Desierto norte de Chile

Monday, May 30, 2011

Out of the plains and into the sauna

After a highly successful SWIFT 2011, I'm back in Annapolis. Just in time for 75F dew point temperatures and heat indicies > 100F. Ugh! July and August will be bad enough once the Chesapeake surface temperatures exceed 80F; can we not escape late May / early June without the humidity?!

Almost 6 years, and now 500 posts!!

This is post 500! What a wild ride it's been. It's amazing to think that I started this blog *before* I was on Facebook (and now I cross-post the entries to my FB wall), before I knew more than 10 words of Spanish, and before living in Barbados, Austria, and Chile and visiting dozens of other countries. While my posting frequency has declinded as other ways to communicate my thoughts have cropped up (and I admit I censor a little more now than before considering how broad my audience is), I look forward to seeing the next 6 years of posts! Thanks for reading and following as I've chronicled the past 20% of my life.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Looking rather blocky...

So with SWIFT departing in 8 days, the students are starting to ask questions about the likelihood of severe storms. Thus I turn to the long-range GFS and ECMWF for answers. While we know the specifics of such 8-, 9-, and 10-day forecasts are likely to be poor, perhaps a pattern can be deduced, especially if there exists inter- and intra-model continuity. In this case, there does exist such continuity: both the ECMWF and GFS have been advertising a very blocky pattern in their long-range forecasts. The blocking pattern predicted, an omega block (named for the resemblance to an upside-down capital Greek letter omega in the mid/upper-troposphere height field), would be highly unfavorable for repeated convective storms. Fortunately we have several tours lined up in the first days (Kentucky Day 2, Norman Day 4); hopefully the blocky pattern (which is predicted to start next weekend, 13-14 May) will either not verify or break down quickly. We'll only wait and see.

Besides the long-range, in the medium-range, the models are unanimous in bringing a really good (and slow-moving) trough through the southern plains early next week, with attendant threat of a prolonged severe event.

Attached are long-range GFS and ECMWF 500-hPa predictions.

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