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.

Slight Severe Storm Risk (sweet holiday weekend relief on the way)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 28, 2013 - 10:41 PM

Sweet Holiday Weekend Relief

 

Not sure about you but I'm enjoying my complimentary virtual vacation in Manila. I should be serving towels with this forecast. Five straight days of 90s and jungle-like dew points in the 70s is quite enough, thank you.

"But can't you DO something about this weather?" a teacher asked during a speech yesterday to the Buffalo School District. Short answer: nope. And even if I could I wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers. Nudging storms and fronts to cool it off or make it rain? A sneeze in the breeze - not going to happen anytime soon.

The best chance of T-storms today comes north of the Twin Cities; precious little rain for parched fields over southern Minnesota.

The worst of the suffocating heat is behind us now, but if there's even a glimmer of sun temperatures top 90F into Saturday, the best day to take a dip in your favorite lake.

T-storms late Saturday herald the arrival of sweet relief; Canadian winds drop dew point into the 40s by Labor Day - meaning HALF as much water in the air.

Highs hold in the 70s Sunday and Labor Day, as free A/C pours south of the border. Lows in the 40s late next week? Remind me to never bad-mouth Canada again.

Thank you Manitoba!

 

Thursday Severe Risk. SPC has a slight risk of isolated severe storms today from the Red River Valley to Brainerd, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, into a portion of northwest Wisconsin. Source: NOAA SPC and Ham Weather.

 

4 PM Thursday. Hot, steamy weather lingers over southwest Minnesota today; 90-degree highs pushing into the southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities, but the worst of the heat stretching from Pierre, South Dakota into southern Nebraska. A weak frontal boundary over central Minnesota coupled with an upper air disturbance (cold twist of air aloft) may set the stage for T-storms, a few may be strong to severe. Source: Ham Weather.

 

Temperature And Dew Point Trend - Relief In 3 Days. Here's the ECMWF forecast; sticky heat spilling over into Saturday before a strong Canadian cool front arrives Saturday night. Dew points reach the low to mid 70s today, slight relief by Saturday - 40s by Labor Day. Every 20 degree drop in dew point means HALF as much water in the air. Next week? Much more comfortable, a taste of true September. Graphic: Weatherspark.

 

Slowly Shrinking Heat Bubble. The 84 hour NAM model (2 meter temperatures) shows highs surging well into the 90s over the Plains and Midwest into Saturday, relatively cool, comfortable weather over New England. The strongest cool front in 2 weeks will push southward out of Canada early next week, providing much-needed relief for the northern tier states. Animation: NOAA NCEP and Ham Weather.

 

Two Opportunities For Rain. No more "risk of rain" or "threat of T-storms". It hasn't rained in over 3 weeks, crops, lawns and gardens are drying out, lake water levels are down - we need rain. Models show a chance of showers and T-storms today, again late Saturday out ahead of a significant cool frontal passage. Graphic: Iowa State.

 

Finally, Hints of Autumn. Good news for hot and bothered residents of the Midwest and Upper Mississippi River Valley. Canadian air will push south by Sunday, setting the stage for comfortable weather next week. The east dries out, a few showers with higher humidity levels pushing north toward Yosemite, which may help fire-fighting efforts by Sunday and Monday of next week. 84 hour NAM forecast: NOAA.

 

 

 

Stressed Crops - Paranoid Farmers. Every summer is challenging for farming, between flash floods, hail, heat spikes and the specter of drought. This summer was especially challenging, a very late start to spring planting (it was still snowing in May). Rain fell early in the season, then we had a month of unusually cool weather, followed by a heat spike (and dire lack of rain stretching for over 3 weeks). No wonder the corn and bean crop is showing signs of stress. We take a look at an unusually tough summer for farming in today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at some of the troubles facing framers near the end of the growing season. Snow in May pushed back planting and a lack of rain has some farmers worried."

 

Total Rainfall: August 18-24. Check out how little rain fell over the western two thirds of America and New England last week. Map courtesy of the USDA.

 

USDA Crop Report Analysis. It's been quite a roller coaster ride for farmers in Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest. Here's an excerpt of a good summary of where things stand at cornandsoybeandigest.com: "There has been a lot of uncertainty in many portions of the major corn and soybean producing areas of the United States during the 2013 growing season, which lead to a very highly anticipated Aug. 12 USDA Crop Report. Large areas of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota were severely impacted by very late planting, which lead to a significant amount of prevented planted crop acres. Much of this same region was also negatively impacted by excessive rainfall in May and June, and is now dealing with concerns related to slower than normal crop development, due to very cool temperatures in late July and early August. The USDA Crop Report issued on Aug. 12 estimated the 2013 total U.S. corn production to be 13.8 billion bushels, which would be new corn production record, if realized..."

 

Deep Dive On The Yosemite Wildfire With The Interactive "Rim Fire Perspectives" Map. This is an amazing online tool showing real-time conditions, courtesy of ESRI and Time Magazine; here's a clip of the accompanying story: "...Esri, the company I wrote about on Monday that specializes in geographical information systems, or GIS, just released a new version of its wildfire tracking tool that offers several unique views of the fire, including the specific areas and infrastructure threatened by the fire, a view that illustrates how the fire has grown since it started on August 17 and a comparison angle that shows where fires have burned near Yosemite in the past. As you’ll see if you start clicking around, each layer offers considerably more nuance than the basic public information map. In the default “Critical Points of Interest” view, you can see crucial locations like the O’Shaughnessy Dam and reservoir, which supplies water to the San Francisco Bay Area, or the groves of ancient sequoias — some of the oldest living things on the planet — threatened by the blaze. If you tab down to the “Fire Progression” view, you can click on different colored areas of the fire, like layers on a topographical map, to see pop-ups detailing where the fire’s perimeter was on a given day, and you can also see which areas the Rim Fire’s most likely to go next based on “wildfire potential” coloring that reflects areas more or less likely to burn intensely..."

 

Tracking The Yosemite Fire From Space. You can see a plume of carbon monoxide from the Rim Fire, highlighted in an article at space.com; here's an excerpt: "...Another photo, captured on Aug. 26 by Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument shows a plume of carbon monoxide emanating from the California Rim Fire. The image shows a three-day running average of carbon monoxide at an altitude of 3.4 miles (5.5 km) above the planet, NASA officials wrote in a statement."

Image credit above: "The plume of carbon monoxide pollution from the Rim Fire burning in and near Yosemite National Park, Calif., is visible in this Aug. 26, 2013 image from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft." Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

 

Fire Fighters Stretched Thin, Says Wildfire Expert. Some potentially troubling news - here's a clip from South Dakota State University and Claims Journal: "All eyes are on the Rim fire in California, yet for the fifth time in 10 years, our nation is at Preparedness Level 5, which means our firefighting capabilities are stretched thin and the government can opt to bring in the military and even firefighters from other countries. Professor Mark Cochrane, a senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University, is using satellite imagery to help improve forest management techniques. One of his projects is designed to determine which management techniques, including thinning and prescribed burns, work best in which forests in the United States. The study focuses on 630 large wildfires that occurred in the last decade in U.S. National Forests..."

Photo credit above: "Mark Cochrane, senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, surveys damage from the Antelope Complex Fire in Plumas National Forest in northern California. Sparked by lightning, the 2007 fires were fueled by an abundance of dead trees and brush on the forest floor."

 

ENSO Neutral Conditions To Linger Into Winter. If anything the official NOAA NCEP forecast shows a slight bias toward a (mild) El Nino warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The threshold is +.5C, and we may come close. The ENSO forecast details from NOAA are here.

 

Place Your Bets. Here is the latest Autumn Outlook from NOAA CPC, showing a slight bias toward milder than average conditions from eastern Minnesota into New England, better odds of warmth for the Southwest. Hopefully we'll get some significant moisture in here between September and November, to recharge soil moisture for 2014.

 

Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras' Last Ride. Tim was a legend in the meteorological research community, and he is missed. His death, along with his son and another researcher was a reminder of the inherent dangers of "intercepting" tornadoes, which are fickle and unpredictable by nature. Here's an excerpt from a story at Miami New Times: "Before it came for him, Dan Robinson watched the thing grow. It began as a bolus that descended out of the storm, projecting needle-like vortices that lanced the wheat fields near a lone pump jack. Columnar towers a hundred yards wide gathered and darkened against the pale light to the south, unspooling into wispy coronas that moved across the prairie beneath the rotating, two-and-a-half-mile-wide wall cloud above. It was a little after 6 p.m. on May 31. Dozens of storm chasers were navigating back roads beneath a swollen, low-hung mesocyclone that had brought an early dusk to the remote farm country southwest of El Reno, Oklahoma. Robinson, a website designer and chaser from St. Louis, jumped into his compact Toyota and sped east. He peered out at the tornado framed in his passenger-side window, now wrapping itself in rain so dense that he struggled to make out its leading edge. He swore it was moving farther away. If he got out ahead of it, he reasoned, he might get a better look..."

Image credit above: Bastien Lecouffe Deharme.

 

Hurricane Season A Bust? Don't Be So Sure. I suspect things will heat up in the tropics in September - but then again, the way the last few years have gone with extreme weather, nothing would surprise me. Here's a clip from NPR: "Back in May, several independent forecast groups predicted an . But with August drawing to a close, we've yet to see a single one. Despite being hurricane-free so far, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is that warned of between seven and 11 hurricanes from the beginning of June to the end of November. But in case you should think (or hope) that the 2013 hurricane season is a bust, Brian McNoldy, a senior researcher at the University of Miami's , has done some potentially sobering math: Writing for The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog, that while it's somewhat unusual to have no hurricanes this late in the season, it's by no means unprecedented: It happened in 1984, 2001 and 2002..." (Hurricane Rita file image courtesy of NOAA/NASA).

 

Why Are Hurricanes Getting More Expensive? Insurance.com has news of interesting statistics and trends in the insurance industry; here's an excerpt: "...If it seems as though the United States is experiencing more hurricanes that are more destructive than ever before, it's not your imagination. According to Munich Re—an insurance company for insurance companies—North America's weather-related losses increased by five times over the last three decades. Munich Re says climate change caused by human actions is a big factor causing these changes. Nature is also partly responsible. The number and severity of hurricanes seem to naturally occur in cycles that last about 20 years and are spaced about 20 years apart. "The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says we're in the middle of a cycle of more frequent storms," says Lynne McChristian, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. "We're in this decade of disasters." It's not just now, either. "The long-term trend is increasing in frequency and severity of national catastrophic events, such as hurricanes and tornados," says Chris Hackett, director of personal lines policy for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. "The top 12 most costly hurricanes occurred in the last eight years...."

 

Lingering Saharan Dust Eastern Atlantic. Here's a slightly different perspective, and one significant reason why we are seeing a temporary lull in Atlantic hurricane formation. The Global Hawk (drone) was in the air for over 25 hours, sampling the air off the coast of Africa, which still has considerable dust from the Sahara Desert, as reported by NASA: "The second science flight of NASA's HS3 mission occurred over the weekend of Aug. 24 and 25. Global Hawk 872 studied the dry air off the African coast and dropped 54 dropsondes during a 25.5-hour flight. The aircraft returned to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Va. on Aug. 25. This graphic shows the pattern of the weekend flight over a satellite image of the Saharan air layer. Orange shading indicates the locations of dry, dusty Saharan air."

 

Babies Learn Words Before Birth. I thought this was an interesting read; here's a portion of a recent article at Science News: "Parents-to-be better watch their language. Babies can hear specific words in the womb and remember them in the days after birth, a new study reports. The results add to the understanding of how the early acoustical environment shapes the developing brain. Earlier studies have found that fetuses can hear and learn certain sounds. Nursery rhymes, vowel sounds and mothers’ voices can all influence a developing baby. But the new study, published August 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that a fetus can detect and remember discrete words, says study coauthor Eino Partanen of the University of Helsinki. “The fetal learning capabilities are much more specific than we thought,” he says..."

 

Local TV Facing Increasing Competition In Weather And Traffic. Lost Remote has the story; here's an excerpt: "The most popular mapping and navigational tool on the planet, Google Maps, is expanding its traffic coverage. This week the app added traffic accidents and other incidents courtesy of Waze, the mobile startup Google acquired for $1 billion earlier this summer. This is just one more sign that two of local TV’s biggest drivers — weather and traffic — are under increasing pressure from non-traditional competitors on the platform that increasingly matters the most: mobile. Google Maps has an incredible footprint. It’s always in the top most-downloaded apps on iOS, and it’s pre-installed into most Android devices. With the addition of Waze data — which is crowdsourced from its users — Google Maps is now the most popular traffic news source by a long shot. If you combine both Google properties, it’s a landslide, especially if you consider Android’s incredible growth curve..."

 

Tesla Quietly Becomes One Of California's Best-Selling Luxury Cars. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "Tesla Motors Model S has quietly become the third-bestselling luxury car in California, trailing only the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW’s 5-Series. Tesla has sold 4,714 of its Model S electric cars in the state during the first half of the year, according to the California New Car Dealers Assn. Only the Mercedes E-Class, with 6,582, and the BMW 5-Series, with 6,077, sold more. Moreover, it looks like California accounts for about 50% of the Palo Alto car company’s total sales during the first half of this year..."

Photo credit above: "Tesla has become a top seller among luxury cars in California with sales in the first half of 2013 trailing only the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5-Series." (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg / August 27, 2013)

 

The Amazing And Ridiculous Tech From A 30-Year-Old Sears Catalog. Are you old enough to remember the Sears Catalog? Sadly I am - and I loved this article from Wired. I was one of those morons who blew $1k on a Sony Betamax. Not one of my better decisions: "VHS - Beta: $890. Catalog Description:

Sears Best Beta VCR has four-day, eight-program advance programming, multi-function infrared wireless remote control plus noise-free special effects and more! Quartz synthesized electronic tuner. Everyday function lets you program unit to record program at the same time everyday.

Hindsight is 20/20, according to everyone who's made a huge mistake. We still feel particularly bad for those who spent nearly $1,000 on a VCR tied to the losing video cassette format. VHS overtook Beta and became the compatible VCRs ended up on top of all our TVs. Sure, Beta was the superior format. But VHS was everywhere by 1983, and the format helped us record our favorite episodes of The A-Team. That is, until the DVD showed up and kicked VCRs to the curb..."

 

Blackberry Is A Failed State. Yes, I too had a Blackberry, and not that long ago. What happened? Buzzfeed does a good job explaining how the once-iconic phone-maker was ambushed by creative destruction (and a sense of hubris that didn't help them very much). Here's an excerpt: "BlackBerry, as BlackBerry users know it, is finished. The company that was almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of always-on mobile culture but stopped short of winning the smartphone race is facing some grim options. The company, now, is a shadow of its former self; soon, it will be lucky if it’s still recognizable as a company at all. This is a situation in which hindsight is perfectly unobscured: BlackBerry made an enormous bet against the style of product that ended up replacing it as most Americans’ first smartphone. It’s easy to see what happened. But it’s less clear what happens next. What does collapse mean for a company so large and culturally significant? Floyd Norris of the Times explains it in terms of much older computer manufacturer DEC, whose narrative of market failure traces a trajectory similar to BlackBerry’s..."

Image credit above: John Gara / BuzzFeed

 

Nick Saban: Sympathy For The Devil. A college football coach who takes his craft to a new (pathological) level? Saban is in a universe of his own, captured and memorialized forever in this eye-popping read from GQ Magazine; here's a clip: "...Saban's pathological drive helps explain why he's both one of the most successful coaches in American sports and, simultaneously, one of the most polarizing. He has now won four national championships—one at LSU and three over the past four years at Alabama, a coaching run unmatched in college football in more than half a century—and his Crimson Tide team is a preseason favorite to win it all again this year. In the insanely competitive SEC, Saban has been a career-wrecker for opposing coaches: Phillip Fulmer (of Tennessee) and Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik (of Auburn) all lost their jobs after beatdowns by Saban's squad. His victory over Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game left quarterback Tim Tebow in tears and the Gators' then head coach Urban Meyer in the hospital, complaining of chest pains. "The thing that amazes me about him is that he doesn't let up," says retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "People start winning, they slack off. But he just keeps jumping on 'complacency, complacency, complacency.' Most coaches don't think like that..."

 

92 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday (5th day of 90s in a row)

78 F. average high on August 28.

84 F. high on August 28, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: Sticky and unsettled. Passing T-storm. Dew point: 71. Winds: SE 10. High: 89

 

THURSDAY NIGHT: Few T-storms, best chance north of MSP. Low: 73

 

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, best lake day? Dew point: 68. High: 92

 

SATURDAY: Sunny start, late T-storms. Dew point: 69. Winds: S/SW 8-15. Wake-up: 72. High: near 90

 

SUNDAY: Sunny & cooler. Dew point: 53. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: 76

 

LABOR DAY: Great fair day. Bright sun. Comfortable! Dew point: 45. Wake-up: 58. High: 73

 

TUESDAY: Sunny, turning warmer. Wake-up: 55. High: 82

 

WEDNESDAY: Next cool front. Stray shower? Wake-up: 63. High: 78

 

Climate Stories...

 

The Funniest, Yet Most Effective Way To Deal With Politicians Who Ignore Science Facts? Check out the video from upworthy.com. You might even want to sign the petition.

 

Solving The Mysteries Of Hiatus In Global Warming. A persistent La Nina cooling phase is a big factor in the (apparent) surface temperature plateau. Deep oceans continue to warm worldwide, but this prolonged La NIna phase may be responsible for the "missing heat". Here's an excerpt of an explanation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography: "New research by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego climate scientists attributes the attenuation of a worldwide temperature increase to a cooling of eastern Pacific Ocean waters, one that counteracts the warming effect of greenhouse gases. When the climate cycle that governs that ocean cooling reverses and begins warming again, the researchers predict that the planet-wide march toward higher temperatures will resume with vigor. The study does not consider when the reversal might happen, but it brings scientists closer to understanding how to look for signs of it. If researchers can estimate that climate cycle, they could also better estimate the end date of regional trends that are linked to ocean cooling, such as the drought in the southern United States that has caused an estimated tens of billions of dollars in agricultural damage since 2000. Prior to 2000, global temperatures had risen at a rate of 0.13º C per decade since 1950. The hiatus has transpired while levels of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities, continued a steady rise, reaching 400 parts per million for the first time in human history in May 2013..."

* The new Nature paper from Scripps scientists looking at "Hidden Heat" is here.

 

Global Warming Slowdown Linked To Cooler Pacific Waters. Here's another perspective, an excerpt from the BBC: "...Prof Xie said there were two possible reasons why the continuing flow of CO2 has not driven the mercury higher. The first is that water vapour, soot and other aerosols in the atmosphere have reflected sunlight back into space and thereby had a cooling effect on the Earth. The second is natural variability in the climate, especially the impact of cooling waters in the tropical Pacific ocean. Although it only covers 8.2% of the planet, the region is sometimes called the engine room of the world's climate system and atmospheric circulation..."

Graphic credit: NASA. "Cooler waters in the equatorial Pacific are linked to cyclical events such as La Nina."

 

Is Global Warming Really Slowing Down? Mother Jones takes a look at the latest meme in the denial community, many of whom are ignoring deep-ocean warming and what's happening in the Arctic; here's a clip: "Chances are you've heard people say that global warming has "stopped," "paused," or hit a "slowdown." It's a favorite talking point of political conservatives like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who recently declared that there has been "no recorded warming since 1998." Climate skeptics frequently use these arguments to cast doubt on climate science and to downplay the urgency of addressing global warming. Last year, for instance, Fox News pronounced global warming "over." Scientists disagree. It's true that they also acknowledge the slowdown: A new paper just out in the prestigious journal Nature, for instance, cites the "hiatus in global warming" and seeks to explain it with reference to changes in the tropical Pacific. The recently leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, too, cites an "observed reduction in surface warming." But scientists say the slowdown is only temporary—a result of naturally induced climate variability that will soon tip back in the other direction—and that more human-caused global warming is on the way..."

Graphic credit above: "Fox News in October 2012."

 

Research by environmental scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) brings bad news to the western United States, where firefighters are currently battling dozens of fires in at least 11 states. The Harvard team's study suggests wildfire seasons by 2050 will be about three weeks longer, up to twice as smoky, and will burn a wider area in the western states. The findings are based on a set of internationally recognized climate scenarios, decades of historical meteorological data, and records of past fire activity. The results will be published in the October 2013 issue of Atmospheric Environment and are available in advance online. Awareness is building that gradual climate change may contribute in the coming years to increases in significant, disruptive events like severe storms and floods. Loretta J. Mickley, a senior research fellow in atmospheric chemistry at Harvard SEAS and coauthor of the new study, is thinking one step further, to secondary effects like forest fires and air quality that rely heavily on meteorological factors..." (File photo: EPA).

 

Flying Low Over Greenland, "Icepod" Tracks Changes In The Ice Sheet. The Guardian has the story; here's a clip: "...The 10-strong team from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University are testing a suite of airborne radar and imaging systems known as IcePod, designed to track changes in the Greenland ice sheet. It would also confirm early signs of instability in the ice. The latest research into how melting happens has proved more interesting and complicated than researchers initially thought – not just gusts of warm air or dramatic spectacles of chunks of ice calving into the sea. It is now clear that melting has been happening rapidly in some parts of Greenland, and that meltwater can itself bring about new melting. All this matters because ice melt in Greenland is the single largest cause of global sea level rise, which is affecting coastlines around the world..."

Video link: Link to video: Scientists track Greenland's melting ice sheets with 'Icepod'

 

The Era Of Climate Change "Denial" Is Over. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: "...What we are now seeing more of, though, are climate policy sceptics. Yes, some of these are the same characters as before, but who have subtly, artful repositioned themselves over recent years. So rather than claiming that climate science is a hoax, a fraud or fundamentally flawed, they now say the proposed climate policies will have little, if any, impact on the planet's temperature gauge and are therefore a waste of time and money. They know that this is a more tenable (and electable?) position from which to argue their point...John Abraham made an astute point the other day when he said that it rarely gets noticed that climate sceptics have actually conceded a lot of ground over recent years when it comes to the science. Many have begun to adopt a so-called "lukewarmer" position, which means they now accept the basics of climate science but don't think it's worth investing heavily today to prevent or limit a problem that will increasingly hit home in the decades ahead..."

 

People Don't Fear Climate Change Enough. Yes, this may be the most complex environmental risk we've ever faced as a species - and human psychology is a big factor. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at Bloomberg: "...Climate change lacks other characteristics that spur public concern about risks. It is gradual rather than sudden. The idea of warmer climates doesn’t produce anger, revulsion or disgust. Depletion of the ozone layer was probably the most closely analogous environmental concern; public attention to that problem was easier to mobilize because of fears of a huge rise in skin cancer. In this light, it should not be surprising if people don’t get much exercised by the IPCC’s forthcoming report. All the obstacles are daunting -- skepticism about the science, economic self-interest, and the difficulties of designing cost-effective approaches and obtaining an international agreement. But the world is unlikely to make much progress on climate change until the barrier of human psychology is squarely addressed."

 

Soil Matters. What best practices can farmers adopt to better weather short-term weather extremes and longer-term stresses from increasingly violent and damaging cycles of drought and floods. Here's an excerpt of a post at NRDC, the National Resources Defense Council: "...Rather than incentivizing farmers to adopt risk-mitigating farming practices, FCIP premiums are set using a formula that ignores how important healthy, regenerative farming practices -- like conservation tillage, cover cropping and improved irrigation scheduling -- are to farmers' risk management as they increasingly face the threats of drought, floods and other extreme weather events. Methods like no-till farming not only help soil retain moisture, but also limit erosion, improve soil health and increase a field's capacity to grow high-yield crops. Such methods offer farmers short-term protections against each season's catastrophic weather events, promote fertile fields into the future and benefit the environment..."

 

Reacting To Risk: Why Asteroid Threat Is Similar To Long-Term Climate Threat. Here's an excerpt from an interesting post from climate scientist Mark Boslough: "...In the earliest comet and asteroid impact probabilistic risk assessment papers, back in the early 1990s, scientists recognized that the largest contribution to the overall threat was from asteroids greater than about 1.5 km in diameter because they would be expected to cause a global ecological collapse due to a “nuclear winter” type climate change.  Even though the exact mechanism of global catastrophe was not (and is still not) completely understood, it was recognized that climate disruption was the primary cause.  I argue that we should apply the same conventional probabilistic risk assessment methods to human-caused global warming that we apply to the asteroid threat.  The primary focus should be on reducing the likelihood of global catastrophe by minimizing human-caused changes to the atmosphere that damage its ability to maintain a stable climate and habitable planet..." (Image credit: dvice.com).

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