Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weekly Wyoming Weather Video

The weekly weather video has been issued for Wyoming with a look through the weekend into next week.  Here is the link to view the video

Weekly Wyoming Weather Video

Monday, July 22, 2013

Star Valleys Natural A/C

One of the many wonderful aspects of the Star Valley climate is the natural air conditioning  that is available in the summer months.  The windows closed in the morning  and open again at sunset will generally keep the interior temperatures at comfortable levels.  The past few days the Star Valley A/C system has been on display.  Due to the clear skies, light winds at night and a very dry air mass, temperatures drop rapidly overnight.  Ranges from maximum in the afternoon to minimums at sunrise are exceeding 50 degrees at some of the valley stations.  Following are a couple graphs from the Double L Ranch station which is along the Salt River northwest of Etna and the Star Valley Ranch weather Station.

The graphs trace temperature and humidity for the past several days up until this Monday morning, July 22..

Double L Weather Station temperature and humidity.

Star Valley Ranch Station temperature and humidity

Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekly Wyoming Video Weather Briefing

Climatologically speaking the last two weeks of July are the hottest of the year. The next several days will see some of the warmest days of the year.  It could get as hot as it was the last few days in June when temperatures in Star Valley were into the low 90s.  However the dry air mass will provide for strong night time radiational cooling, with most valley locations dipping back into the 40s prior to sunrise.

Following is the link to the excellent video weather summary provided by the Riverton Forecast Office every week.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Death Valleys 100th Anniversary of the Record Hottest Temperature

An excellent review of how Death Valley finally was recognized as the hottest place on earth was written this month by Elizabeth Howell, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor.  

Death Valley's record temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius) — the hottest ever measured on Earth — was set exactly 100 years ago today. But the tale of how the rocky expanse of California desert came to be known as the world's hottest place involves a lengthy stretch in the number two slot, a mission to set the record straight, and a scientist who disappeared amid a revolution.
For decades, scientists debated whether El Azizia, Libya, or the eastern California desert expanse had the definitive claim to the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet. An international meteorology committee was tasked with investigating the competing claims, made decades earlier, but their efforts were disrupted by a revolution in Libya.
In 2011, at the height of Libya's revolution, Libyan scientist and committee member Kahlid Ibrahim El Fadli was searching for the handwritten records in the Middle Eastern country when he disappeared for several months.
"I didn't know if he was alive for eight months, and then I got a short email from him saying he and his family escaped from Tripoli," Randy Cerveny, a climatologist from Arizona State University, told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.
"He was part of the revolution, and he was holding the same position as before, but with the revolutionary government."
Incredibly, the Libyan records also survived the chaos. They also put to rest, once and for all, which site can claim the title of hottest place. In looking at the original records, El Fadli, director of the climate division of the Libya National Weather Service, discovered the Libyan measurement of 136.4 F (58 C) was way off from surrounding weather stations. A faulty reading of the thermometer is now primarily blamed for the discrepancy, which was enough evidence for the World Meteorological Organization to overturn the record.
This secured Death Valley as the hottest-known place on Earth, with the record-setting temperature  marked on July 10, 1913. The park plans a 100th anniversary celebration on July 10 that will feature talks from scientists as well as an invitation for delegates to watch the usual temperature observation. [8 Hottest Places on Earth]
So what makes Death Valley such an oven? A unique set of environmental factors send temperatures soaring in the desert region, forcing adaptations among the plants and animals that live there.
A sun-scorched environment
The biggest factor behind Death Valley's extreme heat is its elevation. Parts of it are below sea level, even though the area is 250 miles (400 kilometers) inland from any major body of water. Also, a major set of mountains (the Sierra Nevada) block moisture from the Pacific from reaching the basin.
That geological combination makes it possible for summer temperatures to reach 125 F (51.6 C), or even higher, as happened in late June. (The temperature in Death Valley on June 29, 2013, was 129 F (54 C), making it the hottest June day on record for the United States.)
"That really allows for the solar radiation to heat up the air, and really dry it out, and make it an incredibly hot environment," Cerveny said.
Other factors conspire to keep air from moving around in the basin, said Christopher Stachelski, a forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Las Vegas. The valley is narrow, trapping any air from circulating in or out. There's also little vegetation to absorb the sun's rays, and there's a desert nearby. Winter temperatures, however, can actually get quite cold because the desert does not retain heat when the surrounding air cools off.
Furnace Creek, Death Valley
The weather station at Furnace Creek in Death Valley where the hottest temperature ever recorded, a whopping 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius), was reached on July 10, 1913.
Credit: U.S. National Park Service
"There are seasons to Death Valley," Stachelski said. "It can get warm in the winter on certain days, but there are days in the winter that can get to freezing. Most days in the winter have 60s for a high."
Nevertheless, plants and animals in this location require both behavioral and physiological adaptations to survive.
Slow growth and slow movements
There are animals in Death Valley, but they tend to be in low densities. Amphibians stick close to any water they can find. Large mammals rest in the shade. Cave bats remain underground until night falls, and birds fly away or to higher elevations. [Hell on Earth: Tour Death Valley]
The lack of water also forces physiological adaptations, as seen in the notable example of tortoises.
"What's cool about tortoises is the ability to concentrate their urine. They can go a year without drinking," said Linda Manning, a wildlife biologist for Death Valley National Park. "Apparently, when they let it go, it's really stinky."
Plant adaptations include small leaves, extremely deep roots, long-lived seeds and also more desert-friendly features such as waxy cuticles and spines. The most important feature, however, is their extremely slow growth, said Jane Cipra, a botanist at Death Valley National Park.
"Shrubs like creosote and blackbrush may not look like much, but they can be hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old," she wrote in an email.
"Blackbrush is largely dormant most of the time and only puts energy into growth and reproduction in really good years."
Even a century after the hottest recorded temperature, these adaptations are still crucial to allowing animals and plants to survive. The late June temperatures in Death Valley were so hot this year that media and scientists speculated the all-time record was in danger of being broken just after it regained its rightful place.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 2013 has a good start on Precipitation across Wyoming

After a very dry June, July is showing encouraging signs for the Cowboy state.  There were several days when much of the state, including Star Valley received beneficial showers. While drier air has returned, this should only be temporary as a new surge of Monsoon moisture is now moving northward into the Southwestern Deserts.

The following 500 mb charts, mid day on tuesday and then again on friday, show the increasing southwesterly flow which will transport moisture back into Wyoming later this week.

500 mb analysis Tuesday July 9, 2013

500 mb forecast Friday July12, 2013

The following two charts depict the precipitable water in the atmosphere both for Tuesday and the forecast for Friday,

Precipitable water in inches Tuesday July 9 2013

Precipitable water forecast in inches for Friday July 12 2013

Thus after a couple warm and dry days, moisture and the increase in thunderstorms should certainly be back into Wyoming by Friday, and possibly later Thursday.

The following was a summary of the first round of Monsoon rains across the Cowboy state issued by the Riverton WFO.

UPDATED (7/9): Early start to Monsoon brings welcome rain back to Cowboy State

The monsoon season got off to an early start this year, as abundant moisture and instability were in place across Wyoming this week. This provided the needed ingredients, as weak shortwaves rotated around a high pressure center located near the Four Corners, for much needed thunderstorms to form across the area. Some of the thunderstorm activity was widespread across the forecast area for western & central Wyoming, with some storms becoming severe. These storms produced severe hail and in some cases brief heavy rain.  This event is much needed, as noted in the recent climate summary. Many locations have received much below normal precipitation since June 1 and this event will help against these deficits.  So far, only Casper has risen above normal for the year (as well as through June 1). All other locations are well below normal for the year (Lander is near normal for the year, but well below normal since June 1). Below are rainfall totals from Wednesday through Monday.

Click on image to enlarge

Rainfall Totals thru 7/8
CountyStation NameRainfall
Big Horn2 SSW Lovell1.78
Big HornGreybull ASOS0.25
Big HornGreybull0.09
Big HornShell0.09
Fremont10 WNW Dubois1.15
Fremont4 ENE South Pass City0.50
FremontRiverton ASOS0.27
Fremont6 SW Lander0.21
Fremont16 WNW Kinnear0.20
FremontBoysen Dam0.18
FremontLander ASOS0.18
FremontJeffrey City0.14
Fremont6 SE Lander0.08
Fremont1 SW Lander0.07
Fremont2 SSW Arapahoe0.06
Fremont1 WSW Lander0.02
Fremont2 NNE Lander0.02
Fremont34 SE Lander0.02
Fremont9 SSE Lander0.02
Hot Springs11 N Thermopolis1.00
Hot Springs9 NE Thermopolis0.33
Hot Springs1 SW Thermopolis0.22
Hot SpringsThermopolis0.13
Johnson17 NNW Kaycee0.87
Johnson17 E Kaycee0.61
Johnson20 S Buffalo0.39
Johnson7 NE Buffalo0.02
Lincoln5 NNE Thayne0.76
LincolnStar Valley Ranch0.73
Lincoln3 SE Bedford0.69
Lincoln2 SE Thayne0.68
Lincoln5 SSE Smoot0.54
Lincoln21 NNW Kemmerer0.34
LincolnFossil Butte0.15
NatronaCasper ASOS1.26
Natrona4 SW Casper0.66
Natrona11 WSW Casper0.52
Natrona11 ESE Casper0.50
Natrona10 WSW Casper0.44
Natrona4 WSW Casper0.39
Natrona1 WSW Casper0.36
Natrona6 S Casper0.35
Natrona1 SW Casper0.32
Natrona9 E Casper0.31
Natrona2 S Casper0.22
Natrona4 WSW Casper0.13
NatronaPowder River School0.04
Park3 NE Clark1.21
ParkCrandall Creek1.14
Park4 ENE Powell1.09
Park4 SW Powell1.06
Park3 NE Sunshine0.99
Park3 N Powell0.69
Park1 W Powell0.66
Park4 SE Cody0.33
Park2 WSW Cody0.33
Park5 ESE Cody0.28
Park7 SW Cody0.25
Park1 ESE Cody0.20
Park1 E Cody0.16
Sublette13 SE Pinedale1.32
Sublette14 NW Pinedale0.61
SubletteDaniel Fish Hatchery0.36
SubletteBig Piney ASOS0.36
SubletteBoulder Rearing Station0.21
Sweetwater7 SE Rock Springs0.43
Sweetwater1 NW Granger0.32
Sweetwater1 W Rock Springs0.17
Sweetwater38 NW Superior0.16
Sweetwater5 N Farson0.11
Sweetwater1 S Rock Springs0.11
Sweetwater1 E Rock Springs0.09
Sweetwater8 NNW Rock Springs0.02
SweetwaterGreen River0.02
TetonDarwin Ranch1.16
TetonHoback Junction0.90
Teton2 NE Teton Village0.79
Teton4 SSW Jackson0.55
Teton5 NW Jackson0.45
Teton3 SSW Wilson0.42
Teton12 NE Jackson0.32
Teton5 WNW Moran0.14
Teton1 NNW Alta0.11
Washakie4 NE Ten Sleep0.23
Washakie27 S Ten Sleep0.20
Washakie5 NNW Ten Sleep0.15
WashakieWorland ASOS0.12
WashakieTen Sleep0.11
Washakie16 SSE Ten Sleep0.06
Washakie1 W Worland0.05
Washakie8 SW Worland0.04
YellowstoneLamar Ranger Station0.96
YellowstoneTower Falls Ranger Station0.93
YellowstoneLake Yellowstone ASOS0.83
YellowstoneSnake River Ranger Station0.77
YellowstoneYellowstone Mammoth0.76
YellowstoneYellowstone East Entrance0.56
YellowstoneOld Faithful Ranger Station0.35

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nature Could Provide Fireworks over the weekend of the 4th

An increase in chances of afternoon and evening thunderstorms is expected over the coming 4 day Holiday Weekend, beginning on the 4th.  Following is the weekly weather video of what to expect the next several days issued by the Riverton Forecast Office.

Fourth of July  Weekend Weather Video