June continues into July

Yes, that’s right.  The “meteorological June”, characterized by westerly flow aloft, desiccated air from the surface to 150,000 feet and maximum temperatures between 100 and 200 °F,  has extruded itself into July this year in Arizona.  There is no difference to speak of between what we are seeing now at the ground and aloft and what happens in June, a month when we’d like to be anywhere but here!  Even Florida!

Remember, June is mostly cloudless here in Arizona, too.  Well, that’s what we had yesterday in the middle of July.  It was a tough day for a cloud-maven.  It was also hard to imagine being in Arizona Phoenix and driving ALL THE WAY to Tucson on a hot afternoon (111 °F in parts of Mesa!) and NOT see a single Cumulus cloud!   It just doesn’t happen.  Nothing over the Mogollon Rim;  nothin’ nowhere.  I got pretty excited about nothing, and I am trying to relay that excitement to my readers, if any.

July is expected to begin late on the 18th or 19th.  For more on July, and great forecasting,  see Bob and Mike.

Oh, the weather station here in The Heights is working again.  Pretty boring stuff these days, though.

The End

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.


  1. Dear Dr Rangno,
    I’ve seen you at Bashas on Oracle and wanted to talk to you but I am too shy; you are somewhat of a local celebrity. I have a plethora of questions, however, I’ll only trouble you with one because I don’t know if you’ll have time to answer a question from an amateur cloud watcher.
    In light of recent emphasis on the usage of big data, I was wondering what you believe your contribution is to the collection big data? I’ve noticed that your ability to archive information about weather is remarkable and I believe that your information is important to furthering the science of meteorology.

    Warm Regards,
    Amber Brown

    1. Gee, Amber, this is somewhat shocking to me to be considered a “celebrity” when you have maybe, two, readers…

      Big Data? Likely no one really knows what that is, but its just about everything we do as humans, from weather data to tweets for social investigations, collected and analyzed, requiring the most gigantic computers, or collections of “massively parallel servers”.

      For example, the question, “what’s trending now is based on “big data” from facebook or tweets or, something we all see everyday. But these analytics can go far deeper, assessing political orientations within large groups, etc. In weather, where we generate probably the single most amount of science data (astronomers may take issue with that) to make forecasts, big data analytics is a good thing. To give you an idea of how mind-boggling this has become, a proposal was floated recently about an app that could use cell phone pressure readings to better define pressure patterns! (I didn’t know cell phones measured air pressure.) And, of course, its these kinds Big Data gathering that intelligence outfits make use of.) As one Science article, put it, its kind of the end of privacy, or at least a lot of it.

      Here, my only contribution to any data since leaving the U of WA, has been to gather information collected by others here in Catalina, place it in an Excel spreadsheet, and then show the results on this blog. This is in addition to just reported daily precip to CoCoRahs (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network), a national org based at Colorado State U. that gathers precip data. Those data go to a site run by NOAA from which you can download data for just about any place in the world! So, I am not really “archiving” very much data (having made only nine or so years of measurements in Catalina).

      So, as far as “Big Data” go, well, that wouldn’t be here, to me that would be confined to our airborne work at the University of Washington, most of which ends up being described in journal publications; sharing with your scientific colleagues what you have found. But behind those pubs are the hundreds and hundreds of individual aircraft cloud penetrations with numerous instruments to detail what exactly the cloud was comprised of. The output from all of those instruments ends up in spreadsheets, and those, too, can, and have, been shared with our scientific colleagues and are archived for that purpose. These findings do find their way into some textbooks, such as Pruppacher and Klett’s (1998) book on cloud microphysics which uses some of our findings.

      Our observational studies reported in journals can be compared with cloud model outputs (models that deal in size from predicting the behavior of a single cloud to effects of clouds on climate), and with the work of other airborne researchers to produce a consistent view of cloud structure and behavior.

      Wow, Amber, you have asked a Big Question when you asked about Big Data, one not usually dealt with here. Hope what I have written got to the point you were asking about, and is comprehensible. Since Big Data is SO BIG, no single person’s or group’s work can have much impact as numbers. Where it can have impact is if what you have found in your relatively tiny dataset, has changed a paradigm, or revealed a new understanding. That’s what I think we who work in science hope for in gathering data, that we can find something new in it, verify or refute a prior hypothesis.

      I will read this again later, brain cramping now, and see if it makes sense.

      Thanks for your kind words, Amber, and if you see me, just say “hello” anytime.

      BTW, “Mr. Rangno”, but thank you for the promotion. A storm and cloud chaser/photographer early on that got into a research aircraft, eventually directing it into clouds and publishing papers about them. It could not have been a better life trajectory!

      1. “Dear Mr. Rangno,

        I would like to begin this post by thanking you for the detailed reply re: the collection of Big Data and meteorology. Another weather friend of mine in Catalina told me you are in the Guinness Book of World Records and I imagined that you would have scholarly talks to attend and might not have much time to answer.”

        Yes, Peter Hobbs and I ARE in the Guinness Book for having reported the largest raindrop in two instances, Brazil and in the Marshall Islands)–measure as 8.6 millimeters in diameter, but likely a cm. However, a 2nd cousin, retired from the Canadian Weather Service, said I had shamed the family name by being in a book with a guy who could put 147 worms in his mouth, and something else I can’t repeat. So, there are different views about that.

        “My thoughts on your response are this: it seems as though despite the idea of Big Data being an exciting prospect for accruing information, it can in no way erase the role of the human researcher because we still need the scientific mind to interpret it and tease the narrative out of it, ESPECIALLY in the field of meteorology. (God bless those individuals who are working diligently in the realm of e-science for undertaking this immense task!) Therefore, it would be negligent to become entirely reliant on weather models derived solely from data.”

        We meteorologists are confronted by errors that get into our best models constantly, and so we have to make judgements constantly about which model is closer to the truth in predicting this afternoon’s weather. A typical set of weather conundrums can be found by U of AZ summer forecaster, Mike Leuthold at http://arizonawrf.blogspot.com/2016/07/20170719.html

        So, I am 100% in agreement with your comment above about being entirely reliant on data and what the models turn out. (However, I have to say that to save manpower, computers are producing weather forecasts sans human intervention for the most part.

        Here’s an example for Boone, TN: “A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Patchy fog between 7am and 8am.” A computer produced this NWS forecast for Boone. They often are detailed to the point of silliness, as in the above forecast about fog occurring only between 7 and 8 AM. YOu can find a tremendous number of these by going to the NWS home page and clicking on various parts of the country.

        HOWEVER, it has been argued that a human cannot improve a computer weather forecast after about 2 days. In fact, its been suggested that humans not bother modifying longer range forecasts beyond a day or so, it would be wasting time, and that all forecasting efforts should be directed at getting more precision in Day 1, today: Where exactly will that cloudburst hit and at what time?

        Imagine if you could predict with confidence that there will be 2.47 inches of rain in an hour at the Catalina State Park entry gate beginning at 4:02 PM today. Road crews be ready! And, of course, improving Day 1 forecasts would help enormously in wildfire control and protecting crews.

        That’s where Mike’s daily discussions will be a worthwhile read since that is what he is dealing with, trying to figure out what’s going to happen today, with computers that have are often plagued by all kinds of errors that only a human can make adjustments for.

        “This thought leads me to my next conundrum: if you take information from other weather stations and then curate it into something accessible for the amateur observer such as myself, do you think that this supports or destroys the role of the civic scientist? What role does collaboration have in the space created between the formal meteorologist and the civic scientist?”

        Well, weather is dependent on “civic” (if you mean volunteer or cooperative, non-science personnel for a lot of our climate data). I think we’re bonded in our relationship, so I don’t see a conflict IF I am understanding what you mean correctly. Sorry, I’ve only had two cups of coffee so far today.

        “I recognize that these are more philosophical questions that are not based on hard science but I would love to know your opinion.”

        Well, this was my second attempt to answer your thoughtful questions. I was pretty far along yesterday, but somehow the draft disappeared! I hope this is somewhat intelligible.

        “Take care for now and keep taking the world by storm (haha).”

        Thanks, Amber. Lots going on right now, family matters, and so “output” is impacted.


  2. Hi Art: Yes, June continues into July here as well- but for us that means lots of clouds (and intresting ones). Yesterday was a great example. A mostly sunny day (some cirrus in the morning) then a noticeable buildup of towering Cu and Cb clouds coming in from the east in late afternoon and evening. Looked like we were in for a rare but significant thunderstorm, but not much really happened over my area- just some light showers and distant thunder. (somewhere over the mountains)

    1. Holy criminy, I can’t believe how much I wrote to poor Amber, above, Roland.

      Your day sounds like a really great and scenic one. Summer weather (for most folks) can hardly be beat in the Pac NW and British Columbia.

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