Extreme Jet Stream Pattern Triggers Historic European Floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:48 PM GMT on June 09, 2013

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A historic multi-billion dollar flood disaster has killed at least eighteen people in Central Europe after record flooding unprecedented since the Middle Ages hit major rivers in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia over the past two weeks. The Danube River in Passau, Germany hit the highest level since 1501, and the Saale River in Halle, Germany was the highest in its 400-year period of record. Numerous cities recorded their highest flood waters in more than a century, although in some locations the great flood of 2002 was higher. The Danube is expected to crest in Hungary's capital city of Budapest on June 10 at the highest flood level on record, 35 cm higher than the record set in 2006. The flooding was caused by torrential rains that fell on already wet soils. In a 2-day period from May 30 - June 1, portions of Austria received the amount of rain that normally falls in two-and-half months: 150 to 200 mm (5.9 to 7.9"), with isolated regions experiencing 250 mm (9.8"). This two-day rain event had a greater than 1-in-100 year recurrence interval, according to the Austrian Meteorological Agency, ZAMG. Prior to the late May rains, Austria had its seventh wettest spring in 150 years, which had resulted in the ground in the region becoming saturated, leading to greater runoff when the rains began.


Figure 1. Aerial view of the flooded Danube River in Deggendorf, Germany on Friday, June 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Armin Wegel)


Figure 2. The Danube River in Grein, Austria was barely kept in check by a floodwall built by IBS Engineering. Image credit: IBS Engineering.

Floods caused by a blocking high pressure system
The primary cause of the torrential rains over Central Europe during late May and early June was large loop in the jet stream that developed over Europe and got stuck in place. A "blocking high" set up over Northern Europe, forcing two low pressure systems, "Frederik" and "Günther", to avoid Northern Europe and instead track over Central Europe. The extreme kink in the jet stream ushered in a strong southerly flow of moisture-laden air from the Mediterranean Sea over Central Europe, which met up with colder air flowing from the north due to the stuck jet stream pattern, allowing "Frederik" and "Günther" to dump 1-in-100 year rains. The stuck jet stream pattern also caused record May heat in northern Finland and surrounding regions of Russia and Sweden, where temperatures averaged an astonishing 12°C (21°F) above average for a week at the end of May. All-time May heat records--as high as 87°F--were set at stations north of the Arctic Circle in Finland.


Figure 3. Nine-day rainfall amounts in portions of Southern Germany and Western Austria exceeded 12" (305 mm.) Image credit: ZAMG.

If it seems like getting two 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year floods in eleven years is a bit suspicious--well, it is. Those recurrence intervals are based on weather statistics from Earth's former climate. We are now in a new climate regime with more heat and moisture in the atmosphere, combined with altered jet stream patterns, which makes major flooding disasters more likely in certain parts of the world, like Central Europe. As I discussed in a March 2013 post, "Are atmospheric flow patterns favorable for summer extreme weather increasing?", research published this year by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in German found that extreme summertime jet stream patterns had become twice as common during 2001 - 2012 compared to the previous 22 years. One of these extreme patterns occurred in August 2002, during Central Europe's last 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year flood. When the jet stream goes into one of these extreme configurations, it freezes in its tracks for weeks, resulting in an extended period of extreme heat or flooding, depending upon where the high-amplitude part of the jet stream lies. The scientists found that because human-caused global warming is causing the Arctic to heat up more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the planet, a unique resonance pattern capable of causing this behavior was resulting. According to German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, "Planetary wave [jet stream] amplitudes have been very high in the last few weeks; we think this plays a role in the current German flooding event." More rains are in store for the flood area through Monday, then the blocking pattern responsible for the great 2013 Central European flood is expected to disintegrate, resulting in a return to more typical June weather for the next two weeks.


Figure 4. The northward wind speed (negative values, blue on the map, indicate southward flow) at an altitude of 300 mb in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere during July 1980, July 2011, and the last twelve days of May 2013. July of 2011 featured an unusually intense and long-lasting heat wave in the U.S. (the 4th warmest month in U.S. history), and the normally weak and irregular waves (like observed during the relatively normal July of 1980) were replaced by a strong and regular wave pattern. Late May 2013 was also very extreme, resulting the great Central European floods of 2013. Image credit: Vladimir Petoukhov and Stefan Rahmstorf.

Links
Stefan Rahmstorf's blog (translated from German) on the unusual jet stream patterns that caused the Central European floods of 2013.

NASA has high-resolution MODIS satellite images showing the flooding of the Elbe River in Germany.

My April 2013 post, "Unusually cold spring in Europe and the Southeast U.S. due to the Arctic Oscillation", has a good summary of recent unusual jet stream patterns and the science behind them.


Video 1. Climate, Ice, and Weather Whiplash: In this June 3, 2013 video by the Yale Climate Forum's Peter Sinclair, Rutgers' Jennifer Francis and Weather Underground's Jeff Masters explore the 'Why?' of two years of mirror images of weather across North America.

I'm in Granby, Colorado this week for the American Geophysical Union's Chapman Conference on Climate Change Communication. Many of the talks will be webcast live; you can see a list of the talks (times in MDT) here. My talk, "The Weather Underground Experience," is scheduled for Monday at 4:30 pm MDT. I'll give a 15-minute overview of the history of wunderground, and what I've learned about communicating weather and climate change information along the way. There is live tweeting going on from the conference, #climatechapman. My blog updates this week may be somewhat random as a result of the conference, but I'm not seeing anything in the tropics worthy of discussion at this point.

Jeff Masters

June 9, 2013. Flood (Danube)
Budapest 2013/06/09 06:35 CEST. Flood. The ninth day
June 9, 2013.  Flood
"Welcome on board?" (barbamz)
Certainly no embarkments today ...

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Quoting RitaEvac:


Sounds fattening


Best part of the sideboard is cyber calories, you lose them with typing on your keyboard. So you can eat as much as you want!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1290. Torito
Quoting zampaz:

It was 1207, a very slow image server for the gifs.
Slows blog performance. Suggest SFLWeatherman use tinypic.
-z


it also only has one lone picture other than a portrait on that page.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
1289. sigh
Quoting zampaz:
Is there a (rogue or accidental) script running on Dr. Masters blog comments using "www.thefargos.com"?




It's not a script, it's SFLWeatherman's radar image of Wilma that's being served (very slowly) from thefargos.com.
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1288. Torito
Quoting zampaz:

It was 1207, a very slow image server for the gifs.
Slows blog performance. Suggest SFLWeatherman use tinypic.
-z


yea it took like 30 seconds for that website to load...
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
1287. zampaz
Quoting Torito:



I can look if you really want............

at first glance of source code i see google ads. thats all i see right now. xD


the f12 key is nice for some instances.

Edit: lots of google ads. LMAO

It was 1207, a very slow image server for the gifs.
Slows blog performance. Suggest SFLWeatherman use tinypic.
-z
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
1286. Torito
Quoting zampaz:
Is there a (rogue or accidental) script running on Dr. Masters blog comments using "www.thefargos.com"?




looks like some weather site, but heres the first paragraph from it:

Dale Link has been issuing his personal predictions of hurricane landfalls for the United States Gulf of Mexico coastline for 15 years and for the Atlantic coastline for the past 23 years. (Forecast links for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 are at the bottom of this page - click here) A summary of his prediction accuracy is set forth below.

Still wouldn't recommend it though, as it doesn't look professional and it takes forever to load...

By the way, that was the hurricane section of the website. too confusing for me.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
1285. LargoFl
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP ALONG SEA BREEZE AND OUTFLOW
BOUNDARIES THIS AFTERNOON. THE BEST CHANCES WILL BE EAST OF
INTERSTATE 75. STRONG GUSTY WINDS...BRIEF HEAVY RAINS...FREQUENT
LIGHTNING AND SMALL HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THE STRONGER
STORMS.

...RIVER FLOOD IMPACT...
THE MANATEE RIVER AT MYAKKA HEAD AND THE LITTLE MANATEE RIVER AT
WIMAUMA ARE NEARING THEIR CRESTS THIS MORNING AND SHOULD BE
GRADUALLY FALLING THROUGH THE DAY TODAY.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
ISOLATED TO SCATTERED MAINLY AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE
POSSIBLE EACH DAY. STRONGER STORMS WILL CONTAIN GUSTY
WINDS...SMALL HAIL...BRIEF HEAVY RAINS AND FREQUENT LIGHTNING.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTERS SHOULD MONITOR THE WEATHER AND SELF ACTIVATE IF NEEDED.

$$

COLSON
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1284. Torito
Quoting zampaz:
Is there a (rogue or accidental) script running on Dr. Masters blog comments using "www.thefargos.com"?




Ima risk this computer and go on that website to see what it is...
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
1283. Torito
Yagi might not last much longer.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
1282. Torito
Uhh, i just saw a news clip that priceton university had to evacuate do to a bomb threat or something on tv... :{

the world is getting worse every day.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
Quoting aislinnpaps:
Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie and afternoon Barbamz. A very warm 81 degrees with a heat index of 88 already.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Egg, cheese and sausage burritos, fried ham, coffee cake, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange juice. Enjoy!


Sounds fattening
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1280. barbamz
Central Europe Floods Reach Northern Germany
Huffington Post / Agence France Presse | Posted: 06/11/2013 9:11 am EDT | Updated: 06/11/2013 9:44 am EDT

Quote from that article:
Meanwhile a staple of the German diet, the potato, looked to be another victim of the flooding as the fruit and vegetable industry association (BOGK) warned that a meagre harvest could drive up prices.
"It is not unlikely that there could be a shortage of French fries, dumplings and chips," BOGK managing director Horst-Peter Karos told the daily Bild.


I hope aislinnpaps will keep feeding me in the afternoon with breakfast-deliciousnesses :-)
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 66 Comments: 7447
GFS ensembles show slightly above-average trade winds across the Main Development Region (MDR) for the next week, as we have seen for the past few. This should continue to keep anomalies average, if not ever so slightly above-average. Trade winds may start slackening a little after that point, leading to slow warming. Still not the zonal anomalies we want for substantial warming.


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1278. Torito
Quoting zampaz:
Is there a (rogue or accidental) script running on Dr. Masters blog comments using "www.thefargos.com"?





I can look if you really want............

at first glance of source code i see google ads. thats all i see right now. xD


the f12 key is nice for some instances.

Edit: lots of google ads. LMAO
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 4367
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Tropical cyclone development continues to look feasible next week, in the Bay of Campeche.

ECMWF has become increasingly more bullish while the GFS remains not as bullish as a few days ago.




CMC has storms in the eastern Pacific instead:



Unlikely that it will be a very potent system (either that or it's quite small and the models are having trouble resolving the intensity). If anything, it looks similar to Arlene in 2011.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24719
1276. zampaz
Is there a (rogue or accidental) script running on Dr. Masters blog comments using "www.thefargos.com"?
Never mind, it was an extremely slow server feed of a gif from SFLWeatherman on post 1207.
Suggest using tinypic instead of personal servers, slow image servers slow down page loading and blog performance.


Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Tropical cyclone development continues to look feasible next week, in the Bay of Campeche.

ECMWF has become increasingly more bullish while the GFS remains not as bullish as a few days ago.




CMC has storms in the eastern Pacific instead:

/I've been so busy with my weather and tornado's swarming all over the place that I totally forgot about possible cyclone formation happening again sometime this month.My attention will be diverted again as more server storms hit us.CWG and local mets are still downplaying a derecho but says the potential is there.
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Quoting FLwolverine:
While this isn't a direct answer to your questions, it is good background: A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream


Thanks...........Good synopsis.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9933
Quoting aislinnpaps:
Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie and afternoon Barbamz. A very warm 81 degrees with a heat index of 88 already.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Egg, cheese and sausage burritos, fried ham, coffee cake, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange juice. Enjoy!
Daddyjames will be so happy!

Not to mention the rest of us. Thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


This obviously not showing any warming the ENSO region.

Here is a link: http://portal.iri.columbia.edu/portal/server.pt?op en=512&objID=945&mode=2
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie and afternoon Barbamz. A very warm 81 degrees with a heat index of 88 already.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Egg, cheese and sausage burritos, fried ham, coffee cake, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange juice. Enjoy!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


RumbleRumbleRumbleThunderRumble here....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tropical cyclone development continues to look feasible next week, in the Bay of Campeche.

ECMWF has become increasingly more bullish while the GFS remains not as bullish as a few days ago.




CMC has storms in the eastern Pacific instead:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1268. hydrus
Quoting amatuermet:



Here is my updated forecast:

15-18 Named Storms

6-7 Hurricanes

2-3 Major Hurricanes

thats about what I have..17/8/4..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1267. zampaz
AGU Chapman conference streaming live at :http://chapman.agu.org/climatescience/virtual-mee ting/live-video/
Topics:
Climate and education.
Better Climate Communication.
"It's unfair not to teach the science to students."
-current speaker
-z
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
1266. hydrus
Solution: Drastic reduction in fossil fuel emissions required

So we know methane and CO2 permafrost emissions are a problem for stimulating global warming. We know the permafrost thawing process will impact hugely on ecosystems and human infrastructure in the Arctic.

"The major thing is What we see right now is just the beginning. So what people are experiencing right now and saying 'Oh how bad it is.' It will be much worse. So that's the problem." said Professor Romanovsky.

While continued research, monitoring, and adaptation planning will be vital in coming years, it is a matter of what can we do about the problem on a meta scale?

There is only one way we can reduce the overall impact of global warming in the Arctic: reduce our own fossil fuel emissions drastically and quickly. For the industrialised countries to take the lead and implement the 2007 Bali roadmap of 25% to 40% emission reduction by 2020 based upon 1990 levels. And for Industrialised countries to keep their promises for financing the Green Climate fund to help developing countries mitigate and adapt.

It can be done. Europe is already on target recently achieving 20% emissions reduction on 1990 levels. But the lack of ambition by other industrialised nations has resulted in Europe refusing for the moment to set higher goals.

Substantial technology transfer is also needed from the 1st world to the third world to obviate the need for the development of the 1200 proposed coal fired power stations as reported by the Word Resource Institute.

Extensive background on Permafrost: from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) All About Frozen Ground website.
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Quoting 789:
789 18/9/4



Here is my updated forecast:

15-18 Named Storms

6-7 Hurricanes

2-3 Major Hurricanes

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


Another big sal outbreak emerging Africa.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 15363
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
If Dr. Master's is scanning the blog, could you link a few more articles on the issue of "stuck" jet stream patterns and how common or uncommon this is? We see a lot of talk about this lately and some scientists are linking this issue to loss of polar sea ice.

I am just wondering if the jet stream frequently stuck in place, causing some of these weather anomalies, just as frequently in recent recorded history (last 50 years) before we began to see more pervasive polar sea ice loss in recent years. GW acceleration aside for the moment, is this a common ocurrance in "earth time" as polar caps recede?

Thanks.
While this isn't a direct answer to your questions, it is good background: A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream
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1262. hydrus
The model projection at 1252 is of deep concern to me, and could have serious effects sooner rather than later.
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1261. Patrap
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



Why is he in oklahoma by the way?
I missed that part of the story..


Interning at NWS Norman.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 131147
1260. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 131147
Quoting daddyjames:
Oh, and my forecast for Levi was 100% on track - he is about to melt from the heat here in OK.

"Levi Cowan ‏@TropicalTidbits 15h
91 degrees F.....I think I'm gonna die. The wind feels hotter than the environment instead of colder. I'm done."

Poor kid. We're just warming up - be nothing but a puddle come July/August.

Bad thing is that, just about when he's acclimated to here, they're gonna shift him off back to the great white North. So, for the first time, he'll really know what cold feels like.




Why is he in oklahoma by the way?
I missed that part of the story..
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9769
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9769
Maybe on D3 SPC i get maybe a summer MCS in 96F 4000j'kg environment....

Those always love to knock out power, especially from 7 to llpm or so.....historically....at my house.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9769
1256. pcola57



Link
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6927
Tomorrow looks to be a very active day across the Great Lakes and northern Ohio River Valley.

Day should start off with supercells capable of producing tornadoes, but should transition into a widespread damaging event in the form of a derecho.

This probably won't be a 6-29-12, but it looks dangerous regardless.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CPC preliminary is for Western Carribean development, don't see it for week 1 at least.....


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early season numbers july-early august depend alot on the extent of the saharan dust figure with higher than normal pressures the dust will hamper development at least till mid august
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 5182
1252. hydrus
Climate Change: Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point
by Takver - Climate IMC
Friday Nov 30th, 2012 8:42 PM

A new report on permafrost slowly thawing in the Arctic creating methane and carbon dioxide emissions highlights an approaching dangerous climate tipping point. There is a huge amount of organic matter frozen in permafrost, estimated to contain 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. And it is starting to melt. With no way to stop it except indirectly through us reducing the rate of global warming by reducing our own emissions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Leaving Michigan tomorrow afternoon after visiting my family in Warren. We sure got lovely weather to drive home in...
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If Dr. Master's is scanning the blog, could you link a few more articles on the issue of "stuck" jet stream patterns and how common or uncommon this is? We see a lot of talk about this lately and some scientists are linking this issue to loss of polar sea ice.

I am just wondering if the jet stream frequently stuck in place, causing some of these weather anomalies, just as frequently in recent recorded history (last 50 years) before we began to see more pervasive polar sea ice loss in recent years. GW acceleration aside for the moment, is this a common ocurrance in "earth time" as polar caps recede?

Thanks.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9933
1248. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 131147
1247. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 131147
Aussie, looks neutral to me. With a cold PDO the chances of an El-Nino are less and the Atlantic will warm again as the NAO goes neutral to positive. Warm AMO and a cold PDO equal less El-Nino's and more La-Nina's also a cooling of global temps, with the help of a lower solar cycle.
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Looks neutral to me.

Yep. Looks that way. Not sure why people are saying it will become El Nino mid-season.
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1244. Michfan
Quoting StormTrackerScott:
8.02" of rain so far for June here on the NW side of Orlando with 25.50" so far for the year. This is what it looked like here yesterday afternoon.



Yeah i got nailed at Costco the other day. The power went out and the roof started to leak. It was crazy.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


Looks neutral to me.
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1242. Patrap
The stuck jet stream pattern also caused record May heat in northern Finland and surrounding regions of Russia and Sweden, where temperatures averaged an astonishing 12°C (21°F) above average for a week at the end of May. All-time May heat records--as high as 87°F--were set at stations north of the Arctic Circle in Finland.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 430 Comments: 131147
Presentation by Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski, Naval Postgraduate School:

Advancements and Limitations in Understanding
and Predicting Arctic Climate Change


Key observations:

1. Observed Rate of Ice Extent (2-D) Loss Faster Than in GCMs

2. Modeled rate of Arctic sea ice thinning faster than
that of observed/modeled ice extent!

Dr. Maslowski's prediction:

Combined (95-07) model / data linear volume trend of 1075 km3/yr projects ice-free fall by 2016 (±3yrs uncertainty - 95-07
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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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