Jacksonville, FL — Less than 2 months left in the hurricane season. Get daily updates “Talking the Tropics With Mike” * here *.
A rather strange & rare occurrence: Sept. was the 6th straight month in Jacksonville with below avg. temps. - something that has not happened this century! June, July & Aug. were wet & humid which helped keep daytime temps. - in particular - a little lower (yes - it was still hot!) but April, May & Sept. were all drier than avg.
But before one gets all hyped about climate change or not, realize the 6-month period is simply a snap shot in time. Not, of course, necessarily a long term trend. But having said that, way too much hyperbole is targeted on certain weather events. Many times - after weather disasters or unusual “happenings” (sometimes perceived vs. reality) - the automatic tag is “climate change”. One should realize in a perfect world, Mother Nature wants everything - including the weather - to be equally balanced. That’s not possible, so the only weather constant is change in the form of storms, rain, sun, wind, cold , hot, etc. The atmosphere is in a steady state of chaos. Now let me be clear: the earth is warming - the numbers are factual & real. The graph below is from the University of Alabama, Huntsville & shows the long term warming since about the turn of the century with an especially steep increase since about 2014:
But there are some stats that will be - & have been - overlooked &/or misinterpreted. The ACE - a measure of how strong a tropical cyclone is + how long the storm lasts - is well below average globally but is well above avg. for the North Atlantic with former hurricane Sam pushing the N. Atlantic ace to nearly double its average by Oct. 5th (139.5 vs. avg. of 86.3). At the same time, all other N. Hemisphere basins are below avg. except for the N. Indian basin. Table below from CSU & Phil Klotzbach:
The number of tornadoes this year is well below avg.:
Despite all the wildfire headlines, the number of U.S. acres burned thus far is below the 10-year avg.:
And - finally - the table & info below from the Australian Institute of Marine Science needs to be carefully interpreted as there has been some misleading info. recently. First & foremost, 2021 has been a kind year to the Great Barrier Reef after several severe bleaching events during the past decade or so. Such a short term trend does not mean the Great Reef is out of danger & completely recovered, but it does show the propensity for resilience if given the opportunity. Key 2021 points according to the institute:
- This report summarises the condition of coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) from the Long-Term Monitoring Program (LTMP) surveys of 127 reefs conducted between August 2020 and April 2021 (reported as ‘2021′).
- Over the 35 years of monitoring by AIMS, the reefs of the GBR have shown an ability to recover after disturbances.
- In 2021, widespread recovery was underway, largely due to increases in fast growing Acropora corals.
- Survey reefs experienced low levels of acute stressors over the past 12 months with no prolonged high temperatures or major cyclones. Numbers of outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on survey reefs have generally decreased; however, there remain ongoing outbreaks on some reefs in the Southern GBR.
- Overall, 59 out of 127 reefs had moderate (>10% - 30%) hard coral cover and 36 reefs had high (>30% - 50%) hard coral cover.
- On the Northern GBR, region-wide hard coral cover was moderate and had continued to increase to 27% from the most recent low point in 2017.
- On the Central GBR region-wide hard coral cover was moderate and had increased to 26% in 2021.
- Region-wide hard coral cover on reefs in the Southern GBR was high and had increased to 39% in 2021.
- In 2020, most of the surveyed reefs experienced heat stress accumulation that produced widespread coral bleaching but was below thresholds where widespread mortality is expected to occur. Consistent with this, surveys in 2021 recorded low coral mortality from the 2020 bleaching event.
- In periods free from acute disturbances, most GBR coral reefs demonstrate resilience through the ability to begin recovery. However, the reefs of the GBR continue to be exposed to cumulative stressors, and the prognosis for the future disturbance regime is one of increased and longer lasting marine heatwaves and a greater proportion of severe tropical cyclones.
It was 5 years ago - Oct. 7th, 2016 - when hurricane Matthew made its closest approach - about 45 miles to the east of Jax Beach - hammering our beaches & causing widespread power outages. The hurricane heavily damaged the Jax Beach pier which is still under repair today. Matthew was the first Cat. 5 over the Atlantic Basin since 2007 (”Felix”) & was at Cat. 3 strength when just off the NE Fl. coast. A full re-cap + some personal memories * here * in the “Buresh Blog”.... Jax N.W.S. recap * here *.
Before & after Matthew, Vilano Beach:
Cat. 5 Sept. 30th, 2016 - Eastern Caribbean:
On October 1, FEMA’s new Risk Rating 2.0 program went into effect, changing the way flood insurance rates are calculated. According to FEMA, more than a million Floridians will see their flood insurance premium rise next year and most likely, for years to come. FEMA’s pricing revamp will lead to higher prices for a majority of Florida’s 1.7 million policyholders — the most of any state — as well as a decrease for about 20% of policies, more than 340,000 policyholders. Get info. from FEMA * here * & * here *. According to FEMA:
Conscious of the far-reaching economic impacts of COVID-19, the agency decided to take a phased approach to rolling out the new rates:
- Beginning Oct. 1, 2021 Existing National Flood Insurance Program policyholders will be able to take advantage of decreases at the time of the policy’s renewal. New policies will be subject to the new pricing methodology, which reflects a property’s full risk rate.
- Beginning, April 1, 2022 All remaining policies will be written under the new pricing plan at the time of renewal allowing these policyholders extra time to prepare.
October night skies courtesy Sky and Telescope:
Oct. 9 (all day): Astronomy Day, a worldwide celebration, begun in 1973, that “brings astronomy to the people.” Stargazing events might be planned by your local astronomy club. More info here and here. Info. for Jacksonville’s very own Bryan-Gooding Planetarium at MOSH * here *.
Oct. 9 (dusk): Low in the southwest, the waxing lunar crescent and brilliant Venus are 2½° apart in the Scorpion’s head, while Antares smolders 6° to their left.
Oct. 14 (dusk): The waxing gibbous Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn form a triangle above the south-southeastern horizon after sunset.
Oct. 15 (dusk): Venus sits 1½° upper right of Antares, the Scorpion’s heart. They stay close the next two evenings.
Oct. 21 (morning): The Orionid meteor shower peaks before dawn. But the Moon, just past full, severely hampers viewing.
Oct. 23 (dawn): The waning gibbous Moon is 4° left of the Pleiades high in the west-southwest.
Oct. 25 (dawn): Mercury appears its farthest from the Sun in the sky (18°), termed greatest western elongation.
Oct. 29 (dusk): Venus appears its farthest from the Sun in the sky (47°), termed greatest eastern elongation.
Nov. 1 (dawn): Mercury and Spica rise together in the east-southeast, 4° apart. Be quick to catch this sight before dawn brightens the sky.
Nov. 7: Daylight-saving time ends at 2 a.m. for most of the U.S. and Canada.
Nov. 7 (dusk): The young Moon and Venus are 3½° apart, left of the Teapot asterism of Sagittarius.
New Moon – October 6, 7:05 a.m. EDT
First Quarter – October 12, 11:25 p.m. EDT
Full Moon – October 20, 10:57 a.m. EDT
Last Quarter – October 28, 4:05 p.m. EDT
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