Monday, August 19, 2019

General Weather Update Here in the Dog Days of Summer -OR- August Augured: A Sad Sidewalk Sunflower and the Melting Greenland Saga

A sunflower grows (grew) along Commerce Street, Alexandria, Va., 2:50 p.m. August 11, 2019

This lovely but seemingly sad sunflower was growing on Commerce Street in Old Town the weekend before last but it was gone this past Saturday (six days later).


Home now at this late hour after a good multi-part gym workout that followed a quiet day at work.

I'm watching the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Silent Six" that I wrote about in this entry when I last saw it last summer.

This is the episode with several invocations of "Hopped Up on Goofballs" and that features the very interesting fellow Hampton Fancher, who plays a woman-beating hood character that is asked angrily in the courtroom by Perry Mason: "What kind of animal are you??" It also features the prolific 1960s actor Skip Homeier (whose credits include two Star Trek: TOS appearances).

The digital antenna reception tonight earlier was pure shit -- perhaps because there of the weather -- although it's gotten a bit better as the would-be thunderstorm crapped out (more on that below).

About the weather, it was again pointlessly hot, excessively humid, and all-around shitty across the region -- and thus a microcosm of our globally overheated world. Indeed, today featured borderline record daily highs and at least one tie for a record warm overnight low (see below for details).

It was also kind of a crummy day sky-wise with haze (not summer blue skies), although there were widely scattered thunderstorms with big, puffy cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus clouds here and there.

Specifically, it reached 98F at KDCA, tying the 2002 daily record high. The overnight low (this morning) was 78F -- which also ties the 2002 daily record warm low.

As this CWG entry explains, this was the first official KDCA record high since Sept 4, 2018 (when it reached 95F) and the first meteorological summer record high since June 12, 2017 (when it reached 95F). Last summer, while warm in absolute terms at +1.6F was cooler than recent ones.

Looking at the other two regional main airport ASOS spots, KBWI climbed to 99F, surpassing the previous daily record of 97F set in 1914 (i.e., in the pre-airport period) while KIAD tied its daily record high of 95F set in 2002. Neither airport had a daily record warm low.

We're up to 48 days now of 90F or higher at KDCA this season -- versus the "average" year-to-date total of 30 and a full yearly average of 36. The highest number of 90F + days was 67 in 1980 and 2010 while the fewest was 7 in 1886 and 1905 (both pre-airport records).

Last year's full season total was 45 days.

About that yearly average, it's a bit confusing since the highest normal daily maxima is 89F (occurring between July 7th and 22nd, inclusive). This is based on the National Weather Service's 1981 - 2010 30-year average (i.e., "normal").

I'm unsure whether the 90+F average is based on that average or, more likely, the full D.C. record (back to 1871).

I'm fairly certain that once the new NWS normal base period data set is released in 2021 -- for the 30-year period 1991 - 2020 -- the highest normal daily maxima at KDCA will finally reach the 90F mark (i.e., we will actually have a "normal" high that reaches the 90F mark at the warmest part of summer). Even without it, though, we still reach 90F on average 36 times in a yearly period (however you want to reckon that period).

Dog Days, Indeed

My mom really suffers in this summer heat. It's very unpleasant for her, and I'm limited in what I can do on a day-to-day basis to help. As for me in my wee efficiency, I'm fine because my window a/c works so well, and what's more, I don't have to pay utilities in this building.

As for rainfall, you can see how impressive the radar looked for a period of time earlier tonight …

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 11:08 p.m. - 11:32 p.m. EDT 
August 19, 2019

… Until it all crapped out on the doorstep of D.C. in a sort of cartoonish way …

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 11:08 p.m. - 11:32 p.m. EDT 
August 19, 2019

GONG! Wha-wha-whaaaaahhh…

Jaye P. Morgan didn't even get to score it.

Yes, one is composite mode and the other base reflectivity, but in this case, the latter showed the resulting actual surface conditions -- i.e., nothing -- rather than any leftover nonsense up in the clouds. Also, I really wish the NWS would improve the graphical presentation of these radar images. They suck. Commercial outfits repackage this output all the time.

As one of my periodic update on regional precipitation tallies so far this summer and year:

Year-to-date (ytd), KDCA is at 30.01 inches on precipitation -- which is 4.68 inches above the normal of 25.33 inches, while its climatological summer season-to-date (since June 1st) is 11.98 inches or 2.61 inches above normal.

However, it is well below last year's ytd total of 37.28 inches in what would become a record wet year for Washington, D.C. (66.28 inches).

KBWI's ytd precipitation total is 25.74 inches or 0.89 inches below the normal ytd of 26.63 inches, while its season-to-date totals is 7.84 inches or 1.76 inches below the 9.60 inch normal.

Of note, last year at this point, KBWI was at 43.36 inches precipitation -- in what would be a runaway record wet year for Baltimore, Md. (71.82 inches).

KIAD's ytd precipitation total is 27.88 inches on precipitation -- which is 1.16 inches above the normal of 26.72 inches -- and the season-to-date is 8.00 inches or 1.90 inches below the season-to-date normal of 9.90 inches.

Last year at this point, KIAD was at ytd total of 37.84 inches in what would be a record wet year for Dulles Airport (66.74 inches).

In other words, precisely because KDCA "underperforms" so much on its rainfall -- including last summer -- that it is actually above normal this year.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, before I sign off, I'd also like to call attention to this CWG entry:

The U.S. is already transforming Greenland, and it's imperiling Americans here at home.

While I'd like to repost the entire piece, I'll simply post here the opening paragraph:

America under President Trump might not own Greenland (yet), but decisions made by his administration will help determine the ice-covered island’s long-term fate and ours. U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as emissions from other countries, have tipped the balance to make Greenland a major contributor to global sea-level rise.

The part about the disproportionate sea level rise in Miami versus Boston as a result of the melting of the Greenlandic icecap is very interesting.

A cold and snowy/misty twilight in Ilulissat, Greenland

Yes, Greenland is still not for sale. This includes, by the, its 56,000+ citizens.


Evening summer, the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 7:26 p.m. August 16, 2019


For tomorrow, I'm not planning on going to the gym after work. I might stop at Off the Record for a drink after work. Wednesday night is a planned gym night. And then on Thursday, I'm heading down to Dumpwater, er Flagler Beach, Florida to see my dad for a week.

Signing off for now.


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