Thursday, March 29, 2007

National Treasure


Sunny, mild. After lows in the low 40s, it's a bright, crisp spring day, perfect for filming the sequel to National Treasure here in the Nation's Capital. By mid afternoon, temperatures had reached the low 60s in much of the region with very low humidities (dewpoints in the teens or even single digits). Showers associated with a cold front are scattered from southwestern Virginia southeastward across the Carolinas. The fine weather is likely to persist through at least part of the weekend.

Photo: The national treasure cherry blossoms coming out near the Washington Monument, by photographer Kevin Ambrose

Tonight and Tomorrow

Clear, chilly, then milder. With clear skies, light winds and low humidities, lows tonight will be crispy, in the mid to upper 30s in the city to the upper 20s in the coolest 'burblands. Tomorrow will be sunny and a little warmer, highs in the upper 60s.

For the outlook through the weekend and beyond with Larson's Long-Range, scroll down to Josh's post below.

Hype Casting

Not such a treasure is AccuWeather's early hurricane season outlook on steroids, which gets taken apart by the HoChro's astute SciGuy in a post on Tuesday. (Pointer and interesting comments at University of Colorado's Prometheus science policy blog.)

What's so unfortunate about this kind of exaggeration is that it adds to public confusion and skepticism about the real capabilities of the science. It undermines confidence in all time scales of forecasting, from daily weather to seasonal and long-term climate trends (which are all very different types of problems, BTW, despite what you might hear on squawk radio, the cable noise networks, or the pollution-industry-financed blogs).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Marching Back to Spring


Mostly sunny, warm. The passage of a cool front overnight has shifted winds to the northeast and increased the clouds, but temperatures this afternoon are again above seasonal averages, generally reaching the low 70s in the Washington metro area. This morning's low of 62°, if it were to hold through midnight (not likely), would exceed the record highest minimum for this date by 2°.

Scattered showers on radar are generally west of I-81 late this afternoon, but some of them may make it to the region, especially the southern portions. Cooler temperatures will follow for the next couple of days.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Chance of showers, turning cooler. After a slight chance of showers mainly to the south through this evening, clouds will decrease overnight with lows in the upper 40s downtown to the low 40s in 'burbalonia. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with highs in the low 60s.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and weekend, scroll down to Dan's post below.

Political Climate

The House Committee on Science and Technology followed up last week's hearing, "Perspectives on Climate Change", with a hearing this afternoon on "Shaping the Message, Distorting the Science: Media Strategies to Influence Public Policy". The hearing was intended to question "industry efforts and attempts within science agencies to control which federal scientists get access to the media and how media campaigns are mounted to confuse the public."

In conjunction with the hearing, the non-partisan, non-profit, Government Accountability Project has issued a report analyzing climate science politicization. The report focuses on NOAA, but it also includes NASA, EPA, USGS, and other agencies.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Irrational Exuberance


Sunny, warm. Clockwise flow around a high pressure area centered off the southeast Atlantic coast is pushing temperatures to early-summer levels through the entire Mid Atlantic region this afternoon. Temperatures have reached the 80s in the Washington metro area, and in central Virginia, Petersburg was as high as 88°. (We'll spare them any further embarassment by not linking to their comments, but the heavy wishcasting about a week ago by certain site visitors regarding "wintry" weather for the 27th-30th based on a "D+10" (10-day) model forecast is looking a wee bit irrationally exuberant at this point.)

A cold front approaching from the Great Lakes will bring somewhat more seasonable temperatures for the next couple of days, but the core of coldest air will remain well to the north of the region.

Temperature chart at 4pm today from Unisys

Tonight and Tomorrow

Clouds increasing, chance of showers, turning cooler. Under partly to mostly cloudy skies with a 30% chance of showers or possibly thunderstorms, low temperatures tonight will be in the mid to upper 50s. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with highs 65-69° and a 30% chance of showers, mainly to the south in the afternoon.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and weekend, scroll down to Jason's post below.

Tropical Topics

It's a little over 60 days to tropical storm season, and the forecasts are already sprouting like the spring lawns. Despite the underperformance of last year's preseason hype, AccuWeather is exuberantly calling for major impacts on the Gulf Coast. The Klotzbach/Gray Colorado State forecast is scheduled to be updated next Tuesday.

It may be irrational to make a specific forecast 10 days in advance or even to project the particulars of the upcoming hurricane season, but it is possible to make a "hindcast" of hurricanes thousands of years in the past. The USAT Weather Guys linked last Friday to an interesting article, "Uncovering prehistoric hurricane activity", in the current (March-April) American Scientist about the clever use of sand distribution in sediment cores from coastal lakes to study the frequency of intense hurricanes over the last 5000 years. The full article is available only to members or subscribers, but there is more information about paleotempestology on the National Climatic Data Center web site.

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.