Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Possible (Rare) Arctic Outbreak; 2012 Climate Overview; and a Long Ago Snowy D.C. Disaster

Speed Bump comic strip for 01/10/2013 by Dave Coverly.

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Just a really quick update. My work day is over -- it was a fairly productive one, although on a different topic than what I usually do and one that may (I hope) become more important as the current one starts to ramp down by spring.

I am heading out to meet A. and some others at Hill Country over in Chinatown before going home. I went to the gym last night and intend to do so again tomorrow and Thursday night.

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However, I would like to post a weather and climate update ...

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 7:04PM EST (0004UTC) January 15 (16 January) 2013.

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It is a suddenly cold and showery one (although "cold" is a relative term since it is no more than seasonably chilly, not bitterly cold). Temps are around 40F in D.C. There is a winter weather advisory out for freezing rain well west of here and an ice storm warning in Garrett County, Md., and Tucker County, W.Va.

Sterling (LWX) NWS webpage of its County Warning Area (CWA) map showing current advisories in effect as of 7:09PM EST January 15, 2013.

The deep purple color -- or whatever is that color -- represents the ice storm warning areas.

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The weather is supposed to get MUCH colder -- almost a borderline Arctic outbreak -- in time for the combo Inaugural Day/ Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal holiday on Monday, Jan. 21st. However, the pattern really doesn't look like a snow-favorable one unless there is a minor clipper system.

NWS / NCEP / CPC super ensemble mean for 500 mb flow over North America valid at Day 11 on or about 26 January 2013.

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Here is Wes Junker's Capital Weather Gang write up about it. It includes the image directly above. This is noteworthy in that we just don't get the really frigid Arctic outbreaks as in years / decades gone by. More to the point, the GFS may have been right in the idea it has been latching onto for weeks.

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2012 Climate Overview

NOAA: Overview of significant global climate anomalies and events (click on image for much larger / readable version).

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Here is NOAA's State of the Climate report for the global climate for 2012. (I think this is the permanent URL as opposed to the most recent one.)

Land and ocean temperature anomalies globally for the January - December 2012 period versus the 1981 - 2010 base period. (The base period here is not the full 20th Century average.)

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In short, it was the 10th warmest year on record globally. This is with respect to the 20th Century average. (Recall 2012 was the warmest on record for the contiguous U.S. for the 1895 - 2012 base period.)

Here are some other findings:

"The year 2012 was the 10th warmest year since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This marks the 36th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Currently, the warmest year on record is 2010, which was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above average. Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001–2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20th century -- 1998 -- was warmer than 2012."

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Map of NASA - GISS analysis of Earth's surface temperature (land and ocean) for 2010 versus found the 1951 - 1980 average global baseline.

Meanwhile, using a somewhat different methodology and involves the 1951 - 1980 mid-20th Century period as a baseline NASA has concluded 2012 was the 9th warmest globally.

Key findings:

"The average temperature in 2012 was about 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 Celsius), which is 1.0 F (0.6 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline. The average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees F (0.8 C) since 1880, according to the new analysis."

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A D.C. Snowy Disaster from Long Ago ...

Knickerbocker Snowstorm totals, Jan. 26 - 29, 1922; source here.

Last weather item: Capital Weather Gang featured today this major write up on the Knickerbocker Threatre collapse on January 28, 1922.

The roof of Crandall's Knickerbocker Threatre collapsed under the crushing weight of a heavy wet snow onto a large crowd inside the building killing 98 people and injuring 133.


The "Knickerbocker Storm" remains Washington, D.C.'s biggest official snowstorm ever with 28" (that's a pre-KDCA record, mind you). That storm is likely to remain D.C.'s largest snowfall ever as long as National Airport is the climate station.

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On an unrelated note, except I thought it was funny ...

Here was today's Pooch Cafe comic strip by Paul Gilligan. Click on image for larger / more readable version.

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OK, that's all for now. I will try to update this blog tomorrow (Wednesday night / early Thursday).

--Regulus

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