Friday, July 15, 2011

Duck Tuck & Roll

Excuse me while I vent my spleen! I'm getting as tired of whining about this damn weather as you, my gentle readers, are getting from enduring my kvetching!

I stayed up deep into Thursday morning to follow the Tour de France LIVE as the route entered the first stage in the  Pyrénées that promised to separate the contenders from the pretenders. There's nowhere to hide on these Hors Catégorie've either got the legs that day, or you don't.

To repeat Jonathan Vaughters' exquisitely precise and perceptive tweet from Sunday's crash-marred Stage 9: "Professional cycling is brutal and beautiful. It cannot be one without the other"

Throw in Mother Nature's great equalizer, our lingering La Niña-enhanced rainy season, and Voughter's Axiom becomes brutally prophetic. The tiny French country roads, and steep grades wet with rain, continue to vex the racers. Again Thursday bad luck befell several teams. Team Radioshack/Team CorduroyPlanet's Andreas Klöden and several others including the maillot jaune, hit the ground yet again, on a rain slicked French byway near the beginning of the descent from the first of three huge climbs that defined the first High Mountain stage of the 2011 Tour.

I can't say that the late rain in France is La Niña's fault, in fact there's probably an Atlantic Ocean analogue to our Pacific's La Niña.

Now that I give it a little thought, there might be a corollary between the PDO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the AMO, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. I haven't found any evidence that the two are linked together, because until I watched this year's atypically rainy Tour de France, I never thought to look for a linkage. It seems to me that the the driving forces that drive one could also drive the other.

OK, I remember now...I looked at my own blogs! I searched the AMO tag and found a CorduroyPlanet "Inside Baseball" from September 2010. One of the articles I linked had the smoking gun.  The article on Anthony Watts' blog had a chart showing the excellent correlation between the PDO and the AMO. Now I'm no scientist, but isn't it kinda obvious that something is driving both of these long-period cycles. If I had to take an educated guess, I'd say chances are better than good that our sun is in the driver's seat here.

Here's the X's and O's from the article:

Tale of the 19X2's?
I don't know about you, but there's a pattern...not a perfect pattern (it's Nature after all) to the peaks and valleys. On the graph, look at the years that end in 2. With just a little fudge factor, those years are either the peak or the rock bottom of the cycles. The Sunspot Cycle is generally agreed to be 22 years from peak to peak. Close enough for Government Work as Americans used to say.

Sadly if the cycle repeats itself, I'm looking at roughly another 10 years of funky cool Summers. On the bright side, snowmaking seasons should be shorter, and groomers should enjoy extra nights of Hero Snow. Droughts should be mitigated, the glaciers will get well, and the lakes will be full until fall every year until spawning German Brown Trout stir. I'm guessing that bicycle wheel, tire and brake builders will iron out the wet weather performance of their products about the time the climate starts to warm back up.

In the near term, I'm lookin' for a fair weather window to duck up to the DaveCave so I can fix my pickup, and fetch some specialized tools for some projects around the Ancestral Diggins. One look at the satellite images is troubling to say the least...not one, but two wound-up cold low pressure systems are coming out of the Gulf of Alaska. Yeah, I said "duck". The AFD says there isn't "much" moisture associated with the mid-July interlopers...yeah, yeah...I've heard that one before too...

To quote the Prophet Homer Simpson...d'oh!


  1. I likey the cool summer temperatures. Two years ago it was over 113 degrees here on the East Side of it all. Way too hot for me. Especially when one's job entails long hikes in the high desert mountains.

    I wonder about the volcanic activity and humongous earthquakes duriing these intervals? Afterall, Pinataubu's eruption lowered the mean earth temp by a few degrees...perhaps there is a correlation?

    Don't know. I know I like it cool.

  2. Ducks are so cool!

  3. From the sat picks of GOES West, there is heavy activity along the equatorial border with monsoonal effects migrating north. The issue for the model is "where will the north fluctuating cold mass (? how cold is it at this time of year?) ? intersect with said moisture bearing stream?

    Tornadic or ? That's what modeling is all about....throw in a few hundred or so years of "citizen scientists" et al keeping records, and we have the great job as usual

    Was Pete really kidding?