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Don Paul: Weather improves after week gets off to an unsettled start

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If you have a radar app on your phone, it’s going to look much like the below tweet Monday, and probably for parts of Tuesday afternoon. “Scattered and occasional” come to mind as modifiers. A few of these convective cells may produce isolated downpours

The depicted showers and few thunderstorms are rotating around a low pressure center to our west. By the way, if you’re new to such apps, put it on time lapse so you can get a good idea whether or not a cell is headed for your location in the next 15-30 minutes. The low pressure system is slated to be a slow mover, keeping us humid into Monday night. The showers will fade overnight, and temps will drop to the low to mid-50s toward dawn.

By Tuesday, we’ll gradually be moving into the cooler flow behind the low in a west-southwest flow.

This will take both temperatures and humidity down a notch, with Tuesday highs ranging from the mid-60s on the hills to near 70 at lower elevations. The colder air aloft above the warm lakes and milder surface may create enough instability/buoyancy to produce scattered thunderstorms with small hail in the afternoon.

Wednesday brings the approach of a reinforcing shot of cool air on a mostly to partly sunny day, with highs recovering to the mid-70s. The cold front may set off a few stray light showers in the afternoon on an otherwise mostly dry day.

Behind the front, a ridge of Canadian high pressure will take temps back to below average in a dry, cool air mass on Thursday, when highs bottom out in the mid-60s under a partly to mostly sunny sky.

We’ll stay on the cooler side of the ridge Friday, with a high near 70. The warming return flow behind the ridge will begin taking over on Saturday into next Monday. The southwest wind orientation will return readings to the mid- to upper 70s during the weekend.

All in all it looks like a terrific, mild weekend.

Next Monday, a few light showers may become possible in an otherwise dry period, with a partly cloudy sky and a high around 75. (The average high by early next week is in the low 70s.) Earliest hints on game-time conditions for the Monday night Bills game with the Titans are favorable. Temps should slowly fall from 75 around 3 p.m. into the 60s as the game progresses. While the American GFS model tries to brush a few light showers past us in the afternoon, the European ECMWF model keeps us dry. The usual caveat: Precipitation projections seven days in advance are not particularly reliable.

As for ragweed pollen sufferers, the showers have helped to cleanse the air. We’ve reached the ragweed season, as you may have noticed. In Pollen.com’s five-day forecast, the Buffalo regional pollen count rises to near medium-high Wednesday.

That may be due to a brisk Wednesday breeze stirring up more pollen grains. The count is projected to drop back to medium on Thursday-Friday, possibly due to a lighter wind.

Based on the extended range upper air pattern ensemble guidance, the Climate Prediction Center maintains its high confidence our temperatures will be running above average during the six- to 10-day and eight- to 14-day outlook periods, at least on most days.

Drought increases put global food supply in peril

In a new article in Yale Climate Connections, meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters has outlined the increasing threat on global food supplies in the face of more widespread and lengthier droughts. This change in the status of drought prevalence is tied mainly to our warming climate, with a smaller role for natural weather variability. Demographers agree we can expect a global population increase of another 2 billion people by 2050, with worldwide food demand going up about 50% during the same period, according to the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Masters has researched the collapse of 10 past civilizations due to drought.

While 9 of the 10 collapses were those of ancient nations, the 10th is modern-day Syria, beginning around 2011. More contemporary catastrophic droughts are inevitable in the face of human activity-linked global warming. Note the death tolls outlined by the World Meteorological Organization since 1970 caused by extreme weather, heat and drought.

The drought prevalence trend is starkly clear from 1970-2020, with future increases out to 2030 projected with confidence.

Drought is only one of the climate and weather disasters that befall mankind. Masters notes the U.N. statistics on mortality linked to droughts and their drastic increase are added to an already-high toll tied to earlier droughts during the past century:

“Authors of a May 2022 United Nations drought report found that the number and duration of droughts have risen 29% globally since 2000. They added that, while droughts account for only 15% of natural disasters, they have taken the largest human toll (approximately 650,000 deaths over 1970-2019 and 10 million over the past century).”

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