A Fine November Slush - Chilly Bias Continues
Minnesota is trending wetter over time. So far in 2017 the Twin Cities metro has picked up 31.23 inches of rain, about 3.5 inches wetter than the running 30-year normal, to date. According to Mark Seeley October was the 15th wettest in state history, with most observers reporting 3-5 inches of precipitation.
A wet bias continues into November, with temperatures just chilly enough for snow and ice. Fresh snow on the ground from the north metro into central Minnesota should help hunters with tracking for today's Firearm Deer Hunting Opener. A far cry from last year, when temperatures were in the 60s and 70s.
Weather is random, variable and fickle. Yes, early November can bring 70s or blizzards, depending on Mother Nature's mood.
Skies dry out a bit today, but rain showers Sunday mix with a little wet snow before tapering off. Next week looks mostly-dry with a few minor cold frontal passages. Long range GFS guidance hints at a day or two above 50 by mid-November. Hardly cause for noisy celebration, but in spite of a little snow no extended periods of piercing polar pain are pending.
HydroClim Minnesota. Here's an excerpt from a recent Minnesota DNR post:
- Seasonal precipitation totals (April 1 through October 31) ranked above the historical median over most of the southeast 2/3rd of Minnesota, with much of central Minnesota in the 85% ranking for the wettest growing season. Some areas are in the 98th percentile or nearly the wettest on record. Areas in north central and northwest Minnesota fall short of the median, with a few areas ranked in the lowest 15 percentile.
[see: Seasonal Precipitation Ranking Map]
- Winter arrived early in northern and central Minnesota. Snow depths range from one to six inches across large sections of north central and northeast Minnesota. Snow depths range from eight to ten inches along the Lake Superior highlands.
[see: NWS Snow Depth Estimation Map | Midwest Regional Climate Center Snow Depth Map]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on October 31, depicts a small area of north central Minnesota in the Moderate Drought category. Less than two percent of the state is in the Moderate Drought category, This is quite a bit of a reduction from August 1.
Ancient Storms Could Have Hurled Huge Boulders, Scientists Say - Raising New Fears of Rising Seas. Don't sweat the snow flurries! Here's a clip from a Washington Post article: "...Scientists don’t know for sure how these boulders got to their exceptional location — they couldn’t have rolled uphill to the top of the cliff; there’s no higher cliff from which they could have fallen — but they suspect it has something to do with the Atlantic Ocean far below them. One possible explanation has frightening implications for the present. Two years ago, climate scientist James Hansen, drawing on the work of the geologist Paul Hearty, a retired research associate professor at the University of North Carolina, suggested they had been put in place by catastrophic superstorms more than 100,000 years ago at a time of higher seas and dangerous weather dynamics. These conditions, Hansen fears, could return again if polar ice sheets melt rapidly, upending ocean circulation and potentially causing a host of other difficult-to-predict scenarios..."
Photo credit: "
cost more than $100,000—on a house that’s maybe only worth $400,000. That means that while the Whitney’s resilience costs were less than one-twentieth of the new project cost, the owner of an existing home is looking at resilience costs as high as one-fourth of their total property value. While some local and federal support has been made available to storm victims, the costs of these programs have quickly ballooned—even after many withdrew their applications due to overwhelming bureaucracy and out-of-date flood maps..."Even with the support of the city, resilient design can be hard to scale. Retrofitting old buildings is harder than raising more capital to bolster new designs, according to many architects. Raising an existing single-family home on stilts, as many thousands of East Coasters have done since Sandy, can
How Trust Shapes Nations' Safety Rules. The Atlantic has a fascinating story of how various countries manage risk; here's an excerpt: "...It’s easy to feel as if safety has a universal definition. Freedom from want, freedom from fear—aren’t those what people mean when they think of safety? Perhaps, but the routes through the world to that state of being are circuitous and varied. Smoke alarms, for instance, have been required in every American bedroom since 1993. We rarely think about them, except to grouse when they go off while we’re cooking. France, however, only began requiring residential smoke alarms in 2015. Switzerland, rated the safest country in the world in 2015 by one consumer-research firm, has not mandated them at all. There is not a simple, one-way progression from a state of nature to a state of safety. Even within nations, there are fundamental divisions about how we want to deal with risk. Deciding what dangers to avoid sounds like a supremely rational process, on the face of it. You calculate the risk of an event (house fire, bicycle crash), the probability of the bad outcome (death), multiply them together, and get a number that tells you how likely the worst-case scenario is..."
North Korea's Plenty Scary Without an Overhyped EMP Threat. WIRED.com has the vaguely reassuring news: "...For EMP threat skeptics, though, decades-old tests and modern simulations don’t equal a guaranteed result today. Which means the right question to ask isn’t if North Korea could explode a nuclear weapon high over the United States. It’s whether Kim Jong Un would take that risk, uncertain of the ultimate effect, but knowing that his country would receive the full weight of American military response in return. Or, as Burke puts it: “If you’re a country that wants to go to war with the United States, and you want to cause maximum damage, you want to be pretty sure it’s going to work.” North Korea attacking the US with an EMP would be a fantastically high-risk maneuver, with uncertain gains..."
Image credit: The Atlantic.
Republican Tax Plan Cuts Incentives for EVs, Wind Power, Keeps Incentives for Solar, Nuclear, Oil: House Republicans unveiled yesterday the first draft of a sweeping overhaul of the tax code that would make significant changes to taxes related to energy. The bill proposes ending the $7,500 credit for electric vehicles while also extending a $6 billion lifeline to the nuclear industry. While the bill would leave solar industry tax incentives mostly untouched, it proposes cutting wind credits from 2.3 cents per kWh to 1.5 cents—a move the wind industry says would jeopardize significant investments it has made around the country. The oil industry, meanwhile, would lose some small tax incentives under in the proposal, but it would keep larger incentives that, if cut, could have provided billions of dollars in revenue for the plan. (Wind: Reuters, Politico Pro$, Washington Examiner. EV credit: Reuters, The Hill. Oil: Bloomberg. Nuclear: Bloomberg.
File image: Shutterstock.
Scott Pruit Declares War on Air Pollution Science. New Republic reports: "...Of the 17 new members expected to be appointed to the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), three hail from large fossil-fuel companies: Southern Company, Phillips 66, and Total. Three are from red-state governments; one is from a chemical industry trade association; the rest are from various universities and consulting groups. Five of the 17 hold views on air pollution that are outside of the scientific mainstream. Of the three new members expected to be appointed to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Council (CASAC), one is an air pollution skeptic. Most toxicologists and epidemiologists accept that air pollution can harm humans, and that excessive air pollution can lead to death in vulnerable populations (like children and the elderly). That’s why the government regulates it—principally under the Clean Air Act, a widely popular law passed in 1963 and amended multiple times with unanimous or overwhelming support in the Senate. Through that law, we have various regulations on specific air pollutants, including National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ground-level ozone..."
The Web Began Dying in 2014. Here's How. A post from Andrew Staltz caught my eye; here's a snippet: "...What has changed over the last 4 years is market share of traffic on the Web. It looks like nothing has changed, but GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic. Mobile internet traffic is now the majority of traffic worldwide and in Latin America alone, GOOG and FB services have had 60% of mobile traffic in 2015, growing to 70% by the end of 2016. The remaining 30% of traffic is shared among all other mobile apps and websites. Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks..."
West Virginians Fight to Save a Generation from Opioid Addiction, Often with Hands Tied. Here's a clip from HuffPost: "...But they’re fighting an uphill battle. West Virginia now leads the nation in drug overdose deaths per capita. In 2016, 818 people fatally overdosed in the state, a nearly 13 percent increase over 2015. About 86 percent of those incidents involved at least one opioid, meaning these drugs are now killing more West Virginians each year than traffic accidents and firearms combined. The damage from opioids extends far beyond overdoses, as the generational decay in Vance’s neighborhood shows. Michael Brumage, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and an assistant dean at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health, estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of his daily work is now devoted to some aspect of the opioid epidemic. He calls it the greatest public health threat of his lifetime..."
7 U.S. Cities That Are Hipper Than You Think. Jetsetter.com has the post; here's an excerpt: "...It may be known for its Midwestern friendless and summer lake culture, but Minneapolis has a seriously creative side, too. Just look to the North Loop's Hewing Hotel, a 19th-century logging warehouse that brings together masculine, contemporary design and rustic lake house vibes. The brick-and-timber building has original pine timber beams, walls covered in work by local artists and photographers, and a rooftop Social Club. It’s a great starting point to check out dining hotspots like Bar La Grassa and The Bachelor Farmer, a slick, but inviting, Scandinavian restaurant. If you're pining for some culture, hit up the Walker Art Center for contemporary works and the Mill City Museum, which is built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, to take in exhibits by local and regional artists..."
Where to Travel in 2018, from Shanghai to Scotland's Coolest City. Pretty cool that Minneapolis came in 4th on The Wall Street Journal's list: "...The twin city that gave the world Prince and Bob Dylan—and will host the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4—is now luring curious foodies. In 2017, Minneapolis claimed 13 James Beard Award semifinalists. When Gavin Kaysen, chef/owner of the wildly popular Spoon & Stable (in a converted 1906 barn) opened his modern bistro Bellecour last spring, he booked 1,000 reservations in the first 24 hours. Other notable names to drop: Thomas Kim, who left Los Angeles to establish the Rabbit Hole (eatdrinkrabbit.com), and Erik Anderson, who sharpened his knives at the Catbird Seat in Nashville and took over Minneapolis’s Grande Cafe earlier this year (grandcafemn.com)..."
Image credit: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
The Perils and Pleasures of Bartending in Antarctica. Atlas Obscura fills us in: "...After stepping inside from temperatures that reached -100 degrees Fahrenheit, says Broughton, Club 90 South felt like a portal back to the real world. Constructed by the Navy “Seabees” Construction Crew out of building and shipping scraps, the cozy space had the warm, smoky atmosphere of harbor-side barrooms, with chairs, couches, and a classic wooden bar scattered around a low-ceiled room. Over the bar, empty Crown Royal bags (the drink of choice at Club 90 South) hung from strings of Christmas lights like bulbous, satin ornaments. The freezer was a hole in the wall to the frigid snow and ice outside. Entertainment consisted of poker tournaments, watching TV, listening to music, reading left-behind books, talking with family and friends back home, and experiencing the station tradition of stripping naked (except for shoes) and running from the station sauna to the South Pole marker..."
Photo credit: "A cosy sight: the entrance to the geodesic dome where the Club 90 South bar was originally located." NOAA/ CC BY 2.0
35 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.
49 F. average high on November 3.
65 F. high on November 3, 2016.
.5" snow fell at MSP International Airport on Friday.
TODAY: Gray, a little drizzle? Winds: SE 7-12. High: 43
SATURDAY NIGHT: Overcast, a little rain or drizzle. Low: 40
SUNDAY: Showers end as a few flakes. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 42
MONDAY: Fading sun, snow showers late? Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 27. High: 38
TUESDAY: More sunshine, still chilly. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 25. High: near 40
WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, dry sky. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 24. High: 42
THURSDAY: Reinforcing cold front. Patchy clouds. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 30. High: 38
FRIDAY: Clouds/winds increase. Rain late. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: 46
Climate Change to Affect 10 Million Americans by 2075, CBO Warns. Bloomberg explains: "Ten million Americans will be "substantially affected" by climate change by 2075, causing government disaster spending to jump, the Congressional Budget Office projected Thursday. But, instead of trying to cut carbon emissions, the federal government should make coastal residents bear more of the financial risks for living there, the office said. The five-fold increase in people affected will result from rising seas, more intense hurricanes and more development along the coast, the budget office said. It predicted that federal disaster spending will grow to $39 billion annually in current dollars, from $28 billion now..."
Photo credit: "" Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.
National Climate Assessment: Executive Summary. Some of the highlights of the latest report can be found here, including news of an average rise of 7-8" in sea level: "Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales. This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence..."
Image credit: "(left) Global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.2°F (0.7°C) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960. Red bars show temperatures that were above the 1901–1960 average, and blue bars indicate temperatures below the average. (right) Surface temperature change (in °F) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960. Gray indicates missing data." From Figures 1.2. and 1.3 in Chapter 1.
Fourth National Climate Assessment. Click here for access to the full report.
U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials. The New York Times has the story.
From Miami to Shanghai: 3C of Warming Will Leave World Cities Below Sea Level. The Guardian shares the latest news, which is stark for coastal residents: "...The momentum for change is currently too slow, according to the UN Environment Programme. In its annual emissions gap report, released on Tuesday, the international body said government commitments were only a third of what was needed. Non-state actors such as cities, companies and citizens can only partly fill this void, which leaves warming on course to rise to 3C or beyond by the end of this century, the report said. The UN’s environment chief, Erik Solheim, said progress in the year since the Paris agreement entered into force has been inadequate. “We still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” he said..."
Image credit: "South Beach, Miami, would be mostly underwater."' Photograph: Nickolay Lamm/Courtesy Climate Central
The Three-Degree World: Cities That Will Be Drowned by Global Warming. The Guardian reports: "When UN climate negotiators meet for summit talks this month, there will be a new figure on the table: 3C. Until now, global efforts such as the Paris climate agreement have tried to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels. However, with latest projections pointing to an increase of 3.2C by 2100, these goals seem to be slipping out of reach. “[We] still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” said Erik Solheim, the UN environment chief, ahead of the upcoming Bonn conference. One of the biggest resulting threats to cities around the world is sea-level rise, caused by the expansion of water at higher temperatures and melting ice sheets on the north and south poles..."
A Contested Finding in a New Climate Change Report. The Atlantic has details: "...Some of its techniques may have significant weaknesses. The Lancet report makes an eye-popping assertion about the global economy, arguing that climate change has already significantly harmed labor capacity around the world. Between 2015 and 2016—which are the second- and first-hottest years ever recorded—it argues that “outdoor-labor capacity” fell by 2 percent. Since the year 2000, outdoor-labor capacity has fallen by 5.3 percent overall, it claims. Academic economists who study climate change were very doubtful of this estimate. “I would back way off the claim that [the data] show any of these things, since they don’t have or use any actual data on labor,” said Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the Climate Impact Lab..."
Photo credit: "Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters"
There's One Unspeakable Fix That Would Help Pay for the GOP's Tax Cuts. The problem, of course, is that fossil fuel companies donate very significant sums, primarily to GOP campaigns. Bloomberg has the story: "As Washington scrutinizes House Republicans' new tax package, Litterman, 65, and his allies on both the left and right are pushing for a new carbon policy. It could be what Washington calls a “pay-for,” a way to offset tax cuts by increasing government revenue in other ways. A $25 per ton carbon tax would go a long way—almost $1 trillion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office—toward balancing out the cost of reforms. Congress has approved a 2018 budget resolution that allows room for enough tax reform to increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, not accounting for growth sparked by the changes. Yet, to call a carbon tax dead on arrival would be an insult to dead things, since they have spent at least some time being alive..."
File credit: Reuters.
4th U.S. National Climate Assessment: Notable Findings. Here's an excerpt of a summary at Climate Nexus:
- The draft finds “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” The report further finds that greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and other human factors are likely responsible for all of the observed warming since 1951 and that these anthropogenic factors are likely countering and overcoming natural factors that would otherwise be cooling the climate.
- Deforestation and agriculture have contributed heavily to the warming observed to date.
- The fingerprints of climate change are now widespread, and climate change is amplifying weather disasters and wildfires.
- The language describing the impact of climate change on the intensity of hurricanes is now much clearer. Decreases in sulfate aerosols together with increases in GHG emissions are found to be likely contributing to the intensity of hurricanes, however the relative size of these contributions is still an active area of research and debate...
Massive Government Report Says Climate is Warming and Humans Are the Cause. NPR has a summary of the research referenced above: "It is "extremely likely" that human activities are the "dominant cause" of global warming, according to the the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers. The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are "the warmest in the history of modern civilization." The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming. The findings contradict statements by President Trump and many of his Cabinet members, who have openly questioned the role humans play in changing the climate..."
Study Says Public's Politics Are Correlated with Climate Change Opinion. They Shouldn't Be. Here's an excerpt of a post from Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "...The Georgia State University study finds that most dominant predictors of viewpoint on climate change were political ideology, party identification, and relative concern about environmental conservation and economic development. These attributes outweighed respondent experiences with hot weather, drought, or natural disasters. One particularly interesting finding was that the "political party effect" was even more amplified if the respondent was more attentive to news and public affairs. This fact suggests that real or perceived biases in news reporting can shape the public's perspective on a scientific topic that should inherently be apolitical. It also points to a real need for sound climate science reporting rooted in peer review studies rather than opinion or innuendo..."
Image credit: Yale Climate Connections.
Climate Refugee Crisis to Come as Migrants Struggle Now: From Climate Nexus Hot News: "Climate change will force tens of millions of people from their homes in an unprecedented new refugee crisis over the next decade, according to a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation. Some countries are steadying themselves for a new era of climate asylum seekers, as leaders of New Zealand's new government said in multiple interviews this week that the country is considering creating a new visa category specifically for climate refugees. The Trump administration, however, doesn't seem to have given the issue much thought: Florida county leaders are expressing "confusion and concern" this week over the continuing absence of state and federal leadership as tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans stream into the state following Hurricane Maria." (Report: The Guardian. NZ: The Guardian, New York Post, Washington Post $, CNN. Florida: Orlando Sentinel)
File image: U.S. Army.
Winemakers Warming to Reality of Climate Change, but the Topic is Sensitive. No kidding. Here's an excerpt from The Sacramento Bee: "Droughts. Soaking winters. Heat waves. Wildfires. The last several years have whipsawed West Coast winemakers such as David Graves, who produces that oh-so-delicate of varietals, pinot noir. It is also prompting vintners to ponder whether climate change — once seen as distant concern — is already visiting their vineyards. “It’s a different ball game,” said David Graves, co-founder of the Saintsbury winery in Napa. “A lot of my colleagues think they can manage around this and stay in a business-as-usual mode. I don’t tend to believe that.” Increasingly, winemakers in places such as Napa, California’s Central Valley and Oregon’s Willamette Valley are acknowledging that climate change poses not just a future risk, but a clear-and-present trend. Warmer days and nights, combined with more extreme weather events, are forcing many vintners to adjust their harvest dates and how they produce wine..."
Image credit: "Angela Hart email@example.com.
James A. Baker III. What If Al Gore is Right? A story at Forbes caught my eye: "Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III isn’t ready to say Al Gore is right about climate change, but he is ready to take out an insurance policy just in case. Baker sees a carbon tax as a way to achieve the Republican goal of removing environmental regulation without risking the perils of climate change—whether or not those perils are real. "The potentially tragic results of inaction are not worth the risk," he said at the Global Energy Transitions Summit recently at Rice University. "This plan that my conservative colleagues and I have proposed I think can serve as an insurance policy just in case the Al Gores of the world turn out to be right..."
Photo credit: "Secretary James A. Baker III told au audience gathered at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy that his carbon tax proposal should appeal to both sides in the partisan debate."