Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Very Warm Temperatures Aloft Over Southwest

First, it's another morning with considerable smoke over the Tucson metro area, as per image (above) from Computer Sciences building this morning. Was a very strange looking sunrise. The source of the smoke is not clear, since there are so many wildfires burning in the Southwest. Several wildfires are burning in the Arizona Rim Country, and there is a smoke plume visible this morning on satellite images from the fire near Payson. Will be a tough day for firefighters as a short-wave trough at 500 mb moves through the northern Rockies, increasing the winds again today over most of the Southwest.

The 12 UTC plot of 500 mb observations (shown above) indicates several things of note. First, as we are now in the time of year when upper-air data from Mexico can be very important, it appears that we may again have few soundings available - note above that there were only three morning soundings from Mexico in the plot from NCAR. However, I checked the Wyoming upper-air site and find that the only key site missing this morning is Guaymas - as per last year at this time. Thus, a data ingest problem at NCAR continues into this summer - users be aware and cross-check at Wyoming.

Very warm air from over the Pacific covers much of the Southwest, with temperatures of -1 to -4C common. Temperatures at 700 mb over the Southwest range from13 to 17C.

The NAM 00-hour analysis of the 500 mb level is shown below. the model analyzes two distinct anticyclones over the US - one centered over the Ohio River Valley and the other over northern Baja. These will be consolidating during the week into a large, summertime anticyclone covering much of central and southern US.

Final note (ref to post below) - I checked back on what brought the first influx of high dewpoint air into Arizona last summer. It was a push up the Gulf of California, stimulated by Tropical Storm Beatriz, which formed just off Cabo Corrientes (see current NHC outlook - bottom graphic), where there may be development in the next few days..

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