There’s plenty of weather to talk about this week, including a potential Super-Typhoon and a major change in the jet stream pattern, but geopolitics also enters the weather world in important ways. Let’s go Around the World.
Russia Establishes Arctic Strategic Military Command
Russia will establish a strategic military command center in Severomorsk because of the increasing importance of the Arctic region adjacent to Russia. Given the current state of tension between Russia and the West, conflict seems more likely than cooperation.
There is an untapped source of oil under the Arctic Ocean; in addition, that ocean will soon be ice-free because of global warming, and Russia claims substantial control over shipping through the area.
Climate Talks In Lima, Peru
The United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change convened Monday in the capital of Peru. Officially this is known as the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
As an indication of how far behind the curve the ‘Parties’ are, the Kyoto agreements were reached in 1997, were weakly adhered to, and had no enforcement mechanism. The United States did not even sign the agreement. Since then, basically nothing has been accomplished in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. They continue to rise monthly — as does the average global temperature.
The Lima meeting is basically an attempt to agree to try to agree on international emission controls at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties next December in Paris. Tempers and temperatures are likely to rise considerably before negotiators reach any final agreement.
Peru is a fitting place for the conference, as the livable part of the country is mainly desert-dry and dependent for water on the rapidly shrinking glaciers in the Andes Mountains.
Worst Storm In Thirty Years In Brisbane
A supercell thunderstorm turned deadly in Brisbane, Australia last Thursday, producing 85 mile per hour winds and golf-ball-size hail.
Damage is estimated at $200,000,000 and rising.
Though no tornadoes were reported, the event was the result of extreme instability in the atmosphere, with currents of air rising and falling at hurricane speeds. The updrafts were strong enough to keep hailstones aloft long enough to grow to a size that could smash car windows and damage roofs of buildings.
Hurricane Season Ends In The Atlantic And Eastern Pacific Oceans, But Trouble Brews Elsewhere
Tropical cyclone season ended on November 30 in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, but not so in the western Pacific. In that region, water temperatures are high enough to support tropical system formation all year, and a new tropical storm that is a serious threat to the Philippines has formed.
Tropical Storm Hagupit, now located well south of Guam in the open Pacific, will become a typhoon today.
Hagupit is forecast to become the seventh Super-Typhoon (winds over 150 miles per hour) of this windy season on Saturday as it heads for the beleaguered Philippines. The island nation is still recovering from Super-Typhoons Haiyan last year and Rammasun this summer.
A Major Change In The Jet Stream Pattern Over North America
For many months the jet stream has veered north over the eastern Pacific Ocean, creating a blocking high pressure system over California. The resulting buckle in the jet stream causes a trough over the eastern United States, and allows cold air from northern Canada to take a direct route to the lower 48.
The ridge has been briefly disrupted on several occasions only to re-form quickly. This time is different.
A series of powerful storms has smashed through the ridge, first in its northern section, and this week increasingly southward. Storms are expected to reach southern California by mid-week.
The result of the flattening of the jet stream ridge is an equivalent flattening of the trough over the eastern US. The arctic air will be shunted eastward through Canada, only briefly touching the extreme northern plains and Upper Midwest.
Temperatures over the entire eastern two-thirds of the country will average ten degrees or more above average for the next couple of weeks.
Will The Pattern Change In Europe?
Most of Europe has been under the influence of a jet stream ridge for a long time. Recently the jet stream developed a southern branch, and this brought cooler weather to southern Europe.
Last week a cut-off low pressure system formed in the southern branch and brought flooding rains to France. As the low pressure system moves slowly east, most long-range forecasts indicate a more normal jet stream flow through central Europe will take its place.
The result of this new jet stream configuration will be colder weather in northern Europe, including the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia, but warmer than normal temperatures in Italy, Greece, and southern France. Whether this pattern persists through the winter will probably depend on the strength of a nascent El Niño. More about that next week.
Climate Change And You
Weather has never been so interesting, as the world warms before our eyes. What do you see?