Saturday, November 6, 2010

Last Fling With Indian Summer? (and an apparent spike in severe storms)

Extreme Weather. Is the world's weather really becoming more extreme (or are we just doing a better job of documenting and reporting on the wild weather that's always been there?) A trillion dollar question. Personally, I think it's a litlte of both. In the age of YouTube, Twitter and citizen journalism we are seeing more documented evidence of weather extremes around the planet. But I also think that something else is going on - we are experiencing more numerous and extreme weather phenomena - especially flooding rains.The U.K.'s Guardian web site has a page devoted to documenting some of these unusual and bizarre outbreaks of weather around the world.

Troubling Trends. Data from NOAA, SPC (Storm Prediction Center) and NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) show a steady increase in severe storms(tornadoes, hail, high winds) across the USA since 1980. The first decade of the 21st century produced 3 to 5 times more severe storm reports than the 1980s. Flood reports have been tabulated since 1993: data shows an average of 3,358 floods/year across the USA from 1993-1999. Since 2000 the average number of yearly floods has risen to 4,750. That's a 41% in flash floods from one decade to the next. Again, it may not be a long enough data set to reach profound conclusions, but it's pretty hard to ignore the fact that severe flooding reports seem to be on the rise. Thanks to St. Cloud State University Meteorology student D.J. Keyser for helping me tabulate these numbers into a spreadsheet.

Mystery Man. So I'm in L.A. - minding my business, having a nice stroll down the Sunset Strip with my wife, and along comes this CRAZY GUY!! Yes, I miss Mr. Magers. He is truly one-of-a-kind.

Deer Hunting Opener. Sitting up in a tree-stand won't be too painful this weekend, morning temperatures mostly in the mid 20s up north (a light breeze this year - no real wind chill to report). Expect bright sun Saturday and Sunday, low 50s up north today, mid 50s tomorrow, almost 15 degrees above average for early November. In fact it will probably look and feel more like mid October out there. Good luck!

Hurricane Tomas. This GOES-13 image of Hurricane Thomas was taken midday Friday, as the storm was producing sustained winds of 85 mph, passing in between Cuba and Haiti, tracking slowly northward into the open Atlantic. The greatest concern was not the wind, but the torrential rains - estimates were as high as 10-15" of rain in less than 24 hours. More details from NASA here.

Haiti - The Aftermath. The scene from Pinchinat, Haiti is sobering - over a million Haitians were living outdoors in tents, and under flimsy tarps in the aftermath of the killer earthquake that struck just 10 months ago. And then along came Tomas, adding atmospheric insult to injury.

What Extreme Winds Can Do. This remarkable YouTube footage shows the roof of an apartment complex being ripped off during last Tuesday's extreme wind storm, the same storm that deepened to 28.21" over Bigfork, MN produced sustained winds of 60+ mph from Minnesota across the Great Lakes, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people. It was the strongest storm ever observed between the Rockies and the Appalacians.

It Was The Hottest Day In November History. On Thursday afternoon San Diego recorded a hair-curling high of 100 F, 28 degrees above average, the first 100-degree reading since September 25, 1989. More details here.

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

TODAY: Deer Hunting Firearms Opener. Bright sun, breezy and pleasant. SW 10-15. High: 55

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear and seasonably cool. Low: 35

SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, touch of Indian Summer! High: 58-60

MONDAY: Still mild, high clouds increase, feels more like mid October. High: near 60

TUESDAY: More clouds, PM drizzle? High: 56

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooling off a bit. high: 51

THURSDAY: Cold rain develops, mix north/west? High: 44

FRIDAY: Windy and colder - wet snow tapers to flurries. Some slush possible close to home. High: near 40

The Deer Are Nervous

"Please don't call this winter." Stephanie Skjervold, a personal banker at Wells Fargo in Excelsior, had a pleasantly defiant look on her face. "Winter is December through February. Give winter its due, but don't let it spill over into November or March." Why, I inquired? "Otherwise winter takes up half the year & it's just unbearable." Got it. The power of positive thinking - or maybe "denial"?

Stephanie (and any other winter-weary inhabitants of this fine state) won't have a thing to worry about through Tuesday. A bubble of high pressure treats us to a sun-scrubbed sky today, a light southerly breeze tugs the mercury close to 60 in the metro by Monday, almost 15 degrees above average. To recap: September lingered into most of October; now October is pushing November out of the way. Makes perfect sense to me.

No snow on the ground up north for tracking that trophy buck this year. A colder front sparks a little drizzle by Tuesday. A secondary storm rippling north along that surge of Canadian air spreads a cold rain into town Thursday. That rain changes to wet snow by Friday morning - a couple inches of slush near the metro? Gulp. Enjoy one last fling of Indian Summer!

Weird Weather: A Sign Of Global Warming? Folks living out in Orange County, California are scratching their heads after a rash of strange weather events in recent months. Part of the confusion: people confusing "weather" with "climate". The full story from the Orange County Register is here.

The Heat Was On: Atmospheric CO2 Triggered A Global Warming Event 40 Million Years Ago. During the "Eocene", some 34 to 55 million years ago - a period of gradual cooling - temperatures suddenly spiked dramatically upward for roughly 400,000 years. Scientists are studying molecules released by specific forms of algae to reconstruct carbon levels. Their conclusions: a doubling of atmospheric CO2 resulted in a nearly 4 to 10 F. increase in global temperatures. More details from Scientific American here.

Oil Spill Cruise Finds Field Of Dead Coral. From an article in "A team of researchers surveying the depths of the Gulf of Mexico have found a large area of dead or dying corals and associated animals. Though the scientists caution that they cannot say definitively what caused the damage, they believe the limited evidence available points to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as the culprit."

1 comment:

  1. That's a funny Pix of Mr Major. Did he know you were in town?