record high temperatures in Conway, AR

3 08 2011

Today most of Arkansas was under an excessive heat warning, with many places reaching a high over 110 and a heat index around 120.  Fort Smith hit 115 degrees.  This is all with lots of humidity, so it was beyond crazy-mad hot.

Is it because of global warming?  It is definitely hotter than normal, but it’s not unprecedented.  Here’s the record highs for Conway, AR, in August for all-time.  Notice the years in which the highs happened.

Date     Record high    Record low
Aug 01   110°F (1986)   53°F (1971)
Aug 02   110°F (1943)   59°F (1918)
Aug 03   111°F (1918)   52°F (1915)
Aug 04   112°F (1918)   54°F (1920)
Aug 05   108°F (1954)   53°F (1974)
Aug 06   108°F (1934)   52°F (1948)
Aug 07   109°F (1934)   54°F (1912)
Aug 08   112°F (1930)   52°F (1990)
Aug 09   114°F (1930)   55°F (1989)
Aug 10   115°F (1936)   54°F (1996)
Aug 11   110°F (1954)   55°F (1917)
Aug 12   112°F (1899)   54°F (1967)
Aug 13   110°F (1943)   52°F (1964)
Aug 14   111°F (1943)   53°F (1967)
Aug 15   113°F (1943)   55°F (2004)
Aug 16   112°F (1943)   50°F (1992)
Aug 17   110°F (1909)   52°F (1992)
Aug 18   109°F (1954)   55°F (1992)
Aug 19   108°F (1934)   56°F (1943)
Aug 20   111°F (1902)   53°F (1940)
Aug 21   108°F (1898)   53°F (1963)
Aug 22   108°F (1899)   51°F (1956)
Aug 23   112°F (1899)   56°F (1925)
Aug 24   111°F (1899)   55°F (1920)
Aug 25   110°F (1943)   55°F (1966)
Aug 26   110°F (1943)   55°F (1927)
Aug 27   112°F (1943)   53°F (1962)
Aug 28   108°F (1943)   51°F (1986)
Aug 29   107°F (1954)   49°F (1986)
Aug 30   107°F (1943)   49°F (1986)
Aug 31   107°F (1938)   54°F (1935)

It’s odd that in 1918 we had a record low of 59 on the 2nd, then record highs on the 3rd and 4th of 111 and 112.

While there’s not much we can do about the heat, someone has proposed a solution of ice cream sandwiches being delivered when we’re under an excessive heat warning.  I kinda like the idea…  🙂


lightning photos from volcano eruption in Iceland

22 04 2010

There’s been plenty of news about the volcano eruption in Iceland and how it’s delaying flights because of all the ash spewed into the atmosphere.  And while a volcano eruption is destructive, it’s also neat to see (from a safe distance, of course).   In addition to the lava flows and massive pillars of smoke, volcanoes can also create their own lightning storms and occasionally even a funnel.  Basically, the heat and charged particles create its own thunderstorm over the volcano.

Follow this link for some awesome lightning pictures from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland.  This other site also has quite a few neat photos of it.  Also, for a high-resolution picture of the lightning, click on the photo at the bottom of this page.

FYI, the last time this particular volcano erupted was in 1821, and the eruption lasted for 13 months.  It’s not a particularly large volcano, and this isn’t a very violent eruption (compared to other volcanoes), but the volcanic fissures lie under a thick slab of glacial ice, which contributes to the ash and smoke, making it more explosive.  There’s also a fear that the associated earthquakes (about one every 40 seconds) will set off the larger, neighboring volcano of Katla, which also lies under ice.

cooler temperatures and less sunspots

2 09 2009

We just enjoyed a few days at the end of August with highs around 78 here in central Arkansas.  Usually in August, that’s about the low for the night.  And this wasn’t from stormy weather — these were sunny days.  This was the coolest August I remember.  We even set records for lowest temperatures, so there is some factual basis for this being one of the mildest Augusts ever.

So what’s going on?  I thought global warming was beyond worst-case scenario.  That’s what I read in the news, anyway.  If this is worst-case, then they should redo their calculations, because they must have forgotten to carry a 1 or something…  There also seems to be less major hurricanes than normal, which goes against the predictions.   So what’s going on?

One thing that is making a difference is a lack of solar blemishes / solar flares.  In fact, there has been 53 days without them, which hasn’t happened in 96 years.  And the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has figured out that increased sunspots dramatically increase temperature, even more than the increase in solar energy should explain.  They have concluded that sunspots heat the stratosphere, which amplifies the warming of the climate.  So could sunspots be the main contributor to global warming?  That might explain why global warming is actually happening on other planets besides Earth.  Also, ironically, the period of least sunspots — called the Maunder Minimum — corresponds with the Little Ice Age a few centuries ago.  I’m not saying the sun is the only proponent of global warming (or, should I say “climate change“), but I don’t hear that much by the people pushing for radical changes.  I have yet to be convinced it’s mostly man-made.

In related news, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to prove in court that the science behind their global warming forecasts is factual and accurate.  But the EPA has said it’s a “waste of time”.  I’m curious what will happen from this.  Let’s hear a debate from both sides, based on facts and not computer models with incomplete data.   And let’s leave the scare tactics and political lobbying out of it — this is supposed to be science.