Earth’s atmosphere continues to cool

Japanese city records lowest summer temperature in 128 years of records, + overnight clouds persist in August as the atmosphere continues to cool.

The media has diligently promoted this year’s Olympics as potentially “the hottest ever!”; but in reality, northern Japan is suffering from record-breaking, unprecedented cold – and little is being reported.

The northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, in Wakkanai City, recorded a daily high of 51F (10.5C) this week – the lowest August high in 128 years of record, that is, since 1893 (Centennial/Gleisberg low).

Overnight, predictably, the temperature dropped even lower – according to local news channel TV Asahi, a staggering 36.7F (2.61C) was recorded early Thursday morning, August 11.

Shocked residents spoke of being able to see their breath at the height of summer.

Extreme weather and drastic fluctuations in temperature have been recorded throughout Japan in recent weeks.

In late July, Wakkanai was close to breaking the high temperature record, but fell short.

Such fluctuations between extremes are quite predictable during periods of low solar activity – such as the historically low levels we are experiencing now – as less incoming energy weakens the jet streams, returning them to a wave-like (meridional) flow.

These fluctuations are predicted to only intensify when the Great Solar Minimum is in full effect (occurring in the SC26s and early 2030s).

Elsewhere in Japan, hundreds of thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes because of flood warnings and the danger of landslides caused by heavy rains on the island of Kyushu.

Authorities issued the highest-level evacuation order in some central areas of the island on Thursday, Reuters reported.

People were warned to take urgent measures to protect their lives.

SILVER CLOUDS TO PERSIST UNTIL AUGUST

Nighttime luminous clouds, or silvery clouds, are moving beyond the Arctic Circle and down farther south than ever before.

Generally speaking, August is not a good month for NLC – the silvery clouds, which consist of frosty meteor smoke, begin to melt as the mesosphere warms in late summer.

This August, however, the clouds can still be seen.

Nadja Malecki photographed them on Thursday, August 12, over Zurich, Switzerland:

“It was a very beautiful picture,” Malecki says.

The significance of this picture is not that NLCs are observed in August. Rather, it’s about the latitude at which the phenomenon is located: +47 north latitude, explains Dr. Tony Phillips.

By mid-August, clouds usually recede toward the Arctic Circle rather than appear in the center of Europe.

All summer long, the NLCs have been descending farther south than they “should.”

At one point in June, they were spotted near the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

WHY IT MATTERS.

NLCs require very low temperatures – as low as -150F – to form.

These nighttime glow clouds are always more common during solar minimum, when solar energy is less likely to heat the extreme upper atmosphere (mesosphere). And since the Sun is currently trying to come out of its deepest minimum in more than 100 years (SC24), this goes some way to explaining the rare Maletsky observations in mid-August and at low latitudes.

But there is also a long-term upward trend:

(a) SBUV merged seasonal average IWC (ice water content) values for three different latitude bands: 50N-64N (purple triangles), 64N-74N (green crosses) and 74N-82N (blue squares). The solid lines show multiple regression fits to the data for the periods 1979-1997 and 1998-2018. (b) SBUV merged seasonal average IWC values for 50S-64S, 64S-74S, and 74S-82S. The solid lines show fits for the periods 1979-1997 and 1998-2018 [source].

Before 2019, no sightings of Noctilucent Clouds at the mid-latitudes existed.

Then, as a result of the growing, record-breaking chill in the mesosphere (caused by low solar output), NLCs are being spotted farther south than ever before: in mid-June 2019, they were observed at Joshua Tree, CA (34 deg. N) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (35 deg. N)–new all-time records:

NLC sighting at +34.1 degrees set the record for low-latitude observations.

But forget about August, continues Dr. Phillips.

Will this be the year the NLC can be seen in September…?

Stay tuned for more updates.

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