Some Vacation Time

July 28, 2010

Real quiet weather the next few days…the only forecast issue is how much marine cloudiness works it’s way inland each day.  Generally we should see an increase through Saturday, then a decrease early next week.  No sign of showers west of the Cascades.

I’ll be on vacation again for a week or so.  Next work day is Sunday, August 8th.  Keep discussing weather on this thread.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Warmest Decade So Far: 2000-2009

July 28, 2010

Since there is little to no weather to discuss the next few days…I figured this should generate some discussion instead.  Plus I’ve always been a bit of a trouble-causer.

NOAA put out a press release today announcing their State of the Climate 2009 report.  It says the past decade as the warmest on record.  Here’s a graph that goes with it:

You can click on the graph to get a better view, otherwise it looks a bit messy.  I don’t talk about human-caused global warming much on TV (actually only about once every few years) because I’m not totally sold on a “doomsday” scenario, and it’s not exactly a sexy TV topic.  I generally trust my scientific and academic colleagues though.   BUT, I’m definitely not a skeptic either…let the scientists do their jobs and leave politics, religion, and personal beliefs out of it. 

That aside now, it’s pretty obvious that we’ve had year after year of warm conditions the last decade, including this year.  Even the La Nina years and solar minimum haven’t put too much of a dent in the trend (so far! we’ll see after the next 12-24 months). 

You could read the last 15 years of that graph several ways I suppose:   The warming has levelled off and we’re headed for a cooler regime, or the warming has levelled off and we’ll soon resume the warming again.   Either way I’ve heard reference more than once by media-types (usually talk radio folks) saying that we’ve actually cooled the last 10 years?  I have no idea how that can be considered a valid statement.  How do you get that without involving some sort of conspiracy theory?  Not sure.  But as you can see, lots to discuss.

To keep things under control, I’ll delete any comments that reference:  Political parties or politics of any sort, personal attacks, Big Oil, Al Gore, crazed sex poodle, etc…  The discussion needs to be about data and science only.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Active Morning

July 28, 2010

Good morning all. It’s Pat! (remember the SNL skit). For those of you who don’t know me, I am sure most of you forgot since I have posted only one other time, I am the weather producer for Good Day Oregon.  Something caught my eye this morning sitting in the lonely studio, so I figured I would write about it.

Here  in the western valley, we have reverted back to our morning clouds and afternoon sunshine theme. However, east of the Cascades have been under a barrage of thunderstorms over the last 48 hours.

I have been sitting here since about 4:30 this morning and watching the lighting fill the radar at a fairly consistent rate. I haven’t counted each individual strike but if I had to guess, I would estimate around 150-200 strikes since 5 o’clock this morning. The lightning map on Mark’s Weather page has been quite colorful lately and today will add to that mosaic as more afternoon thunderstorms are gearing up. Most of this action is due to the upper-level trough sitting just off the coast of Oregon-California. The threat looks to expand on into Thursday. Lots of fun stuff east of the mountains.

Mark ran this graphic last night in his forecast. It shows the climatology of Oregon thunderstorms pretty well.  Rather easy to see from his graphic that the Pacific Ocean plays a big role in stabilizing the atmosphere until the air rises over the Cascades. Doesn’t look like many golf rounds will be completed today east of those mountains!

Some “Real” Weather!

July 27, 2010

Quite a tornado picture eh?  While we rack our brains here in Portland all summer dealing with the depth of the marine layer and the possibilities for morning cloud cover, this is what other parts of the country deal with…REAL weather!  The picture is from “Weatherman Rob” this afternoon.  The regular readers to this blog probably remember that up until last October he was the morning weather producer working with Andy Carson. 

Well, our boy grew up and he’s been working at KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota since October doing weekend weather.  A good place to work on his skills forecasting snow, blizzards, freezing rain, wind, and now severe summer weather.  This is the tornado that hit a sparsely populated area in northeast Montana yesterday evening (near Reserve).  It killed two people.  Rob says this is actually quite rare (fatalities) due to the lack of population in that part of the Great Plains.  Seems more likely a buffalo would fly through the air?

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Gray Morning in Clark County

July 27, 2010

A nice push of low clouds up the Columbia River this morning, models did really well with showing them coming up a bit past Kelso/Longview.  Interesting that they’ve been all north/east of the Columbia River (okay, maybe a mile or so over it in some cases).  Such a thin marine layer will evaporate quickly into sunshine up there today.  Tomorrow at the least we should see the clouds push down east of the West Hills all the way down into the lower elevations of Clackamas county.  The cooling trend is definitely on. 

A nice shortwave disturbance showing up on the image as well moving north through Eastern Oregon, setting off early morning thunderstorms over there.


A Good Start To The Week

July 26, 2010

Check out the sunset…Tyler Mode sent me this picture of the sky this evening.  Nice colors as the setting sun shone on the high clouds from earlier thunderstorms in Central Oregon.    I’m so glad I was able to show this picture on the 10pm weathercast tonight, although I know most of you REALLY wanted to see the man with the world’s longest ear hair…that was disgusting, but you watched didn’t you?

I’m back at work for a few days after a week of vacation.  So what did I miss?  Apparently nothing weatherwise.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, that’s why I take just about all my vacation time in July and August. 

It’s interesting that after all the fuss about a big cold trough for last week, we only had a thicker marine layer and then instead saw ridging and very warm temperatutres by the end of the week.  Hmmm…sounds like a familiar story that continues.  Current forecast models show a trough lingering near the West Coast through the next 7-10 days.  Earlier runs showed it deepening a bit and then swinging right over us during the upcoming weekend.  00z GFS isn’t cool at all, with 850mb temps bottoming out around +12 or so.  That’s the average 850mb temp. for any afternoon in July.  Not exactly a cold mid-summer pattern, but it will increase the onshore flow for sure.  So say goodbye to the near 90 degree temperatures.  We’ll be somewhere between 75 and 85 degrees over the next week; that’s very comfortable.  Remember last year at this time???  We were in day #2 of our 10 days 90+ degree temps in Portland!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Vacation Time

July 16, 2010

00z GFS isn’t nearly as chilly as earlier runs, in fact it doesn’t look bad at all next week, much different than 24 hours ago…better keep riding those models eh?  Actually that’s been a problem the last few days…where does a cool upper-level trough go the middle of next week?   And will it be real chilly or just a dip in the jet stream?   And what about later next week; do we get a deep trough moving onshore to ruin that weekend or will it stay well offshore for a warming trend?  All still to be determined.

I have the next week off and won’t be back at work until Monday the 25th.  No exotic vacation plans except some camping.  I will be checking in on the blog occasionally, so try to behave and not go wild!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen