Drought continues; Yellowstone fires could become more frequent; 90L set to develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

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Southern Drought Continues

Temperatures continue to soar into triple digits in the Southern Plains this week, and are expected to remain well above average for at least the next month. High air temperatures and low humidity (because of the low soil moisture) will continue to maintain drought conditions in the South unless we see some Gulf-landfalling tropical cyclones—a good remedy for a such an extreme drought.

This year's drought in the South is unprecedented by many definitions. Last year at this time, 0% of the contiguous U.S. was in exceptional drought. Last week, the exceptional drought region covered 11.96%. The area of contiguous U.S. in exceptional drought conditions has never been this high since the Drought Monitor record started in 2000. The highest it had been before June of this year was 7.85% in August of 2002.


Figure 1. Temperature anomaly (difference from average) in degrees Celsius for the period July 1 through July 25 (top) and soil moisture anomaly in millimeters (bottom) on July 25 (from the Climate Prediction Center).

In late June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 213 counties in Texas (84% of the state) as primary natural disaster areas. As I mentioned yesterday, the Texas drought and wildfires are one of the nine billion-dollar disasters of 2011 so far. The National Climatic Data Center estimated that this event had cost up to $3 billion as of June 16. This number is surely rising every day that the South doesn't see rain.

New study concludes Yellowstone wildfires could become more frequent

In a study published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have concluded that global warming could have a serious impact on the severity and frequency of wildfires in the Yellowstone region (an area where the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming come together). Historically in this region, fewer than 5% of wildfire occurrences account for 95% of the total area burned. But in a global warming scenario, they found that fire activity could become more severe and more frequent, causing the ecosystem to change dramatically.

Using climate conditions and historical fire data from 1972 to 1999, it was possible to link certain environmental thresholds (temperature, humidity, etc) to past wildfire events. Then by employing the output of various climate models, fire frequency can be forecast well into the future. Figure 2 illustrates the result from one of the climate models they used in the study, and the upward trend of fire activity over the next 100 years. In 1988, a particularly hot and dry year, 36% of the park burned. The study uses this year as a baseline to compare future events.


Figure 2. Figure 2B from the manuscript. Observed burn area (blue line) median of predicted area burned (black dotted line), and ranges (light and dark orange) aggregated over the Yellowstone area defined by the study by Westerling et al. (Source).

What was once a low-probability event could become a high-probability event by mid-century. Fires that have only happened every 100 to 300 years in the past could now be occurring every 30 years in the future. The results of this research has implications for sub-alpine forests across the globe. Warming temperatures and decreasing humidity will lead to more wildfires, and will cost billions of dollars to fight them, if we choose to do so.

Invest 90L

90L has moved west overnight and looks ripe to develop today. While the upper level circulation (500 mb) is very much displaced, the lower level circulation looks strong and coherent through the system's mid-levels (850 and 700 mb). Thunderstorm activity continues to organize, and it appears that a surface circulation is developing. Moisture remains high in the system (around 4.5 g/kg specific humidity) and wind shear should be somewhat favorable as it crosses through the Gulf of Mexico. In terms of track, the statistical models have generally been favoring a Brownsville landfall scenario, but the dynamical models have been inching north over the past day or so. The HWRF is in line with the ECMWF deterministic today, with landfall near Corpus Christi.



The Hurricane Hunters have a mission scheduled for 18Z today (2pm EDT) to investigate whether or not 90L has a closed surface circulation. If it does, given the amount of organized convection and moderate wind speeds (around 34 mph in the latest invest update), the Hurricane Center will probably call this system at least Tropical Depression Four.

If 90L develops this afternoon, I will have another update to look at track and intensity forecasts.

Angela

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a lot of posts i dont see
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To ignore this loser just type in this url, replacing the blank with your username.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/(blank)/ignoreus er.html
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting Orcasystems:

Sorry to hear that.


My apologies Orca, in my haste to rid the cockroach accidentally (!) yours too... LOL, I "plused" it as well to make amends...
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Quoting WxLogic:


Th HH is pretty much there... yet nada!!!. This is very sneaky system to say the least.


Should be the next HDOB which would be #14, #13 just came out and pressure down to 1009.3
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10466
Quoting weatherman566:
Todd-

People are on this blog to learn about a developing cyclone that could impact the United States and effect lives. You are disrupting an educational blog that is meant to teach us about what's happening with our weather around us. Please, go away and spam some sports blog instead.


REPORT REPORT REPORT... IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE..... GONE GONE GONE.... BACK BACK BACK... TO INVEST 90L WHICH WILL BE DON IN THE HOURS TO COME
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I'm really starting to think the Weather channel brings these people in here to talk bad about their critics and spam up the blog...man what a pathethic waste of existence why dont they just shut the weather channel down for good lol
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1339
Quoting Tazmanian:



to put some one on Ignore this hit ingore under that bloger name then hit update ingore then then come back too dr m blog and your done


When you ignore someone, is it still supposed to show their name where they have posted a comment? I am still seeing his name but no comment. I'd rather see nothing at all! TIA
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Quoting WxLogic:


You should see a list of "ignored" individuals... the person you're ignoring should appears, so just click the "Update ignore list" and go back to the blog.

Hope that helps.


"IF" they have not enabled their "own" blog... they cannot use the "ignore" function.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting stormpetrol:
Time: 18:47:00Z
Coordinates: 22.5833N 87.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 977.4 mb (~ 28.86 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 292 meters (~ 958 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1010.5 mb (~ 29.84 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 41° at 7 knots (From the NE at ~ 8.0 mph)
Air Temp: 24.0°C (~ 75.2°F)
Dew Pt: 16.5°C (~ 61.7°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 8 knots (~ 9.2 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 7 knots (~ 8.0 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)


They are getting closer.
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When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the button and ignored
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 332
Quoting weatherman566:
Todd-

People are on this blog to learn about a developing cyclone that could impact the United States and effect lives. You are disrupting an educational blog that is meant to teach us about what's happening with our weather around us. Please, go away and spam some sports blog instead.





LOL LOL LOL too funny that was way too funny at the end LOL LOL LOL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
Funny looking swirl just west of Grand Cayman around 19.2N/83W
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
Wow really who does this like honestly dont just read it but think about it...like seriously dude pardon my french and i dont care if i get banned but you need to go out and get laid or something if your life is that pathetic that you think this is funny then thats just plain horrible...be back later guys i cant take this anymore...please admin do something its making me not even wanna come back to this site anymore! Very unpleasant!


I'm out wid ya
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Come on admin, damn
Might be letting it run so guys in gray suits can get a fix. Should have collected enough -s by now to have disappeared.
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Todd-

People are on this blog to learn about a developing cyclone that could impact the United States and effect lives. You are disrupting an educational blog that is meant to teach us about what's happening with our weather around us. Please, go away and spam some sports blog instead.
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this blog is so march nicer now now we talk 90L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
Quoting MeterologyStudent56:


EAS Spotter's Activation is Required.

Where should i take shelter?

Find another blog. Or you can just ignore him. :)
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Quoting WeatherGirl80:
Does anyone favor the NOGAPS track of 90L/Don? (Computer Models-wunderground.com) We could SURE use some rain in NW Louisiana, too!


ill be biased to anything headed towards la
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About JeffMasters

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