8/21 Non-severe Thunderstorms

A particularly strong cold front and a seasonally deep trough is moving in from the west to our area, providing immense lift for rain and cooler temperatures into tomorrow.

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The rainfall on radar is mostly non-severe due to low CAPE (instability) as well as lacking shear. The greatest shear is behind the line of storms closer to the trough. Why did the rainfall set up so far east of the trough? A surge in moisture ahead of the trough increased instability in areas with low shear. New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland have a better chance for wind damage associated with thunderstorms than other  areas. As CAPE steadily rises, it’s a race between the building instability and the moving front. The faster the rain approaches New Jersey, the less severe the storms will be.

My prediction is for a few wind damage reports at the more southerly extents of the region as solar heating is greatest here. Current radar just shows heavy rain associated with this line. Good for the drought, not enough to bust it.DIX.HHC.20160821.1814.gif

Coupe

Storms firing up

Storms are firing up in Central Pennsylvania as of 19Z, many bordering on severe levels.CODNEXLAB-1km-NJ_Penn-rad-ani24-201608161940-100-100-raw.gif

Although hi resolution guidance suggests this line falls apart by the time it gets to New Jersey, I’m going to go against the models based on the extremely favorable environmental conditions for supercells, especially  in the north. The greatest threat for supercell maintenance and/or development is in northern New Jersey. This is shown in CAPE and the the Bulk Richardson Number. The pink shows the best BRN for supercells.

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Clearly central New Jersey is right on the edge, but I believe SRH and wind shear will increase as the squall line approaches. A weak tornado or two still can not be ruled out in northern New Jersey around 6 PM-7PM.

COUPE

8/16 Tornado Threat

Why will there be a tornado threat today for northern New Jersey and southern New York. A strong low pressure system will track across northern New York over an area of explosive CAPE values and impressive shear.

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LCL levels will be very low (700 meters). Such low level moisture is favorable for tornadoes, especially when combined with strong winds at 850mb. My forecast is at least one weak tornado across NW NJ as the cold front moves in around 21Z

Coupe

8/12 Heat

At Rutgers gardens it is 94F with a dewpoint of 78F, a HEAT INDEX OF 110F.

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It is downright sultry across the entire eastern half of the United States with relatively clear skies allowing for the temperature to reach the mid-90s. MLCAPE is nearing 3000 J/kg in New Jersey as we speak with the only trigger in the area to our north in the form of a vorticity maxima. We are seeing a lot of cloud debris as we have just reached the convective temperature. Instability is so great we do not necessarily need a strong lifting mechanism for scattered thunderstorms to develop across the New Jersey area. The HRRR is demonstrating this:

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In terms of cell mode, wind shear is much more favorable today, especially over the lowest 1 kilometer of the atmosphere. This is due to a belt of strong westerlies between 850mb and 700mb. Given abundant low level moisture and larger SRH, it would not surprise me to see a stronger bow echo than the outflow driven storm we saw last night in northern New Jersey. A supercell thunderstorm or two can not be ruled out. As many areas reach convective temperature, we are seeing some storms pop up on the regional radar:

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These will grow in coverage over eastern Pennsylvania as we had through the late afternoon, eventually heading into New Jersey. If you have plans tonight, have an alternative plan or a place to go for 30 minutes or so when one of these storms are approaching.

Coupe

Stormy Night

After a day of storms, the atmosphere is still very unstable and prime for the development of an overnight MCS. At 500 mb there is a disturbance just enough to lift a large enough layer that in this kind of environment you will get large scale lift.

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As this system creeps in it fills in to the south. Additionally, an outflow boundary is racing towards central Jersey. I would not be surprised if this outflow boundary triggers convection over central Jersey.

8/11 Slow Moving Thunderstorms

Today’s slow moving rain producers are being influenced by very slow upper and mid level winds and very high moisture and instability. Initially they were triggered by a subtle shortwave at 500mb that has since been taken out of analyses at this level. These updrafts are being sustained through an incredibly warm and moist environment alone. Very little shear is available to organize convection past just a lot of heavy rain. The visible satellite and radar over the last few hours tells most of the story:

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This very slow moving cell popped up after a very warm and humid day. MLCAPE is supporting very strong updrafts. A clear MLCAPE gradient, indicative of some frontogenesis, is oriented across southern New York State, which is also where some greater shear exists.

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One would expect more storms along this shear gradient and as we can see..

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YES!

Again, however, upper level support is weak and lower level and whole layer shear is very weak. The forecasted sounding for this time over the area highlight this:

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Clearly CAPE is extremely high and there is some directional shear, but very weak speed shear to get some rotating updrafts. The directional shear appears to be enough to sustain these cells as rainmakers. One more notable data from this model sounding from the RAP 21Z … precipitable water of 2.38 inches! The Hunterdon county area is under a flash flood warning as a result of this and this cell is moving SSE, but with more cells popping up to the north.

August 9th, 2016 Ring of Fire Forecast

Good evening!

It’s currently 78F with a dewpoint in the mid-60s on this warm summer night. Skies are clear in the east but cloudy skies lurk to the west, indicative of the Gulf of Mexico moisture surge as a result of a subtropical high over the Atlantic and a tropical disturbance over the Florida panhandle. A tongue of high precipitable water values can be seen heading towards New Jersey, just about to cross the Appalachians.

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As shortwave after shortwave rides that redline, New Jersey will experience periods of convective precipitation and periods of sustained rainfall overnight on Wednesday-Thursday. Lift will be caused by a combination of positive vorticity advection from 500mb level energy pulses which will ride a stationary front associated with the tropical disturbance. A cold front approaching from the north will produce even more lift during the late afternoon. The juxtaposition of the stationary frontal boundary and the cold front means the greatest chance for lift would be in between these two fronts from 18Z to 00Z.

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However, instability will be poor as clouds will cover the region during most of the day. Any instability will have to be advected from the south, which is something that the NAM is expecting to happen. The NAM4km is very bullish, envisioning an area of instability from eastern Ohio through to New Jersey, of MUCAPE in upwards of 3000 J/kg.

Shear?

NJ misses out on the jet stream providing shear but being in the right entrance region will provide synoptic lift during the afternoon hours of Wednesday. Some circular hodographs are being observed in parts of northern New Jersey due to directional shear favoring backing with height. Additionally, a moderate 850mb jet will be at its maximum intensity around 21Z. In fact, the heart of the 850mb jet will centered around New Jersey, a key factor influencing my thinking towards a prolonged rain event with widespread flashflooding in New Jersey.

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An idea being put forward by the models and by the positioning of the LLJ suggests the possibility of the highest rain being in this corridor as the sun is setting tomorrow.850mbllj.png

Overnight storms will die as the atmosphere becomes more stable but Thursday will be a near repeat with a nearly stationary ring of fire, aiming its firehouse of tropical moisture at the mid atlantic states and the northeast. With all of this cloud cover and rainfall, the forecasted high for tomorrow is 89F with sticky conditions, making it feel like 95F.

Coupe

Climate Alarmist: A Deserved Pejorative?

Anyone who frequents Twitter is aware of the anti-establishment culture of science rejection that often spills into the mentions of high profile news accounts, celebrities, and popular hashtags. The spillover in recent years has been exacerbated by a man named Steve Goddard, contributor to realclimatescience.com. His following has produced unscientific gems like this:

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I’m not arguing that Twitter is expected to be a bastion of intellectualism, but this does not even scratch the surface of the fallacious arguments on climate change that get retweeted and liked on by masses of people Twitter. This is a problem no matter the method of communication being used. I dare anyone to search ‘climate change’, go to real time tweets and watch the misinformation flood in. It’s an unsettling experience. Of the many claims against climate change are charges of ‘doctored data’, corruption in grants received for climate research, an apparent culture of deceit within the community of climatologists and other baseless assumptions. I don’t have time to address these falsehoods, especially as no evidence has been presented to prove them.

Scrolling through the ignorance for any period of time will prompt the thought- how did this happen? How did a sizable portion of the internet population flock to the religion of anti-establishment science denial? Originally I speculated that these were the same edgy people who had always maintained a distrust of the federal government. Given the average political affiliation of those who deny anthropogenic climate change’s influences, one could surmise that the conservative small government ideology predisposes a person to harbor distrust of all things pushed by the federal government.Not all ideological conservatives are anti-science (I am a conservative in many respects), but the combination of religious fundamentalism and a desire for a small federal government increases the chance of rejecting … an entire scientific discipline.

Given the predisposition to reject both establishment politics and establishment science, it comes as no surprise that large portions of our population are self radicalizing with anti-establishment science. As those on the left accept peer reviewed science at face value — the lack of skepticism appears fallacious to those on the right. Not questioning the ‘system’ is inherently flawed by this perspective. The intellectualism and integrity that still exists in fundamentalist conservatives has been retooled to combat the so called ‘naivety’ of the progressive movement.

No one is innocent here, however. The well meaning progressive movement frequently gives both anti-science individuals on the far right AND scientists headaches. As a meteorologist, I’ve had to shake my head at some of the sensationalist headlines that pour out of left leaning news media desperate for clicks. Following a severe weather episode, which happens frequently in the summer due to natural variability, any old journalist finds it convenient to get into the field of meteorology and drop a rain bomb …

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It’s articles like these that make the pejorative ‘alarmist’ seem warranted in some cases. Despite no evidence of an increase in severe weather in any portion of the country this year, the increased exposure due to social media is making every individual severe weather event appear to be part of climate change’s wrath. Those on the left, minutes after a severe weather event, and without any respect to the cost of disasters caused by natural variability, attribute climate change to every water droplet falling, or even not falling from the sky.

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Despite droughts of equal or greater magnitude being recorded in Massachusetts in the past, this Twitter user scorns a news article for not speculating that an ongoing drought was due to climate change. No mention of a possible mechanism was made in their tweet, just disdain. Doing a little research, I found a drought emergency had been declared in Massachusetts 5 times between 1865 and 2012. The current drought in Massachusetts is NOT unprecedented, despite the pleas of people who are subscribing to sound science but are desperate to relate it to everything in their lives.

Source: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/eea/wrc/droughtplan.pdf

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Additionally, a single funnel cloud being reported in South Africa (which is in the middle latitudes) is not evidence of climate change unless over a period of time, the prevalence of this feature is changing. Favorable environmental conditions for a tornado given a strong enough trigger are very strong speed and directional shear, very fast updrafts, and vorticity at the surface. High CAPE and high SRH may be rare, but one instance of these environmental factors combined with a strong enough trigger to produce a supercell is hardly evidence of climate change unless one can prove that the environment that fed into the updraft of the thunderstorm was altered due to climate change. It would be reaching to say that climate change certainly made that updraft more warm and moist. This is especially doubtful with only 2011 being a recent peak year in tornado count and with no clear trend in the intensity of tornadoes.

This idea starts at the top, with scientific communicators like Bill Nye who post fallacious tweets like this:

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Bill Nye presents an attribution of an event to climate change without seriously examining the issue past his idea of heat ‘supercharging’ our atmosphere. He ignores the non-linear dynamics and interactions of global climate and takes the easy way out, assuming a linear atmospheric response of heat energy –> energy for supercell tornadoes. However, you can see his reach: 3.6K retweets and 8.4K likes. Additionally, he makes the claim that weather disasters are becoming more expensive. He conveniently is ignoring the increase in land area used for development, and the increase in investments in real estate.

The only opposition Bill Nye received to this tweet was by far right posters who took the other extreme unscientific position and claimed climate change was a hoax- because a mechanical engineer non-climatologist was exaggerating its impacts and effects. As much of a fallacy as that argument was, it resonates with like minded individuals who are crusading against the idea of climate change. Furthermore, it polarizes those on the left and sees those who oppose these extreme statements as extreme themselves. The battle line are drawn and the echochambers are established.

In future encounters, the tone that science communicators use towards climate deniers shapes their relationship moving forward.

The most common response to what appears to be radical, far reaching ideologies is incredulity or sarcasm, both including elements of outright dismissal. Our outright dismissal of the ideas that contrast mainstream ideas of science contributes to the continued polarization of American political climate, although it is up for debate to what extent. The polarization might have began with the moral superiority of the left in espousing their support for climate change, for we are well meaning and can come off as condescending ‘educators’. It will only be made worse by access to highly polarizing material from the other side, from the radical anti-science climate blogs that condemn peer reviewed work with non peer reviewed MS Paint graphs. As ISIS propaganda draws young men to the Islamic State, fringe climate blogs are winning the hearts and minds of stubborn right wing ideologues. Without understanding the perspective of those who have self radicalized with respect to climate, we leave ourselves unable to defeat them on an ideological level and susceptible to our climate change 9/11.

What could the climate change 9/11 be? Forgive my shock tactics, but the reality is that  the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States and the outright refusal to abide by Paris’s climate promises could be a blow on similar proportions.

No one deserves the pejorative ‘climate alarmist’, but if some will blame the United States for the rise of ISIS, it’s not a stretch for the left (and the internet) to share some of the blame for the rise of the adamant radicalized climate denier.

Coupe

This was the first of a series of posts. In a future post I will discuss the State of the Climate 2015, an objective measure for how climate change is shaping our world and the dangerous consequences that climate change. I will go into more detail on specific events and how climate change, based on current theory, could be shaping their impacts.

August 8th, 2016 Forecast

Good afternoon readers!

Sorry for the month absence in forecasts. I started a new job and I’ve been working a lot of hours because I really need to make money to pay for graduate school. Anyway, expect temperatures to rise over the next few days with surging dewpoints to the 70s by Wednesday. A ridge positioned over the SE US will send the 594 dm line towards southern New Jersey by early Wednesday.

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As moisture rides the western arm of the Atlantic subtropical high pressure, it will interact with a few upper level features conducive for lifting on Wednesday. A cold front will be approaching the midwest early morning on Wednesday, and as it interacts with the more moist air it will force lifting between that and a stalling front, effectively squeezing the moisture out of the air  in the Ohio Valley.

The potential for a long duration rain event is looking stronger with 12Z guidance as rain develops along a stalled front over the eastern US. The moisture feed from a tropical low over the SE US will assist this feature in producing localized flash flooding and an 850 mb lower level jet will this system maintain strength over New Jersey into the overnight hours on Wednesday.

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The boundary will be forced south by the cold front that had moved through the midwest earlier in the week, and so on Thursday the rain will set up along an axis 150 miles further south, potentially affecting southern New Jersey. Meanwhile, a lack of cloud cover in central New York and New England combined with moisture advection will allow for severe storms to develop, some cells potentially moving through northern New Jersey.

In summary, hot and humid conditions are expected this week with temperatures rising at every moment that precipitation isn’t falling.

Coupe