Los Conchas Fire New Mexico's largest fire in recorded history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:23 PM GMT on July 01, 2011

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The largest fire in New Mexico history is now the dangerous Los Conchas wildfire, which continues to threaten Los Alamos, New Mexico. The fire had consumed 94,000 acres (147 square miles) as of Thursday night, matching the 2003 Dry Lakes Fire in Gila National Forest in Southern New Mexico as the largest fire in state history. The Los Conchas fire was fanned yesterday by winds that reached sustained speeds of up to 25 mph, gusting to 34 mph, along with temperatures in the low 80s and humidities as low as 15%. The fire was 3% contained as of Thursday night. Today, winds will be lighter, 10 - 15 mph, and according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, these will not be critical fire conditions. Critical fire conditions are not expected in the Southwest U.S. through July 8, which should allow firefighters to gain control of the Los Conchas fire over the weekend. Conditions in the area are so dry that flames reached 500 feet into the air yesterday, and the fire burned downed trees that were scorched in the huge Cerro Grande fire in 2000.

The 4.7 million acres that have burned in the U.S. so far this year is more than double the 10-year average of 2.3 million acres, according to the Interagency Fire Center. Both Arizona and New Mexico have seen their largest fires in recorded history, and Texas has seen the most acreage burned in recorded history. The Christian Science Monitor today quoted Grant Meyer, a geologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque who studies the interaction of climate and weathering processes, as saying: "these big, severe fires are not unprecedented" in hot, dry intervals the region has experienced during the past 10,000 years. "But recent experience down here suggests that what we're looking at in the last few decades is at least as severe and maybe more so than anything we've seen since the last Ice Age." A build-up of fuels from forestry practices that emphasized fire suppression is partly responsible, he said, "but part of it as well--and the data are very good on this --it's climatic warming", as human industrial activity and land-use changes have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A long-term average decline in annual snow pack, which provides the bulk of the region's water, along with rising average temperatures have lengthened the fire season and dried out the fuel.


Figure 1. Summertime temperatures in New Mexico have increased by about 1°F over the past 100 years. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.


Figure 2. Change in the average date of onset of the spring snow melt runoff pulse between 1950 - 1999. Reddish-brown circles indicate significant trends towards onsets more than 20 days earlier., Lighter circles indicate less advance of the onset. In a few locations, onset is later (blue circles.) The earlier snow melt in large portions of the West has led to a much longer fire season in recent decades. Image credit: Changes in Streamflow Timing in the Western United States in Recent Decades, USGS, 2005 (as reproduced by the USGCRP.)

Warmest and driest month on record for portions of Texas
June 2011 was the warmest and driest month of all-time in Midland, Texas, since records began in 1931. The average temperature was 88°F, beating the old record of 87.2°F set in August 1964. No rain fell, making it the first June in recorded history in Midland where no rain fell. June 2011 was the warmest on record in San Angelo and Borger, 2nd warmest in Austin and Amarillo, 3rd warmest in Dalhart, 4th warmest in San Antonio, and 10th warmest at Brownsville. Yesterday's 3.39" of rain that fell in Brownsville from Tropical Storm Arlene helped make June 2011 the 4th wettest June on record for the city.

The Atlantic is quiet
The Atlantic is quiet, and none of the computer models is predicting tropical cyclone formation through July 8.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, everyone, and I'll be back with a new post on Tuesday at the latest.

Jeff Masters

Smoke Sunset (gilg72)
Smoke from Las Conchas Fire Near Los Alamos, as seen from Taos NM June 30
Smoke Sunset
Los Alamos Fire, Smoke, Storm, Snset All in One (ready4c)
Taken at sunset from White Rock, NM shows the Los Alamos (Las Conchas) smokey fire at sunset with a thunderstorm falling apart to the right (north).
Los Alamos Fire, Smoke, Storm, Snset All in One

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946. JBirdFireMedic
4:28 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
NEW BLOG
Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 247
945. BahaHurican
3:28 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Just finished reading a very interesting article on 200/300/500 mb Jetstream analysis....

Link
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
944. aspectre
2:59 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Thanks, guys. Google is useful for a lotta things, but looking up what commonly used words mean within the context of jargon used in a particular field ain't one of them.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
943. Neapolitan
2:46 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting aspectre:
Does anyone know what 'contained' means in reference to wild fires?
eg The 540,000acre WallowFire is 95% contained:
Does that mean 5%(27,000acres) is still burning while 95% has burnt out?
Or does it mean that there are no-burn barriers around 95% of the perimeter of the still burning areas?

Great glossary here.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
942. Neapolitan
2:43 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
NEW BLOG ENTRY
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
941. plywoodstatenative
2:42 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
aspectre what it means is that 95% of the fire is contained to an area that will allow it to either be put out or burn itself out. The other 5% is basically low brush and such that is burning out of control in other locales.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
940. plywoodstatenative
2:40 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Athome, we are not really begging for a low end Cat 1 or a tropical storm. What we really want is something along the likes of a sub par or sub tropical storm like we saw a couple years back in South Florida. Something that is training a lot of tropical moisture into the Florida region but that does not come along with the garden variety hurricane like issues.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
939. HurricaneDean07
2:39 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Morning, going to do this everyday(Morning and Afternoon)
Tropical Weather Watch for the next 5 days~
AOI #1: A tropical wave in association with a upper ridge is located in the northern caribbean and Hispaniola at this time. This system is in a non conducive for any development at this time, though upper-level winds could begin to ease in the coming days as a trough located just off the east coast lifts northwards, and development, if any, will be slow to occur. There is a medium chance, 30%, of this system developing in the next 120 hours. Otherwise, locally heavy rainfall is expected over the greater Caribbean islands, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas in the next 72 Hours.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
938. aspectre
2:35 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Does anyone know what 'contained' means in reference to wild fires?
eg The 540,000acre WallowFire is 95% contained:
Does that mean 5%(27,000acres) is still burning while 95% has burnt out?
Or does it mean that there are no-burn barriers around 95% of the perimeter of the still burning areas?
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
937. ycd0108
2:34 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/2011/07/01/new -normals-vs-old-state-by-state/

"We are a Lighthouse.
Your call, Enterprise."
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 187 Comments: 4742
936. bohonkweatherman
2:32 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Really starting to hate the word Persistence.

DISCUSSION...
PERSISTENCE PATTERN OF HOT DAYS AND WARM NIGHTS IS EXPECTED
THROUGH THE FORECAST PERIOD. MODELS ARE IN GOOD CONSENSUS THAT THE
500MB RIDGE WILL REMAIN ENTRENCHED ACROSS THE SOUTHERN U.S.
THROUGH THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. THE CENTER OF THE HIGH WILL WOBBLE
A BIT EACH DAY...BUT WILL GENERALLY REMAIN PARKED OVER THE FOUR
CORNERS/DESERT SOUTHWEST. CHANCES FOR RAIN WILL CONTINUE TO BE
LOW...BUT DAILY ISOLATED AFTERNOON AND EVENING SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE SEA-BREEZE. THE NAM/MET IS
VERY BULLISH WITH CHANCES FOR RAIN ON TUESDAY AS IT INDICATES
MOISTURE STREAMING WESTWARD FROM THE CENTRAL GULF AND POOLING
ACROSS THE UPPER TEXAS COAST. HOWEVER...THIS MODEL IS AN OUTLIER
WITH THIS SOLUTION SO HAVE TRIMMED BACK POPS CLOSER TO THE GFS.
THE RIDGE IS EXPECTED TO SLOWLY PROGRESS EASTWARD LATE IN THE WEEK
AND INTO THE WEEKEND. MID/LONG-RANGE MODELS ARE IN FAIR AGREEMENT
WITH AN INCREASE IN MOISTURE OVER THE WEEKEND/EARLY NEXT WEEK...BUT
DIVERGE ON WHETHER TO DEVELOP SOMETHING MORE ORGANIZED IN THE
NORTHWESTERN GULF. HAVE GONE WITH SLIGHTLY INCREASING POPS LATE
NEXT WEEKEND...BUT IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET TOO EXCITED OVER RAIN
CHANCES THIS FAR OUT.
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1348
935. Patrap
2:20 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
.."well the rain exploded in a mighty crash, as we fell into the Sun"..


wu on the run...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
934. bohonkweatherman
2:18 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Hot and dry conditions are forecast to persist across the state, unless relief is provided by tropical storms or hurricanes. Currently 237 of 254 Texas counties have burn bans. More than two-thirds of Texas counties have experienced wildfire this season. More than 2,000 structures, including 554 homes, have been lost.

Ya know it's bad when THAT'S the solution.
I agree. 101 here yesterday and that is our 7 to 10 day forecast, no relief for the Central parts of Texas in the near future according to NWS and local weathermen. Less than 10 percent chance of a pop up shower.
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1348
933. weatherh98
1:58 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
cansomeone post a link to shear maps
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
931. islander101010
1:51 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
the trick is to be smarter than the bug bite dont scratch it and thats the hard part.. after andrew they sprayed the impacted area repeatingly. we were lucky that yr not only was the storm was a dry one before and after it was dry or we of had even more problems. the worst time to get hit in florida by a major would be mid august no a/c for a wk or so it would be hard. life threatning to some. nothing except epac the dr was right again
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5006
930. aspectre
1:46 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
What really happened at FukushimaDaiichi?
Apparently things went fubar immediately after the quake and before the tsunami arrived. Enough so that it's questionable whether the tsunami itself caused significant damage.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
929. aquak9
1:46 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
hi AtHome- you're still awake?

Really sad when YES, most all of us are almost begging for a good TS or low-end Cat1. Not for the excitement of it, or to watch cyclogenesis or to try to our-forecast our fellow blogger- but simply because we need the rain SO BAD.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
928. AtHomeInTX
1:34 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Hot and dry conditions are forecast to persist across the state, unless relief is provided by tropical storms or hurricanes. Currently 237 of 254 Texas counties have burn bans. More than two-thirds of Texas counties have experienced wildfire this season. More than 2,000 structures, including 554 homes, have been lost.

Ya know it's bad when THAT'S the solution.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 254
927. help4u
1:33 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Hope is a good thing maybe the best of things!Hope you have a great day everyone!
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1301
926. Orcasystems
1:30 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
925. Neapolitan
1:26 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
And speaking of Inciweb, there's this update:
Texas Fires 2011

Since fire season began on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and local firefighters have responded to 13,467 fires that have burned a record-setting 3,292,070 acres [5,144 square miles]. The largest fire burned 314,444 acres in Presidio county in West Texas in April. Six of the state's largest wildfires occurred in a 19-day period during that month.

A state-wide drought combined with unseasonably strong winds have resulted in extreme fire behavior with high flame lengths and rapid fire growth in grasses, shrubs and timber. Texas Initial Attack crews and equipment are pre-positioned throughout the state to assist local fire departments with wildfire suppression actions when requested. The state Incident Command Post is located in Merkel, 15 miles west of Abilene.

Hot and dry conditions are forecast to persist across the state, unless relief is provided by tropical storms or hurricanes. Currently 237 of 254 Texas counties have burn bans. More than two-thirds of Texas counties have experienced wildfire this season. More than 2,000 structures, including 554 homes, have been lost.


InciWeb Article...

That's nearly 2% of the state, and more acreage than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, with enough left over for nearly one more Rhode Island. And it should be noted that the start of the next fire season is just four months away. :-\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
924. Neapolitan
1:16 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
It was definitely warm across the United States in June. According to the NCDC, there were 1,641 record daily low or low maximum temperatures records set or tied during the month, and a whopping 7,317 record daily highs or high minimums, a high/low ratio of 4.46/1.

For the year, the numbers are more even but still lopsided, with 24,589 highs and 15,023 lows, a ratio of 1.64/1.

On a somewhat related note, the one-week-old Los Conchas Fire has now consumed 190 square miles. It is 11% contained.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
923. bappit
1:00 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:


It's so hot in Texas right now, the squirrels are clearing areas in the grass so they can cool their bodies against the dirt! Link

Dust baths are a common treatment for fleas and mites.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
922. bappit
12:58 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting presslord:


That is the best written, most well thought out, most concisely presented post I have seen here in a loooong time.

I would like to have seen the words "we do not know" in there some place. That's the bottom line.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
921. BahaHurican
12:41 PM GMT on July 03, 2011





Looks like that trough is still pushing south... they keep pushing back the dissipation time, too.

No wonder the Twave split will take so long to move through the area...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
919. aquak9
12:33 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
use bug spray, islander. Malaria, eastern equine, west nile- they are real. Believe me.

baha- I'd really like to see TX get rain, that whle situation is scary.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
918. islander101010
12:31 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
no more rain for this part of florida please ecen. mosquitos are vicious. sure sign we've had enough
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5006
917. BahaHurican
12:25 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
I keep thinking about last year, with that massive heat wave in Russia and the catastrophic flood in Pakistan.... seems like we just changed continents....

At least it seems a break may finally be coming for TX. I hope they get some rain over the worst areas this week....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
916. aquak9
12:15 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
hi splash, ahven't seen you in a while. I bet middle Fla is a madhouse of traffic about now.

Nea- I DID mow last weekend, it was so hot. But I thought, this is like the southern version of shoveling snow? Luckily we lawn-mowin' folks don't hafta do it every 8 hours, and the grass does not make it impossible to drive.

Would LOVE to hear of more rain for anywhere in Fla, Texas too. 3-4 inches in a week is GREAT.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
915. BahaHurican
12:13 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Morning aqua, et al.....

I haven't had coffee yet, but it seems like a good day due to the fact that I finally dozed off last night to the sound of rain.... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
914. splash3392
12:08 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Morning Aquak, coffee is really good this morning! Fireworks got rained out last night :(
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 646
913. Neapolitan
12:06 PM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting aquak9:
Good morning or good day, where-ever you might be, as the sun or darkness is near you.

It's ya'lls favorite coffee-caster here, to report that MAYBE Jedkins MIGHT be right; maybe some kinda semblance of rain will be returning to Fla. Well, there's dew in the mornings...I suppose that's a start.

Good morning back at ya. Here in Naples, it's rained at least a little every day for the last week. We're still far below normal, but parts of the county have seen three and four inches since last weekend, so lawns suddenly no longer look like patches of brown sand.

Good luck to you northerners...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
912. aquak9
11:52 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Good morning or good day, where-ever you might be, as the sun or darkness is near you.

It's ya'lls favorite coffee-caster here, to report that MAYBE Jedkins MIGHT be right; maybe some kinda semblance of rain will be returning to Fla. Well, there's dew in the mornings...I suppose that's a start.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
911. drg0dOwnCountry
10:44 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
The scorching hot weather was expected to continue in the West on Sunday — after reaching 118 degrees in Phoenix — and other parts of the U.S. from Illinois to the lower Mississippi Valley.

The temperature in Phoenix broke a 10-year record of 116 for the city, where about 4,000 homes in the metropolitan area were without power — and air-conditioning — after a monsoon brought wind gusts that toppled power lines.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio ordered thousands of bags of ice to the county's outdoor jails, saying inmates could have as much as they want and for any use — including to sit on.

Santa Barbara County planned cooling centers in libraries, senior centers and other community facilities in seven cities.

The high temperatures were expected to continue Sunday, remaining well into the 100s, with some areas of the Southwest pushing above 110 degrees, according to The Associated Press. Human body temperature is about 98 degrees.

The National Weather Service issued heat advisories for the San Francisco Bay area and for parts of Illinois and Missouri.

The Bay area notice warned the elderly, the very young and the infirm to avoid spending too much time outdoors.

"Individuals who fall into this categoy should be especially careful by drinking plenty of water and seeking a cooler location for the day if no air conditioning is available in your living quarters," it said.

The advisory was due to be in effect from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT Sunday, with temperatures expected to range from the 90s to 105.

The Illinois/Missouri heat advisory was due to be in effect until 7 p.m. CT. Temperatures were expected to reach about 100 for the fourth straight day, which the NWS said would result in a greater chance of heat-related illness because of the cumulative effect.

Over 120 in Death Valley
The Weather Channel reported that temperatures could be up to 15 degrees above average in parts of the Southwest, with highs during the day from the 90s across central and eastern Montana to more than 120 degrees in California's Death Valley.

Temperatures were expected to range from the upper 90s to more than 100 degrees from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains, the Weather Channel said.

It warned isolated thunderstorms would begin to develop from the mountains of Southern California to parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, where a large wildfire has been burning for days, threatening the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory.

"A few of these storms could produce damaging wind gusts in Arizona. Unfortunately, lightning could ignite more fires," Mark Ressler, lead meteorologist at the Weather Channel, said.

He also said thunderstorms were expected to hit Montana and "could turn severe with damaging wind gusts and large hail."
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
910. drg0dOwnCountry
10:43 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Scorching hot weather set to continue across much of US
Temperatures expected to be above 100 in California, Illinois and Mississippi


VIDEO
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
907. AtHomeInTX
9:40 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting texwarhawk:
Are all of NOAA's webpages down or is it just me. I can't get NWS NHC NOAA SPC etc.


It's working for me. Keep trying. Good luck. :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 254
906. texwarhawk
9:34 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Are all of NOAA's webpages down or is it just me. I can't get NWS NHC NOAA SPC etc.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 203
905. drg0dOwnCountry
8:43 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:


It's so hot in Texas right now, the squirrels are clearing areas in the grass so they can cool their bodies against the dirt! Link
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
904. drg0dOwnCountry
8:24 AM GMT on July 03, 2011




Wisconsin storms leave 3 dead, 39 injured

(CNN) -- Emergency officials sifted through damage and debris scattered across roadways Saturday after a line of fast-moving storms and high winds swept through northwestern Wisconsin the night before, leaving at least one person dead and 39 others injured.

Three people were critically injured and a second person died, though not as a result of the storm, Burnett County spokeswoman Dawn Sargent said.

The storms also contributed to "widespread power outages" in a county with a population that normally swells to more than 80,000 people during the Fourth of July weekend.

Burnett County's typical population is about 17,000.

"We ask nonresidents to avoid the area because of the road closures and the presence of emergency crews trying to clear debris from the roadways," Sargent added.

Roughly three-quarters of the county have been affected, while its northern sections were more heavily hit.

The towns of Grantsburg, Washburn, Danbury and Web Lake were among the hardest-hit areas, said Wisconsin's emergency management spokeswoman Rhonda Reynolds.

"Last night we were working, and at about 7 o'clock the winds really picked up," said Carinna Coy, an employee at T-Dawgs restaurant in Grantsburg. "From what we could see today, there's a lot of trees that tipped over and a lot of roads that are closed.

"Main Street is a mess," she added.

A hardware store owner in neighboring Washburn described gusty winds, heavy rains and lightning that preceded power outages.

"Power's been out in parts of Washburn for most of the day, though they say that hopefully it'll be back soon," Nate Swiston of Washburn Hardware said.

An aerial survey of the region revealed storm damage to homes and downed trees throughout the region.

Officials said Saturday that they are focused on looking for trapped residents and distributing food, water and emergency medical supplies.

The American Red Cross also opened a meals station for the general public at the Grantsburg Middle School, Sargent said. Link
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
903. drg0dOwnCountry
8:09 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
It's extratropical lol

lots...

For one, it means more rain over the sahel...if the monsoon trough were further south it would mean less rain over the sahel. More rain over the sahel means the ground is wetter. When the ground is wetter, the soil weighs more and it is condensed or stuck together. Conversely, when soil is drier, the ground is looser and weighs less, and therefore dust is more easily picked up by the winds and blown out to sea. Therefore, rainfall over the sahel partially (wind speed is also a factor) dictates how much dust will be blown out into the Atlantic. The relative amount of dust over the Atlantic is very importnat because dust is notorious for its negative effects on tropical wave development since dust is typically associated with more shear and less moisture in the atmosphere. Therefore, when the monsoon trough is further north, there is usually more rain over the sahel, and therefore less dust available to blow out into he Atlantic and inhibit development.

More rain over the sahel also means more evapotranspiration (evaporation due to bodies of water such as a lake or puddle, and transpiration from plants. Transpiration is essentially the release of water vapor into the atmosphere...so its the same net effect as evaporation. Transpiration is released mainly through the stomata on the underside of leaves, but also trough stems and the other parts of a plant. When stomata open to allow co2 in, they let out some water vapor.) over the sahel. More evapotranspiration means more moisture in the atmosphere, which increases instability, lowers dew points making condensation easier, basically creating a more conducive environment for thunderstorms. Therefore this can be viewed as a positive feedback loop since increased rainfall over the sahel leads to increased evapotranspiration over the sahel which allows more thunderstorms, which once again allows more rain.

Also, when there is less rain over the sahel, it is typically hotter in the region due to less cloud cover, less cooling effect of rain, and the fact that when there is little moisture in the air and ground, the sun can heat up the atmosphere faster due to specific heat capacity of water. When its hotter than normal, dew points are raised and you need more moisture than you would at a lower temperature to allow condensation to occur.

Basically, these positive feedback loops mean that if the monsoon trough is positioned anomalously north (south), these feedback loops will continue to favor the monsoon trough being further north (south) which therefore causes the rain pattern to favor being north (south). As already mentioned, when the monsoon trough is furher north, less dust is available to blow out to sea and inhibit development.


One final thing about the monsoon trough being further north is what it implies. When the monsoon trough is further north than usual it typically implies a stronger temperature gradient between the Sahara and the Gulf of Guinea - the ocean region in the Atlantic that is to the south of the Sahara. The reason it implies a stronger temperature gradient is because a stronger temperature gradient causes the southerly winds from the Gulf of Guinea to be stronger (due to the stronger pressure gradient as a result of the stronger temperatres gradient) which pushes the region where S/SW winds meet NE winds (monsoon trough) further north.

Now, a stronger temperature gradient means a stronger pressure gradient, which means stronger winds (as already mentioned). The strength of these winds governs the strengh of the tropical waves. Stronger winds means stronger tropical waves. The stronger the tropical wave, the more likely it is to develop.

Also, the further north the monsoon trough is, the further north tropical waves exit from Africa. The further north the waves exit, the more vorticity they have due to the coriolis effect.


Anyways, sorry for the essay. I'm not trying to brag or show off, I just like running these exercises as it forces me to remember and I usually learn something new. Hopefully others can learn as well.

Thanks, this was very insightful
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
902. AussieStorm
8:06 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Looks like NOGAPS may be thinking the same thing. With something going into SE LA at the same time.But I can't tell if there's any rain with it or not. They won't let me post a pic. Lol Link


25kt low to ride up the Fla. SC/NC coast.

GFS show's nothing.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
901. AtHomeInTX
7:28 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
The UKMET has a bit of a low looks like in the NE Caribbean. Rain headed Baha's way.

Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 254
900. OracleDeAtlantis
7:04 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Member Since: August 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 525
899. OracleDeAtlantis
6:49 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:


(Don't worry about that last sentence; I'm sure it;s just another coincidence.)


No Need to Worry: Record Tornadoes, Raging Fires, Mega Floods, & Crop-Killing Droughts Are NOT What Climatologists Predicted

This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Post.

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.

If you did wonder, you see, you would also have to wonder about whether this year’s record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest — resulting in record flooding along the Mississippi — could somehow be related. And then you might find your thoughts wandering to, oh, global warming, and to the fact that climatologists have been predicting for years that as we flood the atmosphere with carbon we will also start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold air.

It’s far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change. There have been tornadoes before, and floods — that’s the important thing. Just be careful to make sure you don’t let yourself wonder why all these record-breaking events are happening in such proximity — that is, why there have been unprecedented megafloods in Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan in the past year. Why it’s just now that the Arctic has melted for the first time in thousands of years. No, better to focus on the immediate casualties, watch the videotape from the store cameras as the shelves are blown over. Look at the news anchorman standing in his waders in the rising river as the water approaches his chest.

Because if you asked yourself what it meant that the Amazon has just come through its second hundred-year drought in the past five years, or that the pine forests across the western part of this continent have been obliterated by a beetle in the past decade — well, you might have to ask other questions. Such as: Should President Obama really just have opened a huge swath of Wyoming to new coal mining? Should Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sign a permit this summer allowing a huge new pipeline to carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta? You might also have to ask yourself: Do we have a bigger problem than $4-a-gallon gasoline?

Better to join with the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted 240 to 184 this spring to defeat a resolution saying simply that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” Propose your own physics; ignore physics altogether. Just don’t start asking yourself whether there might be some relation among last year’s failed grain harvest from the Russian heat wave, and Queensland’s failed grain harvest from its record flood, and France’s and Germany’s current drought-related crop failures, and the death of the winter wheat crop in Texas, and the inability of Midwestern farmers to get corn planted in their sodden fields. Surely the record food prices are just freak outliers, not signs of anything systemic.

It’s very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. If worst ever did come to worst, it’s reassuring to remember what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Environmental Protection Agency in a recent filing: that there’s no need to worry because “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” I’m pretty sure that’s what residents are telling themselves in Joplin today.

Bill McKibben is founder of the global climate campaign 350.org and a distinguished scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont. LINK
The human groundhog made a curious forecast this year.

This is what he said ....

"Forget seeing his shadow or not, you know it's a bad when they have to drag poor little Punxsutawney Phil from his burrow or box. This leads me to believe that many of his human counterparts will be hiding in theirs in the coming year, for reasons as yet unspecified." - [Groundhog Day Feb. 2, 2011]

There is only one weather phenomena that causes men to hide underground in their burrows or boxes.

Joplin, Missouri has called itself the lead capital of the world.

How much of that lead do you suppose, is responsible for the deaths of how many people on this planet?

When the earth screams in rage against men, will she not also scream for her greatest achievement?

She presents a conundrum of sorts, for she points to a place where men have hurt one another, to perhaps teach us a lesson of what is to come.
Member Since: August 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 525
898. islander101010
6:47 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting Skyepony:
Baha~ This year the MDR might not hold as much heat potential but around the Bahamas..FL, the gulf coast is warmer.
still a month to go plenty of time to warm up
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5006
897. TomTaylor
6:40 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Quoting KoritheMan:

Subsidence I can understand, but shear? How exactly would a Saharan dust storm be an indicator of vertical shear?
Well after doing some research, here's a brief list of the effects of the Saharan Air Layer on tropical cyclones

Pros:
1. Jenkins et al. (2008) found that dust can serve as condensation nuclei, effectively enhancing convection in outer rain bands of tropical storms

Cons
1. Dunion and Velden (2004) found the SAL negatively impacts tropical cyclones in three ways. 1. It enhances the low to mid level African Easterly Jet, increasing vertical wind shear. 2. It consists of dry air which promote downdrafts in thunderstorms. 3. It is associated with a stronger trade wind inversion (inversion is around 850mb).
2. Wong and Dessler (2005) found that it lifted the LCL (Lifted Condensation Level) and LFC (Level of Free Convection), effectively inhibiting deep convection.
3. Evan et al. (2006) and later Zhang et al. (2007) both ran statistical studies indicating SAL has a negative impact on tropical cyclones.

Most sites listed the Saharan Air Layer as a well mixed, warm, dry, dusty air layer between 850-500mb, capped below by the trade inversion. To sum up the findings above, SAL can help tc intensification by providing condensation nuclei, however, it can hamper intensification by providing a dry air mass which reduces instability and promotes downdrafts, increasing local wind shear due to the AEJ, and strengthening the trade wind inversion.

For some heavy reading, you can check out the studies listed, but I've already pretty much summarized the interesting parts. For some lighter reading which will echo what I just said

Hurricane Research Division on SAL
CIMSS on SAL
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
896. AtHomeInTX
6:37 AM GMT on July 03, 2011
Looks like NOGAPS may be thinking the same thing. With something going into SE LA at the same time.But I can't tell if there's any rain with it or not. They won't let me post a pic. Lol Link


Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 254

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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