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Experts explain cool summer

Thursday, September 3, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:37 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009
Senior Daniel Maxwell, 17, plays the saxophone wearing skeleton gloves during the Hickman High School marching band practice on the football field Wednesday morning. "It keeps my fingers warm in order to play," said Maxwell. The temperature was 51 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday morning, warmer than previous mornings but still unseasonably chilly.

COLUMBIA — This summer, 85 was the new 95, and August felt a lot like October.

After the second-coolest July since recording began in 1889, August continued the trend of mild summer weather. This year was Columbia's seventh-coolest August and ninth-coolest summer. The National Weather Service said Columbia’s high on Aug. 30 of 66 degrees would normally be typical of mid-October.

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“June was above normal, which is why Columbia isn’t breaking records,” MU Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said.

According to Guinan, one reason for the cooler weather in the summer is a simple balancing act. After some extremely hot summers, it was time for a cooler, wet one, he said.

Generally, the upper air pattern dictates surface weather conditions.

“This summer, especially in July and August, an upper air pattern led to frequent cool air intrusions from Canada and extended periods of below-normal temperatures across all of Missouri,” Guinan said.

Atmospheric Science Department chairman Anthony Lupo said the weather was typical for a pre-El Nino summer.

El Nino is an ocean current that causes abnormal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean. According to Lupo, climate records show that an El Nino event affects Missouri weather and can help in long-term predictions.

According to Farmer’s Almanac Managing Editor Sandi Duncan, the middle part of the country is going to be very cold with a lot of snow. She said the East and West Coasts will be a little milder compared to the middle of the country.

The Farmer’s Almanac makes long-term predictions and has been published every year since 1818.

Duncan said the cooler temperatures in the early summer were because of what meteorologists call an "omega block" — when the upper-level winds in the atmosphere are bent into a shape resembling the Greek letter omega.

Duncan also said that several warmer summers will usually be followed by a cooler summer.

“Mother Nature has a way of balancing the weather,” Duncan said.

There is no general consensus about how Columbia’s winter will turn out.

 “My long-term prediction for Columbia's winter is that it will be warmer,” Lupo said.

“I’m not leaning one way or the other,” Guinan said.


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