Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Welcome to Spring! (no kidding...14 records @MSP...3rd earliest ice-out for 'Tonka?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: March 20, 2012 - 10:19 AM

*79 F. new record high Monday, breaking the old record of 72 in 1910.

* 63 F. low temperature Monday morning, smashing the old record (48 in 1910) by 15 degrees.

43 F. average high for March 19.

25 F. average low temperature for March 19. Hey, what's 30-40 degrees among friends?

50 F. high temperature one year ago, on March 19, 2011.

 

14 new daily records for the metro area since March 10.

+13.7 F. Temperatures for the first 18 days of March are running nearly 14 F. warmer than average. I still have a strong hunch this will wind up being the warmest March in modern-day history for the Twin Cities.

 

.58" rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport Monday evening.

 

Welcome Vernal Equinox! Spring arrived (officially) shortly after midnight as the sun's rays passed over the equator. Today the sun is as high in the sky as it was on September 21. Come to think of it, we had an early spring this year. Graphic: Office of Naval Research.

 

3rd Earliest Ice-Out On Lake Minnetonka? It's not official, but I can find only 2 years with an earlier ice-out date: 2000 and 1878. More details from the Freshwater Society below.

 

"The seasons are what a symphony ough to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other." - Arthur Rubenstein

 

First Kayaker On Calhoun? Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer saw his opportunity to grab top honor (among kayaking enthusiasts, at least). He said there was a little ice when he went out, but after 2 hours of on Lake Calhoun all the ice had melted.

The Records Keep Piling Up. We are rapidly losing track of reality. A normal high of 43 F; a normal low of 25 F? We passed normal a long time ago. I count 14 new daily temperature records for KMSP since March 10. More details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service.

 

Not Much Of A Cool Front. If skies brighten at all the next few days (likely) we should come close to 70. After cooling into the 60s Friday and Saturday we warm back up to near 70 Sunday, maybe mid to upper 70s again Sunday. Our unprecedented, historic warm weather treadmill shows no sign of slowing down. Graphic: Iowa State Meteorology Dept.

 

10 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 14 years. Source NASA. Details below.

Warmest Years Worldwide:

1). 2010

2). 2005

3). 1998

 

"I wrote a few weeks ago about how nice it is to have had a warm winter, and I’m not sad to see the flowers starting to bloom. But I’d also like the local ecosystem to survive intact over the next several decades, and it occurs to me that if winters become significantly warmer, the summers could, too — a pretty unpleasant prospect."  - from a post at Climate Central below.

 

Drumroll Please: First Severe Storm Warnings Of 2012. And to think, just 11 days ago we enjoyed (?) a coating of snow in the Twin Cities. Then we had that odd little temperature spike, earliest 80, earliest 60-degree dewpoint. The surge of warmth and moisture (coupled with sufficient wind shear aloft) was enough to spark some 1-1.5" hail Monday evening. Winds gusted to 50, thousands were without power, with reports of roof damage and a couple of flipped boats (probably straight-line winds) in Le Sueur county, near Elysian. There were unoffical reports of a funnel, but I can't get any confirmation on that - it might have been a "gust-nado" at the leading edge of straight-line winds from a bow echo.

 

Mostly Minor Wind Damage Far South Metro. Here is a preliminary list of some of the wind damage reports, mostly Le Sueur county. More details from NOAA here.

 

Early Ice-Outs On Lake Minnetonka. I took the photo above at about 2 pm yesterday at Gray's Bay, on Lake Minnetonka. There was still a little ice in some of the (northern) bays, but ice was off the main lower and upper lakes.

1878: March 11

2000: March 18

2012: March 19 ??

* data courtesy of the Freshwater Society. Details below.

 

Historic Ice-Out Dates On Lake Minnetonka. The Freshwater Society has done a terrific job tracking the annual ice-out dates on Lake Minnetonka. How is ice-out calculated? "On Lake Minnetonka, the ice is designated as “out” when it is possible to travel by small boat from any one shore to another shore through any passage on the lake. Ice-out dates have been determined using this method since 1968. Previous methods include: when the ice was 50% gone, when a boat could circle Big Island, when a boat could travel between Wayzata and Excelsior, when a car fell through the ice, and by visual observations from a number of lake locations. Send information regarding unknown dates to: Richard Gray, Freshwater Society."

* pdf above courtesy of the Freshwater Society.

** The earliest recorded ice-out, measured by noted naturalist Dr. Thomas Roberts, was March 11, 1878, and the latest recorded date was May 8, 1856. Source: The Freshwater Society.

 

No Cold Fronts Anytime Soon. The record early heat (and humidity) is awe-inspiring, but what I can't get over is this: usually the atmosphere "auto-corrects": periods of unusual warmth are usually followed by cold spells as the sky floating overhead attempts to regain some sense of equilibrium. Not this month. I keep waiting for a real cold front to come screaming south of the border, but we may have wait a little longer (October?) This spring we have 2 speeds: warm and hot. The 6-10 Day Extended Outlook from NOAA's CPC is courtesy of Ham Weather.

 

Strange But True: "The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota Sunday was warmer than their record high!" Weather nugget courtesy of Brent Butler and Jason Parkin. Remarkable. Graphic above: twitpic.com.

 

"It Don't Mean A Thing, That First Day Of Spring". Here's a post from Climate Central about how changes in nature track with meteorological observations and trends as the seasons continue to shift: "Not anymore, though: over the past several decades, spring weather has been coming steadily earlier on average, and that affects more than when we start going on picnics. All sorts of biological processes are triggered by warmer weather — not just flowering, but animal migration and giving birth and the shedding of winter coats and the emergence from cocoons and much more. This annual timing (which also applies to leaf fall and return migrations and more in the autumn) is broadly known as phenology (not to be confused, Wikipedia warns us, with phrenology).  As the planet has warmed, many of these spring events have been creeping gradually earlier, a direct result of global warming. The changes don’t happen at the same rate for all species, though. Here’s what Jake Weltzin, director of the USA National Phenology Network said in a live online chat on the topic last week."

 

Superlatives From The Chicago National Weather Service. No, we're not the only ones gawking at the weather maps with a mix of awe, euphoria and...some level of trepidation? (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL

627 PM CDT MON MAR 19 2012 /727 PM EDT MON MAR 19 2012/

...HISTORIC AND UNPRECEDENTED MARCH WARMTH CONTINUES...

IN CHICAGO...THIS WAS THE 2ND CONSECUTIVE 80 DEGREE DAY BREAKING THE

PREVIOUS RECORD EARLIEST RECORDED BACK TO BACK 80 DEGREE DAYS.

THE PREVIOUS EARLIEST BACK TO BACK 80 DEGREE DAYS ON RECORD IN

CHICAGO WAS APRIL 1ST AND 2ND 2010.

CHICAGO TIED THEIR RECORD FOR MOST NUMBER OF 80 DEGREE DAYS IN MARCH

AT 2...WITH THE ONLY OTHER MARCH 1986 THE ONLY OTHER YEAR WITH 2 80

DEGREE DAYS IN THE MONTH OF MARCH.

 

Unsettled And Showery Into Thursday Night. Almost .70" rain fell Monday evening, another quarter to half inch of rain may fall from showery rains the next 3+ days, followed by slow clearing Saturday, and a dry, sunny, 70-degree Sunday.

 

Extended Outlook: Mild (Not Hot). The GFS keeps vacillating back and forth, the 12z run is a bit cooler, the 00z run is warmer. All the models suggest 60s, even a few 70s in late March and early April. I wouldn't be surprised to see a day or two in the 50s, but that's about as cool as it gets anytime soon.

 

Natural Disasters In The USA; 1980-2010. Graphic courtesy of Munich Re. From a Huffington Post story below on freakish weather as a possible symptom of a much larger malady: "What's interesting is that while categories of loss not related to the climate have stayed relatively constant, categories related to the climate have quadrupled in the last 30 years."

 

USA National Phenology Network. If you love nature and want to become part of something (big) consider joining usanpn.org, and sharing your records of wildlife and plantlife with a nationwide network of nature enthusiasts. It's a good way to keep track of trends, seasons, and the shifting patterns we're seeing in the data: "The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone."

 

The Downside Of A Balmy Winter? Long Walks With The Dog Aren't Carefree. Yes, the ticks (and mosquitoes) are out early this year; details from The New York Times: "Alas, for poor Beau, a bichon frisé who suffered a nasty tick bite in February, the balmy winter weather also appears to have encouraged legions of ticks to abandon their typically sedentary winter habit of lounging docilely under snow drifts, in favor of feasting heartily on a late-winter canine blood meal. “The vet said the tick didn’t settle down until he found a juicy spot on Beau’s neck,” said Mrs. Kowalczyk, 74. “I was horrified,” she added. “It wasn’t like we were walking in the forest. We were on the sidewalk, in my neighborhood.” While entomologists say that the mild weather in much of the country this winter is unlikely to spawn a tick population explosion this spring and summer, they suggest that just like humans and dogs, the pesky critters appear to be enjoying the great outdoors a month or two earlier this year." AP Photo/David J. Phillip).

 

North Platte, Nebraska Damage Trail From The Air. Photo courtesy of Leslie Young-Fries and meteorologist Dean Wysocki.

 

Freak Hailstorm. Marble to golfball size hail covered the ground in Circleville, Ohio Sunday. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Gargiulo.

 

 
A Moment Of Silence For Our Weather-Weary Friends In Arizona. Hey, we get enough grief (yearround) for living in Minnesota - it isn't often that we get to gloat. Weekend temperatures were nearly 30 degrees warmer in the Twin Cities than Scottsdale or even San Diego and Palm Springs. Jill Rackle from Phoenix sent in these photos of her kids playing in the hail.

 

Arizona: Hail And High Water. While much of the nation has enjoyed historic levels of March warmth, residents of the southwest have been plagued by rain, snow, wind, and graupel? Here's a photo from the town of Arturo Codina; details from the Phoenix office of the National Weather Service: "Graupel? accumulation from the 2nd hail storm earlier this afternoon (~3:30pm) in SE Gilbert. Hail was 1/4″ and the storm lasted about 10-15 minutes. The first storm also lasted about 10-15 minutes but did not accumulate as much."

 

From The Kettle Into The Frying Pan? La Nina May Turn To El Nino. Great. We're coming out of a La Nina (ENSO cooling phase of the Pacific), and temperatures are +20 to +40 F. I hesitate to contemplate a winter with El Nino, a warm phase that has a pretty strong correlation with milder winters for Minnesota and the Midwest. We'll see, but if you'd like more information on this phase shift in the Pacific (have a few hours?) check out "ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status And Predictions." A little light reading from NOAA's CPC, Climate Prediction Center.

 

10 Deadly Sins Of TV Severe Weather Coverage. I have to say I agree with most of these - thanks to TV meteorologist James Spann for posting these at alabamawx.com: "Let me say up front we are far from perfect here, and have much to learn when it comes to long form severe weather coverage. But, on the other hand, we have been doing it for a long time, and we have learned things. I present my list of ten “deadly sins” when it comes to TV weather coverage.

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed.

10. Not knowing the geography of your market. When you tell someone a tornado is 14 miles southwest of Anytown, U.S.A… they generally have no idea what that means. But, if you can tell people a tornado is near a barbeque joint, restaurant, shopping center, a truck stop, or even a place like a big barn or a farm in a rural area, they get it. I am stunned by many TV meteorologists that have zero knowledge of their market outside the big cities. Here is an idea… get out and speak to school kids every day. And, don’t always drive on the Interstate highways. Take the roads less traveled…. where people actually live. Remember what you see… and use that knowledge next time you are working severe weather coverage. If you really do this job right, you will work long hard hours without much sleep. But, the rewards are worth it."

 

"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A.

"Throughout history has there been reported warm temps this nearly and then a snowfall?"

Thanks,

Jason Korstad

Excellent question Jason. I did a little preliminary digging. Although we just set a record for the earliest 80 in Twin Cities history, I went back and looked at the other years we had an 80 later in March to see how much snow followed:

Date                 Temperature                    Additional Snow Through May 1

March 23, 1910   83 F.                                                     4.9"

March 26, 2007:  81 F.                                                     1.9"

March 29, 1986:  83 F.                                                       .4"

March 30, 1968   83 F.                                                       .4"

The conclusion I drew from this (which may be overly-simplistic) is that after a spell of unusually early 80s it's pretty rare to get significant snow. I can only imagine how bummed people were in 1910 to get nearly 5" snow after being teased with 83 on March 23. Ugh.

___________________________________________________________________

Hi Paul -

I have a suggestion for you.  On your blog, please talk about the best weather apps available for iPhones.  One of the the articles you link to today references IMap Weather Radio App. The downside of this app is it costs $10.  There are so many weather apps out there, which are the best?  I'm looking for an app that will warn when severe weather is coming.  I'd want the app to base alerts off my current GPS location and warn when storms are within a certain distance.  I live in Hennepin county so when a warning is issued for Hennepin, it may or may not affect me.  Also, I'd like the alert to be a noise coming from my phone (not an email, not a text, not a buzz), but a loud noise that will awaken me!  Do you have an app recommendation for me?

Thanks!
Becky Hepper

Thanks Becky - see below. For alerts I highly recommend "My-Cast Weather Radar" or "Weather Radio". For high-resolution Doppler RadarScope is still a favorite. iDamage lists breaking storm reports around the USA. Lots of good options out there.

Hi, Paul,

I am a personal friend of Ilene Carpenter, whom you know from weather model supercomputing. I enjoy the blog you write for the StarTribune. 2 topics for you today:

1. Can you recommend a weather radio for home use? The apps for smartphones seem to be too sensitive, i.e. they are difficult to filter for geography and type of alert.

2. I enjoyed the tech gadgets you like on the March 12 blog. Will you be doing one in the future on Apps you like for the iPad, android (google play) and iPhone?

Kind regards,

Janelle Jurek

 

Janelle - the folks at Midland Radio make a solid NOAA Weather Radio. You can spend $15, or as much as $70-80 to get a top of the line system. Make sure you get one with "SAME" technology. Every county in the USA has a number - if  you enter that number into your NOAA Weather Radio you'll only get warnings for your county (so you won't go nuts with the radio going off all the time from storms nearby. Everyone cares about their family, their neighborhood, their county. Spend a little extra and get a NOAA Radio that lets you personalize your warnings. More info below, possibly more than you ever wanted to know:

 

Best Smartphone Weather Warning Apps. Subjective? You bet. Could one of these apps save your life? Absolutely. I've tested a couple hundred weather apps so you don't have to waste your money. Below I have a list of what I consider to be the 3 best, must-have apps for your smartphone. These apps are revolutionizing the way consumers get time-sensitive, potentially life-saving weather warnings. Check below for more details.

 

Minnesota's CampgroundsSitting Ducks. There are thousands of campgrounds across the USA that are vulnerable to severe weather, high winds and tornadoes. Many of these campgrounds don't have:

1). Access to sirens. Yearround and weekend campers/visitors are too far away from a working siren for this to be a viable option.

2). Not enough (concrete/steel) reinforced shelters within a 2-5 minute dash of each campsite. In some cases bathrooms or "comfort stations" can work if a severe storm is approaching, but there's no way to cram hundreds of campers into one bathroom.

3). No NOAA weather radio. This is just asking for trouble, a huge potential legal liability. NOAA Weather Radio is the ONLY device (other than an app on your smartphone) that will wake you up at 2 am if a tornado warning is issued for your county. Weekend campers may not even realize what county they're in - potentially oblivious to dangerous weather moving their way.

 

A Heightened Risk. Is it going to take a major disaster, scores of dead campers, to get some of these campgrounds off the dime to upgrade and reinforce their shelters and warning systems - so the campers they serve know when severe weather is moving in, and have time to protect their families? I hope not, but I fear that's the case. Congress is enacting legislation to insure that every mobile home has a NOAA Weather Radio. They should do the same thing for campgrounds (as well as schools, nursing homes, hospitals and retirement communities). NOAA Weather Radio is a critical safety net, the cheapest life insurance you'll ever buy. (photo above courtesy of voicenews.com).

Here in Minnesota police officers describe a "metro mentality", city residents come north to escape, to get away and enjoy the lakes. They believe (wrongly) that the level of weather and storm preparedness Up North is equivalent to what it is in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee or Des Moines. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Siren coverage is spotty, and many campgrounds haven't spent the money to "storm-proof" their campsites. This is an accident waiting to happen.

Here are a few steps you can take the next time you take the family camping, either at a campground, or roughing it out in the backwoods:

 

1). Take a portable NOAA Weather Radio. The First Alert portable NOAA Weather Radio above costs a whopping $31, and it could save your life .With a little digging you can find portable, hand-held NOAA Weather Radios that should work in rural areas, even the North Woods. Here's a good list of other portable options, thanks to Google. It's true that signal reception can be a problem, but I always camp with a portable NOAA Weather Radio. I may be a weather geek, but I want to live to tell my grandkids about my camping adventures!

2). Situational Awareness. Any good camper can read the sky and (on some level) know if a severe storm is brewing. High humidity, a southeast breeze, building clouds are all tip-offs that storms may be brewing. Wherever you are, hiking, camping, enjoying the outdoors, always have an "escape route" in the back of your mind. Where could you seek shelter if skies turn threatening? Under a rocky overhang, a nearby store or lodge? With a little planning and a Boy Scout "be prepared" mindset you can lower the risk of disaster by thinking and planning ahead.

3). Smartphone apps. This is where the real revolution is taking place in warning technology. There are some terrific apps out there for getting the time-sensitive information you need to stay ahead of the storm. They cost a few bucks, but think of it as another form of life insurance. My company, WeatherNation, offers warning solutions for major corporations, but there are some great options (that aren't in any way related to my business) that can be personalized for the locations you care about, even your real-time GPS location. They're worth every penny:

 

a). RadarScope. Price: $9.99 (and worth every penny). iPhone and iPad compatible. You'll agree the first time it saves your butt. In my humble opinion this is still the best pure-play radar app. It works anywhere in the USA (you can get a data signal - which can be problematic for parts of the western USA away from cell towers). Click on any NWS Doppler site and see high resolution Doppler radar, an animated loop, hail detection, velocity fields (to see if a storm is rotating and capable of generating a tornado), even storm rainfall estimates - great for determining the risk of flash flooding, which can be VERY important if you've just pitched a tent next to a babbling brook, which might be tranformed into a raging, muddy torrent if 6" of rain falls 20 miles up the road. More details from RadarScope:

"RadarScope is a specialized display utility for weather enthusiasts and meteorologists that allows you view NEXRAD Level 3 radar data along with our most requested new feature, Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, and Flash Flood Warnings issued by the National Weather Service. It can display the latest reflectivity, velocity, and other products from any NEXRAD radar site in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico. These aren't smoothed PNG or GIF images, this is real Level 3 radar data rendered in its original radial format for a high level of detail.

This version *now includes* support for Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam!

Whether you are scanning reflectivity for a mesocyclone's tell-tale hook echo, trying to pinpoint the landfall of a hurricane's eye wall, or looking for small features like velocity couplets in the storm relative radial velocity product, only RadarScope gives you the power to view true radial NEXRAD weather radar on your iPhone or iPod touch.

When there are any Tornado Warnings (outlined in RED), Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (YELLOW polygons), or Flash Flood Warnings (GREEN polygons) in effect throughout the US, tap the warning button in the top right corner to browse the list of current warnings, view the details, and even zoom to the selected warning on the map
".

 

PYKL3 For Android. Much of the same functionality of RadarScope can be found in the (new) PYKL3 app "Pickle" for Android phones. Functionality includes:

* NEXRAD Level 3

* Local Storm Reports (LSR)

* SPC Day 1 Outlooks

* SPC Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches

* Summarized Lightning

* NWS Storm Tracks

 

b). My-Cast. Price: $2.99 (no, I don't get a commission). My last company (Digital Cyclone) was sold to Garmin, and they have what I still consider to be the best warning app on the planet. I'm a little biased, yes, but I've tested scores of weather apps and I still think My-Cast Weather Radar, created by Digital Cyclone, is the best overall app for getting storm warnings. You can even set it up to give you "lightning alerts" (if lightning strikes within 20 miles of your location you get an SMS alert, telling you precisely how far away it was, and what direction the strike was). More details:

"The award-winning My-Cast app delivers comprehensive yet intuitive weather information specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Un-cluttered base maps display animated radar, clouds and StormWatch severe weather alerts allowing effortless interpretation of how the weather affects your day. As you check out the current weather, you may see drifting clouds or falling rain as My-Cast's distinctive weather themes come to life. Whether you are interested in weather for today, tomorrow or next week, My-Cast has you covered. When severe weather strikes, My-Cast transmits the latest alerts direct from the National Weather Service.

• Real-time, animated radar
• Weather Map with conditions, temperatures, dew points, wind direction and wind speed overlays
• Animated Visible and Infrared Clouds
• Interactive StormWatch map with National Weather Service alerts
• Complete severe weather warnings, watches, and advisory alert text
• 7-day forecast with high/low temperatures and chance of precipitation
• Hourly forecast with temps, wind speed/direction and chance of precipitation
• Forecast graph including past, present and forecast wind, dew point, temperature, and sky conditions
• Save your favorite and recently viewed locations for anywhere in the U.S.
• Shake for live data refresh
• One-button push for GPS positioning
• No ads!
"

 

c). Weather Radio. Price: $1. This is another app that sends out real-time warnings, only this one follows the SMS warning with a real-time stream from the local NWS office, so you can hear the latest warnings in audio form, providing another welcome level of detail. More details on Weather Radio:

"Listen to over 170 scanner radio stations providing access to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) broadcasts. NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Weather Radio comes with Twitter & Facebook support: tell your friends what station you're listening to, "live", without stopping your audio to invoke an external Twitter or Facebook client! Weather Radio allows users to select from NWR audio streams by State-City, or add your favorite stream."

 

d). Victory Rides. Full disclosure: one of my companies, Ham Weather, created a suite of amazing apps for Polaris, including a very useful app for summer use, especially attractive to motorcycle riders. It's called Victory Rides, and it's free for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android markets. If you're looking for a fair amount of functionality and you don't want to spend any $$ this is one to download. If you're a motorcycle enthusiast it's a no-brainer. Details: "Created by the devoted motorcycle enthusiasts at Victory Motorcycles, Victory Rides is a must-have app for the true American biker. With this app, everything you need for adventures on the open road is only the touch of your finger away.

Included features:
- display your current location
- weather conditions, forecasts and advisories for any location
- find and contact Victory dealers
- local services search with integrated direct dialing, including gas stations, restaurants, and lodging
- save waypoints along your route
- track and save multiple rides
- automatic map caching so maps can still be viewed while on the trail and outside of data coverage areas
- multitasking on iOS4 for route tracking in the background
- share saved routes to Twitter or Facebook
- export route data in GPX or CSV format

 

* all 4 apps are available on iTunes. Some of these may be available for Android and Blackberry as well. It's well worth your time to look into this and download these onto your phone, set up your favorite locations (home, work, cabin, beach, etc) and see how they can give you the information you need to make smarter decisions, and keep your family out of storm-related trouble.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Warming Trend. Thanks to Robert A Konetzki for the information below:

"The average temperature for the last 366 days (3/19/2011 to 3/18/2012) has been 50.17F, which is the warmest annual period observed at the airport. The airport has only experienced 5 days when the average temperature of the previous year was over 50.0F and that was in 1987. The greatest being 50.07 on 12/13/1987. However, Minneapolis experience several months several months in 1931 with an average annual temp over 50F, but that the start of the Dust Bowl."

 

Hope For Minnesota's (Scientific) Future. I had the honor of making a presentation about science and my entreprenurial ride to 500+ incredibly bright science whizzes and their parents last night at the Doubletree Hilton in Bloomington. It was the 75th anniversary of the Minnesota Academy of Science and Engineering Fair. I don't think I've ever been more impressed (and intimidated by) a group of high school and middle school academics in my life! We keep hearing talk about how America's kids aren't doing well in math and science; China, South Korean, and a host of other countries are going to surge past us any minute now. I don't buy it. One 6th grader in the audience was intent on finding a cure for Alzheimers, another wanted to tap Doppler to track greenhouse gases. I left feeling more hopeful than I've been in a long time, for Minnesota, and the United States. I wouldn't bet against our kids - they're going to be cleaning up a lot of our messes and keeping us hyper-competitive. That's my prediction.

 

Op-Ed: It's My Right To Recline My Seat! Ah yes, the joys of air travel. Have you ever had the guy or gal behind you get indignant when you try to recline your (plush/comfortable!) airline seat? An excerpt of a good story from smartertravel.com: "In the travel world, few topics incite more contention and indignation than seatback etiquette—as we learned last week when we published Six Shocking Stories of Travelers Gone Wild, which stirred up a wild debate among our readers. In the piece, an editor from Family Vacation Critic (our sister site) and I both shared stories about other passengers reacting churlishly when we inched our seats backward. "When flying out of Portugal," I wrote, "I reclined my seat and fell asleep. I woke up when the man sitting directly behind me grabbed my arm and shook me, yelling something in Portuguese (of which I know nothing)."

 

Inside The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell Supercar. An electric supercar? Sounds like an oxymoron, but gizmag.com has some pretty tantalizing details: "Can an electric version of one of the world's supercars be a supercar? Mercedes-AMG has answered this question with a resounding yes by announcing the SLS AMG E-Cell that was confirmed for production in Detroit in January will be available in 2013. Its electric powertrain gives the E-Cell a 0-100 km/h (63 mph) time of 4.0 seconds, compared to the SLS AMG's 0-100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds. When it comes to top speed, both cars are electronically limited. The E-Cell can hit 250 km/h (155 mph), while the SLS AMG tops out at 317 km/h (197 mph). While not quite the equal of the gas-powered SLS AMG, the E-Cell is clearly in supercar territory!"

 

One Way To Eat A Cake. On Saturday I was watching CNN, where 'CCO alum and all-around journalistic superstar Randi Kaye was celebrating meteorologist Reynolds Wolf's birthday. They gave him a cake, which he proceeded to chomp down on - utensils optional. They must not feed their employees very well - shudder to think what the company cafeteria looks like. It was good for a chuckle.

 

Another Day - Another Record. The first thing that jumped out at me: no snow on the ground, even at Duluth and International Falls. I guess a high of 72 at Duluth and 78 at INL would make it pretty hard to keep snow around. Highs ranged from 64 at Grand Marais to 78 St. Cloud, 79 Twin Cities and 80 Redwood Falls - all records. Off-the-scale records.

 

Paul' Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

 

TODAY: More clouds than sun. A few showers, T-showers. Winds: SW 10-15. High: near 70

 

TUESDAY NIGHT: Lingering clouds, another shower or two. Low: 58

 

WEDNESDAY: Slightly cooler, more showers. High: 67

 

THURSDAY: Some sun, isolated T-shower? Low: 53. High: 70

 

FRIDAY: Showers north, some sun south - still mild. Low: 58. High: 72

 

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, still mild. Low: 54. High: 68

 

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, pleasant. Low: 52. High: 67

 

MONDAY: Some sun, turning milder. Humid. Low: 55. High: 69

* Highs may top 70 again by Tuesday of next week.

 

 

Weather 2.0

On Saturday International Falls was 4 degrees warmer than Cabo San Lucas. Over the weekend the metro was almost 30 degrees warmer than Scottsdale. Truth: this is "weather", not climate, which is an accumulation of weather over a long period of time.

Weather is "jacket or shorts?" Climate is the ratio of jackets to shorts in your closet. But the timing, intensity and duration of this historic March heat wave is significant. And baffling.

"Paul, wait a second. We're coming out of a La Nina cooling phase. It's supposed to be colder and snowier, right?" True. La Nina is weakening: NOAA now predicts a possible El Nino pattern developing later in 2012.

We've had 70s in March before, but warm spells are almost always followed by cold waves, rain and slush. The atmosphere always tries to "even things out."

But the models show more 60s and 70s from late March into early April. No true cold fronts are brewing, and that's what has me extra-incredulous. No more chocolate & vanilla. Now your only choice is (melted) chocolate.

A slow-moving storm keeps us showery into Friday; .25 to .50" rain. Skies clear over the weekend. You'll have to be content with 70. Man, are we ever spoiled.

 

* map above shows a week's worth of records, up through March 18, courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Total Records: 2280
Rainfall: 266
Snowfall: 40
High Temp: 1192
Low Temp: 8
Low Max Temp: 66
High Min Temp: 708

 

"Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom - and lakes die." - Gil Stern

 

Climate Stories....

 

NASA Confirms: .75 C Warm-up Since 1900. The U.K. Daily Mail has more details: "Updated records of global temperatures stretching back more than 160 years confirm the world has warmed b .75 celsius since 1900, scientists said today. The new version of a Met Office "temperature series" dating back to 1850 adds information from weather stations in Africa and from Canada and Russia, where the Arctic is warming more quickly. The full data behind the study is to be available, to prevent a repeat of the "Climategate" scandal in which scientists were accused of "editing" climate data to suit their theories of global warming. The report comes in the wake of a release from NASA's GRACE gravity-measuring satellite, which shows the "deforming" effect melting ice has had on Earth's gravity."

Photo credit above: "Data from Nasa's twin gravity-sensing Grail satellites was used to asssemble a 3D map of how melting ice has changed the gravity of Earth." Graphic: NASA. Image courtesy of the Daily Mail.

 

Met Office: World Warmed Even More In Last 10 Years Than Previously Thought When Arctic Data Added. The story from the U.K. Telegraph: "The controversial record of climate change, put together by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia, is one of only a handful of global temperature data sets stretching back since the end of the 19th Century. The temperature series was at the centre of the Climategate scandal in 2009, after hacked emails from the University of East Anglia showed scientist were unwilling to release original data. Critics claimed that the whole argument for global warming could not be trusted if the data set was questioned. However a series of inquiries found the science was correct, although the University of East Anglia was criticised for failing to share information."

Photo credit above: "The addition of new data from the Arctic to global temperature series shows the world has warmed even more in the last ten years than previously thought. Photo: REX."

 

Even With Global Warming Reined In, Rising Sea Levels Rise Pose Threat To Future Generations. The story from newjerseynewsroom.com: "Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology. The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand. They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was at its current level, and atmospheric temperatures were 2 degrees C higher than they are now."

 

Cherry Blossoms, Ice Boxes, BMWs And Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story from Huffington Post: "Travelers to Washington, D.C.'s famous National Cherry Blossom Festival may be disappointed this year due to the exceedingly warm climate in the D.C. area and across most of the continental United States, in which late winter temperatures have been running 20 to more than 40 degrees F above normal....... The National Weather Service has now issued a statement that "It is extraordinarily rare for climate locations with 100+ year long periods of records to break records day after day after day... though it is very difficult to precisely quantify just how rare it is because as the period of record grows the likelihood of seeing so many consecutive record-breaking days decreases." It's important to note, though, that despite all this, weather is not climate.  Climate is the statistical average of weather and is determined by broader factors than individual weather incidents -- even extreme ones like this heat wave. So this suggests we should see if we can find more data to show whether or not the current heat wave is a part of natural climate variability."

Photo credit above: "Cherry blossoms at or near peak bloom in Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin, March 18, 2012. Photo: Michael Halpern."

 

As Climate Changes, Louisiana Seeks To Lift A Highway. Sounds expensive. Details from The Washington Post: "GOLDEN MEADOW, La.— Here on the side of Louisiana’s Highway 1, next to Raymond’s Bait Shop, a spindly pole with Global Positioning System equipment and a cellphone stuck on top charts the water’s gradual encroachment on dry land. In 1991 this stretch of road through the marshlands of southern Louisiana was 3.9 feet above sea level, but the instrument — which measures the ground’s position in relation to sea level — shows the land has lost more than a foot against the sea. It sank two inches in the past 16 months alone."

Photo credit above: "Tim Osborn/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association - Rising sea levels near Leeville, La., during the past 100 years have left this 1905 cemetery entirely underwater."

 

Map credit above: "Even according to conservative climate models, rising seas will make the road to Port Fourchon, La., a major artery to Gulf of Mexico refineries, largely unusable by the end of the century. A plan to raise 19 miles of the highway has stalled with 10 miles completed." Sources: Louisiana Department of Transportation, Clean Air-Cool Planet. | Gene Thorp/The Washington Post.

 

The Hockey Stick Under Oath: Michael Mann's 2006 Testimony. Here's an excerpt from Climate Denial Crock Of The Week: "For all the thousands upon thousands of comments, blog posts, tv talking head bloviations, and right wing radio slanders about climate scientist Mike Mann and the famous hockey stick temperature graph that made him famous – the bizarre truth is that almost none of the opining masses have ever actually heard Mann’s calm and imminently rational defense of the study, given under oath in hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in July of 2006. In researching last week’s video that recapped those hearings, I was struck by how clearly and completely Mann stated the defense, in testimony that could have been given last week with minimal need for update."

 

Address Climate Change With Science, Not Opinion Polls. An Op-Ed from The Seattle Times: "SHOULD elected officials and policymakers let public-opinion polls decide our nation's future response to climate change? Indisputably, no. The roller-coaster path of public acceptance on climate change charted by political polls is frustrating to the pragmatists among us. With nearly 98 percent of the world's climate scientists saying climate change already is affecting the natural world, effective action requires the knowledge we gain from focused investigations and sound science — not political polls. We should solicit the views of those not subject to political debates — fish and wildlife. Biologists do that through field investigations on the distribution and abundance of species in habitats that meet their life-cycle requirements."

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