Skip to comments.Why a late arriving tornado season is a bad thing
Posted on 05/21/2013 6:29:09 AM PDT by topher
The Gulf of Mexico's warm air is part of the ingredient for tornado alley in the US. The other ingredient in this mix is cool/cold Canadian air.
The United States was blessed with very few tornadoes in March and April of 2013.
But the United States was going through an extendeded cold spell this Spring.
How cold? Living in Louisiana, the mosquitoes seemed to be blown into the Gulf of Mexico [by a frigid Northernly wind] as fish food most of this Spring. There have been very few mosquitoes bugging us this Spring [so far].
But now the bad news: for the tornado season to start in mid-May/late-May is a very bad thing. Why? Because the days are much longer in late May than they are in late March/early April.
The heating of the sun helps to provide energy for thunderstorms.
Tornado alley is an area where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico streaming North to clash with Canadian air streaming down to the South.
Since daytime heating is longer right now, there is the threat of the tornadoes for a longer period than there would be in late March/early April.
It seems like the days are considerably longer right now than when they were in late March (around Easter Sunday). Hence, a longer day means that more heat is generated for thunderstorms in the afternoon hours.
Without access to the weather data, it is unclear if having longer daytime heating will make these storms stronger.
Apparently, the US Weather Service has been lulled to sleep by the long cool spell this Spring.
Unfortunately, it may have taken the deaths of about 20 school children in Moore, Oklahoma to wake them up...
But it is a fact that thunderstorms are caused by daytime heating. That heating will go on for a longer period of time when the days are longer.
Hence, when Tornado Alley has a late arriving season, red flags should be flying...
Good news this morning. Death toll to revised much lower due to double counting.
Also has plenty to do with cool Canadian air meeting with the gulf air loaded with moisture. Right now it still feels like winter in SD. Forty degrees and the coldest April in years. Oh It’s almost June, and it’s still cold.
The length of day on March 31 was 12h 38m. The length of day today will be 14h 38m
The length of day March 31 last year was 12h 41m
The length of day May 21 of last year was 14h 40m
Your hypothesis makes no science sense.
There is a scientific reason for longer days this time of year. It is called “Summer.” But it happens every year, amazingly, at this same time.
Lots warmer here in SW WI, but still too wet to till the garden. Ground is squishy, but not as bad as some years I recall, when it was like walking on Jello.
April and May were both colder than has been the rule for the past 10 years or so, but it is not out of line for what I recall of the 70s.
What is the difference in longer days preceded by cooler weather and longer days preceded by warmer weather.This does not seem to make sense.A cooler spring just means a later start for tornado season, no? The greater heating on longer days is the same.
This guy reminds me of my mother who, as a young girl growing up in the 1920's, couldn't figure out how the May beetles always knew the date so that they could turn into June bugs exactly on the first day of June.
Of course, grandpa would never tell her the secret.
As the sun moves further north during the summer months, the says are longer in the northern hemisphere.
The days are considerably shorter in the southern hemisphere in the summer months.
The short of this: in the summer, the sun travels farther and farther above the equator until the first day of summer is the longest day in the northern hemisphere.
Now, if you put the same kettle on the stove, and heat for 2 hours, the amount of heat the kettle is exposed to is four times as long.
The number of BTU's would vary, depending on factors.
But if the length of the day is 16 hours instead of 13 hours, there are still 3 more hours that the air can be heated by the sun.
The cool air from the north meeting warm air of the south is the main culprit. If it were the length of day time, Alaska would be the center of the universe for twisters.
Tornado alley is an area where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico streaming North to clash with Canadian air streaming down to the South.
A longer day means that there is more potential heat.
I have lived in South Minnesota and I have lived in South Texas.
The summer days in South Minnesota, I noticed are very long -- much longer than South Texas.
I imagine a place like Duluth, Minnesota would have a sunset very late on June 22th and a sunrise very early on the June 23rd. A very short night. And a very long day...
Right. Storms happen when cold air meets warm, moisture-laden air. If we were getting Global Warming, then the North would be warmer, but the tropics would stay about the same. If we get global cooling then the temperature difference between the north and tropics will get wider, resulting in much more violent storm activity.
“It seems like the days are considerably longer right now than when they were in late March (around Easter Sunday). “
Are you sure? Source?
I think the larger part of the poster’s hypothesis is based on the fact that this year, vs last year, the cold has lingered much later into the season. That is surely true in this area (NOVA), where we rarely see 40 degree temps in mid-May, yet last week our temps ranged from 41 (overnight) to one day hitting 82, which is a more typical daytime temp here by mid to late May.
It sure doesn’t feel like Summer. It doesn’t even feel like Spring some days. This year our mid-day high temps have ranged primarily in the 60s. Throw in a couple extra hours of daylight, and the hypothesis isn’t so far out.
From what I could tell yesterday, there was ample warning from numerous outlets regarding the outbreak of severe weather. Yesterday's tragedy is due more to the violence of the storm than any perceived 'sleeping' on the part of NOAA. Nobody was asleep at the switch. It was just a horrible, horrible storm.
Stand by because there’s another cold front heading your way. We’re supposed to see a 15 to 20 degree drop in temps here in Reno overnight so I’m pretty sure that the same cooler air is headed east to meet up with some of that liquified air from the gulf. Mother nature at her nastiest could be rearing her head again in a couple of days in the plains states. If you have a shelter, use it.
Duluth will be in blue since it is known for it cold weather.
Brownsville will be in green since it is known for it warm weather.
Duluth, MN May 21 - 5:27am - 8:43pm Duluth, MN April 21 - 6:11am - 8:04pm Duluth, MN March 21 - 7:10am - 7:22pm
Duluth, MN June 21 - 5:14am - 9:06pm
Brownsville, TX June 21 - 6:38am - 8:23pm
Brownsville, TX May 21 - 6:41am - 8:12pm
Brownsville, TX April 21 - 7:02am - 7:56pm
Brownsville, TX March 21 - 7:33am - 7:41pm
Duluth, MN May 21 - 5:27am - 8:43pm
Duluth, MN April 21 - 6:11am - 8:04pm
Duluth, MN March 21 - 7:10am - 7:22pm
Note that Duluth has a day that is about 100 minutes longer on June 21 than Brownsville (~ 1 1/2 hours)
The bottom line here is a simple concept on the surface, that becomes extremely complex in short order.
First think of a real, physical greenhouse. Inside it is moist and warmer when it is cold outside, and somewhat cooler when it is hot outside. It is “moderate” because of the humidity in the air.
Now think of the opposite of a greenhouse, the surface of the Moon. If it is daytime, everything is directly hot. But at night, everything is extremely cold. There is no moderation, no moist air, nothing to block the sunlight nor prevent the radiation of heat back into space.
Now think of Earth’s atmosphere. When there are lots of high clouds, radiation from the Sun gets through but is trapped in the atmosphere, and doesn’t radiate back into space as much. When there are low clouds, more radiation is reflected back into space, so the ground is cooler.
However, when there is little moisture in the air at all, visible or invisible, the ground is more like the Moon, getting hot during the day, but cooling off a lot at night.
This can be very noticeable in the desert, dry air with hot days and cold nights.
There is one more twist to things, that the air over the North Pole seems to be shifting back and forth over the high latitudes, like a beanie on a bald head. When the jet stream goes South into the US, cold air from the Arctic rushes down. But then the jet stream pushes back North on our side of the planet, and rides down on the other side, making things cold in Europe and Russia.
And this is kind of unusual as well, but it is a lot more noticeable when there is little moisture in the air. This is why we had a hard winter and a very long spring.
The big question is why is there less moisture in the atmosphere right now?
The absence of clouds means that the weather 30 to 40 miles from the Gulf is not being influenced by Gulf moisture.
If we have a southerly wind, we tend to have clouds, though they may not be rain producers...
If we have a northerly wind, it usually is a cloudless day as the moisture tends to come from the Rockies and deserts (plains).
I don't have an answer to the question of why less moisture right now, but the Pacific Ocean is a major influence on the West and Midwest in terms of moisture...
>>The length of the day in Duluth, Minnesota on June 22nd is considerably longer than the length of the day in Brownsville, Texas on June 22nd.
As the sun moves further north during the summer months, the says are longer in the northern hemisphere.<<
But it does so every year in pretty much the same way. There is no more “day light” today than the same day for the last million+ years.
That is what I was referring to.
Most of this Spring has been very uneventful.
It is my opinion that we have a late arriving tornado season.
And I could be wrong about that! But our cold Spring, in my opinion, has pushed back when we have started to have severe weather.
The DrudgeReport.com noted about a month ago had very few tornadoes that the United States has had...
>>It sure doesnt feel like Summer. It doesnt even feel like Spring some days. <<
Do not confuse weather with climate.
There are very complex reasons why a “hurricane/tornado season” emerges (none based on AGW), but extended daylight is not one of them (any more than in any other year).
This has changed this year with the cold Spring. One person posted on this thread that it is still too cold to plant anything.
That is unusual.
Latest ice out on Mn Lakes since the early 50’s.
We do have a late arriving spring and as a hater of winter, that isn’t good.
However, it’s well known that May has always been a rough month for weather in Oklahoma and elsewhere in Tornado Alley. But to infer that NOAA was asleep and thus responsible for the deaths of those poor children is a real stretch.
There is a scientific reason for longer days this time of year. It is called Summer. But it happens every year, amazingly, at this same time.
There are other factors in the creation of tornadoes: the clash between a cooler air mass and a warmer air mass.
It is my belief that the sun is a heat engine.
I may be wrong.
But one interesting thing was that a tornado hit the same area in 1999 (but it was a much more powerful tornado -- 300 mph winds versus 200 mph winds).
It would be interesting to study when the most powerful tornadoes occur, and plot them by month as the National Weather Service has done for hurricanes.
Don’t park your car on it to see how thick the ice is. [Only let a liberal do that...]
You are correct: it is wrong of me to imply that NOAA is responsible for the deaths of the children.
No excuse. I am just very upset with the Obama Administration, and all the nasty things that it is doing: Benghazi, IRS, DOJ, Fast and Furious, etc.
I am venting in the wrong direction...
All this is granted given, received wisdom and common knowledge and eighth grade science. You respond to a question but do not answer it. Instead you simply say everything you know about the subject. It is if I had asked why one would add curry to a Jello recipe and you reply by reciting to me the directions on the back of the box.
But if they arrive earlier there will be more of them...can’t win for losin’!
...longer days preceded by cooler weather...
Address this first. Note that I may be wrong in what I am suggesting.
I still believe I am right (intuition).
In our current weather, some people have observed fewer clouds this spring. That means the suns heat is not diminished by cloud cover.
If this is the case, then the faucet to turn on energy for tornadoes is greater (the lack of cloud cover means the heat of the sun translates into more heating).
If there is an area near this source of energy that is a clash between cold air/warm air, then there will be more energy.
Longer days translates into more energy ...
Now the other case:
... longer days preceded by warmer weather
Basically, more cloud cover (warmer weather).
With more cloud cover, then there will be less energy available, and the length of the day is less of an issue.
The extreme heat one finds in Death Valley, California or in parts of Arizona (days with temperatures up to 120 degrees) are brought about because these areas do not have any cloud cover -- just dry parts of the country.
No cloud cover means the heat of the sun is the on position, in a sense.
So once we start having warmer days, we may observe more clouds, and the sun's faucet to produce heat is a reduced position.
In my theory, having warmer days first produces cloud cover which in turn reduces some of the heating of the sun.
>>Well, it used to. But now that mankind has dumped so much CO2 in the air, Manns models are showing that soon summer will begin in November and winter will begin in June. ts our fault.<<
Don’t forget the solar flares — those are our fault, too!
Dont forget the solar flares those are our fault, too!
You said ... “Apparently, the US Weather Service has been lulled to sleep by the long cool spell this Spring.”
BUT ... I don’t see anything that indicates that there were lulled to sleep or have done anything different than they always do.
What are you talking about?
This data seems to imply that afternoon heating is a factor in tornado [severe thunderstorm] development.
You are forgetting the cool air coming down from the Rockies too...
Joe Bastardi says it is because global cooling is worse then we thought. We have atmospheric temperatures dropping and less moisture. So the global oceans are also cooling. Colder oceans means less moisture (less evaporation).
If we are heading back into the cold phase of the Ice Age, summers will eventually disappear and be replaced by one long spring. So in Tornado Alley they will have two seasons. Cold/Snowy and Tornado season.
You also have to add into your equation the sun currently being in its moderate to strong phase of cycle 24. Means more energy during the longer summer photo period (daytime). Next winter the sun should be ramping down in intensity and we wont see this moderate to strong activity for a very long time.
Not just severity, but developmental speed could be affected by your point. Have literally watched super cells in west Texas pop up from clear skies to completely cloudy skies in less then an hour this spring/summer. That was the problem in Oklahoma. Fast development out of nowhere.
That’s a tricky assumption. A few years ago, some climate researchers went to the Tropics to study humidity, cloud formation, etc., based on the theory that the hotter weather and warmer ocean should be substantially increasing evaporation and cloud formation.
Instead they found not a cloud in the sky. Perhaps a year later, NASA got a shock when it was discovered that the thermosphere the atmosphere from about 85km to 600km had substantially contracted, about a third, without explanation.
Bottom line: nobody has a clue.
The forces at work, in combination with each other, are so vastly greater than our scale that we barely grasp that they exist, but have no idea what they do, or how.