Barry Lynn
Intersection of Science and Policy

Winter Arrives, But We Look Forward to the Future

Sometimes, it takes a cat to really appreciate a peaceful moment. (courtesy)

The combination of a low (late fall) sun angle and above normal temperatures have made our late warm, fall weather feel a more like summer than fall (in fact, our late fall weather has been among the warmest weather in the last 50 years).  Nevertheless,  it’s been good weather for our soldiers fighting in Gaza and along the northern border, but that’s all about to change.  In fact, the contrast between what will be and our late season warmth will feel quite extreme.

As noted by our fellow “Israel Winter Weather” WhatsApp group synoptic and long range forecast expert Yaakov Cantor, two factors have primed our atmosphere towards a change to a much more noticeable winter weather pattern.  First, “is the pattern of convection winds and thunderstorm activity in the tropics since late Oct (known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation),” and the second is “a stronger than usual polar vortex in the stratosphere.”  Yaakov predicts the strengthening polar vortex will combine with the tropical convection to flip our atmospheric circulation pattern very soon from summer/fall to fall/winter.  This means that our warm weather pattern of high pressure and a “ridge” at higher atmospheric levels will be replaced by low pressure and a “trough” at higher levels.

As described by Yaakov, there is the possibility of  two periods of storminess and rainfall this coming week, and even possibly the following week. The first period of rainfall is expected to be on Sun, November 12th.  It will occur at the head of our changing weather pattern, and will involve tropical moisture coming up from the south (from the Red Sea and eastern Africa).  Scattered, locally heavy rains are expected for much of the country from the northern Negev northward, including Gaza and the Gaza Envelope.  However, some areas will be left high and dry, due to the local nature of the rains.

The second rain event should arrive in the middle of next week.   It should be associated with a stronger storm than the first, so locally strong winds could accompany the rain.  This event has the potential for a widespread moderate rainfall (10-25+ mm) in much of the center of the country and northwest Negev, with heavier amounts in the north of Israel.  Still, while the signal is there for a heavy rain event on many of global forecast models, there is still the possibility that a lighter rain event could instead occur.  In fact, there is enough disagreement among the global model ensembles, so we’ll need to wait until early this coming week to be sure.

The third event is about 10 days out in time, so the specific details again remain unknown.  Nonetheless, there is a decent signal in the forecast model guidance for a prolonged rain event from November 18-22nd that could produce even heavier rainfall than the second event.

Some people think that their local weathermen are a bit strange, with their fascination with historical weather details, and their ability to remember events that happened years, or even decades in the past.  I might be in that category.

Yet, driving around today, I too started remembering, but not of the weather.  Oh, “there’s the place where the young boy was knifed to death,” I thought. Oh, “here’s where the young woman died,” and “here is the place where the three boys were abducted” leading to the war in Gaza in the summer of 2014.  Would one find it strange to learn that HAMAS (from Gaza) funded the killing of the three boys?

Of course not, since Iran via HAMAS has been funding terrorism (meaning kidnappings, knifings, shootings, bombs) both within the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Israel proper for years.  Yet, for some reason, these attacks were allowed to continue in the interest of “peace” — or in an incorrect application of “proportionality” in warfare —  even as HAMAS fired close to 20,000 rockets since they took over Gaza in 2007.  Of course, HAMAS is not alone, as there are quite a many terrorist organizations both within Gaza and the West Bank.

So, the people of Israel have, over time, become a living memorial to their dead. The dead stay dead and those alive both mourn and remember in their place.

But, sometimes, things happen — sometimes big and terrible things — and a people undergoes a sea-change in their willingness to mourn and to continue mourning.  Sometimes, these persons just want to live their lives without looking over their shoulder or waiting to hear the news of another attack.  They want to enjoy the view,  without the memory of loss. That time is now and that’s why the Israeli army is in Gaza.  And that’s why the war may not end there.

We should all be well.

About the Author
Dr. Barry Lynn has a PhD in Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences. He has an undergraduate degree in Biology. He is a researcher/lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the CTO of Weather It Is, LTD, a weather forecasting and consulting company.
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