Saturday, April 22, 2017

War on Science? Huh?

OMG.  Today is Earth Day and people (sheep) are marching again.  Why?  Reality says is all about power & money.   President Trump wants to reduce the funding to many science organizations & government departments as a means to rein in waste and limit fraud.  This is viewed as a “ War on Science”.  All media gave extensive coverage to these marches around the country, which is OK.  But where was the media this past week during a SCIENTIFIC meeting here in New Orleans, the National Hurricane Conference?  What used to have satellite trucks from all the hurricane prone markets barely saw 10 of us media folk there, and 4 were from NOLA.   I see a double standard here.   Cover the agenda you want to support, but ignore the REAL science that is taking place.   Several of my friends attending the conference voiced their concern about all the government grants being focus on social media.   We fund too many programs with questionable missions.  Reminds me of when I was back in Ann Arbor in the 60s and my Professor had a government grant to study Air pollution.  No, the grant wasn’t for how to reduce or eliminate air pollution, but it was how high does the smoke stack need to be built so that the pollution will be dissipated downstream from the source to not cause health problems!   A total waste of government funding back then as we learned later that the pollution traveled hundreds of miles from the source.  The climate modelers have been having a 20 year run of feeding at the public trough, but they have hardly ever been questioned about their accuracy, or lack of it.    I don’t care which political party you support, but if you don’t think our government doesn’t waste billions of our tax dollars, then you have never been to any “scientific” meetings.


Which I did last week.  The Hurricane Conference produced several things I didn’t know.  Like the spaghetti plot display that we all see each hurricane season.  I didn’t know that the 3 most accurate models are not included in those plots.  Why, because they come from private sources and are not free to the public.  So the next time you see a local weathercaster use those spaghetti plots, just know they didn’t attend this year’s conference.  Some things I did know were repeated…like did you know the cone of error only captures 2/3 of the past storms and that 1/3 have occurred OUTSIDE the cone?   Some good news.  Back in 1980, the 24 hour error was over 100 miles.  Today that same error is down to 45 miles.  The models have really gotten better on the track forecasting while the intensity forecasting still lags.  Here’s one area where more research money is needed.


Finally, a real cold front is coming.  Yep, might need sweaters and jackets for church in the morning.  The cold won’t last long.  We’ll be back to 80+ by Tuesday.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another CYCLE Man...

As many of you know, I am a big fan of CYCLES regarding weather & climate.   A study of geology confirms this “theory” in the history of sedimentary rocks & fossils.   How refreshing it was sitting in a talk at the National Hurricane Conference and hearing about CYCLEs in the patterns of past hurricanes.    The presenter was Dr. Phil Klotzbach , who has taken over for the late Dr. Bill Gray in giving this year’s hurricane forecast.  Dr. Gray was the 1st to discover a pattern to the number of hurricanes in any decade based on a set of parameters that seemed to be connected.  He was often the lone voice stating that climate change was NOT influencing the number or intensity of storms.   So far that has proven correct as we currently are in the longest lull in major U.S. land falling hurricanes.     His prediction for a slightly below average season really doesn’t mean much for us since there is no skill in indicating location or timing.   He indicated that the biggest key for this season is whether another El Nino develops.  If it does, that is bad news for hurricanes.    I’ll be back down at the Hurricane Conference for the next 3 days.  Stay tuned!


Got home to find my garden got a good soaking with over 2”+ of much needed rainfall.   We are getting into the time of the year where storm totals get very spotty.  One area could get several inches while a few blocks away very little falls.   It’s called summer in the south, although temperature-wise we remain not so hot…just yet.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance...

I’m reading a book by a local author/Doctor friend (Rob Muller) called Hospital Emergency Management.   The timing is perfect since the 2017 National Hurricane Conference begins Monday here in New Orleans.   I’ll be listening to talks all week describing lessons learned from past storms and how to prevent future mistakes.  2 of my colleagues (David Bernard & Nicondra Norwood) at FOX 8 will be speakers and I look forward to their presentations.   The 2017 seasonal hurricane  forecast always draws the biggest crowds even though its value is very limited.   People want to know the future despite the uncertainty of the forecast and the limited skill involved.  Will we see a threat or two this summer?  Probably, but that’s just because of our location in the center of the Gulf Coast.  What concerns me is the record lack of a major land falling hurricane crossing the U.S. Coastline.  It’s been 12 years since Wilma back in 2005.   Sooner or later, the law of averages takes over.   What I’m hearing is the total number of named storms will be below normal due to a small El Nino that is expected to appear during the next 3-6 months.  But you’ve heard the sermon before…it only takes one.   I’ll have more during the week.  Stay tuned!


Weather wise, we are on the last 2-3 weeks of comfortable weather before you know what’s coming.    Usually by the 2nd & 3rd weeks in May, the climbing temps into the upper 80s combined with the tropical muggies make many of us dreading the next 4-5 months.   Frankly, I can deal with the heat better than the cold of Winter.  We are past any real cold, but I expect we could see another front or two pass through bringing drier air that will make for comfy cool nights.  That won’t happen this week, but it won’t be unbearably hot either.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dry Spell May End...

After getting some significant rainfall the 1st several days of April, we have seen zero for the past 9-10 days.   That’s not a big deal right now as our highs are only in the 80s.  In 4-6 weeks, we’ll be flirting with 90+ every day and prolonged dry spells will impact lawns and gardens to a much greater extent.   Right now I’m getting away with watering my plants every other day and my lawn about once a week.   So when will it rain again?  Usually after I get my car washed! Or…when a big event is coming. (Easter)    The past several days have felt delightful as dew points have been in the 40s & 50s, but that is about to change.  Winds will shift back off the Gulf by late Friday and you’ll start to feel the difference in the air.  Will it be warmer?  Not really, but it will FEEL warmer with higher humidity.  As dew points get back into the 60s, we should start to see a few daytime heating showers on Saturday with even more on Easter Sunday.  It won’t rain all day, but it won’t be as pretty as today either.  Historically, April & May have brought us some of our worst floods since fronts lose their southward push and often stall near or around us.  That creates the potential for “training” of storms over the same track resulting in enormous totals in a short period of time.  I don’t see any front coming for this weekend, but we could see some training of showers that could soak some spots while others not far away remain dry.


I have just returned from 5 wonderful days in Puerto Vallarta where the weather was very similar to ours.   Many thousands of Americans have 2nd homes there as the cost of living is very inexpensive.  It truly is one of the prettiest places on Earth and it won’t break your bank to make a visit.   A quick Bubba update…he now has 4 small tomatoes with many more blossoms.  I have dusted him with Sevin as some critters (leaf miners) started to show up.  If all goes well, I should have some tomatoes to pick in about 4 weeks.   Bozo (satsuma) has kept some fruit so I will allow him at least another season to show me he can be a productive tree.  See where today is David Bernard’s birthday.  Scary to think I’m old enough to be his Father!   But then that’s why I’m retired!  Stay tuned!