Saturday, June 30, 2012

One hundred plus ville awaits!

Welcome to my town and sorry, its real name is actually Forsyth, Missouri. That thing about one hundred plus refers to the daily high temperatures that have become so much a part of life around these parts.

Starting around the 23rd of June, a system known as a high pressure ridge set up shop over the Midwest. And, in of itself, that would not be very unusual, excepting the fact that this ridge remained in place for a long long time! Over a week now, with no end in sight.

Under that dome, we all sit, sweltering through hot and dry days broken only late in the evening when the exceptionally dry air undergoes 'radiational cooling' overnight. A monotonous pattern of existence that forces many to get their outdoor activities done before eleven in the morning when the temperature is already in the nineties. Then, it's time to hang out indoors, close to the air conditioner until the next morning's cool if only but brief reprieve.

Around this invisible dome, violent storms swirl almost daily. Close to a million lost power this date due to power outages that hit states to my north and east. Washington alone had 800,000 siting in the dark for a period of time. But, I consider them lucky as out to my west over four hundred have watched from afar while their homes burned to the ground. Wildfires, sweltering heat and increasingly violent weather seems to be the new haute culture courtesy of climate change.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Well, my summer started right on schedule! Time for some AC action!

For me the beginning of summer is anytime I finally have to crank up the AC. That occurred, for the first time on June the 23rd which was pretty close to the official start of summer on June the 21st.With temperatures forecast to approach 100 Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit assumed for all temperature readings) over the next few days, I thought it prudent to try and keep my home at around 80, if at all possible.

Earlier that morning I was out riding my bike at 8AM and could tell, or more accurately feel that the day was going to end on a warm note. Overnight the temperature had dropped down to a cool 63, but by early morning with a bright sun and light south easterly winds, the temperature had hit 82 by 10AM and was climbing fast!  After getting home and as I turned on the AC, I reflected on the fact that my average power consumption had been running at about 14 kilowatt hours for most of the spring, but that now I would be lucky to keep it in the low to middle twenties. This increase would be reflected in a much higher electric bill if I didn’t figure out something real soon. After the AC had run for about an hour and the inside temp was down to 78.6, the unit finally turned off. In order to get the house down from 80.2 to 78.6 had required about 4.5 kilowatt hours of power (roughly equal for half a buck of electricity). Now the game will be to see how well the house can maintain that level (and at what cost) as the outside gets pretty toasty. (One side note; it generally costs a lot less to cool a house than it does to heat one).

As the day wore on, it became evident that we might, in fact, see 100 as the temperature at 1PM was already at 94! Traditionally, the hottest part of the day occurs sometime around 3PM. In addition, I had already surpassed the 14 kWh mark for power so I’m now figuring the day will end up with something like 28 kWh by midnight. That’s something like $3 in electricity for just one day and doesn’t bode well for this early in the hot season. I might just have to execute my backup plan which would be to relocate into the basement for the summer. That would be a hassle, but it would be doable.

The high for this date was 98, which was plenty hot enough. Even hotter weather looks to be in store for Sunday, June the 24th.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The summer of 2012 will likely be a hot one. Ya think?

Here it is mid June and already a summer pattern has emerged that forebodes a hot summer yet to come. At 9:30 AM, the thermometer already reads 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The forecast for the coming week calls for highs of 91F, day after day. No rain is in the forecast and so the moderate drought conditions will persist. One has to wonder just how bad things will get.

So far this spring, I’ve been able to avoid running the AC. As you can see by the graph of electrical usage, I’ve managed to stay below 500 kilowatts for each the spring months. It’s been really nice not having large electric bills to have to address at the end of each month as a result. However, with really hot weather in the offing, I’ll be forced to make a choice; either turn on the AC or move to the basement. Hmmm, think I’ll opt for the latter.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My initial long range forecast for the Winter of 2012-13!

Last year I came out with a winter forecast I thought was pretty decent even if it turned out to be less than accurate. So, this year, I'm going for the same deal – a harsh and bitterly cold season. Why would I do that?

Here's the deal. Weather scientists are looking closely at three factors that have traditionally spelled trouble; low sunspot activity, active volcanoes in the arctic and a progressive alternating pattern of La Nina and El Nino's warming and then cooling the waters off the coast of South America.

If you put together that combination of La Nina, El Nino, La Nina again and you look at what has happened historically, and we also understand that increased volcanic activity loads the atmosphere with cooling dust and you take into consideration that low sunspot activity tends to lessen the amount of solar heating globally, then one could come to the conclusion that a series of very cold winters... could be on the way. Perhaps the next three years could see record cold in the northern latitudes with even the southern climes getting wacked a time or two over the coldest months.

Should this forecast come to pass, it would be a good idea for everyone in the northern states to either plan a vacation in Florida or to stock up on firewood.

Southwest Missouri in midst of a 'moderate drought'!

Last twelve weeks!

One of the keynotes of global climate change is thought to be extremes of weather. That pretty much describes what has been going on lately. Ya think! Last year we had flooding rains and this year precipitation is down by almost 40% for the period January through May. Add that to the fact that the same period of time was more than thirteen percent warmer than average and viola – drought conditions are setting in for a spell. Weather scientists think this pattern will also persist through late August.