Saturday, February 13, 2016

What's not said at WUWT - wild swings in temperature

Sou | 6:17 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
Anthony Watts has thrown a bone to the ice-age comethers at WUWT. He wrote a short article (archived here) about how parts of the USA are going to get a bit chilly in the next day or so. His article was under the headline:
Record cold: Single digit to subzero Valentine’s Day expected for much of NE USA
Anthony is a lazy-bones. For a supposed climate blog owned by an ex-weather announcer, there was scant information. Anthony didn't explain:
  • What was causing the predicted cold weather
  • How long it would last
  • Anything much about it at all, except that some parts of the USA would get chilly.
His article was nothing more than a static image of a minimum temperature map and two tweets from Ryan Maue. So I decided to go elsewhere to check the weather out.

Swing low, swing high

Over at Weather Underground, Bob Henson painted a slightly different picture from the one I expected. I thought the cold snap might have been one of those slow moving cold air masses that would linger. It isn't. Bob wrote:
From frigid, near-record lows this weekend to mild, soggy highs on Tuesday, New York and New England are about to experience one of the most dramatic chill-down-to-warm-up sequences in memory. The brief but sharp cold will extend across the eastern U.S., but the most dramatic temperature swings are expected from Washington, D.C., northward. Some locations from Philadelphia to Portland will rocket from temperatures near or below 0°F on Saturday night--plus much lower wind chills--to readings near or above 50°F by Tuesday. 

I think most of the record lows will be daily records, not monthly or all-time record lows. However it will push the limit in some places, as I understand it, at least for the past few decades. Bob Henson continues with an explanation of the cause of the cold to warm weather:
The weather whiplash is being produced by a highly dynamic pattern that’s pushing cold northerly winds across the region this weekend. As we discussed on Wednesday, this is a deep-layered cold intrusion rather than a shallow, frigid surface air mass. This means that the cold may not set dramatic records at low-elevation towns and cities, but at higher elevations, the chill will be truly exceptional (see below). Because there won’t be a sharp inversion locking in the surface cold air, it will be much easier to scour out than usual. That’s exactly what will happen from Sunday through Tuesday as a strong surface low spins up over the Carolinas and moves northward near the coast, perhaps just inland or just offshore. To the east of the storm, winds will be howling at all levels from the south, pushing in mild maritime air to displace the weekend chill. The orientation of this flow may actually bring milder temperatures to New England than to the mid-Atlantic, accentuating the whiplash effect further north.

He also put up a list showing the expected swings in temperature in different places - the predicted low for Sun., Feb. 14, and predicted high for Tues., Feb. 16 (asterisk indicates daily record low)
  • Portland, ME: -4°F to 43°F (spread of 47°F)
  • *Boston, MA: -4°F to 50°F (spread of 54°F)
  • Providence, RI: -6°F to 50°F (spread of 56°F)
  • Burlington, VT: -4°F, 37°F (spread of 41°F)
  • *Albany, NY: -11°F to 39°F (spread of 50°F)
  • Buffalo, NY: -8°F to 36°F (spread of 44°F)
  • *New York, NY (Central Park): 0°F to 50°F (spread of 50°F)
  • *Philadelphia, PA: 0°F to 47°F (spread of 47°F)
  • Washington, DC (National): 10°F to 47°F (spread of 37°F)

You can read all about it at Weather Underground. (Don't wait around for a WUWT article about the swing to warmer weather. Won't happen. Or not unless Anthony Watts reads this and goes for a bit of contrariness.)

I couldn't lay my hands on a temperature chart for tomorrow that wasn't owned by someone, but you can check out the charts at weather.com. NCEP/NOAA has some charts that show that temperatures will have risen again three days out. I've animated the forecast minimum and maximum temperature maps:

From the WUWT comments

There was the usual litany of silly comments at WUWT. No-one so far has discussed the weather event itself, in respect of why it's happening and how long it will last. (If Anthony had been hoping for a bunch of ice-age predictions, he'd have been disappointed.)

Logoswrench tries to be clever:
February 12, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Nothing says warming like cooling.
-the alarmist handbook.

rishrac wrote in response to nothing:
February 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Oh, you guys… that’s just weather. That doesn’t have anything to do with with climate. ( sarc) 

Marcus says it's going to be cold in eastern Canada, too.
February 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm
..London, Ontario is going down to -30 C windchill tonight and tomorrow !!! Yea, Glo.Bull Warming !!

Wally objects that this will stoke up alarmists talk of extreme weather:
February 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm
This will merely provide an opportunity for the ‘extreme weather’ crowd. 

Windsong is being realistic, sort of:
February 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm
This will only be a dim memory when they declare 2016 “the warmest year on record.” Whatever that means. ;) 

H.R. does an "algoreisfat":
February 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Al Gore… promise breaker. Where’s that global warming you promised? I demand a refund! 


  1. Meanwhile in the SF Bay Area we are looking at temps in the high 70's to low 80's and possible record highs Sundsy thru Tuesday.

    1. Hasn't it been a little while since the last rain, too?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Sue - see this link for US temps:


      just mouse over the times down the left to scroll.
      GFS updates every 6 hours.

    2. That's great. Thanks, Tony.

    3. FYI the University of Montreal hosts http://meteocentre.com/home_e.html provides USA, Canadian, and European models and forecasts in English! In my neck of the woods in Newfoundland where systems going west to east and as well up the East Coast are constantly merging, I find the Canadian models seem to be more accurate more often. They do less well than US models when I go to the Plains to visit family.

      In winter, the "precipitation types" forecast animations are usually the most valuable for me. The tell you all you need to know about temps and more importantly they tell you whether you can get outside and how to dress.

  3. Also the twitter feed of Roger Pielke Sr is full of cold weather, blizzards and snow. Pielke cannot honestly think that that is a rebuttal.

    1. I've noticed for a while that Pielke Sr. is much more dogmatic in blog comments or Twitter than in published papers where he has to think and defend his work.

      His chosen illustration re. Larry Marshall's proposed gutting of CSIRO's climate science? A bucket of cash being dumped into a toilet.

      I guess it's a sign he's putting away research for right-wing emeritus crankdom. (Somebody should have informed him it's a buyer's market there.)

  4. Lol. Here we have just come of 40 C days and its cooled off but back to 39C in couple of days. And no bloody rain in 2015.


    But hey, dont worry! Apparently global cooling starts in 2017 ans the 2020's will be cooler than the 1980's!!!

    :) You thought it was dead but now itssssssss backkkkkkkkkkkkk!


  5. Here in Montreal we're having three successive days at normal temperatures -- rather than 5-10 C above normal. The ice age must have started!

    1. I live not too far south of the border from you, and we had a pretty frosty weekend in an otherwise quite warm winter. It was -20 F at my house Saturday night.

  6. Here in the UK an ice sheet eight kilometres thick is creeping south. But nobody seems to know quite where it is.

    1. Just goes to show how incompetent the UKMET are -- they can't find a giant ice sheet in their own back yard, so instead they coerce the entire world's scientists to falsify their data sets.

  7. I'd suspect Anthony's observational post was in response to the habit of sites like Hotwhopper of posting stories on "The Most Worse Storms Eva!"

    1. Examples marke? Are you referring to Haiyan (which Anthony tried to downplay in an appalling display of callous indifference).

      Or maybe Patricia?

      It's flattering to think I influence WUWT, and it has happened, but I don't think it happens that often.

    2. For once I agree with marke. Anthony posts trivial gobshite about nothing in particular in response to record breaking weather events being reported around the globe.

    3. marke.

      So WUWT is the victim? Interesting logic.

  8. 44 degree swing in Southern California. What caused this? Something similar to what's happening on the East Coast 2,000 miles away?

    1. Unknown.

      It's the weather. I recommend the Weather Underground website for explanations for weird weather. One of my mates told me the movements of the Jetstream is contributing to the variance.


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