Friday, April 28, 2006

Getting Better All the Time

This afternoon's weather map shows a cool, dry high pressure area centered over southern Canada and dominating the entire Atlantic coast. Despite the northerly breeze veering somewhat easterly at times, the entire Washington metro region was enjoying sunny mid 60s temperatures by mid afternoon. Even the Bay and Eastern Shore locations were mainly over 60, although Ocean City was a brisk 57 with a northeasterly wind gusting to 26 mph. Today's models are unanimous in saying that Camden's earlier weekend assessment may have been a bit pessimistic; the sunny and dry conditions are predicted to continue right on through Sunday.

Surface weather map and satellite picture at 2pm today from HPC/NCEP/NWS

Tonight and Tomorrow

For tonight, clear skies and light winds should allow temperatures to drop to the mid 40s city, as low as the mid 30s in the colder 'burbs. Tomorrow earns the Seal of Approval, although the high near 67 under sunny skies will be only marginally "room temperature".

Tropical Topics

As the clock ticks down to the beginning of another tropical season, the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology is winding up today in Monterey, CA. There have been a number of interesting presentations, especially on the controversial issue of the relationship between global warming and hurricane activity.

Colorado State University's Dr. William Gray, whose claim to fame appears to be mainly based on statistical forecasting, goes out on a limb with his strong denial of any connection. His presentation is certainly "in your face"; the introduction is a quote from an ideologically partisan oil-state senator and the closing is a statement from the public relations person of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists about a science fiction book. Gray's scientific assertions regarding the oceanic thermohaline circulation (THC) are thoroughly demolished at, where a spirited discussion has generated over 60 comments in the last couple of days.

MIT Prof. Kerry Emanuel, author of the recent book Divine Wind, is a joint author with two researchers from the University of Miami of a paper, Could hurricanes form from random convection in a warmer world?. This study uses physical modeling to assess whether increases in sea-surface temperatures could induce spontaneous generation of hurricanes without the usual prerequisites.

Abstracts for all the conference presentations, as well as many extended versions with graphics, are available on the conference web page.

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