Feb 022013
 

January 2013 was exceptionally cold and wet. It was the 16th coldest January since 1898. The 6th coldest since 1950. It was just Flagstaff, Prescott and Winslow were cold and wet, too.

While 2012 was a warm year by recent standards, the longer term temperature trend doesn’t look as warm and toasty.

departure january 2013

The good news is that it looks like February will be warmer than average.

 Posted by at 5:04 am
Jan 232013
 

Yesterday seemed absolutely beautiful and warm. Back to reality, the average temperature for the day was a single degree above normal. But, it was the first time in January that temperatures were above normal. For January, we are still 9 degrees below normal. There is good news and bad news with this warming trend.

The good news is near normal temperatures. The bad news is that the first storm system to move through at the end of this week and into the weekend will be warm. Snow levels will be high. Flagstaff will probably get rain, not snow. The first round won’t bring much moisture to Flagstaff. The moisture will scoot around to the west and east of us.

The second round will hit on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. This storm will be cooler and wetter. We will go back into the cold temperatures for this storm. Flagstaff could receive several inches of snow.

 Posted by at 6:58 am
Jan 162013
 

The National Weather Service has cut their warming outlook for the next few days. Their current forecast doesn’t have our temperatures rising to normal levels. Currently, their outlook has our highs reaching 43 F, and our lows in single digits. The high is near normal. The normal low is about 16 F. This leaves us 3-5 degrees below normal on the average. Other forecast outlets have our temperatures returning to near normal levels in a couple of days.

While not a record, the last 5 days are the coldest for 22 years. I think we are on our way to the coldest January since the 1980s.  From the National Weather Service -

 

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/News/jan15_2013_2.jpg

 

 Posted by at 7:09 am
Jan 152013
 

It has been unusually cold, but it has been colder. The conversion point between above average to below average temperatures happened after the first week of December. A turn around is ahead.

Departure from normal temperatures(blue) and cumulative departure(orange) for December and January.Departure from normal temperatures and cumulative departure for December and January.

Departure from normal temperatures and cumulative departure for December and January.

The last couple days have been the coldest. But this is the deepest part of the could. After today, the forecast is for temperatures to return to near normal levels. If we stay near normal for the rest of the month, we will end up 4.5-5 degrees below normal for the month. This is significant, but I doubt it will be a record breaker.

Over night lows will remain very cold below 20 degrees. Moisture will be scarce to non-existent for the rest of the month. Clear night skies will continue to hold the overnight temperatures to low levels. It’s going to be very dry.

 Posted by at 7:01 am
Jan 102013
 

You may have heard that 2012 was the warmest, or one of the warmest on record. Probably not completely accurate, but absolute statements rarely are. But now, we are looking at a very cold January, about 7 degrees below normal so far, and even colder weather on the way for the next week or so. As a result of all this news, I started wondering about looking back into Flagstaff’s long-term temperature trends.

There are two temperature databases I have used to prepare this post. First, I used the 1950 – 2005 temperature database for the Flagstaff Airport from the Western Regional Climate Center. If you ever wonder about an Arizona location’s climate data, give their site a glance. Second, I used the Preliminary Monthly Climate Report from the National Weather Service’s Flagstaff Climate page. However, you will notice that this database only goes back to 2008. I have downloaded and recorded their data back to 2004. For 2004 and 2005, the databases are closely matched.

I looked at the annual average temperature from both datasets. Here is the resulting graph.

Flagstaff's average annual temperatures for 1950 to 2012

Flagstaff’s average annual temperatures for 1950 to 2012. See text of article for data sources.

First, 2012 wasn’t the warmest year during this time. It’s the fourth warmest according to these temperature records. When I look at this data, it seems that the temperature trend for the last 20 years have been fairly constant. Also, the first 20 years of this record seem fairly constant. I applied a 3rd degree polynomial trend line to this data using Microsoft Excel’s function. This produces an interesting result.

 

Flagstaff's average annual temperatures for 1950 to 2012 with trendline


Flagstaff’s average annual temperatures for 1950 to 2012 with trendline

How are Januaries trending compared to the annual numbers? They look very similar to the annual temperatures.

 

Flagstaff's average annual and January temperatures for 1950 to 2012 with trendline

Flagstaff’s average annual and January temperatures for 1950 to 2012 with trendline 

The year to year variability is roughly on the same scale as any long-term trend. In the past, I have written about the concerns that many solar science experts have about the current and future solar cycles. The current cycle has had a lower than expected level of activity and a much decrease. Predictions for the next two cycles are for weaker conditions. This could result in a 30-50 year cooling trend for everyone, including us. Which will win, anthropogenic global warming or a cold star?

Looks more and more like we could get more than a couple of inches of snow over the next few days. It will be windy and much cooler. If you need to do anything outdoors, do it today.

 Posted by at 8:33 am
Oct 152012
 

In the last month or so, there have been 3, maybe 4, significant event reports.

First, while we enjoyed a beautiful and warm September, the El Nino which had built in the Pacific vaporized. Since the oceans cool by evaporative processes, using the word “vaporized” isn’t a stretch. See the sea surface temperature animation below. This could be insignificant.

Second, record low amounts of Arctic sea ice occurred in September. Third, record high amounts of Antarctic sea ice occurred in September. Keep in mind that the total sea ice for Antarctica is smaller because of the land mass that covers so much of the South Pole. See image below.

Fourth, the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, reports that global warming stopped nearly 16 years ago. See image below.

I’m baffled.

In the mean time, we have more beautiful weather ahead.

Global tropical sea surface temperature and anomaly. From the Climate Prediction Center

Global tropical sea surface temperature and anomaly. From the Climate Prediction Center

Global, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

Global, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

Global temperatures since 1997 - Daily Mail

Global temperatures since 1997 – Daily Mail

 Posted by at 3:53 am
Mar 032012
 

One of the curiosities about weather data is the difference between misreported highs and misreported lows. Quillayute logged a record temperature this week on Tuesday. I blogged about it this in a earlier post. I should have suspected something. Its reported daily high came at 12:15 am. It is totally possible for temperatures to drop through the night and not recover the next day. But according to the thermometer at Quillayute Airport in Washington State, it was 34 degrees 15 minutes before and after.

Weather data from Quillayute Airport on February 28, 2012

Weather data from Quillayute Airport on February 28, 2012

I tried to find a blog post about temperature measurements that go awry from another site. I couldn’t find the more comprehensive article I wanted, but this will do: Watts Up With Nuuk? Goofy things happen in the measurement and reporting of data. Oddly, most errors result in elevated temperature measurements. Manually entered data ends up missing minus signs for negative temperatures. Heat sources like trucks are parked nearby. Occassionally a tree is planted nearby and slowly grows to shade the station. For the United States, this has been documented very well at SurfaceStations.org.

I looked for images of the weather station at Quillayute to see if the siting would have made it susceptible to errors from jet blast or other sources. A similar event happened on January 23, 2012.

Weather data for January 23, 2012 at Quillayute, WA from Weather Underground

Weather data for January 23, 2012 at Quillayute, WA from Weather Underground

December’s record had a downward spike. There are lots of data missing for the station. The good news is that it looks like someone is removing the bad data from the record before making the official record. The bad news is that the station is probably failing. This station isn’t part of the official climate data network in the US. But there are lots of other stations that have similar issues. Take a look at SurfacesStations.org.

 Posted by at 6:14 am

Interesting Extremes

 Climate  Comments Off
Feb 292012
 

I thought numbers 4-6 on Weather Underground’s record report were interesting. Rome, Oregon and Deer Park, Washington are in the eastern parts of their states. Quillayute is near the Pacific Coast. What a variety!

 Posted by at 6:40 am
Feb 202012
 

It looks like my weather station stayed up and running through the weekend. That is the first time since last summer. Hopefully, it continues.

It looks like we had our last bit of snow for a while. Looking out to March 4, 2012, Arizona will be dry according to this morning’s GFS model run. The GFS outlook to March 4, 2012 has precipitation staying away from Arizona.

NCEP GFS model for total precipitation through March 4, 2012.

NCEP GFS model for total precipitation through March 4, 2012.

During this time, there isn’t even a near-miss. Temperatures should stay pretty close to normal, but there could be cold and warm swings as we have seen for most of February. This morning we are in single digits.

8 day average temperature anomaly - Dr. Ryan Maue at Policlimate.com

8 day average temperature anomaly - Dr. Ryan Maue at Policlimate.com

Later today, we will see how the Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks match these.

 Posted by at 6:13 am
Feb 072012
 

January was warm. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was the 6th warmest January on record for Flagstaff. So far, mostly because of Friday’s low temperatures, February is off to a chilly start. But the forecasts for the next week point to near normal temperatures.

Looking over the one-week horizon, the Climate Prediction center is pointing to a shift in temperatures. Both the 6-8 and 10-14 day outlooks have below average temperatures on the way to the Western US. This would be a big shift from January.The shift in temperatures doesn’t seem to bring wetter weather with it.

We have a slight chance of snow for the next 3 days. I don’t think we will even see as much as we saw last Wednesday.

6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 6:49 am
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