Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Overnight low of minus 15 might be record

Reporter Brenna Hawley wanted to examine whether it was cold enough in Lawrence Thursday morning to throw boiling water into the air and get it to vaporize on contact with the frigid cold air.

February 3, 2011


It was cold — extremely cold — overnight Wednesday.

But did Lawrence set a record? Well, maybe.

Brian Barjenbruch, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said the automated sensor at Lawrence Municipal Airport registered minus 15 degrees overnight Wednesday. That sensor has only been in place since 2005, and the coldest temperature measured before this week was minus 6.

On the Kansas University campus, data has been recorded for more than 100 years. The record low was minus 13, set in 1905. Barjenbruch couldn’t confirm Lawrence set a record at that station, but he said it was close.

“It was definitely extremely cold,” he said. “It is infrequent to get this cold.”

Barjenbruch said the extreme temperatures were because of an airmass over Lawrence that came directly from northern Canada, traveling over snow. So it stayed cold.

Despite the frigid temperatures during the last few days, Barjenbruch said we aren’t that far off normal for winter months.

“If you average out all the temperatures, it was actually near average,” he said.

But it hasn’t been average this week, and Midge Grinstead, director of the Lawrence Humane Society, said it’s important to take extra care of animals when temperatures are so cold.

“I suggest they come in or have access to adequate shelter,” she said.

She said when the temperature gets below zero, animals have to go in, whether it be to a barn, a shed or a garage, all which would need proper bedding to keep the animals warm. She suggested straw, which retains their body heat well.

Also important is giving animals water and adequate food.

“Dehydration happens really quickly,” she said. “Lately we’ve seen a lot of not enough food, not enough water.”

These rules go for domestic animals as well as farm animals. This week she said the shelter had received a few calls about dogs, but cats also have a tough time in cold weather. Grinstead said they often get frostbite on their noses or ears. The pads on the bottom of animals’ feet are also problematic and can get damaged quickly.

“It only takes like 10 minutes,” she said.

Chuck Soules, the city’s public works director, said the main residential plowing would be finished Thursday, and crews would return to neighborhoods to remove large piles. He said they would also work on some intersections.

“We’ll be working probably at least all day today and all day tomorrow,” he said on Thursday. “We’ve pushed a lot of snow.”

Barjenbruch said the next few days will warm up and Lawrence could hit 33 degrees by the weekend, but there are very small chances of light snow again. But it’s bad news from there.

“I hate to say it, but it looks like it gets cold again,” he said.


devobrun 7 years, 2 months ago

And what temperature is sent to NOAA and NASA and HadCru?

The temperature goes into the archive as if it is the truth. It is raised to a level of "fact" by people who don't know of the human factor in science. If this data is rejected, modified, or "homogenized" it will enter the realm of "data".

Businessmen, politicians, news reporters, and a whole host of regular people will believe the "data". Is it really -15 degrees in Larrytown? Maybe. Or if it skews a regional average that causes an annual worldwide average to drop by 0.01 Celsius, then "homogenize" it. That might make the difference between 2011 being the 4th warmest year on record and the 3rd warmest year on record.

And that might make a difference in funding for your snail darter experiment next year. Shoot, it was really -10 F here last night, not -15....right? Wink wink.....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

If you really wanted answers to these questions, that'd be one thing. But what you really want is to throw doubt on something you find ideologically unpalatable.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

Meanwhile it hit nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Queensland Australia this week, a record high. I doubt anyone is going to have to fiddle with the numbers unless they're a climate-change-denying, "conspiracy theorist."

Erin Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

The "official" temperatures (as well as other meteorological data) nationwide are recorded [constantly] by ASOS [Automated Surface Observing System]s. In every case that I'm aware of at least ASOS's are either located at a local NWS or at airports. The equipment used in these systems meet very stringent regulations. Unlike thermometers outside banks, there are regulations as to what equipment is used, how far away from obstructions the equipment can be and how high off the ground they are. They are incredibly, incredibly accurate.

The people that developed this system realize the human factor and have done as much as possible to eliminate it. If they simply sent out a bunch of people with thermometers in hand, roughly every hour and recorded it that way, then your point would have more validity.

If you've never done so, contact the people at the airport outside of town and go check out the ASOS setup they've got out there. It's absolutely fascinating.

Erin Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

PS- the recorded data is not tampered with or skewed. Anybody can make a graph or chart say whatever they want with enough creativity. That goes for all ends of the spectrum. That's where your paranoia about the "human factor" may have some sort of relevance.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry, but pertinent information is not appreciated around here, as it makes willful ignorance a tad too difficult to maintain.

Erin Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

That made me chuckle. Thanks, bozo! How could I have been so foolish ;)

I do see that foil hats are quite the fashion statement around here.... I've got a roll of heavy duty Reynolds Wrap and time on my hands. $5 a pop. $7.50 for abnormally large cases of conspiracy theory-itis. Any takers?

riverdrifter 7 years, 2 months ago

I had -11 degrees in Baldwin this morning. Good thing I had brought in the brass monkey.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

That's good. other wise your cannonballs would be rolling all over the deck.

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

Based on what I have 5 miles west of Lawrence as well as what is reported at the Kansas City and Topeka weather stations; I think the Lawrence reported "lows" are tooooo low. Lawrence reported -15, I had -9, Baldwin -11, Topeka -7 Wednesday overnight. Also, last night (Thursday) late news, Lawrence reported -2, KC had +8 and Topeka +10. This morning I recorded a low of +6 overnight.

This all make me wonder, where does Lawrence get it's official temperature information; sounds like somebody needs to check the accuracy.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 2 months ago

Using my car thermometer, which is actually amazingly accurate after you've driven it a few minutes, I noticed on Thursday morning that the thermometer was minus 8 when I went through the hills south of the Wakarusa valley, but as I went through the valley, it dropped more and more until by the time I reached 31st street, it was minus 15. I've noticed that colder air hugs the valleys during the summer, and it appears to be the same in the winter, too. Since I think the minus 15 was reported at the airport, which is in the Kaw river valley, it seems completely plausible and accurate to me.

This morning, the same thing happened; the car thermometer was at plus 8 in the hills south of the Wakarusa, but it dropped down to minus one by the time I'd gone through the valley and reached 31st St.

Erin Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

Nail meet head! Additionally, cold air sinks. Id need to take a closer look at some topographical maps to see how much height is a factor, but I'm sure it does to an extent. Being away from buildings and the urban heat island probaly affects it more. Don't quote that.

Alceste 7 years, 2 months ago

"Barjenbruch said the extreme temperatures were because of an airmass over Lawrence that came directly from northern Canada, traveling over snow."

These remarks are quite comical and all my hoser buddies really enjoy it when USA based weather people "blame" cold weather on Canada!!! It's not like the cold air BEGINS in Canada. There's this place called the North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole? It's above Canada.

Why people hating on Canada. Gee whiz....

Henry_the_liberal 7 years, 2 months ago

I didn't mind Canada until I read your complaining. Now I understand why people are hating on Canada, it's the Canadians.

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

No wonder North Dakota has considered changing it name to "Dakota"!

Ken Lassman 7 years, 2 months ago

Alceste, Actually, here are the current (Friday, noon) temps from the World Meteorological Organization and

North Pole: -7 White Horse, Yukon -4 Yellow Knife, NWT: -7 Ingaluit, Nunavut: -21 Inuvik, NWT: -16

Turns out that many times northern Canada and Greenland can be colder than the north pole! Doesn't have to be that way, but the cold shifts around quite a bit. Meteorologists are currently saying that they think that because of the ocean's being iced over less and less, that the absorbed heat from being open water may make this more and more common, especially since the land can get colder than the ocean. Go figure.

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

DougCounty: Temps. in C or F.?? Canada uses the Centigrade scale usually!

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

Tom: Drinking that right-wing ditch water and blaming your "anointed one"; your fetish continues. The evidence you cite about "created data" has been disproved long ago; more drivel, just like your birther claims. Maybe spending too much time listening to the oil-soaked Senator Inhofe from Oklahoma refuting any climate change evidence.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 2 months ago

try this on for size:

Please feel free to refute away, or I suppose your silence will be taken as agreeing with the overwhelming evidence.

John Reher 7 years, 2 months ago

Pretty sure it was colder back in December of '89.

Liberty275 7 years, 2 months ago

Everyone remember, it's record cold because of global warming!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, it's record cold because the jet stream has dipped down further south than it typically is.

But when that happens, the temperature shifts go both ways-- it's like opening the refrigerator door.

So while we've been experiencing abnormally low temperatures, areas in N. Canada have been experiencing abnormally warm temperatures.

I apologize if this information makes you think more than you find comfortable.

Erin Graham 7 years, 2 months ago

Ok. It makes me ridiculously happy to see someone not on the misinformation campaign. Especially with weather/ climate related things and the such. Fistbump.

Liberty275 7 years, 2 months ago

IOW, regardless of the wearher, it's global warming. OK. LOL.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"According to a 2009 Pew survey, 35 percent of Republicans say they saw no solid evidence of global warming, the lowest number of any political group. Climate scientist and conservative Kerry Emanuel discusses why he thinks political views shouldn't sway scientific thinking."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"According to a 2009 Pew survey, 35 percent of Republicans say they saw no solid evidence of global warming, the lowest number of any political group."

I think they worded that incorrectly. It should likely be "highest of any political group," -- as in highest percentage who are global warming deniers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

How about a short, unscientific poll?

Would you rather be blinded by science?

Or blinded by your own willful ignorance?

Liberty275 7 years, 2 months ago

I'll not be blind and believe what I see, not what I'm told..

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