Left: Anna Wilson and Chad Hecht prepare a radiosonde and weather balloon at La Costa Meadows Elementary School. Right: Brian Kawzenuk describes the process of performing a weather balloon launch while Chad and Anna prepare to hand off the balloon and radiosonde to two students.
Key California Precipitation Index Hits Record Yearly Level After Only 7 Months
April 13, 2017
Click here for a pdf of this information.
A key index of California precipitation observations at eight stations in the Northern Sierra Nevada has set a new record high level after less than 7 months, beating the previous record that took 12 months of accumulation to set. A series of atmospheric rivers (ARs) that brought heavy precipitation to the state, especially in Jan and Feb, largely accounts for the record total accumulation.
Summary provided by F.M. Ralph, D. Pierce, C. Hecht, M. Dettinger, and D. Cayan; 2 PM PT Thursday 13 April 2017
CW3E Shares Science with Prospective Students at Triton Day
April 13, 2017
Each year, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) organizes Triton Day, a day for prospective undergraduate students and their families to explore the campus and all it has to offer. Falling on Saturday, April 8th this year, Triton Day provided visitors with information on everything from academic tracks and requirements to financial aid and support for adjusting to college life. Tours of the UCSD main campus and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) were also offered throughout the day.
CW3E shared current research efforts during the the day’s Academic Information Fair. Prospective students and family members were drawn in by the various weather instruments on display, measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, rainfall amount, atmospheric pressure, and incoming solar radiation.
Similar instruments are used by CW3E to make observations helping address weather and water-related science questions. Researchers, including graduate and undergraduates students, use measurements from these instruments to study atmospheric rivers and their impacts. Observations also feed into CW3E’s weather model, West-WRF, which is specifically tailored to provide forecasts for the West Coast.
Douglas Alden, engineering mentor, and Tashiana Osborne, Climate Sciences graduate student, speaking with visitors about meteorological instruments and ongoing CW3E research. Photo credit: Brittany Hook; SIO Communications Coordinator.
CW3E Visits the NWS California Nevada River Forecast Center
March 31, 2017
The NWS California Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) in Sacramento, CA, which provides essential hydrologic forecasts to stakeholders, recently hosted CW3E’s Dr. Anna Wilson for a day of shadowing CNRFC team members. She benefitted greatly from observing the operating procedures of expert Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) forecasters Holly Osborne and Kyle Lerman, and Senior Hydrologist Pete Fickenscher. Dr. Wilson was also able to tour the State-Federal Flood Operations Center. This is collocated with the CNRFC, NWS Sacramento, and the California Department of Water Resources to leverage those agencies’ strong commitment and significant contributions to supporting emergency and water management agencies in California. The CW3E visit to CNRFC offered an opportunity to share perspectives on the historic 2016-2017 winter season, and to talk about current research activities, modeling efforts, and topics of common interest.
From left to right: Holly Osborne (CNRFC HAS Forecaster), Mike Imgarten (CNRFC Hydrologist), Anna Wilson (CW3E postdoc), Kyle Lerman (CNRFC HAS Forecaster), and Scott Staggs (CNRFC Senior Hydrologist).
Weather on Steroids: The Art of Climate Change Science
March 9, 2017
La Jolla Historical Society: February 11 – May 21
San Diego Public Library: June 10 – September 3
Click here for a pdf file of this information.
WEATHER ON STEROIDS: THE ART OF CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE
Weather on Steroids explores the consequences, challenges, and opportunities that arise from the changing climate on our planet. The exhibition partners artistic and scientific communities to create a visual dialogue about the vexing problem of climate change, and explores how weather variability affects the day-to-day life of local communities. The exhibition investigates Southern California vulnerability to climate change, and draws on the region’s scientific expertise at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, whose investigators are at the forefront of climate research. Weather on Steroids brings together artists and scientists to reflect on humanity’s role in our changing climate and to envision new possibilities for a sustainable future. The focus is on weather extremes fueled by the steroids of climate change and their impacts on society: heat waves, atmospheric rivers, and drought with impacts on health and agriculture; deluges, sea level rise, and coastal erosion; extreme winds and devastating wildfires. Science serves as a basis and inspiration for imaginative and creative responses from artists. Artists’ subjective images and scientists’ objective scientific results reveal how climate change upsets the planet’s balance with extreme weather impacts. By illuminating the reality of climate change, Weather on Steroids aspires to take a proactive local role to engender collaboration between art and science for the benefit of cross-disciplinary and public education.
11 artists and 11 scientists collaborated, usually 1-1, to produce Weather on Steroids
Was produced for the Exhibition from mixed media, recycled and repurposed materials, by Oscar Romo in consultation with CW3E’s Alexander Gershunov. It is one example of CW3E’s research inspiring art and contributing to Weather on Steroids. Each installation at the Exhibition is accompanied by 2 didactic panels: one from the artist and one from the scientist. Excerpts of the panels follow.
“…Made of repurposed materials, Romo’s piece symbolizes Nature’s power. Wind and moisture manifest kinetic/male and latent/feminine energy that together represent creation or creativity that we are learning to harness in ever-greater amounts. Rather than induce a negative perception of the subject, Romo, as a practitioner of “natural systems design”, argues that resilience can be accomplished through the understanding of nature and its remarkable ability to adapt and the human capacity to learn from the natural world. Repurposed objects in the installation communicate a concern over our excessive use of energy and massive generation of waste but also demonstrate an opportunity for us to become more efficient and respectful of our natural resources by reducing, recycling, reusing and recovering goods.” (from didactic panel by Oscar Romo)
“…The extreme rainfall that ARs can produce in California over a couple of days is similar to the rainfall amounts associated with land-falling hurricanes of the East and Gulf coasts. ARs provide much of the precipitation to California and they drive the volatile water resources in our State, but they do so in spurts, and so can cause floods, landslides and avalanches. In a warming climate, ARs are expected to carry more water vapor. ARs are the mechanisms that will produce many of the stronger precipitation extremes that are projected for our region by climate models. Extreme precipitation events are also expected to be warmer in the future and to produce a much larger proportion of rain compared to snow, further enhancing their potential to cause catastrophic floods and be less amenable to regulated water storage in reservoirs.” (from didactic panel by Alexander Gershunov)
On Romo’s Globe, continents are made from bicycle sprockets. Tropical moisture and atmospheric rivers (ARs) are represented by the bottoms of bottles collected from the Tijuana River. The Globe is directly exposed to landfalling ARs and is designed to rotate and rust as it catches wind and moisture.
Global warming, includes trends in climate extremes (e.g. drought) and extreme weather events (e.g. heat waves, floods, hurricanes, atmospheric rivers) that are devastating and locally felt. These changing extremes can register climate change acutely in our individual experiences. Yet the connection of regional weather extremes to global climate change is somewhat like the connection of an athlete’s performance in an individual sports event to her use of steroids. The steroids are only a partial and obscure cause of any individual outcome, yet their impact is evident in the statistics of the athlete’s performances over an entire season, especially when compared to pre-steroid seasons’ statistics.
(photos by Alexander Gershunov)
CW3E Launches New Website
March 8, 2017
Today CW3E launches it’s new and improved website. In addition to the new design, the website is now more efficient, more user-friendly, more secure, and more able to handle increased traffic as interest in western weather extremes, in particular atmospheric rivers grows. CW3E is collaborating with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD, which is hosting the website and has infrastructure built to prevent any down time of the CW3E website. The development was lead by staff researcher Brian Kawzenuk with additional input from CW3E employees and collaborators. All the same great material, including news items and real-time forecasts and observations are still available on the website.
For comments, concerns, or questions about the new website contact Brian Kawzenuk, Julie Kalansky, Chad Hecht, or Marty Ralph.