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Temperature Dips & Blips (more on historic Super Typhoon Haiyan)

Cat 6

There’s no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane, of course, but “Haiyan” would be a good candidate, if there was. 3.5 times stronger than Katrina, Super Typhoon Haiyan punished the Philippines with 195 mph sustained winds – possibly the strongest land-falling tropical cyclone ever observed. It was roughly equivalent to an EF-4 tornado, only this one was 40 miles in diameter, lasting 2-3 hours.

Super Typhoon Haiyan. Here is more (meteorological) information about what may have been the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever observed – courtesy of the CIMSS Weather Blog at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Super Typhoon Haiyan (31W) formed on 03 November 2013, and by 18 UTC on 07 November was estimated to have peaked at an intensity of sustained 170 knot winds with gusts to 205 knots (Storm track map | ADT plot | JTWC warning text). 10.8 µm IR channel images from the Korean COMS-1 satellite (above; click image to play animation) showed the intense tropical cyclone as it moved westward toward the Philippines. There was a large, nearly symmetric ring of very cold cloud-top IR brightness temperatures in the -80 to -90º C range (violet colors) – and at times there were a few isolated pixels colder than -90º C (yellow enhancement)…”

* here’s a good source of continuously updating damage/recovery information for the Philippines at The New York Times.

Glancing Blow. Here comes the cold air – not quite bitter, but cold enough to get your attention by Monday and Tuesday across the Upper Midwest. The solid red line is the 32F isotherm, chilly winds pushing deep into the south by the middle of next week. 12 km 2-meter NAM temperature trend courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Stormy Reprieve For The East Coast? Yesterday the models were looking ominous for the East Coast, a potential nor’easter brewing. But the most recent runs of the ECMWF (European) model keep the storm farther out into the Atlantic, with a lowered risk of snow, rain and beach erosion from the Outer Banks to Cape Cod. Map above valid next Thursday evening, courtesy of WSI.

Mild Bias Into Third Week Of November. In spite of a glancing blow of cold air the first few days of next week NOAA CPC shows a mild bias from November 18-22 over much of the USA. Map: Ham Weather.

This Week’s Weather Records. NOAA data shows a total of 889 individual 24-hour weather records in the last 7 days, mostly record rainfall amounts. Johnson City, Texas soared to 89.1F last Sunday. For an interactive map click here; data from Ham Weather.

Sun Pillar. Here’s one of my favorite optical illusions. Wikipedia defines a sun pillar a a visual phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals with near horizontal parallel planar surfaces. Exactly. This fine example courtesy of the Quad Cities National Weather Service.

New Asteroid That “Belches Out Dust” Discovered. CNN has the curious story – here’s the introduction: “What’s that in the sky? Is it an asteroid? A comet? A lawn sprinkler? Turns out a newly discovered object is a little bit of all three — minus the fact that you won’t find many green lawns millions of miles from Earth — NASA announced Friday. “We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” David Jewitt, who leads the team exploring the “asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel…”
Image credit above: “This NASA Hubble Space Telescope reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, named P/2013 P5. The asteroid was discovered as an unusually fuzzy-looking object with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System survey telescope in Hawaii.”

David Levinson’s Vision Of The Future. How will technology shape the way we work in the near future? Here’s anexcerpt of an  interesting vision/prediction at National Review: “…Just as it was once standard for U.S. workers to work a six-day week, Levinson imagines that the workweek will continue to shrink. Every-other Friday off (the 5/4 schedule) becomes standard by 2015; by 2020, the standard schedule becomes a 9 hour day with four days a week in the office and 4 additional hours of checking in from home; by 2025, workers are taking every-other Monday off (the 4/3 schedule); and by 2030, the “flipped” office, like the “flipped” classroom, becomes the norm — i.e., workers do the bulk of their work at home, and they come to the office for “interactive collaboration days…”

Living Small – And Off The Grid. Yes, it’s tempting. WIFI, a big screen TV, a nice reading lamp and indoor plumbing (maybe a tiny microwave?) and I’m there. Gizmag has the details: “Canadian company NOMAD Homes has produced a new concept micro-home that measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m), ships as a flat-pack, can operate off-grid, and is said to be easy-to-build. The firm has turned to Indiegogo to raise funds for manufacturing, and eventually intends to sell the base version of the home for under US$25,000…”

Toronto Tailor Introduces Bullet-Proof Three-Piece Suits. Because you just never know when this will come in handy. The Globe and Mail has the story; here’s the intro: “Last weekend at Garrison Bespoke, an upscale tailor shop in Toronto, a potentially lethal scene was unfolding in the back room, where employees were taking turns trying to stab Michael Nguyen, Garrison’s co-owner, with a hunting knife. Surprisingly, Mr. Nguyen remained unscathed, thanks to the Donegal tweed vest he was wearing – part of a hand-tailored three-piece “bulletproof” suit – which he believes is the first of its kind produced in Canada – that Garrison’s is unveiling to members of the media on Tuesday at the Ajax Rod and Gun Club..”

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice: More Chocolate Means Less Body Fat. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but read on Dear Reader. has the story; here’s the introduction: “In what may be the best news for chocoholics since scientists at the University of Cambridge found that higher chocolate consumption was associated with a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke, researchers at the University of Granada are reporting that it’s also associated with lower levels of total fat deposits – in the bodies of adolescents at least…”

Photo credit: “A new study has found a link between higher chocolate consumption and lower body fat levels.” (Photo: Shutterstock).

Climate Stories…

But don’t you realize my feelings are at least as important as your facts?

Photo credit: Utah Geological Survey.

Did A Pacific Ocean Warmed By Climate Change Make Haiyan More Intense? The idea isn’t as far fetched as it sounds, but we don’t have enough data (yet) to connect the dots with a high degree of confidence. There’s no question that higher sea levels made the storm surge even worse than it would have been. Keep in mind that 90% or more of observed warming is going into the world’s oceans, less than 2-3% warming the atmosphere, the rest going into melting ice. Climate models aren’t predicting more numerous hurricanes and typhoons, but they do suggest that the storms that DO form have a much better chance of becoming extreme. Haiyan certainly fits that definition. Here’s an excerpt from a fact sheet at Climate Nexus: “There are several ways in which climate change can affect typhoons like Haiyan, and will continue to do so in the future, including:

–       Sea surface temperatures are fueling typhoon Haiyan by increasing available energy and water vapor. Sea surface temperatures near the Philippines are exceptionally warm: 2ºC above normal in a small region, on top of baseline global warming of 0.6ºC. Sea surface temperatures have been steadily increasing around the world’s oceans, and are projected to continue to rise.

–       Extreme rain is a threat in the mountainous Philippines, as it can cause dangerous flash floods and landslides. Haiyan is expected to deluge a 50-mile swath of the Philippines with over eight inches of rain. Climate change is projected to increase the precipitation associated with tropical cyclones by 20% by the end of the century.

–       Sea level rise increases the destructive power of storm surges. Climate change has already contributed about eight inches to global sea level rise, and this will continue to worsen the impacts of typhoons

U.N. Expert Warns Climate Change Is Causing Loss Now. Deutsche Welle has the article; here’s an excerpt: “…For our study, loss and damage refers to the negative impacts of climate variability and climate change that people haven’t been able to cope with or adjust to. For example, worldwide, people struggle with rain. Farmers especially. If rain comes too early, or too late, the seeds that they have planted don’t grow, or they get washed away. Sometimes, if the rain comes too late, the seedlings just die, and farmers don’t have a way to adjust to that kind of stressor. What people try to do if they can’t grow enough food is try to eat less. But, of course, there is only so much less that people can eat before they start feeling hungry or the impacts of malnutrition. We cite choices about food all throughout our study – that’s one example of not being able to do enough to adjust to these climate stressors…”

It’s Time To Adapt To Unstoppable Global Warming, Scientists Say. Well no, most scientists I know say we need to mitigate (ie. dramatically reduce) the greenhouse gasses, the carbon waste being pumped into the atmosphere first, and then figure out ways to adapt to inevitable warming and sea level rise. Here’s an excerpt from NBC News: “Even if the world’s 7 billion people magically stop burning fossil fuels and chopping down forests today, the greenhouse gases already emitted to the atmosphere will warm the planet by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, according to scientists who are urging a focused scientific effort to help humanity adapt to the changing climate…”

Photo credit above: John Makely / NBC News. “In this 2012 file photo, a lineman works to repair storm damage to a utility pole in Breezy Point, NY.”

Oldest Air In The World May Be Trapped Deep In The Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Los Angeles Times has the article; here’s a clip: “Tiny bubbles of air buried deep in the ice of Eastern Antarctica may contain bits of the Earth’s atmosphere as it was 1.5 million years ago, according to a new report. “Ice is a great medium for trapping air,” said Ed Brook of Oregon State University, one of several authors of a paper in the journal Climate of the Past that describes where this ancient ice might be. “It traps it without altering it very much…” (Image above: NOAA).

Climate Contrarians Are More Celebrity Than Scientist. Here’s an excerpt of a Guardian story written by St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham: “By now, we must all be aware that it no longer takes hard work and talent to become a celebrity. The media (and public) are drawn to loud and flamboyant caricatures, not careful and studious characters. To most this means not much more than the annoyance of hearing about the latest celebrity “scandal.” But for all of us here on planet Earth, it has very real consequences. New research clarifies exactly what those consequences are: Celebrities in scientists’ lab coats have played a role in the public discourse on climate change that far outweighs their scientific credibility. In the journal Celebrity Studies, Dr. Maxwell Boykoff and Shawn Olson trace the history of climate contrarians back to the 1980s and discuss their potential motivations and strategies…”

Photo credit above: “Some climate contrarians have achieved celebrity status, but sometimes celebrity can be a bad thing, as with the Heartland Institute’s Unabomber billboard.” Photograph: The Heartland Institute.

Cosmic Rays, Solar Activity And The Climate. No, cosmic rays can’t account for all the warming we’re seeing, worldwide. Here’s a clip from IOPScience: “Although it is generally believed that the increase in the mean global surface temperature since industrialization is caused by the increase in green house gases in the atmosphere, some people cite solar activity, either directly or through its effect on cosmic rays, as an underestimated contributor to such global warming. In this letter a simplified version of the standard picture of the role of greenhouse gases in causing the global warming since industrialization is described. The conditions necessary for this picture to be wholly or partially wrong are then introduced. Evidence is presented from which the contributions of either cosmic rays or solar activity to this warming is deduced. The contribution is shown to be less than 10% of the warming seen in the twentieth century…”

* LiveScience has more details on the question of cosmic rays and warming here.

Image above courtesy of Live Science: “An artist’s concept of the shower of particles produced when Earth’s atmosphere is struck by ultra-high-energy cosmic rays.” Credit: Simon Swordy/University of Chicago, NASA.__________________________________________________________________


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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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