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Got Gamma!

Steve Scolnik @ 4:45 PM

Surface weather map at 1pm today from NWS/NCEP/HPC
This afternoon's weather map shows a ridge of high pressure extending literally from coast to coast, except for a weak low pressure trough through the northern Plains. In the Washington metro area, temperatures have rebounded from their first lows in the 20s this season. The official low of 28 was the coldest since March 10. By mid afternoon, readings had not made it above the low 40s, however, and a few places were still at 39.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Tonight, clear skies, light winds, and dewpoints as low as the low teens will allow temperatures to plummet, especially in the suburban and exurban valleys. While the urban heat island is likely to keep city lows in the upper 20s, 18-20 is not out of the question for the usual cooler outlying areas. Temperatures will recover somewhat tomorrow under sunny skies; highs will be near 51.

Tropical Update

It feels strange talking about the tropics in winter-like temperatures, but this record-breaking season continues to roll on. A reconnaissance flight this afternoon revealed that TD 27 had been revived as Tropical Storm Gamma with maximum winds of 40 mph, centered about 40 miles north of the Honduras coast. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Belize and for the Bay Islands of Honduras. The forecast track keeps the tropical storm intensity and moves it along the coast of Yucatan and then northeastward in a Wilma-like path across southern Florida Monday afternoon. It would then move a couple of hundred miles off Hatteras, but with all the cold air likely to be in place, the East Coast could see a most interesting Thanksgiving week, indeed.

Climate "Debate": Get Real

The RealClimate blog, which, as I have noted in the past, is run by actual scientists doing real research (as opposed to certain other sites which shall remain linkless), had a couple of interesting posts in recent days on the subject of the climate "debate" and the press. The first one, "Framing of climate science", deals with how journalists tend to "frame" the issue by presenting climate science as more uncertain than it really is. The second, "The False Objectivity of 'Balance'", addresses one of my personal pet peeves, the bogus notion that any position presented in the media must be "balanced" by an opposing view. The post includes one of my favorite analogies: Should the Flat-Earth Society ("faith-based astrophysics") have the same input to space research planning as NASA? How absurd is that? Or, to bring the analogy to weather forecasting, every time we forecast sunny and cold, should we include a "balanced" opinion of hot and humid with thundershowers?

It's really sad that the appalling state of science education in this country has brought about such a situation. C. P. Snow addressed the issue of the "Two Cultures" of science and humanities two generations ago, but the condition only seems to have gotten worse as the stakes have become higher.

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