Weather Around The World, 11/4/14: Tropics Still Active, But Winter’s Coming

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Home / Weather Around The World, 11/4/14: Tropics Still Active, But Winter’s Coming
The forecast track of Typhoon Nuri

The forecast track of Typhoon Nuri, image courtesy of US Navy.

November normally finds tropical activity winding down, as water temperatures drop and westerly winds on the fringe of the jet stream disrupt potential storms.

The Atlantic has followed the script, but the Pacific, both east and west, continues to produce hurricanes and typhoons, putting an exclamation point on what has been a busy season for the world’s biggest ocean.

On the North American continent, the weather pattern is looking suspiciously like last winter’s. An outbreak of Arctic air accompanied by a nor’easter (Extreme Fall Weather Event Gorilla) brought record cold temperatures to much of the eastern United States, while Maine and high mountains got plenty of snow. A repeat could be in store for this weekend.

Elsewhere, the IPCC and the coach of the New England Patriots weigh in on the weather.

One of these knows what it’s talking about – the other not so much. Let’s go around the world.

Strongest Typhoon Of The Season Threatens Japan

Typhoon Nuri began its life as an easterly wave which formed a closed low pressure center near Guam. It rapidly intensified into a tropical storm and then a typhoon, and was headed directly for The Philippines.

BUT THEN, an abrupt change in the steering currents turned Nuri north about 200 miles east of the Philippines. Still under favorable conditions, Nuri strengthened into the season’s sixth Super-Typhoon (winds over 150 miles per hour) and is now pointed at Japan. Forecasts have the storm moving directly towards Tokyo  Wednesday morning.

On the other hand, the effects of a jet stream trough to the north should nudge Nuri just far enough offshore to spare mainland Japan from any but minor fringe effects — a few gusts to tropical storm force and some moderate rain — weather that Japan experiences on a regular basis.

Nuri’s winds reached their peak Monday at 185 miles per hour, the strongest storm of this stormy summer, and pretty close to the theoretical maximum wind in a tropical cyclone. The typhoon has now dropped below Super-Typhoon strength and will continue to weaken due to the effects of colder water and vertical wind shear. Nuri will be a minimal hurricane as it passes about 200 miles southeast of Tokyo Wednesday night.

Hurricane Vance Bringing Rain To Texas

The forecast track of Hurricane Vance, courtesy of National Hurricane Center.

The forecast track of Hurricane Vance, courtesy of National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Vance is the 22nd named storm — and the 16th hurricane — of the  eastern Pacific hurricane season. Vance formed in the breeding ground south of Mexico, and at one time was thought to be a threat to the Mexican coast around Acapulco.

However, Vance moved farther west than anticipated and though it has curved to the north-northeast, the winds will diminish under the influence of cold water and vertical wind shear.

Vance will be a minimal tropical storm as it passes about 100 miles southeast of the tip of Baja California and makes landfall on the Mexican coast near Culiacan.

The major effect of Vance will be flooding in Mexico, and moisture will be carried by southwesterly winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere into the American southwest. It is already raining in Oklahoma and Texas, and some of Vance’s moisture could reach the midwest and northeast along a frontal boundary by Wednesday.

Early Winter Storm To Be Followed By Another

Much of the eastern half of the United States was affected by a blast of cold air and a coastal storm last week. A repeat is on tap for the coming weekend, though perhaps not quite as cold or snowy.

The jet stream pattern bears similarities to that of last year, but changes are taking place in Europe and the Pacific that could lead to a different kind of winter — or not.

Currently a spinoff of the polar vortex continually returns to a position over eastern Canada, with surges swinging down into the eastern and midwestern states. After a brief retreat midweek, the vortex is poised to return on the weekend, accompanied by cold air from Montana to the mid-Atlantic, and a good chance of a coastal storm much like last week’s. There could again be heavy snow in the mountains and much of Maine.

Europe jet stream

The 500 millibar analysis for today shows a strong branch of the jet stream over southern Europe. Image courtesy of NOAA

Europe: The Jet Stream In Apparent Transition

Last week, Around The World reported that the jet stream which had brought uniformly warm temperatures to Europe for many months had split, and that a southern branch would return temperatures to near normal in southern Europe. The trend is clearer now, and it appears that the southern branch will become the dominant one.

The implications for weather at the surface are as follows:

  • Cold air will now penetrate the continent, as the primary contrast between cold and warm air is established farther south.
  • Storminess will become more frequent along the axis of the jet stream in southern Europe.

Eventually, the establishment of a new jet stream configuration over Europe could have implications on every continent, particularly if it is accompanied by the formation of an El Niño.

IPCC Report Says Time Is Running Out To Reverse Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Fifth Assessment Report as part of the United Nations Environment Program. The report was prepared by more than seventy scientists with extensive experience and credentials. Decoded Science will discuss the important conclusions of the report in detail separately, but the main conclusion is this:

If the emissions of greenhouse gases are not curtailed immediately, climate change will be irreversible.

In fact, the panel appears not to have much faith that such curtailment is likely; half the report is devoted to adaptation to, and mitigation of, the effects of climate change.

In other words: Climate change is a done deal; the world’s population must cope with it as best it can.

New England Patriots’ Coach Weighs In On Weather Forecasts

Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots football team, denounced meteorologists for their poor forecasts of weather for his team’s games. He didn’t mince words, claiming that if he performed as badly as a coach, he wouldn’t last a week.

Unfortunately, he’s just plain wrong, wrong, wrong. The forecasts published two days before Patriots games have averaged within two degrees of the actual temperature – better than the forecasts for most teams’ games, and excellent by forecasting standards.

Putting the IPCC and Belichick together, I guess the old adage is true: Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

Getting Ready For Winter

Fall is a transition season. Winter can be harsh or mild. Everyone should prepare for one and hope for the other. What does it look like where you are?

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