Dog Day-free August?
I get some of my best weather nuggets at the local Caribou drive-thru. "Thanks for this weather Paul" the nice lady preparing my caffeine injection sighs. I shrug. "You're welcome?" She goes on to regale me with tales of low humidity and fresh breezes keeping the bug count down. "My relatives are haying right now - they sure don't miss the heat and humidity!" Nor do I.
Greenland just hit a record 80F, parts of China are embroiled in the worst heat in 140 years. No, I'm not mourning the Dog Days either.
The maps suggest two Septembers in a row, Canada burping one comfortable airmass after another into mid-August. Beyond that the crystal ball gets murky, but as my favorite college meteorology professor liked to say, "don't fight the trends."
A reinforcing pulse of cool air arrives today on a north breeze, highs in the 70s with a dew point near 50F. Typical for September 6. A T-shower may pop Sunday PM into Tuesday; a more vigorous cool front next Friday, when "highs" may hold in the 60s up north.
Skies clear and mellow the weekend of August 10-11; highs push into the 70s. Think of this as "Summer Lite" - without all the unpleasant (sticky, biting, thundery) side effects.
Ideal Conditions For Tour de Tonka. Every now and then the planets align and the weather cooperates for a big outdoor event. Such will be the case today for Tour de Tonka - blue sky, low humidity, just enough of a breeze to keep you from breaking out into a sweat. When you consider we could be broiling in the 90s or dodging severe T-storms, there shouldn't be too many complaints about the weather.
Good Day For A Bike Ride (Or Race). Here is NOAA's hour by hour forecast for the west metro, showing temperatures rising through the upper 50s and 60s, reaching 70F by 11 AM, a light north breeze at 5-12 mph, dew points near 51F.
Back To The 70s. 90s? Are you kidding? Not a Dog Day in sight, in fact 80s may be rare in the weeks ahead, a slight chance of topping 80F by Tuesday. The best chance of showers and T-showers: Sunday night into Tuesday. Long-range ECMWF guidance is hinting at more showers next weekend.
Weather Map: Midday Today. The soggy remains of "Dorian" may brush Florida with a few heavy T-storms, but the heaviest rains remain offshore. Showers and T-storms are likely from the Ohio Valley and Mid South into South Dakota, cool, comfortable air over the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. Map credit: UCAR.
Weather Map: Sunday Morning. The approach of slightly warmer air will set off a healthy smear of showers and storms across the Dakotas, reaching the Twin Cities late Sunday or Sunday night. A holding pattern continues, showers and T-storms flaring up along a virtually stationary fron stretching from the Plains to the Carolinas.
Atmospheric Scuffle. NOAA HPC prints out a big, sloppy bulls-eye over Missouri and northern Arkansas, where 3-5" rains are possible by Thursday. Meanwhile the western USA remains dry; conditions very favorable for more wildfires in the weeks to come.
First Perseids Of 2013. Spaceweather.com has a great update on the biggest meteor shower of the year. With unusually clear skies, good visibility and low dew points you may have a better chance that most (Augusts) to see a few lucky shooting stars in the next 1-2 weeks. Here's an excerpt: "Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won't peak until August 12-13, when Earth hits the densest part of the stream, the first Perseids are already arriving. "Despite poor weather over our network of meteor cameras, we have detected six Perseid fireballs since July 30th," reports Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. He made this plot showing the orbits of the meteoroids."
Graphic credit above: "In the diagram, the green lines trace the orbits of Perseid meteoroids. All six intersect Earth (the blue dot). The orbit of the parent comet is color-coded purple. An inset shows one of the fireballs shining almost as brightly as the Moon: video."
Dorian's Remnants, Saharan Dust, And Record Heat In Alaska, Greenland, The U.K. And China. Talk about a mixed-up weather map; I guess we should be counting our atmospheric blessings. Much of the southern and western USA continues to bake, unusual warmth reaching unusually far north, but the heating is anything but uniform. In today's edition of Climate Matters we track the soggy remains of "Dorian", link African dust to fewer tropical storms, and highlight some of the more unusual warm weather records: "Dorian is brushing the eastern coast of Florida, but other than that the Atlantic is pretty quiet. Could it have anything to do with Saharan Dust? Then there are the heat records where you might least it expect it. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist shows us where the warmth is around the globe. Pop Quiz: Which one of the following three cities was the warmest Thursday? Fairbanks, Los Angeles or New York City. Watch the video and see if you're right."
August Cloud Cover. Here's another snippet from a comprehensive look at August climatology in the Twin Cities, courtesy of WeatherSpark. Yes, August tends to be (much) sunnier and drier than June and July, better odds of getting your outdoor events in: "The fraction of time spent in each of the five sky cover categories. From top (most blue) to bottom (most gray), the categories are clear, mostly clear, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, and overcast. Pink indicates missing data. Outside of the United States clear skies are often reported ambiguously, leading them to be lumped in with the missing data."
Worst Heat Wave In At Least 140 Years Hits Parts Of China; Dozens Of Deaths Reported. Here are a few excerpts from an AP story at Fox News: "...On Tuesday, the director of the China Meteorological Administration activated a "level 2" emergency response to the persistent heat wave. This level requires around-the-clock staffing, the establishment of an emergency command center and frequent briefings. Some Chinese in heat-stricken cities have been cooking shrimps, eggs and bacon in skillets placed directly on manhole covers or on road pavement that has in some cases heated up to 60 degrees C (140 F)...In the port city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province, glass has cracked in the heat, vehicles have self-combusted, and a highway billboard caught fire by itself, sending up black smoke in the air, according to China Central Television. The broadcaster said the heat might have shorted an electrical circuit on the billboard..."
File photo credit above: "A visitor who has his top off tries to cool off in the afternoon heat at the Bund, one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, in Shanhai, China." (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko).
Rethinking Flood Insurance As Toll Rises. Because in light of the trends: more numerous, extreme (and expensive) flooding disasters, the current model may be unsustainable. Here's the intro to an Op-Ed at livescience.com: "As society looks toward a future with rising sea levels and more frequent and severe storms, the United States can also expect to see more frequent and severe flooding along rivers and coastlines. That means property owners will increasingly turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Flood Insurance Program to bail them out. But why does the federal government underwrite 5.6 million flood insurance policies — in many cases at highly subsidized rates?..."
Photo credit above: "The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy leaves much of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland under water, including this boat ramp along the Assateague Channel, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012." Credit: J.Fair/USFWS.
South America Might Soon Be Covered In Thousands Of Tons Of Dust From The Sahara Desert. Dust which may be reducing the odds of hurricane formation over the Atlantic, btw. Quartz has the story (and amazing NOAA visualization); here's a clip: "In the next couple of days, South Americans could get a taste of Africa without even stepping on a plane. That’s because powerful winds over the continent are lifting up thousands of tons of dust from the Sahara Desert, and moving it 5,000-or-so miles over the Atlantic Ocean toward northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and other places around the Caribbean Sea. The great migration of desert granules is in fact a “quite common” occurrence, according to NOAA, raising the startling thought that the dust in our eyes on a windy day could’ve once been stuck in a camel’s foot pad. This most recent movement of grit is somewhat special, though, in that it’s much more concentrated than usual. By Friday and the weekend, it will be flying over South and Central America, with urban areas in its possible path including Caracas, Bogotá, Panama City, Port-au-Prince, and San Juan in Puerto Rico..."
79 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
83 F. average high on August 2.
90 F. high on August 2, 2012.
TODAY: Lot's of sun, comfortable. Dew point: 51 Winds: N 10. High: 77
SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortable. Low: 56
SUNDAY: Sun central and north, PM shower possible southern MN. Winds: SE 5. High: 75
MONDAY: More clouds, stray T-storm. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 60. High: 79
TUESDAY: Warmer, few T-storms likely. Dew point: 65. Wake-up: 64. High: 82
WEDNESDAY: Sun returns, less humid. Dew point: 56. Wake-up: 63. High: 78
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, a bit cooler. Wake-up: 59. High: 75
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, September-like. Wake-up: 56. High: 73 (60s up north?)
America's Dangerous Pipelines. Generating electricity comes with inherent levels of risk (with the possible exception of solar and photo voltaic). In the ongoing controversy over the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline I thought I'd share this video animation and explanation from The Center For Biological Diversity. is the upside worth the risk? "This time-lapse video shows pipeline incidents from 1986 to 2013, relying on publicly available data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Only incidents classified as “significant” by the agency are shown in the video. “Significant” incidents include those in which someone was hospitalized or killed, damages amounted to more than $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquid were released, or where the liquid exploded or burned. According to the data, since 1986 there have been nearly 8,000 incidents (nearly 300 per year on average), resulting in more than 500 deaths (red dots on the video), more than 2,300 injuries (yellow dots on the video), and nearly $7 billion in damage. Since 1986 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels every day..."
Data Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Climate Change Occurring 10 Times Faster Than At Any Time In Past 65 Million Years. Phys.org has the story - here's a clip: "The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years. If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive..."
Graphic credit above: "Top: The change in annual temperature projected for the late 21st century using simulations from 27 global climate models. The change is calculated as the 2081-2100 mean minus the 1986-2005 mean. Bottom: the velocity of climate change required to maintain the current annual temperature should the late-21st-century climate change occur. The velocity is calculated for each location by identifying the closest location in the future climate that has the same annual temperature as the starting location has in the present climate." Credit: Noah Diffenbaugh.
Climate Change Becoming A Defining Issue For Young Voters Nationwide. Huffington Post has the details; here's an excerpt: "The politics of climate change is shifting, and politicians -- particularly Republicans -- are going to need to make some quick decisions. Whether it's record heat waves, wildfires, floods or storms, the impacts of climate change are taking hold nearly every day. Our way of life is being violently transformed, and Americans are taking notice, especially younger voters whose future is at stake. And this could have a big impact at the ballot box. LCV recently released a bipartisan poll showing that young voters across the country are concerned about climate change and support federal action to address it. It also showed that young people soundly reject the false choice between economic prosperity and action on climate change that many climate change deniers hide behind. And a solid majority in our poll said they are willing to hold accountable those who ignore the problem, going so far as to describe climate change deniers as "ignorant" and "out-of-touch." In fact, 73 percent of young voters said they are less likely to vote for someone who opposes President Obama's landmark plan on climate change..."
Image courtesy of Forecast The Facts.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-08-climate-faster-million-years.html#jCp
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-08-climate-faster-million-years.html#jCp
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-08-climate-faster-million-years.html#jC
Hot Under The Collar: Study Says For Every Degree Warmer, Risk Of Violent Crime, War, Inches Up. Here's a clip from an AP story at Newser.com: "As the world gets warmer, people are more likely to get hot under the collar, scientists say. A massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree. Researchers analyzed 60 studies on historic empire collapses, recent wars, violent crime rates in the United States, lab simulations that tested police decisions on when to shoot and even cases where pitchers threw deliberately at batters in baseball. They found a common thread over centuries: Extreme weather _ very hot or dry _ means more violence. The authors say the results show strong evidence that climate can promote conflict. "When the weather gets bad we tend to be more willing to hurt other people," said economist Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley. He is the lead author of the study, published online Thursday by the journal Science. Experts in the causes of war gave it a mixed reception..."
Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want To Kill Each Other. Here's a slightly different perspective on the new research finding from The Atlantic: "Farmers in Brazil are more likely to invade each others' land in years that are particularly wet or unusually dry. Americans honk their horns more at other cars when it's hot outside. Countries in the tropics are more likely to have civil wars in years that are especially hot or dry. They may seem random, but actually, these events are all connected. New research from Princeton University and UC Berkeley published today in Science reveals a link between big shifts in climate and precipitation and a rise in interpersonal violence, institutional breakdown, and especially inter-group violence, such as war. Not only does the paper shed light on past bouts of global conflict, it also offers a warning about the future. The world is expected to warm by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the next few decades, unless governments do something drastic, and the researchers say that increased bloodshed could be a serious side-effect of that trend..."
Consider Signing The Petition. Details on Google's recent fund-raiser for James Inhofe and an online petition can be found here.
GOP Lawmakers Hit By Weather Tragedies Stay Mum On Climate Change. InsideClimate News has the story - here's a clip: "..."I've lived in my part of Arizona my whole life," Grijalva, 65, said in an interview. "I've never seen conditions like the ones we've had the last few years. Watching my constituents deal with the effects of climate change—the droughts, the record temperatures, the fires—how could I not make it a priority?" In the district next door to Grijalva's, however, the message being conveyed is far different. That area, represented by Paul Gosar, a Republican, is experiencing similar climate extremes. But Gosar rejects the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel and other human activities are causing the earth to warm. And he sees no connection between climate change and the extreme weather raging in his home district—including the Yarnell wildfire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters in June—according to his spokesman, Orlando Watson. Gosar has voted against all climate-related legislation in the past few years..."
Photo credit above: "A home destroyed by the Yarnell Hill fire late last month, in Yarnell, Ariz., July 23, 2013. In Yarnell, where 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died in the line of duty and where the homes destroyed by fire sit next to those mysteriously spared, residents struggle to ascribe meaning to what happened." (Joshua Lott/The New York Times).
McCarthy: Climate Change Is "Opportunity Of A Lifetime". National Geographic has more on the new EPA Administrator's goals and objectives; here's an excerpt: “Let’s talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime, because there are too many lifetimes at stake,” McCarthy said of regulating emissions, noting the EPA will work to develop a “new mindset about how climate change and environmental protection fits within our national and global economic agenda.” Although the EPA has met some opposition from industry groups and Republicans who say environmental regulation hurts the economy, McCarthy said she planned to continue issuing new rules and felt President Barack Obama’s new Climate Action Plan could “fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing...”
It's Climate Scientists, Not Concern Trolls, Who Champion The Scientific Method. Here's an excerpt from a post at The Guardian: "...Concern trolling, constantly getting the science wrong, and ignoring the inconvenient data all stem from the same root cause - ideological opposition to climate solutions. No matter how much effort you put into pleasing contrarians, they are not going to be part of the solution; certainly not soon enough to help us avoid high-risk climate change. But they're also a small fringe minority. We don't need everyone to be on board, just enough to create the necessary support behind climate solutions. Pandering to ABC concern troll contrarians is wasted time that would be better spent communicating climate change risks to truly open minded skeptical people. Elevating contrarians with false praise for accepting that the moon isn't made of cheese certainly isn't going to help solve the problem."