Friday, February 28, 2014

Impending Mid-Atlantic Wintry Mess and a (Very) Rare Stormy Southern California Day

The dazzling Sun appears balanced on the top of the building at the corner of 15th and L Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 10:23AM February 27, 2014.

Despite what I said in my previous entry, I rode my bicycle to work on Thursday morning.

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Friday evening update (mostly focused on the weather).

Upfront, let me say that I don't want this entry to go on too interminably (as my entries are wont to do) if only because I want to get to No. 9 reasonably early to see how goes the new downstairs / main level Friday night piano bar arrangement.

I rather doubt it will last very long -- this IS 2014 and in Washington, D.C., a city overrun with Millennials of all strips -- and the world of piano bars and actual jazz clubs is long gone (notwithstanding Twins Jazz). I suppose old gay men would like a piano bar but No. 9 is young and middle aged gay men. I just don't see it lasting.

I asked someone to go with me, but (of course) he never got back to me. As for Gary, he is away this weekend and Kristof, well, he and I rarely see each other, and increasingly he doesn't even return my text messages. So, all in all, I will be alone this weekend -- although I am supposed to go to Nick's birthday party tomorrow night at Bread Soda (Bread Soda?) up in Glover Park (a place I've never spent a Saturday night).


I may be late because I FULLY INTEND to be at home at 8PM to see the second half of the Wonder Woman episode "Judgment from Outer Space." I saw the first half last Saturday night on the Me-TV line up. It's a rather amazing episode in what it is trying to say. Tomorrow during the day, I'll go to the gym. I may also go on Sunday.

In general, though, I move alone through this life, and it will always be that way.

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The Weather ...

The weather from Sunday into late Monday looks to be a wintry mess. A system is forecasted to move toward the mid-Atlantic along a quasi-stationary boundary on Sunday with rain / freezing rain overspreading the Metro D.C. area and then turn to sleet and all snow by Monday as a large pool of Arctic air -- presently firmly entrenched -- returns after temporarily lifting northward.

Today's 18Z NAM 2-meter temperatures and winds valid at hour 51 / 21Z (4PM EST) Sunday, March 2, 2014.

The graphical output was created by the College of DuPage Meteorology Program (see below). It shows the D.C. area temperatures on Sunday afternoon rising to at least 60F. See below for temperature forecast 12 hours later.

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At this point, it's not clear how cold it will be during the event, but the 18Z operational runs of the GFS and NAM gave colder / snowier solutions. IF they verified, total snowfall would be in the 6 to 8 inch range, although depending on the snow-to-liquid ratios and the antecedent temperatures on Sunday (will it actually reach 60F or be much colder) will have a major impact on any accumulations.

Today's 18Z 2-meter temperatures and winds valid at hour 63 / 9Z (4AM EST) Monday, March 3, 2014.

This is 12 hours after the time step above and temperatures are now sub-freezing (in the 25F to 30F range) across the entire D.C./Baltimore region or down about 35F from 12 hours earlier. This is not just the diurnal cycle at play but the abundant Arctic air to the northwest has oozed into the region. (This temperature forecast is more of a depths-of-winter one -- and even then we've had winters where it hasn't been nearly this cold over such a wide swath of North America.)

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Wes Junker and Dan Stillman have a good write up on the Capital Weather Gang (link embedded): Wintry mess remains likely Sunday night-Monday; how much snow still a wildcard.

By the way, I have discovered just how comprehensive and colorful are the graphical outputs is the College of DuPage Meteorology Program's website for the NAM, GFS, UK MET, and other models. The main website is here.

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When It Finally Rains in Southern California ... (you can finish the rest)

The Santa Ana Mountains NWS radar (SOX) in base mode reflectivity at 1:24PM PST February 28, 2014 showing abundant rainfall moving into the Los Angeles area.

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The system itself will be related to a powerful storm that is presently slamming into California bringing heavy coastal / lowland rainfall and unusually heavy mountain snowfall to Southern California, breaking what has been one of the worst droughts ever across the entire state. This storm is very good -- although it will certainly cause flooding / mudslides, more general damage, and disruptions.

The broader Pacific Southwest sector radar mosaic at 2108UTC (1:08 PM PST) February 28, 2014 showing the weather system slamming into California.

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The storm system is a tremendously expansive and rather powerful extratropical cyclone with 977mb central pressure and broad occlusion sweeping north-south across the entire State of California.

NOAA/NASA colorized infrared satellite view from Feb. 27th (or possibly early on Feb. 28th) showing the vast extratropical cyclone with its telltale swirl of clouds wrapped around the occluding center.

Image from this Capital Weather Gang entry.

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NWS high-resolution surface map focused on California and adjacent Pacific waters valid at 21Z (1PM PST) Feb. 22, 2014 issued at 2222Z (2:22PM PST). The occlusion is quite impressive, extending in an elongated arc over 1,000 miles with the actual triple point just about over Long Beach.

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As an aside, my weather scenario dream is to be in Southern California as a once-in-a-couple-centuries event happens whereby a July or August hurricane manages to make it up from the tropical Pacific and slams into Los Angeles. There was a 1939 tropical storm that came ashore over Long Beach and, though poorly recorded, a hurricane in 1858 that slammed into San Diego.

It almost happened with Hurricane Linda in 1997.

San Diego NWS (SGX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories as of 1:13PM PST February 28, 2014.

This is a rather unusual situation to have that many stormy weather advisories in effect in Southern California.

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Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are possible in the L.A. basin down to San Diego and even more in the foothills while snowfall totals reach 12 to 18 to 36 to 48+ inches in the San Gabriel Mountains with the highest totals for elevations over 8,000 feet (right up to Mount San Antonio / Mount Baldy itself!).

Los Angeles / Oxnard NWS (LOX -- yes LOX, not LAX) CWA weather advisories as of 1:18PM PST February 28, 2014.

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This is the biggest storm to hit Southern California in years. While there was a smaller storm system a few days ago, this one tremendous and should drop more rainfall than sometimes falls in an entire year including L.A. itself where, depending on where you are, approximately 10 to 15 inches falls in an average year including 14.93" at USC downtown climate station (KLOX); 12.82" at Los Angeles Int'l Airport (KLAX); and 12.26" in Long Beach Airport (KLGB). (All of these are the current 30-year normal with wide interannual variability).

NWS point grid forecast for downtown Los Angeles valid Feb. 28 - March 3, 2014.

You just don't see this very often.

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Weather summary / overview with map issued by the San Diego NWS Forecast Office for the storm system currently hitting Southern California.

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This system will cross the Southwestern U.S. -- weakening substantially over the mountainous terrain of the southern Rockies -- and emerge into the Southern Great Plains, where it will meet up with the edge of the aforementioned Arctic frontal boundary. The intense thermal gradient / baroclinic zone along with upper level vorticity maxima moving out of Canada will all serve to re-energize the system as it approaches the East Coast.

The 18Z NAM showing sea level pressure (SLP) and 3-hour precipitation valid at hour 54 / 0Z March 3, 2014 as prettied up by the College of DuPage.

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While I'm uncertain if there will be a significant coastal storm, at the very least this is a good overrunning situation as a Pacific-originating storm system encounters / moves along a strong Arctic boundary as it approaches the East Coast. This portends a possibly icy / snowy situation for the mid-Atlantic including here in D.C. "Teleworking" is possible for me for Monday.

OK, I think that's all for now. I intend to update the blog tomorrow evening and then on Sunday (since I shall be avoiding the Oscars, which will be on EVERYWHERE and the only refuge is home).

But let's end with one more picture (tangentially related to the above California weather discussion):

A sunset image of downtown Los Angeles and the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains (including Mt. Baldy) in the distance. This must have been an unusually clear day with a gusty breeze off the ocean. True, the smog situation in the L.A. Basin is vastly better than it was 40 years ago, but still...

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--Regulus

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Morning Pelican Brief Entry -OR- "No Man Is An Island" (Though This One Is Island-ish)

A white pelican spreads its wings in flight at Walvis Bay, Namibia, July 15, 2006. Image by Rui Ornelas of Lisbon, Portugal.

Pelicans look positively pterodactyl-ish, don't they?

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Just a quick morning update. I had tried to compose an entry last night but it is a lot of text that requires a good dozen images, and I lack any that are even vaguely related. In addition, I just sort of ran out of time -- it was already 130AM. I may try tonight, though more likely the next significant update will have to wait until the weekend.

One of the last houses -- perhaps THE last house -- on disappearing Holland Island in the middle Chesapeake Bay, Dorchester Co., Md.

If you Google "Holland Island Chesapeake Bay" (without the quotes) you'll see a number of interesting news articles about it.

Too bad Thomas "Bard of the Chesapeake" Wisner isn't around to sing about it. Now as you may know readers, as a New Jersey native, specifically, from the Jersey shore region, I'm far more partial to the Atlantic than the still-badly polluted Chesapeake (the Potomac is even worse), but I guess the bay has a certain charm to it.

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It's quite cold outside (temps ranging from around 20F in the outer suburbs to around 29F here in D.C.). It's forecasted to stay quite cold and then there is an extended chance of rain and mixed precipitation and/or snow early next week. As I wrote yesterday, this winter doesn't want to let go. But it is warm in my little dusty apt. as my old radiator hisses away. I'd like to go back to bed -- even though it is just a bunch of blankets, pillows, quilts, and stuffed animals (hippos!) on the floor that more resembles a nest, it is quite comfortable.

Something like this.

Flippo (light blue) and Harvey (dark gray), two of my plush hippos, can be seen on what passes for my bed (as yet unmade). The radiator is way on the far left behind that radiator cover thing that I keep removed from it because I don't trust it closer than that.

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But I guess I need to get ready and get to work. I was thinking of biking to work, but it's a bit too cold and the 15th Street bike path is actually too crowded before 10AM.

I'll skip the gym tonight (I had a decent workout last night).

OK, that's all for now. Again, and assuming anyone cares, my next update may not be until the weekend.

--Regulus

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Late Season Brief Morning Snowfalls; Other Notes from a D.C. Apartment, Early 21st Century

**Updated 12:18AM 2/27/2014 with 2/26 snowfall totals.**

My apartment view looking to the WSW across the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., during a snow squall a short time ago, 10:28AM February 26, 2014.

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Just a quick morning update.

For the second morning in a row, we have had accumulating snowfall in the immediate Metro D.C. area with winter weather advisories. Yesterday's event was actually more of a genuine surprise -- and startling in that it dropped 2.8 inches officially at KDCA as a heavier band set up over D.C. and Alexandria / Arlington.

The other two airport climate stations in the region had a lot less: both KBWI and KIAD had 0.6 inches of snow. Thus, KDCA was easily the highest of the three and among the highest area-wide.

That never happens.

A "before" -- or rather, "during" -- and "after" picture taken by Ian Livingston of the Capital Weather Gang yesterday in Cleveland Park here in Washington, D.C., showing the morning's snowfall and how it had vanished by afternoon. This picture is in the third CWG linked entry below.

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Today's snowfall seems a touch lighter here in the city with another 2" mostly on the grass and cars (main roadways are just wet since temps are marginal around 32F) but KDCA has had only 0.1 inch (so far). The seasonal snowfall totals is now preliminarily set at 18.4 inches for KDCA.

Updated 12:18AM 2/27/2014 for final 2/26 snowfall totals.

KDCA actually picked up a full 1.0 inch today, so it's seasonal total is 19.3 inches.

KBWI had 0.6 inches and KIAD had 1.4 inches, which brings their respective seasonal totals to 26.9 inches and 33.0 inches.

End of update.

I direct you to the Capital Weather Gang and its entries over the past few days for more info including here, here, and here. Oh, and for this morning's snow, here.

As I wrote this, it was suddenly snowing rather heavily again right outside my window even though the radar doesn't look very impressive.

Interesting winter: It just doesn't want to let go. (Of course, in the late 19th Century, winter would not have let go until mid-March.)

Picture posted in the fourth linked CWG entry above taken by Susie Shaffer in Kemp Mill, Md., this morning showing a dog (possibly hers) enjoying the snow.

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I'm really not feeling well this morning. I'm going into work late. As it is, I worked a 12-hour day yesterday -- but entirely from home including from 130AM to 6AM and then again from about 10AM to 530PM. The four hours of hardly restful sleep between 6AM and 10AM didn't do me much good. The snow falling moderately outside my window actually got me up.

Another view from my apartment but looking to the NNW toward the nearby buildings and Meridian Hill Park during the snow squall, Washington, D.C., 10:30AM February 26, 2014.

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However, I finished editing the 156 page document and recreated some incredibly detailed tables of numbers showing NPV, BCR, IRR, and dollar amounts of this and that stretching from 2008 all the way back to 1974 in one case.

Snowy morning in Reston, Va., as taken by SarahPMacD and posted in the fourth-linked CWG entry above.

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Last night, I went out for a bit including to Luna Grill where I met Imara and Jake (it was a small subset of the usual Tuesday night happy hour group) and then to D-I-K bar, where I had a (not surprisingly) particularly shitty time. Then I grocery shopped and came out and just died in bed -- but only after eating some junk food.

I feel blobbish, especially after all that damn sitting and not leaving the apartment yesterday. I'm also worried I'm ticking back up on my weight (see previous entry).


It used to be like that every day at the Japanese Turkey Farm (link NOT provided) in Bethesda when I was doing regular and then 1099 work for them. It was a nightmare. Wall-P was thrilled that I was trapped there while he was collecting $10,000 paychecks every two weeks for, well, nothing except being a tool of corporate oligarchy. But at least he has She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

Wall-P at his wedding to She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. He was thinking of his accelerated depreciations and capital gains tax write-offs at that moment, not to mention client synergies and legal filings. She was thinking of her TOTAL TRIUMPH at that moment.

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Anyway, I plan to go to the gym tonight.

OK, that's all for now. I intend to update the blog tonight, but writing these entries is always so agonizing, especially when I try anything thematic -- weather, political, or any other matter.

One entry in particular that I need to write is to note that the Oscars are coming up -- another Sunday night spectacle for me to avoid -- and what means for M. WADE Tipamillyun. For him, it's Christmas, New Years, his birthday, and a trip to Alexandria to buy a new BMW followed by a shopping jaunt at Tysons II all rolled up into one big NoVa-DC bourgeois ball of American cultural non-exceptionalism.

"Quack ... Quack ... Like, oh, my Gahwd, I can't wait ... Quack ... Quack ... Quack ... "

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OK, I'm done. Time to get this flippin' day started.

--Regulus

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jogging In Place (Stuck In D.C.) While Viewing Lovely Far Away Places On a Treadmill Screen

Sweeping vista of the stunning landscape of the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah.

This is the kind of powerful beauty of the American West natural landscape that is just so stunning and awesome.

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Home tonight in my wee little, lamp-lit, dusty efficiency somewhere in Washington, D.C., early 21st Century. I'm watching a funny episode of Frasier ("Rivals"). ("You'll see everything more clearly when I've got you on the couch!")

Sigh.

Coyote Natural Bridge, Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah.

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This can only be a short update as I actually have work to do tonight. I'm only about a third of the way thorough copyediting a 156 page document that has to be completed by 1PM tomorrow. Ideally, I'd work through it for about 4 hours tonight (say, midnight to 4AM) and then tomorrow morning (also from home) from about 7AM to 11AM. Incidentally, I'd have a full work day completed as well, so I would actually need to go into the office.

Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. This is one of the park's famous hoodoos. Photo taken July 13, 2007 by Tobias Alt.

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I'm home from the Anthony Bowen YMCA gym where I had an OK three-part workout (treadmill jog, machine weightlifting, and swim). I had a much better one yesterday. I'll take tomorrow off and instead see Chris at the D-I-K bar happy hour. I weighed myself and was 144 pounds, which is still within the low 140s range of my current gym era (lower bound from about two weeks ago of 140.5 pounds and upper bound a month ago of 145.5 pounds). So I'm still down the 40 pounds net and probably about 45 pounds of fat from my peak back in June 2012.

The Toadstools formation in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah. Source here.

You expect to see the Coyote chasing the Road Runner across this landscape with the Coyote trying some new Acme brand device that naturally blows up on him.

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The treadmill course run I did tonight was in Germany -- the ancient Rennsteig trail and another one around Mt. Watzmann whose name I can't now recall. The other three parts to it were mostly flat -- in Bad Reichenhall (quite pretty) and then Munich.

I often do the Trinity-Shasta run in Northern California that includes five distinct locations including the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, as well as the one in Utah and Arizona that includes the one featuring Bryce Canyon National Park (with its hoodoos and hanging gardens) / Zion National Park / Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (past the Toadstool hoodoo formations) in Utah (I love those names) and the South Kaibab Trail into the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

I'd actually like to see those places in person.

Snow-blanked Mount Shasta towers above Heart Lake Trail in the Shasta–Trinity National Forest. The top of the mountain is bathed in deep orange sunlight while the world below is deep in shadows.

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As for the ginormous Hawaii project, there is a worry that this multi-part report may never actually see the light of public day. That would really be a shame -- not just because of all the team effort that went into it, but because it is a good document.

Bear Creek and the Trinity Alps with Mount Shasta in the distance.

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My weekend was OK. The highlight turned out to be a very nice dinner at the Old Bar (with bartender Larry) at Old Ebbitt Grill. I had a well-done New York strip steak, spinach, and potatoes. It was damn good. I also had a glass of red wine and a cup of coffee with Baileys and whipped cream all followed by a dish of vanilla ice cream. Awesome. And I felt a lot better.

I then biked to the restaurant and then over to Nellie's, where I stayed a little while, and then home.

The forested Rennsteig trail in Germany that forms the historical boundary of Thuringia and Franconia.

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It's a cold night outside with temps falling below freezing and into the 20s Fahrenheit even in the District by later tonight. A cold pattern has set up and should persist for about a week before it warms up. There is a chance of some light snow tomorrow into Wednesday and then another potentially more significant chance this coming weekend. Sundays' forecasted high is only 30F after a morning low of around 16F. That morning low is not far off the record daily low and the daytime high is a solid 24F below normal at KDCA.

I'm not used to writing "it will be way below normal" temperature wise in this era (this winter's cold outbreaks notwithstanding).

OK, that's all for now. I may try to update the blog tomorrow night, or else it will be on Wednesday night (early Thursday)

--Regulus

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry, Feb. 22nd, 2014: The Bea Wain, Frank & Nancy Sinatra (ft. David Perruzza), and Aqua Barbie Girl Edition


"Heart and Soul" by Larry Clinton and his Orchestra and sung by the great vocalist Bea Wain (1939).

Both Wain and Ella Fitzgerald did great renditions of Dipsy Doodle.

Bea Wain was quite a lovely looking young woman. Above is a picture of her from probably around 1940.

Oh, and she's still very much alive at the spry age of 96. Below is a picture of her from May 2013 at a luncheon for Michael Feinstein when he was inducted into the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.

The caption on the webpage states: Celebrity luncheon honoree Michael Feinstein greets legendary recording artist and long-time PPB member Bea Wain in the Sportsmen's Lodge green room. (David Keeler photo)

Awesome.

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"Somethin' Stupid" by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy Sinatra from their album The World We Knew (1967)

The Sinatra and Sinatra release of this song went to Number 1 on the Easy Listening chart (now called the Adult Contemporary chart) and Number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, it was actually written and released by Carson Parks and his wife Gaile Foote the year before in 1966.

Oh, yes...

Is it me or does David Perruzza (D - Some Local Hero) look like Frank Sinatra, at least a little?

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And now for something a bit more Saturday night upbeat ...


"Barbie Girl" by Aqua from their release Aquarium (1997).

Yes, it's very silly and bubble gum syrupy but kinda fun.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will either be Monday or Tuesday night.

--Regulus

A Saturday Afternoon of No Note and Night of Morally Wondrous Judgments & Starry Patterns

**This entry was posted February 22nd, 2014.**

Evening blue sky as seen above the setting sunlight-bathed turret of the building 1740 New Hampshire Avenue Washington, D.C., 5:27PM February 22, 2014.

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I'm home this Saturday night after doing basically nothing today. I'm now watching the usual Me-TV Sci Fi Saturday Night lineup. The episodes of Wonder Woman and Star Trek: The Original Series have been quite interesting: The Wonder Woman episode is a two-parter called "Judgment from Outer Space" and the Star Trek one is the episode "Patterns of Force" -- an amazing one that you should watch.

Scene from part 2 of the Wonder Woman episode "Judgment from Outer Space."

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There is a Nazi theme in both, one problematic and the other very direct:

In the Wonder Woman episode, the alien Andros comes to Earth during World War II to pass judgment on the human race -- whether it should survive or not -- and from the perspective of an impartial observer arriving during the war between the Nazis and the Allies with the question of "Is it Good Versus Evil or just degrees of evil and savagery?

In the Star Trek episode, an observer (John Gill) ends up (inadvertently) creating a Nazi society based on good idea (a strong but benign ruler running a society efficiently) that goes wrong precisely because it is conceptually unworkable.

Scene from Star Trek: TOS episode Patterns of Force with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy in Nazi SS uniforms.

Apparently, this episode was not shown in full in Germany on regular TV until 2011.

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Earlier, I was just listening to the Singers and Swing channel 899 on RCN as I worked on the ridiculously long blog entry that I finally just completed and posted. I really need to get these damn entries under control.

Row houses catch the low-angled late afternoon sunlight in the 1900 block of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 4:39PM February 22, 2014.

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I did not go to the gym today, partly because I was not feeling well (after effects of last night at Nellie's with Gary*) and partly because I just wanted to finish that damn entry. In addition, I got a haircut at the Hair Cutter this evening.

*I met him there after dinner with Wendy at Eatonville. She came with me to Nellie's for a little while. I intend to go tomorrow and Monday. As for tonight, my intention is the usual -- dinner out (either Old Ebbitt Grill or Trio's), No. 9, and Nellie's.

The 1700 block of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 4:46PM February 22, 2014.

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The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie is coming on right. It is the 1945 movie House of Dracula.

People at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 4:37PM February 22, 2014.

The relatively warm and sunny weather today -- highs reached 64F at KDCA -- brought out scads of people.

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The same intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 4:37PM February 22, 2014.

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OK, that's all for now. I'm going to try to post a jukebox Saturday night musical entry very quickly before I go out.

--Regulus

The Absurdly Long Entry: Discussion of D.C. Area Snowfall; Atmospheric Oscillations; and Global Climate Change Plus Commentary

**This entry was posted February 22nd, 2014.**

A light blanket of snow covers the grassy area of Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 9:47AM February 18, 2014.

I had walked from my apartment Tuesday morning to the Bank of America ATM at Dupont Circle and took the Metro from there to work rather than from U Street / Cardozo. I took this picture and three more in this entry on that short walk.

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This is the entry I intended to post a few days ago.

I wanted to note that Washington, D.C., "officially" is now above normal for snowfall this winter season.

The 0.3 inches that fell in the early hours of Tuesday morning (Feb. 18th) pushed the Reagan Washington National Airport climate station (KDCA) 2013 - 2014 seasonal snowfall total to 15.5 inches or 0.1 inch above the present (1981 - 2010) 30-year average (mean) of 15.4 inches.

However, this is kind of problematic given that the KDCA average is somewhat skewed by those rare big snowfall years. The Capital Weather Gang had an entry about later that day (link embedded): Officially snowy: D.C. snow edges above average, for only 4th time in 25 years.

The snow-dusted sidewalk in the 1900 block of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 9:36AM February 18, 2014.

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As the title states, it notes that only four winters in the past 25 years have featured above normal snowfall -- and three have been blockbuster years. These four including the present are as follows:

2009-2010: 56.1 inches (Rank: 1st)

1995-1996: 46.0 inches (Rank: 3rd)

2002-2003: 40.1 inches (Rank: Tied for 7th place)

2013-2014: 15.5 inches (through Feb. 22nd).

Source here.

Every other winter in the period 1984 - 2013 has featured less than the "average" snowfall*. In other words, years with average (mean) snowfall are actually rare in D.C.

*Yes, that average changed slightly with the decadal update from the 1971 - 2000 base period to the 1981 - 2010 base period that occurred in 2010. Also of note, the winter of 2009 - 2010 actually helped keep the 30-year average more or less steady.

As I recall, the big snowfall drop at KDCA and KBWI (about 15 percent each) occurred in 2001 when the 1961 - 1990 period was replaced by the 1971 - 2000 base period. You can avoid this by just taking a full record period average.

The median KDCA snowfall for the period 1989 - 2013 is closer to 10 inches. This is probably a more accurate measurement for a "typical" D.C. winter.

A graph from the above CWG entry showing snowfall totals for the past 25 years including this winter's total through Feb. 18th, 2014.

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The Washington Dulles International Airport climate station (KIAD) had 0.5 inches Monday night into Tuesday morning and its 2013 - 2014 seasonal total is 31.0 inches -- not only double the KDCA total but is 9.0 inches above its 30-year (1981 - 2010) seasonal average (mean) of 22.0 inches.

Finally, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport climate station (KBWI) had 0.9 inches Tuesday morning, bringing its 30-year (1981 - 2010) seasonal average (mean) of 25.7 inches or 5.6 inches above its seasonal average of 20.1 inches.

A light and fluffy snow dusts the small yard of 1737 New Hampshire Avenue and the neighboring yards, Washington, D.C., around 9:40AM February 18, 2014.

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The fact that KDCA is so much lower than KIAD or KBWI is testament to how marginal our temperatures are for all snow / mixed precipitation or even plain rain in the Metro D.C./Baltimore areas and, yes, to what a dreadful place National Airport is to take snow (or indeed any weather) measurements. It's sort of like a micro-Norfolk / Newport News climate in D.C. But we won't get into that topic again right now. (FYI: KDCA has been the spot for snow measurements since about 1945; prior to that, snow records were kept at various places in D.C. Official snow records for D.C. start in January 1888.)

Schematic diagram of the Arctic Oscillation negative phase.

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Schematic diagram of the Arctic Oscillation positive phase.

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In the case of this winter, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) has been quite negative -- see above positive and negative AO schematic images -- for much of January and February and the polar vortex has repeatedly "slide" off the North Pole / high Arctic into the sub-Arctic and middle latitudes of the "Western" Hemisphere over eastern North America. By contrast, there was record warmth in parts of Eurasia this winter. (I think it was last year or maybe the year before that there was a similar "slide" except it was into the Eastern Hemisphere including Japan and eastern China.)

A colorful representation from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientists showing the polar vortex (or at least a big "piece" of it) sliding into the middle latitudes of eastern North America in January 2014. I'm not sure exactly what day this is or what the colors represent (probably 500mb geopotential heights, although it could be geopotential height anomalies or perhaps just temperature at some level). Source here.

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Looking ahead, the models (both the GFS and the Euro) are suggesting that the polar vortex will again "slide" out of the Arctic source region into eastern North America centered over central Ontario by next week. This would be the third time that there has been a major Arctic outbreak with the biggest in early January.

Today's 12Z GFS showing 500mb geopotential heights, 500mb temperatures (C), and winds (knots) for North America valid at hour 114 / 06Z (1AM EST) February 27, 2014. The closed geopotential height contours mark the Arctic polar vortex in the upcoming cold wave.

I supposed you could say the very center of the polar vortex in this image is over the sub-Arctic Canadian indigenous community of Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario.

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Here are two relevant CWG entries from this past week (links embedded):



The Arctic Oscillation (AO) Index observed between October 26, 2013 and February 22, 2014 with the ensemble forecast through mid-March 2014. This plot shows a 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day forecast for the 1000mb height surface. The y-axis is a positive or negative standard deviation corresponding to a positive or negative AO Index.

** Note: All my AO, NAO, and PNA large plot images have a spurious "J" in the file name ("22JFeb"). At this point, I'm not going to change it. **

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Unfortunately, there is no major snowstorm for D.C. during this time -- the jet stream energy just isn't phasing and there is no Greenland high pressure block (i.e., a really negative NAO -- see below). 

Thereafter, the pattern should start to relax and the seasonal change will start to overwhelm any transitory jet stream pattern.

A map of snowfall totals for selected cities through Feb. 17, 2014. Click on image for larger version. (These totals may have increased in certain cities in the past five days.)

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It is quite possible that shrinking Arctic sea ice may be contributing to these oscillations of the polar vortex. But there are also the sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) episodes that (as I understand) are sometimes linked to Arctic outbreaks into the middle latitudes. (I really should ask Kristof about this -- he is one of the world's experts in the field of stratospheric - tropospheric interactions and SSWs, except he's not a meteorologist.)

This is a map I got from Gary that was produced by one of his NASA Goddard colleagues showing the seasonal trend in Arctic Ocean sea ice coverage between November and March compared to 2012 - 2013 and 2013 - 2014 (through last week). The x-axis is the period November - May. The y-axis is millions of square kilometers of sea ice (i.e., the areal extent).

The dark gray line is the 1981 - 2010 average sea ice extent with the gray region representing plus or minus two standard deviations from the mean. 2011 - 2013 is the dashed green line and 2013 - 2014 bright blue line is 2013 - 2014.  It shows that the areal extent of sea ice has been just about 2 sigma (standard deviations) below the mean for much of this season and as of February had actually slipped below that (i.e., outside of the gray region).

At this rate, by summer 2024, there may very well be open sea water at Earth's geographic North Pole.

Yes, Mr. American Rightwing Talk Radio Listener and Mrs. American "Fox & Friends" Viewer: THIS is manmade global warming in action.

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Long story short, to a zeroeth order approximation, in a globally warming world, it can and will sometimes get colder in the middle latitude winters. However, some climate scientists oppose making this causality. Here is yet another CWG article (link embedded): Scientists: Don't make "extreme cold" centerpiece of global warming argument.

However, I think these scientists are making the issue too obtuse and allowing the Flat Earther crowd to have the dominate position. They're just being too subtle and nuanced.

Why?

A side-by-side schematic comparison of the positive and negative phases of the AO and attendant synoptic scale weather patterns.

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Because, yet again, to a zeroeth order approximation, a warming Arctic and sub-Arctic with shrinking sea ice and warmer sea surface temperatures in the northern Pacific and Atlantic are causing the polar vortex to wander more and more. Ditto with increased high pressure blocks and warming over Greenland.

Schematic of the jet stream pattern in the positive and negative phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the attendant synoptic-scale air pressure and weather patterns. Note the high pressure block near / over Greenland.

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Anyway, as for U.S. East Coast coldness this year, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) -- an oscillatory climate phenomenon across the central North Atlantic between Greenland / Iceland and the Azores whose fundamental relationship with the AO (which one is physically more "real") is not yet decided -- was weakly negative in January and weakly positive in February. This has constrained any really MAJOR East Coast nor'easters (last week's notwithstanding).

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index observed between October 26, 2013 and February 22, 2014 with the ensemble forecast through mid-March 2014. This plot shows a 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day forecast for the 500mb height surface. The y-axis is a positive or negative standard deviation corresponding to a positive or negative NAO Index.

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The AO and NAO are typically in phase but they can be out of phase. Oh, and then there is the Pacific / North American (PNA) pattern that in January was in a positive phase and is now in a negative phase. The positive PNA with high pressure over the Western U.S. is probably contributing to the severe drought in California.

This is a nice schematic diagram from The Weather Channel (yes, The Weather Channel) showing a positive PNA (Western U.S. high pressure ridge) and a very negative NAO (with high pressure block over Greenland). For a classic East Coast storm -- the Miller A or Miller B -- you would need the jet stream to run parallel to the Gulf Stream.

The Greenland block keeps the low from being too progressive and facilitates the negative tilt. The intense baroclinicity and the tremendous oceanic latent heat fluxes of this arrangement with phasing of the southern and northern jet branches is perfect for spinning up / bombing out a storm (i.e., explosive cyclogenesis).

Of course, the low can't be too close to the coast or else the coastal plain gets flooded with warmer air (resulting in rain).

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The Pacific / North American Index observed between October 26, 2013 and February 22, 2014 with the ensemble forecast through mid-March 2014. This plot shows a 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day forecast for the 500mb height surface. The y-axis is a positive or negative standard deviation corresponding to a positive or negative PNA Index.

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Political Commentary ...

Speaking of these U.S. extremes, as well as those abroad -- such as record rainfall in Great Britain and scorching heat in Australia (haven't I written that sentence before?)-- prompted the Sunday talk shows to return to the issue of anthropogenic climate change (global warming). I refer to (in Bartcop's wonderful phraseology) Face the Whore, Meet the Whore, This Whore, and Fox Whore Sunday.

Move over Lincoln-Douglas Debates and Scopes Monkey Trial: The early 21st Century has just surpassed you: The David Gregory-moderated "debate" between Bill Nye and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on Meet the Press last Sunday on climate change.

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The first three (i.e., the long-established commercial network shows) have ignored the topic for years (since it ceased to be interesting to them about six years ago) except very rarely to talk about it strictly in political horseracing terms while Fox -- the main media/entertainment division of the billionaire crank / corporate oligarchical / foundation-funded GOP Agit-Prop Machine -- has continued to mock and belittle and run an attempted intimidation campaign against climate scientists.


Anyway, below are two links discussing what happens when the Sunday talk shows try to tackle climate change. It wasn't pretty. And its kind of infuriating, but it's also good to know.

In short, three commercial ones maintain their Fred Hiatt-like false-balance equivalencies and treat the issue as something to be won by Republicans, or that Democrats should just stop talking about so as not to upset Republicans.


This is how you REGULARLY get in the American media entire "news" segments discussing anthropogenic climate change with NO ACTUAL CLIMATE CIENTISTS and instead featuring nothing but rightwing pundits, propagandists, and GOP politicians who as opinionated as they are totally uninformed on the topic.


As for the Fox News Channel crowd, it's even worse as they mock, belittle, and propagandize on an issue they truly know nothing about. It's even worse when they try to ask a question. It's painfully embarrassing.


Salon (link embedded): Sunday shows' climate disgrace: Cluelessness and false balance could cost lives by Brad Friedman

Esquire (link embedded): What Are The Gobshites Saying These Days? by Charles B. Pierce.

Media Matters also covered the issue but in a less politically incendiary way (link embedded): Sunday Shows' Climate Coverage Shows Media Vulnerability.

As described in the Salon piece:

Out of all four of them, just "This Week" and "Face the Nation" bothered to book an actual climate scientist to take part in the conversation with their various bevies of political and journalistic deniers and non-scientists. Only "Face the Nation" offered a one-on-one with a climate scientist before then bringing on the denier.

The denier was North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory may not be THE WORST governor ever in the Old Confederacy (that's admittedly a high low bar to reach) but he's certainly the corporate sleazy - smarmiest. He's the kind of guy that if the South ever broke away (GO...!) would soon run a "shareholder profit-maximizing agrarian enterprise" and brag that all the slaves workers have access to healthy food AND a hot shower.

"Studies show our slaves, er, I mean, workers in North Carolina are the HAPPIEST!"

As for Bob Schieffer, my understanding is that a recent radiocarbon dating places his age at approximately 350.

On Meet the Whore, David Gregory -- aptly described by Pierce as a "noodlebrained bag of useless flesh" -- had Bill Nye, the Science Guy media personality, debate the neo-Confederate Congresswoman from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn.

Is it just me or does Marsha Blackburn look like the kind of woman who in high school took out her cheerleading squad main rival and now has a cuckold husband who lives in dread fear of her??

"Jesus has been talking to me. He said I should have you over for one of my Southern home-cooked meals."

The Fox "coverage" doesn't even warrant the respect or dignity of a description other than to say it was the usual crap.

One interesting point: Apparently the GOP Agit-Prop Machine is trying to follow Frank Luntz's 2003 dictim to use the term "climate change" instead of "global warming." While climate scientists have long done this, the GOP position is based on total misunderstanding (there is no "global warming" but "climate change" can naturally happen and the term is less scary to "typical voters").

So there you have it.

Another picture of the lightly snow-covered sidewalk in the 1900 block of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 9:36AM February 18, 2014.

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OK, that FINALLY wraps up this entry. It took me in all about 9 hours -- stretched over three days -- to compose this entry. That's ridiculous. I know that. Going forward, I need to make these entries shorter, more concise, and possibly even length / word / image limited.

It's Saturday night now and I intend to post my jukebox Saturday night entry along with a brief update.

--Regulus