The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: The Heat Wave “Infestation” Plus “Epsilon” Is Coming For The U.S.
Dear Diary: The Northern Hemisphere over the last week has had a plague of many simultaneous heatwaves, producing historically high record temperatures in many locations and creating conditions for horrid wildfires. This phenomenon is very much expected and in keeping with global warming theory that has become fact during the start of the 2020s. What’s alarming, of course, is that as the planet continues to warm above an average of 1.2°C these heatwaves are going to get worse.
Our first three named U.S. heatwaves were large and historic in nature. Using the Greek alphabet, Alpha got up to a CAT4 on my scale of 1-5, and affected the Southwest in early June. Beta became a rare CAT5 and was noted for producing Canada’s all-time record of 120°F at Lytton, British Columbia as well as many all-time records in the Pacific Northwest during late June. Gamma was another CAT4 system affecting the Southwest in early July. Delta has been the smallest system, affecting mainly Montana, the Dakotas, and the southern prairies of Canada. Delta only attained a non-historic CAT3 status since to my knowledge all-time hot temperatures were not attained, nor were there many fatalities noted in the affected area (at least so far).
The next name on the list is Epsilon. The next forecast ridge or heat dome on meteorological models looks like it will grow to be a whopper, sprawling from sea to shining sea. Ridges, such as the one forecast for Epsilon from late July into early August, do occur from time to time at summer’s apex in July and August, but this one has a chance to be historic if many all-tine records are threatened. The European model and associated ensembles is bullish on thus system:
This morning’s operational GFS valid at the same time as the above panel, not so much:
If we see a ridge getting up to near 600 decameters there should be at least a few all-time record reports. At just 596 decameters, not many if any at all, plus the system would be more susceptible to getting collapsed from an Eastern trough, and thus would not be long lived or historic. Unfortunately, ensembles point to the European solution as being more likely. I’ll let my readers have daily updates on our potential Epsilon.
Yesterday I spied this well written Washington Post summary of recent northern heatwaves I’d like to share:
The Northern Hemisphere has a punishing heat wave infestation
Jason Samenow 23 hrs ago
As viewed on a weather map of the globe, no fewer than five powerful heat domes are swelling over the landmasses of the Northern Hemisphere. These zones of high pressure in the atmosphere, intensified by climate change, are generating unforgiving blasts of heat in North America, Europe and Asia simultaneously.
An American model simulation of high-altitude weather patterns Tuesday shows five heat domes spread around the Northern Hemisphere. (WeatherBell)
The heat domes, in a number of instances, are the source of record high temperatures and are contributing to swarms of wildfires in western North America and in Siberia. In recent days, all-time record highs have been set in Turkey, northern Japan and Northern Ireland.
Lined up like a parade, the heat domes are also part of a traffic jam of weather systems that instigated the flood disaster in Europe last week.How weather patterns conspired for a flooding disaster in Germany
Heat domes like this are normal at this time of year, the hottest point of summer, but it’s unusual to have this many this intense. Every one of these heat domes is generating exceptional weather.
Starting in the western United States, temperatures in Montana climbed more than 20 degrees above normal on Monday. Glasgow, Mont., spiked to 110 degrees, matching its third-highest temperature on record since 1893. Billings hit 107 degrees, tying its second-highest temperature recorded since 1934. The heat is worsening exceptional drought conditions in both the western United States and Canada, creating tinderbox conditions for wildfires that are spreading smoke all over North America.Extreme fire behavior has erupted in the West. Here’s what that means.
Across the Atlantic, the heat dome lodged over the British Isles brought Northern Ireland its hottest day on record Sunday. The temperature in the town of Ballywatticock soared to 88.3 degrees Saturday.
Since then, the heat dome has hardly budged, prompting the Met Office, Britain’s meteorological agency, to issue its “first ever” extreme heat warning Monday. The warning, in effect through Thursday, calls for prolonged unusually high temperatures over “a large part of Wales, all of southwest England and parts of southern and central England,” the agency wrote. Temperatures may reach the low 90s in this zone.
“As we experience the first hot weather episode of the year, it’s important for everyone to remember to adapt their behaviours,” Owen Landeg, Public Health England’s scientific and technical lead, wrote in a news release.The science of heat domes and how drought and climate change make them worse
Farther east, the heat dome parked over southeastern Europe and Western Asia has also produced exceptionally high temperatures. On Tuesday, the thermometer in the Turkish city of Cizre, near the border with Syria, surged to 120.4 degrees, the country’s highest temperature ever observed.
Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist with Meteo France, the country’s meteorological agency, tweeted he expects this heat wave to produce additional record-challenging temperatures into Wednesday in adjacent areas, including in Syria, Armenia, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Farther to the east and north, record heat has also invaded northern Japan, where all-time highs were set on Sunday and Monday. In Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island known for its ski resorts and abundant winter snowfall, “the heat was so intense that the train rails were distorted,” tweeted Sayaka Mori, a meteorologist based in Tokyo.
The exceptional heat also bled into eastern Russia and Siberia, where a siege of wildfires has torched the landscape.
Finally, crossing the Pacific, much warmer-than-normal temperatures cover Alaska. The responsible heat dome is the least intense of the five affecting the Northern Hemisphere. Even so, it pushed the mercury to 81 degrees in Anchorage on Sunday, a record for July 18 and tied for the city’s 16th-warmest day ever observed, according to Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider.
The heat over the Last Frontier has helped fuel unusual thunderstorm outbreaks in recent days, including some over the Arctic Ocean sea ice north of its border.Rare siege of Arctic lightning zaps ice north of Alaska
A weather pattern fueled by climate change
Scientists have determined that climate change is increasing the intensity of heat domes and making heat waves hotter than they would have been without human influence. This explains the frequency at which temperature records are being set every summer. Already this summer, seven national high temperature records have fallen.
But the current weather pattern, in which these heat domes are not only intensified but also prolonged, may also be linked to climate change.
Climate change is expected to decrease the strength of steering currents as the high latitudes warm more quickly than the mid-latitudes, reducing the north-to-south temperature differences that drive the wind. According to a 2018 study from climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, weaker high altitude winds will produce a slower jet stream with more wavy peaks and troughs, which he ascribes to a process known as “quasi-resonant amplification.”Study: Freak summer weather and wild jet stream patterns are on the rise because of global warming
The more wavy peaks are the breeding grounds for intensified heat domes, like we see spread around the Northern Hemisphere, while the troughs are the low-pressure zones that can set the stage for floods like we just saw in Germany and neighboring countries.
The configuration of heat domes we see at the moment looks like a “classic” example of a pattern “associated with wave resonance,” Mann wrote in an email.
Here are more major “ET’s” reported on Wednesday:
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”