Tuesday July 10th, 2012
The Eastern Pacific is acting up and the National Hurricane Center is tracking two named storms, Daniel and Emilia. The satellite image below is of Hurricane Emilia photographed on Sunday.
“NASA’s Terra satellite captured this visible image of Emilia when it was a tropical storm off the western coast of Mexico on July 8, 2012 at 1745 UTC 1:45 p.m. EDT.
Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team”
Tropical Storm Daniel
“TRMM’s Precipitation Radar (PR) data show a 3-D view of Daniel (looking from the west). This view shows that very little rainfall was present in the western side. This image also shows that most of Daniels structure was at lower levels. A few of the most powerful storms in the eastern side of Daniel’s eye wall reached to heights of about 11km (~6.8 miles).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce”
Active Eastern Pacific
Daniel and Emilia, seen below, continue to churn westward. The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has remnants from Daniel sliding just south of Hawaii by the weekend.
Note the orange hatched circle below, that is a cluster of thunderstorms that has a medium chance of becoming our next named storm. If it does grow into Tropical Storm strength, Fabio its name!
1. CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO HAVE CHANGED LITTLE IN ORGANIZATION OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS. CONDITIONS APPEAR CONDUCIVE FOR SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD NEAR 10 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE…40 PERCENT…OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
Significant June Events
“Climate Highlights — June
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average. The June temperatures contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month led many cities to set all-time temperature records.
Precipitation totals across the country were mixed during June. The nation, as a whole, experienced its tenth driest June on record, with a nationally-averaged precipitation total of 2.27 inches, 0.62 inch below average. Record and near-record dry conditions were present across the Intermountain West, while Tropical Storm Debby dropped record precipitation across Florida.”
Year to Date Climate Stats
“Climate Highlights — Year-to-Date (January-June)
The January-June period was the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 52.9°F was 4.5°F above average. Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the six-month period, except the Pacific Northwest. Twenty-eight states east of the Rockies were record warm and an additional 15 states were top ten warm.
The first six months of 2012 were also drier than average for much of the contiguous U.S., with a nationally-averaged precipitation total 1.62 inches below average. Drier-than-average conditions stretched from the West, through the Central Plains, into the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic. Fourteen states in total had precipitation totals for the six-month period among their ten driest.”
12 Month Period Climate Highlights
“Climate Highlights — 12-month period (July 2011-June 2012)
The July 2011-June 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12-months on record for the contiguous U.S., narrowly surpassing the record broken last month for the June 2011-May 2012 period by 0.05°F. The nationally-averaged temperature of 56.0°F was 3.2°F above the long term average. Every state across the contiguous U.S. had warmer than average temperatures for the period, except Washington, which was near normal.”
99th Anniversary of the 134F High Temp in Death Valley, CA
“Today marks the anniversary of when Death Valley, Calif. set the all-time record high for not just the United States, but also the Western Hemisphere.
Temperatures in Death Valley (at Greenland Ranch, which is now known as Furnace Creek Ranch) soared to 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.”
“At 86 meters (282 feet) below sea level, Death Valley, California, is one of the hottest, driest places on the planet. On average, the area sees only about 5 centimeters (1.96 inches) of rain a year, and summer temperatures routinely soar above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). At night, temperatures drop considerably, and many animals in Death Valley are nocturnal as a result. Plants and animals living in this punishing environment have had to adapt to extremes of temperature and aridity.
This image is compiled from observations by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor on the Landsat 7 satellite on June 11 and July 20, 2000. In this image, green indicates vegetation, which increases with altitude. The peaks of Death Valley National Park sport forests of juniper and pine. The dots of brilliant green near the right edge of the image fall outside park boundaries, and probably result from irrigation. On the floor of the valley, vegetation is sparse, yet more than 1,000 different species eke out an existence in the park, some of them sending roots many feet below ground. The varying shades of brown, beige and rust indicate bare ground; the different colors result from varying mineral compositions in the rocks and dirt. Although they appear to be pools of water, the bright blue-green patches in the scene are actually salt pans that hold only a little moisture.”
Death Valley, CA Forecast
The 7 Day forecast for a reporting station in Death Valley, CA is calling for some scorching temperatures today and tomorrow… in the 120s YIKES!!
“Earth’s deadliest flood of 2012 hit the Black Sea area of Russia on Saturday, where 300 mm (11.8″) of rain fell in less than 24 hours. The resulting flood waters swept through the town of Krymsk in the Krasnodar region early Saturday, killing at least 171 people. The heavy rains were caused by a low pressure system that tracked just north of the region. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the low brought moisture-laden air from the Black Sea northwards over the mountains bordering the Black Sea.”
Flood damage in Krymsk, Russia, from Saturday’s deadly flood. Image credit: Associated Press
Forecast Highs Today
These are the forecast high temperatures today, note the extreme heat in the Southwest.
Heavy Rain Forecast
NOAA’s HPC 5 day precipitation forecast shows considerable moisture potential from the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley through the weekend. The latest forecast suggests 3″ to 6″ in spots through early Sunday.
Rich gulf moisture continues to produce storms along the Gulf Coast. Cory Niblett (@PR3SIDENT_) snapped this photo of a waterspout this morning from the Fairhope Pier in Alabama.
Sunday, a microburst with 80mph westerly winds tore through an area 3 miles south of Fredericksburg injuring 7 people and causing serious damage. The injuries came inside a gym after the gym roof was blown off and a wall collapsed. Mark Elllinwood (YouTube: madusweather) has a look at some of the damage. Thank you for sharing with us. And you can read more about the storm and see more photos in his blog. Madusweather.com
What is a Microburst?
The National Weather Service defines a microburst as a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale. Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce. In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburst cases. The National Weather Service in Amarillo, Texas shared a great explanation after a microburst in that area last summer. Click here to read more.
Bay Scroggins took this awesome halo photo in Key Biscane, FL today. Halos can be seen when cirrus clouds composed of ice crystals form 3-6 miles up in the troposphere and are angled in such a way to reflect and refract light in a circle around the Sun. Halos can happen around the Sun or the Moon, and they make for spectacular photos.
Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday, have a great rest of your week!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
2012: warmest first 6 months of any year on record. NOAA.
Last 12 months: warmest 1-year period since 1895 across the USA (NOAA).
10 warmest 12-month periods on record (1895-present) all occurred since 2000. Source: NOAA.
Hottest heat wave on record for Washington D.C. The scope and intensity of last week’s heat was even worse than 1930. Details from The Washington Post below.
50% According to a recent survey, nearly 50% of America’s weather reporters (including degreed meteorologists) “don’t believe in human-induced climate change.” More information from “Forecast The Facts”.
2,278 daily heat records broken or tied during the first week of July, nationwide.
3,282 daily heat records broken or tied during June across the USA. 173 of these were all-time highs.
9,800 daily heat records broken or tied during June, 1988. Source (and map above): Climate Central – details below.
Warmest 12 Month Period In USA – Drought Expands To 56% Of Nation. Here’s the latest from NOAA: “The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, 2.0°F above the 20th century average, ranking as the 14th warmest June on record. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month broke or tied over 170 all-time temperature records in cities across America. June temperatures also contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.”
Historic Heat Wave In Hindsight: Hottest On Record In Washington D.C., Hotter Than 1930. Here’s a fascinating article from Ian Livingston and Jason Samenow at The Washington Post. Comparing apples to apples can be tricky, but these two meteorologists took the time to analyze the data carefully – here’s an excerpt of the story: “The average high from June 28 through July 8, 2012 was an astounding 99.5 degrees, besting 1930’s most brutal 11-day stretch (the first big heat wave was 12 days long with a 95 to start) by 0.5 degrees. When considering the average temperature (incorporating low temperatures as well as highs) for these segments of both years, 2012’s lead grows due to warmer overnight temperatures. 2012 finished with an average temperature of 88.0 degrees compared to 1930’s 87.0 over the 11 days.”
Graphic credit above: ”Hottest 11-day stretches in D.C. using daily maximum temperatures.”
2012 Heatwave Is Historic, If Not Unprecedented. Some perspective is in order – how does our recent heatwave rank with 1988 and the worst years of the Dust Bowl back in the 1930s? Meteorologist Andrew Freedman provides some fascinating details in thisClimate Central post; here’s an excerpt: “Now that the heat wave has finally subsided, we can begin to take stock of how unusual it really was. There is no question that it was extraordinary in its intensity and geographical scope for so early in the summer season. But was it unprecedented in American history? The short answer is no, it wasn’t unprecedented. The longer answer is that it will go down in history as one of the hottest and longest-lasting early summer heat waves in U.S. history, and by at least one measure, it was the record setter in every sense of the phrase. It was also a clear taste of what’s to come as the climate continues to warm due to manmade global warming.”
Graph credit above: “An illustration from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), illustrating how a shift in mean temperature makes warm temperature extremes more likely to occur.”
“The drought is much worse than last year and approaching the 1988 disaster,” said John Cory, the chief executive officer of Rochester, Indiana-based grain processor Prairie Mills Products LLC. “There are crops that won’t make it. The dairy and livestock industries are going to get hit very hard. People are just beginning to realize the depth of the problem.” – from a Bloomberg Businessweek story on the spreading drought; more information below.
“An Oxfam report also notes that “this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase the risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.” – from a story on climate change impacting agriculture and food production from journalstar.com; details below.
“The U.S. Global Change Research Program recently concluded: “Human-induced climate change appears to be well underway in the Southwest.” It reported that in the West “both the frequency of large wildfires and the length of the fire season have increased substantially in recent decades, due primarily to earlier spring snowmelt and higher spring and summer temperatures.” – from a Huffington Post story on wildfires and climate change; details below.
St. Louis Foresters Say Deer Stands, Tree-Cutting And Food Plots Are Getting Out Of Hand On County Land. Here’s an excerpt from The Duluth News Tribune: “It used to be that a deer stand was a couple of aspen saplings nailed between two trees, just a place for a hunter to see above the brush for a better shot at a trophy buck. But increasingly across St. Louis County forests, including on public lands, permanent deer stands have become a whole lot more elaborate — some far too elaborate for county land managers. And hunters are cutting more trees near those stands so they can see deeper into the woods.”
Photo credit above: “This 20-by-18-foot deer “stand” was built on St. Louis County forestland. County land managers say they want to limit the size and nature of deer stands while banning the cutting of trees for shooting lanes and the planting of food plots.” (St. Louis County Department of Lands and Mines photo).
“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:
Brain – thank you for your efforts. I’m a Christian too, and I take my role as a steward of creation seriously. There are some things you can do. Pick up a copy of “Cooler – Smarter” from the Union of Concerned Scientists for practical tips. A pdf sample is here. No, I don’t get a commission. Have a goal of reducing your carbon footprint by 20% Tell coworkers, friends and family what you’re doing, and why. We need a bottom-up approach. Although governments will ultimately put a price on carbon, true solutions will come from all of us, working together. I understand the reality: climate change is a depressing topic. There is no easy fix, no silver bullet. But there is plenty of (green) buckshot.
The only thing we lack is the (political) will to scale these solutions on a national or international scale. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start now, with our own homes and neighborhoods.
Here is a great interactive web tool from UCS, the Union of Concerned Scientists, to give you more ideas for how you can lower your carbon footprint, while simultaneouslysaving money:
30 Ways To Foster Progress On A Finite Planet. Here’s an excerpt from an Andy Revkin, New York Times post, focused on steps we can all take to live more sustainably. The most important thing we can do: tell our legislators that this topic is important to you and your family. We need to find a market-friendly way of pricing carbon. All of us can take steps to lower our carbon footprint, from weatherizing our homes to driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle: “Orion Magazine, a beautiful and lyrical nonprofit publication, is celebrating its 30th anniversary by publishing “Thirty-Year Plan,” a short book of essays by 30 writers, myself included, who were asked to describe “some thing—emotion, insight, technology, resource, practice, policy, habit, attitude—that’s going to be increasingly essential if humans are going to live comfortably, sustainably, and redeemably on Earth.” (You can sift excerpts from the 30 essays in the Orion slide show above.)”
Thanks Clif and Bettye – very much appreciate the note and words of encouragement. I tried to answer the question as best I can (above). My goal is not to throw any of the local meteorologists in town under the bus. We are blessed to have (real) meteorologists on the air in this market. Belinda, Dave, Chris and Ian are all exceptionally bright and well-informed, but you’ll probably have to ask them that question directly. I can’t and won’t speak for them.
Local View: Climate Change Affecting Food Production. Here’s an excerpt from Lincoln’s JournalStar.com: “…The bad news now, and into the far future, is that climate change is severely affecting food production across the planet, along with both population increases and rising affluence and diet changes of a growing middle class in emerging economies. Paradoxically, droughts and floods are two of the most damaging aspects of climate change.
Here are some facts:
• The 2011, Texas drought cost a record $8 billion in crop and livestock losses and up to 500 million forest trees died. Urban forests lost another 5.6 million trees, along with $280 million in economic and environmental values.
• Extremely hot summers that once covered less than 1 percent of Earth’s surface (from 1951-1980), “now covers about 10 percent of the land area,” according to one analysis. “We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were caused by global warming.”
• The Earth Policy Institute of Washington, D.C., warns that long-term food trends are worrisome, especially for soybeans. In 1955, “China produced the same amount of soybeans it consumed, but since then production has stayed the same and consumption has jumped fivefold.”
Climate Change: Global Warming Is A Fact. Here’s an excerpt from an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: “At some point we should stop litigating the basic question of whether climate change is happening. Climate change is a fact. The spike in atmospheric CO2 is a fact. The dramatic high-latitude warming is a fact. That the trends aren’t uniform and linear, and that there are anomalies here and there, does not change the long-term pattern. The warming trend has flattened out in the last decade but probably only because of air pollution from Chinese coal-fired power plants or somesuch forcing we haven’t fully discovered (smog is hardly the long-term solution we should be seeking). The broader patterns are clear. Models show the greatest warming spike down the road still, decades hence. Thus in a sense, saying that “this is what global warming is like” whenever we have a heat wave actually understates the problem.”
Climate Change Plays A Role In Wildfires – But Not The Only One. A warmer, drier climate is a big contributing factor in the record blazes out west, but not the only one. Here’s an excerpt in Time Magazine: “…But as important as global warming is to the raging fires in charred states like Colorado, it’s not the only factor—and no scientist would go so far as to say that climate change had caused one fire or another. While we’re changing the climate—loading the dice, in the climate scientist Michael Mann’s term, to make extreme weather more likely—we’re also changing the situation on the ground, moving ever larger numbers of people into fire-prone zones. It’s as if we’re adding fuel to the fire on both ends—which means we’ll be doubly burned. The great I-News Network has done an excellent job on the wildfires in Colorado, focusing not just on the immediate weather causes and the severe devastation of the fires themselves, but on the policies that have led so many Coloradans to build houses in what’s known as the “red zone”—territory on the edge of the wilderness that is prone to fire. (Hat tip to Andrew Revkin of Dot Earth for pointing out the I-News coverage.)”
Photo credit above: “A helicopter drops water on a wildfire at Waterman Canyon Monday July 9, 2012 in the San Bernardino, Calif., The fire erupted shortly before 2 p.m. Monday along Highway 18 in Waterman Canyon, where residents have been asked to voluntarily leave.” (AP Photo/San Bernardino Sun, LaFonzo Carter)
U.S. Official: Higher Ocean Acidity Is Climate Change’s “Evil Twin”; Major Threat To Coral Reefs. The story from AP and The Washington Post; here’s an excerpt: “Ocean acidification has emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs across the world, acting as the “osteoporosis of the sea” and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Monday. The speed by which the oceans’ acid levels has risen caught scientists off-guard, with the problem now considered to be climate change’s “equally evil twin,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco told The Associated Press.”
To Politicians Napping On The Fireline: Wake Up, Smell The Smoke And Act On Climate Change. Here’s a snippet from a Huffington Post story: “In 1987, I parachuted in with other smokejumpers to fight an Oregon wildfire that had a lot of folks particularly worried — and for good reason. It became known as the Silver Fire, the largest in a complex of wildfires ignited by some 1,600 lightning strikes in the parched forests between Northern California and Southern Oregon, requiring what at the time was the largest mobilization of firefighters in U.S. history. The Silver Fire eventually burned about 96,000 acres — roughly 150 square miles. The following year, Yellowstone burned up. Instead of firefighting that year, I was a Congressional policy analyst working on climate change issues. Given what I’d experienced the year before and what was happening in Yellowstone, I was worried about the future effects of climate change on wildfires.”
Photo credit above: “Members of FEMA and the Small Business administration look at a burned home in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday, July 9, 2012. Members of FEMA, the SBA and Colorado’s Disaster Office assessed damages in the area burned by the Waldo Canyon wildfire.” (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)