Thursday, April 17, 2014

New To My Weather Blog?

Good day everyone…

While many visitors to my blog are returning customers, the site tracker shows that I get a fair amount of new readers especially during extreme weather events. If you're new here, this post will give you an idea of what to expect.

First and foremost, I’m a data guy. Show me the data that reinforces your point on a topic if applicable and I'll listen. If its in a peer reviewed paper or presentation, all the better.  No hearsay.  No opinions that poise as factual information.  No passive aggressive comment rants.  I like hardcore data. The problem is that science and data are scary topics for most people even the most science savvy individual.  The mere word “data” has cold, dark connotations. Data is antiseptic. That’s why people have a tough time relating to it. This is why politicians steer clear of spouting esoteric numbers.  So they attach an emotional component to it--a clever narrative--to attract voters. It works. Its basic human nature. But it can grossly diminish the baseline facts of any issue. Human nature allows us to forge relationships with other people. It’s the essence of the human experience. It defines who we are. Yet it can blur our vision when we perform data driven analysis of any kind. This is where Behavioral Meteorology comes into the picture.  

When I say "Behavioral Meteorology", people think that this only refers to how the changing weather conditions alter our moods and body.  While this undoubtedly occurs (ask my surgically repaired shoulder before a snow storm), my definition of Behavioral Meteorology is the study of how we perceive weather, weather forecasts and climate through our own cognitive biases and preconceived ideas. The aim of my blog is simple: Present the weather and the data in a local context with some historical perspective. When applicable, show how our preconceived notions of the weather affect our objectivity. I revisit these ideas either directly or indirectly in posts by answering some of these questions below using a myriad of charts, graphs and easy-to-understand images.

     1) How do we “perceive” the actual weather conditions, weather forecasts and past weather events?

        2) To what degree has the proliferation of weather information over the internet and most recently smart phones skewed our view on the accuracy of weather forecasts?

     3)    Has this flood of instantaneous weather information influenced the public’s view on current weather events and their place in weather history?

     4) Do people put more credence in weather folklore than in weather science?
     5)   What are the specific psychological drivers of our weather/science perceptions?  More generally--a topic for other more qualified people to answer--how do these "drivers" lead us astray on more pressing global and domestic issues outside science?

As a reader, I hope that you take a step back and do the same.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day Snowfall Photos

We always say that if you can make it to around Tax Day, we are pretty much in the clear from seeing snowfall. There are always today.  I distinctly remember the big snowfall (11") we had between the 23rd and 24th of April back in 2005.  It took me almost 3 hours to get home driving down I-71 that night. We've had 15 years with snowfall greater than ONE INCH on or after April 15th. Yet only 5 times over the last 40 years....before today. RADAR LOOP HERE

Here are some snow pictures from around northern Ohio. Not to worry, temperatures will hit 60 by Thursday. All of this snow will be history before you know it!

Snow on the daffodils in Medina, Ohio
Monroeville, Ohio

Norwalk, Ohio
Bellevue, Ohio

Canal Fulton, Ohio
Chesterland, Ohio

Lakewood, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio

Monday, April 14, 2014

UPDATE: Upper 70s to Snow in 2 Days!

Sadly, the headline is correct.  After this insanely long winter, should we be surprised? Probably not. CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW FOR CURRENT TEMPERATURES AND WIND. Notice the drop already occurring to the west...

In anticipation of this huge swing last Friday, I dug up the occurrences of THIRTY DEGREE high temperature drops in TWO DAYS OR UNDER with at least one inch of snow in April. It was far from easy. After digging up the instances of snowfall, I had to cross reference the high temperature declines MANUALLY in each of those years. I say this not to complain--this kind of esoteric statistical research still needs to be done the old fashioned way--but to illustrate the work involved. So an hour of sifting through data results in only a few tidbits of blog trivia which fit nicely in two blocks below.  For me its worth it, as I hope it is for you.  Here are the results:

30 degree drop or more in 48 HOURS resulting in least 1" of snow5 TIMES

  • 51 DEGREE DROP:  2007: 80 TO 29, 3" snow
  • 38 DEGREE DROP:  1969: 82 TO 44, 1.5" snow
  • 38 DEGREE DROP:  1921: 71 TO 33, 1.5" snow
  • 32 DEGREE DROP:  1912: 64 to 32, 6.5" snow
  • 30 DEGREE DROP:  1893: 71 to 41, 3.5" snow
30 degree drop or more in 24 HOURS resulting in at least 1" of snow: 4 TIMES

  • 36 DEGREE DROP:  1972: 67 TO 31, 1.7" of snow
  • 33 DEGREE DROP:  1940: 60 TO 27, 3.2" of snow
  • 31 DEGREE DROP:  1982: 63 TO 43, 1.7" of snow
  • 30 DEGREE DROP:  1988: 63 TO 43, 2.3" of snow
This drop will go from 78 Sunday to upper 30s Tuesday (48 hours) just shy of the 51 degree drop listed above. The 24 hour drop starting this morning (73 degrees to upper 30s) will be close to the ALL-TIME record one day drop set back in 1972 listed above!
I posted this map showing this potential more than a week ago illustrating the comparison to the snow event back in 2005.

Lake Erie is wide open meaning that some lake enhancement will occur tomorrow as the cold air filters in from the northwest.

The ground is warmer than a few weeks ago so a lot of melting will occur as the rain changes over to wet snow. That said, slushy accumulations will occur: