April Showers Make New Record

May 18, 2019

Here in the midwest, spring planting is weeks behind schedule as water logged fields keep farmers from getting to work – and forecast is for yet another period of heavy rains in the offing.

You’re not wrong. Heavy rains are coming more frequently.

Robert Scribbler blog:

According to reports from NOAA, the U.S. just saw its wettest 12 month period since record keeping began 124 years ago. The fact that this stretch of extremely wet weather was preceded by a time of extraordinary drought during the 2010s is also notable. Because it is exactly this kind of swing from one extreme to the next that you would expect in a world being forced to warm by fossil fuel burning.

(Annual precipitation has increased by about 7 percent across the contiguous U.S. during the past Century. This jibes with our understanding of atmospheric physics in which the rate of evaporation and precipitation increase as the amount of atmospheric moisture climbs by 6-8 percent for each 1 degree C of global warming. It’s worth noting that though precipitation is increasing, it doesn’t mean that soils, in general, hold more moisture. This is due to the fact that rising temperatures also increase the rates at which soils dry. And because precipitation and drying are not spread evenly, you tend to get regions and times of preference for more intense storms or more intense drought.

….overall global surface warming in the range of 1.1 C is having the effect of amping up global evaporation and precipitation rates by 6-8 percent. In the U.S. this larger climate change influence helped to spur the multi-year droughts across the U.S. west as well as severe drought years for the Central and Eastern U.S.

On the flip side of the hydrological spectrum, warmer land surfaces and oceans have helped to fuel storms through increased evaporation of water moisture — pumping more water vapor into storms and enabling convection. For the past 12 months this has manifest in the form of the powerful and moisture-rich Hurricane Florence. It has also generally loaded the dice for powerful storms and flooding rains as a persistent trough swung over the Central and Eastern U.S. during spring of 2019.

7 Responses to “April Showers Make New Record”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Here in NO VA outside of DC, we are part of the USA that has seen the wettest 365 days ever. Some 80+ inches of rain, more than ever seen before in a single year’s span here.

    I have been mowing the lawn twice a week or more, hacking away on all the hedges and bushes that are growing like crazy, and am getting ready (if it ever stops raining) to power wash the brick walks, the Sport Court, and the siding on the north side of the house and garage, all of which are showing green or black algae and mold. Been living here for almost 50 years, and it IS getting wetter—-and I am getting tired of rain—-so much for moving to the “sunny South”.

  2. Terry Donte Says:

    Last year it was dryer, permanent drought, climate change. This year it is to much rain, climate change. In 1956 it rained 3 plus inches in May in SF, the average is under an inch. That variation is called weather. All we have here is weather. it rained 60 plus inches in 1878 so occasionally it rains a lot more than normal which is a human term for average which is the real world does not exist, it is a construct of the human mind.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Have you looked at the dates on the maps, Terry? The first is based on data that goes back to 1895, the second to 1958. Long term changes in weather become changes in climate, remember?

      DC’s long term average annual rainfall is ~40 inches, the 60 inches in 1878 was weather, the 60+ inches in 2018 and the 80+ in the last 365 days are looking like climate change.

      And please don’t start maundering on about “average” again—-it is NOT “a construct of the human mind”, but a principle of statistical mathematics, along with mean, median, and mode.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Please please please tell me where you got the idea that last year’s US weather represented “permanent drought” rather than the stalling out of the northern jet stream (aka “polar vortex”).

      If there’s some person or site out there that’s giving out such bullshit misinformation about climate change, we’d like to know about it so we can stomp them at the source.

      (Maybe it’s the same person that misinformed you that the City of Miami’s flooding was due to subsidence instead of sea level rise, even though it’s situated on [porous] rock.)

  3. Terry Donte Says:

    That last number was for 2018 in Washington DC. sorry about that.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Just a side note to say I’m a big fan of the blue/white/red shifting Gaussian curve animation. To me it’s a perfect depiction of the insidious shifting nature of “normal” that CC represents.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yes, being a big fan of graphic display of data, I replayed that part of the clip several times—-excellent stuff.

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