Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Sunday: 10 November 2013

The Month of October  -  @ 11:38:46
I'm late, I know.

It's The Month of October, Number 93 in a series. For us in northeast Georgia, somewhat warmer temperatures and much drier weather continued for the second month in a row.

Here are the usual temperature anomalies products, at the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. Displayed is the high and low temperature anomalies.

Click on the image for the high and low anomaly graphic on a new page:



Much of the US was cooler than average, especially west of the Great Lakes, excepting southeastern TX. Southern CA and western AZ were much cooler than normal (for at least the third month in a row), while the Northwest cooled a bit to just about average. The Northeast switched to warmer than normal, as has been true in the Southeast for the last two months.

Again, and for at least the third month in a row, the high and low anomalies graphic (click on above figure) shows that nights were warmer and the days were cooler. This effect was pronounced for most of the country, except for the Northeast US.

We find the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's precipitation plots here.



Interesting changes have been afoot! Dry weather has been the rule for much of the edges of the country, with continued development of abnormally dry weather in the Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, and Pacific states. Lots more rain than normal in the north-central US, as well as normal to somewhat above normal rain in the central US. Central CA remained dry for at least the third month.

For the Athens, GA area:

Below is my usual daily rain/temperature plot visualizing the changes in temperatures and precipitation. The spiky lines are temperatures recorded roughly ten times a day, and the lighter blue bars are Wolfskin rainfall measurements.

The black line is the normal average daily temperature, and you can see that we're distinctly on our downward fall toward autumn.



We're within half a degree (slightly warmer) than the October average mean temperature. We were warmer than average during the first half of the month, and then cooler than average for a few days toward the end. The rainfall that began in June and continued through August finally came to an end in September, and this dry period continued in October. We only had two precipitation events resulting in a total of 0.82", while 3.55" is normal. Athens claimed 1.27".

We did not break any records in October. The average monthly temperature for October was 63.4 degF, just 0.4 deg higher than the 30-year average of 63.0F. The high and low averages tell us that we had slightly cooler days and somewhat warmer nights (see the histogram below).

We ended up fewer extreme events in October. We had 3 days more than 1 standard deviation above normal highs, and 3 night with temperatures more than 1 standard deviation below normal lows. We usually have 5 events outside normal ranges for the high and low temperatures, in October.

The monthly histogram below shows the breakdown of high and low temperature range counts from October 1948 on. The error bars are just plus/minus one standard deviation, which I arbitrarily set as the limits outside of which are "significantly" anomalous.



This time the histogram provides an elaboration on our apparently close to normal average temperatures. The high temperature ranges on the left of the figure stay inside the error bars. It's the low temperature ranges that deviate significantly, and these show more warm nights (50s) and fewer cold nights (40s). For us this is usually because of increased cloud cover, and that's interesting because we also had so little rainfall. Lots of clouds, no rain.

And so that does bring us to the rain for our area: in short, not much. The figure below shows the Athens precipitation data which are official for our area. As usual the green line shows our actual rainfall, the red shows the average accumulation expected. The black dots are rainfall over the last 22 years, and the river of peach shows the standard deviation.

We finally have a plot that shows a rainfall deficit. Official Athens rainfall was at 1.27", just 36% of normal (September was 60% of normal). Out here in Wolfskin, we had just 0.82", just a quarter of normal.



At nearly 50" right now, we're just above normal rainfall for the year, with six weeks remaining.


Prognosticator stuff:

What is the neat prognosticator telling us? For us here in the southeast, it has been accurate over the last five months for temperature and precipitation.

For us in northeast Georgia it will be warmer and drier for the next three months (NDJ).

As of 9 November (yes, I'm late this month), it tells us in the Southeast that we can expect from several weeks to possibly two months of much warmer temperatures. Maybe in January we'll go back to normal. The picture is quite different elsewhere, so be sure to take a look if you're not close by us.

We supposedly will have higher chances of precipitation over the next few weeks, then normal, and finally low chances for January. I'm not seeing this short period of wetter weather yet.

ENSO stuff:

The folks at CPC have a version of PDF or HTML that is much different from their previous presentations, but at least it's there and the link isn't broken.

As of 4 November, ENSO neutral conditions continue, and are expected to remain neutral into the Northern Hemisphere spring. We've remained ENSO neutral now for 18 months. The last time we had such a lengthy period without an El Niño or La Niña was before 2000.

NOAA's Monthly State of the Climate product for September is available. In September most of the talk was about higher than normal rainfall in much of the country. Dry conditions continued or developed only for some of the Northeast; the Great Lakes states, and Hawaii. (As we know now, that's going to change in what will then be the October summary.)

And last year's annual report for 2012 regionally, nationally, and globally is also available.




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