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More Smoke & Rising Heat - Tropical Dew Points Return This Weekend

Delightfully Dumb

Schedule your test-taking for cool, damp, gloomy days. When it's sunny and spectacular avoid operating heavy machinery or doing anything that requires thinking.

That's the take-away from research out of Australia and Harvard (details on the blog below) showing that when it's sunny we tend to be happier, which sends a signal to our brains that all is well and there's less need to think deeply and carefully. It's an oversimplification - but beautiful weather makes us dumber. OK.

This may explain L.A.

Our collective IQ drops a few points into next week as an authentic hot front approaches from the Plains, kicking up a few stray weekend storms and potentially beastly dew points in the 70s. A tropical, sauna-like airmass oozes into town this weekend, inspiring many of us to go jump in a lake.

NOAA guidance hints at 90F by Sunday with a dreadfully-drippy dew point in the 70-75F range next week with a heat index topping 100F at times. Throw in some smoke from Canadian fires and you have one giant barbecue and we're all invited!

The core of this midsummer heat wave passes just to our south but I suspect the next 2-3 weeks will be the hottest of the entire year.

Possibly the dumbest too.


Why A Beautiful Summer's Day Could Be Making You Dumb. Uh huh. I rest my case. The weather CAN be too nice! It said so at Yahoo Finance; here's an excerpt that proves my point: "...According to the researchers, gloomy weather hampers our mood, which makes us think more deeply and clearly, allowing us to recall more things accurately. In contrast, sunny weather makes us happier, which sends a signal to our brains that everything is fine and there's less need to think deeply and carefully about things. More recent research out of Harvard also found bad weather can make us more productive by eliminating the cognitive distractions that result from good weather..."


More Smoke. As of late last night Air Quality Alerts were in effect for west central Minnesota, the plume of Canadian smoke reaching the ground and increasing particulant pollution. Details from NOAA:

 ...SPECIAL AIR QUALITY NOTICE FOR PARTS OF WISCONSIN... THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAS ISSUED A SPECIAL AIR QUALITY NOTICE FOR PARTS OF WISCONSIN. THE WILDFIRE SMOKE THAT HAS BEEN OVER WISCONSIN FOR SEVERAL DAYS IS NOW BEING BROUGHT DOWN TO THE SURFACE. A COLD FRONT HAS PASSED THROUGH THE STATE DURING THE LATE NIGHT HOURS OF MONDAY INTO TUESDAY MORNING. TYPICALLY...THE AIR BEHIND A COLD FRONT IS DESCENDING THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE. THIS DESCENDING MOTION IS WHAT IS BRINGING THE WILDFIRE SMOKE TO GROUND LEVEL. THE PM2.5 AIR QUALITY HAS REACHED THE UNHEALTHY LEVEL FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS (ORANGE CATEGORY) AT SEVERAL MONITORING SITES ACROSS NORTHERN AND WEST-CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THE SENSITIVE GROUPS CATEGORY INCLUDES CHILDREN...ELDERLY PEOPLE...INDIVIDUALS WITH RESPIRATORY AND CARDIAC PROBLEMS...OR ANYONE ENGAGED IN STRENUOUS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME. THE WIDTH AND DENSITY OF THE SMOKE PLUME WILL VARY AT ANY GIVEN LOCATION. THE FORECAST IS FOR THE SMOKE TO MOVE SOUTHEASTWARD ACROSS THE STATE THIS MORNING.

Air Quality. The latest AQI for Minnesota can be found here. As of late last night it was in the 50s, but that number may rise as prevailing winds aloft pump more smoke south of the border.


Dry Into Friday Afternoon. A weak ridge of high pressure hangs on for the next 48+ hours; the approach of warmer, stickier air setting off a few scattered T-storms Friday night into the weekend as dew points rise thru the 60s into the 70s by Sunday. If you've been missing summer heat and humidity you're in for a treat by early next week. NAM guidance: NOAA.


June 2015 Smashes Heat, Rainfall Records Across the USA. Here's a snippet of a long list of weather records shattered last month, courtesy of The Weather Channel:

  • Reno, Nevada: Record hottest June; previous record was in 2006.
  • Salem, Oregon: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1926.
  • Salt Lake City: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1988.
  • Seattle: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1992; also the record warmest January-June.
  • Spokane, Washington: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1922.
  • The Dalles, Oregon: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1977.
  • Walla Walla, Washington: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1992.
  • Wenatchee, Washington: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1992.
  • Winnemucca, Nevada: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1918.
  • Yakima, Washington: Record hottest June; previous record was in 1948.

Map credit above: "Locations setting notable hot, wet, dry, or cool records in June 2015, or for the first six months of 2015. Underlay contours depict radar-estimated rainfall in June 2015. The heaviest totals are shown by red and pink shading."


Busy Day For Tropical Systems In The Pacific Ocean. Not a great time to be taking a cruise near Fiji or Guam. Here's an excerpt from NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory: "Two typhoons, one tropical storm, one formation alert and one large area of increased convection is making for a busy day in the northern Pacific Ocean. From left to right: Tropical Storm Linfa is in the South China Sea meandering slowly northward with winds holding steady near 55 knots. A turn to the west toward land is expected during July 8. Typhoon Chan-Hom has winds near 100 knots and strengthening, heading west-northwest toward the East China Sea, passing south of Okinawa around July 9. Typhoon Nangka is east of Guam heading west-northwest with winds intensifying near 140 knots in a couple of days. The large area of convection southwest of Hawaii is not expected at this time to develop into a tropical system, despite its satellite presentation. To the far east of this image can be seen the Hawaiian Islands; to the southeast of the Islands an area of convection is consolidating, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center states, "Formation of a significant tropical cyclone is possible...within the next 12 to 24 hours." This image was taken by the JMA MTSAT-2 satellite at 0230Z on July 7, 2015..."


Tropical Cyclone Activity May Boost El Nino. Things are very active in the western Pacific and this may impact the extent of warming in the equatorial Pacific, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Here's an excerpt: "...The 2015 El Niño is likely to strengthen in the coming weeks, largely due to recent tropical cyclone activity. Several tropical cyclones, including a rare July cyclone in the southern hemisphere, have resulted in a strong reversal of trade winds near the equator. This is likely to increase temperatures below the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean, which may in turn raise sea surface temperatures further in the coming months. All international climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest El Niño will persist until at least the end of 2015. Models also indicate that further warming is likely. Historically, El Niño reaches peak strength during late spring or early summer..."

Image credit: earth.nullschool.net.


Conga-Line of Pacific Typhoons. The strongest storm, Typhoon Chan-hom, may grow to Category 4-5 strength before weakening as it approaches China's coastline in 3-4 days, but Shanghai may be impacted by strong winds and rough surf. More details from Andrew Freedman at Mashable. Image credit: Earth Simulator.


Strengthening El Nino. Latest guidance from NOAA NESDIS shows an acceleration in the warming of the Pacific; unusual heat building off the coast of Central America and off the Pacific Northwest coast.


Drought May Be Causing Increase in Shark Attacks off Carolina Coast. Waters are warmer, sooner, and drought is causing less fresh water to be discharged near the coast, allowing sharks to come closer to shore. Here's an excerpt of a good potential explanation from FOX2now.com: "...What’s behind the increase? A number of factors could be contributing to the apparent rash of attacks, such as warmer water and drought conditions, said George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research. Drought conditions reduce the amount of freshwater making it to the sea, which creates an environment along the shore where higher salt levels attract more fish and sharks, Burgess said..."


Canada Is Burning and America Is Choking On Her Smoke. MSN has the story - here's a clip: "...Canada is burning. Not all of Canada, but rather tens of thousands of acres of forest from Manitoba to Saskatchewan to British Columbia are on fire and all that smoke is choking much of the western and central US. Monday, that smoke settled over the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, leading to alerts about dangerous air quality and countless photos of the haze on social media. Government officials advised people to limit outdoor activities, especially among populations sensitive to bad air, including children and the elderly..."


Alaskan Wildfires Char Nearly 2 Million Acres, Send Smoke to South Carolina. It's the next best thing to a (bad) Alaskan vacation. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer from Andrew Freedman at Mashable: "Alaska is on track to have one of its worst wildfire seasons on record, propelled by a combination of warming average temperatures, a historically mild, relatively snowless winter and extremely mild spring. So far this year, 1.88 million acres have gone up in smoke, from 617 individual fires. June 2015 beat June of 2004 in terms of both number of fires and amount of acres burned, which means this year is now outpacing the state's worst wildfire season ever recorded. With hundreds of fires still burning in Alaska and in Canada, smoke has made it all the way across the Midwest and Mid-South to the Atlantic Coast, crossing over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on Wednesday..." (Image: NASA).


Why We Can't Fall Asleep. Keep electronic devices (including smartphones) out of your bedroom and you stand a better chance of getting a good night's sleep. Here's an excerpt from The New Yorker: "...Now, however, that natural prediction system is being constantly wrong-footed. The problem isn’t just artificial light in general. Increasingly, we are surrounded by light on the short-wave, or “blue light,” spectrum—light which our circadian systems interpret as daylight. Blue light emanates from our computers, our televisions, our phones, and our e-readers; ninety per cent of Americans use electronic devices that emit it. When we spend time with a blue-light-emitting device, we are, in essence, postponing the signal to our brain that tells it that it’s time to go to sleep. (“What have we done with our dusk?” Charles Czeisler asks.) When “dusk” gets pushed progressively later because of these false light cues, we get a surge of energy rather than the intended melatonin release..."


How To Maximize Your Vacation Happiness. The rush we get from material things wears off, in most cases rather quickly. But experiences often live on in the stories we tell and overall levels of satisfaction in our lives. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at New York Magazine: "...In terms of happiness-per-dollar-spent, vacations are the right idea in general. A lot of past research has suggested that experiences in general provide more happiness than material goods. That’s partly because — excited new owners of the latest iPhone who won’t shut up notwithstanding — humans generally have more of a tendency to talk about experiences than mere stuff. “When one buys an experience, they seem to be buying themselves a story as well,” said Dr. Amit Kumar, a social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business who studies the relationship between money and happiness. “So one way vacations continue to provide hedonic benefits even after they've long since passed is because they live on in the stories we tell...”


I Think I'll Pass On The Danish Beer. Fertilizer for barley crops? I'm all for craft beer, but in this case I think I'll stick with wine. Gizmag has the details of a unique and potentially tasteless Danish recycling project: "Rather than collect and treat the copious amount of pee produced by beer-swigging live music lovers, the organizers of last week's Roskilde Festival and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council opted to put all that liquid gold to good use. A beercycling project dubbed "From piss to pilsner" invited attendees to leave deposits for local farmers to use as fertilizer for barley crops grown to make beer..."


Runner-Up For Best TV Anchor-Hair in Minnesota? Congratulations to Dawn Stevens at KMSP for snagging the top award. KARE-11's Julie Nelson came in as a runner-up in the coveted HAIRRY Awards. Here's an excerpt of the story: "The competition in Minnesota was certainly close, and in the end, Julie Nelson’s well-deserving golden locks will have to settle for second place. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less enchanting, in fact, all you have to do is take one look at those luxurious dark roots and you.. can.. almost….get……lost…….Sorry! We’re still here. Just need to focus. Whew!..."


72 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

84 F. average high on July 7.

87 F. high on July 7, 2014.

July 7, 2000: Torrential rains douse the south metro of the Twin Cities with 8 inches in a three to five hour span in a small part of northern Dakota county. The hardest hit was the city of Eagan. Many homes were flooded.

July 7, 1955: Tornado hits Marshall, leaving one dead and 13 injured. Hail causes one million dollars in damage. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.


TODAY: Partly sunny and warm. Still very comfortable. Winds: South 5-10. High: 79

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 60

THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, still quite pleasant. Dew point: 58. High: 81

FRIDAY: Warm sun, few complaints. Wake-up: 63. High: 83

SATURDAY: Warmer with sticky sun, late T-storm. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 67. High: 86

SUNDAY: Hot sun, stray T-storms. Dew point: 73. Wake-up: 71. High: 90

MONDAY: Steamy, more numerous T-storms. Wake-up: 73. High: 89

TUESDAY: Hazy sun, still very sticky. Dew point: 74. Wake-up: 72. High: 91


Climate Stories...

Tweet courtesy of Capital Climate.


The Beyond-Two-Degree Inferno. The time for debate is over; it's time to take action, according to Marcia McNutt, Editor in Chief of Science Journals; here's an excerpt of her Op-Ed: "...In Dante's Inferno, he describes the nine circles of Hell, each dedicated to different sorts of sinners, with the outermost being occupied by those who didn't know any better, and the innermost reserved for the most treacherous offenders. I wonder where in the nine circles Dante would place all of us who are borrowing against this Earth in the name of economic growth, accumulating an environmental debt by burning fossil fuels, the consequences of which will be left for our children and grandchildren to bear? Let's act now, to save the next generations from the consequences of the beyond-two-degree inferno."


B.C. Fires Made Worse by Climate Change? It's probably a combination of factors, but the climate trends (warmer and drier) aren't helping. CBC News in Canada has the story; here's a clip: "...Roughly 200 wildfires are burning across B.C. in a season that has come earlier than usual. The furious blazes and smoke have prompted a province-wide ban on campfires, evacuations, and air quality advisories. Innes say two weather trends — the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Niño — happened to coincide this year to cause a hotter, drier summer. Climate change then further exacerbates the situation, causing an extraordinary wildfire forest season in B.C. Though most wildfires are either caused by humans or lightning, Innes says the spread of fires depends on how warm or dry an area is and those conditions appear to be affected by climate change..."

Photo credit above: "While it will be more commonplace 30 to 50 years from now, this year's intense wildfires and smoky skies is combination of climate change and other weather factors, says one expert." (B.C. Wildfire Management Branch).


Pope Calls Us To Stop Self-Destructive Actions. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Rep. Raul Grijalva who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, courtesy of azcentral.com: "...Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. ... The earth's resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production." Despite what the pope's critics want us to believe, this is not a narrow environmental message divorced from our larger reality. It embraces our larger reality and calls on us to change it for the benefit of those who have suffered too long..."


John Feehery: A Brave New GOP. I like the vision he outlines at TheHill; here's an excerpt: "...The Republican Party should stop being afraid of the future. We should be the party of the immigrant. Immigrants are the lifeblood of this country. They provide economic growth, new workers, birthrates, new ideas and new energy. America is better because of its immigrants. We should be the party of technology and applied science. We shouldn’t be the party at war with the scientific community over issues like climate change. We should be the party of environmental protection and environmental innovation. We can grow the economy smartly without destroying the world we live in..."


Climate Change Plays Significant Role in Europe Heat. Climate Central talks about the record heat gripping much of Europe and how much of it can be attributed to a warmer temperature baseline. Here's an excerpt: "A team of international scientists says it is virtually certain that climate change increased the likelihood of the ongoing heat wave stretching across much of Europe. The risk increased by a factor of two or more over a large part of Europe, up to more than a factor of four in some of the hottest cities. The results are a part of the developing field of “weather attribution” that uses observational weather and climate data, weather forecasts and climate models. It is widely accepted that climate change, in general, will increase the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004 [1]; IPCC, 2014 [2]). The field of extreme event attribution aims to analyze individual weather events over a smaller region (Stott et al., 2004 [3]). In the case of the ongoing heat wave in Europe, Climate Central convened an international team of scientists from Oxford University, KNMI, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, along with regional partners from CNRS and MeteoSwiss in order to assess the potential role of global warming on a specific extreme 3-day event, while the event is happening..."


Dozens of Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists Call for Action on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "Sixty years ago, Nobel laureates gathered on a tiny island in Western Europe and warned the world of the dangerous effects of nuclear weapons. Last Friday, on the same island, 36 Nobel Prize winners took up another cause: climate change, which they said poses a “threat of comparable magnitude” to nuclear war. “If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy,” the Nobel laureates’ declaration reads. “Already, scientists who study Earth’s climate are observing the impact of human activity...”

Thunder & Smoke: Canadian Blazes Spark Mid-Summer Smog - Wettest July 6 on Record

"...In a press release issued over the weekend, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization warned of record-breaking temperatures and wildfires in North America and torrential downpours and widespread flooding in southern China. “It is notable that the time between major heat waves (2003, 2010 and 2015) is getting shorter,” stated Omar Baddour, who co-ordinates the WMO’s world climate data and monitoring program..." - from an article in The Vancouver Sun. File photo: NOAA.


Smoke On The Water

Remind me not to take a deep blue summer sky for granted. Last weekend was hazy and murky. It looked like L.A. on a bad day, complete with a cherry-red sunset. Yesterday was downright eerie with smoke dropping visibility and creating very unhealthy conditions.

Wildfires have charred over 2 million acres in Alaska; smoke from northern fires will continue to drift over Minnesota in the coming days, giving the sky a milky-white appearance at times. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Pollution Health Alert. People with respiratory problems up north are most likely to be impacted by the smoke plume.

Monday's training T-storms brought 1-2 MONTH'S worth of rain to much of the area; 3-4 inches for the immediate metro - over 7 inches near River Falls, Wisconsin. Impressive.

I can already hear the mosquitoes talking trash.

We cool off and dry out into midweek, but long range guidance pulls some real summer heat north by the weekend, as highs surge well into the 80s with a drippy dew point in the 70s by Saturday. The approach of this free sauna sets off more scattered T-storms next weekend. What a shocker.

Historically we see the hottest weather of the year in mid-July, but compared to the western and southern USA Minnesota will get off easy this summer.

More smoke than heat.


Running Out of Colors. The derived accumulated rainfall product from the Twin Cities National Weather Service Doppler suggests over 5" of rain near Hudson and River Falls, which lines up with surface observations showing some 7"+ amounts in this area. Most of the metro picked up 2-4" of rain; just about a month's worth in many suburbs. I'll be surprised if we lapse into drought anytime soon.

4.7" of rain soaked Burnsville; it's a long list of communities that picked up at least 2.5" of rain yesterday.


June Monsoon. Yesterday's deluge was the kind of rain you'd expect to see in June, in fact 4 of the last 5 June's have been "historically wet", according ot Dr. Mark Seeley. The aerial extent of geography that picked up 2-4" of rain or more was impressive with Monday morning's slow frontal passage; waves of thunderstorms tracking along the front, each one squeezing out an inch or so of rain. Officially St. Paul picked up 4.5" of rain with 2.83" reported in MInneapolis, a new rainfall record for July 6.


Cream of Wheat Sky. Usually skies clear and visibilities improve behind a cool frontal passage. Usually. Strong subsidence (sinking motion) behind Monday's cooler front helped to pull smoke 3-6 miles above the ground down to the surface - unusual considering the source of that smoke is many hundreds of miles upwind from Saskatchewan into British Columbia. Look carefully at the visible satellite loop from yesterday and you can see a white haze lingering over eastern and southern Minnesota, aerosols suspended in the air from a rash of fires hundreds, even thousands of miles upwind. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.


ThickSwirls of Smoke. All those red dots above are individual fires, one of the most dense concentrations of fire and smoke over northern Saskatchewan. With prevailing winds blowing from the west to northwest much of that smoke has nowhere to go but Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. At the rate we're going we may be tracking smoke much of the summer and fall. Source: NOAA.


Perpetual Smoke Plume. The smoky plume from hundreds of fires stretching from central Canada to Alaska continues to push into the USA. This is a file image from June 29, courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory: "...On June 29, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of smoke from hundreds of wildfires in western Canada. Actively burning areas, detected by the thermal bands on MODIS, are outlined in red, while forests appear dark green. The image below shows shows a closer view of smoke and fires burning in northern Alberta near the Athabasca oil sands. While hundreds of fires are burning throughout Canada, some of the fires producing the most smoke are clustered in this area..."


Poor Air Quality in Minnesota from Canadian Forest Fires. Rain helped to bring some of the particulant pollution to the ground, but there's more fire and smoke upwind so that hazy pall to the sky may linger into much of July at the rate we're going. More on the Air Pollution Advisory from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: "The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health alert for the northern two-thirds of Minnesota due to smoke blowing in from forest fires in Canada. While air quality briefly improved following rain showers on Sunday and Monday, heavy smoke is returning to Minnesota behind the storm system. As of 9:00 a.m. Monday, air quality across the northern two-thirds of Minnesota had reached unhealthy levels. Air quality is expected to remain poor throughout the day on Monday..."


Alaskan Wildfires Char Nearly 2 Million Acres, Send Smoke to South Carolina. It's the next best thing to a (bad) Alaskan vacation. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer from Andrew Freedman at Mashable: "Alaska is on track to have one of its worst wildfire seasons on record, propelled by a combination of warming average temperatures, a historically mild, relatively snowless winter and extremely mild spring. So far this year, 1.88 million acres have gone up in smoke, from 617 individual fires. June 2015 beat June of 2004 in terms of both number of fires and amount of acres burned, which means this year is now outpacing the state's worst wildfire season ever recorded. With hundreds of fires still burning in Alaska and in Canada, smoke has made it all the way across the Midwest and Mid-South to the Atlantic Coast, crossing over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina on Wednesday..." (Image: NASA).



Fiery Perspective. One look at the map above explains the persistent pall of smoke pushing into the USA, a swath of large fires from Quebec to Alaska. Map: Canadian Wildland Fire Information System.

Drying Out. We may see 4 dry days, back to back, as smoky but comfortably cool, less humid Canadian air pushes southward. The next chance of showers and T-storms comes late Friday and Saturday as steamy, 70-degree dew point air approaches. Source: NOAA

Heaviest Rains Shift South. 7-Day accumulated rainfall predictions show a swath of 3-7" from Wichita Falls and Oklahoma City to near Kansas City and South Bend. The heat wave tapers over the Pacific Northwest; the core of the worst heat staying south and west of Minnesota. Source: NOAA.

Better Late Than Never. As the core of the jet stream finally lifts northward the risk of 90s will increase as we head into late July; GFS guidance suggesting moderately hot weather from the intermountain west to the Midwest and Great Lakes by July 20.

An Authentic Hot Front? Statistically we are due for a few 90s sometime soon, and GFS guidance brings 90s into MSP between July 16-19; by the end of next week.

76 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
 
84 F. average high on July 6.
 
90 F. high on July 6, 2014.
 
2.83" rain fell yesterday at MSP International Airport, a new record for the wettest July 6.
 
4.5" rain soaked downtown St. Paul yesterday.

How To Maximize Your Vacation Happiness. The rush we get from material things wears off, in most cases rather quickly. But experiences often live on in the stories we tell and overall levels of satisfaction in our lives. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at New York Magazine: "...In terms of happiness-per-dollar-spent, vacations are the right idea in general. A lot of past research has suggested that experiences in general provide more happiness than material goods. That’s partly because — excited new owners of the latest iPhone who won’t shut up notwithstanding — humans generally have more of a tendency to talk about experiences than mere stuff. “When one buys an experience, they seem to be buying themselves a story as well,” said Dr. Amit Kumar, a social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business who studies the relationship between money and happiness. “So one way vacations continue to provide hedonic benefits even after they've long since passed is because they live on in the stories we tell...”



TODAY: Sunny & comfortable. Smoke may dim the sun. Winds: N 10. Dew point: 49. High: 73

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool for early July. Low: 56

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun (and smoke). High: 76

THURSDAY: Hazy sun, a bit warmer. Wake-up: 60. High: near 80

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, nighttime T-storms? Wake-up: 64. High: 82

SATURDAY: Sticky, scattered T-storms likely. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 66. High: 83

SUNDAY: Hot & steamy, PM T-storms. DP: 72. Wake-up: 69. High: near 90

MONDAY: Tropical humidity, few T-storms. Wake-up: 67. High: 82


Climate Stories...

Climate Change Plays Significant Role in Europe Heat. Climate Central talks about the record heat gripping much of Europe and how much of it can be attributed to a warmer temperature baseline. Here's an excerpt: "A team of international scientists says it is virtually certain that climate change increased the likelihood of the ongoing heat wave stretching across much of Europe. The risk increased by a factor of two or more over a large part of Europe, up to more than a factor of four in some of the hottest cities. The results are a part of the developing field of “weather attribution” that uses observational weather and climate data, weather forecasts and climate models. It is widely accepted that climate change, in general, will increase the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004 [1]; IPCC, 2014 [2]). The field of extreme event attribution aims to analyze individual weather events over a smaller region (Stott et al., 2004 [3]). In the case of the ongoing heat wave in Europe, Climate Central convened an international team of scientists from Oxford University, KNMI, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, along with regional partners from CNRS and MeteoSwiss in order to assess the potential role of global warming on a specific extreme 3-day event, while the event is happening..."


Global Warming Exacerbates British Columbia Wildfire Season, Scientist Says. The Vancouver Sun has the story; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...We’ve predicted for some time that we will see fire seasons that last longer and are more intense, irrespective of what is going on in the ocean patterns.” People have thought that the impact of climate change will be felt some time in the future, he said. “It’s not. It’s something that is occurring now. He predicted global warning will not only increase the length and intensity of the forest fire season, but will also affect sockeye salmon runs, ski resorts like Whistler, which is changing to an all-season resort, and the inaccessibility of remote areas in the north because of an early breakup that makes transportation routes impassible..." (File photo: Capital Weather Gang).


Dozens of Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists Call for Action on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "Sixty years ago, Nobel laureates gathered on a tiny island in Western Europe and warned the world of the dangerous effects of nuclear weapons. Last Friday, on the same island, 36 Nobel Prize winners took up another cause: climate change, which they said poses a “threat of comparable magnitude” to nuclear war. “If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy,” the Nobel laureates’ declaration reads. “Already, scientists who study Earth’s climate are observing the impact of human activity...”


The Deadlier Scourge of Wildfires in an Age of Climate Change. Here's a snippet from a book review and story at InsideClimate News: "...Wildfires in the U.S. have been growing more severe, more costly and more frequent over the past half century. Dickman writes that mismanagement, suppressing natural fires and allowing forests to grow dense, as well as encroaching development have led to worse fires, with climate change providing even more fuel. With longer periods of drought and hotter temperatures wicking moisture from the forests, much of the West is a tinderbox. Research shows conditions will continue to worsen as the planet continues to warm..."


Episcopal Church Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels: "This Is A Moral Issue". The Guardian reports; here the intro: "The leadership of the Episcopal church has voted to withdraw from fossil fuel holdings as a means of fighting climate change, delivering an important symbolic victory to environmental campaigners. Two weeks after the pope’s pastoral letter on the environment, the divestment decision by a major US Protestant denomination underscored that climate change is increasingly seen by religious leaders as a deeply moral issue. The measure, adopted by the governing body at a meeting in Salt Lake City, commits the church to quit fossil fuels and re-invest in clean energy..."

Photo credit above: "Thousands attend a church service during the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, Utah." Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters.


Greenland Ice Melt Accelerating. Here's a wildcard, one that climate models have actually underestimated: the rate of summer melting of Greenland ice. Polar Portal has more information: "The Greenland Ice Sheet develops throughout the year with the changing weather conditions. Precipitation contributes by increasing the mass, whilst warmth induces melting, which makes the ice sheet diminish. The term surface mass balance is used for the isolated gain and melting of the surface of the ice sheet – excluding that which is lost when glaciers calve off ice bergs and melt in contact with warm sea water. Newly fallen snow is very bright and reflects most of the sunlight that hits it. As the snow warms up or gets older, it becomes darker. Dark areas absorb more energy from the sun, which leads to further warming and melting of ice. This is called the albedo effect..."


12 Tools For Communicating Climate Change More Effectively. Here's a clip from a story at The Guardian: "...But while scientists, campaigners and other communicators should never downplay or hide the intricacies inherent in climate models, there are better and worse ways of communicating uncertainty. A new Uncertainty Handbook released by the University of Bristol and the Climate Outreach and Information Network distills research finding and expert advice to set out 12 principles of smarter communication around climate change uncertainty. It’s intended to provide scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate change...."