An Odd Pattern
As in life, every day is a new (meteorological) creation. There has never been a weather map precisely like the one we're faced with today. That's a humbling proposition, and a retort to people who say "Paul, find a previous day with identical conditions and just fast-forward to see what will happen!"
[Insert slap on forehead here].
I wish it were that easy.
Our summer pattern has been stranger than average: the Bermuda High extending as far west as Michigan - weather systems "retrograding" from east to west at times, helping to prolong the heat & humidity across much of America.
One silver lining: this sprawling heat-pump ridge of high pressure has meant less wind shear, allowing fewer tornadoes to spin up. At last count: 667 tornadoes so far in 2013. That compares with 1661 twisters as of July 22, 2011.
The downside: light steering winds have allowed T-storms to stall, with more flash flooding, especially southern and eastern states.
Blue sky lingers much of today, but a vigorous cool front sparks T-storms Thursday. By Saturday morning you may be reaching for a sweatshirt; wake-up temperatures in the 40s up north. A touch of mid-September.
A sunny weekend is shaping up - Sunday the better, milder day for the lake.
Image above: WeatherBug.
Up Is Down And Left Is Right. Back in Meteorology 1 they taught us that weather systems move from west to east (the vast majority of the time). We've had an east to west pattern for much of July, the Bermuda High expanding as far west as Michigan and Wisconsin. One climate scientist estimated the odds of this happening for a few weeks in mid-July at .3% In today's edition of Climate Matters we examine this odd pattern, track an escalating number of warm nighttime low temperature records, and take a look at what may soon become Tropical Storm Dorian in the Atlantic.
Thursday: Wettest Day In Sight. All the models are printing out rain for Thursday, but the predicted amounts vary wildly, from .3" to over 1". With dew points reaching the mid 60s there may be enough moisture for a few heavy T-storms capable of some .5" amounts, but not everyone will pick up that much rain. Graph: Iowa State.
September Flashback. The calendar says late July, but by Saturday morning it will look and feel more like late September, wake-up temperatures in the 40s from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to the U.P. of Michigan. T-storms linger from the east coast to the Central Plains, while the west remains dry.
Graphic credit above: "Animation of 500 mb pressure anomalies from July 12 to July 18, 2013, showing the migration of the heat dome from east to west (in orange and red) and the upper level low toward Texas (blue)." Credit: Ryan Maue for Weatherbell.com.
Image credit above: CIMSS Satellite Blog.
Among the impacted of extreme weather cited by the UN:
- Building and construction companies may find opportunities limited in some areas due to water scarcity
- Chemical companies will face increasing government regulations and consumer pressure to minimize water usage and cut waste.
- The reliability of power grids may be put under pressure by increasing heat waves.
- Food and beverage companies face depleted fish stocks and shifting agricultural zones.
- The loss of plant and animal species will limit discoveries of compounds used in health care.
- Energy-intensive data centers for information and communication companies are vulnerable to rising power prices..."
Photo credit above: Via NASA: “In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.”
Photo credit above: "Sun babies." AP Photo / Boris Grdanoski.
Photo credit above: Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette. "Rick Rowlands points out poison ivy at the Carrie Furnaces site in Braddock."
Photo credit above: "There may be a new tool for farmers. Scientists have discovered that climate data can help predict some crop failures several months before harvest. This could have huge implications for the future of farming and could allow for better preparations in the future." (Photo : Flickr.com/parker Knight)
Photo credit above: "A heavy smoke plume from a boreal forest fire." Credit: NASA
Image credit above: "The Larsen B ice shelf began disintegrating around Jan. 31, 2002, and eventually collapsed into the Weddell Sea. University of Michigan researchers have devised a new model of iceberg calving that can mirror this event." (Credit: NASA)
Photo credit: Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times. "Visitors leaving the ice caves under the Mendenhall Glacier, near Juneau, Alaska. Unpredictable flood surges have elevated concerns."