate 10 camouflaged so they no longer commemorate the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. … Councilman Doug Seal said the markers are detrimental to attracting businesses that might want to relocate here, especially on undeveloped property around the interstate and Highway 603 juncture.


Corps of Engineers closing Louisiana science office

A fight between the Army Corps of Engineers and the state over who controls the science governing construction of nearly $2 billion in coastal restoration projects has led the corps to order closure of the Louisiana Coastal Area Science & Technology Office by Oct. 1.

The heart of this dispute is that the state does not want real science done on the coast. It wants the money funneled to local research programs which are careful to support the state’s favored projects.

NOAA – State of the Climate in 2010

State of the Climate in 2010

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Climatic Data Center

As appearing in the June 2011 issue (Vol. 92) of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

Supplemental and Summary Materials

Report at a Glance: Highlights (8 pages)

This supplement to the State of the Climate in 2010 draws upon materials from the larger report to provide a summary of key findings.
High Resolution (22.7 MB) | Low Resolution (9.8 MB)

June 28, 2010 Webinar: Briefing Slides (PDF)

This briefing package was used in the webinars associated with the report’s rollout.
Webinar Slides (12 slides)

Full Report

Download Entire Document (218 pages)
Download by Section
  1. Front Matter and Abstract (688 KB) [ Hi Rez (4.3 MB) ]
    1. Title page
    2. Author Affiliations
    3. Table of contents
    4. Abstract
  2. Introduction (845 KB) [ Hi Rez (6.8 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
  3. Global Climate (2.1 MB) [ Hi Rez (38.7 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Summary
    2. Temperature
    3. Hydrologic cycle
    4. Atmospheric circulation
    5. Earth radiation budget at top-of-atmospher
    6. Atmospheric composition
    7. Land surface properties
  4. Global Oceans (1.6 MB) [ Hi Rez (27.8 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Overview
    2. Sea surface temperatures
    3. Ocean heat content
    4. Global ocean heat fluxes
    5. Sea surface salinity
    6. Subsurface salinity
    7. Surface currents
    8. Meridional overturning circulation observations in the subtropical North Atlantic
    9. Sea level variations
    10. The global ocean carbon cycle
  5. The Tropics (1.8 MB) [ Hi Rez (32.6 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Overview
    2. ENSO and the tropical Pacific
    3. The Madden-Julian Oscillation
    4. Tropical intraseasonal activity
    5. Tropical cyclones
    6. Tropical cyclone heat potential
    7. Intertropical Convergence Zones
    8. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
    9. Indian Ocean dipole
  6. The Arctic (1.1 MB) [ Hi Rez (14.5 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Overview
    2. Atmosphere
    3. Ocean
    4. Sea-ice cover
    5. Land
    6. Greenland
  7. Antarctica (940 KB) [ Hi Rez (12.6 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Overview
    2. Circulation
    3. Surface manned and automatic weather station observations
    4. Net precipitation
    5. Seasonal melt extent and duration
    6. Sea-ice extent and concentration
    7. Ozone depletion
  8. Regional Climates (1.9 MB) [ Hi Rez (32.8 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
    1. Overview
    2. North America
    3. Central America and the Caribbean
    4. South America
    5. Africa
    6. Europe
    7. Asia
    8. Oceania
  9. Seasonal Global Summaries (798 KB) [ Hi Rez (9.0 MB) ] | Figures (coming soon)
  10. References (982 KB) [ Hi Rez (7.3 MB) ]

How to cite the document

  • Citing the complete report:Blunden, J., D. S. Arndt, and M. O. Baringer, Eds., 2011: State of the Climate in 2010. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.92 (6), S1-S266.
  • Citing a chapter (example): Fogt, R. L., , Ed., 2011: Antarctica [in “State of the Climate in 2010”]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.92 (6), S161-171.
  • Citing a section (example): Wovrosh, A. J., S. Barreira, and R. L. Fogt, 2011: [Antarctica] Circulation [in .State of the Climate in 2010.]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.92 (6), S161-S163.

GAO – Action Needed to Improve Administration of the NFIP

FEMA: Action Needed to Improve Administration of the National Flood Insurance Program GAO-11-297 June 9, 2011

FEMA faces significant management challenges in areas that affect NFIP, including strategic and human capital planning; collaboration among offices; and records, financial, and acquisition management. For example, because FEMA has not developed goals, objectives, or performance measures for NFIP, it needs a strategic focus for ensuring program effectiveness. FEMA also faces human capital challenges, including high turnover and weaknesses in overseeing its many contractors. Further, FEMA needs a plan that would ensure consistent day-to-day operations when it deploys staff to federal disasters. FEMA has also faced challenges in collaboration between program and support offices. Finally, FEMA lacks a comprehensive set of processes and systems to guide its operations, in particular a records management policy and an electronic document management system. FEMA has begun to address some of these challenges, including acquisition management, but the results of its efforts remain to be seen. Unless it takes further steps to address these management challenges, FEMA will be limited in its ability to manage NFIP’s operations or better ensure program effectiveness. FEMA also faces challenges modernizing NFIP’s insurance policy and claims management system. After 7 years and $40 million, FEMA ultimately canceled its latest effort (NextGen) in November 2009 because the system did not meet user expectations. As a result, the agency continues to rely on an ineffective and inefficient 30-year old system. A number of acquisition management weaknesses led to NextGen’s failure and cancellation, and as FEMA begins a new effort to modernize the existing legacy system, it plans to apply lessons learned from its NextGen experience. While FEMA has begun implementing some changes to its acquisition management practices, it remains to be seen if they will help FEMA avoid some of the problems that led to NextGen’s failure. Developing appropriate acquisitions processes and applying lessons learned from the NextGen failure are essential if FEMA is to develop an effective policies and claims processing system for NFIP. Finally, NFIP’s operating environment limits FEMA’s ability to keep the program financially sound. NFIP assumes all risks for its policies, must accept virtually all applicants for insurance, and cannot deny coverage for high-risk properties. Moreover, additional external factors–including lapses in NFIP’s authorization, the role of state and local governments, fluctuations in premium income, and structural and organizational changes–complicate FEMA’s administration of NFIP. As GAO has previously reported, NFIP also faces external challenges that threaten the program’s long-term health. These include statutorily required subsidized premium rates, a lack of authority to include long-term erosion in flood maps, and limitations on FEMA’s authority to encourage owners of repetitive loss properties to mitigate. Until these issues are addressed, NFIP’s long-term financial solvency will remain in doubt. GAO makes 10 recommendations to improve the effectiveness of FEMA’s planning and oversight efforts for NFIP; improve FEMA’s policies and procedures for achieving NFIP’s goals; and increase the usefulness and reliability of NFIP’s flood insurance policy and claims processing system. GAO also presents three matters for congressional consideration to improve NFIP’s financial stability. DHS concurred with all of GAO’s recommendations.

Geological investigation of the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River

While some of the conclusions of this report are dated, the beautiful maps of the evolution of the river are the best illustration of the dynamic nature of river deltas. The maps are known as meander maps.

Fisk, H.N., 1944, Geological investigation of the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River: U.S. Department of the Army, Mississippi River Commission, 78p.

Click on the image for larger size.

Inundation Maps – Flood of 2011 on the Lower Mississippi

Lower Mississippi water flows and inundation map – 11 & 16 May 2011, from the Corps.

Warning to the residents from the Corps’ WWW site:

Every year, written notices are issued to all interests reminding them of the possibility of operation of the floodway. In the event that Morganza needs to be opened, the USACE project managers, along with news media and civil officials, will help notify all interested parties as soon as possible. On receipt of such notice, expeditious action must be taken as soon as possible to protect life and property. If the Morganza Floodway is operated, there is a possibility that personal property will be flooded. In the event of an opening, all water and/or gas wells must be sealed and capped to prevent contamination from floodwaters.

Current High Water Flows – 16 May 2011 (Full size image)

Current High Water Flows

Current High Water Flows – 11 May 2011

Current High Water Flows



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Estimated Inundation Map Scenario 1 depicts anticipated impacts from operation of the Morganza Floodway at 50% of its capacity with full operation of the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway. The previously released Estimated Inundation Map is the same as the Estimated Inundation Map Scenario 1.

Estimated Inundation Map



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Inundation Map Scenario 1a depicts anticipated impacts from operation of the Morganza Floodway at 25% of its capacity with full operation of the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway. (Click here for full size image.)

Estimated Inundation Map

Estimated Inundation Map Scenario 2 depicts anticipated impacts from non-operation of the Morganza Floodway with the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway operating at 100% capacity.

Estimated Inundation Map



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Estimated Inundation Map Scenario 3 depicts anticipated impacts from non-operation of the Morganza Floodway with excess flowing through Old River and the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway operating at 100% capacity.

Estimated Inundation Map



Click here for full size image



Old River Control Structure

This is the gate on the Mississippi/Red River confluence that is the source of the Achafalaya River. At the moment it is flowing at nearly 300,000 CPS. This is as much as Morganza with all the bays open, and three times more flow than than the Niagara Falls complex. During the flood of 1973, the water began to erode the banks and get under the supports of the structure. Had it been destabilized, it could have failed and let the bulk of the Mississippi flow down the Achafalaya. That would have catastrophic consequences down river during a flood event, and could prevent shipping on the lower Mississippi until enough flow could be restored to float barges safely. John McPhee wrote about this in his book, Control of Nature.


Fisk, Harold Norman. Geological investigation of the Atchafalaya Basin and the problem of Mississippi River diversion. Waterways Experiment Station, 1952. – This report predicted the capture of the Mississippi River main channel by the Atchafalaya River by the 1970s, resulting in the construction of the Old River Control Structure.

Kazmann, Raphael Gabriel, and David B Johnson. “If the Old River Control Structure Fails?” (1980). – This report analyzes the economic consequences of the Old River Control Structure failing. These include the end of shipping to the Gulf on the old channel and the loss of drinking and industrial water in New Orleans and up river as the saltwater backed up the river.

Corps, Old River Control, (2009) – Brief history and pictures of the ORCS

Ashley N. Cox Jasen L. Brown Robert D. Davinroy Jason Floyd Emily Rivera Ivan H. Nguyen, Mississippi River and Old River Control Complex Sedimentation Investigation And Hydraulic Sediment Response Model Study, (2011) – An in-depth look at the current capacity and geology of the Old River Control Complex, including extensive plates in the appendixes.

Heath, Ronald E., et al. Old River Control Complex Sedimentation Investigation. No. ERDC/CHL-TR-15-8. ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS COASTAL AND HYDRAULICS LAB, 2015.