Stu

Aug 292015
 

After several failed attempts and lots of translation about a thing called a Fritzbox, I finally have a weather station up and running here in Munich. You can view it on Weather Underground as station ID IBAYERNM52.

I’m using a very nice, get one for yourself because its cool, Acu-Rite Pro 5-in-1 Weather Station. with an Acu-Rite internet bridge. For historic note, it seems like there were one or two key reason it didn’t connect to the Fritzbox. Either it needed a particular cable for the Fritzbox, or the automatic speed negotiation wasn’t possible. I inserted an Ethernet switch between the bridge and the Fritzbox. The switch is handling all of the connection issues nicely.

I continue to amazed at how similar this summer in Munich has been to a typical Flagstaff summer. Speaking of typical, it appears August in Flagstaff is very typical. More on that after the month is over.

 

One note about tropical storm Erica. She is falling apart because of El Nino produced wind shear. I think the strength of the winds is important for driving Northern Arizona towards a wet winter.

 Posted by at 12:31 am

Short and long range outlooks continue to look wet…very, very wet.

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Short and long range outlooks continue to look wet…very, very wet.
Aug 232015
 

Last week, the Climate Prediction Center published new outlook maps. These point to a strong finish for the monsoon season and a wet winter. While these aren’t changes to expectations, I thought they are reviewing. First the current 30-day and 90-day outlooks show the strong finish to the monsoon season.

30-day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

30-day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

 

90-day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

90-day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

Arizona is deep inside the highest probability region for greater and average precipitation for both time frames. I don’t think this monsoon season will be a record breaker, but it should finish strong. The other positive to note is the green zone creeping into California.

For fun, I made animated gif of the other 3-month outlooks through next spring. You can see that until the Mrach-April-May 2016 map, Arizona is firmly in the green zone. Still, this is strongly based on the El Nino conditions we have in the Pacific. We still aren’t clear about how the Pacific Blob and the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge will affect things.

2015-2016 precipitation outlook until next spring. Animated gif of 3-month time ranges. Original images from the Climate Prediction Center.

2015-2016 precipitation outlook until next spring. Animated gif of 3-month time ranges. Original images from the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 2:18 am

El Nino versus the Blob

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on El Nino versus the Blob
Aug 152015
 

It’s like a Godzilla movie. Will the current El Nino be the biggest of all time? Will California ever recover from their drought? Is this the Godzilla of all El Ninos.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

Just today, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook that referred to the current El Nino as the “Godzilla” of El Ninos. Granted this El Nino is strong. But, it isn’t completely on-track to be  bigger than the one of 1997-1998. You can read details at Bob Tisdale’s website: August 2015 ENSO Update – Another Westerly Wind Burst in Late July Should Help El Niño Evolve. The El Nino of 2014-2015 did not quite cool off. More westerly wind bursts have caused more robust El Nino conditions. Normally, this should bode well for a strong winter precipitation pattern in the Southwest.

Enter the Blob. Since about 2013, there has been a phenomenon called “The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.” This area of high pressure has hung around off the West Coast of the US. It has blocked the normal winter jet stream from bringing storms to California, and often parts of the Southwest. While Flagstaff is looking very healthy for precipitation by the year-to-date or water year since September, the core of last winter was dry. One of the results of the ridge is the Blob of warm water off the West Coast. This ridge of high pressure could be very significant for the upcoming winter.

High pressure can alter, or block, the flow of the jet stream, and the storm track. One of the key features of El Nino is that the normal single winter storm jet stream splits into two jet streams; northern and southern. The southern jet stream brings the storms to Northern Arizona and most of the Southwest in the winter. Also, the normal flow in the Northern Hemisphere around high pressure is clockwise. Depending on the position and strength of The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, this could block the flow of winter storms, Potentially driving them further south and east.

Alternatively, if the ridge breaks down, the warm water would add to the moisture supply to the Southwest.

Sigh…

The current outlook for next winter, December-February, from the Climate Prediction Center is going with the standard El Nino outlook.

Precipitation outlook for December 2015-February 2015. from the Climate Prediction Center.

Precipitation outlook for December 2015-February 2015. from the Climate Prediction Center.

I think they did the same things last year around this time. In a little while, probably sometime in September, the National Weather Service in Flagstaff will provide a slide set that shows that El Nino does not mean a guaranteed wetter than normal winter.

Sigh!

But, this part is unusual for an El Nino year, the December-February outlook for temperature is different from a typical El Nino. The outlook below shows below average temperatures. Typically, El Nino winters are warmer and wetter than normal.

 

Temperature outlook for December 2015-February 2016. From the Climate Prediction Center.

Temperature outlook for December 2015-February 2016. From the Climate Prediction Center.

Sign!!!

So, I am watching. I am wondering. I don’t think the experts even know. Blob versus El Nino…stay tuned.

***********************************************************************************************************

For more on the Blob, I recommend reading the post August 2015 Update for the Blob at Bob Tisdale’s website. He is an expert on sea surface temperatures.

For more on the outlooks, follow the links above and you can find the discussions supporting the long-range outlooks at the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 10:52 am

Was July as wet as the National Weather Service data shows?

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Was July as wet as the National Weather Service data shows?
Aug 052015
 

One of the issues with monsoon season precipitation amounts is that strong, localized thunderstorms can produce large amounts of rain over a limited area. This means that a given rainfall measurement may not apply to a broader area. One of my friends challenged me about the National Weather Service’s July precipitation amount as measured at the Flagstaff Airport. They reported a total of 2.77 inches of precipitation. They note that it was the 50th wettest July since 1898. They also note that July was the 12th coolest on record, too.

So, I gave rainlog.org a look. Rainlog.org is run by the University of Arizona. They collect rainfall data from people that have rain gauges. It is completely self-reported and not audited. I routinely reported my observations to rainlog.org  while I was measuring it. If anything, I think the rainfall reports would be underestimated because of forgetfulness. Below is what I found. I think 2.77 is reasonable. However, as expected, the amount is not representative of the greater Flagstaff area. The downtown area, east Flagstaff and the areas east of the San Francisco Peaks were drier. Mountainaire and Kachina Village were wetter. I think many of us have accused the National Weather Service taking their rain gauge inside during storms so that it won’t get wet. Their July data looks good.

Rainfall for July 2015 from rainlog.org.

Rainfall for July 2015 from rainlog.org.

 Posted by at 3:22 am

Turning the spigot back on

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Turning the spigot back on
Jul 272015
 

i spent most of last week in Scotland. It was wonderfully cool and wet. It was a very nice break from the recent heavy heat in Munich. One day in Munich, it was hotter than Anthem, AZ.  Now, back in Munich, it is more temperate and rainy.

The spigot is about to be turned back on for Flagstaff and most of Arizona. July probably won’t break any records, but we will still have a strong Monsoon.

In other news, I should have a Munich weather station on line this weekend. And, I’ll update the El Niño outlook. 

 Posted by at 2:00 pm

From the “You might have heard it here first” list. And Dolores.

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on From the “You might have heard it here first” list. And Dolores.
Jul 162015
 

The Verde Independent has an interesting story about the long term drought in the Southwest. Back in June, I wrote a post about a very similar set of thoughts; Is the drought over? I there is a chance that Northern Arizona could be emerging. But California is just beginning.

One of the tricky parts of keeping this summer wet is the continuous creation and flow of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific. This coming weekend most of Arizona has a good chance to receive considerable rainfall from Hurricane Dolores and her remnants. There has been very active tropical storm development in the Eastern Pacific this summer. As these storms move, they effect the weather thousands of miles away. This can cause dry and wet periods for us. The question is whether the abundant moisture or storm paths will dominate. 

Currently, Flagstaff is 0.88 inches above normal precipitation for July.

Interesting sidebar: München, Germany may be hotter than Anthem, Arizona tomorrow. 38C is the forecast for München. 101 is the forecast for Anthem.

Air conditioning is essentially non-existent in Germany.

 Posted by at 12:40 am

Monsoon interrupted 

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Monsoon interrupted 
Jul 052015
 

A wet May and June have been followed by an early and fairly wet start to the monsoonal thunderstorm activity. But the computer models are showing a change to the pattern over the next week or so. A tropical storm may form off the coast of Central America and slowly move to the northwest. This will bring westerly winds and reduced moisture for Northern Arizona. 

The drying trend seems to be in each computer model, but the tropical system doesn’t always show up. Still plenty of variability.

Meanwhile, in München, we have a very sunny and warm trend. The car thermometer said 35C yesterday on the way to a 4th of July party held by a couple from Scotland. 35C is 95F. Very warm without AC.

 Posted by at 1:54 am

Strong start to Monsoon Season on the way

 Climate, Monsoon, Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Strong start to Monsoon Season on the way
Jun 252015
 

Recently, I noticed that the Wikipedia page on Monsoons wasn’t fond of referring to the North American Monsoon in the southwestern U.S. as a true monsoon.

Whether it is true or not, it looks like Flagstaff and most of Arizona will get a nice wet start to the season over the next week or so. Below is the 10-day precipitation outlook.

Ten day precipitation outlook from the GFS Model at the  Climate Prediction Center.

Ten day precipitation outlook from the GFS Model at the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 3:25 am

Model predicts typical start to Monsoon Season

 El Nino/La Nina, Models, Monsoon, Outlooks  Comments Off on Model predicts typical start to Monsoon Season
Jun 212015
 

I think I mentioned several times last summer NOAA’s GFS model predictions of the monsoon season impressed me.They seemed remarkable accurate. I say seemed, because I don’t think I ever did or saw any statistical analysis to prove it. We will see how they do this year.

For now, the model has the season walking slowly up to the season. If you remember last summer it started in earnest. This year, I think we will start to some thunderstorm action at the end of this week, but probably not the real start until closer to the 4th of July. This is normal.

The current El Nino conditions and the warm blob off the coast of California continue to cause me some concern. The image below is the most recent global sea surface anomaly picture from NOAA. There is plenty of warm water to generate the moisture needed for a strong monsoon season. I still worry that jet stream winds might not cooperate One of the reasons there are few strong Atlantic hurricanes in El Nino conditions is due to the high level winds that shear the tops of the clouds off as storms develop in the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. Could these winds impede our monsoon season?

I don’t know. Also, I don’t think there is any clear data on any effect from El Ninos on monsoon precipitation. We will have to wait and see. For now, enjoy summer. The warm temperatures may not last long.

Global sea surfce temperature anomaly, June 18, 2015. (NOAA)

Global sea surfce temperature anomaly, June 18, 2015. (NOAA)

 Posted by at 5:47 am

Closer to normal June weather on the way

 Climate, El Nino/La Nina, Monsoon, Northern Arizona Weather, Outlooks  Comments Off on Closer to normal June weather on the way
Jun 142015
 

Through Sunday morning, we have received 1.14 inches of rainfall in June. This is a whopping inch over normal. While that is large rainfall for June, 1955 and 1956 are still well in the lead at 2.92 and 2.79. This is for the record since 1950. We could still beat these amounts depending on how the end of the month goes.

The next week or so isn’t going to help. Get ready for typical June weather. Sunny, warm days dominate the model outlook for the next week to 10 days. In Weather Underground’s outlook does not predict the dew point to drop much below 20. or fire conditions.

After 10 days, it’s hard to tell exactly what will happen. It looks like the annual moisture surge from the south will begin. There is plenty of warm water for drawing moisture. The Western Pacific Blob is remaining in place off the California Coast. El Nino conditions continue to strength around the Equator. If we can obtain and maintain the monsoon pattern we could have a wet season.

 Posted by at 9:47 pm
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