Monday, October 17, 2011

Record Rainfall/Drought. Have We Seen This Before?

Please read the maps below as an unbiased reader.

As always, let the data soak in. Let it breathe like a fine scotch. Chew it for a bit. Take it for a ride in your mind. Feel the synapses fire; the serotonin flowing throughout your cerebral cortex. Then and only then, create an opinion based on the data.

This data is from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory which you can look up at any time.
Its open to the public. Here in Cleveland, we are about to break the all-time rainfall record set back in 1990. So I decided to check the rest of the country's rainfall data as compared with the last 60+ years.

I used the years previous that best fit this year's conditions: Strong-weakening-then-building La Nina, Pacific is in a cold mode (PDO negative) and the Atlantic in a warm mode (AMO is positive).

Plugging in these conditions, we get 4 solid fits. 1918, 1951, 1956 and 2011. (2009 fits but I left it out because the Arctic Oscillation was super-negative and would skew the temperature data way too cold)

Below are the three sets of data I dug up from January to September of each of the 4 years. Precipitation compared to normal, Temperatures compared to normal and the Palmer Drought Index which describes how severe the ground conditions are wet or dry. The LEFT MAP shows PRECIP ANOMALIES.

The RIGHT MAP shows TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES. The BOTTOM MAP shows PALMER DROUGHT INDEX. I've circled the anomalies that are high/low for comparison sake. The purple shows Cleveland.

First 1918...
Now, 1951...
Then 1956...
Finally, this year:
No wonder my tomato plants didn't do well this year. Way too much rain and not enough sustained heat this summer. Just for the heck of it, what was it like in the middle of the Dust Bowl 30s? Here is 1934: The above normal rainfall off of the coast was due to a tropical storm in September. Otherwise, it would have been a very dry year indeed!
As you can see, severe drought in Texas and in the Midwest is frequent in La Nina years with a Cold PDO especially.  

What the media never mentions are these naturally occurring climate teleconnections IN CONJUNCTION WITH human induced global climate change.

While they are not mutually exclusive, naturally occurring teleconnections are well documented going back to the 1880s. I'd like to think that Climate Change is a toss salad of both natural climate cycles/teleconnections and AGW.   

My beef is you only hear about the AGW component. It only reinforces the "science isn't cool" mindset among the general public. Scientists are already viewed as "geeks" and "elitists" completely out of touch with reality. Painting an incomplete scientific picture only makes this notion worse.

Back to the comparison: Could this record-setting rainfall be a harbinger of what is to come for this winter? See my previous post on some hints on January.
The winter weather Outlook is coming on November 3rd!

No comments: