Groundwater drought continues

December 13th, 2014 at 6:38 pm by under Weather

(Courtesy: Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District)


Stage II Alarm Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 471.7 elevation ft-msl
Barton Springs: 62 cfs 10-day average
– — – — – — –
The trend of rollercoaster-like rise and falls in groundwater levels this year continues as big rains in November generated enough surface runoff to cause many of the creeks over the recharge zone of the Barton Springs Segment of the Edwards aquifer to flow for a few days. Barton Creek has been flowing continuously, albeit at a decreasing rate, since November 21st and 22nd over which period some areas received upwards of 5 inches of rain (4.25 inches at District offices). As a result, both Barton Springs and Lovelady monitor well (district drought trigger sites) experienced sudden rises in their hydrographs. Currently, Barton Springs discharge has started falling after reaching a maximum 10-day average of 65cfs; Water level in Lovelady monitor well continues to rise. According to District rules, both drought triggers sites must be above their respective drought thresholds for a drought declaration to be lifted. It is unlikely that the Lovelady well water level will rise above the 478.4 ft-msl Stage II Alarm Drought threshold before peaking, but that remains to be seen. The season’s cool temperatures and cloudy weather improve the odds that any rain we do get will have a better chance of generating considerable amounts of recharge. The Climate Prediction Center has increased the likelihood it places on the development of ENSO conditions for this winter to 65% and expect it to last into spring 2015.See the District’s latest official Drought Chart here:http://www.bseacd.org/aquifer-science/drought-status/

December bird forecast

December 7th, 2014 at 6:29 pm by under Weather
House Finch photo by John Benson via Creative Commons
Purple Finch photo by Fyn Kynd via Creative Commons
Pine Siskin photo by Rodney Campbell via Creative Commons

What to watch for in December: You’re a cute one, Mr. Finch

Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.


Study finds that El Nino events are intensifying

December 5th, 2014 at 8:27 pm by under Weather

University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Photo: Sea surface temperature data set

Using state-of-the-art computer models maintained at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, researchers determined that El Niño has intensified over the last 6,000 years. This pier and cafe are in Ocean Beach, California.

Photo: Jon Sullivan

It was fishermen off the coast of Peru who first recognized the anomaly, hundreds of years ago. Every so often, their usually cold, nutrient-rich water would turn warm and the fish they depended on would disappear. Then there was the ceaseless rain.

They called it “El Niño” — The Boy, or Christmas Boy — because of its timing near the holiday each time it returned, every three to seven years.

El Niño is not a contemporary phenomenon; it’s long been the Earth’s dominant source of year-to-year climate fluctuation. But as the climate warms and the feedbacks that drive the cycle change, researchers want to know how El Niño will respond. A team of researchers led by the University of Wisconsin’s Zhengyu Liu will publish the latest findings in this quest Nov. 27 in Nature.


Super Typhoon Hagupit takes aim at Haiyan-ravaged Philippines

December 4th, 2014 at 8:39 pm by under Weather

(Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground)

Super Typhoon Hagupit has exploded into mighty Category 5 storm with 175 mph winds and a central pressure of 905 mb, and is threatening the same portion of the Philippine Islands devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. The spiral bands of the massive storm are already bringing gusty winds and heavy rain showers to Samar and Leyte Islands, which bore the brunt of Haiyan’s massive storm surge and incredible winds–rated at 190 mph at landfall on November 7, 2013 by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Haiyan killed over 7,000 people in the Philippines, with Tacloban (population 200,000) suffering the greatest casualties, thanks to a 20+’ storm surge. Thousands of people still live in tents in Tacloban in the wake of Haiyan, and mass evacuations have begun to get these vulnerable people to safety.

Figure 1. An infrared VIIRS image of Super Typhoon Hagupit from the Suomi satellite at 15:55 UTC December 3, 2014, revealed a structure very similar to that of the standard hurricane symbol (lower right.) At the time, Hagupit was an intensifying Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. Image credit: Dan Lindsey, NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA/Colorado State.


Storm continues to pound California

December 3rd, 2014 at 9:39 pm by under Weather

Over the past several days, San Francisco has recorded more rainfall than they got in all of 2013!

Read more on the impacts California is seeing from a powerful storm system out west in the article below from WeatherBug:

A potent Pacific storm lashing the Golden State will throw more batches of heavy rain and mountain snow across central and northern California through Thursday. Although it will cause some flooding problems, the rain will ultimately begin to replenish the region`s vastly depleted reservoirs and feed thirsty lawns.

The complex storm is pin-wheeling just off the northern California Coast. Thanks to its deep Pacific moisture, the storm is drenching the northern and southern part of the state with heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, catching up to the storm will be an equally potent upper-level disturbance. It will be this pulse of energy that will team up to allow another 1-to-3 inches of heavy rain to fall in locations. That will mean some of the higher peaks surrounding the San Francisco Bay area, as well as places from Los Angeles to San Diego, could be swamped by nearly 6 inches of total rainfall by the end of this week, with potentially 2-to-3 inches falling in the cities themselves.

Local climate change conference seeks awareness, solutions

December 2nd, 2014 at 8:17 pm by under Weather

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Regional Conference in Austin; Rep. Lamar Smith seen as key for legislative solution

Richard Bradley, 3rd Coast Regional Coordinator with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, will join 50 other climate advocates Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7 in Austin, TX for a weekend of climate advocacy training.

“People can find the science and problem of climate change confusing and overwhelming. We can all agree that the science will never be settled, but we know enough. After all, we never know when we’re going to be in a car crash yet we wear seatbelts. Buckling that seatbelt doesn’t cost you a thing and protects you against possible dramatic consequences.  Well we can take out the same kind of no-cost insurance policy that’s based on free enterprise principles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, as an added benefit we can reduce the need for EPA regulation, create jobs and grow the economy at a faster clip than if we did nothing at all; we just need to convince our elected officials.” said Bradley.

WHAT: Saturday Agenda – Introductory Training Workshop, Keynote Address from atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and advanced lobby training session.

WHO: Local members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) — and anyone else who would like to attend!

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 6, 9:00 am – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7, 8:30 am – noon.

WHERE: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX.


Ultra hi-res NASA visualization shows CO2 swirling around the globe

December 1st, 2014 at 6:52 pm by under Weather


The following is a guest post from Paul McDivitt, a second-year master’s student studying journalism and mass communication research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is taking a course in journalistic blogging from me there. This is his second post at Discover. His first was at Keith Kloor’s Collide-a-Scape blog. Follow Paul on twitter @paulmcdivitt.

In the wake of an historic agreement between the United States and China to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a new visualization from NASA shows just how important these two nations are in combating climate change.

Courtesy of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the visualization — produced by an ultra-high-resolution computer model and spanning May 2005 to June 2007 — shows weather patterns sweeping plumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, major sources of human-caused emissions are concentrated in North America and Asia, especially China, as well as Europe.


Arctic cold front brings back the chill this week

November 30th, 2014 at 7:56 pm by under Weather

Significant changes are coming to our local weather in the next 12 hours.

A powerful cold front that dropped temperatures in Denver by 24 degrees in 49 minutes, and dropped temperatures in Amarillo by 41 degrees in 3 hours, will plow through Central Texas early Monday morning.

We will reach daytime highs in the middle 60s before sunrise Monday, with temperatures tumbling through the rest of the day. Temperatures are forecast to dip into the upper 30s to lower 40s across the area by sunset Monday evening–and with north winds gusting to 30 mph, it will feel even colder.

Be sure to take appropriate steps to protect yourself and your pets from the coming cold snap. Warmer weather will return Thursday and Friday.

Quiet 2014 Atlantic hurricane season ends Sunday

November 29th, 2014 at 9:41 am by under Weather
Hurricane Arthur reached Category 2 strength on July 3 before cutting across North Carolina’s Outer Banks. (NOAA)

NOLA.com:  A quiet 2014 Atlantic hurricane season ends on Sunday (Nov. 30) after producing only eight named storms, including six hurricanes, of which only two were major, National Weather Service forecasters said.

The season’s tally of storms was also below the average for the years 1981 through 2010, in which seasons averaged 12 named storms per years, including six hurricanes of which three were major hurricanes. Forecasters and climate scientists, however, warned that two quiet years give no indication of what the future may bring.


Global warming = more extreme cold events?

November 26th, 2014 at 8:38 am by under Weather

Visualization of a very wavy northern hemisphere jet stream. Credit: NASA

It may be the timeliest — and most troubling — idea in climate science.

Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’sStephen Vavrus, published a paper called “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes.” In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of us live — a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the U.S. has seen lately.