It’s that Roller Coaster Time of Year.

As I type this post, we’re about to enter into a 2 day period of Midsummer Heat (with some accompanying humidity), to be followed by a sharp cool down late in the week. For some spots well north & northeast of the immediate metro area, the 90 degree mark should be cracked. A gusty SW wind tends to force more heating over northern Niagara, Orleans and Genesee Counties, while it keeps the temps from soaring so high in the metro area. A cold front crossing the region early Thursday will be accompanied by scattered showers & tstorms, which will have to be monitored for intensity, ushering in rather chilly air by Friday morning. On Friday, an upslope flow from the N or NE will favor more cloudiness developing during the day, along with some possible minor lake response for a few showers.  The weekend which follows will feature tons o’ sun, with cool temps on Saturday, and some moderation for Sunday. Another set of fronts will approach our region early next week. The ensemble means (average trends in upper level winds) still suggest above average temperatures prevailing by later next week and possibly into the following week on most days.

The latest ENSO forecast still strongly favors neutral ENSO (no el nino, no la nina) into late winter or early spring next year. By itself, this neutral ENSO would allow more variability and more frequent cold outbreaks in the cold weather season. But ENSO does not operate “by itself” and quite a few other variables/oscillations cannot yet be determined so far in advance. The Climate Prediction Ctr is still indicating better than even odds of another milder than average winter over large swaths of the country, including our region. Me? I’m not so sure, and choose to take a wait-and-see attitude about how this winter may go. I was surprised to learn the Buffalo News actually gave the scientifically worthless gibberish of the Farmers’ Almanac prominent placement while I was off, with their ridiculous prediction for a big storm in the NY area for the Superbowl. Even if it happened, it would have not the slightest thing to do with the Farmers’ Almanac prediction, because their predictions are based on the aforementioned gibberish with no scientific validity or foundation.

The MJO/Madden-Julian Oscillation is expected to weaken by week 2, which will again make conditions for tropical cyclones to develop more unlikely again in the Atlantic hurricane basin. We are close to the all time record for a latest first hurricane in record-keeping history in the Atlantic. September is typically the most active month of all, and there is bound to be more activity by the end of the month than we’ve seen this season. But for the MJO to move toward an unfavorable phase makes even that climatology less likely to bear that much fruit. For a year with a neutral ENSO to have such little activity is unexpected. One of the culprits has been a rich plume of Saharan dust coming off Africa way out into the Atlantic, which discourages tropical development. Another negative is a large area of dry air over the central Atlantic, where cooler sea surface temps prevail…larger than usual. Tropical Storm Humberto, brewing as I type, will probably become a hurricane. But most track models take the storm northwestward and then northward into this dry air, so it will be not be a threat to the US or the Caribbean. An unusual year, to say the least.

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88 thoughts on “It’s that Roller Coaster Time of Year.

  1. Hey gang – does anyone remember the web site we had used to create avatars awhile back? The directions I followed were linked here and I can’t remember the site. Mine was somehow changed and I can’t remember how to get to that page now. Thanks in advance if you recall!

  2. Don,

    I know this question is asked probably 10 times a year, every year, but for my own sanity when do the oscilations (PNA, AO, NAO) start to affect our temps? I ask because the CPC outlooks for each one would be favorable for cooler conditions by the end of the month, of course IF thats not too early. Thanks

  3. Well I would argue that the guy had some cajones circling around it like it was nothing. I’ve heard of boats being capsized by waterspouts, so I don’t think he realized the danger he was dealing with there. It was cool because no one was hurt, and his fishing equipment wasn’t destroyed. Plain stupid if he does it again.

    Meanwhile that entire town in CO (Lyons) is being evacuated by the National Guard. Epic rainfall there. Total disaster. When you combine 6-12″ of rain with a mountainous or hilly landscape, it’s not pretty.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/13/us/flooding-colorado/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

  4. Had a brief burst of heavy rain and small hail at my residence last night around 1 AM, when a flare up over lake Ontario dropped southeast into eastern Monroe county before tracking into Wayne co. Since then, it’s been an almost constant drizzle or light rain on that northerly flow. This afternoon’s temps would be more typical of around Halloween.

    Don – Do you expect that conditions will remain favorable for waterspouts into early evening? I’m planning on visiting the lake after work, but wondering if the best conditions for waterspouts might be over by then.

  5. Europe, especially the UK, has had a couple of years of chilly and snowy winters by their standards. However, during that time frame, we’ve had some unusually mild and snow-free Winters.

  6. Didn’t see any waterspouts this evening, but conditions were pretty nasty along the lake. Heavy drizzle was coming down in sheets with the sustained winds along the south shore. Much less wind inland, but light lake effect rain has increased in coverage since the sun set. Probably won’t last very long before drier air works in.

  7. There is probably some lag between the modeled NAO/AO and the ensemble means. The 3 main ensemble means today are not yet reflecting a distinct tendency toward cooling in the east at the end of the month. However, there has been quite a bit of spread between ensemble means and their many members at that time range. As for deterministic/operational models, there has been hopeless, chaotic inconsistencies (also noted by WPC) beyond the first 5 or 6 days, so confidence toward the 360-384 hr time period means would be low.

    Here is commentary from WPC on the inconsistencies today: THE SOLUTION SPREAD AMONG THE GLOBAL NUMERICAL MODELS INCREASES
    GREATLY DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE FORECAST PERIOD, WITH WILD
    RUN-TO-RUN FLUCTUATIONS IN THE DETERMINISTIC GFS AND ECMWF OVER
    THE PAST SEVERAL CYCLES. MORE DISCONCERTING IS THE OUTLYING STATUS
    OF THE DETERMINISTIC MODELS TO THE ATTENDANT ENSEMBLE MEANS,
    PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO THE SYSTEM CROSSING EASTERN CANADA
    DAYS 6 AND 7.

  8. We seem to have settled in to a pattern where our weekends are cooler than normal and not very nice with warmups during the workweek. Hopefully after next weekends cool, cloudy weekend, we can change this pattern before we run out of fall weekends. 🙂

  9. The sun continues to show rather unusual behavior, considering we’re supposed to be at solar maximum right now. According to spaceweather.com… “With the Sun’s disk almost completely devoid of sunspots, solar flare activity has come to a halt. Measurements by NOAA’s GOES 15 satellite show that the sun’s global x-ray emission, a key metric of solar activity, has flatlined.”

    Some experts believe we’re in between what will be a ‘double-peak’, but others believe that the suns behavior (the so called solar maximum has already proven to arrive very late and be much weaker than originally forecast) is consistent with a longer term slip into a Dalton or Maunder-like minimum, which has been shown to coincide with a period of cooler temps across parts of the globe. It does make one wonder if the sun’s recent sleepiness has at least something to do with the recent slowing of global warming. As always, time will tell.

    http://spaceweather.com/

  10. Its funny you bring that up Don regarding some being caused by insects. I was at the soccer fields this past weekend and I had a brief chat with a guy who speacializes in controlling the ash borer…I made mention to him regarding how half of the forest was already leaf free and he explained the culprit was the borer. However there was an ash tree right by the parking lot that he feels could have been saved if the town would have taken earlier precautions.

  11. Hard to tell from that photo, but those also could have been just cold air funnels, with no lake contact. As of now, the majority of solar physicists don’t believe we’re headed into a Maunder-type minimum (this was discussed at our June course)…but because it’s a small minority who do think that’s possible doesn’t disprove that hypothesis. One cycle is considered too small a sampling, in general. For now, it’s believed the largest (but by no means the only) contributor to slowing of atmospheric warming is the increase in deep ocean warming being measured compared to the 90s, with the ocean acting temporarily as more of a heat sink in the short term than ocean models had indicated.

  12. Insect infestation is what killed my 35yr. old Hickory tree, which stood at least l00ft tall. Sadly, the insects killed it deader than dead. Husband (and I) say it was because of the warmer temps in Winter which didn’t kill off bugs. Any thoughts from anyone on that?

  13. The warmer winters have most definitely played a role, according to Cornell’s entomologists (as well as other land grant colleges like Penn State, Michigan State, Rutgers & Ohio State). Overwintering insects vulnerable to cold winters are not being killed off, and many species populations are increasing–including mosquitoes. And when you add to that the prevalence of standing water from the very wet late Spring, the latter (not related to your hickory tree) really get to work. So if we finally get a cold winter, it will at least hold some benefit in that department.

  14. Well it probably wasn’t from the ash borer which doesn’t attack hickory trees. An insect infestation shouldn’t kill a tree unless it was in bad shape before it was infested.

  15. Shame about the hickory tree, Lois. They are beautiful. I hope you used the wood to keep the house warm at least. I too am worried about the ash borer. I have more than 5 acres of trees on my lot with many more spread unevenly around and my guess is that 60% are ash. It’ll be sad to watch them succumb.

  16. Just wanted to say Im surprised its already down to 44 here with a dew point of 43. Have a feeling Ill need to scrape off my car when I get up for school tomorrow at 7am.

  17. Thanks for all the comments. Yes, DP, you are aware of this insect infestation. No, Lisa, this tree was in tip top condition. So….we are left with the warmer climate in this area. Hopefully, the colder weather will be upon us soon. (Sorry, Devin. :))

  18. Here is a list of diseases that can strike hickory trees:

    http://www.treehelp.com/hickory-insects-diseases/

    Of course other things can kill them like fungal diseases and root rot from being drowned in standing water for too long. But it usually takes several seasons for those sort of ailments to take down a mature hickory. Also, Hickory trees rarely grow above 50 ft. If yours was 100 ft tall it would be a record breaker (or some other type of tree other than Hickory).

  19. Down to 39F on my outdoor thermometer just off my deck. We sure we’re not going to see some frost up this way? Don’t think the temp has bottomed out yet where I’m at in Alden.

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