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Cloudy Coolish Summer Related to Slumbering Sun?

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, October 13, 2008

Many people from Alaska to the northern United States, Canada and northern Europe have complained about cool and cloudy and wet summer. Let’s take just two examples.

 

ANCHORAGE’S COLD SUMMER

 

The meteorological summer of 2008 defined by the months of June, July, and August will easily be remembered by everyone for how cool it seemed and for how wet July was. In Anchorage...the average high temperature was 60.9 degrees (3 degrees below normal). The average low temperature was 47.7 degrees (1.9 degrees below normal). The average temperature for the season was 54.3 degrees (2.4 degrees below normal). For the season... 4.80 inches of precipitation were recorded (0.86 inches below normal).

 
There were only 17 days where temperatures were above normal. That means that only 18% of days this summer were warmer than normal, 5% of the days were considered normal and an astonishing 77% of the days were cooler than normal. The most dramatic stretch occurred in July with 24 consecutive days of below normal temperatures.

There were only 17 days where temperatures were above normal. That means that only 18% of days this summer were warmer than normal, 5% of the days were considered normal and an astonishing 77% of the days were cooler than normal. The most dramatic stretch occurred in July with 24 consecutive days of below normal temperatures. Anchorage set three records during those cool three weeks as well.

The summer of 2008 saw the fewest 70 degree days in Anchorage throughout recorded history. This graph highlights the top ten years where the fewest 70 degree days were observed. 2008 has only seen two 70 degree days thus far - both of which occurred in early July. Records at the Anchorage National Weather Service date back to 1917.

There were only 17 days where temperatures were above normal. That means that only 18% of days this summer were warmer than normal, 5% of the days were considered normal and an astonishing 77% of the days were cooler than normal. The most dramatic stretch occurred in July with 24 consecutive days of below normal temperatures. Anchorage set three records during those cool three weeks as well.

The summer of 2008 saw the fewest 70 degree days in Anchorage throughout recorded history. This graph highlights the top ten years where the fewest 70 degree days were observed. 2008 has only seen two 70 degree days thus far - both of which occurred in early July. Records at the Anchorage National Weather Service date back to 1917.

The average maximum temperature for this summer was ranked 3rd. The top five coolest summer maximums are:

1971: 60.40
1973: 60.87
2008: 60.93

1970: 61.23
1980: 61.30

The high temperatures throughout this summer averaged 3 degrees below the normal.
The minimum temperatures in the summer of 2008 only ranked in as the 34th coolest on record. The top five coolest summer minimums are:

1920: 44.03
1949: 45.00
1922: 45.23
1918: 45.37
1948: 45.40
2008: 47.67

The low temperatures throughout this summer averaged roughly 1.9 degrees below the normal. The average daily temperature in the summer for 2008 ranked in as the 11th coolest on record. The top five coolest summer averages are:

1920: 52.70
1949: 53.77
1971: 53.83
1917: 54.00
1932: 54.03
2008: 54.35

The average temperatures throughout this summer averaged roughly 2.4 degrees below the normal.

UK SUMMER ALSO CLOUDY, MET WITH LOWER MAXIMA

 

It was a similar story in the UK with cloudy, cooler days, and less cool nights (thanks to cloud cover).

 

Mean temperatures for the UK were slightly above average for all 3 summer months. There was a notable contrast between maximum and minimum temperature during August, with maximum temperatures 0.5 °C below average and minimum temperatures 1.3 °C above average. The maximum temperatures for the UK for August, were provisionally the coolest since 1994, although August 2007 was only 0.1 °C warmer.

All 3 summer months had above average rainfall across the UK, with August being the wettest month. Well above average summer rainfall across most areas, with parts of Northern Ireland and eastern Scotland having around double their average rainfall. In contrast, some areas of northern Scotland had below average rainfall.

 

August experienced exceptionally below average sunshine. Summer sunshine levels were below average across many areas and well below average across south-east Scotland.

 

Most of the UK suffered the coldest September in 14 years, forecasters revealed. In its monthly summary Met Eireann said the temperature never rose above 20 Celsius anywhere - the first such occurrence in more than 30 years.  Average monthly air temperatures were around half a degree below normal at some southern weather stations and it was the coolest September since 1994 almost everywhere. Forecasters said they were unable to predict the weather over the winter months but the Met Office in Britain claimed temperatures are likely to be above normal over much of Europe, although not as mild as last year. The summer washout seeped into the first half of September, with Dublin stations recording their usual monthly level of rainfall within the first six days. This also brought the stations' annual totals for 2008 above the amount normally recorded in a full year. Dublin Airport's downpour of 43.5mm on the 5th was its highest level for September since the station opened in 1941, while torrential rain on September 9 and 10 caused widespread flooding, especially in the south and west. See more here.

 

WHY MORE CLOUDS ?  SOLAR?

In the current very low solar wind situation reported on last week (lowest in the satellite age and likely in at least 100 years), there are more galactic cosmic rays reaching into our atmosphere. These enhance low cloudiness. Low cloudiness holds down daytime readings and keeps up at night with a net cooling. The difference in the 11 year cycle has been up to 2% with a corresponding increase in albedo.


A close correspondence between monthly variations of global low-cloud cover at <3.2 km altitude (blue), and cosmic-ray counts at the Huancayo station (red), 1982-2005. After (Svensmark, 2007).


Galactic cosmic ray flux estimated from two proxies since 1700 (blue and light blue), and also directly measured in 1953 – 2004 (red), and low clouds cover (orange). Note that both Y scales are inverted. After (Svensmark, 2007).

SUMMARY

 

Many northern areas had a cloudy cool and in many places wet summer. This may relate to the extremely low solar activity that favors enhanced low cloudiness.

 

For the globe, the UAH MSU data showed the summer as the 11th coldest in the last 30 years with an anomaly of -0.04F.  Meanwhile the no longer trustworthy NOAA NCDC claimed 2008 was 0.79 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 60.1 degrees F.

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