You have to work with what you have. Imagine a day without crime, or an exploding balloon, traffic accident, tax folderol, etc., and the television news for that day is cancelled, not worthy of air time, maybe replaced with one of our favorite PBS programs, like, “The Desert Speaks”?
Had a nice lenticular a couple of days ago, in case you missed it.
I was disturbed last evening (Dec. 13th) by a piece on the California wildfires, and their cause during the venerable PBS news hour. As with so many cases when opinions differ, PBS usually interviews those with differing opinions.
Not so last night.
It would seem that issues in climate have been removed from debate and critique except in the more or less underground blog world; bad for the public and bad for science.
Differences of opinion should be addressed head on in the most public of places, not hidden as though they don’t exist!
So I feel those alternative opinions on the cause and frequency of Cal wildfires omitted in the PBS news hour should be exposed:
These opinions are contained in the Washington Times, a counterpoint newspaper to the liberal-oriented, Washington Post. (We need objective news so BAD!)
Perhaps the PBS producers should listen to the FTC statement on fraud, which reigns in advertisers statements that can mislead consumers. I post this FTC statement because this is what happened last night on PBS, IMO. If what they presented last night on wildfires was a “product”, in effect, one “harming consumers” due to not having proper warnings (balance), you would see the injury lawyers lining up:
“Certain elements undergird all deception cases. First, there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer.” —FTC Policy Statement on Deception
Yep, that’s what happened in the PBS news hour last night. Shame on you, PBS. You can do better.
Disclaimer 1. Two of the scientists quoted in the Times article are friends and ones I greatly admire; they are first rate scientists with numerous peer-reviewed publications; Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, and Roger Pielke, Sr., emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.
Disclaimer 2: The writer is firmly of the opinion that the world will be warmer in the future.
Disclaimer 3: I am corrupted in a sense about scientific literature published in polarized domains due to having seen hundreds of pages of peer-reviewed literature describing ersatz cloud seeding results. I have a fair body of literature published on those, in essence, “corrections.” The bogus published cloud seeding results led to an erroneous scientific consensus on cloud seeding skill in the 1970s and 1980s.
Why did that happen?
The experimenters responsible for those faulty results knew beforehand what they would find and made sure they found it (sound familiar?), and due to inadequate and/or “pal” peer-reviews that let faulty literature into peer-reviewed publications (also sounds familiar).
(Thanks to Mark Albright, I guess, to alerting me to that Washington Times article; I lost sleep over that and whether the Geminid meteor shower, peaking last night, would destroy the space station, killing all on board.)
I was thinking how great yesterday was for you. Started out with a spectacular sunrise (lasted just a couple of minutes), and then you could watch for pretty much the WHOLE day, orographically-formed Altocumulus opacus and castellanus transition to ice crystal clouds (in this case, Altostratus with virga and some mammatus) right before your eyes!
After sunrise….this odd scene below of an extended Altocu lenticular cloud:
Brain’s been pretty empty lately, not much to say except “same old same old”, as here.
But then some wild computer forecasts came out last evening that were worth mentioning in light of the fires that have plagued southern California.
Because they suggest that a belt of tropical flow will break through under the gigantic ridge that has blocked storms from the entire West Coast over the past weeks.
Sometimes, as most weathermen know, such persistent ridges get too big for their britches, that is, over-extend to the north, and then fracture, letting through moist tropical air from lower latitudes of the Pacific ram into the West Coast. Often the very greatest rains in California are associated with such patterns, as you could guess since there is so much water with those lower latitude-originated jet streams that strike the coastal mountains head on. Here’s the concern, this output valid for Christmas Day:
Rain is forecast to have fallen in southern Arizona before this point, however; our measly 0.01 inches so far here in Sutherland Heights so far in December will likely be added to along with a switch to uncomfortably cold weather.
Of course, we look for support in these longer range forecasts by having some spaghetti–that is, take a look at what we call “spaghetti”, those crazy plots in which the model starting conditions are tweaked that bit to see how the model runs change. Here are some plots, also from last night’s model.
As you can see in this first plot for the evening of December 22nd AST, the clustering of blue and red lines off the West Coast, that our blocking ridge (composed of a deep mass of warmer air) is extruding all the way almost to where Santa Claus lives, yes, that far to the north. In fact, so far that it will be unsustainable over that distance fromt the deep tropics to almost the North Pole. At this point, cold air is pouring down the east side of that ridge and into the Pac NW and eventually down toward us. Does that extremely cold air make it here? Not sure yet, but its something to watch out for before that ridge fractures and allows warmer, moist Pacific air to reach us. So much uncertainty, so much fun! I am really pumped up about all this uncertainty!
Below is the spaghetti dish for the “breakthrough” flow situation shown in the prog output valid for Christmas Day with some annotation on it.
Looking at the above, I think we can count on a breakthrough flow pattern from the Pac. Where it barges into the West Coast will be subject to question over the next week or so. That really can’t be determined right now.
I am sure those in southern Cal hope, if there is a breakthrough from the Pac, it comes in farther north than shown in the model run here today! Patterns like the one shown in that run can routinely produce 10 inches in a day once they get going should something burst through at low latitudes.
The brighter side would be that the chances of a significant rain here droughty southern AZ would at last increase.
Well, on some days, there were Altocumulus clouds, too, helping to blot the sun. Altocumulus clouds are mostly or all liquid clouds, if you care, which I doubt. But then you are here, wasting time on this web site about clouds, so maybe you do care!
But, to conitnue the title’s theme, what a remarkable streak here in the “Atacama Desert” of Arizona where it has been said that it has never rained. It certainly hasn’t rained here in recent memory. And, will we have a truly dismal wildflower display? Could be, due to the absence of fall rains that are so important in producing good displays.
And while there has been a pattern change, as there always is sooner or later, the conditions for rain just will not develop. We are now in a “warm in the West, cold in the East” pattern of jet stream flow, that the atmosphere seems to like; gets stuck in it for days to weeks at a time. A big ridge of high pressure will be deflecting the jet stream into Alaska and to where its toasty warm in “Utqiaġvik” (formerly Barrow; new name not pronounceable by non-native peoples–haha, just kidding, but what does that dot mean above the letter “g”?!) with lots of precip for them. Then that jet shoots down into the Rockies and upper Mid-West bringing masses of Arctic air and snow (the formerly warm air gets modified like mad when sitting on snow and ice–yes, there is still some ice and snow in Arctic regions, contrary to some popular beliefs). But, what about in 50 years? That is the question…
No rain shows up for southern Arizona for two more weeks in the models. Oh, me.
The only thing that will be fun in the next two weeks is looking at the hourly reports for Mount Washington, New Hampshire over the next two weeks, and see how cold and windy it gets. Do you know that once (1989) it was -44°C (-47°F) at Mt. Washington with winds of, oh, I dunno, 100 mph or so? Wind chill probably was around -500°F….. The craziest thing about that long ago ob was that they were reporting “icing”, liquid cloud drops hitting and freezing. But, how could they be liquid at -44°C?
Well, its been reported, strangely believe it, as we like to say here, that liquid drops have survived to between -40°F and -50°C by motorcycle-riding, atmospheric scientist, Kenneth Sassen, when he was at the University of Utah. Utah is located north of Arizona. Ken, if I may, thought it was due to sulfur in the droplets associated with volcanic aerosols, so it wasn’t “real” water, but rather the kind of water geoengineers want to inject to cool old mom earth. Maybe, if true, that icing report at Mt. Washington wasn’t “real” water, either, but polluted water from cities and factories to the NW where the wind came from….
BTW, when you get bored some more with our own weather, the obs for KMWN can be found here. You’ll be glad you’re in Arizona when you look at them. Well, you’ll be glad you’re anywhere but THERE! Maybe some geoengineers should spend some time up there instead of proposing crackpotty schemes that would change our sky color. I demand, as persons of the 1960s would, of course, that the people of earth be allowed to vote on such schemes BEFORE they are implemented!
Oh, yeah, about clouds…..after all, this is supposed to be, “cloud-maven” country…
The End, for now. Have some other chores to plug away on.
Spaghetti. See spaghetti run. “Run, spaghetti, run!”1
FINALLY, after almost a calendar year of dryness and warmth, a pattern change is definitely in the works that will bring rain and snow to Arizona, beginning in early December!
Here’s what we got now:
But, not so long from now, that big ol’ storm blocking hump of warm air over us melts away, and the jet stream begins barging into southern Cal and the Southwest, and with that, STORMS! Yay! Did you hear that desert?
Hope you saw them and recorded them in your cloud and weather diary. I’m thinking that at the next Cloud Maven Junior meeting we should devote a lot of time to this issue. It was a rare day yesterday that the WHOLE day had that phenomenon occurring as aircraft penetrated those clouds, usually on ascent or descent. Sharp descents/ascents produce holes. See the sequence below if you don’t believe me (ppt from a recent talk):
Yesterday’s clouds: lots and lots of aircraft-produced ice
(btw, see note below about pop-up ads in this blog, ones that started to appear after downloading latest WP software)
——————About those nuisance ads—————
Note to me and the two other people that drop by my cloud or “clod” blogulations: The embedded pop-up ads are due to a WP third party plug-in that needs to be repaired. It will likely happen today.
After consultations about ads…
Oddly, those pop-ups and blue highlighting and double underlining do not seem to be present outside of my personal view of my own blog, this according to hoster, “godaddy.” Even using a different browser other than FIrefox does not show them as I have just verified.
Been busy as a briefly unretired science worker (gave a stressful talk at a university last week) and thought maybe a lot of usual drop ins to this site might not anymore. So, in the title for today, am reaching out to a new demographic: persons interested in congealed soil matter. They might later, after stopping by, discover a new interest; that in clouds, pretty ones. Most of the cheap tricks I try like this don’t have any effect, though. Oh, well.
Let us go forward after backing up:
But the Cirrus kept coming and more odd sights were seen:
Heavier Cirrus, increasing and lowering to Altostratus finished off the day as a heavy shield of middle and upper clouds raced toward southern Arizona from the Pacific:
“Due to time constraints, we move ahead in the action…”
Sunday, November 5th:
4:26 PM. Perhaps the brightest example of iridescence I have ever seen! Just spectacular for a few seconds in this patch of Cirrocumulus. Iridescence is caused by diffraction around the tiny of droplets, less than 10 microns in diameter, as are present when a cloud just forms.
A trace of rain was officially recorded in Catalina at this site ending prospects of a rainless October. It fell from high-based Cumulonimbus clouds in a band, partially lining the NW horizon that could be seen as the sun rose yesterday. Some ants were injured by the falling drops, ones that reached millimeter sizes and fell at 5-8 mph, though in some areas, winds of 10-15 mph added to drop impacts. Flying insects, while obliged to avoid the watery missiles, were able to do so with ease due to the appreciable spacing between the drops of several feet.
Due to the short-lived hydrometeor events, many humans were unaware that rain had fallen in Catalina on more than one occasion yesterday. That’s why we blog here. Weather and cloud news you can rely on.
How high were the bases of those precipitating clouds spewing snow virga that melted to rain? Higher than the freezing level! Haha.. The balloon sounding profile started with the Altocumulus perlucidus layer at 18,000 feet above sea level, 15,000 feet above Catalina, bases at -11°C. By evening the lowest moist level had lowered to 14,000 feet ASL (11,000 feet AGL) and -3°C. However, that last moist level had to be a bit lower than those snowy cloud bases IMO–we know that the moist level almost always lowers.
So cloud maven person will make the definitive call that the rainy (well, sprinkly) cloud bases were at 16,000 ASL (13,000 feet AGL) when they passed over, if that makes any sense or is anything you really care about.
As rain fell……this sky, 12:30 to 1 PM:
Kind of pathetic really; no shafting whatsoever, much less virga than on the horizon yesterday morning. So our end of that band was so weak it was just barely able to get some drops to the ground.
Looks like this is it for rain in October 2017. However, November 2017 appears to look much brighter for substantial, dust-removing rains in Catalina beginning in the first 10 days!
The End (I missed the sunset due to a social engagement–hope you saw it wherever you were). Probably was pretty nice.
Another pretty cloud day ahead. Though most of the Altocumulus clouds are flat, there are some whoppers off to the north now, Ac cas so large they might have to be called Cumulonimbus, certainly large enough to produce radar echoes, maybe a sprinkle at the ground.
Lots of wind tomorrow, as you likely know, but no rain in sight still. So, October almost surely will end as a rainless month. Our average for October is just over an inch of rain!