Sometimes the “regular Joe” or the “regular Jane” just gets things “exactly right” in a way that can not be improved.
Today is one such day.
I was driving in the morning commute and listening to the local radio news station. The weather report came round. The announcer said:
“The high today, if you can call it that, will be in the low 50s”…
Disappointment dripping from his lips…
You see, this time of year, well, it is when we expect warmth. Sun. Lazy spring days with a garden well along. The first green tomatoes already set and waiting for the warmth to make them red and juicy. This year? Bupkiss… We expect to be getting boats ready for water skiing weekend holidays and have already had a couple of BBQ dinners. This year? Cold and dank. Hot soup and warm stew weather…
Is it just fantasy?
So, is this just moaning and groaning fantasy, or are there any numbers to back this up?
From Wunderground for San Francisco and San Jose:
May 25, 2011 Max Temp Min Temp Normal (KSFO) 68 °F 51 °F Record (KSFO) 87 °F (1951) 45 °F (1967) Yesterday 62 °F 49 °F
So we have a record of 87 F and “normal” is 68F. What is predicted for today?
Wednesday, 25 56 | 49 °F Rain
As you can see, that 56 F high is closer to the normal low of 51 F than to the normal high of 68 F. We’re looking at 10 – 15 F below normal, depending on location. And a good 31 F below the record. “Record heat” we don’t have… But I notice that we’re trending toward that record low of 45 F set during the last cold phase of the PDO… Our low is set to be all of 4 F above that, and the PDO shift is young…
How about SJC?
May 25, 2011 Max Temp Min Temp Normal (KSJC) 77 °F 53 °F Record (KSJC) 95 °F (1982) 39 °F (1893) Yesterday 69 °F 46 °F
Notice that “record” of 95 F. While “normal” is a pleasantly warmer than room temperature 77 F, it is frequently much warmer.
Wednesday, 25 65 | 49 °F Chance of Rain
While San Francisco has a 60% chance of rain, we have only a 40% chance. But notice those high / low temps. 65 F and 49 F.
Compared to the “normals” and record? Well, that 65 F is a full 30 F below the “record” and that 49 F is 10 above the record low ever. So not quite as extreme as SFO. Still, “warm it aint”. and that 65 F is 12 F above a ‘normal low”. So we are about 3/4 of the way to a “low” as our high for the day … “HIgh, if you can call it that” indeed… And the low yesterday was worse…
Here are the monthly charts, so you can see it in context. Notice that the “peaks” are trending well away from the “normal high” band…
For comparison, the 1997 graph:
Oh, for that Mid May 100 F spike of days gone by… Also notice how in 1997 the temps tended to track the “average high” line and only sporadically would try to reach the “normal low”, where now we’re basically tracking the “normal low” with peaks that reach up briefly, but all too often fail. A minor “dig here” would be looking at the total area under those curves to see if the “peaks” are more narrow and limited now than in the past…
The temperature just laying there like a dead hand, peaks just about the 16 C line and going nowhere.
For comparison, the 1997 graph:
Peaks “hanging around” the 24 C line and with that glorious run up to 32 C / 90 F in the middle of the month. IIRC I was working in San Francisco then and had a wonderfully warm “lunch on the wharf” watching sailing ships and soaking up some sun..
Comparing those sets, I think we can get a pretty clear idea what the power of the PDO might be. Notice how the lows don’t reach the ‘normal low’ in the last half of May 1997? The exact inverse of now where we crawl along the bottom wishing for some sun.
Now just wait for the volcano activity to have an effect too…
But Wait, There’s More!
For bonus points, here is the same look at Sacramento. That is the State capital and about 80 miles inland from San Francisco. In the middle of the California Central Valley, it gets quite hot in summer, and sometimes even in spring.
May 25, 2011 Max Temp Min Temp Normal (KSAC) 82 °F 52 °F Record (KSAC) 100 °F (1951) 43 °F (1980) Yesterday 75 °F 47 °F
Wednesday, 25 65 | 47 °F Chance of Rain
Well, not too bad, I suppose. “Only” 17 F below “normal” (and our “high” will be a full 12 F above the “normal low”, while the low of 47 F is only 5 F below low…). Yet it’s 35 F below the kind of temperatures we see when things are hot… Interesting to note, though that the 1980 temperature is the “record low” for the day. Sometimes the Sacramento area goes exactly backwards from SFO…
How do the graphs look? I ought to mention that Sacramento often runs a day or two behind SFO. The “weather” has to move inland over SFO to reach Sacramento. In summer there is a fairly reliable 3 day cycle of Sacramento getting hot, air rising, then pulling in cool air over SFO and three days later cooling Sacramento. Then it all stops. Until the sun heats the air in Sacramento. Repeat…
Looks like those wind gusts are being something fierce given how compressed the scale is on the wind graph…
And the 1997 graph:
FWIW, you find the same general pattern in Portland Oregon too. I suspect the same analysis would hold for all the Pacific Coast cities of the USA and Canada… (Dig Here!)…
This was not the Global Warming I was promised. I was promised that I would have Tomato Weather regularly going forward. With lows below 50 F we will not be getting fruit set. That means a late harvest, if any.
So is it possible to have a breach of contract or breach of promise suit brought against the Global Warming Establishment? They gave us their promise that they ‘had it right” and we’ve made plans for our garden based on that… With total “degree days” determining when most crops ripen, it’s going to be a sad day in California for a bunch of different crops.
Mark 2011 as a year where reds will be thin and acid… It will be very hard to get the deep rich mellow flavors of a sun warmed Merlot… (But on the plus side, we can likely make some decent German Style whites at last.) It will be even harder for the vineyards in Washington and Oregon to perform. They were in more marginal degree-day regions to start with. Now, it will be a struggle to make good wines. (I’m sure they will find a way, but the work needed will present challenges…)
“High Today, if you can call it that”.. indeed…