Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard; man's nature cannot carry
The affliction nor the fear … from Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Lear
from NASA's climatologist Bill Patzert /
What's to Blame for Wild Weather? "La Nada"
June 2011: Record snowfall, killer tornadoes, devastating floods: There’s no doubt about it. Since Dec. 2010, the weather in the USA has been positively wild. But why?
Some recent news reports have attributed the phenomenon to an extreme "La Niña," a band of cold water stretching across the Pacific Ocean with global repercussions for climate and weather. But NASA climatologist Bill Patzert names a different suspect: "La Nada."
"La Niña was strong in December," he says. "But back in January it pulled a disappearing act and left us with nothing – La Nada – to constrain the jet stream. Like an unruly teenager, the jet stream took advantage of the newfound freedom--and the results were disastrous."
La Niña and El Niño are opposite extremes of a great Pacific oscillation. Every 2 to 7 years, surface waters across the equatorial Pacific warm up (El Niño) and then they cool down again (La Niña). Each condition has its own distinct effects on weather.
The winter of 2010 began with La Niña conditions taking hold. A "normal" La Niña would have pushed the jet stream northward, pushing cold arctic air (one of the ingredients of severe weather) away from the lower US. But this La Niña petered out quickly, and no El Niño rose up to replace it. The jet stream was free to misbehave.
"By mid-January 2011, La Niña weakened rapidly and by mid-February it was adiosLa Niña, allowing the jet stream to meander wildly around the US. Consequently the weather pattern became dominated by strong outbreaks of frigid polar air, producing blizzards across the West, Upper Midwest, and northeast US."1
The situation lingered into spring -- and things got ugly. Russell Schneider, Director of the NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center, explains:
"First, very strong winds out of the south carrying warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico met cold jet stream winds racing in from the west. Stacking these two air masses on top of each other created the degree of instability that fuels intense thunderstorms."
Extreme contrasts in wind speeds and directions of the upper and lower atmosphere transformed ordinary thunderstorms into long-lived rotating supercells capable of producing violent tornadoes.2
In Patzert's words, The jet stream -- on steroids -- acted as an atmospheric mix master, causing tornadoes to explode across Dixie and Tornado Alleys, and even into Massachusetts. (Including the southern parts of Canada).
All this because of a flaky La Niña?
"La Niña and El Niño affect the atmosphere's energy balance because they determine the location of warm water in the Pacific, and that in turn determines where huge clusters of tropical thunderstorms form," explains Schneider. "These storms are the main energy source from the tropics influencing the large scale pattern of the jet stream that flows through the US."
In agreement with Patzert, he notes that the very strong and active jet stream across the lower US in April "may have been related to the weakening La Niña conditions observed over the tropical Pacific."
"Global warming is certainly happening," asserts Patzert,
What will happen next? And please don't say, "La Nada."
(from NASA) end.
What NASA’s meteorologist seems to have overlooked is the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano south-central Iceland eruption March 10th through into May 2010. As well as Puyehue Volcano in Chile erupting in 2011 and still is at unrest. This also affects the weather in its own severity. Such as extreme cold where depending its longevity of debris spewing into the atmosphere it can produce a mini ice age to a lengthy ice age.
Image: Eyjafjallajoekull volcano south-central Iceland eruption March 10th through into May 2010. (click here for more on Eyjafjallajökull - Iceland and our weather)
But, with a double whammy to follow. To better understand how the sun’s energy of the photons (heat) would not able to come through because of pollution lets take a look at the clouds at a microscopic point. Clouds are made of droplets of water, these are formed when droplets of water in the atmosphere starts to condense on naturally airborne particles such as pollen or sea salt. As they grow the water droplets eventually become so heavy they fall down as rain. But the polluted air holds far more particles than the unpolluted air. Such as millions of particles of ash, soot and sulphur dioxide where the water droplets form. So polluted clouds contain many more water droplets, each one far smaller than it would be naturally. Many small droplets reflect more light than fewer big ones. So the polluted clouds are reflecting more light back into space preventing the heat of the sun getting through. This is the cause of global dimming. Pollution is turning our clouds into giant mirrors.
The double whammy;
While the debris would in fact cool the planet and change weather pattern the C02 trapped in the atmosphere would then increase in the global warming effects once the ash clouds have dissipated trapping the heat from the sun and swinging into a severe hot season ahead. This will not allow the clouds to move from the northern hemisphere down to the equator and past where we can look forward to more tornadoes, more severe thunderstorms, lots of rain where in contrast drought and wild fire will be apparent in the southern hemisphere.
For now I don’t have more data than this but I will keep you up to date as soon as I get more data from NOAA, NASA and other sources from individual scientists.
You all have a good weekend.