Just when we thought the northern hemisphere’s tropical cyclone season was dead and done, a category-five-equivalent storm arises in the Arabian Sea, in a location where none had ever been observed.
Yemen, a sad nation as it is, will endure a natural pounding in addition to the current manmade one.
On a happier note, sometimes a desert blooms. This is one of those times in the driest place on earth.
Also, in this busy weather-news week, El Niño drives the new North American November forecast, and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reach a new landmark as conferees prepare for the critical climate change meeting in Paris.
Let’s go Around The World.
Atacama Desert Blooms After March Rains
High in the Andes Mountains of Chile, the Atacama Desert is shielded from precipitation by giant peaks to the east and a layer of stable maritime air to the west.
Skies are clear under nearly permanent high pressure. But once in many blue moons, especially during an El Niño, enough moisture penetrates to the desert to cause a rain event.
Last March, many years’ worth of rain fell in a single day; the result of that rain is seen now. Long-dormant seeds germinated during the summer and the desert is now alive with color.
As the weather has returned to normally dry (some places never before recorded rain), the plants will die and the seeds will patiently await the next period of precipitation.
Climate Prediction Center November Forecast
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting an El Niño November in the US, with temperatures above normal in the northern states and west coast, and below normal in south Texas.
Precipitation is also predicted to be typical of an El Niño year, with wetter than normal conditions over the south and drier than normal in the north.
During an El Niño, the greater than normal instability and thunderstorm activity associated with the warm water in the equatorial Pacific induces a low-latitude jet stream over the subtropical parts of the US and Atlantic Ocean. The position of the high latitude jet stream is farther north than normal, locking cold air in Canada.
The CPC forecast for the three-month winter period December through February looks very much like the November forecast, as El Niño will be at its peak.
The one notable difference is an increase in the precipitation forecast for California in the winter months. Californians eagerly await the rain amid increasing emergency measures to deal with the four-year drought.
Atlantic Hurricane Season Set To Wrap Up
The hurricane season in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans runs through November, but November storms are rare, especially in the Atlantic. There is currently no activity in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific.
By contrast, the western Pacific typhoon season runs year-round, and the water is warm enough to support powerful typhoons in the winter. This week, there is nothing going on in the western Pacific, but a powerful cyclone is pounding the coast of Yemen, where such a thing is unprecedented.
Record Setting Cyclone Hits Yemen
Super Cyclone Chapala made landfall in Yemen about three hours ago. This is not an everyday event. In fact, it isn’t even an every century event.
The highest recorded wind in a tropical cyclone in Yemen before Chapala was 35 miles per hour. Chapala’s winds were measured at over 80 miles per hour at landfall.
A Hard Day’s Four Years For California: Beetles Kill Trees
It’s beetles with a double-e and they’re killing trees in California, not churning out musical million-sellers.
The proliferation of bugs is related to the four-year drought, which has weakened the trees and allowed the bark beetles to feast and proliferate.
The Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency, which seems to be the normal state of the Golden State.
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Reaches A Significant Milestone
Atmospheric carbon dioxide as measured by the observatory on Mount Mauna Loa, Hawaii reaches an annual minimum in October. This year’s minimum was just over 397 parts per million (ppm).
Last week’s reading was 398.48 ppm.
2015 will be the first year in which the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere averages over 400 ppm. , and the milestone will be completed either next year or in 2017, when the readings stay above 400 for the entire year.
Reliable readings of CO2 indicate that the atmospheric concentration crossed the 300 ppm level around 1910. Since greenhouse gas production by the burning of fossil fuels has not been reduced, despite much lip service to the problem, current projections are for CO2 levels to reach 475 to 550 by the year 2100.
This will not limit the change in temperature of the surface of the earth to the 2.0° Centigrade (3.6° Fahrenheit) above which scientists warn catastrophic changes in the climate could take place.
Lead-Up To Climate Conference Produces Promises — But Not Enough
COP-21, the UN-sponsored 21st session of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change begins on November 30. Countries were supposed to submit their proposals for reduction of (their own) greenhouse gas emissions by October 1. Of the 195 countries who are the Parties, 146 met the deadline.
According to a UN report issued last Friday, the pledges — if they were adhered to — would only limit the rise of temperature to 2.7° C (4.8° F), missing the goal of 2° C.
The World Whirls Into Winter — Or Summer
November is the start of serious cold weather in the northern hemisphere, while the folks down under warm up. Large departures from normal temperature and precipitation seem to be more frequent these days, perhaps due to global warming. How is the change of season affecting things where you live?