Extended Forecast Is Up In The Air
”Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground” wrote Andrea Gibson.
With weather, every day is different and every autumn is different. The patterns may be similar, but never identical. Talk about humbling. Which means it’s simplistic to go back in time and say “Well here’s what happened in 1968…so this is precisely what will happen next!” Nope. Weather models are good and becoming more accurate over time, but the 7-Day is as confounding as when I became a weather-whisperer 45 years ago.
NOAA’s models predict a warmer than average October, which isn’t hard to believe gazing at the maps (and trends). Cold, stormy weather is favored in the west; a warm ridge of high pressure inflating temperatures over eastern half of the US.
Colder Air Pushing Closer to Minnesota 2 Weeks Out. NOAA’s GFS model (above) shows a strong closed low over western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, implying frequent rains and a cooling trend as we enter the fourth week of October. Reality-check time?
A Few Cold Jabs – But October Trending Milder Than Average. NOAA’s suite of models shows a warm bias for the month across most of the USA through the end of the month, in spite of more frequent outbreaks of chilly air as we head into late October.
Deadly Tornado From Minnesota Featured on Cover of Upcoming Movie “13 Minutes”. There is a local angle, as described at Bring Me The News: “…On the cover of the movie poster is a photo of the deadly twister that ripped through Minnesota last summer. One of the storm chasers who captured video and photos of nature’s fury is Melanie Metz, better known by some in the storm chasing community as one of the “Twister Sisters.” Metz, who lives in Champlin, followed the twister as it carved a 9-mile path from west of Ashby to east of Dalton. It was on the ground for 31 minutes and achieved EF-4 status with 170 mph winds, making it a high-end tornado capable of producing extreme damage. The slow-moving buzzsaw scarred fields, destroyed any property in came into contact with, and tragically killed one person and injured two others...”
Fall Can Be a Secondary Peak Time for Tornadoes in the U.S. The Weather Channel explains: “Damaging tornadoes can strike the U.S. any time of the year, but fall has a historically notorious uptick in activity that fuels its reputation as a secondary peak season for severe weather. Just like spring, fall is a battleground season when surges of warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico sometimes meet up with the increasingly stronger cold fronts and jet stream winds that typically sweep across the country this time of year. When this mix of ingredients comes together it can spin up organized severe thunderstorms that produce damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes...”
US Inks $20 Million Deal to Launch High-Tech Weather Satellites Into Space. CNN.com has details: “The United States is aiming to launch a group of small satellites to fill a critical gap in the ability to foresee precipitation dangers, like the deluge that overwhelmed Northeastern cities at the start of September. The US Air Force announced Thursday a nearly $20 million contract with Tomorrow.io to develop and deploy an entire constellation of small satellites equipped with advanced radar to measure precipitation from space. “This satellite constellation partnership with Tomorrow.io will fill critical weather sensing gaps and give Air Force Weather operators the global missions they support vastly improved awareness of current and forecasted mission-limiting weather conditions,” said John Dreher, chief of the weather systems branch at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts...”
Scientists Drove a Robotic Surfboard into Hurricane Sam, and the Waves Were Incredible. Capital Weather Gang has a crazy story: “Scientists with Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration managed to drive a robotic surfboard into the core of Category 4 Hurricane Sam on Thursday, in a first-of-its-kind scientific mission as they try to better understand hurricanes. The video, captured just northeast of Hurricane Sam’s monstrous eye, depicts eerily dark skies, screaming winds and a thick veil of sea spray and mist lofted into the air. Enormous waves can be seen swinging the probe like a pendulum. Saildrone is a company that manufactures probes that collect ocean data for use in environmental studies…”
AI Can Predict If It Will Rain in Two Hours’ Time. It’s not there (yet) but the short-term (“Nowcasting”) predictions for precipitation are getting better, as described at BBC News: “Scientists at Google-owned London AI lab DeepMind and the University of Exeter partnered with the Met Office to build the so-called nowcasting system. Traditional methods use complex equations and often forecast for only between six hours and two weeks’ time. The AI system can make more accurate short-term predictions, including for critical storms and floods. Climate change is making it harder to anticipate adverse weather conditions, as the frequency and severity of heavy rain increases, which researchers believe will lead to both significant material damage and death…”
Does Bad Weather Really Affect Your Internet? It depends on how you’re connecting, according to a post at Mental Floss; here’s an excerpt: “…If your internet is cable- or satellite-based, on the other hand, inclement weather could be the culprit behind your spotty connection. Satellite radio waves have a difficult time passing freely through solid barriers like trees or buildings; and precipitation—especially rain, since it’s so dense—can interfere with a path that’s usually clear. For cable users, extreme temperatures or precipitation can damage the cables themselves. In short, you might be able to blame a thunderstorm for your Internet’s bad behavior, but the specific cause depends on what type of internet you have.”
There’s No Outrunning the Risks of Climate-Fueled Weather. Here’s an excerpt from Axios: “…There is nowhere in the USA (or on Earth) that is totally risk-free from the impacts of climate change,” said Brown University environmental studies professor Laurence C. Smith in an email exchange. The inland mid-central and northeastern states along the Canadian border may experience some of these detriments somewhat less severely than other areas of the country,” Smith said. Limiting the future scope of extreme weather risks will require global emissions cuts to curtail global warming as much as possible. But significant warming and extreme weather damage are already baked in, which requires risk management and adaptation decisions — personal and governmental...”
Study: Exposure to Deadly Urban Heat Worldwide Has Tripled in Recent Decades. ScienceDaily has specifics: “A new study of more than 13,000 cities worldwide has found that the number of person-days in which inhabitants are exposed to extreme combinations of heat and humidity has tripled since the 1980s. The authors say the trend, which now affects nearly a quarter of the world’s population, is the combined result of both rising temperatures and booming urban population growth. The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Over recent decades, hundreds of millions have moved from rural areas to cities, which now hold more than half the world’s population. There, temperatures are generally higher than in the countryside, because of sparse vegetation and abundant concrete, asphalt and other impermeable surfaces that tend to trap and concentrate heat — the so-called urban heat island effect…”
How Do You Know If You’ve Experienced Global Warming? Note to self: a warming climate is flavoring all weather now – making natural extremes even more extreme. Here’s the intro to a post at Eos: ”People in every corner of the United States are increasingly seeing climate change affect their daily lives: water shortages and lost crops from extended drought, record-breaking heat waves in cities, hazy air from wildfire smoke half a country away, and hurricane-related flooding in basement apartments, to name just a few. However, not every extreme weather event convinces people that they are personally experiencing climate change. A recent study in Global Environmental Change has found that regardless of political and sociodemographic factors, experiencing an anomalously high number of hot, dry days is most likely to make U.S. residents believe they’ve experienced global warming. “Climate change expresses itself very differently in different places—wildfires and drought in the West, hurricanes and flooding in the East, all of the above in Texas!” said Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at the Yale School of the Environment in New Haven, Conn., and lead author of the study…”
The Next 30 Years of Extreme Weather. Axios connects the dots and looks at potential future trends: “...What’s next: In the West, water scarcity, wildfires and heat waves are projected to worsen in coming years, potentially driving people away from the region. In the Midwest, a weather whiplash effect — with conditions swinging between drought and flooding — and more precarious agricultural conditions are in the offing. Across the South and Southeast, more powerful, rapidly-intensifying and wetter hurricanes could spin ashore. Heat waves will also be a greater concern. And along the East Coast from Florida to Maine, a key task will be managing the impact of so-called sunny day flooding, when rising sea levels plus astronomical high tides cause flooding in sections of Miami, Charleston and Norfolk. The bottom line: The future need not be a Hollywood dystopian hellscape…”
Pope, Other Religious Leaders, Issue Pre-COP26 Appeal on Climate Change. Reuters reports: “Pope Francis and other religious leaders made a joint appeal on Monday for next month’s U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) to offer concrete solutions to save the planet from “an unprecedented ecological crisis”. The “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting brought together Christian leaders including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. “COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” the pope said…”
The Price of Living Near the Shore is Already High. It’s About to Go Through the Roof. The Washington Post (paywall) highlights changes in pricing for coastal flooding that more accurately reflects true risk in a changing climate: “…The Garys had joined 8 million Americans who moved to counties along the U.S. coast between 2000 and 2017, lured by the sun, the sea and heavily subsidized government flood insurance that made the cost of protecting their homes much less expensive, despite the risk of living in a flood zone near a vast body of water. But a reckoning is coming. On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will incorporate climate risk into the cost of flood insurance for the first time, dramatically increasing the price for some new home buyers. Next April, most current policyholders will see their premiums go up and continue to rise by 18 percent per year for the next 20 years…”
Climate Nexus has more perspective and links: “FEMA’s new flood insurance plan is drawing the battle lines over climate adaptation (Grist), homeowners face new risks and costs (Axios, Wall Street Journal $), flood insurance revamp aims for fairer rates (AP, explainer), flood insurance revamp starts today, despite opposition (E&E $), the price of living near the shore is already high. It’s about to go through the roof.” (Washington Post $, CBS)
Earth is Dimming Due to Climate Change. New research highlighted at Phys.org caught my eye: “Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study. Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine—the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon—as well as satellite measurements to find that there has been a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance, or albedo, over the past two decades. The Earth is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago, with most of the drop occurring in the last three years of earthshine data, according to the new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, which publishes high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences…”
The Country That Makes Breakfast for the World is Plagued by Fire, Frost and Drought. Bloomberg Green has details, listen: “Brazil’s crops have been scorched, frozen and then dried out by the worst drought in a century, upending global commodity markets….The cost of Arabica beans soared 30% over a six-day stretch in late July; orange juice jumped 20% in three weeks; and sugar hit a four-year high in August. The price spikes are contributing to a surge in international food inflation — a U.N. index has jumped 33% over the past 12 months — that’s deepening financial hardship in the pandemic and forcing millions of lower-income families to scale back grocery purchases across the globe...”