General Question

SeventhSense's avatar

Is there a scientific basis for the excessive rainfall we're having in NY?

Asked by SeventhSense (18869points) July 7th, 2009

It has rained every day at least in part for for maybe 28 of the last 35 days. And not just light drizzles-intense downpours at times. Any armchair meteorologists out there?

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24 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Sure. According to the weather map, there are two separate low pressure systems right on top of New York along with a trailing occluded front. Not only does that mean that the air is very unstable and prone to rain storms, but there must have been a mid-latitude cyclone in the area over the past few days.

SeventhSense's avatar

I’ve never seen a cyclone in NY. I’m sure there have been but I’ve never seen anything significant other than hurricanes.
It’s highly unusual to have this much rain as this at this time of the year. I was thinking maybe there was some global el Nino pattern or something.

Parrappa's avatar

It has rained quite a bit down here in Philadelphia as well. Almost everyday it has rained for around 5–10 minutes of absolute downpour then suddenly stops. The entire day, even while raining and after, is usually very sunny. It’s weird.

SeventhSense's avatar

It may be the NE in general.

timothykinney's avatar

More rain drops in the sky, same gravity.

SeventhSense's avatar

OK I said Meterologists, not comedians.
..it’s my job to derail threads anyway :)~

Ivan's avatar

A mid-latitude cyclone is a large atmospheric event, not a small storm like you might have pictured. They happen all the time. An occluded front is an indication that one has just dissipated.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Ivan
Aha mid latitude..ok so why is this ocurring? Any hypotheses?

Likeradar's avatar

@SeventhSense Not just the NE, Denver has been unusually very rainy too.

timothykinney's avatar

Houston has been hot and dry. But we got some rain today. Go figure, rainman.

Aethelwine's avatar

Don’t know why but central Illinois has seen the wettest spring on record, breaking the old record from 1927. The Illinois River was at flood stage for almost 3 months, longest ever recorded. It’s raining as I type this. You’re not alone in this.

janbb's avatar

I was just in Florida last week and it rained off and on heavily for four days. Wonderful seince they’ve been in drought situation, but also unusual.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, there is. Low sunspot activity during the “solar minimum” with some possible influence by volcanic eruptions have resulted in a dip in the Jet Stream.

Here is one article detailing the issues, which I have excerpted below (emphasis mine):

“According to NASA, the sun has been at the minimum part of its cycle since early 2008. The last solar maximum was around 2001. During a solar minimum, there are few or no sunspots. Some studies have shown that when sunspots are present, the area of the sun surrounding the spots is brighter. While the process is much more complex and the effects are probably not instantaneous, a lack of sunspots could translate to slightly less heating of the earth, by the sun.

Now, back to the weather maps. While surges of summer warmth are expected to reach the Northeast in the coming weeks, a prolonged period of hot weather in July does not appear likely for New England.

Instead, a dip in the jet stream will persist. In turn, this will allow cool fronts to sweep through on a regular basis, each with bouts of clouds, showers and locally severe thunderstorms.

Recall that back in mid-April, AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert, Joe Bastardi predicted that for the Northeast, the hottest weather relative to normal for the 2009 warm weather months was about to occur. During late April, temperatures had surged to 20 degrees above average in much of the Northeast.”

gailcalled's avatar

It’s a conspiracy by the slugs; they want more salad and green stuffs for meals. Huge thunderclouds building up here (NY/MA) line as I type.

There was a severe tornado in Great Barrington, MA about 10 years ago. The damage is still evident.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@SeventhSense,
Weather moves from west to east. I am sending you the rain from here in IL. Get used to it, I’m sending more today. Should get there about Saturday. Take an umbrella, you’re going to need it. :-)

SeventhSense's avatar

@Marina
Thanks. Very Informative
@evelyns_pet_zebra
As long as you don’t send me any of that stuff that passes for pizza out there.:P

marinelife's avatar

@SeventhSense (At least in Chicago they don’t put, shudder, pineapple on it.)

SeventhSense's avatar

@Marina
Oh cripes, that’s the unholy trinity- Marinara, Mozzarella and Fruit.

marinelife's avatar

@SeventhSense Do you have access to real NYC pizza? There is nothing else liek it. My mouth is watering thinking of it.

SeventhSense's avatar

Fuggedaboutit. In NY it’s just a question of which is closest. There’s so many good pizza places around.

dannyc's avatar

Climatology is a long term science about averages. Over a certain period it just will do so and stats will bear it out. This gives us little comfort in our quest for a perfect weekend which is pretty well completely unpredictable. Many people thought an ice age was looming in the 70’s and that turned out to be absolutely false. In the long term though, even if masked by global warming, it could still happen and will. Humans are not as invincible as we think and weather is just the baby to teach us some humility.

mattbrowne's avatar

Global warming is very real, but you can’t link a specific event like rain in New York to it. If you use rain data for New York from 1960–1990 and compare it with 1990–2020 maybe some conclusions can be drawn.

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