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.

Warm Sun Today (mid 90s by midweek; latest on "Debby" and Duluth's super-flood)

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Bears Updated: June 24, 2012 - 12:22 AM

78 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

81 F. average high for June 23.

63 F. high on June 23, 2011

Trace of rain fell at KMSP Saturday.

 

Mid 90s likely Wednesday and Thursday in the metro area.

7 days at or above 90 F. so far this year in the Twin Cities.

14 days of 90+ heat during an average summer (whatever that is).

20+ days above 90 F. My prediction for the number of 90-degree days this year. I hope I'm wrong.

 

Tropical Storm Debby: nearly stationary in the Gulf of Mexico, packing 50 mph. winds - most models bring Debby into Texas by Wednesday. The circulation is still disorganized, no hint of an eye, at least not yet. Enhanced IR loop courtesy of intellicast.com. Details below.

 

Back To The 50s. If you love cars you'll want to check out the MSRA "Back to the 50s" Show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Over 12,000 street rods, customs and classic cars will be there. Details here.

 

River's Edge Music Festival. Music lovers will be loitering on Harriet Island this weekend. Dave Matthews plays tomorrow, but there are scores of bands, one of the biggest concerts to ever hit the Twin Cities music scene. Details here. Just seeing a list of the bands playing today and tomorrow is enough to make you smile:

Today, June 24: Dave Matthews Band
The Flaming Lips · Puscifer · Polica · AWOLNATION · Diplo · MuteMath · Delta Spirit · K.Flay · AM & Shawn Lee · Mexican Institute of Sound · Civil Twilight · Hey Rosetta! · Kids These Days · Yuna

 

A Fine Summer Day. Expect a brisk north/northeast breeze (10-20 mph), sunshine most of the day with highs in the low to mid 80s.

 

Midweek Heat. Enjoy our relatively comfortable weather today and Monday, because we heat up above 90 by Wednesday - I wouldn't be surprised to see mid-90s Wednesday and Thursday, with some slight relief by Saturday; more 90s next Sunday and Monday. I'm feeling better about my forecast of 20+ days above 90 this year. Graphic above shows ECMWF (European) data in Celsius.

 

$50 million in damage to Duluth's infrastructure, according to Mayor Ness. Total damage toll may far exceed $100 million.

10% of Duluth's roads and utility infrastructure damaged by Wednesday's historic flooding. 100+ roads still closed.

Photo credit above: "Lake Superior was filled with mud from flood runoff looking east from Duluth toward Wisconsin, Thursday, June 21, 2012." (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

 

Cost Of Minnesota Flood Estimated At $100 Million. Details from The New York Times: "The waters in Duluth are receding, but the damage is done: the northeastern Minnesota city estimates more than $100 million will be required to repair utilities, streets, parks and trails in the city and surrounding county of St. Louis, said Pakou Ly, a spokeswoman for Duluth. The State Department of Transportation estimates its roads have sustained $20 million worth of damage."

Photo credit above: "Highway 23 was still a waterfall Friday, June 22, 2012 in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth." Photo courtesy of Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune.

 

The Extra-Wide Mississippi. I snapped this photo Saturday morning, on Highway 4 just northeast of Brainerd. It's hard to tell from this perspective, but water levels were higher than anything I've ever witnessed.

 

Close To A Record. As of 7 pm Saturday the Mississippi at Brainerd was less than 1/2" below the all-time record level of 16.7 feet, set on April 30, 2001. Graphic: NOAA.

 

8.83" rain soaked Cannon Falls on June 14, a new state rainfall record. 15.11" rain so far this month at Cannon Falls, "only the 4th time in Minnesota's climate history that an observer has reported 15 or more inches for June." Source: WeatherTalk blog.

7.41" rain fell on Island Lake (St. Louis County) on June 20, the second state rainfall record so far in June. Source: Dr. Mark Seeley.

Photo credit above: "Residents of Cannon Falls, Minn. survey the damage to Minnieska Park and a swollen Cannon River in Cannon, Minn. Friday morning June 15, 2012 following over night rains that dumped over 8 inches of rain on the area causing many area rivers to overflow their banks." (AP Photo/The Rochester Post-Bulletin, Jerry Olson)

 

450 cooling centers opened up in the New York City area to deal with the impact of extreme heat. Details below from Climate Central.

102 F. high in Denver, Colorado Friday, a record high for June 22.

Photo credit above: "Youths cool down with an opened fire hydrant in New York, June 21, 2012. Record-high temperatures marked the second day of summer in the city." (Angel Franco/The New York Times)

 

Minnesota Flood: "We Feel Overwhelmed". It will take many months for any semblance of normalcy to return to the North Woods of Minnesota. The Morris Daily Herald has more details: "As residents here filled dumpsters with ruined possessions Thursday and state officials surveyed gaping sinkholes and an estimated $100 million in damage from historic flooding, water suddenly rose farther south, forcing more evacuations. In Moose Lake, about 40 miles south of Duluth, city officials declared a state of emergency as water encroached and surrounded the town. Well into the evening, residents desperately sandbagged trying to hold back rising water. Some won. Some didn’t."

Photo credit above: "The small town of Brookston, northwest of Cloquet, Minnesota was feeling the heat of the rising St. Louis River Thursday morning, June 21, 2012." (Photo by Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

 

Worst Ever Duluth, Minnesota Flood Causes $80 Million In Damage. More head-shaking details from Reuters; here's an excerpt: "Duluth officials on Thursday estimated damage at up to $80 million just to the city's public infrastructure from the flood that swamped the northeast Minnesota city and nearby communities this week. The flooding, which left huge sinkholes and ripped up dozens of roads, also forced hundreds of people from their homes and killed several zoo animals. Mayor Don Ness said the flood was the worst in the history of the Lake Superior port city, surpassing a 1972 flood both in damage and rainfall, and he estimated the damage to public infrastructure at $50 to $80 million dollars."

 

Flash Flooding Wreaks Havoc In Duluth, Minnesota. More details from Climate Central: "After 18 hours of rain, the most rain the city of Duluth, Minn., has seen at once in nearly 150 years, flash floods wreaked havoc on the city on Wednesday. The floods followed 10 inches of rain and were more severe than any floods that have occurred there in the past 100 years, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Creeks became raging rivers and the rushing waters ripped apart city streets and created sinkholes. Two hundred and fifty people were evacuated from the Fond du Lac neighborhood, which is the lowest of the neighborhoods in Duluth. The mayor of Duluth, Don Ness, told the Associated Press that “Fortunately . . . it’s a relatively small number of households that are being evacuated . . . most homes in Duluth are farther up the hill.”

Photo credit above: "A submerged mail box is the only sign of the driveway for this flooded home on Lakeshore Drive in Moose Lake, Minn., Thursday, June 21, 2012. The waters of the Moose Horn river overflowed in to parts of Moose Lake after record rainfall hit the area." (AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune, Clint Austin)

 

Duluth Flood: A Historical Perspective. Dr. Mark Seeley takes a look at previous floods across northern Minnesota, trying to put 10"+ amounts into some sort of long-term historical perspective. Here's an excerpt of his latest post at WeatherTalk: "The climate record from Duluth shows very few stormy periods that are analogous to what happened there this week. Arguments can be made that thunderstorms on September 5-6, 1876 (6.48 inches); July 20-22, 1909 (7.83 inches), and August 15-21 (7.91 inches) might be comparable, but of course the Duluth neighborhoods and landscape in general were vastly different in those times. It is expected that damage to infrastructure in Duluth will be considerable this time around, perhaps approaching or exceeding $100 million, compounded by a prolonged recovery and reconstruction period."

Photo credit above: "RVs in the Moose Lake, Minn., city park and RV campground are stranded in water overflow from the nearby Moosehead Lake on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Damage assessment teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected to be in the area next week to start tallying the damage to public infrastructure in 14 counties and one Indian reservation." (AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune, Bob King)

 

Was Climate Change A Factor? The question keeps coming up - people want to know if a warmer atmosphere somehow contributed to the mega-flood that may ultimately cost Minnesota well over $100 million. My answer, after teeing this up with climate scientists I trust, is yes. People who say "you can't link any one event with climate change" are missing the point. Climate and weather are now hopelessly intertwined, linked - flip sides of the same coin. It's basic physics: a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. If there's more water floating overhead you increase the potential for these extreme rainfall events. You may argue over how much is "natural" vs. man-made, but there's no debating the fact that Minnesota is a warmer place than it was 30-40 years ago.

A warmer atmosphere is now flavoring all weather events, making winter snows more sporadic, reducing the number of subzero lows, keeping ice on area lakes for fewer days, and increasing summer dew points and humidity levels, doubling the number of 3"+ downpours since 1961, according to a new study that came out in May. This warmer "background hum" is our new reality. It will continue to manifest itself in strange, and (at times) violent ways in the years to come. The truth: the rain isn't falling as gently as it did for our grandparents. This trend will ultimately impact everything from how we build our roads and homes to agriculture; engineering new strains of crops that are more resistant to downpours and (increasing) bouts of drought. The weather models we use are having a tough time keeping up with this brave new Weather 2.0 environment - the maps are crazy: just two months ago most of Minnesota was in an extreme drought - now we're faced with one of the wettest Junes in Minnesota state history. Just when you think you've seen it all...

Photo credit above: "The Lester River flows through a gash it created in Jean Duluth Road north of Duluth, Minn., Thursday morning, June 21, 2012. City, county and state officials spent Thursday assessing damage, while areas farther south continued to fight rising floodwaters. The town of Moose Lake was being described as "an island." (AP Photo/The News-Tribune, Bob King)

 

 

Victor - I see your point. There's no question Duluth just saw a historically significant rainfall. I referred to it as a 1-in-100 year flood. I'm not sure we have enough data to say it's "unprecedented", but I agree that 10" rain for the North Woods is incredibly unusual, off-the-scale weird. As I wrote (above) climate change was a undoubtedly a factor in turbocharging rainfall amounts, so this may very well have been the most rain to ever fall on the Duluth area from one storm. Accurate data goes back to the mid-1800s, before that we really don't have a clue about specific extreme rainfall events. The more I look at the storm aftermath - the more I'm willing to adjust my point of view and admit that, yes, last week's flooding probably was unprecedented.

 

What Drought? It's amazing how far we've come since late March, when 96% of Minnesota was in a moderate drought, 24% of the state in severe drought. Now only a small portion of the Red River Valley is in a moderate drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.

 

 

Why Weathermen Drink. This "spaghetti plot" shows various model predictions, showing the future track of Debby. Pretty obvious, huh? Good grief. Some models bring Debby into the Florida Panhandle by tonight, but the majority suggest a westward track, toward Texas by midweek. Steering winds over the Gulf of Mexico are very light, which favors continued strengthening, but makes predicting the ultimate track more problematic than usual. All residents living along the Gulf Coast should stay alert.

 

Place Your Bets. Here's a wider perspective, showing multiple model predictions. Map courtesy of sfwmd.gov.

 

Debby: Destined To Remain A Tropical Storm? Only one model strengthens Debby to hurricane force before landfall - odds favor Debby will come ashore as a tropical storm. Source here.

 

84-Hour NAM Outlook. NOAA's latest model run shows a (weakened) "Debby" hitting coastal Texas as a weak tropical storm after soaking much of Florida with flooding rains; unusually cool weather grips the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest - more 90-degree heat building over the nation's midsection into midweek.

 

Florida Soaking. The tropical disturbance strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to dump 3-10" of rain on Florida through the weekend, the best chance of 10" over Florida's Emerald Coast (panhandle. Map: NOAA HPC.

 

Summer Comes In With A Bang Setting Heat Records. Here is a partial list of record-setting heat records in the Northeast, along with some resources to try to put this into perspective, courtesy of Climate Central: "...Climate studies show that, likely in part because of global warming, there are now many more record highs being set in the U.S. each year compared to record lows. In 2011, the ratio was about three warm temperature records to every cold temperature record. To track record temperatures in your region, take a look at our Record Temperature Tracker. You can also see how much your state has warmed over the past 100 years by looking at our “Heat Is On” Interactive map."

Photo credit above: Climate Central and flickr/afagen

 

40 Years Lager, Agnes' Wrath Touches Off Flood Of Memories. It was only a tropical storm, but "Agnes" stalled over Pennsylvania, doing a big loop over the state, prolonging tropical rains. The storm flooded out our basement ( still have vivid memories of swimming in 5 feet of cold, muddy water, in my underwear [TMI] sorry) - and ultimately "Agnes" got me interested in a career meteorology. Here is a recap of the storm that triggered Pennsylvania's worst floods on record from Lancaster Online: "Forty years ago the "A" storm of the hurricane season arrived here on June 22. It was a relatively weak one when it first made landfall in Florida. But as Hurricane Agnes started to make its way up the east coast and converged with another low pressure system over Pennsylvania, it reached its full intensity and became the costliest natural disaster in the United States at that time. The damage and death toll was the highest in Pennsylvania, with about 50 deaths and $2.3 billion in losses. "We haven't had an event that can match Agnes," Eric Horst, director of the Weather Information Center at Millersville University, said."

Photo credit above: "Agnes floodwaters collapsed the Engleside Bridge, south of the city, into the raging Conestoga River." (Lancaster Newspapers)


 

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

Subject: Maybe it is rocket science

Paul,

"Read your column today and I feel for you. For the last few months I have been working my way through a DVD course on meteorology (taught by Prof. Robert Fovell, if that means anything to you). I have gotten through 16 lectures and still haven't got to storms. Nonetheless, I no longer wonder why you guys don't always get it right. Instead, I wonder why you even try."

Steve Thompson.

 

Steve- thanks for the chuckle. You're right - some days I wonder why I set myself up for problems and recriminations. Trying to time summer T-storms is problematic. We know when the atmosphere is ripe for convective showers, but trying to predict exactly when and where a 5-mile-wide, 30-45 minute T-storm will pop in this tropical stew? Good luck. Instability storms are most likely to sprout around the dinner hour, between 4-7 pm, right after the high temperature for the day, when the air floating overhead is most unstable and irritable. But warm frontal storms often flare up late at night, blossoming after dark along vague, shifting boundaries. That's what happened in Duluth last Tuesday and Wednesday; storms repeatedly formed along a temporarily stalled warm frontal boundary. One storm would fizzle, another would take it's place, a veritable conga-line of storms.

If it was just a matter of moving a storm or front from Point A to Point B the process would be straightforward and somewhat trivial. That's what many people assume. "Paul, it's raining in North Dakota today, it'll reach Minnesota tomorrow!" Duh. It's not that easy. Storms pop (literally) out of thin air; they mutate as they move along. Trying to predict which storm cells will grow and intensify, and which storms will fizzle and die, is a science within a science.

Most days we're like frazzled weather-doctors, looking at symptoms, trying our best to come up with a real-time meteorological diagnosis on the fly. Out of 100 storms on Doppler maybe 3-5 will mutate and become severe. These storms often give off tell-tale signs (sudden spike in lightning strikes, large hail, "right turners"). These are the storms that may cause damage and injury, so we focus on these. But most people just want to know "what time will it rain at MY HOUSE?? The analogy is looking at a traffic map on Google and trying to time precisely what time you'll walk in the door at home. You can get close, but there are thousands of variables, timing traffic lights, new traffic entering the pattern, etc - that ultimately impact your commute time. A few new NOAA weather models show promise (my favorite is the HRRR model, which goes out 12 hours). Most summer days we can give a 3-6 hour lead time, but if storms mushroom suddenly along a dormant frontal boundary we're often caught with our Dopplers down. That's what happened last Sunday (Father's Day). Long explanation - sorry. Thanks for the note, and for recognizing how difficult the forecast process is, especially during the summer months.

 

Photo Of The Day. Here is an awesome display of cumulonimbus, courtesy of Brad Birkholz. Details: "A look at a cumulonimbus thunder shower that passed over Neenah, WI. Friday afternoon as seen from Kimberly Point Park."

 

What The Heck Is This? I'm no entomologist - and I haven't a clue what this thing is that landed on the steps of my cabin. Any educated guesses out there?

 

 

"Shaka" Turns Your iPhone Into A Wind-Speed-Measuring Machine. Yes, every weather geek (um...enthusiast) should have at least one. More from gizmag.com: "If you’re into activities such as windsurfing, sailing or kite-flying, then you’re going to want to know where and how hard the wind is blowing. While weather reports may give average wind speeds for your city as a whole, they’re usually not very specific. That’s where Shaka comes in. It’s a tiny wind meter that works with your iPhone. Shaka plugs into the phone’s headphone jack. Once it’s held into the wind and its blades start spinning, a paired app displays data such as wind speed, direction and temperature, in real time."

 

Sudden Urge For Mexican Food. O.K. For the record, it's the "Fujita Scale". Close enough. Thanks to failblog.org.

 

Enough Said. Thanks to all the modern-day American heroes still serving overseas - you're very much in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Works For Me. Over the years viewers have sent me a wide assortment of "weather rocks". Hey, they work!

 

Spotty Showers. We salvaged an OK-Saturday, patchy clouds giving way to some PM sun, enough for highs in the upper 70s and low 80s. Duluth picked up another .22" of unwelcome rain. Highs ranged from 71 at Duluth to 78 Twin Cities, 80 St. Cloud and 82 at Redwood Falls.
 

 

 

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


TODAY: Warm sun, breezy and pleasant. Dew point: 62. Winds: NE 10-20. High: 85

 

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and cooler. Low: 58

 

MONDAY: Sunny, most comfortable day of the week. Dew point: 47. High: 79


TUESDAY: Warm sun. Dew point: 56. Low: 62. High: 84


WEDNESDAY: Hot, steamy sun. Dew point: 63. Low: 72. High: 93


THURSDAY: Sunny - oppressive heat. Dew point: 68. Low: 73. High: 95


FRIDAY: Slight relief. Some sun. Dew point: 63. Low: 70. High: 91


SATURDAY: Sunny, more comfortable. Dew point: 60. Low: 67. High: 86

 

Big Bug Alert

Why can't we train all those nasty (flying) Asian Carp to devour mosquitoes? June monsoon season has brought a bumper crop of mosquitoes and biting flies. Quality cabin-time has degenerated into a shouting slap-fest. Not good.

We shouldn't be surprised: a hurricane's worth of rain soaked the Northland last week, a summer's worth of moisture in less than 36 hours. One inch of rain falling on 1 square mile works out to 17.4 million gallons of water. Assuming 500 square miles picked up at least 5 inches of rain, a very conservative estimate, that equates to 43 billion gallons of water from Cloquet and Moose Lake to Two Harbors. An incomprehensible amount of water.

A lack of deep topsoil (rocky terrain) meant little of that rain could soak in - it quickly ran off into streams, creating a muddy stain on Lake Superior visible from space.

Tropical Storm Debby soaks Florida with 4-8" rain before turning westward, possibly hitting Texas as a hurricane by Wednesday.

We enjoy a (rare) dry spell. The big story this week: the heat. Mid 90s return by midweek. Get ready for a Stinking Hot Summer.

Already: 7 days of 90s. An average summer brings 14. This summer? Predicting 20+.

Ugh.

 

 

Climate Stories...

 

Here Come The Ticks: Is Global Warming Leading To An Increase In Lyme Disease? I'm hearing from a lot of people that the tick population is much higher this year than previous years - maybe the result of our non-existant winter, coupled with recent heavy rains? Not sure, but this article at scienceblogs.com caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Climatologists have been warning us about the ongoing and impending consequences of global warming for years. But the results of climate change affect more than just polar bears and penguins  – if you live anywhere in the northeastern, north-central or west coast states of the U.S.., you could be at a greater risk for contracting Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is an infection of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium that is spread through black legged ticks (otherwise known as deer ticks) who feed on the white footed mouse species, also known as the wood mouse, which carries the bacteria.  The symptoms of the disease itself include fever, headache, fatigue, and a telltale “bulls eye” rash near the site of the tick-bite. Left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to affect the joints (causing arthritis), heart, and nervous system – often causing irritability and mood swings." Photo above courtesy of wikipedia.

 

Better Buildings Can Combat Climate Change. Retrofitting older, far less efficient commercial buildings, will be big business in the years ahead; here's an excerpt of a story at canada.com: "As the globe grapples with ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption to mitigate the effect of climate change, much of the attention has focused on automobiles and industry as the culprits. In fact, it may be surprising to know that the single largest contributors to climate change are buildings. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), industry contributes almost 20 per cent of America’s yearly greenhouse gas emissions; the transportation sector is responsible for 33 per cent and buildings emit fully 47 per cent of GHGs."

Photo credit above: B+H BuntingCoady.

 

Global Carbon Emissions Rise Is Far Bigger Than Previous Estimates. The story from The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by even more than previously thought, according to new data analysed by the Guardian, casting doubt on whether the world can avoid dangerous climate change. The data has emerged as governments met in Rio de Janeiro to finalise the outcome of the Rio+20 conference, aimed at ensuring that economic growth does not come at the expense of irreparable environmental degradation, but which activists say has not achieved enough to stave off severe environmental problems. Global carbon emissions from energy are up 48% on 1992, when the original Earth summit took place in Rio – a historic summit at which governments agreed to limit emissions in order to prevent dangerous climate change."

Photo credit above: "A hazy day in Wuhan, China, the country that has experienced a 240% increase in carbon emissions between 1992 and 2010." Photograph: Darley Shen/Reuters.

 

"This Is Climate Change" Photo Series Show Dramatic Effects Of Global Warming (Photos). Here's an amazing photo slide show highlighting the impacts of a warming world, courtesy of Huffington Post: "Climate change is one of the hottest issues of our time, and nothing helps tell the story like photos. The Del Mar Global Trust, a private charitable foundation with a focus on environmental issues, has started a website called "This Is Climate Change" as part of an awareness-raising initiative. Its focal point is a series of powerful then-and-now photos that documents arctic and antarctic ice melting, mountain pine beetle infestation, and glacial retreat."

Photo credit: USGS.

 

The Most Anti-Environment Congress In History: Here's The Record. From The Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "Global temperatures are rising, violent weather is increasing; chemicals in the air, food supply and water might be leading to soaring rates of allergies, asthma, certain cancers, hormone disruption, male infertility. Forest lands are vanishing at unprecedented rates, vast dead zones are spreading in the world's oceans, we are running out of non-renewable fossil fuels. Everyone knows that we are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis -- right? Wrong. This news seems never to have gotten through to America's Republican legislators. In the face of these huge and escalating threats, the GOP majority over the last year has voted no fewer than 247 times (nearly once a day for every day the House was in session) to weaken environmental protections that have been in place for decades and to defeat needed legislation."

 

The joys and perils of air conditioning....

 

We've Forgotten Natural Cooling. Air conditioning is a). expensive, and b). an energy sink that ultimately pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Here's an excerpt of an interesting Op-Ed at The New York Times: "Air-conditioning is a 20th century idea. Our early ancestors avoided the heat by retreating into the cave or the shade of a tree, and engaging in strenuous activity only during the cooler or breezier part of the day. Early vernacular buildings developed using these universal principals, carefully orienting and shading buildings so that they gained heat in winter and were shady in summer, introducing thermal mass in dry climates, and in more humid ones using cross ventilation, porches, shutters, ceiling fans, solar chimneys and insulation."

 

Crucial To Modern Life. Another perspective in this Op-Ed at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "Air-conditioning is a necessary luxury. For thousands of years before the invention of air-conditioning in 1902, humans survived high heat and humidity by constructing protective shelters and limiting their activity during the hottest times of the year. Air-conditioning puts us in control of our comfort and frees us from the discomfort, risk and uncertainty of the weather. The availability of air-conditioning allows architects to consider building geometries that were not possible when it was critical that everyone be seated near a window. This allows larger floor plates that encourage collaboration and permit the high densities of our modern cities."

 

Study: Southern California Could See Record Scorchers. The article from Silicon Valley's mercurynews.com; here's an excerpt: "The study was commissioned by the city and conducted by UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. It downscaled global climate change computer models to the local region, breaking down predictions to 1.2-mile segments, and is 2,500 times more precise than previous climate models for the region, researchers said. They said dense urban areas such as downtown Los Angeles probably will warm an average of 4 degrees, with a warming range of up to 6 degrees in the Mojave Desert. The number of days where the temperature tops 95 degrees could triple in downtown Los Angeles and jump five-fold in the deserts, according to the study, while the hottest days could be record-breakers."

 

Climate Change Clues Found In Remote Siberian Lake. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at Kansas City Infozine: "Intense warm climate intervals--warmer than scientists thought possible--have occurred in the Arctic over the past 2.8 million years. That result comes from the first analyses of the longest sediment cores ever retrieved on land. They were obtained from beneath remote, ice-covered Lake El'gygytgyn (pronounced El'gee-git-gin) ("Lake E") in the northeastern Russian Arctic. The journal Science published the findings this week. They show that the extreme warm periods in the Arctic correspond closely with times when parts of Antarctica were also ice-free and warm, suggesting a strong connection between Northern and Southern Hemisphere climate." Image above: NASA.

 

Tackling Global Warming In 21 Easy Steps. Ezra Klein takes a look at what the global community can do (collectively) to prevent a 2 C warming in the coming years; here's an excerpt from his story at The Washington Post: "...What are these policies? To some extent, they’re things that people are already doing. Many of the 1,000 largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world have already pledged to reduce their emissions through money-saving efficiency measures. If an organization like the World Business Council could somehow lead just 30 percent of these companies to cut their energy emissions 10 percent by 2020, that would add a significant chunk of the needed cuts. Another chunk of cuts could come from companies like Wal-Mart that have pledged to “clean up” their supply chains. Likewise, the world could get more emissions chunks if all of the hundreds of cities that have pledged to cut emissions around the world actually followed through on their promises."

Graph credit above: Blok et al. "Bridging the greenhouse-gas emissions gap" Washington Post.

 

Commentary: Climate Change Isn't Fictional. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Appleton's Post Crescent: "Is it just me, or has it been a little warm around here lately? Or warmer earlier? The early and unusually mild spring here in Wisconsin may be nature’s way of reminding us that the clock is ticking on climate change and we need to take action before it’s too late.While stationed in Kangerlussuac, Greenland, 50 years ago, I noted my airbase was 4 miles west of the Russell Glacier grinding down from the ice cap. Looking at today’s satellite images, this glacier has retreated to the east toward the ice cap, easily noted from the satellite. The retreat averages 1,000 feet per year, producing a torrent of melt water that flows down the fjord and to the sea."

 

Going Green. Here's an excerpt from an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "Back in 1987, when we set up our consulting company called SustainAbility, no one knew the word. For years we had to spell out the name. Today, according to a 2010 Accenture survey of 766 chief executives worldwide, 93 percent see sustainability as important for the future of their businesses, 88 percent accept that they must drive new requirements through their supply chains, and an astonishing 81 percent say they have already integrated sustainability into their businesses."

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