Friday, February 29, 2008

Political climate change forecast for March 4th 2008

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on February 28th in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

Today I want to discuss the weather forecast for next Tuesday March 4th in the states of Texas and Ohio as well as Vermont and Rhode Island. The month of February started out stormy due to the collision of a strengthening Obama warm front with an entrenched but rapidly weakening Clinton cold air mass, but ended with spring like conditions across much of the US brought about by the powerful Obama warm front.
This collision of the Obama warm front with highs averaging in the 60s and the chilly Clinton air mass with highs only in the 30s to 40s, led to a lot of stormy weather from coast to coast across the United States in early February, with the weakening Clinton cold air mass withstanding the push from the warm Obama front along a line stretching from Massachusetts through New York and New Jersey, down into Tennessee and across the south-western states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona before it reached the Pacific coast in California.
But the rapidly strengthening Obama warm front pushed through the bitter Clinton high pressure system along the entire length of the Atlantic coast following a line from Maine to Connecticut, then down through the Chesapeake Bay peninsula area of Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia before moving south and west across the states of Georgia and Alabama and then finally across the state of Louisiana.
This strong Obama warm front also pushed aside the fading Clinton high pressure system’s nippy air mass across the entire mid-west from Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and back across the upper mid-west from Washington State on the Pacific coast through Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as the northernmost state of Alaska and the most southern and western state of Hawaii.
These two opposing warm and cold fronts will be colliding in Texas and in Ohio (a state that 200 years ago was part of Virginia) as well as across the northeast in Vermont and Rhode Island where the once dominant Clinton cold air mass has weakened in recent weeks. Now the question is; will spring also come early to the rest of these north-eastern states along with Ohio in the mid-west and Texas in the southwest thanks to the onslaught of the Obama warm front?
Most veteran forecasters are extremely hesitant to make anything beyond the most tepid predictions about what is likely to happen on March 4th if they are willing to make any predictions at all. Their hesitancy to make predictions about these colliding air masses in Texas and Ohio is due to several factors.
The biggest single factor has been the strength of the Clinton cold air mass which has dominated the United States political climate for the better part of the past 16 years. It appeared to be a strong as ever for almost the entire year in 2007 until it finally started to show signs of weakening at the very end of the year in Iowa, right in the middle of the country. While all of these veteran forecasters will readily acknowledge that the Clinton cold front has weakened dramatically across the entire country since the beginning of 2008, they still have a healthy respect for the long standing history of dominance over the political climate this Clinton cold air mass has shown through the years.
Another factor which gives these veteran forecasters cause for pause is the fact that almost all of them failed to predict the sudden strengthening of the Obama warm front. They had all observed this relatively weak low pressure system circulating on the national forecast map throughout 2007 but they had not detected any appreciable strengthening of the system throughout the year. This led most forecasters to predict that this Obama low pressure system would never gain enough strength to dislodge the massive Clinton high pressure ridge before summer and its August convention season.
There are several other factors that have added to the unpredictability of forecasting the weather on March 4th. The first of these has been the influence of tropical waves which originated in the African continent hundreds of years ago and which appear to be strengthening the intensity of the Obama low pressure system. Countering this development has been the movement of another high pressure ridge into the south-western part of the United States from Mexico. This ridge of high pressure appears to be combining with the Clinton high pressure system and reinforcing the strength of the Clinton cold air mass.
The other difference between these two high and low pressure systems (which also helps to explain the long standing dominance of the Clinton system) is the fact that the Clinton high pressure system’s cold air mass is actually a combination of two strong high pressure ridges. This is a marked contrast with the Obama low pressure system’s single warm front which makes its rapid strengthening over the past two months both unpredictable and also quite remarkable under the circumstances. Given all of the aforementioned factors, I think the reader can now understand why so many weather experts are hesitant to make a weather prediction for March 4th much less provide a forecast for the weeks and months that follow.
I am no expert when it comes to predicting political climate change. However, I will make a forecast for March 4th as well as for the weeks and months that follow into summer (which ends with the convention season at the end of August).
I predict that the Obama low pressure system and its attendant warm front will continue to gain strength and will dislodge the Clinton high pressure system and its cold air mass from Texas and Vermont and will show surprising strength in Rhode Island and Ohio. While the waning Clinton high pressure system may still hold its position in Ohio and or Rhode Island, I foresee it continuing to weaken over the course of the spring. We’ll see how accurate I am next week.