Weather, by definition, is changeable - often extreme. But are natural swings in temperature and moisture accelerating? Is it our imagination, or are changes happening faster than they did 30 years ago?
According to The National Drought Mitigation Center Minnesota saw America's most rapid onset of drought in August: from 1.7 percent moderate drought on August 6 to 55 percent by August 26. In a meteorological blink of an eye.
Sudden 20-30F "heat spikes" in the span of 24 hours in mid-May, again early this week; a rare August frost up north. Head-scratching weather.
Farmers are understandably anxious about a deepening "flash drought"; the rate at which fields are drying out. We need 3 to 6 inches of rain to replenish dusty topsoil.
That won't happen anytime soon. Canadian air leaking south will keep us cool, comfortable and dry into Sunday. Dig a light jacket out of cold storage: 40s at the bus stop Friday, again Monday? A surge of much warmer air returns next week - more 80s the latter half of the week as dew points reach the muggy 60s. A scuffle between lingering summer heat & Canadian chill may increase the potential for rain the last week of September. I hope that's not wishful thinking.
Jackets and shorts, together in one closet? More whiplash.
* CEI, Climate Extreme Index, above shows the percentage of the USA in severe drought or flood from year to year, courtesy of NOAA NCDC.
Canadian Infiltration. And just like gravity, here comes the inevitable temperature tumble, focused on the Great Lakes and New England by the end of the week. 84 hour NAM temperatures forecast courtesy of NOAA. Animation from Ham Weather.
"Strange" Hurricane Season Perplexes Forecasters. More background on the eerily quiet hurricane season in this excerpted article from HeraldTribune.com: "...On average, two hurricanes should have formed by now. Past seasons have started slow and finished with a flurry of tropical cyclones, but the window is starting to close. Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist with Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project, has been perplexed by the hurricane season's progress so far. Klotzbach predicted there would be 18 named storms this year, including eight hurricanes. The average is 12 named storms and six hurricanes. Other forecasters, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also looked at the conditions that contribute to storm formation earlier this year and similarly predicted a busy season..."
8 tropical storms in the Atlantic so far this year.
8 years since a major (Category 3+) hurricane has hit the USA (Wilma in 2005).
Risk Of Sandy-Level Flood In New York City Has Doubled Since 1950. Sea level rise is a huge mitigating factor, as Climate Central explains: "...Rising seas are a consequence of manmade global warming, as well as local shifts in land surface elevations. Sea level rise has accelerated in recent years, from a rate of 1.7 millimeters per year between 1901 to 2010, up to 3.2 millimeters per year between 1993 and 2010. Depending on how much sea levels increase by the end of the century, the study said Sandy-like flooding could occur once every few decades in Manhattan, and on the order of once a year in parts of New Jersey and coastal Connecticut. By raising the water level, sea level rise provides storms with a higher launching pad for storm surges, which are bulges of water caused by a storm's winds, forward motion, and atmospheric pressure, to ride on top of..."
Image credit above: "NASA visualization of the wind field associated with Hurricane Sandy as it approached the Mid-Atlantic coast on Oct. 28, 2012. Wind speeds above 40 mph are yellow; above 50 mph are orange; and above 60 mph are dark red."
Graphic credit above: "Figures are median income for all full-time workers with bachelor's degrees in each subject. Workers with graduate degrees are not included in the data." Source: Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown University. Credit: Matt Stiles/NPR.
Graphic credit above: "There's a lot of puff built into the world's tallest buildings." AP Photo/Shiva Menon/Solent News/Rex Features.
Photo credit above: (Bloomberg News) - "In Union Beach, N.J., debris surrounds the front steps of a home destroyed in Hurricane Sandy last November."
Photo credit above: "As first responders and humanitarian assistance providers, the armed forces will be busy in a climate changed future." Credit: Australian Defence Image Library.
Air Pollution Worsened By Climate Change Set To Be More Potent Killer In 21st Century. Here's a clip from a recent story at Science Daily: "...Climate change is believed to harm human health in a variety of ways, including through adverse changes in food production, heat stress, sea level rise, increased storm intensity, flooding and droughts, and increased incidence of vector-borne diseases. In addition, climate change indirectly impacts health by influencing concentrations of air pollutants, such as surface ozone and fine particulate matter (smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter), including sulphate, nitrate, fine dust particles and black carbon. These pollutants are linked with increased risks of lung cancer and respiratory, cardiopulmonary, cardiovascular and all-cause deaths..."
Photo credit above: "President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change in Washington." Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP.