The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Nice fall you've got there

While running errands this morning I had the same thought I've had for the past three or so weeks: the trees look great this autumn. Whatever combination of heat, precipitation, and the gradual cooling we've had since the beginning of October, the trees refuse to give up their leaves yet, giving us cathedrals of yellow, orange, and red over our streets.

And then I come home to a bunch of news stories that also remind me everything changes:

  • Like most sentient humans, Adam Serwer feels no surprise (but plenty of disgust) that a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse: "This is the legal regime that a powerful minority of gun-rights advocates have built—one in which Americans are encouraged to settle their differences with lethal force, preferably leaving as few witnesses capable of testimony as possible."
  • Charles Blow worries about the follow-on effectsi.e., vigilantism. Says Blow, "Right-wing gun culture is not unlike the wellness industry, in that it requires the cultivation of a sustained insecurity in its audience, in order to facilitate the endless purchase of its products."
  • Dan Friedman finds Rittenhouse's acquittal terrifying: "[M]ost reasonable people would agree that armed vigilantes facing off with armed protesters, or rioters—while police hide blocks away in armored vehicles—is, by and large, bad. But in Kenosha, and much the country, it is legal. And it is becoming normal. ... [T]he biggest failure was that the events of the trial, and the public perception of it, will not deter the kind of conduct that led to it. It seems sure to cause more right-wing vigilantism, more armed confrontations, and more political violence in the streets."

Outside of Kenosha:

Finally, Israel's government has loosened the certification process for Kashrut inspectors, to the outrage (do they express any other emotion?) of the Haredim. One possible factor? "The head of the Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut division was indicted on bribery charges in 2020 after being videotaped allegedly accepting envelopes of cash from food importers." Oy gevalt!

Riches of embarrassment

Just a couple of eye-roll-worthy lunchtime links today:

What fun.

Well, it's November

This morning, the official temperature at O'Hare briefly alighted on 0°C around 7am, for the first time since April 22nd. Also around the same time, I turned my heat on for the first time since May 13th (according to my Google Home app).

As it happens, October ranks as one of the warmest and wettest in Chicago and Illinois history:

The preliminary statewide average October temperature was 15.4°C, 2.8°C above the 1991–2020 average and eighth warmest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total October precipitation was 162 mm, 87.4 mm above the 1991–2020 average and the fourth wettest on record going back to 1895.

Chicago's October was the 9th warmest and 12th wettest, continuing a 3-month streak ranking in the top-10 warmest—second warmest for the three months ending October 31st.

Unexpected measurement

About a month ago I bought a Netatmo Smart Weather Station, which has both indoor and outdoor Internet-connected sensor arrays. The indoor array includes a CO2 gauge, which taught me last night that my gas oven produces lot of carbon dioxide:

 

Now, 1360 ppm doesn't pose a serious health risk, but you can see how quickly the CO2 shot up when I turned the oven on and how slowly it dissipated.

The other thing I've learned is how stable my indoor temperature is when the weather is cool but not cold. The outside temperature has stayed within the range 8°C to 13°C for the past week, and my indoor temperature hasn't budged from 19°C by more than one degree. We'll see what happens Wednesday when the outside temperature goes below freezing.

Catastrophe?

I said before lunch I wouldn't post barring catastrophe. This may qualify:

Over the weekend in California, a storm system dropped to a barometric pressure of 945.2 mB, making it the strongest storm to affect the Pacific Northwest on record. For perspective, this is equivalent to the central pressure you would see with a strong hurricane.

For Sacramento, the stats are even more startling. Sacramento picked up 5.44 inches of rain Sunday, making it their wettest day in history (or any calendar month). Making this even more remarkable is that this came on the heels of a record dry streak of 212 days in a row with no measurable rain. That just ended on Oct. 18.

This example of drought to deluge, also known as precipitation volatility, is exactly what's expected to occur more frequently in California with climate change, where a moisture-loaded Pacific storm system brings a brief period of record rainfall in the middle of an extreme drought exacerbated by record high temperatures.

I mean, wow. And right now, the storm that battered Chicago this morning will head east on a trajectory to give the East Coast a hell of a Nor'easter tomorrow and Wednesday.

But by all means, let's forget about climate legislation to save the last 36 coal jobs in West Virginia, shall we?

Not the day I'd hoped for

My day started before dawn waiting (unsuccessfully) for Cassie to pee in a howling rain storm, and will end late tonight after our penultimate rehearsal before our November 7th concert. So unless something truly catastrophic happens, no real post today.

Tomorrow I'll have something about the book I just finished.

You wanted rain, California?

A collection of weather phenomena off the west coast of North America, including a bomb cyclone, will give northern California record rainfall over the next day and a half:

Amid an exceptional drought that has wrought havoc on California for years, a Level 5 out of 5 atmospheric river is soaking the region, dumping double-digit rainfall totals and up to six feet of mountain snow. This heavy precipitation will help ease the drought but produce dangerous mudslides and debris flows in areas recently devastated by fires.

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow swaths of exceptionally moist air, sometimes sourced from the tropics, that can produce excessive amounts of precipitation.

“It will be a wild 24 to 36 hours across northern California as we will see an extreme and possible historic atmospheric river push through the region,” wrote the National Weather Service in Sacramento, calling it a “dangerous, high-impact weather system.”

Flash flood watches are up for most of Central and Northern California, blanketing some of the same areas that went upward of six months without a stitch of measurable rain. Sacramento recorded its first 0.01 inches of rain last week since March 19, capping off a record-setting 222 days without precipitation. Now it is bracing for more than half a foot of rain and flooding.

The storm offshore of the Pacific Northwest driving this atmospheric river into the coastline rapidly intensified at a staggering rate. Meteorologists refer to a storm as a “bomb” if its minimum central air pressure drops by 24 millibars or more in 24 hours, signifying intense and speedy “deepening.” That sucks in more air and allows the storm to intensify.

This particular storm strengthened at twice that rate as a “double bomb” with its pressure tanking to 943 millibars, which, according to the Weather Service, would make it “the strongest known system for the area.”

Over the mainland United States, such low atmospheric pressure is practically unheard of. Even on the East Coast, where cyclones regularly strengthen into massive nor’easters, pressures seldom fall this low. The powerful March 1993 “superstorm,” among the most intense and damaging storms ever to strike the United States, bottomed out at “only” 960 millibars.

Welcome to climate change: seven months without rain, then nothing but rain for two days. Fun.

Here in Chicago we just have a normal gray rainy October afternoon. I'm glad we don't have to worry about 150 mm of rain in the next four hours.

Crisp fall morning

Cassie and I both love these crystal-clear autumn days in Chicago, though as far as I know she spent her first two autumns in Tennessee. Does Nashville have crisp fall mornings? I don't know for sure, and Cassie won't say.

I meant to highlight these stories yesterday but got into the deep flow of refactoring:

I will now make Cassie drool buckets by using salmon skin as a training tool.

Happy Mason-Dixon Day

On this day in 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey of the disputed Maryland-Pennsylvania border, which became even more contentious in 1780 when Pennsylvania aboolished slavery. A group of surveyors started re-surveying the border in 2019; I can't find out whether they finished.

Meanwhile, 255 years later, politics is still mostly local:

Finally, Chicago has perfectly clear skies for only the third time this month after yesterday and the 4th, getting only 39% of possible sunshine for almost the past three weeks.

Busy day, time to read the news

Oh boy:

Cassie has bugged me for the last hour, even though we went out two hours ago. I assume she wants dinner. I will take care of that presently.