A Snowy Near-Miss for MSP - The Limits of Weather Models

In 1978 I did weather updates for a dozen radio stations while pursuing a meteorology degree at Penn State. There was only 1 weather model, the LFM. Now we have scores of models. We are drowning in
weather simulations.

Yesterday, a Twitter follower asked if we're too dependent on models vs. experience and brainpower. Probably, yes. At the end of the day you choose the model(s) you believe are on the right track. Historical perspective and context still provide value no computer can (yet). All these models are online now; everyone is an armchair meteorologist and "inches of snow" get thrown around days before a storm; earlier than we should be attempting that level of specificity.

Heaviest snow bands set up southwest of MSP; leave extra time if you're driving to Mankato or Willmar this

After a gray but dry Sunday rain showers arrive Monday; maybe starting as a light mix. We dry out and cool off the latter half of next week - the atmosphere probably chilly enough for some light snow next Saturday. It looks like a nippy start to April.

Where oh where is spring this year? 

St. Paul to Mankato: 0 to 10". Talk about a sharp gradient, although the Twin Cities metro will miss out on the significant snow a 60-90 minute drive to the southwest down 169 toward Mankato will take you back to  early February. Some 8-10" amounts are possible within 75 miles of the Minnesota River, on southeast to Fairmont and Albert Lea.

Axis of Heaviest Snow I-90 Corridor Into Northern Iowa. 2 feet of snow near Waterloo? I wouldn't be surprised, with Gulf moisture being advected into the system, it should become more potent as it tracks southeastward. If you're driving south this morning you will run into some very snow roads 1-2 hours south of MSP. NAM guidance: NOAA pivotalweather.com.

In Search of a Real Warm Front. 50F may feel nice on Wednesday before temperatures cool off late in the week, and then slowly recovering the first week of April. Remind me not to complain about any heat come July. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

Very Slow Moderation. This may be one of those springs where we go from slush and 40s to 70s and severe thunderstorms in a meteorological blink of an eye. A sudden spurt of heat, moisture (and wind) would, in fact, set up a ripe scenario for severe weather. I don't see it yet, but I have a hunch severe storm season 2018 may be more active than recent years.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Friday morning, March 23rd, 2018:

  • A major winter storm will impact parts of the upper Midwest to the central Appalachians through the first half of the weekend, bringing the potential of heavy, wet snow as well as gusty winds.
  • Snow amounts of at least 4-8” are expected in areas under Winter Storm Watches and Warnings across this region. There will be some areas toward the center of this heavy band from North Dakota into at least Illinois that could receive 10-12” of snow.
  • This heavy, wet snow may lead to tree damage and power outages across the region. Hazardous travel is also expected due to snow covered roads and gusty winds which will create reduced visibilities.

Winter Storm Concerns. As this strong storm system moves out of the Rockies, heavy snow will continue to spread across parts of the upper Midwest to the Ohio Valley later today into tonight. Numerous Winter Storm Watches and Warnings are in effect this morning from the Dakotas to the central Appalachians for the potential of heavy snow, with snow totals of at least 4-8” expected. There will be some areas toward the center of this heavy band from North Dakota into at least Illinois that could receive 10-12” of snow. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued on the edges of the warnings. In these areas, snow totals will generally be less than six inches. Here’s a breakdown of alerts in place for some of the larger cities this morning:

  • Bismarck, ND is under a Winter Storm Warning from until 7 AM Saturday for the potential of 5-8” of snow.
  • Fargo, ND is under a Winter Storm Warning from 1 PM this afternoon until 7 AM Saturday for the potential of 6-9” of snow.
  • Minneapolis, MN is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 11 PM this evening until 10 AM Saturday for 1-3” of snow.
  • Indianapolis, IN is under a Winter Storm Watch from late tonight through Saturday evening for the potential of 3-6” of snow.
  • Cincinnati, OH is under a Winter Storm Watch from late tonight through late Saturday night for the potential of 2-4” of snow.

Snowfall Forecast Through Sunday Evening. Snowfall totals of at least 4-8”+ are expected over the next couple days from North Dakota into parts of West Virginia and Virginia. The heaviest snow is expected to fall from central North Dakota through parts of Illinois and Indiana, where areas that end up under the heaviest snow bands (with snow falling at 1-2” per hour) could receive 8-12” of snow within a 12-18 hour period. This heavy, wet snow may lead to tree damage and power outages across the region. Hazardous travel is also expected due to snow covered roads and gusty winds which will create reduced visibilities.

Timing The Precipitation. Heavy snow will continue across parts of the Dakotas throughout the day, slowly working eastward into parts of Minnesota and Iowa by this afternoon. The snow will expand across parts of Minnesota and Iowa through the overnight hours and increase in intensity. Further into the Ohio Valley, rain will start to change over to snow overnight, lasting throughout Saturday before starting to taper off heading through Saturday Night into Sunday. Snowfall rates of 1-2” per hour will be possible in the heaviest of the snow bands. Winds will also be gusty while the snow is falling, up to around 35 mph across the upper Midwest, which will cause whiteout conditions.

Summary. A band of heavy, wet snow is expected from the Dakotas into the Ohio Valley and the central Appalachians over the next couple days. Snow totals of at least 4-8” are expected across Winter Storm Watch and Warning areas across the region, and in the heaviest snow bands could approach 10-12” in a short amount of time. This heavy, wet snow may lead to tree damage and power outages across the region. Hazardous travel is also expected due to snow covered roads and gusty winds which will create reduced visibilities.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

New York City Hasn't Seen Snow Like This in 130 Years. Here's an excerpt from CNN: "...This marks the fifth consecutive season that at least 30 inches of snow have fallen in New York City. The only other recorded time it snowed this much, for this long a period, was back in the 1880s (records begin in the 1869-1870 season). That five-year stretch occurred mostly during the presidential administration of Chester A. Arthur, another president who made a name for himself in New York..."

Why Are There Suddenly So Many Nor'Easters? Great question. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...Big northeast snowstorms simply don’t form very often, Uccellini said: When he and his coauthor studied the half-century of weather between 1949 and 2003, they only found 47 storms that could be classified as nor’easters. But it does make sense that the eastern U.S. has seen so many nor’easters in the last few weeks, he said. If the atmosphere is in the mood to produce a nor’easter, it doesn’t stop after making just one. “One of the things we emphasized in the book is the episodic nature of these storms. They come in batches,” Uccellini told me. Northeast snowstorms can only emerge from a very specific set of circumstances. When those circumstances are achieved, storms can follow one after another, walloping the coast week after week..."

Nighttime Tornadic Storms are Dangerous; Not "Good Sleeping Weather". Dr. Marshall Shepherd has some timely reminders in a post at Forbes: "...A 2008 study from Northern Illinois University found that while only 27% of tornadoes happened at night, 39% of tornado fatalities were nocturnal. They also found that 42% of "killer" tornadoes were nocturnal. The authors noted that winter and spring-transition seasons (November to April) had the highest fatality rates from nocturnal storms. This is surprising since those are not necessarily the peak months for tornadoes. The authors told Science Daily that fewer daylight hours and public underestimation of "preseason" storms may be factors. The study, published in the American Meteorological Society's journal Weather and Forecasting, also found that one of the reasons tornadoes occurring during the period from midnight to sunrise are 2.5 times more deadly is related to geography. Nocturnal tornadic storms take a particular toll on vulnerable populations and housing structures in the American South..."

Map credit: "Where nocturnal tornadoes happen." Walker Ashley/NIU and AMS. Click here for more details at Science Daily.

Toxic Impact of Hurricane Harvey Worse Than Public Was Told. Daily Beast has the details: "The toxic impact of Hurricane Harvey was far more widespread than authorities admitted at the time, according to documents pieced together by the Associated Press, which found more than 100 cases of chemical spills being reported in the storm’s aftermath. The hurricane that slammed into the Texas coast in late August last year caused widespread damage to numerous chemical plants and refineries, including one incident in which half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater mixed with storm water, land eaked out of a chemical plant in Baytown, east of Houston. The AP reports cancer-causing pollutants such as benzene, vinyl chloride, and butadiene were found in neighborhoods and waterways after the storm dissipated. Most of the incidents were never publicized and the potential toxicity of some of the biggest leaks were initially understated—and only a handful appear to have been investigated by Texas authorities..."

File image from August 25, 2017 courtesy of NASA ISS.

Stopping Hurricanes by Blowing Air Bubbles? Never say never, but I have my doubts. Here's an excerpt of an explainer at Newsweek: "...The bubble curtain method involves placing perforated pipes below the water before pumping bubbles of compressed air through them. The idea is that the bubbles will rise, taking cold water with them that will cool the surface. The SINTEF team say that, ideally, the pipes should be placed between 100 and 150 meters below the surface to ensure that the water being carried to the surface is cold enough. "By bringing this water to the surface using the bubble curtains, the surface temperature will fall to below 26.5 degrees Celsius, thus cutting off the hurricane's energy supply," Eidnes said. “This method will allow us quite simply to prevent hurricanes from achieving life-threatening intensities." The researchers say that such a system of pipes could be deployed on a large scale..."

Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires Weather Channel. Didn't see this coming. Here's an excerpt from Variety: "...Adding another pillar to his growing TV and film portfolio, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has reached a deal to acquire cable’s Weather Channel in a transaction valued at about $300 million. Entertainment Studios is buying the Weather Group, parent company of the cabler and the Local Now streaming service, from Comcast and private equity giants Blackstone and Bain. That group purchased Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in July 2008. The digital operations of Weather Channel were acquired in 2015 by IBM in a deal pegged at around $2 billion. “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives,” said Allen, who is chairman-CEO of Entertainment Studios..."

4 Simple Ways to Save Water. Planet Vision has some good advice, starting with replacing your showerhead: "...You may not have thought about replacing your showerhead: it’s there, it works, who cares? But showering uses 20 percent (28 gallons a day) of the water in your home so updating your showerhead is an easy way to reduce your consumption every day. Check out this short video for tips on how to change a showerhead. Chances are your shower uses about two to three gallons per minute, but updated showerheads use about 1.25 gallons per minute and cost as little as $12 to $20. Saving hot water will also save you money on your heating bill!..."

GOP Spending Bill Not As Bad As It Could Be: From Climate Nexus: "A GOP-led Congress has passed a spending bill that directly challenges many of the environmental, climate and energy cuts originally proposed by the Trump administration. The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, passed early Friday, increased funding for Energy Department renewable and clean energy research initiatives the White House had targeted for reductions or elimination, including increasing funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The bill also provides new funding for the Forest Service and Interior Department to fight wildfires. Congress also ensured EPA funding remained at similar levels to 2017, rebuking the White House's suggestion to deeply slash the agency's funding by one-third: as Politico Pro reports, some Republicans are growing concerned that further cuts to an already pared-down agency could eliminate popular state programs." (Bill: New York Times $, InsideClimate News, Earther, Vox. Wildfires: Washington Post $, The Hill. GOP & EPA: Politico Pro $)

Plastic Within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is "Increasing Exponentially", Scientists Find. It's now 4-16 times larger than previously thought, according to a summary at The Washington Post: "Seventy-nine thousand tons of plastic debris, in the form of 1.8 trillion pieces, now occupy an area three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii, a scientific team reported on Thursday. The amount of plastic found in this area, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is “increasing exponentially,” according to the surveyors, who used two planes and 18 boats to assess the ocean pollution. “We wanted to have a clear, precise picture of what the patch looked like,” said Laurent Lebreton, the lead oceanographer for the Ocean Cleanup Foundation and the lead author of the study..."

Ocean Plastic Predicted to Triple Within a Decade. More perspective and details via CNN: "Without intervention soon, the amount of plastic littering the world's oceans is expected to triple within a decade, a new UK government report warns. The "Foresight Future of the Sea" report from the UK Government Office for Science said our oceans have seen "unprecedented change as a result of direct human activity and climate change." It identified the rise of plastic in oceans, along with rising temperatures and sea levels and chemical pollution, as some of the biggest problems the marine environment faces. The report found that 70% of marine litter is non-degradable plastic which is projected to increase threefold between 2015 and 2025..."

File photo image: NOAA.

Is There Anything Hackers Can't Hack? Now There Is, Thanks to a New Way of Coding. A video at Big Think is worth your time: "Hackers thrive on human error, but a new method of coding is ending that. Recent developments by the HACMS (High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems) program at DARPA has allowed computer scientists to use mathematical proofs to verify that code—up to 100,000 lines of it at a time—is functionally correct and free of bugs. Kathleen Fisher, professor of computer science and former program manager at DARPA, explains how this allows coders to build a thin base of hyper-secure code that is verified to be functionally correct, "and then you can have lots of software running on top of it that doesn’t have that same level of assurance associated with it but that you can prove: it doesn’t matter what it does, it’s not going to affect the operation of the overall system..."

This is a "Slow Roll". Will Facebook Ever Be The Same? A rhetorical question from Vanity Fair: "...Indeed, the repercussions are massive in both immediate and longitudinal ways. Just a couple of days into the Cambridge crisis, Facebook’s stock has dropped by more than 20 points, which has led its market capitalization to fall by tens of billions of dollars. Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar have called for Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. A British M.P. sent Zuckerberg a letter asking him to testify before Parliament. The Federal Trade Commission is exploring whether Facebook violated the terms of a 2011 consent decree around privacy. A shareholder has filed a class-action lawsuit. Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is reportedly leaving the company after battling with executives about the company’s response to Russian’s involvement in the 2016 election. A #DeleteFacebook campaign has surfaced across social media..."

Delta Airlines May Outfit Some Employees with "Wearable Robotics". One step closer to The Terminator. I want one of these - to mow the lawn with. Here are a couple of excerpts from CNBC.com: "Delta Air Lines is exploring the possibility of outfitting some of its employees with "wearable robotics." The Atlanta-based airline said Thursday it's joined the Exoskeleton Technical Advisory Group (X-TAG) that will think about the best ways to bring full-body, powered industrial exoskeleton systems to the workforce...The Sarcos Guardian XO and XO MAX robots are battery-powered exoskeletons that enable workers to perform hours of physical activity that would otherwise be impossible for a single human to perform, the company says. The Guardian XO robot is capable of repeatedly lifting and supporting up to 80 pounds without fatigue or strain for up to a four-hour work session. The XO MAX is capable of lifting and supporting up to 200 pounds without fatigue or strain for up to an eight-hour work session..."

Image credit: Sarcos Robotics. "Sarcos Robotics Guardian Exoskeleton."

How a Lack of Dreams Could Be Messing With Your Mind. New Scientist has an interesting post; here's an excerpt: "...We tend to think of dream sleep as unimportant, the poor relative of vital and restorative deep sleep. But now it seems that dreams are much more than mystical night-time adventures. Recent research suggests that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – when we have the most powerful dreams – is vital to learning and creativity, and promotes a healthy mind in a variety of ways. It isn’t romantic whimsy to say that if we stifle our dreams, we aren’t going to reach our potential..."

Image credit: Patryk Hardziej.

Are Target and Kroger Mulling a Merger? Fast Company reports: "Target and Kroger are discussing a possible merger, several people with knowledge of the matter tell Fast Company. The talks come as the grocery industry grapples with Amazon’s increasing hold on the market. The two companies first started conversations last summer about a partnership that could improve Target’s grocery business and give Kroger customers more access to merchandise and e-commerce. Target and Kroger spoke again in the fall and talks are ongoing this year. The companies appear to be struggling to decide whether a merger is the best path forward. Last year, Target and Kroger’s combined annual revenue added up to $195 billion. Kroger declined to comment for this story. Target did not respond to requests for comment. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foodsa deal valued at $13.7 billion–last year forced grocers and retailers alike to come to terms with the holes in their businesses. That led to a series of partnerships and acquisitions aimed at pulling sleepy grocery retailers out of complacency and into the digital age..."

Image credit: Wolterk/iStock.

China's Space Station Will Plummet to Earth Around April Fool's Day. Lovely - don't forget your concrete-lined umbrella. Here's a clip from Forbes: "...The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Aerospace Corporation have narrowed their respective predictions for the demise of the defunct Tiangong-1 to between March 30th and April 3rd. However, both are warning that the precise timing is still highly variable. Due to the uncertainties involved it is very difficult to predict the exact timing of a space object’s re-entry. There are several sources of uncertainty which include: 1) significant variation in the density of the upper layers of the atmosphere, 2) significant uncertainties in the orientation of the space craft over time, uncertainties in some physical properties of the spacecraft such as the exact mass and material composition, and 3) uncertainties in the exact location and speed of the space station..."

43 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

45 F. average high on March 23.

40 F. high on March 23,  2017.

March 24, 1851: Minnesota experiences an early spring 'heat wave' with 60s and 70s common.

SATURDAY: Flurries taper - skies brighten by afternoon. Breezy. Winds: E 8-13. High: 40

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 26

SUNDAY: Peeks of sun, a bit milder. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 44

MONDAY: Periods of rain likely. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 45

TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, drying out. Winds W 5-10. Wake-up: 35. High: 46

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, no drama. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 31. High: 50

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, a little cooler. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 28. High: 43

FRIDAY: A cold wind, few flurries possible. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 36

Climate Stories...

Father and Son Pair Trek Antarctica to Highlight Climate Change. Check out the story and link from CBS News: "Melting ice on Antarctica is impacting sea levels all across the globe. That's why a father-and-son explorer team, Robert and Barney Swan, set out on an expedition to cross the continent on foot. The goal for this marathon trek was to highlight the importance of combating climate change. Their story can be heard in the "Green Miniseries Part I: The Promise." It's part of the Global GoalsCast, a podcast created to inspire listeners to make the world a better, and more sustainable place..."

Image credit: "Robert and Barney Swan journey to Antarctica to highlight the impacts of climate change." CBS News.

Cardinal Ribat: A Christian Obligation to Confront Climate Change. Here's a snippet from The Washington Examiner: "...My vocation has led me to hours of crisis inside the homes and businesses of many people who suffer the consequences of a warmer world. As a person of faith, I believe that God calls us to care for one another. Because climate change hurts so many people, solving it is central to our faith. That’s among the reasons why it’s been the subject of papal teaching for decades, starting with Saint Pope John Paul II, continuing through Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and finding expression today in Pope Francis. Last week, I visited the U.S. Congress. There and elsewhere, I spoke with leaders from both sides of the political spectrum who see, as I do, that addressing climate change is one of the most important ways to serve our sisters and brothers in Christ. I learned that the U.S. military has identified climate change as being one of the world’s biggest threats..."

Photo credit: "Driven by fossil fuels, climate change isn’t a political issue, but a human issue." (AP Photo/Branden Camp).

What on Earth? Why Climate Change Skeptics are Backing Geoengineering. "It's not really happening, but just in case it is, let's hack Earth's atmosphere to try to lessen the symptoms. What can possibly go wrong?" Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening post at Reveal: "...The increasing interest in geoengineering, including from climate change skeptics, owes partly to growing pessimism about humanity’s capacity – and political will – to ward off the worst effects of climate change without some major technological breakthrough. Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates has invested both in Keith’s research and in a for-profit company Keith founded to try to capture carbon from the atmosphere. In 2015, two major U.S. environmental groups, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, supported small-scale research into projects that one writer has dubbed “hacking the planet.” Several Trump allies are considerably more gung-ho, with some explicitly portraying geoengineering as a cheap alternative to radically transforming a U.S. economy that is still about 80 percent dependent on fossil fuels..."

Image credit: "In a spring 2017 mission, engineer Leslie Field of California marks an area on North Meadow Lake in Barrow, Alaska, before sprinkling tiny reflective silica spheres on the ice to try to keep it from melting. Field’s geoengineering project would cost an estimated $1 billion a year, and some experts call it unrealistic and ineffective." Credit: Courtesy of Ice911.

National Parks Are About to Get a Bunch of Birds They Didn't Ask For. Earther explains: "...If climate change continues on its current trajectory, 20 of the 25 warblers that currently occupy the park will have no suitable climate. They could be forced to move or perish. Meanwhile, other species could swoop in to take their place. Acadia is just one datapoint in a massive new study published in PLOS One on Wednesday that looks at how climate change will impact birds across the national park system. Similar stories are likely to play out everywhere from Yosemite’s granite high country to Yellowstone’s bubbling hydrothermal basins, with the study projecting nearly a quarter of bird species will turnover in parks by 2050. That means that the 300 million annual visitors to parks will, in the future, have a completely different experience. And it means managers will have to make some big decisions on what landscapes they conserve and what species they manage for..."

Photo credit: "A boreal chickadee who won’t have habitat in Acadia National Park by 2050 if climate change continues unchecked." Photo: Audubon Society

Food Crisis Intensifying Because of Climate Change and Conflict. Bloomberg Markets reports: "Global food crises are poised to worsen in some areas as conflict and climate change curb farm production and access to staples, the United Nations and European Union warned. Food crises are increasingly determined by complex causes such as conflict, extreme climatic shocks and high prices of staple foods, often happening at the same time, the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme and EU said in a report Thursday. Conflict will remain a major driver of food insecurity in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, while drought is likely to worsen crop and livestock output, increasing food insecurity in countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, they said..."

Climate Change May Mean More Spring Snowstorms in the Future. Counterintuitive, but rapid warming in the Arctic may be loading the dice in favor of more Nor'easters, says Rutgers research professor Jennifer Francis at The Washington Post: "...Less intuitive, though, is the increasingly clear role being played by the rapidly warming and melting Arctic. A growing pile of studies suggests that heat waves in the far north are slowing the west winds of the jet stream, allowing the normally bottled-up frigid air to plunge southward in giant lobes. For much of this winter, one of those cold lobes has been parked over the eastern United States — another key ingredient for coastal snowstorms. The bigger the lobe, the longer it tends to stick around, setting the stage for the parade of storms we’ve seen not only this month but during five of the past six winters as well. A study some colleagues and I published last week found that severe winters in the eastern United States were much more likely during Arctic heat waves — and this winter, the Arctic was particularly hot..."

Photo credit: "Building a snowman on the Mall on the first day of spring is fun, but it’s not a great sign for the health of the climate." (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High in 2017. Here's a clip from a Reuters story: "Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Global energy demand rose by 2.1 percent last year to 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by strong economic growth, according to preliminary estimates from the IEA. Energy demand rose by 0.9 percent in 2016 and 0.9 percent on average over the previous five years. Over 70 percent of global energy demand growth was met by oil, natural gas and coal, while renewables accounted for almost all of the rest, the IEA said in a report..."

File photo: "Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016." REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo /File Photo/File Photo.

Climate Science Tutorial in Federal Court: Headlines and links courtesy of Climate Nexus: "A federal judge presided over a science lesson Wednesday in California court after ordering five oil and gas companies and California cities suing them over climate change to present "the best science now available on global warming." US Federal Judge William Alsup ordered presenters, including three climate scientists selected to represent the California cities, to "stick to the science" in an effort "to try to educate the judge." A lawyer for Chevron, the only representative to present from the group of five of fossil fuel companies on trial, argued that while the oil giant accepts 2013 IPCC findings concluding it is "extremely likely" that humans contribute to warming, the company has questions about the accuracy of scientific models and how specifically to ascribe blame for warming to oil companies. "What we saw today was one oil company begrudgingly accept the scientific consensus while trying to overemphasize the extent of scientific uncertainty," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement." (AP, The Guardian, WiredReuters, EartherBloomberg, McClatchySan Francisco Chronicle, Business Insider, Grist)

Last 3 Years Hottest on Record, Severe Weather Hits 2018: UN. Reuters explains: "The past three years were the hottest on record and heat waves in Australia, freak Arctic warmth and water shortages in Cape Town are extending harmful weather extremes in 2018, the United Nations said on Thursday. Atlantic hurricanes and monsoon floods in India contributed to make 2017 the most costly year on record for severe weather and climate events, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) wrote in its annual report on the global climate. “The start of 2018 has continued where 2017 left off – with extreme weather claiming lives and destroying livelihoods,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas wrote in the report..."

Tougher Climate Policies Could Save 150 Million Lives, Researchers Find. The Washington Post explains: "There is an overlooked benefit to greatly lowering carbon emissions worldwide, a new study says. In addition to preserving Arctic sea ice, reducing sea-level rise and alleviating other effects of global warming, it would probably save more than 150 million human lives. According to the study, premature deaths would fall on nearly every continent if the world’s governments agree to cut emissions of carbon and other harmful gases enough to limit global temperature rise to less than 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That is about a degree lower than the target set by the Paris climate agreement. The benefit would be felt mostly in Asian countries with dirty air — 13 million lives would be saved in large cities in India alone, including the metropolitan areas of Kolkata, Delhi, Patna and Kanpur..."

File photo: Andy Wong, AP.

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On edge: Heaviest snow band to set up south and west of MSP

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Now is the (Spring) of our Discontent