Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer of Simmer Update: Counting Down the Heat Parade;
4 3 2 1 Days to Record Hottest Washington Summer

Monday, Aug. 30, 5:30 PM Update: Today's preliminary high of 96° brings the August average to an even 80.0°. If Tuesday averages at least 78° (for example, 88°/68°), the month will end up at 80.0°. An average of 81.5° (95°/68°), as forecast, would bring it up to 80.1°. That would tie the 9th hottest August.
Daily high/low: 96/73
Aug. average: 80.0
Summer average: 81.2
90°+ days: 56

Aug. 31 95/68
Aug. average: 80.1
Summer average: 81.2
Avg. daily high: 90.3
90°+ days: 57
Monday, Aug. 30, 4 PM Update: Temperature has been 95° for 2 consecutive hours.

Monday, Aug. 30, 2 PM Update: As of 2 pm, the high is 95°.

Monday, Aug. 30, 1 PM Update: The temperature hit 92° by noon and has risen another 2° in the last hour, so the forecast high of 96° is well within range. This is now the 56th day with 90° or higher temperatures.

The morning low of 73° was 2° above the forecast.

Sunday, Aug. 29 Update
Daily high/low: 92/70
Aug. average: 79.9
Summer average: 81.2
90°+ days: 55

Aug. 30 96/71
Aug. 31 95/68
Aug. average: 80.0
Summer average: 81.2
Avg. daily high: 90.3
90°+ days: 57
Saturday, Aug. 28 Update If the forecast temperatures are met or exceeded for the next 3 days, the old record hottest summer will be beaten by an amount equal to the range of the previous 13 hottest summers.
Daily high/low: 89/68
Aug. average: 79.8
Summer average: 81.2

Aug. 29 92/67
Aug. 30 96/68
Aug. 31 96/69
Aug. average: 80.0
Summer average: 81.2
Avg. daily high: 90.3
Original (Aug. 27) post:
Today's high temperature at Washington of 83° as of 5 pm is 2° below the 30-year climatological average, but the summer average to date of 81.2° is still well above the old record hottest summer. Even if temperatures were to remain average for the next 4 days, the seasonal average would still come out to 81.0°, a full degree above the 1980 record.

On the other hand, the forecast indicates that the lower 90s will return as early as Sunday, with mid to upper 90s likely before the month and season end on Tuesday. Plugging in the forecast temperatures, the summer average will finish right where it is now. This would be a greater margin than the difference between the current hottest and 10th hottest summers.

The expected 3 days of 90°+ temperatures, plus an additional 2 days extending into the beginning of September, would bring the yearly total to 59, tying the second highest annual number of 90°+ days.

Not only will this summer be the first season ever to average above 80°, but it will be the first time that the average daily high has been above 90°, eclipsing the 89.4° in 2002. If August averages 80° or higher (It's likely to be 79.9° after today.), this will also be the first time 3 consecutive months have averaged at least 80°.

Stay tuned as we count down to the record through Tuesday.

Pre-Season Preview: Preliminary 2010-2011 Winter Outlook

There are still a few more days to summer, but preliminary winter outlooks are already being issued. Bloomberg reports that Rockville, MD based MDA Federal is forecasting a relatively warm winter for the U.S., the warmest in 5 years. The prediction for 2,515 heating degree days in the U.S. is slightly less than the 10-year average of 2,577 and considerably below the 2,767 last winter.

The temperature forecast calls for temperatures in New York to be 2.5° above the 30-year average and in Chicago 2° above.

The latest 3-month outlook for December through February from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center also shows near to above normal temperatures for most of the country.

Expectations of lower demand for the winter have done little to support natural gas prices, which have dropped 31% so far this year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Featured Question: Total Number of 90 Degree Days in Washington, DC Since 1950

See Washington DC Weather Records for the latest update.

Today's Featured Question comes this morning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, via Google:
"total number of 90 degree days in washington, dc since 1950"
As shown in the previous Summer of Simmer update, the total of 54 days of 90° or higher temperatures so far this year (49 this summer as of August 26) is one of the highest yearly amounts on record. The total number from 1950 through 2010 to date is 2172, or an average of 35.6 per year. Since the record of 67 was set 30 years ago in 1980, there have been 7 years with 50 or more:
1983 55
1988 57
1991 59
1993 51
1995 52
2002 56
2010 54

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FOIA Follies: Yes, Virginia, There is a Disclosure Clause

Here's a letter to the editor in today's WaPo relating to the Virginia Attorney General's fishing expedition at UVA:
After reading about the estimated $30 million that the U.S. attorney's office spent on the Rod Blagojevich trial ["A Blagojevich defense, funded by taxpayers like you?," front page, Aug. 21], I'd like an investigation into how many taxpayer dollars Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II is spending on "a team of lawyers" to investigate a University of Virginia professor's climate change research paper ["Judge to rule on Cuccinelli probe of climate study," Metro, Aug. 21].

It's absurd that in a time of enormous budget challenges, Mr. Cuccinelli has nothing better to do than spend millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the scientific findings of our state's premier academic institution. Not to mention the millions of tax dollars the University of Virginia will probably spend defending itself in this monkey trial.

If Mr. Cuccinelli has run out of actual criminals to prosecute, it's time to look at his office for spending cuts.

Umang Varma, Falls Church
How about it, WaPo? Isn't it time for a FOIA request? The Climate Capitalist is proud to disclose that, except for 60 days of NOAA Commissioned Corps training at Norfolk, he is not now, never has been, and never intends to be, a citizen of the Capital of the Confederacy and is therefore ineligible to file, but "representatives of the media" are certainly permitted to do so.

Go, Terps!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tumbling Dice: U.S. August Heat Records Outpacing Cold By 7:1

"Do [you] feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" How 'bout these odds:

With a little over a week left in August, U.S. daily maximum temperature records are outpacing minimum records by the torrid pace of 7:1. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center reports that through Sunday, August 22, a total of 845 daily high temperature records have been set in the 50 states, more than in all of July. Meanwhile, the number of low temperature records is only 121, less than half of the July total.

The ratio of heat records to cold records is almost exactly 7:1 for the month so far. Following a January and February in which cold records exceeded heat records, this is now the 6th consecutive month in which heat records have predominated. In 5 of those, the heat records have been at least double the cold records; the ratio for the year to date has now risen to 2.25.

Image (click to enlarge): Total number of daily high and low temperature records set in the U.S. for spring 2010 (March-April-May) and June, July, and August to date 2010, data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, background image © Kevin Ambrose. Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC's Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.

Positive Feedback: Oil Discovered off Greenland

After damaging the Gulf of Mexico with the BP well blowout, the petroleum industry is set to exploit another sensitive environment with the discovery of oil in the Arctic off Greenland. The UK Guardian is reporting online, in a story to appear in tomorrow's (Tuesday) edition:
A British oil firm will tomorrow announce that it has struck oil off Greenland, a find that could trigger a rush to exploit oil reserves in the pristine waters of the Arctic.

Cairn Energy, the first company to win permission to drill for oil in this sensitive environment, will break the news to the London stock market along with its half-yearly financial results.

The company declined to comment tonight, but sources confirmed that hydrocarbons had been found, and Greenland's foreign office said it was hopeful Cairn would have something positive to reveal.

The news will delight the oil industry, which has long believed the Arctic harbours some of the last huge reserves.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer of Simmer: August Week 3 Update

8 PM Update: The high temperature reached 89° around the 6:00 hour.

Original post:
Today's preliminary high of 88° and low of 77° average out to 6° above the long-term normal.

As the final week of August (and meteorological summer) approaches, Washington temperatures have continued above average overall. There were 2 more 90°+ temperatures in the past week (91° on the 16th and 92° on the 20th). This brings the total for the summer to 49 and for 2010 as a whole to 54. This is within 2 of the 56 in 2002, although still well below the record of 67 90°+ days in 1980.

The summer average temperature of 81.6° continues well above the all-time record hottest summer of 80.0° in 1980. If temperatures for the remaining 9 days of August merely equal the long-term average, the final summer average will be 81.0° (up from 80.8° last week). This is a full 1° above the old record, a margin equivalent to the difference between the current record and the 9th hottest summer.

The histogram of summer temperatures shows how far this year deviates from the past 140 years of records. Each bar shows the number of summers with average temperatures within 0.5° intervals. The 2 light orange boxes on the far right of the chart show the current season average to date and the projected result based on average conditions for the rest of August.

The August average of 80.9° is unchanged from last week's value. Although not a record, if it were to hold, it would be the 6th warmest August on record.

So far this season, the only days failing to reach 80° or higher were the 7th, 8th, and 9th of June, so today is now the 74th consecutive day of 80°+ temperatures. The latest forecast indicates that this string could break on Tuesday with a high of 76°. Although the current record summer of 1980 finished with a strong run of mid and upper 90s, it had already seen 2 days in August below 80° by this date.

Images (click to enlarge):
  • Washington, DC average summer temperatures to date for 2010 and previous record years 1980, 1991, 2002, and climatological period 1971-2000
  • Summer 2010 to date and projected temperatures vs. top 10 hottest summers in Washington
  • Daily high temperatures, summer 2010 (portion above 90° in dark red)
  • Distribution of Washington, DC summer average temperatures from 1871 to 2010 (number of occurrences in 0.5° intervals)
  • Number of 90°+ days per calendar year
CapitalClimate charts from National Weather Service data, background photo from Kevin Ambrose

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

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