Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Weather It Is (Where Did That Come From?)

Good Evening:

Sixty four millimetres of rain this Wednesday morning in the western Negev! And, as if they needed another "natural" disaster, the city of Sederot was severely flooded, with cars floating through the streets (https://www.timesofisrael.com/floods-inundate-southern-towns-as-freak-rains-batter-country/).  The picture below shows a radar facsimile derived from our radar network Wednesday morning. This storm lingered for almost an hour in nearly the same location! There was also a quick, but heavy rain in Jerusalem today that caused a quick ponding of water on roads or what we might call old-fashioned puddles.

So, what's going on?  By this time of year the weather in the eastern Mediterranean is usually under the influence of the Indian Monsoon.  Winds circulating around the Monsoon warm the air in the middle atmosphere, which prevents clouds from growing high enough to bring summer rains.
However, this year there is an area of lower pressure in western Siberia, which appears to be preventing the Monsoon from reaching here.  Moreover, the Monsoon itself seems to have had a delayed strengthening (https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/monsoon-lags-over-east-india-may-weaken-further/article24127521.ece).  The lack of the Monsoon air combined with weak storms arriving from southern Europe means that the air remains unstable to cloud formation, while the relatively warm Mediterranean sea provides plenty of moisture to these growing storms.

The Times of Israel article notes that the last time it rained so much in the Negev was 26 years ago, when there was 50 millimetres.  This would have been 1992, which I believe followed the severe winter of 1991-92.

Looking ahead at our forecast, there appears to be a quick warm-up in time for Shabbat as high pressure builds eastward Africal.  Yet, the forecast shows relatively cool temperatures prior to and to following the warm-up. Amazingly enough, there may be more rain in about a week's time as another storm moves by (possibly just our our north).  Will the rainy weather continue even beyond next week?  The note on the Indian Monsoon doesn't forecast appreciable strengthening in the Monsoon for at least a couple of weeks.

Regardless, I tend to lean towards something more going on than just changes to the Indian Monsoon. I remember years when it rained (once) somewhere in the country during the month of May, and even August, but this year we've had consistent periods where rain has affected more than just a single localized area.

One positive outcome of all this strange weather is that the weatherman (or woman) has remained immensely popular -- at a time when most people are usually at the beach sipping watermelon juice or just staying home complaining about the heat.   I can't go anywhere without people stopping me to comment on the weather.  I've even been solicited for TV (internet) interviews.  All I can say that its fortunate that I've been extra busy, and even my kids are taking an extra moment to speak with me, and wonder "what's going on with our weather!?"

Barry Lynn




Thursday, June 7, 2018

Weather It Is (Hot And Dusty)

Good Afternoon:

After several days of hot and muggy weather and some heavy (but isolated) thundershowers, the weather turned a bit cooler and drier.  However, it's back to summer.

Low pressure will move by to our east today (Thursday).  It's responsible for the hotter temperatures and heavy dust, as well as some high level overcast.  The storm will pass by, but be replaced with high pressure entering from the west.  This high pressure area will be originating in Africa.  Hence, it will also bring hot summer temperatures, and some dust as well.

The hot weather should last into mid next week when some moisture arriving with a storm from the north might again bring some showers.

Barry Lynn

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Weather It Is (Weird Weather)

Good Afternoon:

Sometimes the weather is weird, but not often is it weirder than now.

After a series of relatively hot days with unusually high humidity and some tropical showers, the weather maps are looking very much like winter.  A storm will drop down from the northwest and bring rain heavy showers to the north, possibly moderate showers to the center, and lighter showers over southern areas.  The circulation pattern associated with this storm is not a Sharav, but rather that associated with a Mediterranean cyclone (or Cyprus low) -- or wintertime low.

The storm will arrive in two parts, with the first part affecting our area Friday afternoon into Shabbat afternoon, and the next sometime Sunday into early Monday.

To be honest with you, I'm skeptical that it will rain very much.  After all, if we look back in history it will be hard to find many (or even a few) rainy days in very late May or even June. On the other hand, we don't get too many "winter" storms at this time of year, and the sea temperatures are warm enough to provide a good source of moisture for any convective storms that might develop as the storm moves through.

I am sure that you've all been following the news lately -- as the skies rained mortars and missiles, rather than raindrops along the southern coastal areas.

While the weather is strange, I found nothing quite as strange as the quotes from an article in the TOI (https://www.timesofisrael.com/three-soldiers-wounded-by-shrapnel-as-south-buffeted-by-gazan-fusillade/)

A Hamas spokesperson earlier declared that “Israel will fail in the attempt to change the rules of the conflict and set a new equation on the ground.”
and:
“The resistance in the Gaza Strip reserves its right to react or remain silent in accordance with the interest of our people,” he said.
Here's the equation:  Hamas is building an army.  An army requires resources, which we provide in the hopes that it will be used to ameliorate the hardships of the citizens of Gaza (Hamastan).  However, the resistance has defined the interests of its people to destroy Israel, which means that none of these materials reach them.
In the meantime, we hope to "manage" the situation until either we are forced to utterly destroy Hamas or the people do it themselves.  However, Hamas is very good at allocating just enough resources that (combined with military rule) prevents any action by the citizens of Gaza to overthrow its rulers.
And we go along with it.
I'd rather stick to talking and thinking about the weather.
Barry Lynn




Monday, May 28, 2018

Weather It Is (Severe Storms Threat Eilat)


Severe storms threaten Eilat.  While not shown on the IMS radar, our lightning network shows severe storms moving towards Eilat, expected to arrive during the morning hours.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Weather It Is (New York Summer, Anyone?)

Good Evening:

One wouldn't be wrong if one starts to feel like we're living through a "New York Summer."  True, the last days of this week have been pleasantly warm during the day and cool at night, but this is going to change.

The reason is a broad area of low pressure that will build across the Mediterranean as the next week unfolds.  With the building low pressure will come moisture at the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere, with moderate humidity levels at lower levels -- as well as dust.  The combination could trigger some late spring thundershowers and or thunderstorms, which could include copious amounts of lightning and hail, as well as a quick accumulation of rain.

The unpleasantly hot weather, combined with unusual humidity levels for areas unaccustomed to summer humidity (like the central mountain areas) will remind at least some of a New York Summer.

Since the last large Gaza demonstration, the political heat has also been building up. It seems that those that should know don't know what's been really going on, but considering the plethora of news reporting one thinks that there are those that do know, but have cynically sought to exploit our troubles for their political gain.

Basically, if you don't know: the government of Gaza (run by the political party Hamas) has been paying its citizens to storm the border fence between Israeli and Gaza for the purposes of breaching the fence -- with the goal of slaughtering those (Israelis) on the other side.  And, if that didn't work, they figured that the media and those politicians mentioned above would take action to make it more difficult for Israel to defend its citizens from both political and military attacks.

There is one thing that struck me, though, concerning the idea of "proportionality," as noted by (not only  by himself) the "United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights" Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
(https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-rights-chief-israels-gaza-response-wholly-disproportionate/)
Mr. Al Hussein complained that while 60 Gazan's were killed, only one Israeli soldier was injured.  Not withstanding the fact that Israel is not an "occupying" power (of Gaza -- as  heclaimed), I must say that Mr. Al Hussein really knows his math (-- or does he?).

Two numbers are said to be in proportion (https://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/proportional.html) to each other when they have the same ratio.  For example, if a bucket holding 10 kilograms of oranges weighs 1 kilogram, then a bucket holding 20 kilograms must way 2 kilograms.

Or, if you like:  the weight of the basket equals 0.1 times the weight of the oranges, where the value of 0.1 is a constant (a value that is valid over an infinitely number of similar examples).

Getting back to Mr. Al Hussein's example above: some number (call it "y") must equal to a constant times the number of Palestinians killed.  The number y of course is the number of Israelis that should have been killed at the border fence.  Now, of course, any number of Israeli dead would mean that the number was proportional, so long as we could count up the number dead on each side during a variety of skirmishes, and we were to find that the "constant" was indeed constant from one violent exchange to another.

The problem for Mr. Al. Hussein is that no Israelis were killed.  Therefore, there is no proportionality at  all, and this really bothers him.  This bothers him because he'd like to see a lot of dead Israelis (the value of the constant should be much greater than one), otherwise he wouldn't lie about other aspects of the conflict.

Here's my suggestion.  I think that the Israeli army should decide to respond proportionally to these attacks.  They will count the number of kites flown over the border and send a proportionate number back (maybe the constant will be 10, so Israeli will send ten times as many burning kites back).  Israel will count the number of rocks and Molitov cocktails thrown, but in this case the constant will be 100 times the number sent by the Palestinians.  After all, why should Israelis suffer more than the Palestinians when the Palestinians are the attacking side. Finally, we'll fire only the number of bullets fired at us (the constant is 1) because it seems unfair to some that the Israel army should have more bullets than the Palestinians.

I am not sure how many tunnels we should build into Gaza or how many missiles we should fire, but we will be sure to do the math.

One last thing: the ratio of Palestinians killed to Israelis killed at the Gaza border is "Infinity."  This is a number larger than any known number -- it actually has no definable value. It is actually much larger than the number of stars in the sky (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/how-many-stars-are-there/) divided by the number of people on earth.  While I wish that the Palestinians will use their rocks to build roads, their gasoline to drive cars, and their brass (bullets) to make industrial machines, I have no problem with the number of Israeli deaths being zero -- as it is impossible to define the infinite grief of a parent who loses a child to Palestinian hate.

Barry Lynn


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Weather It Is (Bye, Bye Cold)


Good Afternoon:

A couple of days ago my daughter called down the stairs: "clothes of winter or summer?" To which my wife replied "Maetzben!"  This is a word in Hebrew that means a thing or person is both annoying and difficult at the same time.  I wasn't sure if she was referring to me or the weather.

In any case, we can say good-bye to the relative cold and welcome to summer.  An area of low pressure will build westward from the desert of Saudi Arabia over the next several days and with it will come intense heat.  In fact, before  the heat breaks temperatures will probably reach close to 37 C or 100 Fahrenheit.  

Will folks be able to finally put away their winter clothes?  If we look beyond the high heat, we see warm temperatures continuing until the end of next week.  After that, June is around the corner and winter will be even further behind.

I took a trip to Vienna a few weeks ago. It's a nice city, but it was my good fortune that my relatives left for the United States in the very late 1800s. If not, I would not have had the privilege of seeing my son and his class perform in his school's Shavuot presentation.  It was easy to locate the kids in the dark prior to the show -- each was lit up by the light of a cell phone.  If you watch people on the train no matter where you are, one has the impression that cell phones while bringing people far away make people who are close quite far away.  Just watch a "modern"couple at a restaurant, showing more interest in their phones than in each other. 

One person who always seemed to be interested in everyone was Marvin Goodman.  Mr. Goodman was the founder and owner of Pizzaria Efrat, which has now outlived him.  He came on Aliya with his wife and two of his children in the mid 1980s, and opened up his Pizzeria soon after.  The Pizzaria, besides serving good pizza, served as a meeting place for new residents of Gush Etzion.  Since then, the number of stores and restaurants, as well as residents has grown quite dramatically.  

But, this only served as a means for Mr. Goodman to expand the number of people he knew and took an interest in.  In fact, besides the accomplishment of raising a family in Israel, Mr. Goodman seems to have raised an extended family.  These are not only the people who came to his restaurant, but those who he simply stopped to chat with.  You see, he wasn't looking at his cell-phone, but looking for people he could say hello to and inquire about their well-being.  To him, "how are you?" wasn't a saying in passing, but a means to stop and chat, and to serve not just food, but good cheer.

Barry Lynn

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Weather It Is (Confusion)

Good Evening:

I really have to apologize to my wife.  On Monday morning she wore sandals, but by mid-day it was pouring rain.  Her wet feet (and by extension her) were not very happy.

I was actually away on a personal visit to New York, so I wasn't yet awake to warn her that she was making a mistake by dressing for summer instead of late winter.  The warning would have been provided by the Israeli Total Lightning Network.  The map below shows relatively high intensity lightning values as a strong front moved southeastward to just off the coast (at 0900 Israel Daylight Savings Time). Such strong values indicate the near-possibility of severe storms.

 However, I am not sure that she would have even listened to me, as the sky in Efrat certainly did not look like there would be severe lightning. hail storms, and strong winds later that morning and afternoon. Okay, that's not exactly true: she generally does not believe my forecasts, and no matter how many times she gets wet (or not), I can't seem to change her mind about this.

Yet, there is one person who generally usually listens to me.  She sits, and comes when called.   She is also usually quite happy to see me -- and unlike my kids quite expressive about it.  In fact, she couldn't stop barking when I returned, jumping up and down, as well as going a around and around.

Well, now that I am back I will make a better effort to my readers and my wife -- to convince them that I am a trustworthy source of weather information.   Perhaps, I will even earn some respect.

This is especially important because we're in for some topsy turvy weather this week as a Sharav low moves across the southern Mediterranean.  Like our last Sharav in late April, it should bring some hot weather (on Thursday and Friday) and maybe some scattered Thundershowers.  It should then be followed by a storm dropping down from the north.  However, unlike last time, we don't see that the storms should merge, which would make the occurrence of flooding rains more likely.

Instead, there should be a series of weak storms that will bring showers to the northern Negev and center of the country from early to mid-next week, and heavier rain up north -- as well as cool temperatures.

People have been mentioning that they don't remember a previous May with so many storms. I think that they are correct.  However, the NAO has been in and is forecast to be in a strong positive phase, which "helps" to build a trough (colder, more stormy weather) in the eastern Mediterranean.  Also, the last several decades have seen changes in the circumpolar westerly jet (or polar vortex; see: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0259.1), which allows colder (more artic like air) to move southward more often than in the past.  Together, these changes may explain our wet and stormy spring, especially combined with elevated values of desert dust.  Another interesting possibility is a late development of the beginnings of the Indian Monsoon, which causes middle and upper air temperatures to warm, suppressing cloud formation through the summer months.

It's all a bit of a mystery, and a topic worthy of further research.

Barry Lynn