Winter doesn't start for another 33 days but today all 50 US states posted temperatures below freezing - yes, even Hawaii - and three feet of snow fell overnight south of Buffalo with no signs of stopping (and it looks like a snow haboob).
It's Science Week in Australia and the crowdsourcing call has gone out for Weather Detectives to look through old ships' log books and track weather observations from the 1890s and 1900s. It's a good project for older kids, and aims to improve weather forecasting and track climate change. Do try this at home, kids.
All of California remains in drought with over 80% in worst categories of 'extreme' or 'exceptional' drought. Reservoir levels are 50% below average. (previously) [more inside]
Terrifying hail storm aftermath photos. Via r/weather.
Go to the window for what? Just ask GiGi if you need to know the weather. She'll tell you. It's no trouble, what else does she have to do with her days anymore?
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
Since January there have been signs of a possible El Niño brewing in the pacific, the first major one since 1998. While the US-funded ocean-monitoring system is in a state of partial collapse, the data has continued to grow stronger, and this may now be the largest ocean temperature anomoly ever seen. A major El Niño could significantly boost global temperatures, cause severe weather and storms, melt Arctic sea ice and help push the world into a warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, accelerating global warming. (more discussion)
Pronbably to no one's surprise, Southern California leads the nation in the number of pleasant days per year (mean temperature between 55° F and 75° F, no precipitation). How does your city stack up?
A natural occurence of the rare and mysterious weather phenomenon known as ball lightning has been captured on video by researchers in China. [more inside]
The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
'Polar Vortex' Brings Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow To U.S. right on the back of WINTER STORM HERCULES that delayed or cancelled flights all over the country, stranding holiday travelers, and dumping lots of snow all over the midwest and northeast. Planes are sliding off runways! Dogs are wearing booties! [more inside]
EARTH is an amazing visualization of global weather conditions which uses data from the NOAA and the public domain natural earth dataset, to show the wind patterns across the entire globe in real time. previously
In a rare occurrence that only affects the area about once a decade, the Grand Canyon was recently filled with a dense, white fog due to heat inversion (Flickr gallery with a few short video clips; Flickr search for "grand canyon fog").
Super-Typhoon Haiyan has struck the Philippines. It is the fourth strongest hurricane in recorded history and has the highest wind speed of any hurricane at landfall.
Catatumbo lightning (action at 5:17) is a mysterious and amazing celestial light show that happens from 160 to 300 nights a year, up to 280 times an hour and up to 10 hours per night. It is a powerful and nearly continuous thunderstorm with up to 40,000 bolts of lightning per night that flash mostly from cloud to cloud. The indigenous people call it the River of Fire in the Sky. It takes place in a remote, poor [in Spanish], politically troubled and dangerous corner of the planet, in Catatumbo, Venezuela on Lake Maracaibo, where the houses are all on stilts. [more inside]
“You know a storm is going to be bad, people in Oklahoma will tell you, when Gary England removes his jacket.” At Oklahoma City's Channel 9, Gary England is on the tail end of a legendary 40-year meteorology career featuring some of the most intense commercials ever) in the midst of Tornado Alley. Following in his Mizuno-clad footsteps (the choice of marathon standers) are the competition: Channel 4, featuring former reality star Reed Timmer of Storm Chasers, rising star Emily Sutton (just trying to get his attention... yeesh...) and, yes, The Dominator. Previously. [more inside]
On June 11th, 2013, in the wee hours of an early summer night in Nebraska, the temperature shot from 73°F to 99°F in the space of minutes, accompanied by 50MPH winds. The cause of this weather oddity was the poorly understood Heat Burst, a phenomenon that sometimes occurs as thunderstorms die out, usually late at night. The temprature rise can be so extreme that it has been imaged from space, and there are unconfirmed stories of heat so extreme that crops were cooked in the fields where they grew, and paint blistered on houses and vehicles. Once believed to be a very rare event, with the advent of personal weather stations, science may find they are more frequent than was previously believed.
Facebook versus The Cloud "I got a call, 'Jay, there's a cloud in the data center'," Parikh says. "'What do you mean, outside?'. 'No, inside'." The data centre in question.
On January 4th, 2013, in the midst of a national heat wave, Tasmania experienced some of the most extreme weather on record, with Hobart recording a record temperature of 41.8°C in the afternoon. Fires blazed around the state, covering almost 50,000 acres, claiming hundreds of properties, and destroying the town of Dunalley. The Tasman peninsula was cut off by the fires, necessitating a sea rescue of over 2,000 people. An image of a family clinging to a jetty in the water to escape from the fire captured the attention of the world. With the launch of their Australian edition, The Guardian have produced a frightening and fascinating multimedia article exploring the human side of the inferno.
What won the war? The weather helped. For while the Allies had access to all the Atlantic meteorology, the Axis couldn't easily predict what systems were rolling in from the West - and with the Battle of the Atlantic the one thing that Churchill said kept him awake at night, knowing which way the wind blew certainly needed a weatherman. Or Britain would never be starved into submission. The Weather War was complex and engaging, [more inside]
To complement the rapid political climate change of the past few days, here in Minnesota we have freak ice destruction followed by a gorgeous day of 90 degree temperatures. I've seen the ice out on Mille Lacs Lake many times, but this YouTube video is pretty incredible, and features commentary in authentic Minnesotan.
"...here we attempt to explain the apparently erratic seasonal changes in the world of [Georege R.R. Martin]. A natural explanation for such phenomena is the unique behavior of a circumbinary planet."
Forecast.io is a new global weather data service announced yesterday. It boasts smoothly animating radar maps that predict up to a week in advance, a "time machine" to let you explore past and future weather, and intelligent text summaries. [more inside]
Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie: [New York Times]
"A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually."
With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
Chicago has been having some fairly remarkable weather lately, even by their standards. On the 25th of January there was more than an inch of snowfall recorded for the first time in 335 days, a new record. Then a surge of warm air from the south brought a temperature of 63 degrees at O'Hare airport on January 29th, a new record for that date, exactly one week after a temperature of 9 degrees was recorded (which, combined with the 35mph winds on that date, produced a windchill factor of about -20f). The current forecast (at time of posting this) calls for a high of only 14f on Friday (Feb. 1st), another significant temperature swing within a few days.
...and the news ain't good: "Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming." Overview letter is here, Executive Summary is here, and the full download is here. [WARNING: Full download runs to 147MB).
Meteorologist and climatologist Barbara Mayes Boustead has loved the Little House books since she was a little girl. At her blog Wilder Weather, Barbara makes "connections between weather and climate concepts, events during Laura’s time and in her books, and present or future weather and climate concerns." For example, in October of 1880, a storm is brewing. "The initial shot of cold air brought near-freezing temperatures and a little bit of precipitation up north on the 14th. The low pressure system deepened on the 15th as it got spinning in eastern Nebraska, pulling cold air around behind it while it brought moisture up from the south. Then, the low pressure just sat there for a while and deepened. As it got deeper, the winds behind it – in eastern South Dakota – got stronger. The storm stayed in the area of northwest Iowa to southern Minnesota through the 16th, then pulled away into northern Michigan on the 17th, leaving cold air and breezy conditions behind it." And in De Smet, South Dakota, Laura Ingalls and her family settle in for the beginning of the Long Winter. [more inside]
In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. ... the report's authors admit that predications are a challenge. Still, they do their best to try to paint a picture, and boy, is it grim.
October 2012 is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. State of the Climate: Global Analysis October 2012 (NOAA). While $50 billion Sandy has had the spotlight, the biggest natural disaster of 2012 (in the US) has been the Great Drought still ongoing which is expected to cut America's GDP by 0.5 to 1% for the year. The death toll from the heat waves that accompanied this year's drought will exceed that of Sandy. This Sunday and Monday, Ken Burns premiers his new documentary "The Dust Bowl", on PBS. (via)
"So, when we first started talking about the idea of this storm which will have far reaching effects for many along the eastern seaboard later this weekend and early next week, we were somewhat skeptical as to whether such an event could happen. It truly is an unusual occurrence – most hurricanes taking the path Sandy is currently on are whisked out to sea, with only rough surf and maybe some clouds along the majority of the east coast; but not this one – not Sandy." [more inside]
The Weather Channel is teaming with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Hydrologic Prediction Center (HPC) to name winter storms in the US starting with the 2012-2013 winter season. [more inside]
Ninety years ago today, the all-time weather temperature record (58° C, 136.4° F) was recorded at Al Azizia, Libya. Today, that record has been officially thrown out following research by extreme weather specialist, Christopher Burt. The video of how it all un-happened. [more inside]
David Leonard Weather Service: "These real-weather descriptions are, of course, tweets, and part of the David Leonard Weather Service, which its eponymous proprietor explains—and he finds himself explaining often—as “a network of correspondents posting the weather they see right now. Real-time, crowd-sourced [Toronto, Ontario Canada] weather." #DLWS @davidpleonard
Is climate change causing our recent extreme weather events? (pdf). A panel of eminent climate scientists lays out the current state of what we know, and what we don't know yet, in this forthcoming paper. Jason Samenow (of the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog) nicely summarizes the key points. [more inside]
July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States. 70% of Iowa - the nation's largest corn producer - is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 50% of the nation's corn crop as poor or very poor. Today U.S. corn prices reached an all-time high. The impact will be global. Wired looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought".
Looking back at the past week, as thunderstorms finally rolled into the Midwest Saturday evening, it seems that the past week's extreme heat (previously) has broken more than 3,500 temperature records in the U.S. [more inside]
106-degree temperatures in Richmond, VA aren't even the worst of it. A weatherman for the local CBS affiliate delivers the last forecast Richmonders will need. (slyt)