The incredible storm affecting much of the US eastern seaboard and its huge population may have a long lasting impact. And many experts have stated that this so called “Frankenstorm” will have been the strongest storm residents of the east have ever seen- a storm without precedent. It certainly is potentially deadly and will wreak destruction from coastal storm surge, damaging winds and intense rainfall. But without precedent? Let me place this storm in its proper perspective.
Over the past 4 months I have highlighted a wide variety of disruptive weather that affects Americans. Each weather phenomenon is observable and sensed by humans and animals, plants and trees. But today’s topic involves a type of weather that goes mostly unnoticed by people. It is not monitored by rain gauges or thermometers or blowing hair. Today’s topic is Space Weather !
August ended on a slightly cooler note. However, the month has turned out to be the abnormally warm, the 5th hottest August since 1889 (124 years of records) and tied for the 22nd hottest month of all for Bakersfield. Heat Wave #4 lasted 17 days marking the second longest heat wave in the past 20 years.
“Moderation in all things”, is a famous quote. And it is certainly applicable to everything we do- from our balance of work and play, our balance of food and exercise, the balance of each person’s blood chemistry, etc. “Too much of a good thing is bad”- also a proverb we’ve all heard. I believe that everyday parts of normal lifewhen taken to excess will pervert their original intent. Be it anything from food to sex- what is consumed in proper proportions is good, but if consumed to excess it usually brings about unintended consequences.
Lammas Day is upon us- the halfway point of summer. Lammas Day, the warm season equivalent of Groundhog Day, is the symbolic start of harvest. Lammas means “Loaf Mass”, indicative of grain harvest that results in bread to eat. The first half of summer has been cooler than normal, with only 14 triple digit days (normal is 20). So what does the second half our of historically infamous summer season look like? Regardless of what Lammas the dog says, it doesn’t look excessively hot for central California.
2012 has been one of the hottest years on record with thousands of new high temperature records both this summer and also back in March. July therefore provides a perfect opportunity to investigate dangerously cold and violent winter storms- to balance out all this heat, of course.
America is a strong country populated by people who take risks. It is the underpinning of what has made us great. But the landform we live on is equally unique and rugged, featuring every ingredient that the severe storm recipe requires. Our US mainland is located at an average latitude of about 40 degrees north, placing it squarely in the “mid-latitudes”. We are not exclusively in the tropics nor are we exclusively polar. In fact, the most potent aspects of both tropical heat and humidity are often composed with polar jet stream dynamics in the active spring and early summer. These drivers of weather meet in the mid-latitudes. Add to this the Gulf of Mexico source region of thermal instability and the semi-arid western high plains providing critical mid-altitude dry air, and you find the American Heartland resembles an almost idyllic laboratory setting for the genesis of strong to violent thunderstorms. It becomes a textbook example of the Perfect Storm script many times throughout the year.
Get ready for Dec. 21, 2012. It's going to be the end of the world. At least that's what the Mayans say. But wait a minute, haven't we heard that before?
It isn’t every day that the moon blots out the sun. But this year there will be two solar eclipses, one on the 13th of November in the South Pacific which very few people will see and an annular solar eclipse in less than 3 weeks which many people will get to witness from China and Japan to most of the United State. In fact, you will participate in a brotherhood of mankind becoming eyewitness to one of nature’s most spectacular treats.
How important is the weather? From earliest civilization, farming has been completely dependent upon adequate amounts of rainfall and sunshine, a lack of freezing temperatures together with conditions that limited pests. Travel across great oceans from ancient time has also depended upon favorable winds and a minimum of storminess to guarantee success. Agriculture and commerce have indeed bowed to the whims of weather at every step of the way from the start.