More Reason for a Climate Ambulance Chaser Watch: Summer
Those who’ve known me through the years know that my go-to line at the end of any video I do is “Enjoy the weather. It’s the only weather you got.” It is sort of a happy-go-lucky line, because I like being happy, and weather has always been a source of great joy to me. I was never the most popular person when I was a kid, for instance, but I always had the good Lord, my family, and the weather. It was a great comfort to me to have the weather. For example: In 8th grade, the cutest girl in the school nicknamed me “Blizzard Belly,” because at that time I looked like a cross between SpongeBob and Patrick, and of course I loved snow. No matter — if it was going to snow, or there was a tropical wave in the Atlantic, I couldn’t care less about what was being said about me. I had the weather, and no one else did.
Lately I have a new line: “If I can show you what it is, you can see what it isn’t.”
In any case, the prospect of a summer with above-average heat in a large part of the nation means yet another reason for a Climate Ambulance Chaser Watch. These occur when something in the weather is made to seem like the worst thing ever and a sign of doom and gloom. Hence the reason I periodically issue a watch. To put this in perspective, I thought it would be nice to show you what has been going on with the last five summers in the United States. Basically, when it comes to growing food and temperatures against the averages, America has been beautiful from the Plains and points east, and “God shed His grace on thee,” as “America the Beautiful” says.
Let’s look at this summer first by recapping the story of the weather since last year.
At the end of the hurricane season we had five analogs going into the winter, and one of them remains quite close — 2006.
The Multivariate ENSO Index is right on top of it.
The forecast from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is forecasting the kind of El Niño we think is brewing (weak Modoki type).
I believe it, given what I am seeing with the Southern Oscillation Index and the cooler Atlantic Basin. This changes the mean sea level pressure patterns in the tropics and argues for convergence and lower pressures in the eastern Pacific, which in turn weakens the easterlies, allowing the warm subsurface waters to come to the top.
The ocean heat content is already showing a strong positive anomaly.
The 2006 summer looked like this:
That’s a warm summer.
In addition, this is currently the warmest May in the last 38 years for the U.S. (Imagine that — me actually evaluating data and not “denying” it.)
The three most similar Mays were followed by summers that looked amazingly close to the 2006 analog:
We have some precedent for a warm summer forecast.
But guess what? Given the last five years, that’s a bold forecast. In spite of what seems like an onslaught of stories about how darn hot it’s been over the last five summers against the 10-year means ending in 2016, we are quite a bit cooler than those means.
Maximum temperatures are more below average than minimum temperatures.
The West has been warmer, but the average temperature and cooling degree days have been well below normal in areas where we grow food and where we use electricity for cooling our homes.
Seems like the post-2013 hysteria is denying what actually has been occurring.
So a hot summer, which of course would elicit cries of hysteria, a) has precedence given the overall pattern and b) is to be expected. It can't be cool all the time.
By the way, recent summers have been wet! That’s great for growing things. Of course, it also breeds pests we do not like. But life thrives when the conditions are ripe.
Now here is an interesting fact: While certainly cooler than the period 2007-2016, the hysteria about the drought during the period we are in is way out of line. Look at the 30-year average from 1960-1989 for summer precipitation.
Recent times are far better off. And don't even get me started on the 1930s and what happened in the heartland.
Okay, I riled myself up there, not you.
The latest CFSv2 has a dry fry evolving in Texas for the summer.
It’s cooler overall than I believe it will be in the West. But here’s the point: If we have a hot summer, or someone in the center of the nation gets exceedingly dry (there is always drought somewhere), it would be a departure from the last five summers overall. And keep in mind, those came after the hysteria over the so-called Texas perma drought and the return to the dust bowl era that was being pushed after a trio of hot summers from 2010-2012. By the way, that sequence looked much like the reversal of the 1950s major Texas drought.
Remember this article from back in 2014? “The Coming Nine Months: Mud in the Eye of the So-Called ‘Permanent’ Drought?”
How did the precipitation look from June 2014-February 2015?
A lot more above normal than below normal.
The point is that, given the chance of a hot summer (any summer is associated with hot weather, it’s just that now it gets blown out of proportion), I thought showing you what it is can help you with what it isn’t. It makes the weather more enjoyable, because it’s the only weather I’ve got — whether I am still Blizzard Belly or not.
Joe Bastardi, a pioneer in extreme weather and long-range forecasting, is a contributor to The Patriot Post on environmental issues. He is the author of “The Climate Chronicle: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore — and Others.”