June 13, 2013 5:28 PM | No CommentsA new Climate Change Projection study was released by the Newfoundland & Labrador Government today and its the first of its kind for the Province.The study was developed by Dr. Joel Finnis, who is a Climatologist & Professor of Geography at Memorial University. Dr. Finnis holds a PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado and is a leading expert in Canada on the downscaling of global climate projection models, for the application to smaller regions, such as Newfoundland and Labrador.• Used 7 regional simulations from 4 global climate models• 4 global climate models used: 1 Canadian, 1 British, 2 American.• Down-scaled from global climate projection models to 50 km by 50 km grid area.• Study used 18 weather stations for temperature and precipitation• Study used 19 weather stations for extreme precipitation events• Projected 19 temperature and precipitation variables• Projected extreme precipitation for 3 intervals for 6 return periods• Measured change from the end of the 20th century (1968-2000) to the mid 21st century (2038-2070)CLIMATE CHANGE ALREADY UNDER WAY-Temperatures in NL are already rising and are at records levels.-Looking at the Provincial data, average temperatures in the past few years are about 2 degrees Celsius higher than they were the mid-1990's.-Over the longer term, temperatures in the Province are now about 1.5 degrees higher than the 1961-1990 average.-Here in NL, Warmest years on record have occurred in the past 15 years.-An increasing number of hurricanes and tropical storms have been hitting the province.-The Province has been experiencing an average of 11.5 Tropical Storms and Hurricane per 10 year period since 1990. Prior to 1990 the average was 6 storms per 10 year period.CLIMATE PROJECTION HIGHLIGHTSTEMPERATURES-Newfoundland Temperatures are projected to rise by between 2º and 3º C by mid 21st century.-Labrador Temperatures are projected to rise by between 3º and 4º C by mid 21st century.-Temperature rise will result in fewer "heating degree days", meaning less demand for energy to heat buildings.-Temperature rise will mean fewer days with frost, meaning a shorter winter.-Temperature rise will result in more "growing degree days", meaning longer growing seasons.PRECIPITATION-There will be more days with high levels of precipitation (10 mm or more).-Extreme precipitation events will increase for all locations.-In most cases...- 1-in-100 year storms are projected to become 1-in-50 or 1-in-25 year storms- 1-in-50 year storms are projected to become 1-in-25 or 1-in-20 year storms- 1-in-20 year storms are projected to become 1-in-5 or 1-in-2 year storms-Newfoundland is expected to get more intense events than Labrador-Precipitation events, on average, will be more intense particularly during fall and winter.-Impacts on transportation infrastructure from higher levels of precipitation.-Coastal erosion resulting from stronger storms.-Agriculture and forestry productivity will improve, but also bring invasive species and pests.-Reduced demand for energy in isolated communities.-The winter tourism season may shorten.-Warmer temperatures may increase aquaculture productivity but also bring risks to fish health.-Warmer temperatures may increase the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.INTERVIEW WITH DR. JOEL FINNISTo check out the full climate change presentation, the data used in the study and the full technical report, you can click right here.Ryan
June 10, 2013 8:06 PM | No CommentsHey Folks,
Well, our first brush with a Tropical system this season, wasn't anything to write home about. However as expected, Andrea did drop a pretty decent shot of Rain over the Southeastern parts of the Island this weekend. About 60 mm of rain was recorded on the Burin Peninsula.EARLY STARTJune 1st is the beginning of Tropical Storm & Hurrricane Season, so although Andrea was an early season storm, we've certainly had plenty of June storms. Even here in NL, we've had a few. Since 1900, 3 named Storms have made landfall in NL, in June. 1945's Hurricane One. 1959's Hurricane Three and 1995's Allison. All 3 were Post Tropical Storms when they reached NL.In terms of when we see Storms here in Newfoundland, no month compares to September. Since 1900, 33 named Storms have made landfall in Newfoundland! Percentage wise, more than 40% of our named storms have made landfall in September!2013 SEASON PREVIEWOver the past few weeks, the Hurricane experts at the National Weather Service and well respected scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) have released and updated their 2013 Hurricane season outlooks. Both outlooks are similar and predict an active Atlantic Hurricane season.NOAA is predicting between 13 and 20 Named Tropical Storms, of which 7-11 will become Hurricanes, of which 3-6 will develop into a Major Hurricane (Category 3-5). Colorado State University is also predicting an above average year with 18 Named Storms, including 4 Major Hurricanes.FACTORSThere are a few main factors that go into this years forecast.-Continuation of the ongoing era of high Hurricane activity in the Atlantic since 1995. The warm (positive) AMO continues with a strong West African monsoon and a strong Easterly jet.-Neutral phase of ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) is expected to continue. An El Nino phase can be a hindrance for Tropical Storm development, by increasing wind shear in the Caribbean.-Warmer than average water temperatures are expected in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. Note the warmer than normal temperatures here in Atlantic Canada already. This will be something to keep an eye on, especially later in the season.ACTIVE FOR NEWFOUNDLANDThe active pattern means Newfoundland will once again have to keep a close eye on developing Storms, which is something the Island should be getting accustomed to. Newfoundland has had a land falling Tropical Storm or Hurricane every year since 2009, with Leslie, Ophelia, Maria, Igor & Bill.We've also seen some powerful Post Tropical Storms in recent years. Everyone remembers Chantal in 2007 and Gabrielle, which actually tracked just East of the Avalon in 2001 and brought flooding rains to St. John's.-Ryan-
June 5, 2013 2:22 PM | No Comments
In case you missed my Storm Chasing TV piece on Here & Now the other night. Here it is.
-ORIGINAL BLOG POST-They say timing is everything.
Following one of the quietest April's in U.S. history, I had completely prepared myself for a storm chasing trip with just a few storms and no expectation of tornadoes. However by the time I flew to Oklahoma City on May 12th, a pattern was change was underway, with an upper level trough digging into the Western United States.
Following two days of sightseeing and touring, the severe weather pattern kicked into the Plains. We chased in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and of course Oklahoma. We saw some impressive and beautiful supercells, dust storms, golf ball sized hail and 6 tornadoes.
An EF0 at sunset, in an open field, in Kansas. Amazing.
Since I've returned, everyone seems to ask me the same 3 questions...
Why in the world would you go storm chasing?
I've always had fascination with thunderstorms. Being born and raised in Southern Ontario, I've witnessed some beautiful storms. However those storms are peanuts compared to the monster storms in the Plains of the United States. Then there's the 'Tornado Factor', because to me, there's nothing more stunning and powerful in mother nature. Never having seen a twister before, it's always been near the top of my bucket list. I know the danger that storm chasing brings, however the fascination and curiosity to see these one of these storms up close and in person, I felt was worth the risk.
What did I learn?
First and foremost, I learned a lot about storm chasing. I think most people think storm chasers are just weather loving, adrenaline junkie, cowboys. There's no doubt, that some of these elements are present in storm chasing. I mean you ARE chasing the most powerful storms on earth. However I also learned that storm chasers can be very important eyes on the ground, confirming to the weather office that a tornado has touched down and making certain people in the next town have advanced warning. Other storm chasers are in the thick of it, conducting very important scientific research on these unpredictable storms. Storm chasers are often the first on the scene following a tornado. The 'Storm Chaser Code', to abandon the chase and immediately become a first responder, was evident throughout my trip.
Personally speaking, chasing these storms, I learned so much about supercell development and structure. I also have a much better handle on the most important ingredients needed to 'cook them up'. I can tell you that standing less than 2 kilometres from a powerful EF3 wedge, I certainly developed a new appreciation for the power of tornadoes. We were so close, that at times I could actually see the individual suction vortices inside the main wedge. I also witnessed a horizontal vortex develop to the right side of the wedge, a true sign of a very powerful tornado. I was excited... and slightly terrified all at the same time.
We were standing less than 2 km away from this EF3 near Carney, Oklahoma.
Then there was Moore, a leaning experience like no other. My group was chasing a storm just south of Moore when the devastating EF5 tornado ripped through the town. We headed back to the Oklahoma City area and I flipped the switch from vacation mode to broadcaster mode. I met up with my CBC colleagues and headed into the aftermath of destruction.
The National Weather Service has rated the Moore Tornado an EF5, meaning peak winds between 320 and 340 km/h and makes it one of the strongest storms ever to hit the United States. The path of destruction was almost indescribable: two kilometres wide and 27 kilometres long. The tornado was on the ground for an astounding 50 minutes. I had never seen anything like it before. It was truly a life changing experience for me.
Looking at the rubble in the wake of the storm, to me there's little doubt that advanced warnings saved lives in Moore. The tornado struck on Monday, but I can tell you, even the week before, forecasters were talking about the potential for a widespread severe weather outbreak from Saturday to Monday, especially in the Oklahoma City area. On Sunday, numerous tornadoes dropped just north of the city, where at least one person was killed. On Monday morning, forecasters were again talking about the severe weather and tornado potential, particularly for the Oklahoma City area.
In the end, it was 2:40 p.m. when the first tornado warning was issued. It was only five minutes later that the tornado touched down in the Newcastle area as an EF0 and about 20 minutes later it began to move into Moore. A rare Tornado Emergency warning was issued at 3:01 p.m., which was 14 minutes before the storm ripped though Moore. These warnings prompt alerts on television, radio, mobile phones and of course tornado sirens. Tragically, 24 people lost their lives in Moore on Monday. However I believe the advanced warning systems and outlooks by forecasters on television, radio and social media, surely saved lives in Moore, Oklahoma.
As a Broadcast Meteorologist, I believe Moore helped me gain an all new appreciation for the importance of advanced warnings when storms, or severe weather approaches. Viewers, listeners and readers need time to prepare and it's our job to make sure they know something severe is on the way.
Will I go back and chase storms again?
Being in Moore, certainly had a big influence on me. However it was after my return home, that the now record 4.2 km wide, El Reno tornado tragically took the lives of 3 storm chasers. Those chasers included 30 year chasing veteran Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and Carl Young. The tornado quickly changed direction, intensified and grew in size in a matter of minutes, which explains why the experienced storm chasers were caught in its path. The fact that these well respected and experienced chasers were killed, proves the true danger in chasing storms.
However, the reason we've learned so much about this record tornado, is because of storm chasers. It was storm chasers from the University of Oklahoma and their mobile radar, which has provided the information for the NWS to reclassify the tornado as an EF5. It was the mobile radar which measured peak surface winds of 476 km/h and these amazing radar scans, where you can actually see an eye in the tornado.
Long story short, I do hope to head back and chase storms in Tornado Alley, one day. For the many reasons I listed above, I still feel storm chasing is important. I'd like to return not only to observe and document these powerful storms again, but as a broadcaster, perhaps to tell some of the stories of these chasers, who put themselves at risk.
May 22, 2013 12:05 PM | No Comments
Well, the secret is out. I’ve been storm chasing here in the U.S. from South Dakota to Texas to Oklahoma over the past week. In all I saw seven tornadoes. I’ll share all of my of pictures and video when I return to Newfoundland and Labrador next week.
My group was chasing a storm just south of Moore when the devastating EF5 tornado ripped through here on Monday. The National Weather Service has now discovered EF5 damage in the destruction, which means peak winds of 320-340 km/h and makes it one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S.
The path of destruction is almost indescribable: two kilometres wide, 27 kilometres long. The tornado was on the ground for 50 minutes.
Looking at the rubble in the wake of this storm, there’s little doubt that advanced warnings saved lives here in Moore.
I can tell you, even mid-last week forecasters were talking about the potential for a widespread severe weather outbreak from Saturday to Monday, especially here in Oklahoma. On Sunday, numerous tornadoes dropped just north of the city, where at least one person was killed.
On Monday morning, forecasters were again talking about the severe weather and tornado potential, especially for the Oklahoma City area.
It was 2:40 p.m. when the first tornado warning was issued. It was only five minutes later that the tornado touched down in the Newcastle area as an EF0 and about 20 minutes later it began to move into Moore.
A rare Tornado Emergency warning was issued at 3:01 p.m., which was 14 minutes before the storm ripped though Moore. These warnings prompt alerts on television, radio, mobile phones and of course tornado sirens.
Tragically, 24 people lost their lives here on Monday.
However the advanced warning systems and outlooks by forecasters surely saved lives here in Moore, Okla.
May 3, 2013 6:42 PM | No Comments
Hey Folks,Well it a was a pretty decent week for most, especially inland and away from the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland.-What a week in Happy Valley-Goose Bay with record breaking temperatures & back to back 20 degree days! HV-GB has only ever hit 20 in April 4 times. 2 of those times were this week, including Thursday's 21.7°, which is now the warmest April day ever recorded.-A nice week on the West Coast, which gave you folks a chance to dry out after all that heavy rain last weekend! This was the scene on the TCH near Pasadena on Tuesday. Courtesy Brent Ruth.-Heavy rain last week caused another washout on the Burgeo Highway. Picture courtesy Colleen Conners.-Overall, it was a warm wrap up to April, which was generally warmer than normal for most of the Province, with the exception of Labrador West. These numbers are courtesy of Rodney Barney.-In St. John's, it was a warmer than normal April, but a far cry from last years record breaking April. It's hard to believe that last April finished with an average of 5.3°, almost 3° degrees warmer!-In terms of Rainfall, April was quite a variable month, mostly thanks to our rain storm last weekend which drenched the West Coast with 50-170 mm of Rain. As a result, the West Coast was well above normal, meanwhile Gander finished with a record low rainfall for April.WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS-High pressure will be in control across the Island this Weekend, with Sun and Cloud in the mix and temperatures on the rise.-A light Northeasterly flow continues on Saturday, which means cooler temps again right along the Coast, but back into the double digits for inland areas of the Island. Temps into the mid-high teens from Central to the West Coast. Could certainly see a few backyards in the 20° range.-Not so much in Labrador. Cold subzero temps for the North Coast, with Snow on the menu from Nain to Cartwright. Early morning freezing rain is possible, however temps are set to rise with clouds and afternoon showers from Lab City to HV-GB.-A Special Weather Statement is in effect for almost all of Labrador. Freezing Rain Warning for Churchill Valley.-Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!
-Sunday temperatures continue to rise across the Island, with winds FINALLY becoming West Southwesterly. Forecast models are flirting with temps into the high teens & flirting with 20° from GFW and Central Newfoundland, East through Gander, Terra Nova, Clarenville & across to St. John's Metro! Sun & Cloud in the mix.-We'll see increasing clouds from the Northwest on Sunday afternoon into Northern sections of the West Coast & into Central. A few showers are possible for the Northern Peninsula, which could even mix with a flurry overnight into Monday morning.-Southern Labrador continues unsettled on Saturday with clouds and showers and a few flurries possibly mixing in again. Clearing along the North Coast.NEXT WEEK-Southwesterly winds look set to dominate for most of the Week across the Island. Below is the GFS forecast model for Winds in St. John's through next week. Looks like we'll see a light North to East wind (and a cooler onshore flow) again here in Eastern Newfoundland on Monday, before we hop aboard the Southwesterly train Tuesday & beyond. That means temperatures well into the double digits & teens, look set for most of the Island next week.-High pressure will anchor itself Southeast of the Island, which will help to keep the Southwesterly flow in place and keep things quiet and for the most part dry. A few showers possible Monday across parts of the Island, as well as Labrador on Tuesday.-As of now, it appears that Southwesterly flow will allow some unsettled weather to roll in for late next week (Thurs-Fri-Sat) with some showers for the Province.-However that Southwesterly flow will stick around, as a result, the warm temperatures are expected to continue right into next Weekend.LONG LONG RANGEMay 12th-May 18th- Both the Euro & the long range GFS keep High pressure mostly dominate just Southeast of Newfoundland with a Southerly flow pumping in with warm temperatures. However they are also both projecting a potential wet set-up with a stream of tropical moisture pumping in from the South.May 19th-May 25th- Only the monthly Euro goes out this far. It continues to project a dominate ridge of High pressure SE of NFLD and a warm Southwesterly flow. Things remain active with a few systems clipping in from the South.May 26th-May 31st- Euro projecting a West Southwesterly flow continues more dominate than not. A much quieter week.Environment Canada's Monthly Outlook is also projecting a warm May. In fact, it's projecting a warmer than normal month for the entire Province.A GLIMPSE INTO SUMMEREnvironment Canada's monthly temperature outlook for the Summer has also been released. And it's good news for us here in NL as well as most of Canada. The climate models are projecting warmer than normal temps for most of Canada and they are giving Eastern Newfoundland the best chance (70-100% probability). Click on image for full size.Precipitation, which is much harder for climate models to project, is forecast to be near to slightly below normal over NL this Summer.Ryan
April 26, 2013 7:34 PM | No Comments
Hey Folks,The warmer Spring time air has arrived in NL and it appears (generally speaking) it's not going anywhere!-Over the past week, much of NL had it's first taste of double digits. Corner Brook, Gander, Badger, Bonavista & many more hit 15° this past Saturday. St. John's, Stephenville, Twillingate & a few more ended up falling just short of the magic 15° mark. Deer Lake was the big winner with temps of 20°.-Tuesday, Thursday and even today here in the East, temperatures rebounded with more double digits and temps back into the teens! Daniel's Harbour hit 20° on Thursday and for St. John's, Friday it was our first 15° day of the season!-Here's Rodney Barney's chart of when we typically hit the 15° mark across the Island. This Spring, we've been right in that range for Newfoundland. Your turn is coming Labrador!WEEKEND TIME-A Significant Freezing Rain event still looks likely for tonight over the Northern Peninsula and Southeastern Labrador tonight. Freezing Rain Warnings are in place with some solid ice accretion possible. Treacherous roads and even some power outages are certainly possible.-Tonight and into Saturday will continue very wet in Western Newfoundland. Rainfall Warnings remain in place for Western Newfoundland & the Southwest Coast. Showers continue in Central on Saturday and another warm, pleasant but mostly cloudy day here in Eastern Newfoundland.-Our trough slowly edges Eastward on Sunday, bringing some relief for the West Coast, a few more showers for Central, and a better chance of some showers & fog in the mix (especially along the Coast) in Eastern Newfoundland.-Things turn nasty in Southeast Labrador tonight and into Saturday with Snow, Ice Pellets, Freezing Rain & Rain. Could see 5-10 cm from the Straits to Cartwright. It looks like High pressure will keep HV-GB in the clear, with Western Labrador looking great as well. Temps building through the Weekend and back into the double digits and teens by Sunday-Monday in HV-GB. 15° looks like a lock for you folks with 20° looking possible by mid-week.NEXT WEEKAn interesting setup next week to say the least. High pressure will move North of the Island as we head into early next week. Looks like that setup will trigger a pesky Northeasterly wind flow for the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland and for St. John's Metro. Monday & Tuesday in particular, are looking cool & cloudy with fog in the mix. However with a Northeast flow, inland areas into Central, as well as the South & West Coasts are looking at warming temperatures & some Sunshine in the mix.By mid-late next week, some forecast models are bringing that High just far enough South over the Island, that the pesky moist Northeasterly flow would shift further South, which would allowing Metro & the Northeast Coast to warm up slightly (closer to seasonal) & perhaps even allow some Sunshine to break through during the daytime hours. However if that High stays further North... we could be hitting repeat on Monday/Tuesday for much of the week. Keep your fingers crossed!Again areas shielded from that Northeast flow, including Central, Western and Southern Newfoundland, as well as Labrador are looking really nice, especially mid-late next week. Forecast models are again flirting with temps into the mid-high teens!THE NEXT 10 DAYS
Here's the GEM Global Model ensemble look at temperatures over the next 10 days. Warmer than normal temperatures are expected to continue across much of Atlantic Canada & especially in Labrador. Again, I think St. John's & exposed Northeast Coast will very much be dependent on the placement of that High pressure and just how strong and persistent those Northeast winds will be mid-late next week.THE NEXT 14 DAYSThe North American Ensemble Forecast System looks at temps 8-14 days into the long range. It's also showing a good chance of warmer than normal temperatures across Atlantic Canada through for the first week of May.EUROPEAN MONTHLY MODEL OUTLOOKThe ECMWF has a 30 day forecast model, which released once a week. Here here a few 'grain of salt' highlights from that, for the month of May.May 5th-11th-Plenty of High pressure. A quiet pattern, with no big systems rolling through. Temps normal to above normal.May 12th-18th-High pressure continues in the mix, holding over Labrador through mid week, before turning unsettled late week. Temps near normal, with potential East or Northeast winds for Newfoundland.May 19th-25th-Overall dry again, with high pressure dominates just to the North and over the Labrador Sea. Again, this setup brings the potential for East or Northeast winds for the Island. Temps near normal.Again, big grain of salt territory, but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.Environment Canada will issue their outlook for the month of May on Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll be sure to pass it along.Ryan