Looking at this month's unusual weather you might think that the East Coast heat wave or the spread of the Arizona Wildfire into New Mexico were the top issues. I dare say that you'd be mistaken.
On June 9th just after Midnight in Wichita, Kansas - something happened that if it had occurred in the daytime, could have killed at least a few dozen people, especially the elderly, and portends some ominous changes to our so called 'normal' weather...
From the UK's daily mail, which covered this story as a part of the larger heat wave activity across the US.
Wichita has been roasted by a rare weather phenomenon known as a 'heat burst' in which temperatures rose an oven-blasting 17F in just 20 minutes.
At 12.22am on Thursday morning, the temperature at the Kansas city's airport was 85F. At 12.44am the temperature spiked to 102F. Winds also gusted to between 50 and 60mph.
The explanation for this event:
Meteorologists at local NBC affilliate KSN.com explained that a heat burst arises when rain falls into very dry air high in the atmosphere.
As the rain falls through the dry parcel of air it evaporates - cooling the parcel rapidly. That dense mass then falls heavily to the ground, heating up as it compresses.
When such a hot ball of air hits the ground, it spreads out in every direction - much as a drop of water spreads when it hits a flat surface - causing a rush of very strong, warm, dry wind.
I am no meteorologist - but in my life the only temperature extremes I have heard of like this are when temperatures drop suddenly due to a cold front, and even this takes a few hours to happen.
I have never heard of a sudden temperature spike - especially occurring at night, with the sun down.
Imagine if this was a daytime event, with the temperature at 95 degrees spiking to 112 degrees in 20 minutes?
One of the effects of global warming in addition to heat waves, fires, droughts and floods is 'climate instability'
From Dr. Paul Epstein, Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School appearing in 2010 on Democracy Now's segment:
From Snowstorms to Heat Waves, How Global Warming Causes Extreme Weather and Climate Instability
"What we—we used to say no one event is diagnostic of global warming. In fact, climate is changing. Climate has changed, meaning weather patterns have changed. And so, everything we’re seeing is due to natural variability and climate change. It’s a function of both of those interacting. And we can no longer just pass this off and say, "Is this event global warming? Is that?" We are in the midst of climate change, and it affects all of our weather patterns, again primarily through the oceans and ice cover....
This is what we call now climate instability—climate instability meaning that rates of change in the ice are accelerating, wider swings from one extreme to the other, more chance of major outliers like the heat wave in Russia, the floods in Pakistan, these storms now. This is all part of a changing climate, and "global warming" is the word that—the two words that kind of throw us. The real issue is climate change, climate instability. And unfortunately, it appears that this is all accelerating, particularly over this last year.
From my point of view, this event in Wichita is one of many incidents that will be a part of 'Climate Instability' and will prove to be part of a new norm of wild extremes that our current weather models can not anticipate or predict.
In any case, it is becoming more apparent that the anthropomorphic caused warming of the planet will have many unintended and deadly consequences than even anticipated by our most forward thinking scientist.