78.14% of the USA is described as “abnormally dry”.
24.14% of America is in extreme or exceptional drought, nearly a quarter of the Lower 48 States.
16.18% of Minnesota in severe drought, down slightly from 16.25% last week.
69.14% of Iowa in extreme drought, up from 30.74% last week.
Photo credit above: “Buchanan County, Mo., employees Ron Martin prepares to go back out onto Lake Contrary Thursday afternoon Aug. 9, 2012, in his jon boat to pick up more dead fish while Shane Hartman tosses what he collected into a front end loader. Low water levels and extreme heat caused a sizable fish kill in the Oxbow lake that the Missouri Department of Conservation estimates to be about 20,000 mostly invasive Asian Carp.” (AP Photo/The St. Joseph News-Press, Eric Keith)
46% record high CEI Index (Climate Extreme Index) for 2012, to date, surpassing the previous record of 42% in 1934. Details from NOAA NCDC below. Photo: WeatherNation TV meteorologist Bryan Karrick.
El Nino conditions “likely to develop during August or September 2012″, according to NOAA. Details below.
“Nearly half of the nation’s corn crop is in poor or very poor condition, as well as a third of soybeans. The damage would be much worse without the crop science advancements of the last 40 years, said Andrew Wood, a professor of plant physiology and molecular biology at Southern Illinois University.” – from a Washington Post article, details below. Photo credit: Nati Harnik, AP.
Thursday Waterspouts In Duluth. Check out the remarkable photos of the waterspout that formed over Lake Superior, just off the shoreline of Duluth. Photo upper left courtesy of Vana Leslee Photography (via WDIO). Photo upper left from Alissa Glickstein. Nicely done.
A Sprawling Heat. Although the Upper Midwest has seen significant relief, much of America continues to sizzle: 1,320 warm weather records since August 2, according to NOAA. Map courtesy of Ham Weather.
A Sprawling Drought. An estimated 62.46% of the USA is in moderate drought (or worse). The worst conditions can be found from southern Indiana westward through Missouri and Arkansas into Kansas and Oklahoma, pockets of exceptional drought as far south as Georgia. More details from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Drought Animation. You can see the progression of the Great Drought of ’12 since May 22 in this animation. The darker the red: the more severe the drought – thought to be the worst since 1956, possibly 1936.
Iowa Farmers Are In Trouble. At first I thought it was a typo – I had to go back and check it again. The percentage of Iowa in extreme drought jumped from 30.74% last week to 69.14% this week, a nearly 40% jump. I’ve never seen that before. Details here.
Evolution Of Drought. The steady spread of drought conditions since May 29 has been striking; more details from NOAA: “The latest drought monitor is now available in the region. Once again, extreme drought continues over much of Kansas and Missouri. However, portions of the area have now been upgraded to the highest level of drought, “exceptional”. The drought monitor does not include impacts of rainfall from last night, but given the scattered nature of rain, the improvements would be minimal. Since the beginning of the drought monitor in 1999, this is the first “exceptional” drought status in western Missouri.”
Severe Losses For Reinsurers From U.S. Drought: Munich Re. CNBC.com has the details; here’s an excerpt: “The recent dry weather affecting crops across the midwest of America will hit the reinsurance industry with perhaps the biggest loss ever, according to Nikolaus von Bomhard, Chairman at Munich Re. “We do think it will be severe and probably one of the severest losses for this market ever,” he told CNBC Wednesday. “It’s too early to tell what the exact claim will be because we have to wait until the harvest is done.” The prolonged hot spell is said to be the worst in five decades and has damaged corn production across 26 U.S. states.”
Photo credit above: “A dry field of corn is seen near Ashland, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. The latest U.S. drought map shows that excessively dry conditions continue to worsen in the Midwest states that are key producers of corn and soybeans. This is the worst U.S. drought in decades. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday, Aug. 9. 2012 shows that the area gripped by extreme or exceptional drought rose nearly 2 percent to 24.14 percent.” (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
2012: Most Climate Extremes On Record. Here’s an explanation from NOAA: “The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record large 46 percent during the January – July period, over twice the average value, and surpassing the previous record large CEI of 42 percent, which occurred in 1934. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (83 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (74 percent) both covered record large areas of the nation, contributing to the record high year-to-date USCEI value.” Graph courtesy of NOAA NCDC.
Friday Severe Threat. A stalled frontal boundary becomes a focal point for severe storms later today from New York and Albany to D.C. and Raleigh. Flying east? You may encounter delays. Map courtesy of NOAA SPC.
Slow-Motion Weather Map. The WRF model shows a slow-moving cool frontal boundary stalling over the eastern seaboard by Saturday, compounding rainfall amounts from the Mid Atlantic region to the Florida Panhandle. High pressure treats the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest to comfortable sun. The Great Lakes will see frequent showers and T-storms, mainly dry weather west of the Rockies. Upper left: today at 4 pm. Upper right: Saturday at 4 pm.
First Hints Of Autumn. Remarkable news: we may enjoy a spell of cooler, wetter than normal weather as we sail into mid-August in the upper Midwest. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook shows a cool, wet bias for the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest – more relentless heat for the southern half of America. Map: Ham Weather.
NOAA: “El Nino Conditions Likely To Develop During August Or September 2012″. More details from NOAA NCEP: “ENSO-neutral conditions continued during July 2012, despite above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across the eastern Pacific Ocean. Reflecting this warmth, most of the weekly Nino index values remained near or greater than +.5 C. The oceanic heat content anomalies (average temperatures in the upper 300 meters of the ocean) also remained elevated during the month, consistent with a large region of above-average temperatures at depth across the equatorial Pacific. Althugh sub-surface and surface temperatures were above average, many aspects of the tropical atmosphere were inconsistent with El Nino conditions.”
Graphic credit above: “Average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (C) for the week centered on 1 August, 2012. Anomalies are computed with respect to the 1981-2010 base period weekly means.”
NOAA Raises Hurricane Season Prediction Despite Expected El Nino. The forecast calls for El Nino by autumn (see above). El Nino patterns usually imply stronger winds over the tropics – conditions not favorable for hurricane development (those winds tend to shred developing tropical storms and prevent them from reaching their peak potential). In spite of this, NOAA NHC is predicting a higher than average number of tropical systems: “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date, and may have a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.
Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (which includes the activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:
Photo credit above: “Satellite image of Hurricane Ernesto taken on Aug. 7, 2012 in the Gulf of Mexico.” (Credit: NOAA)
Haboob! I still have trouble talking about haboobs without chuckling. Sorry. I know, infantile. One of many personal defects. Thanks to Mike Olbinski, who shot this advancing wall of dust and sand outside Phoenix. Amazing.
Get Flood Insurance Before You Need It. Are you in a flood zone? When was the last time you checked? Here’s an excerpt of an important article from Reuters: “The best time to get protection against a flood is before it happens. That means if you keep anything in a basement or live on the ground floor, it’s important to have flood insurance. Floods are the most common natural disaster and they can cause significant damage. Buying flood insurance is always a good idea but in some cases it’s also mandatory. It’s important to understand how and when to buy flood insurance so that you’re prepared before disaster strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the National Flood Insurance Program which is generally a good place to start. Under federal law, homes with a federally regulated mortgage must have flood insurance if located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. Even if your home is not within a SFHA, banks may require that you have flood insurance before approving a mortgage.” Photo credit: NOAA.
Photo Of The Day. Art Fightmaster captured a photo of a sunlit shelf cloud in Gardnersville, Kentucky Thursday. Photo courtesy of WeatherNation TV.
Flames From Above. Photo courtesy of Wyoming’s Bureau of Land Management: “Yesterday, firefighters were able to mop-up the perimeter of the Sheep Park Wildfire south of Jeffrey City. The fire burned 528 acres and is approximately 90% contained.”
Weather Services International Acquires Weather Central. This may be inside baseball, but WSI (owned by The Weather Channel) and Weather Central create the weather graphics systems that 90% of America’s TV stations and networks use for weather visualization. Full disclosure: a previous company of mine, “EarthWatch Communications”, was acquired by a local company, Kavouras, back in 1997, which went on to license 3-D weather technology to Weather Central, which is about to be owned by WSI, which is owned by The Weather Channel. Confused? Me too. Not sure how this will impact the TV weather graphics landscape, but I’m keeping an open mind. Details from Madison-based Weather Central: “Weather Services International (WSI) today announced an agreement to acquire Weather Central, a Madison, WI based global provider of interactive weather technology, graphics and data services for professional, media, and consumers delivered to television, web and mobile screens. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “The acquisition of Weather Central enables us to immediately expand the range of products we offer to each company’s business clients in television, wind energy, insurance and retail, as well as increase the speed at which we can develop new innovations,” said Mark Gildersleeve, president of WSI. “Our goal is to make the best products available to our collective customer base. Every broadcast customer, for example, will gain access to new tropical data, radar data, forecast models, and severe weather tracking tools within the first thirty days at no charge. In addition, we are offering a wider suite of products in the interactivity, social, news, traffic, web, mobile and video categories.”
How To Make Your Lost Phone Findable. The New York Time’s David Pogue had quite an adventure last week; he lost his phone, and using Twitter (and local police) was able to track it down. But it got him thinking; what technology or apps can I utilize to find my phone, if and when it gets lost again? Here’s an excerpt from his column at The New York Times: “Last week, I lost my iPhone on a train. I used Apple’s Find My iPhone feature to track it to a house in suburban Maryland, and the local police were able to return it to me. Because I’d tweeted about these developments, the quest for the phone became, much to my surprise, an Internet-wide, minute-by-minute real-life thriller. (You can read the whole story here.) Several readers wrote to ask how to set up their own phones to be findable. As you’d guess, given last week’s experience, I have some strong feelings about the importance of setting up Find My iPhone or the equivalent on Android phones.”
Latest Earth Image
A brand new satellite launched from Europe has just captured a it’s first picture of the earth.
From the Huffington Post: “These satellites help provide better weather coverage and short-range forecasts for Europe and Africa, especially in the case of rapidly developing storms or fog. They can scan Earth’s atmosphere every 15 minutes in 12 different wavelengths, to track cloud development. In addition to its weather-watching mission and collection of climate records, MSG-3 has a radiation sensor to measures the amount of solar and infrared energy that is reflected back into space, to better understand climate processes. The satellite also contains a “search and rescue” transponder that will allow it to relay distress signals from emergency beacons.”
Closer to Home
A fairly strong front will be moving through the Great Lakes region and the Ohio Valley will be bringing dramatically cooler temperatures and strong evening storms.
Storm Threat Today
Some of these storms could continue into the overnight hours including damaging and some hail.
But accompanying these storms will also be a major cool down behind that frontal boundry. The upper Midwest already feeling the impact of this cooler air.
Temperatures in the southwest remain hot. Phoenix hit 116° yesterday and there is still not much relief on the way as temperatures will stay several days above average for this time of the year.
Excessive Heat Warning if effect for parts of the desert southwest.
From the National Weather Service: “EXPECTED TEMPERATURES: HIGHS ARE FORECAST TO REACH AROUND 112 DEGREES IN LAS VEGAS AT MCCARRAN AIRPORT…112 IN THE BARSTOW- DAGGETT AREA…AROUND 110 IN TWENTYNINE PALMS…113 TO 118 IN THE COLORADO RIVER VALLEY…103 TO 106 IN KINGMAN AND 124 TO 126 IN DEATH VALLEY AT FURNACE CREEK. LOWS AT NIGHT ARE EXPECTED TO ONLY BRIEFLY DIP BELOW 90 DEGREES IN THE LAS VEGAS VALLEY.”
Elsewhere in the southwest, some of the flooded areas of New Mexico are starting to see some improvement.
From the National Weather Service in Albuquerque: “Snapshot of flood waters still receding around Thoreau on the day after significant flash flooding hit the area August 5th. Emergency management officials estimated roughly $150,000 in damages as flood waters impacted several buildings in town.”
Ongoing Drought Conditions
Close to 63% of the nation is now classified to be under drought conditions according to the latest tabular statistics from the US Drought Monitor.
From the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill Missouri: “The latest drought monitor is now available in the region. Once again, extreme drought continues over much of Kansas and Missouri. However, portions of the area have now been upgraded to the highest level of drought, “exceptional”. The drought monitor does not include impacts of rainfall from last night, but given the scattered nature of rain, the improvements would be minimal. Since the beginning of the drought monitor in 1999, this is the first “exceptional” drought status in western Missouri.”
Continue to check back here from more updates!
Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek
49,790 warm weather records, nationwide, since January 1 (27,163 record highs, 22, 627 record lows). Source: NCDC
7 To 1. America has experienced roughly 7 times more warm weather records (49,790) than cold weather records (7,256) since January 1, according to NOAA NCDC.
July 2012: Hottest Month In U.S. History. Accurate weather records go back to the late 1800s. Since then there has never been a month as hot as July, 2012. Details from NOAA: “According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6 F, 3.3 F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 F. The warmest July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first 7 months of the year, and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since record-keeping began in 1895. Just looking at the map I was struck with the thought that this gives new meaning to “red states”.
Wake-Up Call. More like a smack upside the head. You can’t look at this graph and not, on some level, be a little troubled. According to NOAA NCDC 2012 is running 4-6 F. above average, nationwide, blowing away the previous hot weather records: 1998, 2006, 1934, 1999 and 1921.
U.S. Has Hottest Month On Record. More perspective on an historic July from meteorologist Jason Samenow, at The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang: “In 118 years of U.S. records, July 2012 stands as king, hotter than any month previously observed. NOAA reports today that the average temperature across the continental U.S. was 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average, 0.2 degrees hotter than the previous record set in July, 1936. Not only was the month of July unrivaled for its hot temperatures across the nation, but so too were the first seven months of the calendar year and the last 12 months. In fact, the last four 12-month periods have each successively established new records for the warmest period of that length.”
Map credit above: “Temperatures compared to normal in July across the Lower 48 states (Regional Climate Centers).”
State Of The Climate. NOAA NCDC has more details on our record-shattering summer:
Ouch! July In U.S. Was Hottest Ever In History Books. Here’s more information from a story at Bloomberg Businessweek: “…Three of the nation’s five hottest months on record have been recent Julys: This year, 2011 and 2006. Julys in 1936 and 1934 round out the top five. Last month also was 3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for July. Thirty-two states had months that were among their 10 warmest Julys, but only one, Virginia, had the hottest July on record. Crouch said that’s a bit unusual, but that it shows the breadth of the heat and associated drought.”
Photo credit above: ”Heat waves rise while a Kansas Department of Transportation road crew works on a section of US 59 near Nortonville, Kan., Monday, Aug. 6, 2012.” (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
3rd Hottest July On Record In Minnesota. Virginia has the warmest July on record, across the Upper Midwest ever state was in the top 5 warmest Julys on record. Map: NOAA NCDC.
Thursday Severe Risk. SPC shows an elevated risk of hail and damaging straight-line winds from Chicago and St. Louis east to Detroit, Louisville and Pittsburgh, as an upper level low irritates a stalled frontal boundary over the Ohio River Valley.
Today’s Weather Map. The WRF model (valid 4 pm today) shows light to moderate showers over the Upper Midwest, strong to severe T-storms over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, more spotty T-storms over the Mid South and Lower Mississippi Valley. West of the Mississippi: precious little rain
Weather? Climate Change? Why The Drought Is Persistent And Growing. Yes, a dying La Nina may have contributed to the drought, one of many factors, according to this story at The Christian Science Monitor; here’s an excerpt: “Several factors have contributed to the expanded drought, meteorologists say. The lingering aftereffects of two years’ worth of colder-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific – a condition known as La Niña – set the stage. La Niña events drive average storm tracks farther north than usual as they snake across North America. And La Niña tends to stifle hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Both contributed to a drier southern tier. But for some parts of the United States, some researchers add, the dryness encouraged by this natural climate cycle appears to be reinforcing a longer-term drying that is consistent with climate models gauging the effects of global warming. For the West in particular, conditions may be setting up for what researchers call a “megadrought” by the end of the century.”
Photo credit above: ”A damaged corn crop in Rice County, in central Kansas, August 7.” Jeff Tuttle/Reuters
The Silver Lining In The Drought. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed in The New York Times: “FROM where I sit on the north end of America’s grain belt, I can almost hear the corn popping to the south of me. The drought threatens to drive up global corn prices beyond their level in 2007-8, when food demonstrations broke out around the world. But such crises often lead to change — and transformation is what is needed to make our food system less vulnerable. We have become dangerously focused on corn in the Midwest (and soybeans, with which it is cultivated in rotation). This limited diversity of crops restricts our diets, degrades our soils and increases our vulnerability to droughts.”
Photo credit above: “Dark clouds from a passing thunder storm hang over a dry cornfield in Blair, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. The area received some rain from the storm. Farmers in the nation’s Corn Belt are confronting a drought that stretches from Ohio west to California and from Texas north to the Dakotas. Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more of the U.S., according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.” (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Hurricanes, Typhoons And Cyclones: Storms Of Many Names. Yes, they are different names for the same warm-core storms that form over warm ocean water, worldwide. Live Science has a good explanation; here’s an excerpt: “There has to be a perfect storm, so to speak, of conditions for a hurricane to form, including:
Tropical cyclones form all around the world, generally about 300 miles (480 kilometers) north or south of the equator. When they form in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, the storms are called hurricanes. They are called typhoons in the western North Pacific and cyclones in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. [Infographic: How, When & Where Hurricanes Form]”
Shelf Cloud. A tip-off to potentially severe winds, beware of T-storms with a protruding “lip”. Thanks to A.J. Lane, who snapped this photo near Ames, Iowa Wednesday.
Tornadoes In Unusual Places. Thanks to John Andrew Bordash for sharing this photo; details: ”This tornado was near Hallowing Point, MD yesterday around 6:00PM. It started as a waterspout over the Patuxent River then moved on land in Calvert County. The NWS in Sterling, VA issued a Tornado Warning. The storm was slow mover but quickly dissipated.”
From Drought To Tornado. Thanks to Virginia Semerad and the Omaha, Nebraska office of the National Weather Service for sharing this. It looks strange to see a tornado hovering over fried fields.
Not A Honda In Sight. I’m glad the weather is cooperating with bikers gathered at Sturgis, South Dakota. Thanks to Willy Bondling for passing this one along.
One Fine Sunset. From WeatherNation TV’s Facebook Site: “This photo by @JonRHansen knocked the socks right off my feet. Sunset Wednesday night in Rhome, TX.”
Martian Sunrise. Thanks to NASA, Patrick Cusworth, and Twitter for this one-of-a-kind shot.
You Too Can Own A $8700 Corn Cob House. Now I’ve officially seen everything – details from gizmag.com: “French architectural firm St. André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls. The 20 square meter (215 square foot) pavilion style home is located in the protected parklands of Muttersholtz, France and recently won the Archi<20 competition for low-cost, environmentally-friendly architecture. “The total cost of the project was €7,000 [US$8,705],” St. André-Lang architect and co-creator Bastien Saint-André told Gizmag. “But we had some partners (carpenter, woodworker) – the real cost would be around €10,000 [US$12,435].”
Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are “Suspicious”. Confirming one of my darker fears, yes, now you need FB just to be “credible” with a future boss. The eStress is building. Details from Forbes.com; here’s an excerpt: “The term “Crackberry” seems silly today — and not just because consumers OD’ed on Blackberry and moved on to iDealers. The term arose in an earlier “aughts” time when Blackberry dominated the smartphone market and lawyers and execs were nearly the only ones who had them, due to their need to be able to respond to email immediately. Things have changed. Now we all need to be able to respond to email immediately. And to tweet. And to instantly share our photos on Facebook. We’re all addicted to technology now, and not just to the Blackberry. We’re “addicted” to our iPhones, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Android, and Pinterest, and iPads, and Word with Friends, and fill-in-the-blank-with-your-digital-dope-of-choice.”
A Whole New Level of Hot
NOAA confirms last month was not only the warmest July ever recorded, but the hottest month since 1895. The first 7 months: warmest ever; temperatures nationwide 4 to 6 F warmer than the long-term, 20th century historical average.
Yes, we’ve always had heat waves and drought, but there’s a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that we may be turbocharging the heat. If this year (and an accumulation of temperature, snowfall and rainfall trends over the last 30 years) doesn’t make open-minded skeptics rethink their position I’m not sure what will.
Maybe someday we’ll get past denial and work together on solutions that don’t a). expand government, or b). wreck the economy. Technology & innovation will power this transformation, but like any good (carbon) addict, we need to first recognize that we have a problem.
Don’t believe our weather patterns are changing? Talk to a farmer.
A late-day instability shower today gives way to a comfortable blue sky Friday. The approach of warmer air may set off a T-storm Saturday night & Sunday.
The craziness continues next week: 90-94 F. Tuesday & Wednesday, severe storms midweek, then MUCH cooler. By Friday highs may sink into the 60s!
What an odd summer.
Blame Climate Change For Increasingly Extreme Summers, Says Leading Climatologist. Here’s a snippet from Discover Magazine: “…Researchers averaged the summer and winter temperatures for multiple locations across the globe during the years from 1951 to 1980, establishing a baseline for each season. Then they measured how much the temperature varied from this average over the years. They found an increasing number of anomalies in the past 30 years. We no longer have equal odds of the summer temperatures being unusually hot, or unusually cool. Instead, as the researchers phrase it, we are dealing with loaded dice: we are now much more likely to have a hot summer than an average or cool one. And hot temperatures have become both more frequent and more intense. In the time period from which the researchers drew their average, less than one percent of land on Earth suffered from extreme hotter-than-usual temperatures (more than three standard deviations above the average) at any one time. Now, these temperature hotspots cover 10 percent of the land.”
Senator Reid: “Stop Acting Like Climate Change Deniers Have A Valid Point Of View – They Don’t”. Details and a video clip from The Daily Kos. Here’s an excerpt of Sen. Harry Reid’s recent comments on climate change: “The seriousness of this problem is not lost on your average American. A large majority of people finally believe climate change is real, and that it is the cause of extreme weather. Yet despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fueled and funded by dirty energy profits. These people aren’t just on the other side of this debate. They’re on the other side of reality. It’s time for us all – whether we’re leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don’t.”
Another View: Global Warming Alarm Too Costly To Let Continue. How do we stop shouting at each other and reach a pragmatic way forward? Here’s a snippet of an intriguing Op-Ed at The Des Moines Register that caught my eye: “..But, the polarization in today’s global warming debate — alarmist versus skeptic, conservative versus liberal, capitalist versus socialist — has become so severe that the struggle will drag on for many years more unless a radically different approach is taken. New findings from the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University Law School point the way. They found that, when faced with having to support one side or the other in science debates, most people are influenced far more by their cultural and social worldviews than by the actual data. Citizens will usually agree with the side that comes closest to the values of the “tribe” they most identify with. In many cases, the facts don’t matter at all.”
Climate Change: What Will It Take To Wake Up The World? Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Rep. Carolyn Maloney at The Hill’s Congress Blog: “….Short of world or national action, there are small signs of hope. More than 500 American cities and towns have already pledged to meet the Kyoto Protocol’s targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The hope, though, remains that the voices of young people will make a difference. In many ways, there is a limit to what we can do to help today’s children. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. Experts say that the climate we are used to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future. We hear a lot about the debt we are creating for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Yes, financial worries are important. But all the money in the world won’t mean a thing if future generations can’t be productive on the Earth we leave them.”
U.S. Criticized On Global Warming Stance. Details from UPI: “BRUSSELS, Aug. 7 (UPI) — The United States has come under criticism for suggesting the target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius should be removed from climate talks. At a 2010 U.N. climate convention governments had agreed to take “urgent action” to meet the target but chief U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern recently said insisting on the target would lead to “deadlock.” Now the European Union and the Alliance of Small Island States have responded by saying the Unites States should stick to promises made. “Suddenly abandoning our agreement to keep global warming below 2C is to give up the fight against climate change before it even begins,” said Tony de Brum, minister in Assistance for the Marshall Islands.”
Summer 2012 has proven to be extremely hot for many in the U.S. with records broken left and right. However, Mother Nature is finally sending us a reminder that Fall is just around the corner. Believe it or not, parts of the upper Midwest will struggle to even make it up to 70 by the weekend. Check out the forecast:
Severe Threat Grows
With the change in air masses, we have storms. Strong storms will be expected in the Central U.S. today. Thursday’s forecast is looking particularly active as well. The punch of cold air slides southward, the front and a series of upper lows will result in severe storms into the Ohio Valley and the Northeast. The main threat will be hail & high winds. Isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out.
Severe Threat Today
Severe Threat Thursday
Severe Threat Friday
Ernesto’s Journey Into Mexico
Tuesday night, Ernesto made landfall near Mahahual, Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane. Winds peaked at 103 mph according to the Mexican weather service. Evacuations of coastal fishing communities were ordered Monday night and included Xcalak, Punta Allen, Banco Chinchorro and Mahahual. Quintana Roo, a state of Mexico, prepared 237 storm shelters with the ability to shield over 80,000 people.
You can check webcamsdemexico.com for a live look at Cancun and other locations:
As expected, Ernesto weakened a tropical storm, but might have a chance to restrengthen into a Category 1 hurricane again as its center tracks over the Bay of Campeche. Ernesto will make a second Mexican landfall. Central Mexico is bracing for heavy rain and gusty winds.
An Amazing Martian Experience
The site has been on and off working due to high traffic, but it’s worth a try if you get a chance to check this. NASA released stunning hi-def images of the Mars surface last months. The images were stitched together into an interactive panorama on panorama.dk. Read more here.
Beautiful pictures make people feel happy, so we end on a happy note here with a beautiful picture taken last night from the Mount Washington Observatory:
Thanks for reading.
Meteorologist Susie Martin
Follow me on Twitter @smartinWNTV
“Finally, if you invested in an expensive swimming pool, wait until the summer to sell: a home with a swimming pool will sell for $1,600 more, on average, in the summer versus the winter.” – from a mainstreet.com story below on the influence of day-to-day weather on our spending habits.
“There is a roughly 12 percent chance of a major solar storm every decade, making them a one-in-a-hundred-year event. The last major one was over 150 years ago.” – excerpt from a Reuters story below; the solar cycle peaks in 2013, with an elevated risk of a major solar storm, one capable of disrupting satellite communications, even the power grid.
“The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper.” – from a New York Times article; details below.
“…The second proposition will be uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth. As much as environmentalists feel a justifiable urgency to solve this problem, we cannot ignore the economic impact of any proposed action, especially on those at the bottom of the pyramid. For any policy to succeed, it must work with the market, not against it.” – from a Tuesday Wall Street Journal opinion piece; details below.
Hurricane Ernesto. Tuesday evening Ernesto strengthened into a minimal, Category 1 hurricane, pushing due west toward Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Details from NOAA via FB: “Hurricane Ernesto closing in on the Yucatan area of Mexico. Expected to cross into the Bay of Campeche and continue into Mexico. Right now, a category one hurricane with sustained maximum wind of 80 mph.”
Double-Whammy. Mexico will be struck twice by Ernesto, on the Yucatan Peninsula (overnight), again after it emerges over the Gulf of Campeche late Thursday. The only saving grace: the fetch over warm water won’t be long enough for severe strengthening, both strikes as a Category 1 hurricane. Some 8″+ rainfall amounts are possible over mountainous terrain inland – the greatest risk: flash flooding. Map: NHC and Ham Weather. Things are getting a little more interesting in the mid-Atlantic; meteorologists tracking two more areas of disturbed weather. The latest from NHC here.
Today’s Weather Map. The WRF model (valid 1 pm central time today) shows welcome showers and possible thunder over much of the Midwest, an eastbound cool front sparking T-showers from Cleveland to Rochester, more tropical downpours from the Carolinas into the panhandle of Florida. Precious little rain is forecast from the Plains to the west coast.
Feeding The World In Face Of Drought. Will the historic drought gripping 60% of the USA trigger a global spike in food prices and even famine? Here’s an excerpt from Politico: “Americans now know that living in the world’s breadbasket — where the most advanced agricultural technologies have created some of the highest crop yields — does not necessarily immunize them from the vulnerabilities of depending on Mother Nature. More than three-quarters of U.S. corn and soybean crops have now been affected by record drought — the worst dry spell since the 1950s. The United States is not the only country feeling the heat. India is experiencing a 22 percent falloff in vital monsoon rains and Brazil went through its most severe drought in a half-century.”
Photo credit above: ”Corn prices are already up 50 percent from just a month ago, the author writes.” | AP Photo
Hottest Year On Record For The Northeast. Even though the very worst of the heat and drought has settled over the Ohio Valley, Midwest and Great Plains, the Northeast has seen a remarkably warm year-to-date, as well. Details from Science Daily: “If you live in the Northeast, welcome to the hottest year on record. New data released by the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University shows the Northeast’s seven-month average (January through July) of 49.9 degrees was the warmest such period since 1895, the year such record keeping began. It was the second warmest such period in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the warmest first seven months of the year in the rest of the Northeast. The 12 months that ended July 31 was likewise the warmest such period in 117 years in the Northeast, and in all of the states except West Virginia – where the average temperature of 54.7 degrees missed tying the record set in 1932 by 0.1 degree.”
Photo credit above: AP Photo/The Express-Times, Matt Smith.
Floods And Drought: Extreme Year For Mississippi River. From one extreme to the next, feast or famine for barge operators on the Mighty Mississippi. Here’s a YouTube clip from AP: “In just one year the Mississippi River has experienced record flooding and near record low water levels due to drought. The AP received rare access to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to dredge and keep the channels flowing for commerce.”
Photo credit above: ”The banks of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss., continue to erode as the 2012 drought deepens, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. Barges are moving down the largest waterway in the U.S. with decreased loads and at slower speeds because of the risk of hitting debris or sand.” (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
Big Surprise. NOAA CPC is predicting a warm bias for much of America through the month of August, centered over the Midwest and Middle Mississippi River Valley. Surprised? Me neither. Map: Climate Prediction Center and Ham Weather.
Hurricane Season: Fast, Not Furious. I had no idea. Here’s an excerpt from an eye-opening article about the hurricane season, to date, from floridatoday.com: “Hurricane season 2012 might seem like a snoozer, but statistically speaking, it’s been a record-setter: Tropical Storm Debby, which formed June 23, was the earliest fourth-named storm in history. Another interesting meteorological tidbit about this season, which runs June 1 through November 30: two tropical storms (Alberto and Beryl) formed in May, before the season even started. “The only other time two storms formed before June 1 was 1887 and 1908, so that’s kind of weird,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “And Beryl, which came ashore at Jacksonville Beach, was the strongest pre-June cyclone ever to make U.S. landfall.”
(May 29, 2012 file photo from Folly Beach, South Carolina courtesy of AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Flooding Brings Chaos To Philippine Capital. CNN.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Fueled by seasonal monsoon rains and a nearby tropical storm, widespread flooding in the Philippines worsened Tuesday, causing a landslide that killed nine members of a family, the national disaster agency reported. The landslide in the Manila suburb of Quezon City buried two houses, leaving the nine people dead and four others injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center. Three of the dead were children, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported. The capital city of Manila got 504 millimeters (about 20 inches) of rain Tuesday, PNA reported, with more on the way.”
Photo credit above: “Filipinos wade along a flooded area in Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines, Tuesday Aug. 7, 2012. Relentless rains submerged half of the sprawling Philippine capital, triggered a landslide that killed eight people and sent emergency crews scrambling Tuesday to rescue and evacuate tens of thousands of residents.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
How Weather Issues Have Been Handled In Sports. There have been numerous high-profile events in recent years impacted by severe weather, with resulting deaths and injuries. How many of these losses could have been avoided using better alerting systems, and having action plans in place to move thousands of fans? Is it even possible to move that many people before a severe storm strikes? Here’s an interesting story from RepublicanAmerican: “INCIDENTS: A 41-year-old NASCAR fan was struck by lightning and killed Sunday as he stood near his car in the parking lot of Pocono Raceway in northeastern Pennsylvania. Nine others were injured during Sunday’s violent storm.
POLICY: NASCAR stays in contact with track officials when weather may affect a race, but track officials are responsible for communicating to fans about approaching severe storms. Some fans posted on Pocono Raceway’s Facebook page that they never heard Sunday’s weather-related announcements. Decisions whether to proceed are typically made minute-by-minute, although there have been instances the last several years when NASCAR worked with track officials in advance of incoming weather. This season, the Daytona 500 was postponed for the first time in its 54-year history because steady rain made a Monday evening start the safest solution.”
Photo credit above: “Fans leave the stands after the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race was postponed due to rain on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.” (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
How Weather Influences Life’s Big Spending Decisions. I thought this was interesting, how are spending habits are tied to changes in weather. Mainstreet.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “For the sake of argument, let’s say you have a fleet of vehicles and want to clear some space in your five-car garage. What should you sell first? The vehicle with the highest mileage or the lowest? The gas-guzzler or the hybrid? Last year’s model or the classic? How about the one that fits the weather pattern? It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that convertibles sell better in the spring than in the dead of winter, or that small-engine cars move faster when gas prices spike. Now there’s academic research to support and even quantify the effects weather has on the sales process. Convertibles don’t just sell better in warm weather, specifically, a 20-degree increase in temperature spurs an 8.5% increase in convertible sales, according to Jorge Silva-Risso, an associate professor of marketing at the University of California’s Riverside’s School of Business Administration.”
Photo credit above: AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Chris Clark.
NASA Deploying New Drone Technology To Track Hurricanes. Here’s a snippet of a fascinating article/interview from redorbit.com: “Scott Braun is the Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission principal investigator and a research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Scott studies hurricanes from the inside out. HS3 is a five-year mission specifically targeted to investigate hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean basin. In his role as Principal Investigator, Scott leads a diverse team of hurricane and instrument scientists to design and conduct experiments using NASA’s two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to understand better the meteorological conditions that favor storm formation and often lead to the development of major hurricanes. The campaign is set to take to the sky this September from Wallops Island, Va.”
Photo credit above: “This Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is one of two that are used by NASA for Earth science missions and by Northrop Grumman for follow-on developmental testing.” Credit: NASA/Tony Landis
Space Weather And The Coming Storm. Solar activity is forecast to peak in 2013. With any luck the power will stay on. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Reuters: “The delicate threads that hold modern life together are dramatically cut by an unexpected threat from outer space, with disastrous effects. It’s the stuff of science fiction usually associated with tales of rogue asteroids on a collision course with earth. But over the next two years, as the sun reaches a peak in its 10-year activity cycle, scientists say there is a heightened risk that a whopping solar storm could knock out the power grids, satellites and communications on which we all rely. “Governments are taking it very seriously,” says Mike Hapgood, a space weather specialist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. “These things may be very rare but when they happen, the consequences can be catastrophic.”
Photo credit above: “This false-color image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower center, erupting from the sun on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Space weather scientists said there should be little impact to Earth. The flare erupted from a region which rotated into view on July 6, 2012.” (AP Photo/NASA)
A Rare (Visible!) London Sunset. The weather has been a bit rugged and ragged on the other side of the pond, frequent showers, scruffy clouds, temperatures stuck in the 60s. Thanks to Jim Morrissey for reminding us that, every now and then, London can still enjoy and Technicolor Sunset.
Dreaming Of Scottsdale. O.K. I won’t really be day-dreaming about Scottsdale (and Seaside, Saratoga and Boca Grande) for another 3-5 months, but I thought this was a spectacular sunset from Scottsdale, courtesy of L Hudson.
Cirrus Near Us. Thanks to Justin Hamlin, who snapped this photo of wispy cirrus clouds (ice crystals 25,000 feet above the ground) near New York City. Sometimes called “mares tails”, these highs clouds are often forerunners of a frontal passage or oncoming storm, especially if they thicken over time, accompanied by an east breeze and falling barometer.
Free WeatherNation App. If you love weather you’ll want to download the new (free) WeatherNation app. Yes, I’m a bit biased, but there’s some great functionality here. For more information on features in the iPhone version click here.
This Is How The iPhone 5 Might Look In Your Hand. Yeah, I’m a fanboy. So what? I’ve tried Android and IOS, and I prefer the latter, and yes, I’m looking forward to the next release. So are the writers over at Gizmodo, who have an update on possible features; here’s an excerpt: “We have published mockups of Apple’s next iPhone—before. But these are the definitive ones, showing what the iPhone 5 or whatever it is called would look like in your hand. And, as it turns out, it looks pretty damn good. My favorite is now the black one. I can’t really decide. In black, the new iPhone 2012 is very 1980s, as opposed to the 70s flavor of the current iPhone 4/4S. The two-tone black anodized aluminum is reminiscent of the old AV Sony designs of that decade-like their first CD player.”
There Are No Words. O.K. This is one of the more clever tweets I’ve seen in the wake of the NASA mission to Mars, courtesy of cheezburger.com. Well played.
“No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers.”
Weather forecasting is a maddening profession. You can only learn so much out of a book. The only way to get better is by making forecasts, and learning from inevitable mistakes. Lots of mistakes.
For 30 years I strived, in vain, for a perfect TV weathercast. No such thing.
The older I get the more I’m searching for something far more important: authenticity. Don’t sell me or spin me. Show me something REAL. Something that has meaning.
Today I encourage the 11 meteorologists I work with to show their humanity. It’s OK to mess up, in fact I suspect viewers like the flubs far more than an antiseptic “perfect” weather show. “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing” said Harriet Braiker. Amen
Speaking of imperfection, a weak clipper-like disturbance sparks a few showers later today & Thursday, temperatures cooling into the 60s and 70s. Friday looks sunnier and drier; no prolonged rain for your weekend plans, with highs near 80. The lake may be warmer than the air!
Two days near 90 early next week, then a REAL cold front that will have us reaching for jackets by Thursday.
“It’s time for us all – whether we’re leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don’t.” – Senator Harry Reid in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. Details here.
Study Finds More Of Earth Is Hotter And Says Global Warming Is At Work. Here’s an excerpt of a story from Justin Gillis at The New York Times: “The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper. The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. Those claims, which go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes, were advanced by James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and two co-authors in a scientific paper published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
Photo credit above: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press. “A Texas State Park police officer walked across the lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas. A new scientific paper says that the drought and other recent extreme weather events have been caused by global warming.”
Climate Change Equals Hot Summers. Case Closed. Here’s an excerpt of another perspective on the Hansen research from Time Magazine: “…Hansen and his team looked at the recent past — rather than trying to model the future — to see if they could find the signature of man-made climate change through day-to-day and season-to-season weather. They used the period of 1951–80 as a base because it was a meteorologically stable stretch that also had a wealth of global weather data, unlike earlier periods. During that time period, extremely hot summers — like the one much of the U.S. is experiencing now — occurred only in 0.1% to 0.2% of the globe in a given year. But since 1981, extremely hot summers have baked about 10% of the earth’s land area annually — and in recent years, that percentage has been even higher. That means the odds of experiencing an extreme summer have risen from 1 in 300 during the 1951–80 period to nearly 1 in 10 now, according to Hansen’s calculations. “I don’t want people to be confused by natural variability,” he said in a statement. “We now know the chances these extreme weather events would have happened naturally — without climate change — is negligible.”
Photo credit above: ”Marcelino Aldama plays with his son, Raymond, 1, at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks pool in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. The Aldama’s came to the pool to escape this week’s heat wave, which is expected to continue in the triple digits throughout the week.” (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)
Extreme Weather And Climate Change: Caution Required But Not Reckless Statements. Here’s a great guest post at The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang; an excerpt: “In the wake of punishing heat waves, historic droughts, extensive flooding and extraordinary melt activity on Greenland, many are asking if we are seeing long-predicted results of climate change, caused primarily by man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies on extreme events found in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggest that such events may not be attributable to weather variability alone. They also echo warnings issued by scientists for decades.”
Fred Krup: A New Climate Change Consensus. I almost fell off my couch when I read this in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. Yes, conservatives, liberals and moderates will be able to create profitable solutions, adapting to this brave, new, stormier world we’ve inherited. Here’s an excerpt: “One scorching summer doesn’t confirm that climate change is real any more than a white Christmas proves it’s a hoax. What matters is the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. counties into federal disaster areas, many data-driven climate skeptics are reassessing the issue. Respected Republican leaders like Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey have spoken out about the reality of climate change. Rupert Murdoch’s recent tweet—”Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease.”—may reflect an emerging conservative view. Even Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, during public comments in June, conceded the reality of climate change while offering assurances that “there will be an engineering solution” and “we’ll adapt.”