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IRAQ: I'm sick of Summer!

Here I am back off of vacation and back to the mission. It is still hot here, about 105 degrees today. However, it has gotten NOTICEABLY cooler during the night and morning hours. I've asked around to people when it's supposed to start raining here. I've gotten answers between October and February. I would like to see some climatological data for Baghdad, does anyone know where I can get it? Whenever the rainy season gets here, it better get here quick. I'm sick of Summer! :evil:
Dave, I searched on "climatology Iraq". The detailed summary here http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/afghan/ is pretty good I think. And there's a link for monthly data tables for a number of Iraqi cities on that page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/afghan...urfaceiraq.html

The data apparently only goes through 1993 for reasons I can't understand :wink: . More recent and detailed data is likely available from the AFCCC on a more restricted basis I guess.

I think the climate summary says "late October" for the first rain. The climate sounds like Phoenix, except no summer monsoon and a little bit more storminess in the fall and winter and you get winter fog. My heartfelt sympathy!
Hi David,

I can't imagine how you guys survive there. If I don't get a rain/storm in week or two I am almost depressed...hardly imagine weather there in Iraq. not to mention those temps, never experienced more than 100 degrees.

Anyway...here are couple of links I found on the net:

Hope it helps :wink:

If anyone noticed one funny thing...the yearly average rainfall for Baghdad is 155mm (6.1"), today's rainfall (causing by hurricane Rita) in Beaumont/Port Arthur Airport, TX was 133mm in 6h and 205mm in 12h! :D

Good luck down there,
Hey, Dave!

Have you experienced any nasty dust storms in Iraq yet?

If so:

What is it like?

How long do they last?

What do you do for protection, especially on a patrol or away from the base?

Just curious, LOL. I don't know much about them. :D
Dust storms? I've seen two of them. They turn everything ORANGE! They last 4-12 hours usually, and the intense ones can be longer. I don't really protect myself, it doesn't bother me too bad.

Guess what happened yesterday? We had some noticeable instability. The sky was filled with CUMULUS CLOUDS! A few of them hit the congestus stage briefly before flattening out. There was a great altocumuls castellanus display at sunset. I wish I took pictures. Also last night there was a fan shaped cirrus pattern in the northwestern sky. It looked like anvil blowoff.

It's also getting cooler during the day, and it's mild at night. I don't think it's getting over 100 anymore.
The Middle East does have a severe weather season. I did a class climo report on the area a few years ago. Hail has been observed from Egypt through Iran. While uncommon, hail is not particularly rare in the area. Some of the stones have exceeded golf ball size. An Iraqi hail storm damaged U.S. aircraft on missions in late March 2003. Storms can pop from the autumn months through early spring, though March and April appear to be the peak frequency months where instability and moisture are maximized under a breakable cap. There are some Israeli storm chasers but there chase domain is severely limited owing to geopolitical circumstances. Here is one site I dug up.
That site is oddly familiar :D

October is the most active month in terms of severe weather in Israel. By active I don't mean like May in Oklahoma; in some years October can be dry and boring and in others it can have 5 or more days of local severe weather. Doesn't sound like much, but that's what we have to live with...

I don't know much about eastern Iraq, but I know that southern and western Iraq experience the same severe weather producer that we do, the Red Sea Trough. Here along with surface moisture from the Red Sea or the Mediterranean Sea, supercells with heavy rain can form. Out there in Iraq, cut away from surface moisture providers, I doubt that nothing more than altocumulonimbus can develop, but even these storms can produce large hail and incredible lightning shows.

Read the "Information" section of my site to learn more about the climate in Israel (which is also partly relevant for our neighboring countries, not so much for Iraq I'm afraid).

You should expect interesting weather to start in October (meaning any day now), or at least the potential for interesting weather.
What exactly is altocumulonimbus? Is that the same thing as elevated convection? I have seen cloud pictures from a previous unit's deployment, and the clouds do look pretty good. Large Cb's were unobstructed by low cloud fragments unlike some of their American counterparts. I've been told it will not rain until December, then a small potential exists through March.
It's simply a middle-based cumulonimbus. They form when the lower levels are dry but humidity is abundant at middle and high levels, along with instability. Here's one I photographed in Jerusalem on November 10 1997:


These storms can produce heavy (but brief) rain, which, depending on the temperature of the lower levels, usually evaporates before reaching the ground (this can cause a dry microburst). Unless the instability is great, they tend to be short-lived and fall apart as soon as the rain eats through the base, as seen in this picture I took in Jerusalem on May 6 2003:


But, when they do not fall apart, in extreme cases they can produce hail and more often than not are accompanied by intense lightning.
I'm thinking these altocumulonimbus are not common here in the US, due to climatological differences, than over there? I personally have never seen one, but I am understanding how they form.
I've never heard of "altocumulonimbus"... I think what you guys are referring to is nothing more than cumulonimbus occurring in an environment of low low-level moisture. Given dry low-levels, the LCL and LFC are very high, thus the reason why it appears that clouds are "mid-level" based. Or, I suppose they could be elevated (meaning that inflow source layer is above the near-surface layer), but those are still termed cumulonimbus as far as I know.
You're correct, as far as I know the term is used only by Israeli meteorologists. It just makes it easier to differentiate this type of thunderstorm from a "normal" low-based thunderstorm that produces heavy rain and hail. The "alto" type thunderstorm is different in the weather that comes with it.

But nevertheless, these clouds typically start as altocumulus (or altocumulus castellanus) and not cumulus.
This is quite intriguing, nonetheless, this whole "alto-Cb" thing. Did I mention that we had a cold snap last week? It was the darndest thing. I work night shift so I definitely felt it. The temperature read about 72 degrees at about 5am, which is normal for this time of year; but the humidity just had to be so low, that it felt 10-20 degrees colder. I was shivering and I almost threw on my Gortex jacket! It did this for about two mornings, then the July-like conditions returned. Nights this week have been really summer-like. Daytime temperatures are quite tolerable though.
Hey Dave, is the dry air hard on the skin? How long did it take you to adjust?

The CF personnel that were deployed to Afghanistan for the first time said it took them a few days to get used to operating in the dry climate. Though, I imagine it would take longer for all personnel to find the conditions at least somewhat comfortable.
The backwash of the same disturbance that's given Denver its snowstorm dropped the temperature (finally!) in Phoenix. When I went to work this morning it was in the mid-fifties with twenties dews. Man, it felt cold!

My lips chap and my throat dries in the fall at this time, every year. Phoenix is like Baghdad, except with too much economic and socio-political infrastructure, little culture ancient or otherwise, but thankfully no IEDs. Stay safe and thanks for the service, Dave.
A sharp upper-level trough is dipping down towards the Middle East on Sunday, so be prepaired for a fairly good chance of cloud development in Iraq from Sunday evening through Monday, with rain perhaps(?). Especially in northern Iraq.

I can't wait to see what 8 degrees C at 850mb will produce while passing over the 28 degrees C Mediterranean Sea :)
Well, there was no rain that week in Baghdad, but there was a dust storm, ugh. Also some nice cumuliform cloud displays.

There was a good field of altocumulus castellanus this evening around sunset, must be another system coming in. It has been cold at night here, I think it got down to 48F once last week.
I can't post pictures until i can find an internet connection for my laptop.

It rained this morning too. There was a little rumble of thunder with the heaviest shower. Then the sky cleared and it got really humid and tropical feeling. That was definitely welcome relief from the chill that's been in the air in the past few weeks.
We'll save you a few 'naders for when you return.

Keep up the good work and be safe. Thank you for your service. Post some scenic pics when you get a chance.

Bill Hark
There were more beautiful clouds today. Some mid level cumulus with virga at times and altocumulus covered much of the sky this evening. A few of the clouds lowered and grew to congestus at sunset. I thought I saw a few brief anivls. The instability is there, we just need some low level moisture. Dewpoints are topping out at 55F during the day. Today's high was around 87F. Humidity was a little noticeable.
Israel is experiencing unstable weather in the past two days and this will continue in the next couple of days as well.
Here's a nice waterspout over the Mediterranean that developed yesterday.
In reference to the altocumulonimbus mentioned earlier in this thread. I think I saw what one looks like yesterday, it began as an altocumulus, and it grew then develped an anvil. As it passed over, a light shower ensued, then the anvil became orpahned. No lightning, but it sure looked like a Cb.

It must have been on a cold front, because it's chilly today, brrrrrr.