Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 6:21 PM GMT on September 18, 2011
"Afternoon Thoughts"(Updated 9/18)
Well it is homecoming weekend here at Cornell... And yes, we actually won our football game against Bucknell. Given our record of 2-8 last year, this is definitely a semi-confidence booster for the team. Last year we lost our homecoming game to Brown. Nothing too much new up here on the hill... Classes are definitely beginning to intensify in both workload and expected academic participation. There is a saying here that you walk a 30 degree slope in 30 degree temperatures to get a 30 percent on a prelim. I find it very difficult to find a comparison in past experiences to the amount of workload and intensity here. Given our first prelims are fast approaching beginning this week through next, the stress is certainly building among the student population. At times the stress seems so thick in the air that you can slice it with a knife. My weekends are filled with homework, studying, and reading along with the occasional gym trip or extracurricular activity. I do have to laugh... I spend my Saturday mornings doing a full cleaning of my room from vacuuming to dusting and I even washed the windows, lol. I am probably the only one up vacuuming their dorm at 9am on a Saturday, lol. Yes I am quite the clean/organized freak! In any case it helps me start my day.
I certainly have met a range of people here from having dinner the other night with a girl from Ghana to chatting with someone in my math class from Dubai. Everyday in this regard is certainly an adventure. In total nearly 120-150 countries are represented in the international student body. Occasional bouts of loneliness are common here as I still haven't met many people, but I have tried to keep busy. Last night I went to see the Cornell Glee Club perform. It was a wonderful concert with many in tears by the end. During the school week there are plenty of things to do from climate change lectures I have been attending to my astronomy society meetings at the week's end. The observatory here uses a 12in refractor telescope built in 1922 and mechanized by a weight system. The original telescope is in continued use and remains one of only nearly 100 left worldwide. After several trainings, I now am able to use the scope and have spotted several features on the moon along with other planetary objects such as Neptune and M13. Unfortunately given the extraordinary amount of cloudy days here in Ithaca, it makes it difficult for ideal observing conditions. I also recently took a tour of an renewable energy facility for my 'Sustainable Energy Systems Writing Seminar' class. We traveled to Lake Source Cooling which utilizes a revolutionary system by leaching water from deep in Cayuga lake and pumping up to campus. This system is the primary system for air conditioning and ventilation on campus saving millions in electrical costs. The return warm water from campus is pumped back down the ridge to the cooling plant where it is a returned to a shallow part of Lake Cayuga. There are few environmental concerns with this system and it seems like a very efficient use of energy.
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Current Weather Map"
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
"7-Day Forecast Discussion"(Updated 9/18)
High pressure will continue to dominate the northeast's weather through Monday night with dry air and few clouds over the region. Sunday night will be chilly especially for areas in southern New York and Pennsylvania who have been affected by mid level clouds the last few nights preventing ideal radiational cooling. H85 thermals will be on the rise towards midweek as an approaching shortwave will move towards the region with increasing precipitation chances. A slow moving front will allow rain to stream from the southeast as the humidity begins to rise. QPF totals are around 1in for many areas from Pennsylvania up through New England according to latest guidance. But given past climatological experiences, stalled fronts this time of year have the tendency to produce higher amounts of rainfall in isolated areas. I cannot rule out a few areas with 2in of rain this week causing some small stream and urban flooding given the wet antecedent conditions. Temperatures will be warmer into the low 80s for Maryland and up through the 70s up into southern New England. Given the mild nights expected, daily temperature anomalies will be near +5F normal. Several recent GFS/ECMWF runs are suggesting a cutoff low along the base of the trough towards the weekend, but that remains uncertain. It does appear though after Monday that this will generally be an unsettled and dreary week.
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)
"Winter Climatology/Forecast Discussion" (Updated 9/18)
As always nothing in long term forecasting is easy. This winter will be no exception, but several interesting players are definitely allowing for a multitude of possibilities. It now looks pretty likely that a La Nina will be the dominate feature across the equatorial Pacific. Recent ensemble and global model guidance is suggesting a weak to moderate La Nina with deviations around (-1)C. But encouraging signals out of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific are suggesting another blocking regime. Summers featuring a -AO reading generally suggest a strong correlation to upstream blocking during the winter. This looks pretty likely especially for the beginning of winter. Strong indications are pointing towards a very cold December with warming anomalies especially across the Middle Atlantic later in the winter as the southeast ridge begins to rear its head. Given the current state of the QBO and other teleconnections, this winter will not be a total La Nina loss for the Middle Atlantic. Several periods especially will favor chances of snow. The greatest snowfall anomalies this winter look to be for those at least 100mi inland. The current state of the cryosphere is also encouraging for snow lovers given the recent building up of sea ice and snow cover especially across the northern hemisphere in Russia with anomalies are well above normal for snow cover. If we can continue this pattern there is a strong correlation between above normal snowfall in Russia in October to higher chances for a colder winter in the eastern CONUS. I will hopefully be issuing a more detailed winter forecast eventually.
"Equatorial Pacific SST Anomalies"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Average Date of First Freeze"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Fall Foliage Outlook" (Updated 9/18)
It is just beginning that time of year where myriads of colors appear in neighboring forests and mountain sides. Fall is that transitional season in preparation for the looming winter. Meadows begin to turn into golden browns and mountains to amber. It is an exciting time of year for those of us who wait all year to capture these mosaics of artistic works. At this point fall colors have generally been limited to distressed trees across parts of the northern Middle Atlantic. But up across northern New England colors of 10-30% are being reported in the higher elevations. This is courtesy of the drier and cooler air mass courtesy of this area of high pressure allowing for many areas receiving their first frosts and freezes in New England. Isolated light frosts were even reported as far south as northern Pennsylvania with temperatures in the mid 30s near Bradford. The recent and upcoming cool clear nights with sunny mild days will continue to enhance color especially for the higher elevations. Peak fall foliage for New England appears to be running near normal this year for dates with peaks around late September to early October. There are several concerns about the influence of the wet late summer and high winds from Hurricane Irene, but at this time foresters are not reporting too much damage or affect.
For those looking for early colors it is recommended to head up across the Adirondack's and White/Green Mountains of New Hampshire/Vermont. Parts of northern Maine are also reporting early color. Mount Washington and several other high peaks reported their first accumulating snowfall this past weekend certainly signaling the beginning of Fall. Interestingly enough, the northwest flow also allowed the lake effect machine to begin to crank with some weak bands coming off Lake Ontario in the form of heavy rain showers with isolated low rumbles of thunder. The northwest flow with an associated stratocumulus deck reduced the widespread threat of frost for much of upstate New York on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Pennsylvania Fall Foliage Reports... Link
Northeast Fall Foliage Reports... Link.
"Long Term Discussion" (Updated 9/18)
Early indications from both GFS/ECMWF long term H85 means were suggesting a mild end to September, but it now appears near normal to slight below normal temperatures (for northern locations) will continue across the eastern CONUS. A weak trough will continue to be across the Northeast, although slightly displaced. This will favor below normal temperatures especially towards New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine for the month's end. Elsewhere near normal anomalies are likely. A large ridge will be forming across the western United States through the Midwest associated and signaled by the +PNA. This will allow the warmest anomalies to be centered in this region. Precipitation chances look near normal for the next two weeks to finish off this month. But this will push several climatological locations to record yearly precipitation totals!
"Current NAO and PNA Predictions"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
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"Lower Susquehanna Valley Doppler"
(Courtesy of WGAL)
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