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27
Apr

Chicago Set to Break Latest 2+ Inch Snow Event

By Chris Martz

Related image
Image via ESR.

We’re on the verge of wrapping up the month of April as we are full steam ahead toward the final month of meteorological spring, but winter is still trying to keep its grip on the Midwest.

A storm system dubbed Winter Storm Xyler – by The Weather Channel – has made its way across the Dakotas and is now roaring towards the Great Lakes, Midwest, and parts of New England.

Behind the storm will be well below average temperatures that will stretch from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the east coast (Figure 1).¹

Figure 1. NCEP GFS 2-meter temperature anomaly forecast. – weathermodels.com.

For some communities, this could be one of the heaviest, if not the all time heaviest, late-season snowfalls on record.

Areas like eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota have already been impacted with moderate snowfall; all surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and grass have been covered.² The National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, SD officially picked up 1.5 inches of snow while other areas reported as much as three inches.²

Cities like Milwaukee, WI could see one of their biggest late-season snowfalls since 1990, while areas near Grand Rapids, MI could see their biggest late-season snowfall since 1963!²

Meanwhile, Chicago stands out above all of these cities because they may see their latest 2+ inch snow event on record.

That’s right, the “windy city” is likely to see their latest “decent” snowfall ever recorded.

Model output statistics (MOS) show that anywhere from two to four inches of snow is on the order for the city. High-resolution guidance like the North American (NAM) Model (Figure 2) and the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Model (Figure 3) show Chicagoland receiving about three inches of snow, give or take half and inch.³ ⁴

Figure 2. NAM-3km total snowfall forecast. – Tropical Tidbits.
Figure 3. HRRR total snowfall forecast. – Tropical Tidbits.

The rain has already transitioned over to snow (Figure 4) for many areas around Chicago and if rates are steady enough, they may very well pick up the same amounts shown on MOS data. The biggest roadblock which may prevent record snowfall for the area is the high April sun angle, which works against snowfall rates.

Figure 4. Radar image from 1:01 P.M., Saturday April 27, 2019.

However, if Chicago does receive at least two inches of snow by the time this system is all wrapped up, then it will go into the record books for the latest 2-inch snowfall in the city’s history!

Looking back at historical records, I was able to find that Chicago’s latest 1-inch snow event occurred on May 1, 1940, when 1.6 inches of snow fell.⁵

Figure 5. Almanac for Chicago, IL for May 1. – xmACIS2.

Chicago’s latest 2-inch snow event occurred on April 25, 1910, when 2.5 inches fell on the city.⁵

Figure 6. Almanac for Chicago, IL for April 25. – xmACIS2.

Furthermore, Chicago’s latest 3-inch snow event occurred on April 23, 1967, when 3.1 inches of snow fell, oddly enough the same year the city recorded their largest snowstorm of 23 inches on January 26-27.⁵ ⁶

Figure 7. Almanac for Chicago, IL for April 23. – xmACIS2.

Regardless of how much snow Chicago receives over the next 24 hours, this will NOT go in the books as the latest 1-inch snowfall, but it has a very good shot of being the latest 2-inch or 3-inch event.

2019 has brought nothing but weather records to Chicago; back in January they had one of their coldest Arctic outbreaks on record, while they also had their second longest stretch of temperatures below 54 degrees.

Why not add another record to the books?

REFERENCES

[1] Maue, Ryan, Jack Sillin, and Joerg Kachelmann. “Weathermodels.com.” Weathermodels.com. Accessed April 27, 2019. https://weathermodels.com/.

[2] Lam, Linda. “What Spring? Winter Storm Xyler Will Spread Snow and Colder Temperatures From the Dakotas to the Great Lakes.” The Weather Channel. April 27, 2019. Accessed April 27, 2019. https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/2019-04-26-winter-storm-xyler-forecast-midwest-great-lakes-northeast.

[3] Cowan, Levi. “NAM 3km Model.” Tropical Tidbits. Accessed April 27, 2019. https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=nam3km®ion=ncus&pkg=asnow&runtime=2019042712&fh=18.

[4] Cowan, Levi. “HRRR Model.” Tropical Tidbits. Accessed April 27, 2019. https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=hrrr®ion=ncus&pkg=asnow&runtime=2019042715&fh=15.

[5] “xmACIS2.” xmACIS2. Accessed April 27, 2019. http://xmacis.rcc-acis.org/.

[6] Tag, Danny. “Chicago’s Top 5 Biggest Snowstorms.” ABC7 Chicago. January 18, 2019. Accessed April 27, 2019. https://abc7chicago.com/weather/chicagos-top-5-biggest-snowstorms/5004898/.

16
Apr

What Causes Dust Devils Anyhow?

By Chris Martz

Earlier today, a rotating column of dust formed over a football field at Brooks Junior High School in Alberta, Canada.

These upward whirlwind, dusty, debris-filled vortexes of air are generally referred to as “dust devils,” although they are sometimes called “willy willys.”¹ ² ³ ⁴ Dust devils are generally formed in desert or dry areas and resemble tornadoes, however they are much shorter in height, ranging from 100 to 1,000 feet in height, and only 10 to 50 feet in diameter.² ⁴

diagram of how a dust devil forms
Dust-devil formation⁴ – WeatherQuestions.com

While tornadoes grow downward from funnel clouds in the sky, dust devils grow upwards from the ground due to irregularities near the surface.² ⁴ A heated surface allows convective rolls of air to form because the wind speed increases with altitude.² ⁴ When these convective rolls get tilted upward, then the warm air runs into cooler air aloft creating a rotating vortex of air, which often reaches speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, although they can reach higher speeds.⁴

Dust devils, like tornadoes will only last a few minutes. Once cooler air gets drawn into the base of the vortex, that cuts off the heat supply, ending the rotation.⁴

REFERENCES

[1] Other Weather Types (National Weather Service JetStream)
https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/othertypes Accessed 15 Apr. 2019.

[2] Willy-willy (Met Office)
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/types-of-weather/wind/willy-willy Accessed 15 Apr. 2019.

[3] Skilling, Tom, Dust devils-atmospheric whirlwinds that resemble small tornadoes (WGN-TV | Chicago’s Very Own source for breaking news, weather, sports and entertainment, 12 May 2018)
https://wgntv.com/2018/05/12/dust-devils-atmospheric-whirlwinds-that-resemble-small-tornadoes/ Accessed 15 Apr. 2019.

[4] Dr. Roy Spencer, Ph.D. What causes dust devils? (WeatherQuestions.com, 11 Jan. 2011)
http://weatherstreet.com/weatherquestions/What_are_dust_devils.htm Accessed 15 Apr. 2019.

15
Apr

April Snowstorms: The Rule, Not the Exception

By Chris Martz

Last week, the Great Plains and upper Midwest were pummeled with a late-season blizzard. A wide swath of 10 to 20+ inches of snow buried parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, with the highest totals in the 20 to 30 inch range centered in far western Minnesota, and much of South Dakota (Figure 1).¹ The storm was not technically a “bomb cyclone” because the air pressure didn’t drop 24 millibars within 24 hours, although it did get close.

Figure 1.Observed snowfall from Winter Storm Wesley – NWS Twin Cities.

The highest official snowfall report was 30.8 inches in Wallace, South Dakota, although higher amounts in scattered areas were more than likely.² On top of that, an ice storm occurred in numerous Midwestern states, a dust storm moved through the southern Plains, and 80 mph wind gusts were observed in Texas and New Mexico, while thundersnow was reported in other locations.²

The cyclone’s size and intensity was very impressive and the snowfall amounts recorded were stunning; in fact, they would have been substantial had the blizzard occurred even in the depths of winter.

The storm system came after the “bomb cyclone,” which passed through the same area only three weeks prior, causing major flooding issues in Nebraska and nearby states. This was because the near-record cold during February caused the ground to freeze, and with snowmelt and rainfall, all of that water couldn’t seep into the ground leading to widespread flooding.

This didn’t stop journalists from going into overdrive about the storm. Numerous articles, including the one below from CBS News (Figure 2), surfaced claiming that last week’s storm was “caused by climate change,” just like every single weather event “seems” to be a result of these days.

Figure 2.Spring blizzard fueled by Arctic warming, climate change – CBS News.

Is climate change really causing April snowstorms to occur in the Great Plains and Midwest, or is this a rare, but NOT unheard of occurrence? Let’s put this theory to the test and see if it makes any sense.

In the CBS News article, it is made clear that “Arctic Amplification” along with natural processes – strong cold fronts and temperature gradients, typical of spring – are responsible for this storm.³

“Over the past couple of decades, the Arctic has warmed much faster than of the mid-latitudes, especially in winter. Warming of the globe is being caused by heat trapping greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels. In the Arctic this warming effect is enhanced by melting sea ice. Ice typically reflects sunlight, keeping the Arctic cool. But since 1970 Arctic sea ice volume has decreased by 50%. Right now, Arctic sea ice extent is at record low levels.”

Jeff Berardelli, Spring blizzard fueled by Arctic warming, climate change (CBS News, 12 Apr. 2019).

It is indeed true that the Arctic has warmed more than the mid-latitude regions and tropics over the past 40+ years, resulting in an energy imbalance. Daily mean temperature data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) shows this very well. Figure 3 below shows the daily mean temperatures for the Arctic in 1970 for the entire course of the year, where the red line represents the observed mean temperatures, and the green line is the average.⁴

It is clearly evident that temperatures were average to slightly below average during 1970 throughout the entire year, with stronger fluctuations during the winter (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Daily mean temperatures in the Arctic (1970) – DMI

Looking at last year’s (2018) data, it is easy to see that the wintertime temperatures were generally warmer than average, while summertime temperatures remain unchanged from where they were in 1970 (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Daily mean temperatures in the Arctic (2018) – DMI

This is where the term “Arctic Amplification” comes in; a greater change in temperatures near the poles compared to the rest of the globe.³ Arctic Amplification is generally more pronounced during the winter months. The maps below from WeatherBELL Analytics shows this visually (Figure 5).⁵ When you look at the two months, – January and July 2018 – it is clearly evident that the tropics and mid-latitudes see very little change in temperatures relative to average, while the polar regions, especially the Arctic see a very large contrast from winter to summer.

Figure 5. Global temperature anomaly maps (January and July 2018) – WeatherBELL Analytics.

So what’s causing this “Arctic Amplification?” The media, as usual, is claiming that this is due to atmospheric carbon dioxide.³ However, it is highly unlikely that a trace gas (CO2) in our atmosphere at 0.04%, is causing all of this warming in the Arctic, despite the fact that carbon dioxide is in fact a greenhouse gas.⁶

What else could it be? Well, the CBS article also stated that loss of sea ice in the Arctic is helping amplify the “carbon dioxide-induced” warming.³ However, this claim is unjustified considering that sea ice is pretty extensive right now (Figure 6).⁵

Figure 6. Sea ice cover (April 13, 2019) U.S. National Ice Center – WeatherBELL Analytics.

The only other plausible explanation can be increased water vapor levels in the atmosphere. Water vapor generally comprises 1% to 4% of the entire volume of the atmosphere, as it is highly variable by region and by season.⁶ It is well-known that water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere, thus increasing it’s concentration would result in amplified warming.⁷

Given the fact that ocean cycles (AMO and PDO) are currently in their “warm modes,” it’s no surprise that more evaporation of water is occurring, leading to increased concentrations of water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere.⁷ One could argue that the warmer oceans are being caused by carbon dioxide increase, however, this does not stack up because the heat capacity of the ocean is far greater than that of the atmosphere, which means that what is happening in the atmosphere is likely not driving the oceans.⁷

The CBS article goes on and on about how the Arctic Amplification is resulting in a “wall of red” over Canada and Alaska forcing colder air to be shoved southward (Figure 7).³

However, the honest explanation of this requires a knowledge of meteorology and basic laws of physics. Any meteorologist or weather forecaster should understand Newton’s laws of motion. The most important of these laws for our case, is Newton’s third law, which states that for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.⁸ Therefore, for every ridge (warm air) of high pressure, there must be a trough (colder air) of low pressure, which is exactly what we see in the diagram below.³ This happened because the atmosphere was trying to balance itself out, as it’s always attempting to do; and maybe it was amplified by water vapor’s warming effects, but it did not occur because of carbon dioxide.

Figure 7. 2-meter temperature anomaly – April 11, 2019.

The article did do a great job explaining how the cyclone was amplified by natural aspects, including the fact that moisture was advected (horizontally transported) out of the Gulf of Mexico, which was anomalously warm, and how the clashing of the different air masses both intensified the storm.³

Of course, the warm Gulf was “caused by climate change” too, but the fact of the matter is that a warmer Gulf just happened to be present at that time, which allowed ridging (high pressure) to develop in the southeastern United States creating a nice southerly flow of moist, warm air from the Gulf. This entire setup was ideal for this intense storm system to occur, it could have been predicted before computer modelling showed it.

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that these late-season snowstorms are rare, but NOT unheard of occurrences. If we look at our weather history (thank you Farmer’s Almanac), it turns out that April snowstorms indeed happen in the Great Plains and upper Midwest (Figure 8).⁹

Figure 8. Notable Plains and upper Midwest snowstorms. – Farmer’s Almanac.

The reason I go to a historical perspective on this is because late-season snowstorms of the past occurred without any climate change attribution. It’s only proper to question why storms like this are now being blamed on a trace gas in our atmosphere when all of the natural components were there to begin with.

If one has a good understanding of meteorology and weather history, then they are likely going to come to the same conclusion as I did. I want to take a moment to thank Tony Heller and Joe Bastardi for keeping our weather history alive, as a lot of it would be lost without their contribution.

The bottom line is this: April snowstorms in the Great Plains and Midwest; they are the rule, NOT the exception.

REFERENCES

[1] Interpolated Observed Snowfall Analysis during 72h predecing 2019 April 13, 12:00 UTC (NWS Twin Cities, 13 Apr. 2019).
https://twitter.com/NWSTwinCities/status/1117154960121192450 Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[2] Winter Storm Wesley, an Early April Blizzard and Ice Storm for the Plains and Midwest (RECAP) (The Weather Channel, 8 Apr. 2019).
https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/2019-04-08-winter-storm-wesley-plains-blizzard-april Retrieved 14 April, 2019.

[3] Berardelli, Joe, Spring blizzard fueled by Arctic warming, climate change (CBS News, 12 Apr. 2019). https://www.cbsnews.com/news/blockbuster-blizzard-midwest-plains-snow-linked-to-climate-change-arctic-warming/ Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[4] Daily Mean Temperatures in the Arctic 1958 – 2019 (DMI Danish Meteorological Institute). http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[5] NWP Reanalysis Based Global Temperature Monitoring | WeatherBEll Analytics (WeatherBELL Models, 2015). http://models.weatherbell.com/temperature.php Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[6] Introduction to the Atmosphere (National Weather Service)
https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/atmos_intro Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[7] Bastardi, Joe, Increased Water Vapor, Not CO2, Most Likely Reason For Recent Warm Septembers (Patriot Post, 29 Oct. 2018)
https://patriotpost.us/opinion/59147-increased-water-vapor-not-co2-most-likely-reason-for-recent-warm-septembers Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[8] Haby, Jeff, Newton’s Laws (Weather Prediction Education)
http://theweatherprediction.com/habyhints2/695/ Retrieved 14 April 2019.

[9] McLeod, Jamie, Snow Kidding! Historic Spring Snowstorms (Farmer’s Almanac) https://www.farmersalmanac.com/think-snow-is-only-for-winter-think-again-3150 Retrieved 14 April 2019.

10
Apr

Late-Season Blizzard to Hit the Plains & Upper Midwest

By Chris Martz

We are now less than two months away from meteorological summer, and there is no sign of a locked-in spring for the Upper Midwest and Great Plains, as a late-season blizzard is set to drop a hammer late week.

On Monday, temperatures finally topped the 70s for the Heartland, and that is all about to change in less than 48 hours. The storm began today, but will have high impact through early Friday morning, producing a very wide and heavy band of snow stretching from the Rockies to Ontario and Quebec.

Nearly 10 million people are under winter weather alerts from the National Weather Service. Because of the potential for blizzard-like conditions, blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Blizzard warnings in effect for much of the central United States.

Anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of snow is likely to fall from eastern Colorado and Wyoming to central South Dakota and central Nebraska. In central and eastern South Dakota, as well as western and parts of central Minnesota, anywhere from 16 to 24 inches of snow is probable. Eastern Nebraska and the Northwest corner of Iowa are likely going to see upwards of 3 to 6 inches before it’s all said and done. Areas like Northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin will likely see less than 8 inches, although some areas are likely to receive 10.

Map via WeatherBELL Analytics.

Most model output statistics (MOS) show a bullseye of 24 to 30+ inches of snow across parts of South Dakota.

This should be taken with a grain of salt – in fact, all of these snowfall totals should – because of the fact that the sun angle this time of year is quite high. This means that the precipitation falling will likely transition over to a wintry mix or rain during solar heating during daylight if snowfall intensity/rates are not steady enough (this applies to areas on the outer edges of the snow).

Temperatures will also play a role in this, as if warmer air gets pushed aloft colder air coming out of Canada, falling precipitation will likely pull down or mix warmer air to the surface, thereby changing snow to wintry precipitation or even rain. And indeed, MOS is showing incredible sleet totals across Minnesota and South Dakota, which is even worse for travelers than snow.

Map via WeatherBELL.

While the snow lovers like me will be missing out on the snowfall here in the D.C. area, it is important to remember that this storm system is the last thing that the Great Plains and Upper Midwest need, as they have been recovering from the “Bomb Cyclone” back in March; they are still trying to dry out enough in order for crop planting to begin.

Meanwhile, for us on the East Coast and for those south of the storm, steady rainfall is likely on Thursday and Friday depending upon where you live.

Whatever happens, happens, and there is nothing you can do about it! Between now and then, please travel safe, stay safe, and God bless! Remember, “all weather is good, it’s what you make of it!”

2
Apr

Rare April Snow Hits the Carolinas

By Chris Martz

Many living in interior North Carolina and South Carolina woke up Tuesday morning to find a light coating of snow on the ground, a rare sight even in winter!

This was all part of a powerful nor’easter that’s travelling up the East Coast, which will deliver some snow and rain to New England before it makes its exit.

Charlotte, North Carolina received measurable snow too (0.1 inch), one of only six times that [measurable] snowfall has ever been recorded in Charlotte in the month of April! You have to go all the way back to 1982 (37 years ago) to find just 0.1 inch of snow in April.

There have been a handful of April snowfalls, but most of them occurred prior to 1920; 3.5 inches in 1880, 0.1 inch in 1881, 0.8 inch in 1904, and 0.6 inch in 1915 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Total snowfall – month of April – Charlotte Area, NC (ThreadEx).

The National Weather Service office in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina said,

“Snowfall rates have been decent enough to actually accumulate snow in some spots.”

Temperatures will start to warm-up late week as an area of high pressure develops to the south, which will open the door to a southerly flow boosting temperatures into the 70s (Figure 2).

Figure 2. GFS 500 mb height anomalies. Map via weathermodels.com.

Springlike weather may be on the horizon, but this April snowfall for the Carolinas is unforgettable!

29
Mar

Climate Bullying

By Chris Martz

For years now, [man-made] climate change skeptics, like myself have dealt with bullying from people on the AGW side of the argument.

There has been constant bickering back and forth between the two sides, and with the current political madhouse, it hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, it seems to be getting worse and worse as time wears on.

I rarely see skeptics bully those on the AGW side – yeah they like to pick on Al Gore – however, I see a lot more bullying and harassment from those on the AGW side.

One example is very recent. On March 28, meteorologist Eric Holthaus went to the extremes stating that we are headed for “an unlivable world within our lifetimes.”

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In response, Michael Palmer, a meteorologist at The Weather Company, stated that he, like me, finds it hard to believe that a trace gas in our atmosphere is going to cause an “unlivable world.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Instead of having a kind, scientific discussion on this, Holthaus decided to act like a bully and say… yeah, you can read it below.

Holthaus wasn’t the only keyboard cowboy to chime in on this. Numerous others who are using Twitter without their real name also stated that Michael Palmer is just a “denier,” among other things.

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My biggest pet peeve is probably the word “denier.” I loathe the word “denier” when it is used in the climate change context. There is nobody on Earth who I have met or chatted with that “denies” that climate change exists.

Climate change, by technical definition, means a change in the climate for any number of reasons. Those changes do not have to be man-made. However, the term “climate change” has morphed into a monster. When it is used nowadays, it simply assumes that the climate change was man-made, when in reality, that may not be the case.

Earth has been through ice ages, glacial periods, interlglacial periods, mini ice ages, and times that have been both much colder and much warmer than the present, and all of that seems to get lost in the sauce.

Now, I don’t have an issue with the man-made climate change theory itself. I really don’t. I get the argument, but you have to understand that observations are failing to match what climate models and scientists have predicted.

Scientists were expecting that we would see an increase in severe weather events, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, and drought, yet actual observations show that severe weather is becoming less common and less extreme.

According to a USA Today article (using NOAA‘s data) from December 28, 2018, last year was the first year on record in the United States where there were zero violent tornadoes (EF4 or EF5) (Figure 1). The overall trend of violent tornadoes is significantly downward over the past 69 years.¹

Image result for lowest tornadoes 2018 usatoday
Figure 1. Violent tornadoes by year since 1950. Graph via USA Today.

Both hurricane and tropical cyclone frequency globally (Figure 2) have also seen a downward trend over the past 49 years.² In fact, between the 2005 and 2017 hurricane season, there were no major hurricane landfalls in the United States. None.

Figure 2. Global tropical cyclone frequency since 1970. Graph via Dr. Ryan Maue, Ph.D.

Last summer, meteorologist Dr. Roy Spencer uploaded the graph below (Figure 3) to his blog, which is a plot of the average number of 100 and 105 degree days at 1,114 USHCN stations between 1895 and 2017.³ Notice the downward trend? Yep.

Figure 3. Average number of 100 and 105 degree days at 1,114 USHCN stations between 1895 and 2017. Graph via Dr. Roy Spencer, Ph.D.

What about drought? Have we seen an increase in drought? Nope. In fact, the U.S. has been getting wetter since 1895 according to EPA data (Figure 4).⁴

Line graph showing drought conditions, averaged over the contiguous 48 states, for each year from 1895 to 2015.
Figure 4. Palmer drought severity index. Graph via EPA.

While much of the data shown above is from the United States, it should be noted that there is little data from anywhere else in the world, so I would like to take a moment to thank NOAA for keeping very good climate records.

As the data above shows, you would have a very hard time making the case that carbon dioxide causes extreme weather to worsen, because actual observations beg to differ with that assertion.

So, what about warming? Well, it is widely accepted by the scientific community that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it’s presence in the atmosphere would result in some sort of feedback, which would be warming.

However, the question that remains is how much warming carbon dioxide causes? Based on my knowledge of the climate system, I think that the climate system is not very sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide’s concentration in the atmosphere.

From previous predictions and from remote sensing temperature datasets like RSS and UAH, I can safely conclude that my thoughts are potentially right about low climate-CO2 sensitivity.

In 1988, Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist, made three global warming scenarios (Hansen et al. 1988) (Figure 5).⁵

  • In Scenario A, carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere were to continue rising and even accelerate leading to rapid warming into the 21st century.⁵
  • In Scenario B, carbon dioxide concentrations were to continue rising, finally peaking in the early 21st century, leading to a slower rise in temperatures.⁵
  • In Scenario C, carbon dioxide concentrations were to continue rising until 2000, leading to a pause in global temperatures.⁵
Image result for james hansen temperature scenarios
Figure 5. Hansen et al. models compared with actual observations 1958 to 2015. Graph via Independent Committee on Geoethics.

Actual observations show that Hansen’s Scenario C prediction came true in terms of temperatures. However, like Scenario A, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen considerably since 1988. What this means is that as the carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has increased substantially, the temperatures have not really gone up much since 1998 (Figure 6).⁶

Figure 6. UAH Satellite-Based temperature of the global lower atmosphere. Graph via Dr. Roy Spencer, Ph.D.

It is well understood by meteorologists that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), as well as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), have large influences on global climate. Both of these oscillations go through cycles on approximately 60 year time scales, changing from one phase to the other approximately every 30 years. If you align the AMO, for instance, you will see how there is a very strong correlation between the two (Figure 7).⁷

Figure 7. UAH 6.0 overlayed with the AMO. Graph via Wood For Trees.

However, when you plot carbon dioxide, there is a big disconnect. There is a very weak correlation (Figure 8).⁸

Figure 8. UAH 6.0 overlayed with the AMO. Graph via Wood For Trees.

One rule of thumb in science is that you should never assume that correlation means causation. However, scientists are well aware, more than you think, that the AMO (and PDO) have very large influences on global weather patterns and multidecadal changes in climate.

While I understand the CO2 argument, it doesn’t add up considering that for one, observations fail to match many past predictions, and for two, the climate system is so dynamic, that climate can change for any number of reasons. You have to ask yourself; does an increase in one CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air (or a total of four molecules of CO2 per 10,000 air molecules) really have such a pronounced effect that it outdoes the effects of solar changes, ocean cycles, and random events like volcanic eruptions?

Humans have indeed modified the climate in some way through land use changes and urbanization. We can’t turn Earth into a concrete slab without having some consequences.

Regardless of whether the climate is sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide or not, scientists and people in the general public should not resort to personal attacks and bullying to get their point across. A great meteorologist once told me, “The moment labels are applied seems like discussion shuts down.” That is a very important quote from an excellent meteorologist.

The politically driven ideology that everything humans do harms the planet is a very scary notion, and it needs to be stopped in its tracks before things get dangerous.

Please be safe, care for your loved ones, and God bless!

REFERENCES

[1] Rice, Doyle. “2018 Was an All-Time Record Quiet Year for Tornadoes in the U.S.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 Jan. 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/12/28/tornadoes-set-record-lows-2018-only-10-deaths-us/2431360002/. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[2] Maue, Ryan. “2018 Global Tropical Cyclone News.” Global Tropical Cyclone Activity | Ryan Mauehttp://policlimate.com/tropical/. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[3] Spencer, Roy W. “Summer Causes Climate Change Hysteria.” Roy Spencer PhD RSS, 3 July 2018, http://www.drroyspencer.com/2018/07/summer-causes-climate-change-hysteria/. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[4] “Climate Change Indicators: Drought.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 17 Dec. 2016, https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-drought. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[5] “James Hansen’s Climate Models versus Observations 1958-­2015.” Independent Committee on Geoethics, 28 Nov. 2015, https://geoethic.com/2015/11/27/james-hansens-climate-models-versus-observations-1958-%C2%AD2015/. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[6] Spencer, Roy W. “Latest Global Temps.” Roy Spencer PhD RSS, http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

[7] “Wood for Trees: Interactive Graphs.” About Wood for Trees, http://woodfortrees.org/plot/uah6/plot/esrl-amo/from:1979. Retrieved 28 March 2018.

[8] “Wood for Trees: Interactive Graphs.” About Wood for Trees, http://woodfortrees.org/plot/uah6/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/normalise. Retrieved 28 March 2019.

25
Mar

Weather Weekly! What A Boring Pattern!

By: Chris Martz

Good evening everyone! Welcome back to another “Weather Weekly” forecast discussion!

In tonight’s blog/video, I will be doing a medium-range forecast for North America. We have been in a pretty quiet weather pattern over this time period, so there really isn’t much to talk about.

Before I get into the overall pattern and forecast, I wanted to bring the Cherry Blossoms to your attention. Thousands and thousands of people visit our nation’s capital this time every year to see the cherry blossoms, which are currently in stage three. The forecast dates for peak bloom are between April 3rd and 6th, so go ahead and book a trip for that week if you are interested in going!

It was also a very nice day today across the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern states. Highs at all three airports were into the mid 60s today.

Today’s highs March 24, 2019.

As cloud cover moves in tonight, lows will hang in the 40s.

Low temps overnight: March 24-25, 2019.

Across the eastern seaboard, high pressure is in control allowing skies to be free of clouds. Out to our west are some very cold temperatures and you can easily see that due to the rather large cold front extending across the Great Plains and Midwest.

Current surface map.

However, things will start to change tomorrow as a cold front moves through the east causing temperatures to drop. There will be scattered showers across the Mid-Atlantic south of the Mason-Dixon line, while there is severe weather potential across the Deep South.

Surface map via Weather Underground.

Because of this, the Storm Prediction Center has issued Moderate to Enhanced convective outlooks because of the high potential for thunderstorms and even tornadoes as the frontal boundary comes through.

Severe weather outlook for March 25, 2019.

Switching gears to the medium range forecast, things are a bit fuzzy.

First, let’s take a look at what’s been happening this month. Over the past 24 days, it has been pretty chilly relative to average across the Lower 48, especially across the west. This is because there is a nice high pressure block over Alaska and the Arctic forcing the cold air south. This is basic laws of physics; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – although some loonies out there would like to think this is an apocalypse of climate – therefore for every trough, there is a ridge.

Map via WeatherBELL.

Looking forward, there is a bit of model confusion. The 12Z CFS run from earlier today is predicting an eastern pool of colder than average temperatures with some ridging in the west for April 4th through the 9th. This makes a lot of sense based on the laws of physics – if you have a trough in the east, then you must have ridging in the west.

Map via WeatherBELL.

However, the very next run of the model, the 18Z run today, just blowtorches the U.S.

Look back and forth at these two runs and tell me which looks more realistic; the 12Z or 18Z?

Just by looking at the 18Z forecast, the ridging in the east would have to be accompanied with a trough in the west and yet the model just shoves the cold air to the north.

This is a typical flaw with the CFS as it bounces back and forth between warm and cold and it really is a model that I do not like using. However, based on the fact that model output statistic consensus show that we are potentially trending cooler for week one and two of April, then I would put money on the 12Z run to be most accurate once we cross that bridge.

As it stands right now, March 24th, this means that my friends on the west coast should expect some drier conditions over the next few weeks with warmer than average temperatures while an active storm pattern will ensue over the east accompanied with below average temperatures.

Whatever happens, happens, and there is nothing you can do about it! Between now and then, please travel safe, stay safe, and God bless! Remember, “all weather is good, it’s what you make of it!”

10
Dec

Winter Storm Diego Snowfall Totals