Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Incredibly Warm Weather in the Eastern U.S.

Yes, any place in the eastern continental U.S. will have an unseasonably warm day or two during the cold seasons, but not the entire eastern half at once and not more than a day or two.  What is happening now is unprecedented in over a century of record keeping:
First, consider the sheer number of daily record highs either tied or broken over the past 7-10 days. The counts below are courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center. This speaks to the widespread nature and longevity of this warm spell. The records from March 16 to March 19 have not been fully compiled at this time and will be added when they become available.

Day # of Records
Fri. Mar. 9 101
Sat. Mar. 10 105
Sun. Mar. 11 189
Mon. Mar. 12 138
Tue. Mar. 13 218
Wed. Mar. 14 457
Thu. Mar. 15 593

In a typical March, particularly in the nation's northern tier, you may see, perhaps, one or perhaps two days of record warmth before a sharp cold front bring that spring tease to a screeching halt. Not so in March 2012. 

Through March 19, International Falls, Minn., self-promoted as the "Icebox of the Nation", has set daily record highs 9 of the past 10 days! This includes Sunday's 79 degree high, which is the warmest day ever recorded during March in International Falls.
Jeff Masters at Weather Underground notes:
International Falls, Minnesota hit 78°F yesterday, 42° above average, and the 2nd hottest March temperature on record in the Nation's Icebox. The record of 79°F was set the previous day. Remarkably, the low temperature for International Falls bottomed out at 60°F yesterday, tying the previous record high for the date. I've never seen a station with a century-long data record have its low temperature for the date match the previous record high for the date. Yesterday was the seventh consecutive day that International Falls broke or tied a daily record. That is spectacularly hard to do for a station with a century-long weather record. The longest string of consecutive records being broken I'm aware of is nine days in a row, set June 2 - 10, 1911 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with weather records going back to 1905.) International Falls has a good chance of surpassing nine consecutive records this week. (emphasis added)
Now this all is related to an extreme configuration of the jetstream brought on by an atypically strong La Nina and a strong positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (which immediately followed a strong negative NAO that gave us excessively snowy winters in SE PA in in 2010 and 2011). But those are simply the proximate causes. Any large amplitude swings in oscillators in a complex require additional energy to be added or kept in the system.

I've only been in the SE Penn Piedmont region since '05, but I've noted an instability in the weather patterns since '08.  True that is only a unrepresentative anecdotal sample, but it jibes with the wild swings in weather and departure from normals that is well documented. This year we have forsythias blooming on St. Patrick's day, two years ago  the fireflies were out weeks earlier than usual.

But no, all of the above can't have anything to do with the data presented below, can it?

 131 years of global warming  in 26 seconds, NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Return of Strange and Surreal Sunday

Dateline India: A former Mr. Universe turns 100. Must be due to his time in prison, nuthin' to do but work out.

Nothing adds oomph to your "God is Great" proclamation than doing it in the nude...in front of a school.

So Williams Jennings Bryant is now a rich Morgan-Stanley exec...and anti-cabbie crusader.

Good thing I live in Pennsylvania and not Delaware, I always thought of mowing DUI, and I have a push mower.

Of course those drunk mowers can get ornery when there's no cooked sausage.

550 foot monument on filled land + earthquake = sinking (?)

Sometimes irony is tragic, man was killed by tornado he was taping from his house.

At the St. Paddy's roast for pols in S. Boston, Scott Brown (yep him) zinged Santorum, I won't spoil it.  He knows where he's running.

More Santorum spillage into Sunday.

And finally,  a strange beast kills livestock in Namibia. Could it be Chupacabra?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Santorum Returns

A while back I started doing the occasional reports on the Froth's doings as a Saturday piece because he was such a whacko fringe character and the material wrote itself. It still writes itself but amazingly this jackass is now a potential nominee. Tells how badly the party of Lincoln has sunk.

You have to hand it to Rickster though, his campaign may be incompetent (missing deadlines and such) but he gets out there on the stump and speaks his mind.  But despite his busy schedule of campaigning and telling English-speaking Puerto Ricans they need to speak English, he remains focused on the real threats to America, including that nasty porn:
"America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography," Santorum's official website reads. "Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking."
Hmmm, you know what else contribute misogyny and violence against women, the GOP.

Don't let the sweater vest, the 50's haircut and ideas that would be considered uptight in 1512 fool you, Ricky is a rebel:
“The Illinois party doesn’t deal up a lot of conservatives for statewide office, so you have an opportunity now to sort of fight City Hall, if you will,”

Rick is also enlisting God in his campaign, no word if  the Almighty wants to get his hands dirtied with Santorum.  Rick should just convert to a fundy church and take a lot bishops with him, just sayin'.

The Rickster's campaign might just work if not for those meddling teenagers:
“You recently commented on how you don’t believe everyone should go to college,” Becky Pauwels, 17, told Santorum. “Yet countries such as Germany and Japan, whose governments offer college to any motivated student, experience high rates of socio-economic mobility, which, by your own admission and all academic studies, is lagging in the United States.”
Since President Barack Obama proposes expanded access to college and training programs, how do his proposals differ from Obama’s, she asked.
Pipe down missy, in a Santorum administration you wouldn't have to worry about college, you'd be home making bread and babies.

On a more serious note, check out this NYT article on what makes Santorum tick.  Probably will tick you off.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Joe is One!

On the evening of March 16, 2011 we welcomed a new addition to the old school house at the Wilmington Birth Center, Joseph Patrick.  We simply call him Joe.
He has really changed my life. When I received a PhD in Geology from Oregon State in 2004 and came to work at the University of Delaware for a visiting position, I never thought that my extended higher education in science would provide less job security than the technical positions I was able to get with just my Coast Guard training. But now I've found that taking care of lil'Joe puts the nonsense of academia in perspective and is infinitely more rewarding than being the cog in some university CEO's machine.

Newborn Joe, just arrived at his home, March 17, 2011.
Of course when he came home I was just a bystander, so dependent was he as a newborn on Sara Beth. I had only vaguely thought about being a dad before, so watching him 4 days a week was something I hadn't ever contemplated.  Yet it's the things you don't expect to do that can be the most important of your life.

Evening of March 15, 2012 in his exersaucer.
One reason for starting this blog was to document what I think are the converging challenges of this decade.  It's going to evolve into something more personal, with more everyday observations on the little things.  But it now also has a mission: to advocate in some small way for a better future for Joe and all the next generation and to call out all those whose ignorance, fear and cruelty are making it worse.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Schedule of Changes

I expect to be back to regular posting here after little Joe's 1st birthday, say Sunday the 18th or the day after.  More local and home observations as well as ones on the ongoing converging challenges.

And I still plan on launching the Marcellus News blog soon, aiming for April 1st.  To keep logistics simple I will start on blogspot and see how it goes.  Meanwhile check out my twitter feed for daily updates.