A Real Hot Front Brewing For Next Week?
When you check Twitter or Facebook are you convinced you're getting all the news you need? So it goes with weather. I have apps on my phone and they're great for calling up Doppler radar or getting a quick check of temperature trends.
More Puddles. When in doubt - at least this year - predict rain. More heavy showers and T-storms arrive from tonight into Monday. ECMWF prints out as much as 1-2" of additional rain by Monday evening, with as much as 4" predicted for a few spots west of MSP. We will see. Map: WeatherBell.
Corn and Soybean Planting Wrapping up in Minnesota, USDA Says. Star Tribune has an update: "...Farmers in Minnesota are finally wrapping up their planting, and turning to spraying and fertilizing after a cool, wet spring kept them out of their fields far later than usual. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 99% of the corn crop and 94% of the soybean crop in the state were planted as of Sunday. Farmers raced to make up ground last week and got an assist from the weather, with five days suitable for planting. The delayed planting forced farmers to switch out their seed for seed that matures earlier, and to quickly calculate whether it makes sense to plant their fields at all, given the insurance penalties for planting corn after June 1 and the rapid drop in yields for corn planted after mid-May..."
WMO Verifies 3rd and 4th Hottest Temperature Recorded on Earth. Here's an excerpt from The World Meteorological Organization: "The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has officially evaluated temperature record extremes of 54.0 °C at two locations, one in Mitribah, Kuwait, on 21 July 2016 and a second in Turbat, Pakistan, on 28 May 2017. In its most intensive evaluation ever undertaken, the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, has verified the Mitribah observation as 53.9 °C (± 0.1 °C margin of uncertainty) and the Turbat one as 53.7 °C (± 0.4 °C). The Mitribah, Kuwait temperature is now accepted by the WMO as the highest temperature ever recorded for the continental region of Asia and the two observations are the third (tied within uncertainty limits) and fourth highest WMO-recognized temperature extremes. Significantly, they are the highest, officially-recognized temperatures to have been recorded in the last 76 years..."
Wet California Winter is a Boon to Skiers and Water Supply. But It Brings a Threat: Wildfires. It's counterintuitive, but a wet winter translated into a lush spring with more potential fuel for inevitable fires. Washington Post explains: "...Awash in precious snow and water that will help meet the demands of the state’s 40 million residents, the wetness also is forcing California to confront an even greater threat of wildfire. The soaking spring nourishing the Jeffrey pines and sagebrush is giving way to a desert dry as soaring heat scorches the new growth into blankets of kindling. At least eight wildfires already have flared during the past week to the north and west of here, and the Bay Area is hitting record-high temperatures for early June. The utility company responsible for the state’s deadliest fire, which reduced the town of Paradise to ash last year, has begun pre-emptively shutting down power to tens of thousands of customers in fire-prone areas..."
How to Convert Earth's Plastic Pandemic Into Fuel. Daily Beast has the story; here's a clip: "...When his team saw the extent of the plastic pollution problem around the world, using their methods of converting different ingredients into fuel seemed like a natural next step. “We all use plastic. But the world has a plastic problem,” he said. “We were asking, ‘Is that possible to convert that to the good stuff that could be used? We know our catalyst is working for the biomass, maybe it will also work for the plastic, too?’” A catalyst is a material high in carbon that is porous and has a large surface area. When it's used to make fuel, it assists in breaking down the chemical bonds inside substances..."
How Driverless Cars Could Kill the Airline Industry. Not sure I agree with the premise, but every industry is being disrupted. Fast Company has food for thought: "As driverless cars become more capable and more common, they will change people’s travel habits not only around their own communities but across much larger distances. Our research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift, and found a new potential challenge to the airline industry. Imagine someone who lives in Atlanta and needs to travel to Washington, D.C., for business. This is about a 10-hour drive. A flight takes about two hours, assuming no delays. Add to that the drive to the airport, checking in, the security line, and waiting at the gate. Upon arrival in D.C., it may take another 30 minutes to pick up any checked bags and find a rental car—and even more time to drive to the specific destination..."
Image credit: Ostapenko Olena.
What Really Happened to Malaysia's Missing Airplane. The Atlantic does some remarkable reporting in this long, but excellent post; here's an excerpt: "...The mystery surrounding MH370 has been a focus of continued investigation and a source of sometimes feverish public speculation. The loss devastated families on four continents. The idea that a sophisticated machine, with its modern instruments and redundant communications, could simply vanish seems beyond the realm of possibility. It is hard to permanently delete an email, and living off the grid is nearly unachievable even when the attempt is deliberate. A Boeing 777 is meant to be electronically accessible at all times. The disappearance of the airplane has provoked a host of theories. Many are preposterous. All are given life by the fact that, in this age, commercial airplanes don’t just vanish. This one did, and more than five years later its precise whereabouts remain unknown. Even so, a great deal about the disappearance of MH370 has come into clearer view, and reconstructing much of what happened that night is possible..."
Image credit: Mendelsund & Munday.
Why Socialism is Back. Capitalism is in need of tweaking; market economies are in the process of being disrupted. How can a rising tide lift more boats? A story at The New Yorker caught my eye: "...When a system posited on delivering the goods to the masses fails to accomplish that task, protests are bound to arise, especially if the people at the very top seem to be benefiting from the privations of others. Under state socialism, this led to widespread resentment of the nomenklatura, with their imported foods and country dachas. Under free-market capitalism, it leads to resentment of the one per cent, or 0.1 per cent, and anger at the political system that protects their interests. In retrospect, a key moment for the revival of American socialism was the Wall Street bailout of 2008 and 2009, when taxpayers were forced to rescue the very rogues who had helped bring about the financial crisis, even as many ordinary families were being evicted from their homes for failing to service their mortgages..."
Want to Get Healthier? Spend More Time in the Woods or Up at the Lake. Here are a few clips from Big Think: "...Spending at least two hours a week in nature will do wonders for your health, according to a new study, published in Scientific Reports… Researchers, based at the U.K.'s Exeter Medical School, scoured previous studies to better understand how simply being outside benefits us. What did they find? They discovered being immersed in nature lower probabilities of asthma hospitalization, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental distress, obesity, and mortality in adults; it has also been shown to reduce obesity and myopia in children. Two hours weekly appears to be the sweet spot, with peak positive associations capping between 200–300 minutes..."
Here Are Some of the Goofiest Federal Laws Still On the Books. The New York Post has a partial list: "...In America’s early days, the law was fairly simple. The Constitution specifies just three federal crimes: piracy, counterfeiting and treason. Since then, however, the number of no-no’s has expanded by the millions, encompassing everything from how many beers you can drink while riding a bike in a national park (zero) to what shape margarine pats must be served in restaurants if they aren’t clearly labeled as margarine. (For God’s sake, triangles! A Hartford, Connecticut, restaurant owner was arrested in 1952 for serving square pats of margarine.) The list has grown so long that you can now find yourself in violation of federal law for a host of things that you probably didn’t even know were crimes. Like that unsanctioned llama contact..."
THURSDAY: Mild sun, late storm risk. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 76
FRIDAY: Few showers and T-storms nearby. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 77
SATURDAY: Spurts of sun, another T-storm. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
SUNDAY: Unsettled, few showers and storms. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 62. High: 78
MONDAY: Showers and storms, locally heavy rain. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 63. High: 74
TUESDAY: Clearing and warmer. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: 82
WEDNESDAY: Sunny, finally feels like summer. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 64. High: 84
Scientists Amazed as Canadian Permafrost Thaws 70 Years Early. Nothing to see here - please move along! Reuters has the details: "Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia. “What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters by telephone. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years...”
Photo credit: "General view of a landscape of partially thawed Arctic permafrost near Mould Bay, Canada, in this handout photo released June 18, 2019. The image was captured in 2016 by researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks who were amazed to find the permafrost thawing 70 years faster than models predicted." Louise Farquharson/Handout via REUTERS.
These American Cities Will Soon Be Under Water. USA TODAY lists the most vulnerable coastal cities; here's an excerpt: "...Other factors, such as the possibility that global climate change could increase the prevalence and intensity of severe weather events such as hurricanes, could make actual outcomes in these cities even more dire. There are already places in the United States where weather appears to be getting worse because of climate change. Across U.S. coastal cities, more than 300,000 homes worth a combined $117.5 billion are likely to be at risk of chronic tidal flooding within 30 years, according to UCS analysis and projections. By the end of the century, that total could rise to 2.4 million homes and more than $1 trillion in property damage – and those estimates are based only on existing homes. The regular inundation these cities face in the near future could make the worst floods in American history seem tame by comparison..."
"We'll Never Solve Immigration If We Don't Solve Climate Change". The two trends are interlinked, it turns out. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Fortune that resonated: "...Climate change and immigration have become more inextricably linked than ever. As of the end of May in fiscal year 2019, almost 150,000 migrants from Guatemala traveling with family members had been apprehended at our southwest border. That represents roughly 1% of the country’s total population. While there are a number of reasons driving this migration, including violence, poverty, and corruption, researchers now believe that climate change represents a significant underlying factor. In Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, 2.2 million people have lost their crops due to excessive rain and drought, according to the World Food Programme. These are also some of the world’s most susceptible countries to drought..."
File image: AFP.
What Oil Companies Knew: The Great Climate Cover-up. Check out this podcast episode from The Guardian; here's a set-up: "Before 1988, climate change was a subject confined to the realm of academic journals. That all changed when the scientist James Hansen told Congress that global heating was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. That moment caught the imagination of the journalist Bill McKibben, who has written and campaigned on climate breakdown ever since. And it has been reported that fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, were making links between the burning of oil and rising sea levels as early as the 1970s. But instead of making their findings public, the industry colluded to cast doubt over the science..."
Photo credit: Nick Oxford/Reuters.
It Can Happen. Social Media Helped Someone Change His Mind About Climate Change. Yale Climate Connections tells the story; here's an excerpt: "...Lukowiak’s decision to broaden his perspective, rather than doubling down on his position, is a departure from the way many issues have become increasingly polarized in America today. He described his increasing acceptance of climate science as “an awakening.” What prompted his detour? “The church,” Lukowiak said. He rounded out his explanation: “Like Jeremy, I’m a Christian, and our church is kind of bucking the system of a traditional evangelical church. We’re addressing a lot of issues like racial reconciliation and growing up in white America, trying to become a more multicultural, multiethnic church.” The open-mindedness that began in church influenced other issues in Lukowiak’s life..."
AI for Earth Helps Researchers Get More Granular With Climate Data. Marketplace has an interesting post; here's a clip: "...Human society is facing a pretty unprecedented challenge,” Joppa said. “We’ve got to somehow figure out how to mitigate and adapt to changing climates, ensure resilient water supplies, sustainably feed a human population.” He describes AI for Earth’s role as putting technology “in the hands of people all around the world to amplify their positive impact.” Joppa said tech companies like his hold a distinct data-crunching advantage over nonprofits and government. Big Tech boasts oodles of computer servers to support cloud capabilities like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. These servers don’t run at full capacity 24/7, leaving some bandwidth available for noncommercial services..."
EPA Readies CPP Rollback: Headlines and links from Climate Nexus: "The Trump administration is expected to finalize Wednesday a rule rolling back the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, vastly limiting the federal government's ability to regulate coal plants. The administration's replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, will give states broad authority to regulate coal plants on a case-by-case basis, allowing states to require or exempt plants from efficiency upgrades. The agency's own analysis last August found that the new rule could cause an additional 1,400 deaths per year by 2030 in addition to thousands of new cases of upper respiratory problems and tens of thousands of missed school days, adding up to between $1.4 billion and $3.9 billion in health costs each year--math which is expected to be left out of the final rule. The announcement comes on the heels of a new report breaking down the energy mix of the nation's 100 largest power producers, showing that renewables beat out gas and coal for the first year in 2017." (Rule: AP, WSJ $, Bloomberg, Politico Pro $, USA Today, Washington Examiner. Report: E&E)
File image: Reuters.
Farming in Minnesota. Climate Will Change What We Grow and How We Grow It. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Star Tribune that caught my eye: "...A recent Michigan State University study of 70 million acres in 10 Midwestern states, including Minnesota, found that around a quarter of our cornfields are consistently “unstable yielders” as a result of being too wet, too dry or otherwise unsuitable for cropping. Because these low-yielders waste nutrients, they account for more than 40% of the nitrogen fertilizer escaping into our water as a pollutant and atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Wasted fertilizer is wasted money. Michigan State estimates farmers lose $1 billion in fertilizer annually as a result of unstable yielders. As climate change accelerates, the costs of unstable acres, both economically and environmentally, will only go up. What do we do? We need to stop being fixated on equating the worth of farmland with its ability to raise two crops: corn and soybeans..."
Photo credit: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune. "University of Minnesota Prof. Jacob Jungers checks the growth of Kernza grass with Bianka Fvzaro and Student Dayana Carvalho at a field at the U's St. Paul campus."
Want to Make Your Life More Environmentally Friendly? Here's 30 Ways. USA TODAY has a good list; I would add that voting for candidates at a local, state and national level who have a respect for peer-reviewed science should be at the top of any list. Here's an excerpt: "...It is not possible to offer an exhaustive list of things you can do to help protect the environment or rank them based on impact, but here is a short list of relatively easy things you can do to shrink your carbon footprint, lead to more green actions, and initiate change on a larger scale, so there are no more climate change effects that can’t be stopped. To compile a list of ways people can reduce their environmental impact, 24/7 Tempo reviewed numerous scientific studies on sources of greenhouse gases and consulted dozens of non-profit organizations working to raise awareness about ethical consumerism such as Green America and government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)..."
Dogs in Slush Water Raising Alarm: Details via Climate Nexus: "A photograph of dogs pulling a sled through ankle-deep melting water over sea ice in Greenland captured worldwide attention on social media this weekend, drawing attention to the extreme ice loss occurring on the ice sheet. Scientists said last week that Greenland lost 2 billion tons of ice on Thursday alone after temperatures spiked over 40 degrees above normal, with around 45 percent of the ice sheet experiencing a thaw. The extensive melt so early in the summer season “is setting the island up for more melting as we go on into the summer," researcher Ted Scambos told the New York Times. The photo and news of the melting ice sheet are providing an alarming backdrop for climate negotiations happening this week in Bonn, Germany, the AP reports, where the UN is hosting talks resolving outstanding issues from last December's COP in Poland." (Dog photo: CNN, The Guardian. Climate talks: AP. Ice melt: New York Times $, Washington Post $, CNN).
"Chernobyl" Provided the Climate Change Metaphor That "Game of Thones" Failed to Deliver. Forbes explains: "...Much like the climate crisis we face today, Chernobyl’s conflict wasn’t really about facts; the terrible nuclear accident was right there for the world to see. But the scale of the problem was deliberately concealed, the wellbeing of not only the citizens of the Soviet Union, but of Europe and beyond, completely disregarded in favor of maintaining the illusion of control. To quote a prominent climate change-denier, “facts don’t care about your feelings.” Truly, they don’t. Erratic weather patterns and waves of radiation will wreak havoc, regardless of how many people choose to believe they exist. Like shifting climate and collapsing ecosystems, radiation is invisible to the human eye, its insidious effects difficult to understand..."
File image: HBO.
Going "Zero Carbon" Is All the Rage. But Will It Slow Climate Change? Here's an excerpt of a post at NPR: "...It feels to me like we're headed toward a decarbonized energy system," says Rolf Nordstrom, president of the Great Plains Institute, a nonprofit energy research group. "Now it's just down to how fast and what that energy mix looks like." Despite the growing push to reach "zero carbon," there are big questions around whether these goals are possible and how much they would actually slow climate change. Here's an attempt to answer some of them. Four states — Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Washington — as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., are leading the decarbonization charge. All of those places have enacted legislation requiring that they get all of their electricity from renewable or clean sources by 2050 at the latest..."
Image credit: "The northern Antelope Valley in California is home to a number of large-scale solar panel installations." Google Earth.