Weather Around The World, 11/24: New Clean Air Rules; COP 21; Typhoon; The Blob; Slippery Holiday Travel

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Home / Weather Around The World, 11/24: New Clean Air Rules; COP 21; Typhoon; The Blob; Slippery Holiday Travel
The forecast for Thanksgiving calls for widespread snow and rain, with freezing rain near the boundary. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

The forecast for Thanksgiving calls for widespread snow and rain, with freezing rain near the boundary. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

Much of this week’s weather news is political — in the US and France. But there was also an interesting phenomenon in Chicago – a change in Blobiness and Unblobiness – and yet another powerful typhoon in the western Pacific.

Then there’s the possibility of snow in the Rockies and high plains, and ice or flooding in the southern plains and midwest to disrupt holiday travel.

Let’s go Around The World.

EPA To Issue New Rules For Smokestack Emissions

The EPA, pursuant to an appeals court ruling, will issue new smokestack emission rules that pertain to downwind pollution from one state to another. The 23 states affected are all in the south and midwest.

The old rules were developed in the 1990s, while the new ones were formulated in 2008 under the Bush 43 administration. There’s nothing like bringing regulations into at least the first decade of the 21st century, though no doubt polluters will object to even that.

Climate Change Demonstrations Banned

France has warned that it will not allow a demonstration that has been expected to draw 200,000 participants during the Climate Conference (COP21) set to begin in Paris on November 30.

In view of recent events, few are objecting to the measure, which prevents what Decoded Science views as a well-intended but largely hypocritical happening.

The majority of demonstrators, undoubtedly earnest in their wish to see greenhouse gas emissions curbed, would travel to and from the event in gasoline-powered vehicles; return to their houses and turn on lights, computers, televisions, and other energy-slurping devices; remove food from a plugged-in refrigerator and cook it in a one-way-or-another fossil-fuel-burning oven; take a shower in water heated with fossil fuels; and generally go about their lives as if they have nothing to do with the problem of a warming planet.

The point of this sermon is this: Solving the problem of global warming will require sacrifice.

It is up to the Conferees in Paris to decide who sacrifices and how much — and how to monitor and enforce the sacrifice. The recent Volkswagen cheating on emissions reminds us that some corporations, and undoubtedly some governments, believe rules are for other people.

The Blob And The Anti-Blob Are Both Weakening

The Blob in the Gulf of Alaska has almost completely dissipated; the Anti-Blob in the northeast Atlantic has migrated west and weakened. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

The Blob in the Gulf of Alaska has almost completely dissipated; the Anti-Blob in the northeast Atlantic has migrated west and weakened. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Decoded Science has made much of a warm pool of water in the northeast Pacific Ocean which, we believe, has driven the historic California drought.

Misguided meteorologists (You thought it couldn’t happen?) gave this warm pool the name “The Blob.”

Since the water in the region has now cooled to only slightly above normal, Decoded Science will let the matter go.

This cooling of the Gulf of Alaska and adjacent waters will allow El Niño to be the dominant driver of winter weather and bring drought-relieving rain to California.

Meanwhile, there has been a cold pool in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, which we might as well call The Anti-Blob. This cold pool also seems to be moderating and moving west, so the recent series of mostly warm (compared to normal) European winters, driven by the weather pattern associated with The Anti-Blob, could come to an end.

An Unusual Reverse Lake Effect

Lake Effect Snow occurs when cold air blows over warm water. In the early and mid-winter, the Great Lakes are still warm — mainly in the 40s and 50s — and outbreaks of Canadian air can be 30 degrees colder. The cold air sucks up moisture from the warm water and deposits it on nearby terrain as snow, often in copious amounts.

On Friday, during a storm which shall remain nameless (AP quoted Robert Lukes of Capron, Illinois: “It’s a typical first snow for us.“), more than six inches of snow fell in the northwestern Chicago suburbs, but the air was not so much colder than the water. In fact, the water warmed the air coming directly off the lake enough to turn the snow to rain in downtown Chicago.

As the wind turned from northeast to northwest, the cold air turned the rain to snow and Chicago ended up with several inches, but not nearly the foot that fell farther northwest.

This situation is similar to that of the common nor’easters of Boston, during which the wind off the water keeps the precipitation as rain in the city, while a foot of snow can fall in the northwestern suburbs. When the wind turns to north and northwest, Boston gets its dusting, or maybe more.

Typhoon In-Fa, Just Short of Super-Typhoon Strength, Will Swerve Away From Japan

Typhoon In-Fa, which a couple of days ago was nearly a Super-Typhoon and headed towards Taiwan, has curved north and will continue curving out to sea. Forecast courtesy of US Navy.

Typhoon In-Fa, which a couple of days ago was nearly a Super-Typhoon and headed towards Taiwan, has curved north and will continue curving out to sea. Forecast courtesy of US Navy.

Typhoon In-Fa was recently pointed directly at Japan. Luckily it is curving and will miss the islands by a wide margin.

In-Fa is just a reminder that powerful storms can form in any month in the warm western Pacific, and though the jet stream normally pulls them north and east at this time of year, an Asian landfalling typhoon is not unheard-of in the winter.

Most of the typhoons that hit Asia in the winter stay south of the jet stream and thus hit the Philippines while Japan is relatively protected,

Super-Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013 with winds of nearly 200 miles per hour. In December, 2012, Super-Typhoon Bopha was the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippine southern island of Mindanao.

Holiday Travelers Could Be Slippin’ And Slidin’ From The Rockies To The Plains And Midwest

The precipitation forecast for the next week calls for over seven inches of rain in southeast Oklahoma and adjacent Texas and Arkansas. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

The precipitation forecast for the next week calls for over seven inches of rain in southeast Oklahoma and adjacent Texas and Arkansas. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

The jet stream pattern is setting up conditions for a major weather event from the Rockies eastward to the plains and midwest.

Snow, freezing rain, and flooding rain could affect a wide area in the middle of the US. High pressure is building off the northeast coast; the flow around this massive high will bring Gulf of Mexico moisture into the southern states, the southern plains, and eventually into the mountains, the central plains, and the midwest.

A pronounced dip in the jet stream will incubate low pressure over Texas, which will help push the moisture into the heartland. Flash floods are forecast in Oklahoma, with freezing rain likely near the rain/snow line. The storm system may earn a name later in the week.

Winter Is Approaching Rapidly In The US

A vigorous jet stream is ushering winter in a little early in much of the United States. Temperatures in Denver, for example, will drop from highs today in the 60s to highs in the 20s on Thanksgiving. So what’s up with the weather in your neighborhood?

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