It’s Not Just the Beach!

The broadcaster’s conference is all over now, plenty of time left to sit in the airport and blog.  Now you might think this is just a travel junket for the tv weatherman…not quite the case, in spite of the great view out the window.  By the way, the ocean is 85 degrees, and when you get out you don’t even get briefly chilled!  That never happens in Oregon, even on the hottest summer day.  It is a hot and sweaty climate, which I don’t like; however, it’s real nice in the early mornings and the evenings when the sun goes down.  Warm breezes after dark are great, and a walk along that beach path at 7am was wonderful as well.  I suppose that’s why they invented the Siesta?

Yesterday was the  field trip to AOML and NHC/TPC.  The first was the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.  That’s a sister research organization to PEML in Seattle.  They do lots of different things.  They explained how hurricane research is done (they get 700 hours/year of flying time for example).  The little  dropsondes that are dropped into the hurricane to get all sorts of meteorological data from NOAA aircraft?  $700 a pop!  Something akin to those $600 toilet seats.  There was also a talk about water quality and how that’s going to change in the future…the 3rd stop was a global map showing how we are finally just now beginning to study/understand our oceans and their affect on weather.  Consider that 3/4 of the globe’s surface is covered by water and until recently there was very little in the way of instrumentation.  Now there are thousands of buoys, drifting buoys, ARGO instruments and ship reports coming in daily from all over the globe.

Then it was on to the National Hurricane Center.  This is THE spot you see on newscasts and The Weather Channel when storms threaten the USA.  Pretty neat to actually sit in the chair the NHC folks use for all their national live shots.  There’s a blurry image here of my hind end trying it out.  They sat all 150 television meteorologists down and there was a question/answer session with Bill Read, the director of the NHC.  Real personable guy running a very critical part of the NWS.  Here’s something for you…have you ever heard that Anthropogenic Global Warming would cause more and stronger hurricanes in the future?  Not quite true.  Research shows that that actual NUMBER of tropical cyclones may actually go DOWN with a warming ocean/climate.  The reason is models forecast stronger shear in the tropics which would tend to inhibit formation.  However, storms would likely be a bit stronger…one study says 3% higher windspeeds.  So no, there is no forecast of “catastrophic” storms in the future.  That was interesting.  Also, they really want TV meteorologists to focus more on the storm surge…that’s the big killer.  For example in Hurricane IKE (Galveston/Houston), the surge went 40-60 miles inland up the ship channel.  People down there assume they’ll be just fine if they live a few miles inland.  Of course none of this affects us, but good info.

There was a talk yesterday about future  satellite improvements.  The current line of GOES satellites is about to come to an end.  Or more accurately, the first of a new series of satellites will be launched in a couple years.  They will have more sensors, higher resolution (both spatially and temporal).  For example, the current 1km visible imagery will go down to 1/2 km!  4km IR imagery will go down to 2km.  Water Vapor will improve as well.  Right now we get 15  minute imagery from each goes satellite; that will improve to 5 minutes.  Those satellite loops are going to get smoother.  The one big change will be a new optical lightning sensor.  Not sure how, but for the first time lightning will be detected from orbit.  That’s cloud to cloud (don’t know about cloud-ground).  So we’ll be able to see lightning strikes over the ocean and remote areas.  That should be neat with our incoming Pacific systems.

Alright, that’s all for now, about time to head home.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

66 Responses to It’s Not Just the Beach!

  1. chiefWright says:

    By the way, back to Hurricanes–

    I highly recommend the book “Isaac’s Storm” by Eric Larson, which tells the story of the Sept 8, 1900 hurricane that savaged Galveston– mostly by storm surge.

    It’s also quite a tale of arrogance over a rather thin veil of scientific “authority”.

  2. I never get angry. I wish it worked for you so you could enjoy it like everyone else.

  3. Kyle says:

    Daily rescue weather maps allows you to view back to the late 1800s which is probably way farther back then your program anyways.

    How does your progarm display weather history data?

    How similar is it to and am I truly better going to that site?

  4. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    Check out the Pendleton sat loop. You can see the overshooting tops.

    The Wallowa’s are getting hammered. Think Timmy already posted this.

    Check out today’s weather movie and watch how Joeseph goes from a nice sunny day to stormy in about an hour starting at ~6:30pm

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      Funny how the warning says that the NWS radar indicated the storm, however you see absolutely nothing on the radar imagery probably due to the terrain. Think warnings are activated via trained spotters over at Pendleton?

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:


      Doesn’t look that threatening, but I’m sure it is.

    • HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

      The radar from Boise is probably better but a lot gets lost in the terrain.

      They have trained spotters scattered about the countryside out there. Also if I was out there and saw something reportable, I’d call it in.

      I can tell from the Joseph weather movie and experience up there that the rain was really coming down especially up around the town and lake proper. I’ve seen the water six inches deep coming through the middle of Joseph and the lake campground flooded in places in similar weather.

    • HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

      Also, one heck of a burst of outflow winds at about 8:10 on the video.

  5. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    An outflow boundary has developed just a little west of the Boise area:

  6. Kyle says:

    I had dewpoints of 60F during the early June Pineapple Express if that counts for anything. 😕

  7. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    I also would take this over the cool damp spring we had too, but by now we would have already seen a few good thunderstorms. The rumble of thunder we heard a couple weeks ago does not cut it.

  8. Karl Bonner says:

    I wonder if anyone had dewpoints above 60F yesterday evening? It sure felt a bit muggy here in Eugene, but we’ve gotten to a 70 dewpoint a couple times in the past.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      I had dew points reading up to 57F, not sure if anyone else reached higher.

  9. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    Cooling trend has started…down to 72° after a high of 77.2…

  10. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Sunshine or not, the weather is still pure boredom at its best.

    Maybe we shouldn’t have relied on these strange creatures:

    • BeavertonChris says:

      Personally, I will take this boring weather over the chilly damp spring that we have had.

  11. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Actually, Wunderground also says 108F for Red Bluff, CA.

    Now we get lying/excuses going around on the blog…

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      It appears its very hard to work together with information on the blog, how to fix it? Who knows.

  12. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Here is a vid from the Swan Lake area of Yellowstone NP. I was recording the coyotes you could hear in the distance when a nice rumble of thunder took over. I apologize for the shakiness, this video was shot on my DSLR, not my video camera…but you get the idea. More storms came in later, producing some lightning, which I did get a few bolts of on my video camera. Now, if I could only find my adapter…

    • Chuck on Mt Scott says:

      Those coyotes sound like pups. Being out in the open like that must have added to the excitement a bit.

    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      Ya there were lots of young animals roaming around the park 🙂

  13. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Pretty amazing slow motion video of 3 lighting strikes hitting spires in downtown Chicago!

  14. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    The GFS seems to be keeping its winter time personality with teasing folks that like hot weather by keeping it in the long range forecast and taking it away in the 7-day!

    Although, if the current model plays out as is the typical Post-July 4th summer weather is a lock as always.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Yeah, 90s keep popping up in the long range then disappearing before they get within ten days. I’m OK with that!

      There’s definitely a trend toward it getting nicer overall after the Fourth, but still no big heat in sight.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I agree with you Jesse… I’m loving the mostly 70’s with occasional clouds. Once we start cracking the mid to upper 80’s I start getting cranky. I also notice my allergies are significantly worse when we cross the 80 degree barrier!

    • Gidrons says:

      There’s supposed to be a new and improved GFS program coming out in late July

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I thought we had already converted to the newest edition of the GFS model?

      I guess they worked the kinks out of it already.

  15. 52.4° and I am surprised, but thankful, I have clear skies this morning.

  16. Chuck on Mt Scott says:

    I’m not complaining, but I woke up to clear skies. Look at satellites and clouds are pushing off the coast. I read yesterday that today was supposed to be mostly cloudy. Now I read tonight is supposed to be mostly cloudy. Does it appear High pressure is taking a stronger hold than folks first thought? I definitely am liking these clear skies and hope it sticks around a while.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      More likely the marine layer is just difficult to forecast sometimes.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Yeah, the trough is moving in as planned, and the upper levels are cooling. As Ryan said, the marine layer is just tough to forecast. Still, cooling upper levels and an increase in onshore flow should knock highs ten or so degrees down from yesterday.

      Models are beginning to trend back toward the trough staying around longer. 06Z GFS had a wet Fourth, and it looks like the 12Z is heading in that direction as well.

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      Today will be in the 75 degree range, not quite 10 degrees colder than yesterday. There’s little to no mid level moisture with this trough, so cloudcover will be minimal after the marine layer burns off and highs could flirt with 70 each day of the week. Not too bad.

  17. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Just got home from a 12 hour drive. Went through Red Bluff, California at 3:30pm this afternoon on the way home and the temperature was 108 degrees there.

  18. Kyle says:

    What the *beepety beep* is wrong with my Oregon Craptific Therometer with all these warm readings?

    Is it too close to the house? 😕

    • ShutUpandBeHappy says:

      I have one too and it’s pretty well known that the temp gauges are susceptible to IR radiation. You pretty much need to get the outdoor temp sensor into a shaded area where the sunlight can’t hit it. Another alternative is to build/buy a sun shield for it. I have mine under my porch away from my house. It has a pretty long cord to the solar panel transmitter, so it should be easy to find an area where the sensor can stay dark and the solar panel transmitter can be in the sun.

  19. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Bottom line, Mark? Nobody can really know how climate change will play out since there are way too many variables that humans have to input into the computer models. Chaos theory. Miss a calc. or not recognize a function and the whole things goes off.
    Plus the fact that certain events ie volcanoes can screw up the whole mess, the forecasts can change radically.
    It is what it is.

    • O.C.Paul says:

      I couldn’t agree more! There are simply too many variables for a multi-decadal prediction.
      There are even reports of a declining solar magnetic pointing towards drastic cooling.

      The thing is, weather cycles. I’m more worried about ‘Weather Zealots’, than I am of “global warming”.

  20. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Hey not sure if this would even be possible, but do you think they should attach a NEXRAD radar site onto one of the satellite up in space? Then we would have coverage all over the Earth! Just an idea…

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      But then we would need to restrategize how the microwave signals are being sent out. that would get complicated.

  21. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Just looked at GFS, and it doesn’t display any surface instability for us tonight, so I can’t really say if thunderstorms are possible. I will have to look closer into the models to tell.

  22. Cherie in Vernonia says:

    Is it gonna rain tonite?? Thundershowers??

  23. Cherie in Vernonia says:

    This post was awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it & the way you are able to translate it for those of us who are “less informed” :)You are good at that!

    Thanks Mark…..glad to have you home

  24. Kyle says:

    It’s a nice and cool 88F outside. *sarcastic*.

  25. Kirk says:

    Ya I really think the earth is going to warm up when the sun becomes a red giant.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      The sun is supposed to be shrinking… unless that was just a possibility?

  26. Garron near washington square says:


    That is so interesting, I am a big fan of the whole cooling before a real warm up debate.

    I know it is a sore subject, but I think that there will be a great deal of clouding up and cooling of the earth’ oceans before the global temp really pushes upwards.

    It’s a lot like turning on the air conditioner on a warm day. You draw the shades closed and turn on the cold air. When mother earth feels too warm, she puts a blanket of clouds on here surface.(like drawing the shades to keep in the cool) When that “air conditioner” fails, then we’ll really warm up.

  27. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Thanks for the informative post Mark! Kind of interesting how there can be a lesser amount of tropical storm development under a warmer climate…

    And the new satellite imagery I gotta check out once it is released to the public. 1/2 km visible satellite with lightning detection? Sounds crazy good to me. 🙂

  28. Gregg-formerly Troutdale, now in Springfield says:

    Sounds like it was very informative Mark, have a safe trip back. Can’t wait for the new Sat and WV upgrades, I know Rob will enjoy them. Currently, 69.8 here with a nice breeze.

  29. Kyle says:

    I agree with RobWalt if Obama hadn’t nearly killed the space program! :LOL:

  30. Andrew Johnson says:

    Thanks Mark! Intersting stuff. Hope you have a smooth flight home.

  31. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    Nice summary Mark of your trip. Sounds like there is lots of research going on at the NHC..


  32. RobWaltemate says:

    So there should be a new degree offered in Ocean current weather? There is a lot of water out there and a lot a heat to be used/transported, yet we don’t know too much about the ocean’s currents. Lets face it; it is easier to go to the moon then to the deepest parts of the ocean!

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