Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2 comments:
Why Oceans Matter: Heat Capacity & Climate



By Meteorologist/Oceanographer Alex Davies and Forecaster Mike Natoli

Did you know the heat capacity of the ocean is four times greater than that of the atmosphere? That means it will take four times longer to heat and cool a volume of water compared to volume of air under similar environment conditions. 

This is why it takes a while to boil a large pot of water when your make pasta, even though the heat coming-off the stove top burning is extremely hot. So why does that matter in terms of local or global climate? 

The ocean acts as the great regulator of our land surface temperatures, especially near the coast, and help to re-distribute heat from the equator to the poles through large-scalar surface current like the Gulf Stream, and through deep-ocean currents known as Thermohaline Circulation (meaning "heat" and "salt") or the "Ocean Conveyor Belt." 


"Ocean Conveyor Belt" from Oceanmotion.org
Have you ever noticed that on hot summer days in mid-summer, it is more pleasant in places along the coast like Bethany Beach, Delaware or Fenwick Island, DE compared with inland locations like Salisbury, Maryland, Dover, Delaware, and Richmond, Virginia? 

This was because the ocean temperature during that time was only in the upper 70s, while the inland air temperatures were topping-out near 100 degrees, or more. The same thing happens in the early winter as places near the ocean or along The Chesapeake Bay or Delaware Bay often have a tougher time getting "all snow" events as the air temperature is being impacted by the relatively warmer water temperature.
So if you are looking for a snowy winter ahead, ironically you would want a COLD Chesapeake Bay and a WARM western Atlantic! We will soon take a long range look at that possibility in a future post.



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

40 comments:
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      Monday, April 21, 2014

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      Snapback Into Summer?

      OUR LONG RANGE TEAM EXPECTS THE COOL DOWN TO CONTINUE 
      INTO EARLY MAY, THEN A POSSIBLE RAPID INTRODUCTION 
      TO SUMMER-LIKE WEATHER BY MOTHER'S DAY

      8:15 PM EST 4/21 - If you've never heard of the "Rubber Band Theory" of long range forecasting, our short version is below. The concept was first attributed to Dr. Joel Myers, founder of AccuWeather. (Note: This is the geek side of the rubber band theory, there is a well-developed body of work on this idea in how men & women behave in relationships... something way more complicated than weather.)

      The Rubber Band Theory (in weather) goes as follows: The longer duration of an abnormal weather pattern (such as below or above normal temps), the more likely that when that pattern eventually breaks, it does so violently and in a short period of time. Much like a rubber band will snap back more rapidly the longer it is stretched apart. 

      This year, if the theory is correct, the seemingly endless parade of blue colored long range maps will come to an abrupt end. What we believe will follow by Mother's Day is a "snapback" to much hotter conditions - and temperatures in this scenario go WAY above normal for much of the country. 

      How viable is this idea? Only time will tell. If life experience is to be counted as worthy of inclusion in the climate record, this writer remembers like yesterday a searing hot April day in 1985-- the 24th to be exact, when temperatures during a Spring track meet soared to 94 F in suburban Philadelphia. 

      The very next year, on the same day, it snowed 2 inches-- April 24, 1986. Let's hope this time the snapback goes in the hot, not cold, direction!

      Forecaster Foot, Long Range Coordinator Nic Roberson and the Long Range Team