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Touch of September - Minnesota Mosquito Season is 34 Days Longer Now Than in the 1980s

Cool Canadian Breeze - Hot "American Air" Next Week

A hype-happy national media talking about weather is like watching an excitable puppy with a new toy. Think about it: polar vortex, heat domes, now "corn sweat"? When in doubt make stuff up.

I am guilty of routinely disparaging Canada and I take full responsibility for my transgressions. Much of the winter we talk about "Canadian air" as a pejorative, a diss. I wonder if TV meteorologists in Winnipeg or Toronto complain about hot, sweaty "American air" moving in?

I should get a research grant and study that for 10 years.

Today I just can't get enough of a fresh breeze from Ontario; high near 80F with a very comfortable dew point in the 50s. And no obnoxious red blobs on Doppler, capable of chasing you indoors. A taste of September.

Temperatures over the weekend should be warm enough for the lake or pool - another wave of antiperspirant heat pushes the mercury into the low 90s Tuesday  and Wednesday next week. More severe T-storms may sprout as early as Monday.

If anyone asks Minnesota's mosquito season is 34 days longer now than it was in the 1980s. The welcome details below.


Mosquito Season Growing Longer. Longer growing season - longer boating season - more time for mosquitoes to breed. 34 days longer since the 1980s? Good grief. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Climate Central analyzed how the number of days each year with ideal conditions for mosquitoes has been changing since 1980. We found that most major cities in the country (76 percent) have seen an overall increase in days conducive for mosquitoes in the past 36 years, and many regions have seen the mosquito season increase by half a month or more. Among the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S., 10 cities have seen their seasons grow by a month or more over this relatively short period of time. Overall, 125 cities are now seeing their average annual mosquito seasons at least five days longer than they were in the 1980s..."


Slow Warming Trend. Today will be the most comfortable day in sight; afternoon temperatures in the 70s with a dew point in the 50s. Temperatures mellow over the weekend; NOAA models hint at 90s by the middle of next week. Model ensemble above: Aeris Enterprise.


Sweating Under The Heat Dome. It could be worse - you could be living in Houston. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...First, most conventional wisdom is useless. Yes, you might feel a little cooler if you wear linen and cotton instead of polyester, along with a ridiculous “S.P.F.” sun hat. (Really, is there any other kind?) As for those sunscreens that promise to keep you cool, they do so for the five seconds you’re spraying them on. When it comes to bugs, torches dipped in citronella fuel might keep your patio marginally pest free, but at the expense of warming yourself near, well, a fire. So often, self-protection in summer comes down to a choice of which feels less nasty on the skin: sunscreen or bug repellent..."


The World's Biggest, Fastest Firefighting Jet Is About to Take Off. We're going to need a bigger plane. Here's a clip from eenews.net: "On May 5, a big, red-and-white Boeing 747 made a low pass over the airport here and then dropped about 10,000 gallons of water, shrouding a nearby field in mist as a crowd including the state's governor, a phalanx of local politicians and Forest Service representatives looked on. The plane, a converted former passenger jet, is about to enter service here as the biggest and fastest airborne firefighting jet in the world. It is capable of reaching almost any wildfire in the West in about three hours. Onlookers were excited about the plane's 19,200-gallon capacity for carrying fire retardant, but less interested in its national reach. Many of them were more focused on the ugly experiences they've had right here with fast-spreading wildfires..."

Photo credit: "The Waldo Canyon Fire northwest of Colorado Springs, Colo., in June 2012 caused nearly $454 million in damage and was the state's most destructive fire -- until the Black Forest Fire surpassed it a year later. Scientists say climate change is helping to fuel forest fires." Photo by the Department of Agriculture, courtesy of Wikipedia.


Why The Ocean Is Warmer Than Usual And Could Stay That Way For A While. Here's an excerpt of a story at California's East Bay Times: "...The El Nino pattern heating up our ocean has been a semi-regular visitor to this region far longer than the phrase "global warming." But this particular El Nino -- now in its third summer -- is more profound, and sticking around longer, than previous El Ninos. Just as hurricanes have become more frequent and more severe, this El Nino might be as big and gnarly as it is because of climate change. Whatever the cause, the warm ocean temperatures are changing the definition of "normal" when it comes to the area's fish, mammals and birds..." (Image credit: earth.nullschool.net).


Forecast First: Warmer Temps Favored Across Entire U.S. And no, we can't thank or blame El Nino this time around; here's the intro to a story at Climate Central: "For the next three months, above-normal temperatures are favored across the U.S., from coast to coast and Mexico to Canada, as well as Alaska, according to government forecasts. In archives that go back to 1995, that’s never happened, Dan Collins, a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, said. While it doesn’t mean that a three-month-long heat wave is in store, or that there won’t be cooler spells here and there, it does up the odds that 2016 will rank among the hottest years on record for the country. It’s also a mark of the overall warming trend, courtesy of heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere..." Map credit: NOAA


NOAA to Develop New Global Weather Model. Here's are a few excerps of a press release from NOAA: "NOAA took a significant step toward building the world’s best global weather model today, a priority for the agency and the nation. NOAA announced the selection of a new dynamic core, the engine of a numerical weather prediction model, and will begin developing a state-of-the-art global weather forecasting model to replace the U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS)....The new dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), was developed by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. The FV3 core brings a new level of accuracy and numeric efficiency to the model’s representation of atmospheric processes such as air motions. This makes possible simulations of clouds and storms, at resolutions not yet used in an operational global model..." (Image credit: NOAA).


Slimy Green Beaches May Be Florida's New Normal. National Geographic reports; here's a snippet: "...This is absolutely the worst,” says Evan Miller, an environmental activist and founder of Citizens for Clean Water. Miller lives in the tourist town of Stuart, 110 miles (177 kilometers) north of Miami. “We’ve never seen algae so thick. You can see it from space. There are places in Stuart that are on their third and fourth cycle of blooms now.” As the latest outbreak continues to play out with sporadic bursts of new algae blooms, dismayed Floridians are wondering if the recurring appearance of this tourist-repelling, fish-killing scum is their new normal. It may be..."

Image credit: Popular Science and NASA Landsat 8 Satellite / OLI


As Corn Devours U.S. Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate. Bloomberg Politics has the story; here's the intro: "Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat. More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland -- improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year..." (File photo: Star Tribune).


Our View: Conservatives' Involvement Will Boost Energy Efforts. What can we all agree on, where is the common ground? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Mankato Press: "...The Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum was formed to give conservatives a voice on energy policy, according to Minnesota Public Radio News. And the most promising part of its agenda is that the forum doesn’t just tout traditional dependence on fossil fuels. The group is well-grounded in the reality that cleaner energy pays off in the long run. Members of the group say they want to stay away from the tired arguments over global warming. That’s a strategy that looks more promising for moving the state forward in its goals to give consumers cheaper, cleaner choices of energy..."

Click here to see Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum on Facebook; their main web site is here.


Elon Musk Makes a Libertarian Argument for Carbon Tax. Here's an excerpt of an interview at Reno Gazette-Journal: "...With respect to some of the other elements for solar panels and EVs, the big issue we have is that in reality if you accept the scientific consensus every oil burning activity is subsidized, dramatically. If you believe there is a value to the CO2 capacity of the atmosphere and oceans and that CO2 capacity is not being paid for by the price at the gas pump or the coal that is being burned for electricity generation or whatever its use may be then every single fossil fuel burning activity is massively subsidized. This has become sort of an ideological issue because there are people who think that global warming is not true..."

Photo credit: "Elon Musk of Tesla with a new Model S car outside the Tesla customer deliver area." (Photo: Jessica Brandi Lifland/USA Today).


NSA Refused Clinton a Secure Blackberry Like Obama, So She Used Her Own. Ars Technica has an interesting story; here's the intro: "Judicial Watch, the conservative political action group that has largely driven the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-mails, has obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request indicating that Clinton tried and failed to get the National Security Agency to give her the same secure BlackBerry that President Obama used. Donald Reid, the State Department's coordinator for security infrastructure, reported in a 2009 e-mail, "Each time we asked the question 'What was the solution for POTUS,' we were politely asked to shut up and color..."

Photo credit: "President Obama places a call from his secure BlackBerry 8900 from the presidential limo while in Indonesia in 2010. When he took office, Obama pushed to keep a mobile device for unclassified use." White House Photo by Pete Souza (November 10, 2010).


Why Rich Neighbors Are Bad For You. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "The concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” has been around for more than a century. But in an era of high inequality, the pressure to match the lavish lifestyles of one's neighbors has become all the more salient. A new paper from a Federal Reserve economist explores a potentially alarming way these pressures affects people's financial lives. The paper from Fed economist Jeffrey Thompson suggests that Americans are borrowing more to keep up with wealthier members of society — particularly when it comes to buying and financing homes..." (Image credit: someecards).


77 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Thursday.

83 F. average high on July 28.

84 F. high on July 28, 2015.

July 29, 1917: The hottest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota, 114.5 degrees, occurs at Beardsley.

July 29, 1849: Severe storms hit the newly constructed post of Ft. Ripley between 3 and 5 AM. W.J. Frazier, Head Surgeon notes: 'Rain and hail with much thunder and lightning and very high winds breaking many trees.'



TODAY: Partly sunny with a light, comfortable breeze. Winds: NE 5-10. High: near 80

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and very pleasant. Low: 60

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, light breeze. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 81

SUNDAY: Warm sunshine, few complaints. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 83

MONDAY: Some sticky with a few strong T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 69. High: 85

TUESDAY: Hot sunshine, feels like upper 90s. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 91

WEDNESDAY: Another round of rowdy T-storms. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 74. High: 92

THURSDAY: Damp start, then clearing out. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 86


Climate Stories...
 

What The U.S. Will Look Like When Your Kids Get Old. Gizmodo explains: "When climate change is in the news, it’s usually because of a scary new temperature record or a mass coral die-off, or because an enormous chunk of Greenland disappeared and nobody noticed. But at the end of the day, the thing that most of us really care about is how we’ll be affected. Now, NOAA is making it easier than ever to find out, with a new Climate Explorer app that shows just how screwed (or spared) your little sliver of the country will be. The first version of Climate Explorer launched in 2014, as part of a package of climate tools for planners interested in identifying vulnerable coastlines and flooding risks..."


Visitors to a Shrinking Alaskan Glacier Get a Lesson on Climate Change. A natural cycle? The photo above shows is a before/after photo from 1884 and 2004 at the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska. Here's a clip from NPR: "The Mendenhall Glacier is visible from the visitor center parking lot. But it's still pretty far and if you traveled all the way to Juneau, Alaska, you probably want to get up close to the blue tinted ice. Touching the face of the glacier can be tricky. You're separated by cold, silty water, and a hike over the ridge could take hours. Visitor center staff know that. And inside, they use it to prove a point. John Neary, director of the glacier's visitor center, wants the more than 500,000 people who visit the Mendenhall Glacier each year to know that it's rapidly retreating due to climate change..."


People Who Predict Floods Can't Assume the Climate Isn't Changing Anymore. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "...Climate change has forced scientists, policymakers, flood control managers, urban planners, and especially anyone living in flood-prone areas to rethink how they assess the coming hazards of floods. In recent weeks, a series of terrible flood events in the United States has added a new sense of urgency to their discussions. Even abroad — recently in China, as well as in France, Germany, Nepal, South Africa and India, for example — floods have taken a significant toll on human life and property, exacerbating global concerns. Increasingly, experts in flood management and climate scientists have come to recognize that global warming — along with geography; topography; land use and development; infrastructure; and cultural beliefs — significantly contributes to the severity and frequency of floods..."

File photo: USGS.


Voices: A Bird's-Eye View of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from USA TODAY: "...Eight years later, the first prodigal puffin pair returned to roost. Things were looking pretty peachy for the puffins until waters in the Gulf of Maine began rising faster than 99% of all the Earth's oceans, according to models by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and throwing delicate fish populations out of whack. Audubon's annual Christmas bird count reveals nearly 350 North American birds are "climate-affected," living farther north. "For those species that are already farther north, they've got nowhere to go," Kress says. "Their fate, their future, really is in our hands..."

Photo credit: "Atlantic puffins perch on Eastern Egg Rock off the coast of Maine on July 22, 2016. Says conservationist Stephen Kress, the humble force behind the 43-year effort to restore the bird colony: “We’ve learned how to bring them back. But now we realize that to keep them here we have to not only manage this place into perpetuity, we need to be better stewards of life on the oceans." Terry Byrne, USA TODAY.


CO2 Can Be Stored Underground for 10 Times the Length Needed to Avoid Climatic Impact: Study. Yes, but can carbon capture be done, at scale, cost-effectively? Here's the intro to a story at phys.org: "Study of natural-occurring 100,000 year-old CO2 reservoirs shows no significant corroding of "cap rock", suggesting the greenhouse gas hasn't leaked back out - one of the main concerns with greenhouse gas reduction proposal of carbon capture and storage. New research shows that natural accumulations of carbon dioxide (CO2) that have been trapped underground for around 100,000 years have not significantly corroded the rocks above, suggesting that storing CO2 in reservoirs deep underground is much safer and more predictable over long periods of time than previously thought..."

Photo credit: "Image shows a cold water geyser driven by carbon dioxide erupting from an unplugged oil exploration well drilled in 1936 into a natural CO2 reservoir in Utah. Credit: Professor Mike Bickle."

Study of natural-occurring 100,000 year-old CO2 reservoirs shows no significant corroding of 'cap rock', suggesting the greenhouse gas hasn't leaked back out - one of the main concerns with greenhouse gas reduction proposal of carbon capture and storage.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-co2-underground-length-climatic-impact.html#jCp

Climate Change Risk Threatens 18 U.S. Military Sites: Study. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "Rising sea levels due to hurricanes and tidal flooding intensified by climate change will put military bases along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast at risk, according to a report released on Wednesday. Nonprofit group the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed 18 military installations that represent more than 120 coastal bases nationwide to weigh the impact of climate change on their operations. Faster rates of sea level rises in the second half of this century could mean that tidal flooding will become a daily occurrence for some installations, pushing useable land needed for military training and testing into tidal zones, said the report titled "The U.S. Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas..."

Image credit: "Naval Station Norfolk—the largest naval installation in the world—is projected to face 4.5 feet to nearly 7 feet of sea level rise this century." Union of Concerned Scientists.


Sea Level Rise a Big Issue for Military in Hampton Roads, Science Says. But Republicans Try To Block Planning. Here's a clip from The Virginian-Pilot: "...Tacked on to defense spending bills passed by the House of Representatives: amendments forbidding the Pentagon from using federal dollars to study climate change or plan for its impacts. Supporters say they want the military focused on enemies such as the Islamic State group, not rising seas. Critics say flooding is a formidable foe as well. “It’s kind of hard to attack the enemy when your base is underwater,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Southeast Virginia Democrat who voted against the ban. Exactly how far underwater depends on a range of factors, says the report, which paints scenarios similar to those predicted in studies conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and others..."


Scientists Caught Off-Guard by Record Temperatures Linked to Climate Change. Thomson Reuters Foundation has the story: "Record temperatures in the first half of 2016 have taken scientists by surprise despite widespread recognition that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, the director of the World Climate Research Programme said. The earth is on track for its hottest year on record with June marking the 14th straight month of record heat, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week. Temperatures recorded mainly in the northern hemisphere in the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and "new highs" in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said..."

Graphic credit: Hot Whopper. "Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to June 2016." Data source. GISS NASA


A Stunning Prediction of Climate Science - and Basic Physics - May Now Be Coming True. The Washington Post reports: "A lot of people deny climate change. Not many, though, deny gravity. That’s why a recent animation released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — well, it came out in April, but people seem to be noticing it now — is so striking. Because it suggests the likely gravitational imprint of our changing climate on key features of the Earth in a way that’s truly startling. The animation uses measurements from NASA’s squadron of GRACE satellites (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), which detect changes in mass below them as they fly over the Earth, to calculate how the ocean changed from April 2002 until July 2013, based on corresponding changes in the mass of the continents..."

Animation credit: "NASA created an animation showing “sea level fingerprints,” or patterns of rising and falling sea levels across the globe in response to changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields." (NASA).

Comfortable Front Today - 90+ Next Week - Forget "Plastics", Invest in "Water Management"

Comfortable Breeze Returns Today - 90F Next Week

You may be old enough to remember the line from the movie 'The Graduate'. "I want to say one word to you. Just one word....PLASTICS!" A wise investment tip, back in 1967.

Today's portfolio advice? "WATER MANAGEMENT!"

With climate volatility and increased weather disruption the sun will keep on rising in the east, but a warmer atmosphere is already making droughts and floods more intense.

Rain is falling with greater velocity; rapid water run-off into streets and lakes. Many analysts believe clean water, not oil, will be the most precious natural resource of the 21st century. Stay tuned.

Yesterday's crop of slow-moving thunderstorms dropped torrential rains, with rapid ponding of water on area freeways. Factor in construction obstacles and you have a really bad 3-D video game.

A few showers linger today as northeast winds pull cooler air into town. You should see more of the sun Friday with weekend highs in the low to mid 80s under a hazy-blue sky.

We should hit 90F a couple of days next week - simmering heat and tropical downpours spilling into much of August. A real summer!


* Image credits. Upper left: "The Graduate". Upper right: Jae C Hong, AP


More Torrential Rains. There were a few severe thunderstorm warnings issued for 1" hail and gusts to 60 mph, but the biggest headline (in my mind) was the tropical rains squeezed out during yesterday's waves of showers and T-storms. The bright purple-shaded area denotes 3"+ rains; most prevalent north and east of  the Twin Cities. 2" rains falling in a short period of time triggered flash flooding in the immediate metro area as well.



Nagging Showers. Although the atmosphere won't be as unstable as yesterday a few instability showers and T-showers are predicted today, relatively cold air overhead sparking an unstable sky with temperatures in the low 70s. 4km NAM Future Radar: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Couple of Comfortable Days - Summer Heat Returns Next Week. ECMWF guidance warms things up over the weekend; a few days at or above 90F likely again next week as dew points creep back into the 70s. Graphic: WeatherBell.


Lingering Heat. Long-range solutions are even more erratic than usual. Tuesday's guidance hinted at a few cooler fronts by the second week of August, but Wednesday's solution builds another ridge of hot high pressure from the Rockies to the Midwest, suggesting more 80s and 90s.


DOT: Flood-Damaged Roads in Northern Wisconsin Won't Likely Be  Ready Until Late Summer. Here's an excerpt from Wisconsin Public Radio: "Some flood-damaged roads in northern Wisconsin might not reopen until late August or September, according to officials with the state Department of Transportation. Most impacted state highways have reopened after major flooding caused extensive damage July 11. But some of the worst hit might be closed for another month or more. DOT communications manager Gina Paige said state and local road crews have been putting in long hours..."

Photo credit: Bureau of Indian Affairs


Forecast First: Warmer Temps Favored Across Entire U.S. And no, we can't thank or blame El Nino this time around; here's the intro to a story at Climate Central: "For the next three months, above-normal temperatures are favored across the U.S., from coast to coast and Mexico to Canada, as well as Alaska, according to government forecasts. In archives that go back to 1995, that’s never happened, Dan Collins, a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, said. While it doesn’t mean that a three-month-long heat wave is in store, or that there won’t be cooler spells here and there, it does up the odds that 2016 will rank among the hottest years on record for the country. It’s also a mark of the overall warming trend, courtesy of heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere..." Map credit: NOAA


Why The Ocean Is Warmer Than Usual And Could Stay That Way For A While. Here's an excerpt of a story at California's East Bay Times: "...The El Nino pattern heating up our ocean has been a semi-regular visitor to this region far longer than the phrase "global warming." But this particular El Nino -- now in its third summer -- is more profound, and sticking around longer, than previous El Ninos. Just as hurricanes have become more frequent and more severe, this El Nino might be as big and gnarly as it is because of climate change. Whatever the cause, the warm ocean temperatures are changing the definition of "normal" when it comes to the area's fish, mammals and birds..." (Image credit: earth.nullschool.net).


U.S. Wildfire Tracker. The Sand Blaze is one of 5 large fires underway in California. Check out the tracker for yourself, courtesy of WXshift.


Wildfire Trends. More people living in harm's way? That's one factor, along with warming temperatures and  longer, deeper droughts, setting the stage for larger, more intense fires, according to Climate Central.


Gulf of Mexico Hurricane Drought Likely To Become Longest in 130 Years. Here's an excerpt from WunderBlog: "No hurricanes have entered or developed in the Gulf of Mexico since September 2013, a stretch of well over 1,000 days. By the end of this week, the streak will be the longest on record, dating to the 1800s. The last hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico was Hurricane Ingrid, which made landfall in northeast Mexico in September 2013..."


NOAA to Develop New Global Weather Model. Here's are a few excerps of a press release from NOAA: "NOAA took a significant step toward building the world’s best global weather model today, a priority for the agency and the nation. NOAA announced the selection of a new dynamic core, the engine of a numerical weather prediction model, and will begin developing a state-of-the-art global weather forecasting model to replace the U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS)....The new dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), was developed by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. The FV3 core brings a new level of accuracy and numeric efficiency to the model’s representation of atmospheric processes such as air motions. This makes possible simulations of clouds and storms, at resolutions not yet used in an operational global model..." (Image credit: NOAA).


As Corn Devours U.S. Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate. Bloomberg Politics has the story; here's the intro: "Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat. More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland -- improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year..." (File photo: Star Tribune).


Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay In Some States. The New York Times reports: "...For more than a century in the United States, the public utility rate system assumed a one-way flow of electricity from central power plants to their customers. The role of utility regulators was to adjudicate reasonable rates for the consumer, while allowing an adequate rate of return on the money power companies spent generating and distributing the electricity. But now, even though rooftop solar energy still accounts for less than half of a percent of the energy generated across the country, its growing popularity is challenging regulators and utilities to rethink their old ways..."

Photo credit: "Elroy Holtmann in his garage in Lafayette, Calif., where the power from his solar panels is used to charge his electric Chevy Volt." Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times.


Sticker Shock: The Soaring Costs of Germany's Nuclear Shutdown. A clean energy revolution is well underway, but can we make a transition to renewables and decarbonize the world's economies without nuclear, at least in the short term? Here's an excerpt from Yale Environment 360: "...The waste issue is one reason nuclear power has been so controversial in Germany and why there is broad support among the public for phasing it out, with three-quarters of the German population saying they are in favor of Merkel’s decision, according to a survey this year by the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster. “Nuclear in Germany is not popular,” Kemfert said. “Everybody knows it is dangerous and causes a lot of environmental difficulties. Nuclear has been replaced by renewables – we have no need for nuclear power any more...”

Photo credit: "Barrels of radioactive waste in the Asse II storage cavern in 1975". View gallery. Photo: Federal Office for Radiation Protection.


Vancouver Plans To Go 100% Renewable. I Asked The City's Manager About The Challenges It Faces. Dave Roberts has the story at Vox: "Last year, Vancouver, British Columbia, officially adopted the goal of powering itself entirely with clean energy by 2050. That’s a bigger deal than it might sound. Plenty of North American cities have committed to getting all their electricity from clean sources within a few decades. But when it comes to decarbonization, electricity is the easy part. (Okay, maybe not easy, but easier.) Vancouver has resolved to get all its energy, not just electricity, from renewable sources. The city’s electricity is already 98 percent carbon-free anyway..."

Photo credit: "Downtown Vancouver, from the air." Shutterstock.


The Olympics of Poop? If you're heading to Rio you might want to avoid the beaches, according to The  Washington Post: "Athletes taking part in water-based events at the Rio Olympics will have to deal with a lot more than fierce competition; they’ll also have to deal with the fierce sludge of human waste because there’s still a lot of sewage being dumped into the city’s waterways, and especially Guanabara Bay, USA Today reports. “A giant pipe running from downtown churns human waste into the marina [on Guanabara Bay] at certain times each day. Rats roam around in the waste. The stench makes uninitiated visitors feel like vomiting or fainting,” USA Today’s Martin Rogers reported Tuesday, less than two weeks before the Games kick off on Aug. 5..."


The Downside of Being Happy. Are you really more creative when you're depressed? Here's an excerpt from a Washington Post story: "...Past studies have suggested that negative feelings can provide fodder for art and trigger more self-reflective thought. Others have shown that influential figures in science and art have a tendency toward depression. But research has not really demonstrated a direct link between sadness and many of the most lasting achievements in art history. Now, a fascinating new study from an economist at the University of Southern Denmark appears to show that link..."


80 F. high temperature Wednesday in the Twin Cities (KMSP).

83 F. average high on July 27.

86 F. high on July 27, 2015.

.48" rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport yesterday.

5.09" rainfall so far in July.

3.49" average rainfall as of July 27.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy. Passing showers, cooler breeze. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 78

THURSDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, a few sprinkles. Low: 61

FRIDAY: More sun, isolated PM shower? Winds: E 5-10. High: near 80

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and drier, statewide. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 82

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and warm sunshine. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: 85

MONDAY: Sticky sun, few strong T-storms.  Wake-up: 69. High: 88

TUESDAY: Sunnier and drier. Still muggy. Wake-up: 71. High: near 90

WEDNESDAY: Touch of the jungle. Steamy with a few T-storms. Wake-up: 73. High: 91


Climate Stories...

Scientists Caught Off-Guard by Record Temperatures Linked to Climate Change. Thomson Reuters Foundation has the story: "Record temperatures in the first half of 2016 have taken scientists by surprise despite widespread recognition that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, the director of the World Climate Research Programme said. The earth is on track for its hottest year on record with June marking the 14th straight month of record heat, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week. Temperatures recorded mainly in the northern hemisphere in the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and "new highs" in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said..."

Graphic credit: Hot Whopper. "Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to June 2016." Data source. GISS NASA


Climate Change Risk Threatens 18 U.S. Military Sites: Study. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "Rising sea levels due to hurricanes and tidal flooding intensified by climate change will put military bases along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast at risk, according to a report released on Wednesday. Nonprofit group the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed 18 military installations that represent more than 120 coastal bases nationwide to weigh the impact of climate change on their operations. Faster rates of sea level rises in the second half of this century could mean that tidal flooding will become a daily occurrence for some installations, pushing useable land needed for military training and testing into tidal zones, said the report titled "The U.S. Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas..."

Image credit: "Naval Station Norfolk—the largest naval installation in the world—is projected to face 4.5 feet to nearly 7 feet of sea level rise this century." Union of Concerned Scientists.


Sea Level Rise a Big Issue for Military in Hampton Roads, Science Says. But Republicans Try To Block Planning. Here's a clip from The Virginian-Pilot: "...Tacked on to defense spending bills passed by the House of Representatives: amendments forbidding the Pentagon from using federal dollars to study climate change or plan for its impacts. Supporters say they want the military focused on enemies such as the Islamic State group, not rising seas. Critics say flooding is a formidable foe as well. “It’s kind of hard to attack the enemy when your base is underwater,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Southeast Virginia Democrat who voted against the ban. Exactly how far underwater depends on a range of factors, says the report, which paints scenarios similar to those predicted in studies conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and others..."


A Stunning Prediction of Climate Science - and Basic Physics - May Now Be Coming True. The Washington Post reports: "A lot of people deny climate change. Not many, though, deny gravity. That’s why a recent animation released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — well, it came out in April, but people seem to be noticing it now — is so striking. Because it suggests the likely gravitational imprint of our changing climate on key features of the Earth in a way that’s truly startling. The animation uses measurements from NASA’s squadron of GRACE satellites (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), which detect changes in mass below them as they fly over the Earth, to calculate how the ocean changed from April 2002 until July 2013, based on corresponding changes in the mass of the continents..."

Animation credit: "NASA created an animation showing “sea level fingerprints,” or patterns of rising and falling sea levels across the globe in response to changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields." (NASA)


Climate Models Are Accurately Predicting Ocean and Global Warming. Dr. John Abraham at the University of St. Thomas authors a story at The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "...Two incorrect but nevertheless consistent denial arguments are that the Earth isn’t warming and that climate models are inaccurate. A new study, published by Kevin Trenberth, Lijing Cheng, and others (I was also an author) answers these questions. The study was just published in the journal Ocean Sciences; a draft of it is available here. In this study, we did a few new things. First, we presented a new estimate of ocean heating throughout its full depth (most studies only consider the top portion of the ocean). Second, we used a new technique to learn about ocean temperature changes in areas where there are very few measurements. Finally, we used a large group of computer models to predict warming rates, and we found excellent agreement between the predictions and the measurements..." (Image: Climate Reanalyzer).


The Climate Change Election. Will Bernie Sander's passionate supporters on climate issues come around to Hillary Clinton? Here's an excerpt of an analysis at Slate: "...The stakes are enormously high. And that means, for the first time in history, the climate caucus feels big enough to matter, or at least, it’s big enough to be worth courting. This small but increasingly vocal minority of the country understands what we’re up against, and knows it will take an economic (if not political) revolution in order to bend the global greenhouse gas emissions trajectory fast enough to avoid locking in dangerous, irreversible, planetary-scale change. When science tells you a certain type of policy is required, and you believe in science, fighting for that policy is an eternal source of motivation..."


How Climate Disasters Can Drive Violent Conflict Around the World. In the words of the U.S. Department of Defense: climate change is a threat multiplier. It aggravates and accelerates other problems, including access to water and the ability to consistently grow crops. By turning up Earth's thermostat we're making it more challenging for a BAU (business as usual) existance. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "It’s increasingly clear that the consequences of climate change won’t stop at just heat waves and sea-level rise. Scientists expect numerous social issues to arise around the world as well, such as food shortages, decreased water quality and forced migrations. And many experts now say that violence, war and other forms of human conflict may be driven or worsened by the effects of climate change. A new study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lends support to the growing body of evidence behind this idea. The study finds that climate-related disasters may enhance the risk of armed conflict around the world — specifically in countries with high levels of ethnic divides..."


Armed Conflict Risks Enhanced by Climate-Related Disasters in Ethnically Fractionalized Countries. Here's an excerpt of the abstract of the new research referenced above: "...Globally, we find a coincidence rate of 9% regarding armed-conflict outbreak and disaster occurrence such as heat waves or droughts. Our analysis also reveals that, during the period in question, about 23% of conflict outbreaks in ethnically highly fractionalized countries robustly coincide with climatic calamities. Although we do not report evidence that climate-related disasters act as direct triggers of armed conflicts, the disruptive nature of these events seems to play out in ethnically fractionalized societies in a particularly tragic way..."


Changing Minds About Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an interesting post at Nexus Media: "...Monday morning quarterbacking is virtually a national pastime whether it be sports or public policy, but when these discussions flout the data and invoke conspiracy theories on a subject of such central and urgent importance, they can safely be classified as reckless. It is morally indefensible to use climate change as a wedge issue. Beyond the subversion of science and the political posturing, there is another insidious source of the misalignment between climate science and public perception of climate change: humans are simply not good at assessing long-term risk. We routinely underestimate threats that creep up on us. Unless there is an immediate negative consequence, we will often march straight into danger..."

Graphic credit: "Observed warming (black line) and projected warming (colored lines) under four emissions scenarios. The bars at right show the possible range in temperature for each scenario." Source: IPCC