A killing frost hit most of the viewing area last night and early this morning. It was so cold that we had one record broken in Merrill. The low temperature in Merrill was 20. The old record set in 1924 and again in 1984 was 25. Rhinelander was just 2 degrees away from tying a record with a low of 23. In Wausau the low temperature was 30, which wasn’t a record but it was the coldest we have experienced so far this Fall season. I had to stay up late yesterday evening in order to gather in my last viable vegetables from the garden. Unfortunately because of the cooler than normal Summer, a lot of my tomatoes and peppers were ripening very late so some of them had to stay out on the vine and perish. I also had to move my citrus trees inside for the cold season.
(Aside: speaking of records, it looks like we will break the record for the driest September, more on this tomorrow)
Speaking of the cold season, just yesterday I linked to an article about the fickle nature of El Nino this year. It is still a weak El Nino and some experts are starting to hedge their bets as to whether it will have a big effect on our winter in the U.S. If El Nino would happen to strengthen into the moderate category then it would be much more likely we would have a milder than normal winter. If it remains weak, then the effects could be minor. Even more interesting – according to Matt Rogers of the Commodity Weather Group – for the northeastern U.S., a weak El Nino actually leads to colder and snowier conditions more often than not. He is quoted in this article claiming a weakEl Nino leads to colder than normal winter conditions in the Northeast 70 to 75 percent of the time. Take note, this is not 100%. This still leaves a 25 to 30% chance that the winter could be warmer than normal in the Northeast.
I tell you one thing, if we have another winter with well below normal temps and significant periods of bitter cold and/or heavy snow, it will start to sow some doubt in my mind about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) forecasts. Not doubt about whether human activity can influence the climate; not doubt about the need to reduce pollution; not doubt about the need to find cleaner energy sources; just doubt about all the environmental Armageddon predictions we have heard for so many years now. I know that the weather (and winters) in other parts of the world have been warmer recently, or at least that is what has been reported by some large organizations that monitor the climate around the globe, and I know that 3 cold winters in a row is not long enough to establish a definite climate trend, however, considering all of the hyperbolic dire predictions over AGW, one would think things would be warming up pretty soon. One would think AGW, as dominant of a force it is modeled to be, would soon overwhelm any natural cycles and bitter cold winters would be a thing of the past. We will see.
Along the same line of thought, what about cosmic rays and AGW? I have covered this topic a couple times in the blog. There are at least a couple researchers in the world who claim that more cosmic radiation (from outerspace) causes more clouds to form in the earth’s atmosphere and thus creates cooler weather. They made predictions that this effect would keep global temperatures cooler than what climate models were predicting. Seeing that the amount of cosmic radiation is currently at an all time high – it presents a good opportunity to observe if indeed cosmic rays have an effect on the climate. As mentioned earlier – we will see.
Finally, a cool gallery of pictures of rare clouds that occur in the earth’s atmosphere. Each cloud pictures (or set of pictures) comes with an adequate explanation of how the clouds form, in case you were ever wondering. My favorite are the Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds. I see them about once a year in the Midwest. What I would really like to do is capture the Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds in time lapse. Playing a sped-up time-lapse of the waves would reveal how closely they mimic crashing waves in the water.
Have a nice Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on September 30, 2009