Category Archives: Soapbox

Sutherland Heights storm total now 0.71 inches as of 7 AM; soil turning green as moss look alike growth reminding one of Seattle spurts from bare ground!

First, in blogging for dollars, this:

3:55 PM. Rainbow fragment and solar home. Yesterday's visual highlight. Yours for $1995.95. If you call now, we'll throw in a exact same photo FREE!
3:55 PM. Rainbow fragment and solar home, an extraordinary combination.. It was yesterday’s visual highlight. Yours for $1995.95. And, if you order now, we’ll throw in a second,  exact copy of this extraordinary, magical scene FREE!

Here’s a nice one from the day before as the clouds rolled in, starting with Cirrus and Altocumulus, lowering to Stratocumulus later in the afternoon.

5:04 PM, 30 Dec.
5:04 PM, 30 Dec.  Sun break amid Stratocumulus.  Stratus fractus topping mountains.

Yesterday’s clouds; an extraordinary day with a little drizzle amid light showers

Hope you noticed the true drizzle that occurred yesterday, namely, fine (larger than 200 microns, smaller than 500 microns in diameter), close TOGETHER (critical to the definition of “drizzle”) drops that nearly float in the air. They may make the least impression, or none, when landing in a puddle.

When you see drizzle, you have the opportunity of chatting up your neighbor by educating them informally to what drizzle really is (many, maybe most,  TEEVEE weatherfolk do NOT know what “drizzle” is, btw), and 2) by telling your neighbor, if he/she is still listening to you, that the droplets in the clouds overhead must be larger than 30 microns in diameter, or better yet, “larger than the Hocking-Jonas diameter of 38 microns, at which point collisions with coalescence begins to occur” and  “drizzle is not produced by ice crystals in the clouds overhead; they’re not enough of them to produce ‘fine, close together drops.'” Your neighbor has likely left the building at this point, but, oh, well, you tried.

Here, in Arizona, shallow clouds, such as we had yesterday, hardly ever can produce the broad droplet spectrum in which clouds have droplets larger than 30 microns in diameter.  Its because this far inland from the ocean, where the air is very clean,  the air has picked up natural and anthro aerosol particles that can function as “cloud condensation nuclei” (CCN).   As a result of ingesting dirt and stuff, clouds have too many droplets here as a rule for the droplets in them to grow to larger sizes.   They’re all mostly less than 20-25 microns, sizes in which even if they collide, they can’t coalesce.

In “pristine” areas, if you go to one, such as on a cruise out in  the oceans, droplet concentrations in clouds are much lower, and even a little water that might be condensed in a shallow cloud can produce a broad spectrum, one that extends to droplet larger than 30 microns.

So even little or shallow layer clouds can precip over the oceans, produce drizzle or light rain showers (in which the larger drops are bigger than 500 microns in diameter).  Of course, here we recall that the (whom some consider “villainous”) geoengineers want to stop drizzle out over the oceans so that clouds have longer lifetimes, are darker on the bottom, and reflect more sunlight back into space.

Those guys can be lumped into the same ilk as those who want to change the color of the sky from blue to whitish or yellowish by adding gigantic amounts of tiny particles in the stratosphere, again for the purpose of cooling the planet!  Unbelievable.  Please ask before doing this!!!

A Pinatubo sampler for what “geoengineering” would do to our skies,  say, sunsets in particular.  I took this photo from the University of Washington’s research aircraft in 1992 off the Washington coast in onshore flow.  But we saw these same sunsets, sunrises, yellowed by the Pinatubo eruption of June 1991 everywhere we went, including in the Azores in June 1992.

AB469_mf9193_1517_ontop Sc_Pinatubo above

OK, pretty boring, whiney, really, so inserting picture of a nice horse here to make people feel better if you’ve been depressed about what our scientists have been pondering to do about global warming other than controlling emissions:

8:57 AM. Zeus. Led cloistered life for 13 years; likes to bolt now that he's getting out.
8:57 AM. Zeus. Led cloistered life for 13 years; likes to bolt,  now that he’s getting out on the trails.
7:40 AM, yesterday, Dec. 31st.
7:40 AM, yesterday, Dec. 31st.  The low hanging Stratocumulus clouds, about 1500 feet above Catalina, and the mountains had a bit of an orange tinge.  It was probably due to sunrise color on a separate much higher layer.

Later….drizzling Stratocumulus, same view:

10:30 AM. Stratocumulus praecipitatio, if you want to go "deep" into cloud naming. "Stratiformis", too, covers a lot of the sky.
10:30 AM. Stratocumulus praecipitatio, if you want to go “deep” into cloud naming. “Stratiformis”, too, covers a lot of the sky. Note misty-like view, lack of shafting.
12:48 PM. More Stratocu P., an example of those clouds in the distance that kept dropping little and light rain showers on Catalina.
12:48 PM. More Stratocu P., an example of those clouds in the distance that kept dropping little and light rain showers on Catalina.
1:01 PM. Highlighting amid the RW-- , (weather text for "very light rain showers").
1:01 PM. Highlighting amid the RW– , (weather text for “very light rain showers”).  Stratcu P., with maybe Stratus fractus or Cumulus fractus below.  The shadowed,  dark shred clouds  in the mddle would be Stratus fractus IMO.
3:55 PM. Zooming in on that pretty rainbow. You know, this is a cloud heaven here. I hope you all appreciate it!
3:55 PM. Zooming in on that pretty rainbow. You know, this is a cloud heaven here. I hope you all appreciate it!  Maybe that’s why I get upset over “geoengineering” and changing the sky anywhere.
3:57 PM. Between showers, but new ones erupted upwind. This one have a shaft, implying a higher cloud top than the prior, non-shafting clouds that brought us semi-steady RW--.
3:57 PM. Between showers, but new ones erupted upwind. This one have a shaft, implying a higher cloud top than the prior, non-shafting clouds that brought us semi-steady RW–.

The second extraordinary thing about yesterday was that the top temperatures of these clouds was around -10° C (14° F), temperatures that ice does not form act as a rule in Arizona.  To get ice at temperatures that high, you also need larger cloud droplets, and they have to occur in the -2.5° C to -8° C range.  In this range, it was discovered that falling ice crystals, mostly faster falling ones like “graupel” (aka, soft hail) when colliding with larger drops, ice splinters are produced.  The cloud droplets must be larger than 23 microns in diameter in THAT particular temperature zone, something that would occur more often in our warm,  summer clouds, but would rarely be expected in our winter ones.

Why?

Again,  it goes back to clouds in inland regions ingesting lots of natural and anthro aerosols that cut down on droplet sizes in clouds (by raising droplet concentrations in them).  Our recent rains have helped cut down on that process on ingesting dirt, for sure, and was a likely player yesterday.  Furthermore, our winter clouds are moisture challenged relative to the summer ones with their tropical origins and high cloud base temperatures, a second reason not to expect larger droplets in our winter clouds.

Here  is the TUS sounding with some writing on it for yesterday afternoon from IPS MeteoStar.  (Satellite imagery was also  indicating warmer than usual tops for precipitating clouds yesterday.):

The TUS balloon sounding ("rawinsonde" in techno speak) launched at about 3:30 PM yesterday afternoon. Balloon rises at about 1,000 feet a minute, FYI. Typically they pop up around 100,000-120,000 feet! Instruments are parachuted down. Sometimes they are found and returned to the NWS and re-used! How great is that?
The TUS balloon sounding (“rawinsonde” in techno speak) launched at about 3:30 PM yesterday afternoon. Balloon rises at about 1,000 feet a minute, FYI. Typically they pop up around 100,000-120,000 feet! Instrument package is parachuted down so it doesn’t conk somebody on the head. Sometimes they are found and returned to the NWS and re-used! How great is that?

Here’s the punchline:  If clouds are drizzling, then they are ripe, if the tops get to lower temperatures than about -4° C for what we’ve termed “ice multiplication” or “ice enhancement”.  A very few natural ice nuclei at temperatures between -4° and -10° C, say, starts the process, those forming “soft hail” which then leads to ice splinters.  This is the leading theory of this anomaly of ice in clouds at temperatures only a little below freezing, if you think 23° to 14° F fits that definition.

There are exceptions where this process did not explain the ice that formed at such high temperatures, so standby for further elucidation about how in the HECK ice forms in clouds at some point in the future.

As usual, no time to proof, so good luck in comprehending what’s been written.

The weather just ahead:

The second main rainband is just about here at 9:25 AM.  Cloud tops will be deeper and colder than in the prior rains, raising the possibility of some thunder today, and maybe another third of an inch of rain.  Watch for an windshift line cloud (“arcus” cloud) might well be seen today.  That’s always dramatic and exciting here in Catalina cloud heaven.

The End at last!

And a happy, weatherful year to all!

Clouds drop 0.01 inches in Catalina! Nice sunrise, too, yesterday

Of course, only CLOUDS can rain, so the title is a little silly, but it sounded more dramatic like that.  This is the first measurable rain, it fell between 9 and 10 PM here,  in EIGHT weeks!

And you could sure smell that special fragrance from the ground and desert vegetation as soon as you stepped outside to do your exercises this morning!

Nice sunrise yesterday morning to start the day.  In  case you missed, of course, I am there for you.

BTW, in the captions below, I have included for you a discussion of climate issues in a kind of stream-of-consciousness format.  OK, its a rant that came upon me out of the blue.  CM sometimes gets mad and loses control for a few seconds;  need to get some counseling maybe…

6:56 AM.  Altocumulus perlucidus.  Say no more.
6:56 AM. Altocumulus perlucidus. Say no more.  Might be a lenticular sort of on the right.  Not the classic almond shape, but it did hang on for a long time in that spot.  Say no more.

Kind of gray after that in Altostratus with an undercutting, lower layer of Altocumulus by mid-afternoon darkening the sky up some more. Some virga here and there with sprinkles-its-not-drizzle reaching the ground by late afternoon in the Catalina area. Here is your cloudscape for later in the day, very Seattle like during approaching storms that actually rain lightly on you for hours:

10:35 AM.  Classic Altostratus translucidus, ice path in cloud all the way to the sun.
10:35 AM. Classic Altostratus translucidus, ice path in cloud all the way to the sun.
10:39 AM, after walk down a slope to give YOU a view to the southwest, classic Altostratus as seen when not looking toward the sun.  Hard to tell if its translucidus or opacus looking this way.   By the way, even when you can see the sun, As clouds are thousands of feet thick, tops usually at Cirrus clouds levels.
10:39 AM, after walk down a slope to give YOU a view to the southwest, classic Altostratus as seen when not looking toward the sun. Hard to tell if its translucidus or opacus looking this way. By the way, even when you can see the sun, As clouds are thousands of feet thick, tops usually at Cirrus clouds levels.
1:26 PM.  Here come the lower, flocculent masses of Altocumulus clouds, ones composed of droplets.
1:26 PM. Here come the lower, flocculent masses of Altocumulus clouds, ones composed of droplets.
3:15 PM.  It was all downhill for cloud bottoms after the Altocumulus moved in.  Now, the bottoms are lumpy and much larger, casting them as Stratocumulus.  There was some virga and very light rainshowers reaching the ground at this time, too.
3:15 PM. It was all downhill for cloud bottoms after the Altocumulus moved in. Now, the bottoms are lumpy and much larger, casting them as Stratocumulus. There was some virga and very light rainshowers reaching the ground at this time, too.  A few drops fell at 3:11 PM.  Only the great cloud mavens of all time would have noticed.  Lasted maybe one minute.
3:15 PM again.  Lot going on here, so I thought I would point things out, in particular for my fellow meteorologist Mark A at the U of WA who winters in the Tuscon smog plume.  Mark is a super sleuth when it comes to snowpacks, you know, was fired as Assist State Climo for Washington when he demonstrated, along with two faculty members, that the claims of gigantic snowpack losses due to global warming (now repackaged as "climate change") were hugely exaggerated, like the result of cherry picking a cold snowy beginning and ending with a run of El Nino winters, ones that lead to less snowpack in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon.
3:15 PM again. Lot going on here, so I thought I would point out some things on a gray day, in particular for my fellow meteorologist Mark A at the U of WA who winters in the Tuscon smog plume. Mark is a super sleuth when it comes to snowpacks, but maybe doesn’t have so much moxie when it comes to smog. Mark, as you know may now, was fired as Assist State Climo for Washington when he demonstrated and kept complaining, along with two faculty members, that the claims of gigantic snowpack losses due to global warming (now repackaged as “climate change1“) in the Cascade Mountains were hugely exaggerated, likely the result of cherry picking a cold snowy beginning and ending with a run of El Nino winters, ones that lead to less snowpack in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon.   Such cherry-picking led to a wonderful suggestion of huge declines that has led to a bounty of funding and continued employment, promotions, accolades, citations by  Big Media, etc, because such claims, even if exaggerated and untrue, are what we want to hear! And, no one ever got a job for claiming they can’t find any sign of global warming, or only a little one, but rather are vilified for even suggesting exaggerations in the “global warming” domain.  Mark, BTW, continuing his sleuthing has recently shown that similar claims for declines in snowpacks in Montana near Glacier National Park,  have not been decreasing but rather increasing.  He’ll get HELL for this one!   So, more vilification is likely ahead for poor Mark, as well as more smog.

What’s ahead, besides the Big Pac 12 Fubball Game on Friday evening?

More clouds.   Maybe a few more sprinkles especially tomorrow after dawn.  See nice map below from the U of WA Dept of Atmospheric Meteorology (original colors on the map below by that big troublemaker, Mark Albright)

Ann 2014120415_MM5
Valid for 8 AM AST, tomorrow morning, which is Thursday, in case you’ve lost count of the days of the week.  The arrow denotes an upper level trough, or bend in the winds. Ahead of the bend (sometimes referred to as vorticity, or curling air, or red curly air) the air tends to rise producing cloud sheets, whereas behind red curly air, the air descends. See Seymour Hess, Introduction to Theoretical Meteorology, 1959, Florida State University Press.  As you can see by the arrow, that slight bend in the winds is about to pass over your house in Catalina, and the U of Az model output from last evening sees a little rain here with that passage.  Yay!  Also note suggestion of bifurcated jet flow with a minor maximum in wind (slight bunching of contours) to the south of us, nearly always required for rain here in the cool season.

The End

 

Dull cool day and blog, book-ended by a nice sunrise and a nice sunset

Here we go…..some pretty, but also dull,  photos, along with some novella-sized captions as mind wandered into the obtuse while writing them.

6:44 AM.  Nice sunrise due to  Altostratus/Cirrus ice clouds.
6:44 AM. Nice sunrise due to Altostratus/Cirrus ice clouds.
2:00 PM.  Stratocumulus topped Samaniego Ridge most all day, but was too warm to have ice, and droplets too small to collide, stick together, and form misty drizzle. Misty drizzle?  Could be a great name for a late night female vocalist.
2:00 PM. Kind of a dull day yesterday, kind of like this blog.  Stratocumulus (Sc) clouds  topped Samaniego Ridge most of the day, below that gray Altostratus ice cloud layer.   But those Sc clouds were too warm to have ice in them, and droplets were  too small to collide, stick together, and form misty drizzle.  Have to get to at least 30 microns in  diameter before they stick to one another.  Misty drizzle?  Could be a great name for a late night female vocalist doing earthy songs like Earthy Kitt back in the ’50s.  “Earthy” was much hotter than global warming.
3:29 PM.  An Altostratus translucidus mostly ice-cloud with a dark patch of Altocumulus droplet cloud blocking the sun.  If you look closely, you can see a that there's this Altotratus layer may be topped by a Altocumulus perlucidus droplet cloud layer.  Yes, droplet clouds at the top of As where the temperature is lowest?  Yep, happens all the time, up to about -30 --35 C.    Been there, done that, in aircraft research.
3:29 PM. An Altostratus translucidus to opacus,  mostly ice-cloud with a dark patch of Altocumulus droplet cloud blocking the sun. If you look closely, (upper center) you can see a that there’s this Altotratus layer may be topped by a Altocumulus perlucidus droplet cloud layer. Yes, droplet clouds at the top of As where the temperature is lowest? Yep, this counter-intuitive finding happens all the time, up to about -30 C -35 C. Been there, measured that;  in aircraft research.  Ma Nature likes to form a drop and have it freeze before forming an ice crystal directly from the water vapor.
4:40 PM.
4:40 PM, shot taken as we entered a local restaurant.  You’ve got your two layers of Altocumulus, with some Altostratus translucidus above those, filling in the gaps.  Gaps?  Huh.  I am reminded that I have a failed manuscript about “gaps”, these kind;  Cloud Seeding and the Journal Barriers to Faulty Claims:  Closing the Gaps., rejected by the Bull.  Amer. Meteor. Soc. way back in ’99.   It was an instruction manual,  in a sense,  about how to prevent all the bogus cloud seeding literature that got published in the 1960s through 1980s, and was not only published, but cited by our highest national panels and experts, like the National  Academy of Sciences.   Amazing, but true.  I give examples.   You can read about this chapter of  science in Cotton and Pielke, 2007, “Human Impacts on Weather and Climate”, Cambridge U. Press, a highly recommended book.  That cloud seeding distortion of cloud seeding science was due to many factors, of which perhaps the primary one was, “nobody ever got a job saying cloud seeding doesn’t work1.”  This was a great segue.  Of course, we have similar stresses on those researchers looking for effects of global warming nee “climate change” now days.  Nobody will ever get a job (a renewed grant) saying they can’t  find evidence of global warming, “Can I have some more of that money to keep looking?”  And beware the “Ides of March” if you criticize published work in that domain!  Think of poor Judy C , a heroine to me, and how she’s been vilified for questioning climate things.

 

DSC_0076
5:29 PM, took leave from Indian food there in R Vistoso for this.  Its not just anyone who would excuse himself from dinner to do something other than visit the laboratory.

That’s about it.  No use talking about the rain ahead again.  Seems to be a couple chances between the 20th and the 30th.

The End

—————————-

1You can make a cloud snow a little by seeding it with dry ice or silver iodide.  This has been shown since the earliest days of experiments.  Below, to demonstrate this, an aircraft inadvertently “seeded” this Altocumulus cloud layer.   However, whether the small amount that falls out from previously non-precipitating clouds is economically viable is not known.   Increasing  precipitation due to seeding when the clouds are already snowing/raining  has not been satisfactorily proven.  As prize-winning stat man, Jerzy Neyman,  U of Cal Berkeley Golden Bears Stat Lab would tell you, you need a randomized experiment and followed by a second one that confirms the original results, with measurements made by those who have no idea what days are seeded and evaluations done by those who have no vested interest in cloud seeding.   Wow there’s a lot of boring information here.  Getting a little worked up here, too.

Ice canal in supercooled Altocumulus clouds, bases -23 C, tops -25 C (from PIREPS).
Ice canal in supercooled Altocumulus clouds over Seattle, bases -23 C, tops -25 C (from PIREPS).  Photo by the Arthur.

Snowbirds may head back to Arizona as low temperature records fall in the eastern US in a few days

Forgetting about yesterday’s unforecast subdued afternoon convection hereabouts after about 1 PM), lets talk about the misery of others; the little crybabies that leave Arizona in the summertime, decimating its economy, so that they can be cooler and “happy” in northern climes (while dodging hail and tornadoes, we might add).

Well, how about them birdies being really COLD before very long, due to record breaking low July temperatures?  Yes, that’s right, what’s left of the “polar vortex” will once again, due to global warming, of course, spin out of control and down into the northern US in just about 5-7 days.   And with it, long term July low temperature records will fall in the eastern US. Count on it.

So, once again, as some scientists alleged last winter,  global warming will actually cause cooling.  (Almost everything that happens is due to GW these days, as we know. (“GW”, BTW,  now repackaged in the catch all, temperature-neutral phrase, “Climate Change”,  during the past few years because, globally, it stopped getting warmer way back in ’98, and when the years began to pile up without global warming, scientists had to find another phrase to hang their mistaken hats on.  (Where was the usual scientific “caution” back then?)

HOWEVER, continuing on with this harangue, and being a “lukewarmer”,  we must watch out that the coming big El Nino doesn’t release a spring-loaded,  pent up release of global heat.  Might well happen, so don’t give up on “GW” quite yet; hold some cards on that question for another few years.

And, of course, if there is a step jump up in global temperatures just ahead, the phrase, “climate change” will be dumped by scientists and media for “global warming” again.  Count on it, #2.

But, I digress, mightily, mainly due to yesterday’s cloud disappointments.

—————————-

Not in a great mood after yesterday’s bust, as you can tell, except for that strong thunderstorm that pummeled the north side of the Catalinas beginning about 11:30 AM, that was pretty cool; had continuous thunder for about an hour and a half, too. Dan Saddle up on Oracle Ridge got 0.63 inches, but you can bet 1-2 inches fell somewhere up there.

I was so happy then.

I thought the “Great Ones” would arise upwind of us in the direction of Pusch Ridge, but no.  Those clouds got SMALLER as the afternoon wore on, it was incredible, and by sunset they were gone with only trashy debris clouds of Altocumulus and Altostratus cumulonimbogenitus from great storms in Mexico drifting over our sky.  Even the sunset was disappointing.

Well, that 3:15 am to 3:30 am little shower this morning than dropped 0.15 inches here in the Heights, and 0.24 inches down there at the Bridge by Lago del Oro gave a psych boost1 that got me here on the keyboard.

10:55 AM.  Nearly invisible veil of ice crystals begin to fall from an older Cumulus congestus turret.  This was about an hour and a half ealier than the prior day, indicating that the Cu tops were reaching that level sooner than the prior day, suggesting bigger things (I thought).  When you see this happening this early, you also look for an "explosion" some massive turret to suddenly blast out of these developing clouds, and that did happen within about half an hour after this.
10:55 AM. Nearly invisible veil of ice crystals begin to fall from an older Cumulus congestus turret. This was about an hour and a half ealier than the prior day, indicating that the Cu tops were reaching that level sooner than the prior day, suggesting bigger things (I thought). When you see this happening this early, you also look for an “explosion” some massive turret to suddenly blast out of these developing clouds, and that did happen within about half an hour after this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:55 AM.  Close up, in case you don't believe me.
10:55 AM. Close up, in case you don’t believe me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:04 AM.
11:04 AM.

 

7:33 PM.  Your sunset.
7:33 PM. Your sunset.

Today?  Check here.  Once again, mod expects early Cumulonimbus on The Lemmon, then groups of thunderstorms move in during the evening (as was more or less predicted yesterday, but didn’t happen.)  Will go with mod again, though, because I would like that to happen.

The weather way ahead

We’ve talked about cold air, now to balance things off, how about a discussion of the warm air ahead?  Real hot air.

Was blown away by the spaghetti outputs from last night for the period of about two weeks from now.  You can see the whole package from the NOAA spaghetti factory here. Below, our weather in 12-15 days, usually beyond confident predictions, but not here:

201407221700 spag_f288_nhbg

Valid at 5 PM AST July 22nd. Massive blob of really hot air settles in over the western half of the US.  In this map, the most reliable long term predictions are over the western half of the US and over the Saharan Desert (indicated by the lack of lines in those two areas.  A lot of lines means the weather pattern is pretty unpredictable.)

 

Valid at 5 PM July 22nd.  Massive upper level blob of really hot air sits over the entire West!
Valid at 5 PM July 25th. Massive upper level blob of really hot air continues to dominate the western half of the US.

&

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hot blob of air should lead to record HIGH temperatures all over the place in those days beginning around the 20-25th of July.  Rainfall here?  Indeterminant.  If the high center sits over us, it might just be hot, real hot, but dry.

But, if the configuration aloft is as shown in the second plot, it could be very wet as tropical disturbances shift northwestward from Mexico into Arizona.

Sorry, can’t do much with precip from these,  I don’t think.

The End, and covering all the possibilities, CM

====================================
1Paraphrasing, the song for weathermen, those speaking to clouds; “Rain on me, when I’m downhearted….”

Signal in the spaghetti; updated with climate info from Science mag just now!

Here it is:

Valid two week from now, Thursday, 5 AM, March 20th.
Valid two weeks from now, Thursday, 5 AM, March 20th.  Massive trough, at last, settles into the West for awhile, more in keeping with climo.   Keep jackets at the ready.  Rain?  Dunno yet, but probably on the correct side of 50-50 beginning around the 17th.  Changes!  Warm and dry for a coupla days, followed by a parade of troughs, quite a few minor ones over the next week or so, before the Big One forms.  Above, this is a VERY strong signal in the spaghetti for two weeks out, and so got pretty excited when I saw it, as you are now, too.  So, when mid-March arrives, get ready!

Was going to close with this NWS forecast for Catalina (might be updated by the time you link to it), but then saw just now that Saturday, the day a cold, dry trough is over us, it’s predicted to be 76 F here in Catalina,  too warm.  I would prepare for upper 60s.

Canadian model has even had rain near us at times as this trough goes by on Saturday, but only here in the 11th hour (from yesterday’s 5 PM AST run) has the US model indicated that the core of the trough and rain near us on Saturday, as the Canadian one had for a few days before that.  Hmmm…

The fact that any trough is ending up stronger than it was predicted, as the one on Saturday,  is a good sign of being close to the bottom (farthest S lattitude) of the “trough bowl”, that location where troughs like to come and visit.   So, maybe this is a precursor for us, this unexpected little cool snap on Saturday.  Maybe climatology is beginning to work its wonders at last in the West.

Powerful storms begin affecting the interior of the West and Great Basin in 10 days, and that pretty much marks the time when the winds here start to pick up to gusty at times as strong low centers develop to the north of us, and the major jet stream subsides to the south toward us.

It will be the end of the warm winter era for us, too.  While cold settles in the West, it will mean very toasty weather back East from time to time, something those folks will greatly enjoy.

———————–Climate issue commentary; skip if you’re happy with the climate as it is now—————————-

As you likely know, much of the upper Midwest had one of its coldest winters ever, and just a few days ago Baltimore (locally, “Ballimore”, as in “Ballimore Orioles”) had its lowest measured temperature EVER in March, 4 F!

“RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
0930 AM EST TUE MAR 04 2014
…DAILY AND MONTHLY MINIMUM TEMPERATURE RECORDS SET AT BALTIMORE
MD…
A DAILY RECORD MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 4 DEGREES WAS SET AT BALTIMORE MD TODAY…BREAKING THE OLD RECORD OF 5 SET BACK IN 1873.
THE MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 4 DEGREES FROM TODAY WAS ALSO THE
LOWEST MINUMUM TEMPERATURE RECORDED ON ANY DAY IN MARCH FOR
BALTIMORE. THE PREVIOUS RECORD MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR MARCH WAS 5 DEGREES ON 4 MARCH 1873.

(Thanks to Mark Albright for this official statement; emphasis by author)

If you’ve followed some media reports, the exceptional cold of this winter has been attributed to global warming, a hypothesis that has been questioned by climo Big Whigs.  However, if it is right (which even lowly C-M doubts), parts of the upper Midwest may become uninhabitable due to cold in a warming world, quite a weather “oxymoron.”

Also, if you’ve been hearing about weather extremes and global warming (AKA, “climate change”) you really should read this by a scientist I admire, Roger Pielke, Jr., at Colorado State Univsersity, his rebuttal to a Whitehouse science adviser’s characterization of his testimony before Congress about weather extremes (they’re not increasing).

What seems to be happening in climate science is the opposite of what our ideals are.  Our conglomerate of climate models did not see the present “puzzling” halt to global warming over the past 15 years or so as CO2 concentrations have continued to rise.  However, instead of being chastened/humbled by this failure, some climate scientists seem emboldened and only are shouting louder about the danger ahead.   Presently we are struggling with a number of hypotheses about why the hiatus has occurred (e.g., drying of the stratosphere which allows more heat to escape the earth, more aerosols in the stratosphere in which incoming sunlight is dimmed some as it was due to the Pinatubo eruption in 1991, ocean take up of extra heat, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current slowing down, causing northern hemisphere continents to cool off.)

UPdating at 8:28 AM:  This from the “current”issue of Science (Feb 28th) about the Global Warming Hiatus (GWH):  It might be due to the cold waters of the eastern Pacific, now reigning year after year almost for the whole time of the “hiatus.” (BTW, you’ve heard of it, haven’t you, that hiatus in rising global temperatures?  If not, write to your local media sources about this.  Its pretty important.)  Science mag is $10 if you want to buy it off the newstand.

What ever the cause of the puzzling hiatus in warming, it was not accounted for in our best models right from the get go, and so, naturally there SHOULD be caution on everyone’s part until we know what happened and can get it right in those many climate models..dammitall!    Unless we know what done it, how else can we have confidence that they are going to be very accurate 100 years out????

———————————————end of climate issue/rant module————————–

Here are a couple of nice sunset scenes from March 4th, that same day it was SO COLD in Ballimore, these to help you cool off personally after I got you pretty worked up with climate issues.  Hope I didn’t spoil your day, and try not to be mad at work thinking about it.

DSC_0067
6:19 PM. Row of Cirrus lenticulars appears below CIrrus/Altostratus layer. I think they were too high to be Altocumulus lenticulars, and dissipated into ice puffs right after this shot.
DSC_0075
6:31 PM. Cirrus spissatus (thicker parts) with strands from Cirrus uncinus under lit by the sun.

 

Snow and golf; a brief tirade, and yesterday’s clouds and why

I smiled seeing the groundskeepers scurrying about, sweeping and scraping snow off the courses and environs at the Dove Mountain golf tournament yesterday.   I was smiling because the golf culture here is so different from that in Seattle, Washington, much more “pampering” here.   Due to frequent inclement weather in Seattle, we have to toughen our skins against weather if we want to play golf.  Rain?  Snow?  No problem.

In Seattle, golf season begins on March 1st.  That’s because in March in Seattle, its only raining (or occasionally snowing) on every other day by then, not every day, as earlier in the winter.

So we’re going golfing on March 1st, dammitall, no matter what!

So shop keepers like this one below on Aurora Avenue in the north end of Seattle, knowing that Seattle golf culture, exult with big signs like this one when March 1st arrives!

The golf weather culture in Seattle, Washington as represented by this sign.
The golf weather culture in Seattle, Washington, as represented by this sign.  Photo  by the writer, March 1st, 1990.

Inaccuracy in media re Catalina snowfall or maybe it wasn’t: a tirade

I was thinking that maybe a tirade would be a nice change of pace for you before some cloud discussions.

First, since I heard a weather presenter report that “2 inches” of snow fell in Catalina, a visual correction to that report.  There was FOUR inches on the ground after settling/melting during the day and night of the 20-21st.  If there is FOUR inches the following morning, it HAD to have snowed quite a bit MORE than FOUR inches! (The total depth of snow that fell was 5.5 inches here on Wilds Road).

Here is the proof, 4 inches of depth as measured by a raingauge dip stick, one tenth inch markers are 1 inch in length–I didn’t have a regular ruler.  Some of the labels indicating light amounts of rain have worn off while the stick was being used in Seattle for 32 years, so you’ll have to count down from the 1.00, 90, 80 hundredths labels, ones clearly visible.  For added proof I have added a second photo, and if you call now, you’ll get a third photo free plus for $75 for handling and shipping…

8:41 AM, February 21st.  A raingauge measuring stick protrudes from a FOUR-inch depth of snow on a hitching post (where some snow could have even slipped off, or blew off!)
7:02 AM, February 21st. A raingauge measuring stick protrudes from a FOUR-inch depth of snow on a hitching post (where some snow could have even slipped off, or blew off!)
7:04 AM.  A slightly higher depth on a second hitching post--oh, yeah, leading the big western life here in Arizony.
7:04 AM. A slightly higher depth on a second hitching post–oh, yeah, leading the big western life here in Arizony with a horse and hitching posts.

I felt sad, though, remembering the words of humorist Dave Barry, speaking to the National Press Club back in ’91 I think it was, when he diverged from humor into a serious note, admonishing his Press Club Audience:  “Why can’t we get it right?1

Maybe in our case of the missing snow, it was because the person that called in the report was not a Cloud Maven Junior, and did not know how to measure snow.  Maybe less actually fell where that person was (unlikely).  Let us not forget that the snow on a flat board in Sutherland Heights, above Catalina proper, measured at nearly the same time as this, was SIX inches!

Yesterday’s clouds, and those snow-covered mountains

While it was sad to see so much snow disappear so fast, it was, overall, another gorgeous day in a long nearly continuous series of ones since the beginning of time here in Arizona, except maybe for those days of upheavals and dinosaurs and then when it was underwater, a remnant of the latter epoch as shown here in this fossil of a hydrosaurus, a precursor to grain eating critters like the Perissodactylas we have today…(horseys and such).  As you can see, the teeth here were for eating something like mueslix, not for ripping flesh.  I can’t believe all the information I am providing you today!

Possible hydrosaurus fossil encountered on a hike in Catalina State Park.  Finding was reported to park rangers.
Possible hydrosaurus fossil encountered on a hike in Catalina State Park (still checking on what it is). Finding was reported to park rangers.

 

Here are some shots with some notes on them or in the captions.  First those MOUNTAINS!

8:21 AM, February 20th, looking east from Sutherland Heights, which had SIX INCHES of snow on the ground at this time.
8:21 AM, February 20th, looking east from Sutherland Heights, which had SIX INCHES of snow on the ground at this time. Stratocumulus clouds top Samaniego Ridge.
9:13 AM.  THe snowy Tortolita Mountains with some Altocumulus perlucidus above.
9:13 AM. The snowy Tortolita Mountains with some Altocumulus perlucidus above.

 

2:25 PM.  With most of the snow already gone around Catalina, the majestic Catalina Mountains remind us of our great snowstorm and why we live here.
2:25 PM. With most of the snow already gone around Catalina, the majestic Catalina Mountains remind us of our great February 20th snowstorm and why we live here.

 

2:26 PM.  While it was serene-looking over the Catalinas, to the southwest the sky was filling in with Cumulus and slightly higher Stratocumulus clouds.  Why don't you see virga even though we know they are at below freezing temperatures?  In unison:  NO ICE!
2:26 PM. While it was serene-looking over the Catalinas, to the southwest the sky was filling in with Cumulus and slightly higher Stratocumulus clouds. Why don’t you see virga even though we know they are at below freezing temperatures? In unison: “NO ICE!”  (Tops too warm and cloud droplets likely on the small side.)  This was to change in the next couple of hours.

 

3:24 PM.  But first, another look at the Catalinas from Shroeder Ave because I think its worth it before continuing.
3:24 PM. But first, another look at the Catalinas from Shroeder Ave in Catalina because I think its worth it before continuing.  Golder Ranch Drive is on the far left.

 

5:25 PM.  Clearly there has been a change in the temperatures at the tops of these clouds, likely now colder than -10 C.  A trough of colder air was approaching aloft, and that likely lifted and cooled cloud tops.  The cloud layer was due mostly to the spreading out of Cumulus tops (Stratocumulus cumulogenitus).  The TUS sounding indicated cloud tops were around -12 C, capped by a very strong stable layer.
5:25 PM. Clearly there has been a change in the temperatures at the tops of these clouds, likely now colder than -10 C. A trough of colder air was approaching aloft, and that likely lifted and cooled cloud tops. The cloud layer was due mostly to the spreading out of Cumulus tops (Stratocumulus cumulogenitus). The TUS sounding indicated cloud tops were about -13 C, capped by a very strong stable layer.  There was a fall of sparse drops around this time, so some of it was getting to the ground.

 The weather ahead

Cold then HOT.  Hot when?  Heat’s on already by March 1st for sure.  Look at this “signal” in our trusty NOAA “ensembles of spaghetti” from last night:

Ann March 1st 5 PM AST spag_f192_nhbg
Valid for 5 PM AST, March 1st. You won’t see a signal stronger than this one for 8 days from now. Likely will reach into the 80s when this ridge of warm air is fully developed.

The End, at last.  Anyone still there?

—————————

1Deadlines have a way of getting in the way of “truth.”

Climate kerfluffle reprised in southern hemisphere

With no rain in sight, and only modest temperature fluctuations ahead, some reading material is presented to you today with commentary today, a “soapbox day.”

Cloud photos from yesterday are at the bottom if you want to skip to that and avoid thinking about things because its too early in the morning to get riled up.

I will start with an opinion piece concerning climate change and climate science from Australia.   It also mentions a recent event in the climo community concerning a Southern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction and the apparent rejection of what would have been an important paper by the peer-reviewed journal it was submitted to after crucial errors were found by an outsider/reviewer.  The author of this opinion article also mentions “climategate” a chapter of science that had a profound effect on this writer.  Now there are polemical aspects, not all of which this writer would agree with, still, its worth reading:

Speak Loudy and Carry a Busted Hockey Stick

The link to this article was circulated to our Atmos Sci Dept by one of my best friends, and really a science hero to me, Mark Albright, the former Washington State climatologist.  Mark was a mild-mannered researcher lurking in the background at the U of WA for many years until he got upset over what he (later joined by two allies there) was to show were vastly exaggerated journal-published and media accounts of snowpack losses due to GW in his own backyard, in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon.  Mark felt science had been corrupted by dogma, perhaps the pursuit of funding; he has not been the same since.  Believe me, I know what he has been through.

A retired distinguished professor at the U of WA Atmospheric Sciences Department circulated a counter articleto the one that Mark circulated, also worth reading for the “other side.”  It appears below, along with that professor’s note about the article Mark circulated.  I felt this note by the professor should be included, too:

“Worth reading is this article by a Reagan/Bush Science board appointee. It demonstrates objective science versus the Australian article which is full of vituperation, accusations without substance, slander, and very little science.”
.
http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/15/why-climate-deniers-have-no-credibility-science-one-pie-chart

In the headline of this second article,  the word “denier” is used in its title as a pejorative, mass label for those who question some of the global warming publicity stunts (assigning particular storms like Sandy to GW) down to results published in peer-reviewed journals, such as reports of exaggerated snowpack losses.  Not good, and that headline tells you where that article is headed: criticism is not to be tolerated.  But it also shows that the majority of science being published on climate change supports the finding that a warmer earth is ahead.  But there is a reason for that; its being pushed by the monumental amounts of money being poured into that climate research domain.

There are many of us out there that do believe that funding is pushing the research on global warming in one direction in this job-poor era we’re now in, just as it did, and still does, in the cloud seeding domain:  no one ever got a job saying cloud seeding doesn’t work.  In my own career–yes, Mr. Cloud Maven person had a professional research one, and one spiced with controversy1 over several decades–the opinion article from Australia rings true in many aspects about how science works and what influences a preponderance of “conclusions” that get published in journals.

In the climate funding domain, don’t look for more funds if you conclude a million dollar study by indicating that you didn’t find any sign of warming over the past 30 years, as is the actual case in the Pacific Northwest.  NO ONE is going to touch that hot potato and serve a finding like that up to a climate journal.  Its not gonna fly.  It makes explaining global warming difficult.  And as Homer Simpson advises, “If something’s hard to do, its not worth doing.”

But at the same time, a counter finding to global warming presents to those of us who try to be truly ideal, disinterested scientists, a fabulous opportunity to look into something that is not immediately explicable.  As scientists, we should live for opportunities like this!

But will it happen, will some brave soul at the University of Washington or elsewhere delve into this counter trend and try to explain why its happened in a journal article? Its hoped so.

But those of us, still on the GW bandwagon, if grudgingly so due to the actions of some of our peers, know that regional effects of GW are dicey.  Some areas will warm up more than others; cooling is possible if the jet stream ridges and troughs like to hang out in different positions than they do today.  And of course, if we smog up the planet too much, all bets on warming up much are off since clouds act to cool the planet, and pollution makes clouds last longer, especially over the oceans where pollution can interfere with drizzle production, which helps dissolve shallow clouds, and pollution causes more sunlight to be reflected back into space.  The cloud effects are being more carefully, precisely evaluated in our better computer models.

——————-

It is ironic, too, that the second article, the one passed along by the professor, ends with the mention of plate tectonics “as the ruling paradigm of science” as it is.
But, some word about how that paradigm came about; it was a “long and winding road.”

Alfred Wegener, a meteorologist,  first proposed the theory of continental drift/plate tectonics around the turn of the century.  A nice account of this science chapter about origin of the theory of plate tectonics is found in the book, Betrayers of the Truth, by then NYT science writers, Nicholas Wade and William J. Broad.

Because Alfred Wegener was a meteorologist, however, and NOT a geographer, namely was an outsider to the official science community studying the continents and how they got that way, his ideas were laughed at, not taken seriously for more than 40 years!  Only in the 1960s was the idea of plate tectonics accepted.

I mention this tectonic chapter of science because there is a similar chapter that reappears constantly now in the climate debates.  Several of the strongest critics of GW results, critics that have delved deeply behind the scenes into published findings of climate change in a scientific manner, much as this writer did concerning cloud seeding experiments in the 1970s-1990s, are criticized for being “outside of the group”, just  Alfred Wegner was in his day rather than those “in the group” considering and acting on whether the findings of outsiders are valid.

Fortunately, this is beginning to change because, guess what?  Outsiders have found some pretty important stuff that HAD to be addressed in spite of the desires of some idealogues out there pretending to be objective, disinterested scientists.   Science as a whole, still works.

A cloud note: Alfred Wegner is also known for proposing the idea that ice crystals in the presence of supercoooled water (a common event in the atmosphere) grow and fallout, leading to precipitation at the ground, known as the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeisen mechanism.  Every 101 meteorology textbook points this out.

The last photo below is a demonstration of that effect; those sunset supercooled Altocumulus shedding a few ice crystals that grew within them.

 

 Yesterday’s clouds

7:33 AM Cirrus fibratus radiatus. Sometimes perspective makes banding look like its converging or radiating. I estimated that this was not the case here.
4:31 PM Parhelia-Sundog-Mock Sun in an ice cloud with hexagonal plate llike crystals, ones that fall face down and cause the light to be refracted and separated. Here’s is a link explaining this phenomenon.
5:24 PM. A classic Arizona sunset due to the under lighting of Altocumulus perlucidus. Some very fine virga from these clouds can also be seen. When the virga is this fine, the concentrations, as you would imagine are very low and the crystals falling out are especially beautiful because they have not collided with
other crystals and broken into pieces as happens in heavy virga shafts.

——————————————————————————-

1Some examples of the controversy the writer has been involved with:

“We don’t hate you but we don’t love you, either.”

This quote from a leading US cloud seeding scientist to the writer at an American Meteorological Society  conference on cloud seeding and statistics after his cloud seeding experiments had been reanalyzed by the writer.

“I want you to leave my office and don’t come back.  Just do your own thing.”

This quote from THE leading cloud seeding scientist of the day when I went to his country to see for myself the clouds he was describing in peer-reviewed journal articles, descriptions that I had doubts about. His descriptions were later shown to be far from reality.

And, from an outside observer, and well-known cloud researcher at the National Center for Atmos. Research in Boulder, a comment to the writer when he visited the University of Washington:

“I think the (cloud seeding) community sees you as a ‘gadfly’.”

From the Oxford Concise Dictionary, “gadfly”:

“A cattle-biting fly; an irritating, harassing person.”

Q. E. D.

 

Catalina winter rainfall to end by 2035!

I was working on updating our Catalina October through May historical rainfall data with this past season’s total,  when a friend brought this Scientific American article to my attention. Today’s blog title is inspired by the May 25th, 2012, issue of Scientific American, one in which it was pronounced :

“Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok [Excerpt]

Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate “flips” could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years.” 

The full, scary article is here.   Sci Am, in this article, created the “perfect storm” of sensationalism….alluding here to their sub-title.   Worst case climate conjectures are piled to dizzying heights.  It has inspired many commentaries like the one I am going to make below.   Be sure to read the many comments at the end of the Sci Am article.

The key word in the title and sub-title is, “could.”  For credibility, the Sci. Am. also used the phrase, “climate scientists” which technically could mean just two of thousands or all of them. They quote a couple of climate scientists, but few climate scientists believe that the horrendous things conjectured in this article will happen “quickly”,  in a “matter of years”;  that there are “tipping points” that will lead to temperatures here that will melt lead (as in metal)!
———————————–
Now for today’s blog…
I realized as soon as I saw the Sci Am headine that what I was going to write about concerning Catalina’s updated rainfall from this past winter would be pretty lame; not sensational enough.  So I thought I would rework our Catalina rainfall update from this past cool season to better reflect today’s climate reporting modus operandi;  kind of “go with the flow”, grab some headlines, and that MO is reflected in today’s title.
By the way, the majority of the data I am going to show, originate with the folks at Our Garden, a place you should patronize royally for the great local climate records they have kept for us.

What I saw, thinking in the “excitement” vein after the Sci Am article, is that by projecting the trendline (best fit) of our 35 year decline in rainfall we have now just a couple of decades into the future,  is that the trendline would reach the zero rainfall point, the x-axis, before long.  With that intercept at zero comes the unassailable (or is it?) conclusion that it will no longer rain between October 1st and May 31st in Catalina by 2035!

Fantastic!  A show-stopper!   Finally, I will be popular.  But in reporting this I will have to look very sad, upset, but at the same time be glad inside that I have something great that people will want to hear.

Moreover,  these results I am reporting can be expanded beyond Catalina; more excitement!  Catalina is MUCH wetter than surrounding lowland areas in the cool season, about 10 inches vs. 5-6 inches, lower areas that include Tucson, Marana, etc. Therefore, this conclusion can be confidently applied to those lower elevation locations as well, ones that have huge populations:  No more cool season rain by 2035 in Tucson!

But, why stop even there with our local scene?

Why not assert, since no precipitation station “…is an island, entire of itself”,  to paraphrase John Donne, that this trend MAY apply to the entire State of Arizona and adjacent states as well!  Now we’re talkin’ some real excitement, 10s of millions of people getting worked up.

Now for the totality of evidence for my end-of-rainfall claim, this graph1:

 Call a news conference now!

———————————–

OK, “truth-in packaging”: its not going to happen, relax.

Here is a long term, quite soothing record of Arizona rainfall over the years, courtesy of NOAA via Roger Cohen, who was commenting on a NM wildfire story in the New York Times with his graph:

In our own Catalina rainfall graph, I don’t have enough data to draw any real conclusions about trends, and that’s clear from this long term graph going back into the late 1890s.

Of course, it is also known by the climate mavens out there, and is also shown in the long term graph, that “Mr. and Mrs. Our Garden” began taking records during one of the wettest periods in Arizona history and in the Southwest as a matter of fact, over the past 100 and more years!  Take a look at the NOAA graph above and observe those rainfall values in the late 1970s into the early 1990s.  So, if you moved here then, and think the climate was much wetter back then than it is now, you’re right, but it wouldn’t have been our normal climate, either! Get over it, as The Eagles have told us to do; after all, we live in desert where most years are drier than normal.

So, a downward trend after the first ten years or so of the Our Garden rainfall record was inevitable.  You need at least 50 years to establish climate normals and trends, particularly around mountainous regions, according to the World Meteorological Organizations statements on climate records.

Note, too, that it was consistently DRIER than here during the past 10 years of “drought” in the late 1940s through into the early 1970s, and also at the turn of the century!  Amazing.  Man, those were awful times in AZ!

You can stop reading here since most of the points I wanted to make have been made.
The End1

_________________________________________________________

OK, now to be serious for awhile;  soapbox time, rant time, what-scientists-are-supposed-to-do time, “ideals of science”, etc.  Furrowing brow now…usually people start moving away, etc.

Scientific American is a magazine that tries to be “scientific”, that is, report recent findings in science in an objective manner, and make them understandable for the general public.  Great.

Unfortunately, the temptation for a general audience magazine is always one of trying to get the most readers for each issue (“bang” for the “buck”), and the temptation to phrase article titles in sensational terms to gain readership is always present, as I have done in the title of this blog, trying to expand readership beyond the two I have.   Its understandable.   Even in our best peer-reviewed journals, the hardest ones to get into, Science and Nature, have this temptation to some degree, but mostly avoid it with staid covers and “headlines.”

But going the sensational route has a way of backfiring, like the claims made in the late 1960s into the 1970s about an imminent ice age; that our warm “Interglacial” period between Ice Ages (the Holocene)  was about to end, and “global cooling” was going to wreak havoc with just about everything.

Or, more recently, that snowpacks in the Pacific Northwest were going to disappear soon, in just decades like my claim above about Catalina rainfall.  Those claims were made by scientists who got carried away by using only some of the data, not all of it, beginning with an era of high snowpacks, as I have done with our Catalina rainfall, starting with an era of high rainfall.

Those snowpack claims, too, were ones that were ripe for a hungry media primed for global warming (or earlier, global cooling) disaster stories which, of course, sell newspapers and magazines and appeared in such media giants as Time, and numerous media outlets.  The greater the catastrophic outlooks, the greater the sales.

Snowpacks in the Pacific NW have been increasing since those claims were made, 5-10 years ago.  Nor could researchers find any evidence that the temperatures over the past few decades at mountain top level were increasing, something that had to happen to support claims of earlier melting off of snowpacks and less deep ones.  If real estate has the mantra, location, location, location, science is supposed to have the mantra, caution, caution, caution.

Now it MAY be that EVENTUALLY snowpacks in the Pacific Northwest WILL decline.  But the scientists who made the original sensational claims were incautious.  They should have pointed out that it will be a very gradual process and many things might come to bear on such an overall gradual decrease that might make it appear that nothing is happening for years at a time due to changes in weather regimes, like the Pacific Decadal OscillationArctic Oscillation, etc.. Those of us who know weather know that there are tipping points in which weather regimes go into a new modes, where low centers like to be changes, and those changes can persist for many years.  Why they happen is not known but being investigated.

These kinds of regime tips from one state to another was anticipated by the “Father of Chaos Theory”, E. N. Lorenz, some 40 years ago (e.g., “Climate Change as a Mathematical Problem” when he pointed out the charateristics of atmospheres that are “transitive” (ones that don’t flip-flop into new modes) and “intransitive” ones that do flip-flop into new modes without much “forcing”.   Flip-floping is just an inherent property that an “intransitive” atmosphere has and is likely represented by the oscillations mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Interestingly, looking back at all the climate flip-flops that had occurred over the eons of the earth’s history, Lorenz ventured that “human (climate) forcings” can likely be ignored since they had not caused the remarkable climate changes in the past.

Those of us who know anything about the global warming future projected know that REGIONAL effects of GW are dicey; not well known.  Some places could really warm up, while some places could even cool off due to, for example, stronger summer sea breezes flowing toward warmer continents, something that may already be under way according to some researchers.

Or, the storm track-jet stream positions might shift and bring cooler weather to a relatively small regions while the globe overall warms up.  We know, for example, that troughs aloft (with their cold air) tend to shift inland to the western US as the northern hemisphere warms up in the spring.  As that happens, storms with cold fronts tend to move more from the northwest to the southeast, delaying the onset of higher spring temperatures in the West that otherwise might happen.

These regional effects are just beginning to be explored with higher resolution models that can capture regional effects better.

Now we’re ALL concerned today about where the climate MAY be heading.

We, the people,  are really wrecking things royally with our air pollution and trace gas emissions.  The sky is awful-looking on a regular basis due to smog in huge parts of the world now.  What’s interesting is how accustomed, and non-chalant we have become to the “white sky” so prevalent in the eastern US on humid days.

The climate system of this planet is extremely complicated and even now it is not known why the earth’s temperature has stopped increasing over the past 10-15 years while there have been huge increases in CO2 and methane, those gases that are mainly responsible for the projected and past global warmings that have occurred.

We, as scientists, should always pause, take a deep breath of “humility”, when something major like this happens, the recent leveling of the earth’s temperature, when we can’t explain it and start to rethink our hypotheses.  No climate model expected this leveling in temperature to happen back when it started.

Here in Catalina we have a “problem” with our climate rainfall data.  Its been drying out for awhile, years, really, in the cooler part of the year  (October through May), and last winter’s precip did nothing to alter this downward trend even though it was wetter than the previous cool season of Oct 2010-May 2011.   That latter one was so dry that there were no spring wildflowers at the end of that awful winter.

Global warming (GW) is the most easily, readily accepted explanation for everything these days, including that big dust devil that went through Catalina a few days ago around 3:30 PM.  In the 1950s, it was “atomic testing” that caused all manner of strange weather inthe popular lexicon, 1960s and 1970s, it was global cooling (with scientists on board), and in the 1980s and 1990s, El Ninos caused EVERYTHING strange, beyond what we know El Ninos really do.

Those were fun times for real meteorologists, familiar with the year to year vagaries of weather, ones that lead to extremes of all kinds.

The End2.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

1Since sarcasm is the refuge of a small mind its been said, I have added some more sarcasm to the legends in this graph as well.  I am exulting in the small mind!  Why pretend to be something you’re not?

 

 

Let’s talk about May

Now in a really good web site about weather, clouds and climate, we would have talked about May around the first of May.  But let’s face it, this site really isn’t that great.  So now we’ll talk about the climate of May on May 11th.

Below is the rain frequency climate, such as it is, for May here in Catalina.   Surprisingly, to Mr. Cloud-maven person, there is no downward trend in the chances of measurable rain from the very first days of May until the end as was expected.  Instead, each day of the whole month has about the same small chance of rain from the 35 year record mostly made by the folks (Wayne and Jenny) at Our Garden here in Catalina.

Where the rising temperature graph for May, you ask? Well, I don’t do temperature. I am cloud and rain person. A nice graph of the temperature trend for May, which we know is upward on average for the whole month, can be found here at the Western Regional Climate Center, housed at the cloud seeding-inclined Desert Research Institute of the University of Nevada which issues misleading PR pieces on cloud seeding which they conduct for the State of Nevada (no, you won’t find them, in spite of being an academic institution, doing proper randomized cloud seeding experiments, but rather bogus-style “operational” seeding.  They’d be AFRAID of doing a proper long-term, double blind randomized experiment using independent evaluators!  If I was them, I would be afraid, too, about what such an experiment might tell their long term funders!  Don’t get me started on cloud seeding discussions!

Now, where was I?

Oh, yeah, climate.  Don’t get me started about the parallels between some aspects of the purveyors of global warming info (I’m talking exaggerations, not the prospect of it which I have to grudgingly go along with, “grudgingly” because I really hope there’ll be an ice age tomorrow when I read some of the exaggerations that come out for the purpose of scaring people,  like this or that storm or tornado was due to global warming.

Yes, there are parallels between cloud seeding claims and some of the GW ones, mostly, in this writer’s opinion, driven by the need for funding.

Now, an hour later,  back to that graph at DRI….  You can see that the temperature at the U of A rises steadily throughout May on average.   We knew that already, so there really wasn’t much point in showing it, but I feel a lot better now having exhausted some hot air myself.

 

The End.

 

 

 

The Myth: Climate scientists were not on the global cooling bandwagon in the 1970s

Advisory:  heavy reading ahead…have to fill time during current cloud drought

In an article published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) in 2008, it was asserted that there was no “concensus” on global cooling in the 1970s.  Why address this now?  I was busy before now….

Overall response to this BAMS assertion:

Hogwash!  Rubbish!  Bilge!  (I’m pretty “excited” here).

In fact, perhaps the most outrageous statement I have ever seen in a peer-reviewed journal was that of the BAMS Editor, quoted below in red.  In defense of the Editor, he was only parroting the conclusions of a major article in that BAMS issue purporting this distortion.  The appearance of such an article can be seen as a failure of peer review.   Here is what the BAMS Editor wrote in summarizing that bogus claim:

“In this issue, (the authors-names omitted) show that we were indeed misled about global cooling–but not by scientists. (emphasis added by the present writer).   Rather, we are confused about the recent history of our own science.”

I wanted to gag when I read this.  I was doing decadal climate studies in the early 1970s and so I was “pretty familiar” with the literature.

First of all, what were scientists really saying about climate change back then?  I will cite two major sources from the 1970s:

Below, a quote by Wilmot N. Hess, then the Director of 11 NOAA programs,  from the preface of  Chapter F on Climatic Change in the book, Weather and Climate Modification, published by Wiley Interscience in 1974.  (The volume, a collection of essays by experts,  targeted senior-level college students in the sciences and engineering, or working scientists or engineers who don’t know much meteorology.)

“It has been suggested recently that we are near the end of an integlacial period.  Studies of climate changes are in their infancy.  We know that there have been four episodes of glaciation in the recent past covering a period of about 1,000, 000 years.  A conference at Brown University in January 1972 discussed this problem and the MAJORITY (the font can’t be big enough here!) of the participants concluded that:

Warm intervals like the present one have been short-lived and the natural end of our warm eposch is undoubtedly near when considered on a geological time scale.   Global cooling and related rapid changes of environment, substantially exceeding the fluctuations experienced by man in historical times must be expected within the next few millenia or even centuries.‘”

Here’s what those climate scientists were looking at over just the past 100, 000 years of the earth’s climate.   Their concern will be obvious.  Note the “present” is on the left, not right as per normal.  The numbers “4” and “5” represent “interglacial” warm periods, the first the present one, called the Holocene, and “5”, the Eemian interglacial period.  Look, too,  how the temperature was trending DOWNWARD over all that glacial time until our present interglacial.  Source:  National Academy of Sciences, 1975.

Now imagine you are a journalist at that Brown University Conference…and you also learn that the earth’s temperature has been falling for more than 25 years (not shown in the above graph).  Futhermore, the CO2 people also inform you that the recent decline in temperatures over that 25 years would even be GREATER if it wasn’t for the mitigating effect of CO2!

What are you going to tell your public?   It’s obvious.

So how did such a scientific distortion get published in BAMS in 2008 by supposedly knowledgeable authors? Were they themselves confused about the history of climate change?  Was it due to their methodology?  Or was it a propaganda piece all along, a revisionist history resembling something analogous to the type of pieces that came out of Pravda of the former Soviet Union, a piece written to correct an earlier error,  so that that we scientists look like we had it right all along?  Probably all of these, in this writer’s opinion.

Lets look at what the authors did.   The full article is here.  In support of their phony claim, the authors of the BAMS article used a “bean counting” approach, the results of which they display in a contingency table.   They tabulated articles on climate change and its likely causes in peer-reviewed journals, looked at the conclusions, and if the article concluded that CO2 was going to warm the world, it would be placed in the warming world column, if the conclusion was ambiguous they gave it a nul ranking, and if the article concluded we were headed for a cooling, it went into that column.  The authors then told us that because they were more articles about CO2 and warming than nul or cooling articles, that must be what everyone believed, a major fallacy in reasoning.

However, either out of ignorance of our science hierarchy,  or having an axe to grind, they counted prestigious reviews with the same as that assigned to a single publication by “Joe Blow”, somebody who might never have been heard from again.   So when they counted an 1975 assessment by the National Academy of Sciences, an organization that periodically reviews subjects of critical interest, employing dozens of experts and reviewing dozens of peer-0revied articles, the authors assigned that review the same weight as the other publications.   It was like assigning an elephant the weight of a flea.

Nor did the authors mention the 1968 American Meteorological Monograph, The Causes of Climatic Change; not ONE paper in that tome discusses CO2 and its possible effect on climate!

And, of course, they did not cite the Wiley-Interscience volume with its contents concerning climate,  quoted above.

But why were scientists in the 1970s concerned with global cooling and not paying so much attention to CO2?

By 1975, the earth’s temperature had been in DECLINE for about 30 years!   This was in spite of massive increases in CO2 during that 30 years.   The cause of that decline has not been ascertained even as of today.  That decline in temperatures was reversed in the late 1970s,  as has the cause of the leveling of the earth’s temperature during the past 10-12 years, also in spite of increasing CO2.  Furthermore, some authors attributed that reversal to changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which occurred in the late 1970s, not to CO2.

Against that background of a long term decline in temperature by the mid-1970s, it was known that the current “interglacial” period we are in (also known in science-speak as the “Holocene”)  would not last forever.   In fact, it had gone on about as long as the earlier one about 100, 000 years ago, called the Eemian (number “5” in the figure above), or about 10-12,000 years.  This was of concern to paleoclimatologists in the mid-1970s against the backdrop of declining temperatures.   Recall we departed from ice age conditions in fits and starts only about 18,000 years ago, and after a few thousand years reached the current Holocene “warmth.”

Here’s what the National Academy of Sciences (Understanding Climatic Change) had to say in 1975, p188:

“One may still ask the question:  When will the present interglacial end?  Few paleoclimatologists would dispute that the prominent warm periods (or interglacials) that have followed each of the terminations of the major glaciations  have had durations of 10,000 +-2,000 years.  In each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after the interglacial interval.  Since about 10,000 years has elapsed since the onset of the present period of prominent warmth, the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brink of a period of colder climate.   Kukla and Mathews (1972) have already called attention to such a possiblity.  There seems little doubt that the present period of unusual warmth will (emphasis in the original) eventually give way to a time of colder climate, but there is no consensus with regard to either the magnitude or the rapidity of the transition.  The onset of this climatic decline could be several thousand years in the future, although there is a finite probability that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the earth within the next hundred years.”

So, global cooling is in our future, no doubt about it.  However, the NAS pointed out that the bad for us cooling might be offset by CO2, or, if there was a further warming, that before the eventual cooling, that CO2 would exacerbate that.  To me, what was being written by the NAS was vastly different than the mere “0” assigned to that piece by the BAMS authors.

Now, when a journalist reads a statement by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences that there is a possibility of a “climatic decline” (that’s how cooling was looked at, namely, it would be worse weather for us than we have now in the Interglacial) in just a hundred years, what is he going to write?  If he wrote about that for, say,  Time magazine, that global cooling was “in the bag” and might even happen within a 100 years,  he would have gotten it  from our highest scientific organization.

In sum, there WAS widespread concern among climatologists and scientists about global cooling, particular in the early 1970s.   It was no myth.