Volcanoes Playing a Part in This Year's Cooler, Wetter Summer, Climatologist SaysMon, 19 Aug 2013 17:54:03 CDT
Oklahomans are enjoying an unusually cool and wet summer and historical climatologist Evelyn Browning Garriss says she knows why. Speaking to attendees at the recent International Leadership Alumni Conference in Oklahoma City, Garriss says recent volcanoes are playing a part. She spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network’s Ron Hays after her presentation. You can hear the full interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
“If you have a volcano large enough that it enters the upper atmosphere where it’s quiet, this is the upper stratosphere, the ash and debris lingers and it can block out incoming sunlight. And it gathers moisture that forms thick clouds.”
She said a volcano in the Philippines in 1991 gathered clouds that were ten miles thick and were the size of Montana. Those clouds cool the atmosphere and ultimately rain out.
“What we’ve had happen is that in 2011 we had two large volcanoes and the debris blew up in the polar air masses and that’s what we’ve seen coming down south this year. And then in June we had another large volcano blow. And so we’ve had wetter conditions in Midwest. That’s been due a lot to the volcanically-cooled air where the sunlight’s been blocked for up to two years. And all that ash is wet and it’s raining.
“And when you get this pattern, two things happen: it’s cooler, it’s wetter and most of the precipitation tends to flow in a standard pattern from the Midwest to the Southeast. And I was warning clients about that pattern earlier and, sure enough, that’s what we’re seeing.”
Garriss said the recent volcanic activity is an aberration and were it not for that we would have a weather pattern and drought much like the 1950s.
Garriss also spoke earlier this summer at the Texoma Cattlemen’s Conference. You can read that story and hear her interview by clicking here.
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