My friend Danielle is finishing up her tour with the Peace Corps. She's been in Kiribati, where the temperature never seems to get below 30°C (86°F).
Danielle, if you have a chance, you may want to check the weather here before getting on the plane. It's supposed to go below -18°C (0°F) tonight.
We got about 10 cm (4 in.) of snow last night, so this morning Anne and I went out to shovel.
From the National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago:
...EPSILON BECOMES YET ANOTHER HURRICANE IN THE RECORD BREAKING 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON...
Epsilon, the 26th named storm in the Atlantic this year, is now its 14th hurricane.
See the complete public advisory.
Hurricane season ended Wednesday. Apparently Mother Nature didn't get the memo.
Update, 20:53 UTC: Forecaster Stewart at the NHC added this comment to the latest Hurricane Epsilon discussion:
GOING BACK TO 1851... HISTORICAL RECORDS INDICATE EPSILON IS ONLY THE FIFTH HURRICANE TO FORM DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. OTHER DECEMBER HURRICANES ARE... UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... AND LILI 1984. EPSILON IS ALSO ONLY THE SIXTH HURRICANE TO EVER OCCUR DURING DECEMBER... INCLUDING UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... LILI 1984... AND NICOLE 1998.
New Scientist is reporting this hour on findings published today in the journal Nature, showing a 30% reduction in warm-water flows in the Atlantic Gulf Stream. This is a long-predicted effect of global warming, similar to changes in the flow that may have caused the so-called "mini ice-age" of the 14th and 15th centuries—and the major ice age of 110,000 years ago.
Not to be alarmist or anything, but this news is the climatic equivalent of seeing fifteen "for sale" signs on your block. It shows that something is very, very wrong, and the effects will be very, very bad. Think: ice skating straight across the Thames from the London Eye to Westminster. Think: Western Ireland under three feet of snow. Think: Madrid with Denver's climate.
Think I'm exaggerating? Nature is, after all, an alarmist publication. And New Scientist is only repeating the party line. You've got to be skeptical of the evidence-based community, you know.
Look, we've known for decades that we were influencing the climate. Journalist James Burke talked about exactly this happening in his 1991 miniseries After the Warming. Only, he speculated the slowdown happening in 2050, not 1995.
I've always thought global warming would benefit Chicago, even as it punished cities like Edinburgh. I just didn't think it would happen in my lifetime.
(Why the sheep? He's in Western Ireland, and he's cute, and ten years from now his descendants will be glad they have wool coats.)
The National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago released this report:
...TROPICAL STORM EPSILON...THE 26TH NAMED STORM OF THE 2005
ATLANTIC SEASON...FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN...
AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EPSILON WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 31.6 NORTH... LONGITUDE 50.4 WEST OR ABOUT
845 MILES...1360 KM...EAST OF BERMUDA AND ABOUT 1395 MILES...2245
KM... WEST OF THE AZORES ISLANDS.
For those of you keeping score at home, this means we've seen 7 more named storms than the previous record (19, in 1995), and 5 more than the record for all tropical storms and hurricanes in a season (21, in 1933), since we started keeping track in 1851.
Now, the NHC admits the evidence doesn't fully support a link between global warming and storm frequency, but the hypothesis supporting the connection continues to gain evidence. Evidence like, for example, the most intense tropical storm season on record, including the only known tropical cyclone ever to reach Europe (Vince, October 11th).
Aren't you glad the best President we have right decided to make us the only Industrial country to refuse the Kyoto Protocol?
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn writes today that we should move Thanksgiving into October:
Major holidays, like meals and vacations from work and school, should be as neatly spaced as practical. As it is, Thanksgiving both crowds the Christmas season and creates a long slog of days for most of us from early September until the end of November.
Thanksgiving in October would mean no need to surf the Web fretfully on Saturday evening wondering if you'll make it back home the next day or if you'll spend Sunday night sleeping on an airport cot or in the median of the interstate where your mini-van finally came to rest.
Yesterday was the coldest Chicago Thanksgiving in 45 years, with a maximum temperature of 5°C (41°F) recorded at midnight, followed by a long slide down to -9°C (16°F) at midnight last night. (At this writing the temperature has risen back to -9°C from just a little below it an hour ago.)
Never above rubbing something like this in, however, I'm forced to share another photo from yesterday in Carmel:
Yesterday in Chicago:
Today in Carmel, California:
I should also point out the current weather in both locations:
Chicago: -8°C (18°F) but the 52 km/h (33 mph) wind gusts make it fee colder than -18°C (-1°F)
Carmel: 11°C (51°F) but the gentle onshore breeze makes it a little foggy at the ocean
This is why I love traveling.
It looks like we've gotten about 12mm (1/2 inch) of snow overnight in Chicago.
Trivia: The last time it was this cold on my commute to work was February 18th.
When cold fronts move across Chicago in November, we get slammed. Saturday's daily maximum at Chicago O'Hare was 18.3°C (66°F), and the daily minimum Monday morning was -2.2°C (28°F). In Chicago, this constitutes a gradual decline.
Yesterday, the heat gave up and went to Miami, leaving us, this morning, shivering our timbers at -13.3°C (8°F), which even I call cold.
At least the sun is out.
Keep your eye on Chicago weather and the the view out Inner Drive's office window to understand my pain.
 -9.4°C (15°F); in February it was -11.6°C (11°F).
I think 37 kt (43 mph) winds qualify as "windy."
No one I've asked can remember a more beautiful autumn than the one we've had in Chicago this year. Until yesterday, we haven't had much wind or rain, so the trees have kept most of their orange and yellow halos for weeks.
Mornings have been particularly lovely. The low sun has hit the flaming yellow lindens and maples just so, making our daily walk to the El a delight. Or anyway, as much as a walk to the El can be, I guess.
Since last night, though, we've had steady 25 kt (29 mph) winds with gusts up into the 40s, blowing the leaves off everything in sight. Nary an elm has leaves this morning; the maples are spotty; and only our neighbor's stubborn linden, which only reluctantly has admitted that November is no time to leave the clorophyll out there, seems to be hanging on.
This is one of those days when my flight instructor, Zoltan, would look up at the total absence of planes flying the pattern and remark, "It mights gonna to be a bit vindy today, ja."
(You can watch the leaves blow around Evanston on the Inner Drive webcam.)