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.

Happy Labor Day! Weather Gets Happier/Drier/Sunnier by PM Hours

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 31, 2014 - 5:06 PM

Most Underrated Month?

"By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer" said Helen Hunt Jackson. Not that it matters but this may be my favorite month of the year.

Think about it: summer's frantic 90-day spasm of over-scheduling is over - the air still mild; lakes warm enough for one last dip. Tornadoes are rare, a cooling atmosphere sparks lazy clouds: wisps of dense fog.

NOAA data shows September is nearly as sunny as July & August, 1-inch rains half as common as June. The air has roughly half as much water floating overhead as early July; crisp and clean most of the month. Even the mosquitoes seem to get the hint. Summer's September encore is nature's last standing ovation and I'm a raucous fan.

No need to water the yard anytime soon after last night's noisy soaking. Showers give way to some afternoon sun; the weather getting better as today goes on. Not a perfect Labor Day but we've seen worse. The next chance of thunder comes Thursday with a heat spike; highs may brush 90F before tumbling to more comfortable levels late week. You may have to pull out a sweatshirt next weekend.

In 2014 weather is on a time-delay; everything is coming later. I suspect a warmer than average September.

* File photo of Minnesota's BWCA courtesy of Steve Burns Photography.


Labor Day Details. European guidance shows a risk of morning and midday showers, but winds switching around to the west/northwest should pull drier, more stable air into MSP by afternoon with dew points falling from mid 60s into the low 50s by evening. The odds of seeing the sun increase as the day goes on.


Future Radar. 4 KM NAM guidance shows the showers and T-storms that rumbled across the area late yesterday and overnight; a few stragglers this morning then drying out later in the day with enough sun for highs in the upper 70s. Loop: NOAA and HAMweather.


Big Swings. We cool off and dry out today, a beautiful Tuesday giving way to a quick midweek hot front; some guidance hints at upper 80s to near 90F by Thursday with a few T-storms late Wednesday into Thursday. And then a more September-like airmass comes south for late week. ECMWF data may be overdoing the cooling a bit, but temperatures may struggle to reach 70F in the metro Friday into Sunday with 60-degree highs up north.


Traditional Peak of Hurricane Season Off To A Slow Start. The Atlantic hurricane season peaks September 10, the day a landfalling hurricane is most likely to strike the USA. But things remain strangely quiet in the Atlantic and Carribean, and the short-term forecast is for more of the same. Here's a clip from a story at Florida Today: "...But on Aug. 27, a forecast team at Colorado State University released a two-week forecast of hurricane activity through Sept. 10, predicting below average activity. The team tries to predict what they call the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index. That’s all the named storms’ maximum wind speeds for each six-hour period of the storms that happen over the two-week prediction period. They say the two weeks ending Sept. 10 will bring less than 70 percent of the average ACE..."


Drought Forces Big Changes Among California Growers. If the drought continues we will all be paying significantly higher prices for many vegetables. Here's an excerpt of a good summary of what growers are doing to try and deal with historic drought at The Seattle Times: "...Such crop switching is one sign of a sweeping transformation going on in California — the nation’s biggest agricultural state by value — driven by a three-year drought that climate scientists say is a glimpse of a drier future. The result will affect everything from the price of milk in China to the source of cherries eaten by Americans. It has already inflamed competition for water between farmers and homeowners..."

Photo credit above: "Volunteers deliver cases of water to homes in East Porterville, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Nearly 1,000 people whose wells have gone dry due to drought received an emergency allotment of bottled water Friday." (AP Photo/The Porterville Recorder, Chieko Hara)


Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest. With all apologies to my TV meteorology friend in Phoenix, haboobs are a clear and present danger, especially during the summer months. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path..."


Why You Need To Stop Checking Your Phone All The Time. Here's a snippet from an essay at MindBodyGreen that caught my eye. She's right: "...I do my best to put the phone away when spending quality time with others, but because we all live in the same world and we all use these devices, we all have the same strange addiction to them. We’re tolerant of each other as we communicate with everyone else but the ones we’re with. Beyond the very basic tenants of memory we used to hold so dear (remembering phone numbers, addresses, birthdays and details of loved ones, etc.), lies a direct correlation between how much we use our brains and how much we substitute them with our phones..."


LABOR DAY: AM showers, slow PM clearing. Winds: West 10. High: 77

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy, more comfortable. Low: 58

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 55. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: Fading sun, storms at night. Wake-up: 62. High: 84

THURSDAY: Hot & sticky. Few T-storms. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 72. High: near 90

FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, cooling off. Wake-up: 62. High: 71

SATURDAY: Sunny and beautiful. Dew point: 42. Wake-up: 55. High: 70

SUNDAY: Intervals of sun, hints of fall. Wake-up: 56. High: 72

* File photo above: Brad Birkholz.


Climate Stories...

David Hastings: What I didn't Say to Gov. Scott About Climate Change. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at The Tampa Tribune: "...The governor’s office should embrace a transparent process to develop and implement a state plan to reduce carbon pollution. Florida should:

♦  Phase out coal-burning power plants. Many of these plants are inefficient, and they are the biggest source of human CO2 emissions.

♦  Ramp up energy efficiency. It is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. Setting meaningful efficiency goals for big utilities will save communities money and reduce harmful emissions of heat-trapping gases..."


Climate Change Critics Want Data, Then Ignore It. An Op-Ed in the Union-Bulletin summed up something I've personally experienced, especially as it relates to the so-called "pause" in warming. Over 90% of the additional warming is going into the world's oceans - it's not a model, actual deep ocean temperature increases have been observed. Here's an excerpt: "...The longer-term trend, averaged over many cycles, is for unremitting increases in temperature. The effects of deeper layers of the oceans periodically absorbing heat isn’t sustainable and may itself upset oceanic currents that moderate temperatures around the globe. Scientists acknowledge the need for more data and improvements in their analytic methods. But, it is disingenuous of critics to ask for data, and then ignore what they are shown. They have no data themselves and their armchair methods aren’t likely to produce any."


Athabasca Glacier: A Tragic Vanishing Act. Here's the introduction to a story at Skeptical Science and Critical Angle: "The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is probably the easiest glacier in the world to access by car. It’s just a few hundred metres’ stroll from the nearest parking lot on the magnificent Icefields Parkway in Alberta. The problem is, the stroll keeps getting longer by about 10 metres every year. Since 1992, the snout of the glacier has retreated about 200 metres, requiring tourists anxious to set foot on the glacier to walk a little further. The glacier has lost about 2 km of its length since 1844 (Geovista PDF)..."

Photo credit above: "The Athabasca Glacier seen from the access trail. This point is about halfway from the parking lot and the current snout of the glacier, which is about 200 metres away. In the centre background is the ice-fall from the Columbia Icefield.  The marker shows where the glacier snout was in 1992, coincidentally the year of the Rio Earth Summit. It is just possible to make out some people walking on the glacier on the left-hand side."


Beachfront in the Time of Climate Change. The Atlantic's Citylab has a poignant article of what we will soon miss; here's an excerpt: "...But this year, as everybody packs up and heads back to school in the ritual of Labor Day Weekend, there’s something sinister about being near the water. It’s an end-of-days feeling, the grim reality that, because of climate change, these places are going to be very different in 30 to 50 years. Vast acreage will be inundated. Many of the most sought-after houses on the coastline will be erased from the landscape..." (Photo credit: author Anthony Flint).


Managing Coasts Under Threat from Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Is there an orderly, methodical way to gradually retreat from the oceans? Here's a clip from a story at phys.org: "...The scientists also acknowledged that long-term adaptation to climate change can greatly reduce impacts, but further research and evaluation is required to realize the potential of adaptation. "Many parts of the coast can, with forward planning, adapt to sea-level rise, but we need to better understand environments that will struggle to adapth, such as developing countries with large low-lying river deltas sensitive to salinization, or coral reefs and particularly small, remote islands or poorer communties," said Dr. Brown..."


1 in 4 Republicans Say Global Warming is a Major Threat. The Daily Caller has highlights of a recent Pew research study.


As Louisiana Sinks and Sea Levels Rise, The State is Drowning. Fast. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post that caught my eye: "...In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy. And it’s going to get worse, even quicker. Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed..."

Animation credit: From Bob Marshall, The Lens, Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw, ProPublica:


Why Climate Change Won't Intensify Extreme Snowstorms. The most intense snowstorms may shift north over time, which isn't surprising in a slowly warming world. Here's an excerpt from Live Science and Yahoo News: "...The study revealed little change in the intensity of major snowstorms in wintry regions. In areas where winter temperatures hover near the snow "sweet spot," the heaviest snowstorms became only eight percent less intense. The higher latitudes will shift the other way, with 10 percent more snow during extreme events, O'Gorman found. In regions where there is usually little snowfall, there will be fewer days with history-making storms..."


Does Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Negate Climate Change? Scientists Say No. Here's a clip from a good explanation of what's really happening at the bottom of the world from The Los Angeles Times: "...Scientists say sea ice and continental ice are probably responding to the same forces — namely, changes in ocean circulation and winds. However, they also influence each other. Sea ice helps buffer ice shelves, the floating tongues of glacial ice that dam the ice sheets and keep them from spilling irreversibly into the sea. It also keeps warm ocean waters trapped beneath a frozen lid, insulating the ice sheet from their destructive heat..."

Photo credit above: "Ice off Antarctica's Alexander Island. This year, Antarctic sea ice has expanded its frigid reach with unprecedented speed, setting records in June and July." (Eye Ubiquitous / UIG).

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