Holy long underwear! A new paper led by Dr. Simon Proud, research fellow at the Department of Physics and the National Center for Earth Observation, reveals the coldest cloud-top temperature in a severe thunderstorm cloud in the Pacific, observed by an Earth-orbiting satellite.
This temperature of -111°C is more than 30°C colder than typical storm clouds and is the coldest known measurement of storm cloud temperature.
In the lowest section of the Earth’s atmosphere, known as the troposphere, air temperature decreases with altitude and can reach as low as -90°C in the tropics. Thunderstorms and tropical cyclones can grow to high altitudes, up to 18km (11mi), and therefore the tops of these storm clouds become extremely cold.
On 29 December 2018, the VIIRS sensor aboard the American NOAA-20 satellite, overflew a severe thunderstorm in the South Western Pacific, approximately 400km South of Nauru. This storm was so powerful that it pushed through the troposphere and into the stratosphere; continuing to cool as it gained height despite the surrounding air being warmer: An event known as an overshooting top. This overshoot led to the storm cloud becoming the coldest known storm cloud temperature recorded, -111°C, and the tops of the clouds reached an altitude of over 20.5km (12.8mi) above sea level.
Dr. Proud explains. “We found that these really cold temperatures seem to be becoming more common—with the same number of extremely cold temperatures in the last three years as in the 13 years before that. This is important, as thunderstorms with colder clouds tend to be more extreme, and more hazardous to people on the ground due to hail, lightning and wind. We now need to understand if this increase is due to our changing climate or whether it is due to a “perfect storm” of weather conditions producing outbreaks of extreme thunderstorms in the last few years.”
Now that the “Guthrie Gibson” is safely on its way to Tulsa I can tell you the repairs done to it were executed by the extraordinarily talented Edward Dick at Victor Guitars https://victorguitar.com/ on South Broadway.
Edward also teaches the art of lutherie there at the shop. The Colorado School of Lutherie is where skill and artistry combine to create new musical instruments. https://coloradoschooloflutherie.com/
Something a little different today… Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite stringed instrument shops run by a brilliant luthier who is also a good friend.
For security reasons my friend asked that I not reveal his name or location because the object in his temporary possession has huge value, both monetary and historical.
So, during our conversation my friend says to me, “I have to show you something incredible”. He brings out a 1940 Gibson ¾ LG-1 guitar that belonged to renowned American folk music icon Woody Guthrie.
My luthier compadre was finishing a small repair on the instrument before sending it on today to The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK (https://woodyguthriecenter.org/).
My picture does not capture the energy and draw of this fascinating guitar.
I get “butterflies” in my stomach even now just thinking about all of the music this guitar has made and the miles it’s traveled.
Woody Guthrie was a force in American music and society. His influence goes way beyond his most famous song, “This Land Is Your Land”. His music and life influenced generations of performers including Bruce Springsteen and Bono. You can learn more here: https://www.woodyguthrie.org/biography/biography1.htm
Not a bad experience for a casual stop in at a friend’s shop! Tomorrow I will reveal the name and location of the shop.
As the U.S. dives headlong into another severe weather season I think it’s important to note that severe damage can happen in the absence of a tornado. Just recently a potent weather system on March 25, 2021 led to an outbreak of tornadoes across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee…some of which were strong to violent. In addition to those tornadoes very strong microburst winds caused damage as well. In Tennessee a big tornado with a width of 350 yards was on the ground for over 22 miles. It was classified as an EF-3 with estimated winds of 130 mph. As you can imagine there was quite a bit of damage. There were also a couple of massive microbursts in East Nashville each on the ground for 40 miles with a damage path 4 miles wide! These gusts hit 85 mph, which is the equivalent to an EF-0 tornado.
OK, the big container ship was “un-wedged” from the Suez Canal March 29, 2021 after blocking worldwide cargo traffic for 6 days.
The canal handles around 12% of seaborne trade, making it an essential point of passage. Each day of blockage disrupted more than $9 billion worth of goods, according to The Associated Press, citing estimates from Lloyd’s List.
According to published reports, a strong sandstorm caused by winds in excess of 40 mph is a primary culprit in how the massive 400 meter (1312 ft.) Ever Given got turned sideways and wedged into one of the most vital passageways on the planet. The sandstorm occurred around March 23rd, 2021.
It goes to show again what I always say…”Weather Is Everything”.
Love ’em or hate ’em we have to acknowledge that spring snowstorms are critically important for our water supply. Most of the water that comes out of your tap is the result of snow melt, not localized rainfall.
March has been generous to us for snow, especially the March 13-15 Blizzard.
We’re well set up for a decent summer now with ample snowpack over the state.
Now as we are seeing deaths from tornadoes as severe weather season begins in the U.S. the cost in human life of the February storms in Texas is becoming more clear.
On Thursday Texas officials revealed that at least 111 people died in the cold, ice, and snow of the February storms. This is a higher death toll than the 68 lives lost from Hurricane Harvey.
Most of the victims died as a result of hypothermia, including an 11-year old boy who froze to death in his family’s bed in the Houston area as temperatures dropped to record lows. Others died from vehicle accidents, medical equipment failures, chronic illnesses that were suddenly worsened, a lack of home oxygen, falls, and fire, state officials said. Others died of carbon monoxide poisoning, in some cases as they tried to heat their homes.
Some of the deaths took place as early as Feb. 11; others died as a result of their illnesses and injuries as recently as March 5.
The disruptions to infrastructure, most-notably including the power grid, will be investigation and maybe litigated in the months and years to come. These types of cases are when forensic consulting meteorologists are retained as expert witnesses to determine the scope of the deadly weather and the degree to which it could (or should) have been anticipated.
Everyone wants better snow accumulation forecasts and new research from the DOE’s Brookhaven lab may be an incredible breakthrough.
Researchers have identified that drizzle drops that are “super-cooled” (between 32°F and 14°F) which come into contact with ice particles, freeze, then EXPLODE creating 10 to 1000 times more ice particles which in turn touch other drizzle drops repeating the process in a cascade.
This knowledge will help weather models to more accurately forecast the amount of ice within clouds, so the amount of snow coming from those clouds will be known much more accurately.