Category Archives: Sunrise

Sunset was pretty good; raindrops tomorrow morning? In nine days as well?

Haven’t had much to say, brain pretty empty again after the big review of the NAS 2003 review which really needed reviewing and commenting on real bad….

(More “late homework” in the offing.)

———————-

Nice sunset last night; we have had a series of pretty nice ones over the past few days.

April 26th. Sunset over the Charoulou Gap.
April 26th. Sunrise over the Charouleau Gap.
DSC_3471
Orangy mountains highlighted by a gap in the Altostratus layer that allowed the setting sun to shine through.
DSC_3474
7:04 PM. There was some turreting in this line of Altostratus that passed over, and because of those deeper tops, indicating stronger, if still slight updrafts, larger snow particles developed and produced this line of heavier virga underneath it.
DSC_3479
7:10 PM.
DSC_3462
A contrail that’s more than about ten minutes old, now, after the new Int. Cloud Atlas has been released, termed, Cirrus anthrogenitus, maybe castellanus in this case, too.

From IPS MeteoStar, this interesting map for tomorrow morning.

The orangy colors denote the strongest winds in “Jetty Jetstream”, and as you know, the colder, low clouds, ones capable of reaching the temperatures where ice forms, are contained within that ring of strongest winds at this level (500 mb).  So, while the models I have looked at so far have no rain here, I think there’s a pretty good chance of a rogue shower tomorrow morning anyway.  At least there should be some nice Stratocumulus/Cumulus tomorrow and some will have ice in them.   As you know, it’ll be awful windy today, too, maybe 40 mph or so in brief gusts here in The Heights of Sutherland.

Also will be looking for some nice lenticulars since “Jetty” will be right over us, but a little toward the warm side where lenticulars mostly occur.

Map valid for tomorrow morning at 5 AM AST.
Map valid for tomorrow morning at 5 AM AST.

In the meantime, spaghetti suggests a big trough in our area again about nine days from now.  The later ACTUAL model outputs don’t show much of anything.  What’s up with that?  I’m hanging with spaghetti that later model runs will indicate a strong trough, and at LEAST another pulse of cooler air, and another minor chance of rain as we are going to see today and especially tomorrow as when become within the “ring of winds” aloft.  Didn’t Johnny Cash sing something about that? Maybe it was Wall of Voodoo

Below, some spaghetti for you showing a big trough over Arizona and the Great Basin which is not much reflected in the actual models, as noted.  But, just watch my friend, how those model outputs will change to reflect a bigger trough about this time!

Valid at 5 PM May 7th.
Valid at 5 PM May 7th.

 

The End

 

Catalina WY progress report; Cal WY update, too, since I grew up in Cal

I thought you’d like to see this:

As of the end of February 2017. We're pretty average, but it took some "heavy lifting" in December and January to get there.
As of the end of February 2017.  You can see were right about at the average for the Water Year,, but it took some “heavy lifting” in December and January to get there.

Doesn’t look promising for much rain here in Catalina in March, however.  No rain in sight through the next 10 days at least.

Let’s check our 7 inches with what’s happening upwind, say, in CALIFORNIA, and see if there’s been any drought relief there, through February,  via the CNRFC:

California water year totals through the end of February 2017. Note one station in the central Califorina coastal range is already over 100 inches!
California water year totals through the end of February 2017. Note one station in the central Califorina coastal range is already over 100 inches!  There are 20 stations already over 100 inches as can be seen from the table at right.  March looks to have substantial rains north of SFO, which will add appreciably to those highest totals.  Amazing!  You can go to the CNRFC and expand these interactive maps, btw.

As you are likely to know from many media stories last year, Cal was in a drought siege of five straight years,  with but got a little relief last year in the northern part thanks to help from  the giant Niño, one of the strongest ever.

Alas, it was one that failed to deliver as the big rain producer for the south half of Cal and the SW in general as was expected.

In case you’ve forgotten how bad things were in Cal, let us look back at what was being said, those horrific appearing drought maps,  and also how hopeful were were at the time  that the Big Niño would take a bit bite out of drought.  This is a really good article:

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/how-deep-precipitation-hole-california

Then, when the Big Niño faded away like maple syrup on a stack of buckwheat pancakes last spring and summer,  we were surely doomed for more dry years.  And, for a time, the dreaded cold tongue of water in the eastern equatorial region, the so-called, La Niña, started to develop, which would be no help at all for  a good rain season like a Big Niño is, usually.

The Niña faded away, too, to nothing as the winter went on, so we really didn’t have much going on in the tropical Pacific to help us figure out what kind of winter rainfall regime we were going to have om 2016-17.  Not having anything going on meant winter rainfall could go either way, a difficult to figure out situation for season forecasters.

In retrospect it is pretty astounding how big a signal must have been out there SOMEWHERE that this winter was going to be one for the history books on the West Coast in general, and in particular, for Californians.  Californians saw their drought chewed up and spit out in a single winter, including snow packs so high the height of some mountain peaks have been revised.  (I’m kidding.)

No one saw such an astounding winter coming.

This winter sure makes one think of the QBO (Quasi-biennenial Oscillation, one up there in the Stratosphere where there’s almost no air (haha, well, practically none)…  Did the QBO have a role in this astounding winter;  was there a delay in the effects of the Big Niño even without a bunch of convection in the eastern Pac tropics?  Doesn’t seem that could be right…

But, William “Bill” Lau, U of Maryland scientist,  reported some statistical evidence of  such a lag way back in ’88 due to a QBO connection of some kind and ENSO, no physical cause could be discerned, however,  not yet,  anyway.  Lau, 1988, is reprised below for readers who want to go deep:

Annual cycle, QBO, SO on global precip J Geophys Res 1988ocr

Sure has looked like the Big Niño WY we expected last year!

Some recent clouds; after all, this is CLOUD maven, not RAIN maven:

I’ve been kind of holding out on you.  I dropped my camera and busted it.  Its no fun taking pictures when you don’t have a real camera.  Still doesn’t work right, but take these anyway:

March 4th, afternoon. Hope you logged this; the rarely seen CIrrus castellanus (almost "congestus" in size) or, informally, "Cumulo-cirrus."
March 4th, afternoon. Hope you logged this; the rarely seen CIrrus castellanus (almost “congestus” in size) or, informally, “Cumulo-cirrus.”
Poppies are out, btw. Nice display on "Poppy Hils" just across and southwest of the Pima County Pistol Club, off Bowman.
Poppies are out, btw, in case you haven’t noticed. Nice display on “Poppy Hils” just across and southwest of the Pima County Pistol Club, off Bowman.
DSC_2499
March 4th, late afternoon. Nothing terrifically special in this tangle of Cirrus spissatus (“Cis spis” to cloud folk) but I thought it was just a really nice scene

Moving to the next day, Sunday, that REALLY windy day:

March 5, Sunday morning 6:13 AM. Altocumulus lenticularis alerts cloudwise folk to the possibility of windy conditions although it was already windy.
March 5, Sunday morning 6:13 AM. Altocumulus lenticularis alerts cloudwise folk to the possibility of windy conditions although it was already windy.
3:55 PM, March 5th. After a day of solid Altostratus overcast with underlying Cumulus and Stratocumulus, a layer of Altocumulus began to move in to add a little more interest to the sky.
3:55 PM, March 5th. After a day of solid Altostratus overcast with underlying Cumulus and Stratocumulus, a layer of Altocumulus began to move in to add a little more interest to the sky.
3:57 PM. Looking to the north revealed that some of the lower Cumulus/Stratocumulus complexes reached heights where ice could form. That smooth region on the bottom and right side of the cloud is a fall of ice from this cloud with a RW- (text for "light rainshower") if you like to text stuff) right below that. This is not a lot of ice and so you'd be thinking the cloud barely made that ice-forming temperature.
3:57 PM. Looking to the north revealed that some of the lower Cumulus/Stratocumulus complexes reached heights where ice could form. That smooth region on the bottom and right side of the cloud is a fall of ice from this cloud with a RW- (text for “light rainshower”) if you like to text stuff) right below that. This is not a lot of ice and so you’d be thinking the cloud barely made that ice-forming temperature.  CMP doesn’t think it was caused by an ice fallout from that higher layer, which sometimes can happen.  Let’s look at the most timely sounding, just to check.  From the real Cowboys at the University of Wyoming, this:
Ann 2017030600.72274.skewt.parc
The TUS sounding which I only now just saw, showing a vast separation between the lower Stratocumulus and the higher layers of Altocumlus and Altostratus on top. Note, too, that over TUS the tops of the lower cloud is not quite at -10°C the temperature we start to look for ice formation in AZ. However, our clouds were NW of that balloon sounding, and it would have been that tiny bit colder, and tops were also lifted some when they passed over the Tortolitas earlier, meaning that the tops of this complex were colder than -10° C (14° F) at some point.

Wow, too much information….after a hiatus in blogging I feel like that  Oroville Dam in California, metaphorically overflowing with too much hand-waving information.

6:03 PM, March 5. Its still real windy. Line of virga brought a few drops when it passed overhead at 6:30 PM.
6:03 PM, March 5. Its still real windy. Line of virga brought a few drops when it passed overhead at 6:30 PM.
6:04 PM. Nice dramatic shot toward Marana as the backside of the middle cloud layer approached allowing the sun to shine through.
6:04 PM. Nice dramatic shot toward Marana as the backside of the middle cloud layer approached allowing the sun to shine through.
6:09 PM. Virga getting closer. May have to park car outside to make sure I don't miss any drops!
6:09 PM. Virga getting closer. May have to park car outside to make sure I don’t miss any drops!
6:22 PM. SW-NE oriented virga strip about to pass overhead. Drops fell between 6:30 and 6:40 PM, but you had to be outside to notice, which you would have been as a proper CMJ eccentric.
6:22 PM. SW-NE oriented virga strip about to pass overhead. Drops fell between 6:30 and 6:40 PM, but you had to be outside to notice, which you would have been as a proper CMJ eccentric.  You would have WANTED that trace of rain report, maybe slackers would not have observed.
6:30 PM. Climax; the great sunset allowed by that backside clearing.
6:30 PM. Climax; the great sunset allowed by that backside clearing.

The End, at last!

In case you missed them…a 2008 full moon and, moving ahead, yesterday’s sunrise

The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you'd like to see it again coming up over the Catalinas.
The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you’d like to see it in case you missed it, or see it again if you did see it.  Maybe you had a special memory with this moon.
DSC_9864
7:09 AM. Altocumulus perlucidus with a little lenticular underneath.
7:43 AM.
7:10 AM. Zooming and zooming.
DSC_9869
7:10 AM. Zooming some more.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
DSC_9884
7:16 AM, Contrails were soon visible in our Altocumulus layer, the aircraft making it at the right edge of the photo. Appeared to be in a climb out going right to left. And, when you see these “high temperature contrails” in Altocumulus, you can be sure ice will form and rifts will develop as a little bit of light snow develops and falls out.  The jillions of ice crystals in the contrail cause the droplets in the Altocumulus to evaporate, in a way, gutting it. An ice crystal is like a low pressure center when amid droplets;   the droplets evaporate and those water molecules deposit themselves on the ice crystal, a process named after the discoverers, Wegner-Bergeron-Findeisen.   Eventually the crystal is large enough to settle out and a clear streak results unless the air is rising rapidly and can replace the droplets (as generally happens in storms).  Sometimes the lift in the Altocumulus layer is enough that a clear canal caused by an aircraft can fill back in after many minutes.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.  After two or three more minutes, they will not be visible within the cloud, though ice is forming, decimating the droplets around the intense streamers of ice in the contrail.
DSC_9897
7:28 AM. The small ice canal (the ice is hanging just below the Altocumulus clouds–kind of hard to make out, but its there.
DSC_9900
7:42 AM. Those little clear streaks are hardly noticeable now, partly because they were quite narrow, and because of perspective and things bunching up in the distance.

 

From the Cowboys in Laramie, Wyoming, this TUS sounding for yesterday morning in the pre-dawn hours:

Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a "normal" temperature for this kind of "high temperature contrail". In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.
Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a “normal” temperature for this kind of “high temperature contrail”. In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.   See usual contrail height at Cirrus levels  in moon photo.

As the morning wore on, the Altocumulus deck faded away, moving east, and we were left with some Cirrus clouds, but what kind?

DSC_9904
10:58 AM. Cirrus of some type, but notice there is absolutely no fibrous details (strands and such) as we normally see in Cirrus.  Could be transverse waves in a Cirrostratus deck since Cirrostratus can be fog like, have no detail, in a version we call, Cirrostratus nebulosus.  The up and down motions would cause clearings perpendicular to the wind up there.  The lack of strands and uniformity in these bands suggests very tiny ice crystals, ones having very little fallspeeds.
DSC_9905
2:34 PM. Some nice “hovercraft” clouds, Altocumulus lenticularis off in the distance SSW. Hung around out there for a couple of hours.
DSC_9906
3:17 PM. This one appeared to be concave upward, which was a little odd. Zoomed view next.
DSC_9907
3:17 PM. Looks like the inside is higher than the outside. Huh.

Well, that was  it for photography yesterday.

Doesn’t seem to be any reliable indication of rain in sight.   Oh, sure, rain here pops up in the models almost every day, but its about 12-15 days out.  As the model gets closer to the day it predicted rain, it seems to go away like the “water mirage” on a hot paved road; always ahead of you, but you never get to it.  We’ve had some major rains indicated in the models as of a few days ago, but spaghetti was never very high on those events (clustering those crazy lines in a trough over us), so it wasn’t even worth mentioning.

And, even that rain is a gonner in the model runs from last night!

The End

Colorful evening ends day with a colorful morning; a note on the great Cal rains of October 2016

Not much else to talk about, no rain of course;  what is that?

But with so many colorful scenes yesterday, we can be partially sated by the  lives we lead here sans rain here.  October ended with a puny 0.01 inches in Sutherland Heights.

Now, because I grew up in California and remain a little Cal-centric, this brief diversion from AZ:

But droughty Cal got nailed though, from about San Luis Obispo, so we can be happy about that I guess.  One station, Gasquet RS,  near the Duck border,  got just under 28 inches in October; stations in the Santa Cruz Mountains, way down by Monterrey, got between 14-17 inches!  From the California-Nevada River Forecast Center, this nice map of October rainfall anomalies in that domain.  Red is real dry, and that’s the color we would be in if it was the California-Nevada-Arizona River Forecast Center:

Many departures are far over the map color-coding limit of 350%, but are over 1000% of average!
Many departures are far over the map color-coding limit of 350%, but are over 1000% of average!  Note red below normal swath.  This tells you that the mean area of low pressure at the surface and aloft was just off the West Coast.  Pac NW set maximum October rainfall records, too.

But let us not dwell any more of generous rains that others got, but celebrate the color and clouds of Arizona.   Here are yesterday’s glorious scenes, beginning with a spectacular Altocumulus lenticularis under some Cirrus at dawn:

DSC_9019
6:37 AM.
DSC_9022
6:47 AM. Ac len stack.
DSC_9027
10:51 AM. Tiny patch of Cirrocumulus tried to hide in front of some Cirrus. Hope you weren’t fooled and logged this sighting in your cloud diary. Cloud maven person almost missed it himself.
DSC_9030
12:50 PM. There were lenticulars aplenty yesterday. Here’s another one in a location a little different from normal, beyond the Catalinas. Upwind edge is the smoothest one at right. No ice streamers coming out the downwind end, so must have been pretty “warm”. Lenticulars, due to their tiny droplets and those droplets having short life times, have been known to resist ice formation to temperatures well below -30°C -22° F). Pretty amazing.
DSC_9034
2:42 PM. Kind of clouded up in the afternoon, and with breezes, made it seem like something was up. It was, but far to the NW of us. We have been under a streamer of high to middle clouds originating deep in the Tropics for a couple of days. Here some lower level moisture has crept in on cat’s feet, to be poetic for a second, and has resulted in small Cumulus and Stratocumulus clouds underneath the Cirrus and lenticulars standing around. All in all, though the temperature here reached 87° F, a very pleasant day.

Now, just some nice lighting and color:

DSC_9045
5:32 PM. The almost flourescent plant in the foreground is what is known as a “cholla.” The end elements fall off quite easily and attach to things like your pant leg if you brush by them on a horse, or if back into them while walking and correcting your horse for something when he’s acting a little “wild.”  I can report that when seven or eight of them are stuck to the back of your shirt, its really hard to get that shirt off.  In fact, it just about won’t come off without a major scream.
DSC_9047
5:35 PM. The higher Cirrus are shaded by clouds to the west, but the lower remnants of Stratocumulus/Cumulus and a few Altocumulus are highlighted as though they were meant to be for this photo. So pretty.  Notice, too, how there seems to be more than one layer of Cirrus.
DSC_9053
5:44 PM. Cirrus and Altocumulus, the latter with some turreting making those the species, “castellanus”, if you care.
DSC_9059
5:47 PM. A nice flame-out of Cirrus occurred as those pesky clouds blocking the fading sunlight from striking them opened up below the horizon. A few Altocumulus castellanus can be seen, too, but relegated to shadow status.

In a further celebration of dryness here, let us examine the rainfall cumulative rainfall predictions calculated by the University of Arizona’s Dept Hydro and Atmos Sci computer the period ending at Midnight on November 5th.  Says the coming rain in the State misses us here in SE AZ while falling just about everywhere else, of course.  Dang.  Let’s hope it one of the worst model predictions ever!

This really poor forecast is based on the global data from last evening at 5 PM AST.
This really poor forecast is based on the global data from last evening at 5 PM AST.

 

The End.

Augustober weather continues on October 18th

Truly LATE breaking news,  untimely really,  but Augustober 18th was too special a day to ignore:

Giant clouds, dense rain shafts,  frequent lightning in the area throughout the afternoon,  dewpoints in the high 50s to 60 F; can it really be after the middle of October?  Or, is this some kind of preview of climate change we can look forward to in the decades ahead, that is, if you’re thunderphilic?

DSC_0884
5:05 PM. An amazing scene, and thunderstorm with such powerful updrafts that when those updrafts are blocked by the inversion at the base of the Stratosphere, they force the winds at that level to slow or backup and the anvil protrudes upwind (center left), something that is common with severe thunderstorms. This was significant here because the winds at 40,000 feet were around 50 kts, far stronger than anything we have here during a typical summer rain season.  Summer  Cumulonimbus  cloud anvils  can splash outward easily against weak winds up there in summer when they hit that barrier at the top of the tropopause.  This just in from Mark A:  severe thunderstorms, I have just learned here on the 20th , were observed in the PHX, and the NWS has a great link going describing all the mayhem it produced.  I did not know this until just now in the middle of writing this first caption when I read Mark’s e-mail.
1:40 PM.
1:40 PM.
1:56 PM.  Anvil of the Cumulonimbus over west Tucson, drifts overhead of Catalina, and in three minutes, rain drops started to hit the ground.  This is amazing because those drop had to fall from at around 20, 000 feet above the ground (estimated bottom of this thick anvil) and could only have happened if those isolated drops had been hailstones ejected out the anvil, something that also only occurs with severe storms with very strong updrafts in them.
1:56 PM. Anvil of the Cumulonimbus over west Tucson, drifts overhead of Catalina, and in three minutes, rain drops started to hit the ground. This is amazing because those drops had to fall from at around 20, 000 feet above the ground (estimated as bottom  height of this thick anvil) and could only have happened if those isolated drops had been hailstones ejected out the anvil, something that also only occurs with severe storms with very strong updrafts in them.  So, if you saw those few drops fall between 2 and 2:05 PM you saw something pretty special.

 

 

DSC_0790
6:26 AM. Early portent: Cu congestus, aka, “heavy Cumulus) piling up this early.
DSC_0797
6:29 AM. Mammatus of the morning., an extraordinary scene for mid-October, pointing to the possibility of an  unusual day ahead with strong storms. as was the scientific basis for giant clouds on the 18th  in the amount of CAPE predicted, over 1,000 units of Convective Available Potential Energy, later that day from computer models.   That is a lot for mid-October, take my word for it.
DSC_0853
3:45 PM. Strong storms did not form over or near the Catalinas yesterday, but they did get something. As you can see the top of this guy (Cumulonimbus calvus) is very subdued compared to the giants that formed elsewhere.
DSC_0929
5:53 PM. Peakaboo Cumulonimbus calvus top east of Mt. Lemmon provided a nice highlight after sunset. And to have convection like this going on this late was remarkable. Some heavy showers and a thunderstorm formed downwind of the Catalinas about this time,, too.
DSC_0918
5:51 PM. Pretty nice, summer-looking sunset that day, too.

 

 The weather just ahead, and this might be it for precip for the rest of October

A nice-looking upper level trough is ejecting over us from the SW this morning but the computer model says its going to be a dry event.  A second low center  forms just about over us in the next day.  AZ model doesn’t see much rain for us throughout these events, and rain doesn’t begin here until after dark today.

I think that is WRONG; bad model.  Watch for some light showers this morning, then a break and rain overnight (which the models do predict).   Due this quite bad model forecast,  as seen from this keyboard, I feel must interject for the blog reader I have,  an improved rain prediction for Catalina over that rendered by a computer model.

Feel like guesstimating a minimum of 0.25 inches between now and Thursday evening, max possible, 0.60 inches, so the median of those two, and maybe the best guestimate being the average of those two, or 0.425 inches here in Catalina.   When you see a prediction of a rainfall total down to thousandths of an inch, you really know that the person predicting it knows what he is doing…..

Below, your U of AZ disappointing, but objective, take on the amount of rain based on last evening’s data and one that is the result of billions of calculations.  One must remember that cloud maven person’s calculation of the rainfall amount for Catalina is only based on three.

From the 5 PM AST run executed by the U of AZ Beowulf Cluster.  Billions of calculations were involved with this model prediction; it should be kept in mind that cloud maven person's prediction is only based on three when he opines that this is not enough for us here in Catalinaland.
From the 5 PM AST run executed by the U of AZ Beowulf Cluster.

The End.

A nice cloud yesterday, not a great cloud yesterday; dramatic day ahead

The clouds were somewhat of a disappointment yesterday, not the stupendous photogenic day CM was expecting.

Maybe CM is total fraud, gets Big Oil funding and should be investigated by Rep. Grijalva as other weather folk are,   like the great Prof. and National Academy of Sciences Fellow,  Dr. Judy Curry,  a friend, and about whom I say on a link to her blog here, and from this blog’s very beginning, “The only link you will need.”  I said that because Judy2 is a top scientist, and is eminently fair in this polarized issue.

I am in real trouble!  Will remove that link immediately1 before our very own  “climate thought enforcer”,  Demo Rep. Grijalva, AZ,  finds it using a spy bot!  No telling how far down the influence chain it will go, maybe all the way down to here, where there is virtually no influence!

Back to clouds…….

Only late in the day did the delicate patterns expected to happen ALL DAY appear, again, with iridescence, always nice to see.

Here is your day for yesterday.  Its a pretty interesting movie.  Two thumbs up!

Oh, today’s weather?

The media, Bob,  and our good NWS, of course, are all over the incoming rain in great detail.  In fact, it will take you half a day to read all the warnings on this storm issued by our Tucson NWS.

So why duplicate existing information that might be only slightly different than the prevailing general consensus on the storm amounts, and then maybe be investigated for going against a consensus?   No, not worth it.   Best to be safe, not say things against The Machine.  (OK, maybe overdoing it here.)

In the meantime, the upper low off southern Cal and Baja has fomented an extremely strong band of rain, now lying across SE Cal and the Colorado River Valley where dry locations like Blythe are getting more than an inch over the past 24 h.   Same for northern Baja where some places are approaching 2-3 inches, great for them.  You can see how the rain is piling up in those locations here.  In sum, this is a fabulous storm for northern Mexico and the SW US, whether WE get our 0.915 inches, as foretold here, or not! Rejoice in the joy of others.  Looking for an arcus cloud fronting the main rainband, too, that low hanging cloud in a line that tells you a windshift is coming.  Still expecting, hoping, for thunder today to add to the wind and rain drama.

Also, the present cloud cover, as the trough ejects toward us, will deepen up and rain will form upwind and around here as that happens, so it won’t JUST be the eastward movement of the existing band.  This means you might be surprised by rain if you’re outside hiking and think the band itself is hours away.  Expecting rain to be in the area by mid-morning, certainly not later than noon, with the main blast (fronted by something akin to an arcus cloud) later in the day.  OK, just checked the U of AZ mod run from 11 PM AST, and that is what it is saying as well!  Wow.

Finally, if you care, yesterday’s clouds:

6:45 AM.  Your sunrise color, thanks to a line of broken Cirrus spissatus. Jet stream Cirrus streak, as a matter of fact.
6:45 AM. Your sunrise color, thanks to a line of broken Cirrus spissatus. Jet stream Cirrus streak, as a matter of fact, moving along at about 110 mph.
DSC_3916
9:47 AM.  Ruffle of Sc topped Mt. Lemmon, while strange clouds formed just upwind of them. These kinds of shapes suggest an inversion where the air resists further upward movement and a smoothing occurs at the top similar to a lenticular cloud.  Photo taken at the Golder Ranch Dr. cattleguard. which really doesn’t work that well, as the neighbors below here will tell you.
The 5 AM, March 1st,  balloon sounding for TUS.
The 5 AM, March 1st, balloon sounding for TUS.
9:53 AM.  Looks like a crab with four hooks.  How funny.
9:53 AM. Looks like a crab with four pinchers. How funny.
12:23 PM.  Shredding tops of small Cumulus like this indicate that the air is very dry just above their tops, and the shreds racing off to the right, indicate how fast the wind increased as you went upward.
12:23 PM. Shredding tops of small Cumulus like this indicate that the air is very dry just above their tops, and the shreds racing off to the right, indicate how fast the wind increased as you went upward.
2:58 PM.  Something is changing here.  Notice how the tops are bulging and not immediately being torn into shreds.
2:58 PM. Something is changing here. Notice how the tops are bulging and not immediately being torn into shreds.  The air was likely moistening above cloud tops, and the inversion holding the tops back, weakening as our storm gets a little closer.
4:19 PM.  A line of heavy Cumulus had formed to the west, indicating more moistening and "de-stabilization" of the air.
4:19 PM. A line of still larger Cumulus had formed to the west, indicating more moistening and “de-stabilization” of the air.  However, the upper low was not advancing toward us any longer and no further development occurred as stagnated,  ratcheting up  its rainband over eastern Cal and western AZ.  The TUS balloon sounding suggested tops were getting close to the normal ice-forming level here, -10 C, the slight inversion on the morning sounding at 13,000 feet above sea level, and the one likely to have caused those smooth morning clouds,  was gone.
6:07 PM.  Just before sunset from near Oracle where we took mom for her BD.
6:07 PM. Just before sunset from near Oracle where we took mom for her BD.  The heavier Cumulus clouds faded with the sun.  They will arise today!

Below, just some pretty patterns observed later in the day.  Click to see larger versions.

3:28 PM.  Cirrocumulus began to appear.
3:28 PM. Cirrocumulus began to appear.
3:36 PM.  Twisted, tortured Cirrus (fibratus?).
3:36 PM. Twisted, tortured Cirrus (fibratus?).
3:50 PM.  Another view of Cirrocumulus. Though these clouds are still composed of liquid droplets, the 5 PM TUS sounding suggests they were at about -30 C in temperature.  It happens.
3:50 PM. Another view of Cirrocumulus. Though these clouds are still composed of liquid droplets, the 5 PM TUS sounding suggests they were at about -30 C in temperature. It happens.
4:00 PM.  An incredibly complex array of Cirrocumulus overhead.  Due to perspective, its about the only view that you can really see how complex the patterns are.
4:00 PM. An incredibly complex array of Cirrocumulus overhead. Due to perspective, its about the only view that you can really see how complex the patterns are.
4:20 PM.  Some iridescence for you.
4:20 PM. Some iridescence for you.
6:00 PM.  At Oracle, AZ.
6:00 PM. At Oracle, AZ.
6:22 PM.  Finally, from the "Not taken while driving since that would be crazy" collection, this oddity.  Looks like an high temperature contrail (aka, "APIP"). but the trail seems to shoot up into the cloud Altocumulus cloud layer (or down out of it).  Have never seen this before.
6:22 PM. Finally, from the “Not-taken-while-driving-since-that-would-be-crazy-though-it-looks-like-it-was” collection, this oddity.  Looks like an high temperature aircraft contrail (aka, “APIP”) in the lower center.  And the trail seems to shoot up into the cloud Altocumulus cloud layer (or down out of it). Have never seen that kind of aircraft track before since it looks so steep! “High temperature”  here means that it formed at temperatures above about -35 C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew, the end.

——-

1Not!!!!!!  I thought this was a good read about this deplorable new stage of “climate thought enforcement” now in progress.  It was brought to my attention by climate folk hero, friend, and big troublemaker, Mark Albright.  Wow, maybe Mark will be investigated, too!  Maybe I should excise his name….

2I remember, too, how cute she was when she worked my lab/office at the University of Washington in the mid-1980s, and thought about asking her out, to detract from a serious commentary here.   She was a Penn State grad student, not a U of WA employee;  still, to ask her out would have been untoward.   A human commentary like this, one about feelings and things, help boost blog attendance.

Not to worry; plenty of model rain still ahead in models

1While several inches of model2 rain has occurred in Catalina and in the nearby mountains this month, most of which cloud-maven person has festooned his blog with model panels of, there really hasn’t been any ACTUAL rain.

But having said that, there is even MORE model rain ahead, some beginning tomorrow in these parts.  Tomorrow’s rain comes from a sub-tropical minor wave ejecting from the sub-tropics.  You know, as a CMJ, a wave from that zone means a ton of high and middle clouds,  i.e., likely DENSE Altostratus with virga, something that was seen yesterday off to the SW of us.  This time, though, some rain should fall from these thick clouds, though almost certainly will be in the trace to a tenth of an inch range between tomorrow and Monday morning.

Model rain from 11 PM AST global data then falls in Catalina on:

February 24th

March 1st

March 7-9th

with the model total rain in these periods likely surpassing an inch or more!  What a model rain winter season this has been! Astounding.  The model washes have been running full since late December, too!

BTW, that last model rain period is really a great one, a major rain for ALL of Arizona!

Some recent clouds I have known and a couple of wildflowers
7:36 AM, Thursday, Feb 19:  Iridescence in Cirrocumulus.
7:36 AM, Thursday, Feb 19: Iridescence in Cirrocumulus.
7:52 AM, Thursday, Feb. 19:  Iridescence in Cirrocumulus with a tad of Kelvin-Helholtz waves (center, right)
7:52 AM, Thursday, Feb. 19: Iridescence in Cirrocumulus with a tad of Kelvin-Helholtz waves (center, right), ones that look like breaking ocean waves.  Kind of cool looking.
9:52 AM, Thursday, Feb. 19:  Altocumulus perlucidus exihibing crossing pattern.  Makes you think about football.
9:29 AM, Thursday, Feb. 19: Altocumulus perlucidus exhibiting crossing patterns, rows perpendicular to each other. Makes you think about football and people running out for passes.
9:42 AM, Thursday Feb 19:  An extremely delicate crossing pattern in Cirrocumulus, center.
9:42 AM, Thursday Feb 19: An extremely delicate crossing pattern in Cirrocumulus, center.  You’ll have to drill in good to see it, but its worth it.
10:39 AM, Thrusday, Feb 19: Pretty (mostly) Cirrus spissatus, a thick version in which shading can be observed.
10:39 AM, Thrusday, Feb 19: Pretty (mostly) Cirrus spissatus, a thick version in which shading can be observed.
6:13 PM, Thursday, Feb 19:  No idea what that stick contrail is.  Looks like a flight pattern to induce weightlessness.  Climb rapidly, round off the top, and then go down.  You can be weightless for maybe 10-30 seconds.  Been there, done that in a C-130 Hercules, last FACE flight of 1973, Bill Woodley lead scientist.
6:13 PM, Thursday, Feb 19: No idea what that stick contrail is. Looks like a flight pattern to induce weightlessness. Climb rapidly, round off the top, and then go down. You can be weightless for maybe 10-30 seconds. Been there, done that in a C-130 Hercules, last FACE flight of 1973, Bill Woodley lead cloud seeding scientist.  But, you pay a price, get smashed on the floor as the aircraft comes out of the dive.  You cannot get up!
Let's zoom in and see if we can learn more about this cloud.... Nope.
Let’s zoom in and see if we can learn more about what happened here.  I think a jet pilot was having fun.
Nope.
6:54 AM, yesterday.  Altostratus virga provides a spectacular, if brief sunrise over the Catalinas.
6:54 AM, yesterday. Altostratus virga provides a spectacular, if brief sunrise over the Catalinas.
6:15 PM last evening.
6:15 PM last evening.
DSC_3011
From a dog walk this VERY morning, a desert primrose.
From this morning's dog walk.
And  a desert onion bloom.

The End. Hope you enjoy the copious model rains ahead!

———————

1Today’s title is cribbed from Spinal Tap song, which is really quite great,  “Tonight I’m going to rock you tonight.”

2WRF-GFS and Canadian Enviro Can GEM accumulated bogus outputs.

On your mark, get set, (pause) RAIN!!!! (screaming here)

a lot….beginning tomorrow afternoon or evening, not today.  Today is “pause” day.  Also, its trash day today here in Catalina, mentioned here as a public service.

Slow moving,  sub-tropical  system to drop several inches of water content in rain/snow in mountains, sez our best model, that run by the U of AZ.  Thank you, U of AZ, btw.  Below a snapshot of the total precip from that 5 PM AST global data crunch, “nested” for AZ.  This plodding gigantostorm should keep the water coming down the washes, luxuriate our sprouting wildflowers, some of which, like desert asters, are beginning to emerge and even bloom1:

Total precipitation ending just after midnight, Feb 2nd, as seen by the WRF-GFS model run
Total precipitation ending just after midnight, Feb 2nd, as seen by the WRF-GFS model run from 5 PM AST last evening.  Catalina/Oro Valley appears to be in a bit of a shadow, so while Ms. Lemmon and vicinity are forecast  to get several inches of water content in rain and snow, Catalina gets an inch–though hard to see in this graphic.  Why?  Likely south to southeast flow coming downslope off the Catalinas.  But, I think its WRONG!

Lot’s of gray sky photograph opportunities ahead.  Get camera ready.  Not much in the way of rain seen in mods after this, so enjoy this rain “chapter” of your life as fully as you can.

Yesterday’s clouds

After another light shower boosted our storm total another 0.02 inches, a fabulous, wonderful, almost Hawaiian like day followed with a little humidity in the air, deep blue skies, and white puffy clouds, ones a true cloud maven would call, Cumulus clouds and would be ashamed if he just said they were “puffy clouds.”

7:34 AM.  Sun tried to break through some puffy clouds over the Catalinas after our 0.05 inch shower.  A few, very small shower cells were around, but didn't look like much at this time.
7:34 AM. Sun tried to break through some puffy clouds over the Catalinas after our 0.05 inch shower. A few, very small shower cells were around, but didn’t look like much at this time.
7:53 AM.  Gee, a strong, though narrow rainshaft developed SSW of Catalina, upwind!  Suggests a Cumulonimbus-like protruding, icy-looking  top up there on top of the shaft.
7:53 AM. Gee, a strong, though narrow rainshaft developed SSW of Catalina, upwind! Suggests a Cumulonimbus-like protruding, icy-looking top up there on top of the shaft.

 

8:08 AM.  The three amigos rainshafts, headed this way, evnetually dropped another "surprise" 0.02  inches.  Earlier model runs had indicated the rain would be over by dawn yesterday.
8:08 AM. The three amigos rainshafts, headed this way, evnetually dropped another “surprise” 0.02 inches. Earlier model runs had indicated the rain would be over by dawn yesterday.

 

8:34 AM.  One of the "amigos" hit Ms. Lemmon and Sam Ridge nicely.  Ms Lemmon racked up 0.59 inches out of the storm overall.  Very nice, considering our 0.07 inches total.
8:34 AM. One of the “amigos” hit Ms. Lemmon and Sam Ridge nicely. Ms Lemmon racked up 0.59 inches out of the storm overall. Very nice, considering our 0.07 inches total.
8:53 AM.  As we know so well, sometimes the best, most dramatic shots are those after the rain passes, and the rocky surfaces glisten in a peak of sunlight, here enhanced by crepuscular rays due to the falling rain.  A rainbow was also seen, but not by me somehow.
8:53 AM. As we know so well, sometimes the best, most dramatic shots are those after the rain passes, and the rocky surfaces glisten in a peak of sunlight, here enhanced by crepuscular rays due to the falling rain. A rainbow was also seen, but not by me somehow.

 

8:54 AM.  Closer look at glistening rocks toward the Charouleau Gap.
8:54 AM. Closer look at glistening rocks toward the Charouleau Gap.

 

11:45 AM.  The deep blue sky, the puffy clouds topping Sam Ridge, the strong sun, the bit of humidity, the bird flying along on the left, gave the sense of one being in Hawaii I thought.
11:45 AM. The deep blue sky, the puffy clouds topping Sam Ridge, the strong sun, the bit of humidity, the bird flying along on the left, gave the sense of one being in Hawaii I thought.
12:32 PM.  Puffy clouds still top Samaniego (Sam) Ridge.
12:32 PM. Puffy clouds still top Samaniego (Sam) Ridge.

 

2:28 PM.  Small puffy clouds provide a "postcard" view of Catalina, Saddlebrooke and environs.  Visibility here well over 100 miles.
2:28 PM. Small puffy clouds provide a “postcard” view of Catalina, Saddlebrooke and environs. Visibility here well over 100 miles.  Never get tired of these views!  You got some Cirrocumulus up there, too.

 

2:51 PM.  Another postcard view of our beloved Catalina.  Rail-X Ranch and the Tortolitas off in the distance, left.  Nice patterned Cirrocumulus up top above the little puffy clouds.
2:51 PM. Another postcard view of our beloved Catalina. Rail-X Ranch and the Tortolitas off in the distance, left. Nice patterned Cirrocumulus up top above the little puffy clouds.

 

5:58 PM.  The day ended with a nice sky-filling sunset as a Cirrus layer was lighted from below by the fading sun.
5:58 PM. The day ended with a nice sky-filling sunset as a Cirrus layer was lighted from below by the fading sun.  The lines of virga show that while Cirrus clouds don’t have a lot of water vapor to work with up there at -40 C (also -40 F), the crystals that form are still large enough to settle out as precip.

 

The End

 

————————-

1Desert Aster (I think) in bloom seen on the link trail from the Baby Jesus Trail to the Deer Camp Trail.

Seen on big hike, Jan. 22nd.  This plant will be so happy by next week!
Seen on big hike, Jan. 22nd. This plant will be so happy by next week!

The rains (plural) ahead; reviewing “Lorenz” plots

It doesn’t get much better than this plot below for our Catalina weather 10-13 days ahead, which is always pretty fuzzy-looking as a rule.  “Better” means for rain chances here, which is not everyone’s “better.”

Here’s the excitement:

Note blank area, that is, an area free of lines area centered on the gambling and other mischief-permitting State of Nevada1.

Note how the red lines dip down into Mexico, whilst the blue lines bulge northward into Canada along the West Coast.  Valid at 5 PM AST, January 22nd.

This error-filled plot2 tells us that it is almost certain that a trough will be in the lower middle latitudes where we are on January 22nd or so.  Just about guaranteed.

In the meantime, those blue lines indicated that a ridge of high pressure is going to divert northern storms into Canada and southeast Alaska.  Sometimes we refer to situations like this as “split flow”; the southern portions of storms in the Pacific move ESE toward southern California and the Southwest, while the northern portions split off to the NE, as is happening now. Weak upper level disturbances pass overhead, the next one tomorrow, and with it, a little more rain,  the models say.

U of AZ mod has rain moving in toward dawn tomorrow with totals here amounting to about like that last rain, 0.10  to 0. 25 inches.  Given model vagaries, probably the lower and upper limits here are likely to be 0.05 (worst case scenario) and 0.50 inches (best case scenario), so a best guess would be the middle of those,  0.275 inches, not too much different from the AZ mod.  This is the sports-like part of weather forecasting.  What’s your estimate, fantasy or otherwise?

BTW, there were quite a few stations reporting over an inch of rain in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties during the past 24 h, and so while weak, this system is pretty juicy, lots of liquid water as measured by dewpoints which should rise into the upper 40s to low 50s here during the next day.  Also, there have been some embedded weak Cumulonimbus clouds and that’s a possibility here tomorrow, too, as the rainband goes by.  You’ll be able to tell that by strong shafting below the clouds.  As always, hoping we here in Catalina get shafted tomorrow.

But the ones these days are weak, while the split ahead in 10-13 days is likely to contain much stronger disturbances, well, at least ONE before it gives out.

Yesterday’s clouds

DSC_1635
7:22 AM. Sunrise Altocumulus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_1646
11:42 AM. Another very summer-like looking day with clouds beginning to pile ever higher over the Catalinas.

 

DSC_1649
12:51 PM. Small Cumulus are developing over the Catalinas while far above them are, two crossing contrails, about the same age suggesting that aircraft crossed  paths simultaneously. The FAA flight separation rules now allows for 1,000 feet of separation instead of the 2,000 feet in years past,  and so if you’ve flown recently, you may have noticed planes that appeared to be a lot closer to you than ones a few years ago. This has been permitted due to improvements in aircraft GPS accuracy, and was deemed needed due to the vast increases in air traffic in the decades ahead.   Still, there were times when opposite flying aircraft were so CLOSE, passing by like bullets,  that you wanted to scream to the pilot, “Hey, wake up and smell the air space!!!!”

 

DSC_1654
1:44 PM. Probably had a little ice in that smooth section, but overall really looked like a miniature summer Cumulonimbus cloud. Did not see if it had an echo, and never was it clear that there was ice.
DSC_1661
2:02 PM. As Altocumulus castellanus overspread the sky, lenticular clouds were still visible beyond the Catalinas. Some lenticulars began to sprout turrets, an odditity, but one driven by the condensation of water, something that releases a little heat (in this case) to the atmosphere causing the cloud to be more buoyant.

 

DSC_1678
5:32 PM. A sunset of Cirrus and Altocumulus. Not bad.

 

————————

1What a great and honest state motto that would be!  “Nevada:  That US State where gambling and other social mischief is OK with us!”

2Don’t forget that due to growth in computer capabilities, we can now have many model runs from the same data and be done with them in a timely way.  These “spaghetti”, “ensemble” or better yet, “Lorenz” plots are computer model runs with deliberate (!) slight errors introduced to see how the model forecasts of high and low pressure centers changes, given a few slight errors.  This is because there are ALWAYS errors in the data anyway, there are always error bars on measurements, etc.  By doing this, only the strongest signals in the forecasts remain, indicated by grouping of lines these two colors of lines, red and bluish.  So,  the forecast of the jet stream coming out of Asia is very, very reliable.  Things go to HELL, downstream (toward the east), but some likely patterns can still be seen, such as the one over the Southwest US where a trough/low is almost certain in our area then.  Will it bring us rain in Catalina?  Hell, I don’t know because if the trough is a little too far to the east of us, we might only get cooler.  However, since Cloud Maven person has a postive rain bias, he will say, “Absolutely.  There will be rain in the Catalina area on January 22nd or so”–the actual timing might be off by a day or so.

Water continues to flow in the Sutherland Wash!

It was a great day to hike to that wash, too.  Began with a nice sunrise; missed the nice sunset, darn.  Hope you didn’t.

But the highlight of the day was seeing that water was still running in the Sutherland Wash, some eight days after our great snow.  Like so many things that happen to meteorologists, I didn’t expect it.

Your cloud day yesterday

Was an interesting day because at times it looked summer-like due to Cumulus formations over the high terrain, Kit Peak to the Catalinas.   The scenes below are mainly from a hike1 out to some native rock etchings.

7:22 AM.  Sunrise Altocumulus.
7:22 AM. Sunrise Altocumulus.
10:38 AM.  Petting zoo.
10:38 AM. Petting zoo.  I wanted to hop on this cow and ride it so bad! It seemed so docile.  Wanted to just how riding a cow would feel like,  have a new life experience.  Didn’t seem to mind the several of us going by.
DSC_1589
10:42 AM. Glinting rocks through the Tucson smog layer. Yep, it rounded the corner and trucked on up along the Catalinas, kind of like our Stratus fractus does on some days. Mixed out later, of course, as Cumulus clouds ate some of it.

 

DSC_1593
11:07 AM. Its always so special to see water in our washes. This scene just due east of the “brown house” and before the “Rusty Gate” heading up the east side of the hills. Pretty regular equestrian crossing point.  The water was gone some few hundred yards farther downstream.
DSC_1599
12:09 PM. Nice display of Altocumulus perlucidus, while the summer-like scenes began to emerge. Note the Cumulus congestus forming over Kit Peak on the horizon, center. Pretty exciting to think of summer already!
DSC_1617
12:53 PM. This pretty summer-like scene out there on the trail just behind the Old Lloyd Golder Ranch. The small Cumulus clouds were even streaming off from the S and SSE just like they do so often in the summer! There are some Altocumulus perlucidus clouds above them.
DSC_1620
The grasses along the washes are already a few inches high! Nice to see that green coming along so well after 3.82 inches of rain in December (rainlog total that assigns the 7 AM measurement to the prior day since 0.96 inches was measured on Jan 1. Usually its put on the day of the measurement.)
Due to the wetness, Seattle-like mosses are beginning to appear.  Expect mushroom hunting to be a big tourist industry later this winter.
12:31 PM.  Due to the wetness, Seattle-like mosses are beginning to appear. Got a little homesick there for a second. Expect mushroom hunting to be a big tourist industry later this winter in Arizona as more storms line up for us.
DSC_1622
2:23 PM. Cumulus pile up into the Altocumulus layer above, helping to enhance it. Didn’t see any ice or sign of precip coming out of these clouds, though was watching closely as I am sure you all were, too, for a “first ice of the day” report in your cloud diary.

Detecting ice module below.  I hope most of you logged this as your first ice sighting of the day.

DSC_1633
4:08 PM. Whilst scouring horizon to horizon, saw this gem at last: ice! What, you can’t see the ice? Too far away? See the following photo for zoomed version.
DSC_1634
4:08 PM. Zoomed shot of glaciating complex of Cumulus, some virga, light rainshower below it. Still can’t make it out? See next shot with annotation.
Ann DSC_1634
Tops, from TUS sounding perhaps briefly as cold as -12 C before subsiding to lower, warmer levels. Almost certainly a case of “ice enhancement” or “ice multiplication”, a situation where there are many more ice crystals in a cloud than can be accounted for by ice nuclei, solid substances on which ice crystals form.

While waiting for still more rain, The End.

————————-

1Two of the people I was hiking with are very important meteorologists; faculty members at big universities with big Ph Ds,  Wikipedia pages, give lectures all around the world about what they know.  While I myself am not important, if you can align yourself with important people, befriend them in some way, and then go on to tell your friends that you have befriended that kind of person and do things with them, YOUR own mediocre life seems greatly enhanced.  Let us not forget the guiding words to a peaceful, successful life as told to us in “Deteriorata.”