“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.”
~ Helen Hunt Jackson
The first of September – didn’t summer just begin? Autumn begins in three weeks. If you are saddened by the passage of time, perhaps the weather will help soothe. The current temperatures and those into October will be cozy warm; if you love the heat … enjoy! My shared-before opinion is summer evenings offer the finest time of day during the year. Summer’s lengthened twilight will be missed, but not its heat.
June 21 marks the first day of summer or solstice. At this time, the sun’s zenith is furthest from the equator; it is directly over the Tropic of Cancer – 23.4 degrees N Lat. We are located at 34.23 degrees N Lat. Logic would dictate that our hottest temperatures should occur when the sun is highest and the days are the longest. But June’s weather is often cool and foggy while the end of summer and into fall the days are hot and dry. There is grounded scientific reason and explanation for this phenomenon. The given name for it is rather lackluster, considering the complexity and influence to the Earth’s cooling and heating system: it is “seasonal lag.” Fortunately at least the science behind the name is fascinating.
As we know, the amount of Sun energy reaching a location on earth – insolation – depends on changes with the seasons. It takes time for the oceans and landmasses to heat or cool. The Earth’s seasonal lag time varies, depending on the proximity to and size of the body of water and landmass. Living in close proximately to the vast Pacific Ocean makes for a unique and extreme lag time. The waters are slow to warm and slow to cool. According to NOAA, our peak summer heat period comes after Aug. 9 … six weeks past the first day of summer! So it would follow that the summer-like weather is going nowhere fast.
Labor Day weekend is summer’s “last hurrah.” Normally warm temperatures prevail although this weekend they are expected to fall 10 to 15 degrees below normal. A deep marine layer spreading fog and low clouds beyond the coast and deep into the valleys is the culprit. Come Tuesday, the heat returns bringing normal temperatures. Last night, Eyewitness News weather mentioned a hurricane coming close to Southern California and bringing rain a week from this weekend. As I have no other knowledge, for now it remains “up in the air!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.