Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Winter Winds of This November: The First Blast of Winter -- and Trump's Autocracy -- Arrive; Reposted in Full: CWG Entry on the Ever-More-Lopsided Ratio of Record High-to-Low Temps

Windy, blustery fall day, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 2:35PM November 20, 2016.


I was going to post another entry tonight that includes an update and some political commentary about the latest Trump garbage, but instead I would like to repost an entry written by Jason Samenow that appeared on the Capital Weather Gang earlier yesterday (Monday).

As context, the first real blast of winter-like weather slammed into the region Saturday afternoon and yesterday was a windy, blustery day with highs of only 47F at KDCA, 46F at KBWI, and 45F at KIAD and, oddly enough, also KDMH.

Morning lows for Nov. 21st did not go below freezing except at KIAD (where the morning low reached 32F) if only because of the frequent, gusty wind.

Windy, blustery fall day, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 2:39PM November 20, 2016.


Today -- that is, Monday -- was another blustery, chilly day with a persistent northwesterly breeze -- sometimes gusty -- and highs in the 40s F including 47F at KCDA, 44F at KBWI and KDMH, and 43F at KIAD. Tonight remains on the breezy side with northwesterly winds occasionally gusting to 25MPH. KBWI is already down to 32F at the 11PM hour while KIAD is 34F and KDCA is at 37F.

Blustery fall day with fast-moving stratocumulus clouds riding the surging northwesterly wind as seen from S and 17th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 2:43PM Nov. 20, 2016.


KDCA might finally have its first "official" freeze by tomorrow morning if the winds subside but that is always such a tall order at frickin' National Airport. More importantly, there might be a bit of much-needed rain late Wednesday into Thanksgiving.

Oh, yes, the blast of modified Arctic air brought the first round of heavy lake effect and mountain snows in all the usual places on the downwind side of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and the Appalachians from West Virginia up to New England.

By way of my friend Kevin here in D.C.:

Morning snowy scene somewhere in the Finger Lakes Region not far from Rochester, N.Y., November 21, 2016; One of Kevin's friends took his picture.


The CWG had the following entry about it (link embedded): A blizzard in West Virginia and 2 feet of snow in New York -- winter is here, apparently.

It included this image from a small town in Oswego County, N.Y.:

Carolyn Yerdon poses for a picture in the first blizzard of the season -- totaling a reported 32 inches of snow -- in Redfield, N.Y., November 21, 2016; This picture was posted on her Twitter account and reposted in the above-linked CWG entry.

This is already likely double - and, potentially, ten to twenty times -- what D.C. will get all winter.


Having written all of this, I'd now like to repost that CWG that I referenced at the top of this entry. It is reposted in full below along with the link. (If you go to the source link, just ignore the comment section -- there are actually only 11 comments, the bulk of them by a couple climate-denying dead-enders.)

Blustery evening looking along the 1400 block of P Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:09PM November 20, 2016.


It's worth noting that these kinds of articles hardly get the mouth-foamingly rabid rightwing response that they used to because the evidence of climate change -- as in, anthropogenic global warming -- is simply too overwhelming. In the reposting below, tweaked the image captions where I thought necessary for clarity.

Before I conclude this entry, though, as a very brief update, on Sunday, I didn't do much of anything except meet Kevin and Delaney at Pearl Dive, where we had a really nice time -- albeit the political talk was deeply depressing. Delaney is an incredibly smart person with a real wisdom well beyond her years (which are significantly fewer than yours truly's).

Later, I went to Trade where I had a couple more drinks before walking home. I actually got home around 730PM and it was so dark and blustery -- and I was in a crap frame of mind at that point -- so I just went to bed and slept for most of the next 12 hours.

Blustery fall evening at the intersection of P and 14th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 5:09PM Nov. 20, 2016.


For today (Monday), I had a productive day at work and then went to the gym tonight where I had a good jog and core workout but ran out of time for weight-lifting and instead went into the pool. I'm planning on going to the gym again tomorrow night owing to the Thanksgiving holiday (and my own financial situation until I get paid later this week).

I intend to post a blog entry tomorrow night (on the original topic I had intended). As a teaser, though, here are some Erik Wemple tweets that are worth posting:

For context, see this article.

What a bunch of fucking idiots to go to that kind of meeting. (Why wasn't Anderson Cooper there? Or was he?) I guess there is some poetic justice, though: Trump's very media-whore enablers are now his first victims. I see multiple catastrophes ahead and a society whose broken institutions and systems cannot stop it.



U.S. record heat poised to outpace record cold by factor of 15 late this century

Source here.
By Jason Samenow
Nov. 21, 2016

GFS simulation of a sprawling high pressure dome across the southwestern United States centered on the Four Corners region, June 2016. This image shows color-coded 500-mb geopotential height contours (in decameters) along with wind barbs.


It is a telltale sign of the warming climate in the Lower 48: Record high temperatures are set with ease and regularity while record lows are increasingly uncommon.

This balance between record highs and lows is forecast to become even more lopsided in coming decades due to predicted climate warming, according to a new study.

Heat records could outnumber cold records by a factor of 15 (plus or minus 8) later this century, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"More and more frequently, climate change will affect Americans with record-setting heat," said Gerald Meehl, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and study lead author. Record-setting cold won't altogether disappear, but will become rare, he said.

The growing disparity between record warmth and record cold will be pushed along by a steady rise in the average temperature over the Lower 48. The temperature in the Lower 48 is projected to warm about 5.4 degrees (3 Celsius) by 2065, assuming emissions of heat-trapping gases from human activity continue at the current pace.

"An increase in average temperatures of a few degrees may not seem like much," Meehl said, "but it correlates with a noticeable increase in days that are hotter than any in the record, and nights that will remain warmer than we’ve ever experienced in the past."

The amount of warming will determine just how disproportionate the record heat is. If the climate warms 7.2 degrees (4 Celsius), 38 times as many record highs as record lows would be expected, Meehl said. But if warming is limited to 3.6 degrees (2 Celsius), record highs would outpace lows by a much lower factor of about 5.5 (range of 3 to 8).

"Every degree of warming makes a substantial amount of difference," Meehl said.

Meehl's latest work, with co-authors Claudia Tebaldi and Dennis Adams-Smith, builds on a study he published (with colleagues) in 2009. It found that, since 2000, about twice as many record highs as record lows had occurred in the continental U.S.

The caption to this image is self-explanatory; Click on it for larger version.


If the climate was not changing, roughly an equal number of record highs and lows would have been expected.

The 2009 study also projected the number of record highs and lows into the future. But it found the underlying model was predicting too many record highs compared to reality. So the new study investigated the reasons the earlier model erred to make a more reliable forecast, more consistent with observations.

Since Meehl's 2009 study, record highs have continued to greatly outnumber record lows but with considerable year-to-year fluctuation. For example, the ratio was about 5:1 in 2012, the warmest year on record in the U.S., but about 1:1 in 2013 and 2014, when the polar vortex was disrupted and frigid air gripped large portions of the nation. This year, the nation has witnessed five to six times as many record highs as record lows.

A disproportionate number of record highs has also been seen in individual cities. In Washington, for example, record highs have outpaced lows by an 8 to 1 ratio since 2000, and more than 16 to 1 since 2010.

Ratio of warmth records to cold records by decade for Washington, D.C., from the 1870s to the 2010s (to date); Source: Justin Grieser, CWG.


(The increase in record highs in Washington may, in part, be due to urbanization around the observing site. Meehl said in an interview that, for his study, he relied on data sets for which methods were developed to correct for urbanization.)

In other parts of the world, the ratio of record highs to record lows has also become increasingly skewed. In Australia, warm records outnumbered cold records by more than 12 to 1 from 2000 to 2014, according to a study published last year.

"These changes pose adaptation challenges to both human and natural systems," said Tebaldi, also at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Only a substantial mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions may stop this increase, or at least slow down its pace."

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