It’s fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern, and the weather is responding with relative moderation in most places. Still, high temperature records were set across the US in the past week.
And even though temperatures didn’t reach records in the midwest over the weekend, unusually warm temperatures caused problems for the Chicago Marathon.
In other weather news:
- There are indications that something could be brewing in the Caribbean in about ten days.
- A waterspout hit a mail truck in St. Petersburg, FL.
- A new report warns that efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient.
- The first significant freeze of fall will overspread the plains, midwest and northern New England by next weekend.
- El Niño continues to build.
Let’s go Around The World.
Record Heat Across The US
The jet stream positioned itself unusually far to the north during the end of last week, and unseasonably warm air covered much of the United States. Record temperatures were recorded from Wyoming to Texas and from California to Arkansas.
These records are of interest in terms of global warming, but they don’t cause the discomfort of a midsummer heat wave. A cold front will sweep across the plains, midwest and northeast during the week, and temperatures will not reach the levels of the past weekend again until spring.
Chicago Marathon Marred By Heat
Unusually warm temperatures greeted 50,000 runners at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. A cool fall morning turned into a sweaty, twenty-degree-above-average, 85-degree day; runners struggled with the heat and moderate humidity. Monday’s temperature in Chicago didn’t reach sixty degrees as a cold front swept through, and eighty won’t be seen again until at least April.
This race was not nearly as difficult as the 2007 race when the temperature soared to ninety degrees and officials eventually stopped the remaining runners at 11:30 as hundreds fell ill.
Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat … But A Waterspout?
Sometimes even the mail is stopped by the weather. On Sunday, a waterspout overturned a mail truck in the St. Petersburg, FL area, delaying delivery of or destroying thousands of letters. Waterspouts are fairly common in the area, and when they move ashore they are classified as tornadoes.
The National Weather Service classified this as an F-0 tornado with winds under 75 miles per hour. After tipping over the mail truck and damaging some construction equipment, the schizophrenic storm headed back out to sea as a waterspout once again.
The conditions over water don’t supply the energy for a strong whirlwind such as a tornado with classification above F-0, but occasionally a waterspout moves ashore and does some damage — or at least delays the mail.
Waterspouts are common in Florida, most notably around Key West and the southeast coast, but the Tampa Bay area sees the most damage from waterspouts-turned-tornadoes, probably because the region is so built up.
MJO Suggests Possible Tropical Development In Caribbean
The tropical cyclone season has wound down in the northern hemisphere, but there is a secondary peak of activity in October in the western Caribbean Sea, as cold fronts penetrate south and induce cyclonic activity that sometimes turns tropical over the still-warm water.
A resonance in the atmosphere known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) has phases that correspond to increased or decreased instability in the tropics; the cycle indicates the possibility of increased activity in the Caribbean in about ten days. Hurricane formation is possible.
Prelude To UN-Sponsored Climate Change Meeting
The climate summit, nicknamed COP21, that convenes in Paris on November 30, will attempt to put the world’s nations on a path to greenhouse gas emissions that will allow for a stable atmosphere in the future.
To that end, countries have been asked to submit their proposals for their own emissions standards. Those proposals were submitted by October 1.
Analysis shows that if all are implemented, the effect on global warming will fall far short of the two degree Celsius rise from pre-industrial times that is considered the threshold above which catastrophic changes in weather are likely.
New El Niño Report: Peak In Winter Of 2015-16
NOAA’s updated El Niño forecast indicates that El Niño Eggplant (so named by Decoded Science) is almost certain (95%) to continue through the winter.
Sea surface temperature anomalies of nearly three degrees Celsius (five degrees Fahrenheit) make this one of the most powerful El Niños on record — strongest since 1998 and still gaining strength.
The consensus of model forecasts is for a peak in January and a slow weakening into spring.
An El Niño is initiated by an equatorial sloshing known as a Kelvin wave. A succession of such waves has created the current El Niño, and there are now indications that a new wave is forming.
This might extend El Niño Eggplant into next summer, and it could also push ocean temperature to new record highs.
Seasons Are Changing Fast
Unless you live in the tropics, you will see rapid changes in the weather in the next few weeks. Residents of the northern US will see snow and freezing temperatures. What do you see in your neighborhood?
Decoding Science. One article at a time.