Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sorry dudes

Monday, January 15, 2013
7:45 P.M.

Hey everybody, this is just a quick post. Basically, this post is here to announce to ya'lls that I have a very, very heavy workload this quarter, and I won't be able to post here nearly as often as I want to. I wish it weren't so, but it is so, so the situation is so-so in that I will at least still be able to post at some times, but not as often as I'd so desire. So, I'd encourage you to keep reading this blog, but I thought I'd give you the heads up so you wouldn't be caught unawares.

I'll still try to defy the odds though.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Saturday Snow?

Monday, January 9, 2012
11:51 P.M.

Most snow looks to fall west of here
Guess I'd better grab a beer, and hope
To bring snow east
On Saturday

Euro worse than what it used to be
GFS sucks, and it bothers me
Snow some will see
But not for me

I'm a big Paul McCartney fan, and I love this song. However, I'm usually not in a good mood when I listen to it, because I'm likely coping with a loss of some sort. Maybe I dropped my ice cream on the floor. Maybe I got caught stealing from a store. Maybe I got attacked by a boar, lost my oar, and now can't get back to shore. o.O

Saturday is actually looking like it may be a decent snow event for some areas. We have a weak low pressure system moving off our coast to provide some moisture, and the air will certainly be cool enough for snow. The question is if the moisture will reach far enough west to give the Puget Sound lowlands some snow, and right now, it is forecast to just be out of our reach. Peep up this model below.

Valid 04:00 pm PST Sat, 12 Jan 2013 - 84hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 4km 10m wind speed, 2m temp, SLP

In the above frame, we have cool air over our area... definitely cool enough for snow. We also have a low pressure system off our coast. This is actually a super weak low pressure system; the average atmospheric pressure is 1013 mb, and this low is expected to have a minimum surface pressure of 1016 mb. But as this next picture shows, the moisture doesn't make it to the Puget Sound area.

Valid 04:00 am PST Sun, 13 Jan 2013 - 96hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 24 hr precip, 10m winds

Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett are essentially dry from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, with just a few hundredths of precipitation expected. Meanwhile, places like Longview could get hammered. Check out the 24-hour snow totals for the same time period.

Valid 04:00 am PST Sun, 13 Jan 2013 - 96hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 24 hr snowfall

The snow just barely misses us. Wouldn't it be great if that big band of snow traveled 50-100 miles to the east?

I don't want to get ya'lls hopes up, but there is a chance this could happen, simply because the event is 3-4 days out. A lot can change between now and then. Of course, the precipitation could move further west, meaning that the precipitation would fall over the ocean. In this case, the precipitation would probably either be rain or a rain-snow mix due to the relatively warm temperatures off the Pacific. 

In the meantime, we've got a nice convergence zone up north right now.

Valid 3:28 PM PST, Wed 9 Jan 2013

This zone has remained pretty stagnant. Right now, lowland locations in the zone are just getting a light rain, but this should change during the overnight hours. Any location between north Seattle and Bellingham has the chance of picking up 1-2 inches of snow. Most places will see little to no accumulation. If the convergence zone is pretty strong and stays in one area, higher accumulations in the 3-5 inch range could take place. The best resource for finding out if it will snow tonight is to look at the radar and see where the convergence zone is. Convergence zones are fickle and it is difficult to forecast where they will go ahead of time, so radar-watching is your best way to keep informed on the snow chance. Kids in Seattle should do their homework for school tomorrow.

I'll keep hoping something will change on Saturday. In their 3 PM forecast discussion, the National Weather Service office in Seattle had this to say about Saturday:


Enjoy your day!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Storm, and then Cold

Monday, January 7, 2013
10:13 A.M.

It's refreshing to finally have another decent storm roll through the area. As I have stated many times on this blog, I vehemently dislike boring winter weather. Today's the first day of winter quarter at the UW, and weather-wise, it's off to a stellar start. We'll see about otherwise... it looks like I'll be working like a dog on my science and math classes again.

Currently, not too much is going on. There is a bit of precipitation in the mountains, with a 31 degree rain-snow mix at Snoqualmie Pass (the fact that it is below freezing and there is still some rain mixed in shows that there is significant warming aloft), and the lowlands are mild, mostly dry, and a tad breezy.

But this will change. One thing I wish the UW website would add is isobars to their 3-hour 12km precip charts, so if any of you readers can convince some of the people in the atmospheric sciences department to add these, that'd be super awesome. Anyway, here's the surface wind speed forecast over the area for Tuesday afternoon. There is a pretty good swath of gale-force winds to the south of a rapidly developing low off our coast.

Valid 01:00 pm PST Tue, 08 Jan 2013 - 33hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 10m wind speed

Here is the 3-hour precipitation forecast at the same time. A warm front is in the process of moving through our area. Snow levels will be above 5,500 feet at this time, so there will be rain or a wintry mix at all the passes.

Valid 01:00 pm PST Tue, 08 Jan 2013 - 33hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 3 hour precip

You can clearly see the bent-back occlusion on this low, which is the mark of a rapidly developing cyclone. There isn't much of a cold front at this time, but it will develop rapidly and start delivering heavy rain over our area Tuesday night.

Valid 10:00 pm PST Tue, 08 Jan 2013 - 42hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 3 hour precip

Seattle could see around an inch of rain from this storm, while some parts of the Olympics could see nearly five inches. As far as river flooding is concerned, the exceptionally flood-prone Skokomish River might flood, but the flooding will only be minor. All the rivers are running rather low because of the dry streak and chilly temperatures that have accompanied it, so it will take a lot of precipitation to bring even the Skokomish to bankfull. 

After the cold front passes, the snow levels will fall below pass level, and stay there for the rest of the week. However, there is plenty of mountain terrain above 5,500 feet, and those places will continue to pick up snow until it tapers off Wednesday night. The picture below shows the 72-hour snowfall forecast over Washington, and you can see that there are some very heavy amounts in the Northern Cascades. Those whites indicate over 5 feet of snow in the next 72 hours. Snoqualmie will get considerably less, but a foot of snow is nothing to laugh at.

Valid 04:00 am PST Thu, 10 Jan 2013 - 72hr Fcst - UW 12z WRF-GFS: 12km 72 hour snowfall

Starting Thursday, snow levels will fall to sea level, and some places could see some snow showers, especially if a convergence zone develops. I'll post more about this today on my long range blog at weatheron.net. There are no major snow events on the horizon.

Have a nice day. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Global Warming: Science vs. Politics

Sunday, January 6, 2012
11:37 P.M.

With so much talk about the fiscal cliff and a whole bunch of other stuff I don't understand, I've been reading the newspaper and watching some news stations. And as I did this, I came across several articles on various aspects of climate change, particularly with policy-making in Washington. I didn't come across anything too groundbreaking, but reading the articles made me think about the huge discrepancy in the way scientists view global warming andthe way politicians view global warming.

When it comes to global warming, climate scientists are the most knowledgeable on what is happening, why it is happening, and what we can do about it. In my opinion, a politician's goal when dealing with global warming is to take the scientific evidence into account, and find a way to mitigate global warming by drawing on their socioeconomic knowledge. This way, the scientists and politicians are working together, each in their respective area of expertise. It makes sense that this would be the most efficient and productive way to solve any sort of problem.

On my previous blog, I posted a pie chart that sampled 13.950 peer-reviewed, academic articles from 1991-2012 about the issue of climate change, and 24 of them rejected global warming. I decided to look further into the topic of the scientific consensus of global warming, and I stumbled across this article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html. The abstract states that the authors studied a dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data, and came to two major to conclusions. First, 97-98% of scientists that are most active in the field of climatology support the ideas held by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the "relatve climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) are substantially below that of the convinced researchers." The second claim is pretty brazen, but the main point here is that the vast majority of climatologists believe in ACC.

It seems to me like a reasonable politician would acknowledge that there is a strong scientific consensus about climate change, and try and work out a plan for mitigating it with the help of economists, climatologists, sociologists, etc. I know very little about the political structure of our state and national governments, this is just my opinion. 

I looked online for some statistics about the percentage of congressional members in DC that disagree with the IPCC's opinion on climate change, but I couldn't find any. However, I do remember a sizable number of Republican presidential candidates denying climate change over the past year. Herman Cain said "I do not believe global warming is real" (I remember this from watching the Daily Show... that's the best way to learn what's happening around the world), and Rick Santorum said "Absolutely not, I don't believe in that" when asked about evolution (also got this from the Daily Show). In a 2009 Fox Business interview, Ron Paul said "the greatest hoax I think that has been around in many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on the environment and global warming." Ron Paul based his statement on the fact that the Earth is warming in some parts and cooling in others, which is true (although there is way more warming than cooling).

But when it comes to a scientific theory, I think politicians should let the scientists do their work, and then work together with them to conjure up some ideas to tackling the problem. For a politician to deny global warming and not back up their denial with science is pretty darn immature. That's like me accusing my roommate of eating all my protein bars, but not having any evidence to back it up. Heck, in the face of so much scientific consensus on global warming, it's like ignoring a hypothetical surveillance camera that showed my roommate minding his own business, and having some strange, unknown pest steal my protein bars. Who knows what lives in these dorms...

I love Al Gore's title for his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." I have a feeling that many Americans deny global warming because it is convenient to do so. It's a lot easier to continue to use fossil fuels instead of investing in alternative fuel sources. People don't want to give up their Dodge Rams with V-8 Hemi engines, they don't want to stop eating beef, and they especially don't want to stop watching playoff football games on Sundays when their team is playing. I can understand that last one... today's game was great. Because some of the public doesn't want to change their lifestyle because of a theorized ecological crisis, politicians conform to the opinion of the people to try and win votes and gain popularity. The public opinion, in turn, is strongly influenced by influential politicians. It's definitely a vicious cycle.

I'm taking a class on water usage and society this quarter (starting tomorrow!), so I'll learn more about the interactions between scientists and politicians. I guess all I'm trying to say is that we, as a planet, need to work together to get our goals accomplish, and utilize the strengths of different groups of people to make the most progress. We shouldn't have politicians denying global warming when they don't know the science behind it. Scientists and politicians need to work together on this issue. I look forward to learning more about the relationships between scientific theories and the scientific opinions held by various political leaders in the future... it is a very interesting (albeit, often frustrating) subject.

We'll have a pretty vigorous storm come in Tuesday, and after that we could be talking about *pockets* of snow. No big snow events on the horizon. I'll post more about the forecast tomorrow.