Sun Lovers: Just Wait Until January
You may want to check my IQ after reading this (stand in line) but there's an argument to be made for January. Huh? Now hear me out. After 35 winters I've come to realize that numbing cold doesn't bother me nearly as much as a lack of sunlight. According to Mark Seeley November is the cloudiest month of the year; 25-35 percent cloudier than any other month.
A low sun angle can't burn away low, lumpy stratus clouds, like it can in May or even September. The arrival of (real) arctic fronts from the Yukon in January - numbing but dry air - finally chases most of the clouds away. Very often our coldest days are bright and sunny. We can't feel our extremities, but we're grateful for a ration of sunlight.
No full-frontal arctic assaults are brewing looking out 2 weeks. Weekend readings hold in the 30s with a better chance of admiring the sun on Sunday. ECMWF guidance hints at 50F Monday. 40s Thanksgiving Day may give way to mid-50s next Friday to lubricate your shopping adventures.
No big storms are imminent, just a parade of garden-variety cold fronts. Wait 'til sunny January!
Flashes of Indian Summer Next Week. European (ECMWF) guidance for the Twin Cities suggests Monday and Friday will be the mildest days next week; Thanksgiving temperatures in the 40s. Above average? What a concept. Graphic: WeatherBell.
Dark Days of November. Yes, in many respects this is the bleakest month of the year, at least if you need a ration of sunlight to get through the day. Here's an excerpt from Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "If we examine historical climate statistics, November is traditionally the cloudiest month of the year, averaging nearly 6 tenths cloud cover of the sky on a daily basis. This is fully 25 to 35 percent more cloud cover than any other month. In terms of actual solar radiation (both direct and diffuse) the amount reaching the Minnesota landscape during November is approximately half of what it is in the month of July, and when compared with to the month with the next least amount of solar radiation (December) it is still about 8 percent less (a result of the low sun angle and shorter day length). It is no wonder that November traditionally marks the annual onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes called winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression..."
Photo credit: Joan Kruhoeffer.
Remarkable Anomalies. 24-28F warmer than average over Hudson Bay in December? 15-18F warmer than average over Minnesota? NOAA's CFSv2 climate outlook for December is consistently toasty for much of North America. We'll see.
Thanksgiving Day Climatology in the Twin Cities. Here's a clip from The Minnesota DNR: "Measurable snow fell on 29 of the past Thanksgivings back to 1884, about every five years or so. The most snow that fell on Thanksgiving was five inches in 1970. The last time there was measurable snow on Thanksgiving was in 2015 with 1.3 inches of snow. Historically, about one in three Thanksgivings have at least one inch of snow on the ground. The deepest snow pack is a tie with 1921 and 1983, both with 10 inches on the ground by Turkey Day. It occasionally rains on Thanksgiving Day as well. In 1896, a two-day event in the Twin Cities doused Thanksgiving travelers with nearly three inches of rain..."
7 Odd Things That Happen To Your Body When It's Cold Outside. HuffPost has the story: "Unless you’re blessed to live in a magically warm climate all year round (looking at you, Californians and Floridians), frostier weather is rapidly approaching. And that can come with some unexpected mental and physical side effects. Changes in weather come with a lot of changes in your body and mind, according to Dr. Albert Ahn, a clinical instructor of internal medicine at NYU Langone Health. These shifts are important to keep in mind so you stay healthy all season long. We chatted with Ahn about how the winter affects your body so you know what to look out for when the temperature drops. Below are some changes you may not have realized are happening..."
Cold, Snowy Starts Don't Mean The Entire Winter Will Be Cold and Snowy. Exhibit A: 1991, when 28" of snow fell in late October, followed by subzero, record cold in early November. But it didn't last. The rest of the winter (December through February) was the 11th warmest and 93rd snowiest since 1872, according to the Minnesota DNR and State Climatology Office. I wish it was that simple...
What Does Tesla's Automated Truck Mean for Truckers? Here's a clip from a story at WIRED.com: "On Thursday night, Elon Musk rolled out Tesla's biggest gizmo yet: a fully electric semitruck. The Semi can go a whopping 500 miles between charges, hauling 80,000 pounds along the way. And it can sorta, kinda drive itself—on highways, anyway. The truck comes with Enhanced Autopilot, the second generation of Tesla's semiautonomous technology, equipped with automatic braking, lane keeping, and lane departure warnings. "Every truck we sell has Autopilot as standard," Musk said of the Semi, which goes into production in 2019. "This is a massive increase in safety." That may be true—about 4,000 Americans die in truck-related collisions every year, and human error is responsible for many of them..."
Photo credit: Tesla.
Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow. Check out the story at Rolling Stone: "...And that's just one of Musk's ambitions. Others include converting automobiles, households and as much industry as possible from fossil fuels to sustainable energy; implementing a new form of high-speed city-to-city transportation via vacuum tube; relieving traffic congestion with a honeycomb of underground tunnels fitted with electric skates for cars and commuters; creating a mind-computer interface to enhance human health and brainpower; and saving humanity from the future threat of an artificial intelligence that may one day run amok and decide, quite rationally, to eliminate the irrational human species..."
Photo credit: "Musk at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, this fall."
BMW Dumps Coal in Pledge for 100% Renewable Power. Bloomberg has details: "BMW AG’s plan to switch exclusively to green electricity finds it tapping some unusual power sources, including a South African biomass plant that runs on cow dung and chicken droppings. The arrangement is part of the carmaker’s bid to shift all its external power purchases to renewables by 2020, up from 63 percent last year, head of procurement Markus Duesmann said in a speech at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn. Meeting the target means the carmaker will buy local clean power for all its 31 production sites in 14 countries, said Duesmann. BMW is already getting power from diverse sources such as wind turbines at its plant in Leipzig, Germany. It’s also getting methane gas from a landfill near its Spartanburg operation in South Carolina, he said..."
The Most Dedicated Music Fans? Country? Rock? Hip Hop? Nope. A story at Quartzy explains: "It is metal—yes, metal, meaning decades-old groups like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Kiss—that actually has the most loyal fans, it turns out. That’s per Spotify data analyzing the genres with the highest global loyalty, measured by the number of streams divided by the number of listeners per artist. Metal is number one by far on the list, ahead of genres like hip-hop, country, and rock by as much as 50%. In the US alone, metal has about twice as much listener loyalty as EDM, rap, or jazz…Why does metal has such loyal fans? It likely comes down to a combination of niche attraction, the intensity of the music itself and the types of relationships that listeners tend to form with it—and metal’s aging community of fans, who have now hit the prime point of exquisite cultural nostalgia…"
New Zealand's War on Rats Could Change the World. The Atlantic explains why: "...Through mathematical simulations conducted with colleagues at Harvard, he has now shown that gene drives are even more invasive than he expected. Even the weakest CRISPR-based gene drives would thoroughly invade wild populations, if just a few carriers were released. They’re so powerful that Esvelt says they shouldn’t be tested on a small scale. If conservationists tried to eliminate rats on a remote island using gene drives, it would only take a few strongly swimming rodents to spread the drive to the mainland—and beyond. “You cannot simply sequester them and wall them off from the wider world,” Esvelt says. They’ll eventually spread throughout the full range of the species they target. And if that species is the brown rat, you’re talking about the entire planet..."
38 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.
40 F. average high on November 17.
58 F. high on November 17, 2016.
November 18, 1994: 58 to 69 mph wind gusts result in isolated damage to structures across south central and southeastern Minnesota. Some of the counties included were Blue Earth, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Rice, Steele, and Waseca.
November 18, 1979: A heat wave continues in Southwest Minnesota. The temperature hits 70 degrees at Browns Valley.
OVERNIGHT: Cloudy and foggy with light rain and drizzle tapering. Low: 29
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, windy. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 36
SUNDAY: Cold start, at least the sun is out. Winds: SW 7-12
MONDAY: Mild sun, hints of Indian Summer? Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 28. High: near 50
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, Canadian exhaust. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 33
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny with less wind. Winds: A 5-10. Wake-up: 16. High: 33
THANKSGIVING: Intervals of sun, milder. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 30. High: 45
BLACK FRIDAY: Mild start, clouds increase, shower? Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 33. High: 51
The Thawing Arctic Threatens an Environmental Catastrophe. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Economist: "...The Snowhotel’s lengthening off-season is a small sign of an immense transformation in the Arctic, where the environment is changing more rapidly than in the rest of the world. Little can be done to keep its white wastes intact. A great thaw is inevitable as the climate responds to an accumulation of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. International efforts to limit global warming will at best slow the changes, perhaps making the consequences merely terrible rather than catastrophic. “The Paris agreement will not save the Arctic as it is today,” says Lars-Otto Reiersen, executive secretary of the group behind the latest edition of “Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic” (SWIPA), a report produced under the auspices of the Arctic Council, a scientific-policy club for the eight countries with territory in the Arctic Circle), as well as observers including China and India..."
Scientists Are Skeptical Political Leaders Can Meet Climate Goal. Bloomberg has the story: "Climate negotiators inserted a dramatic charge in the 2015 Paris accord, asking world leaders to strive to keep global temperatures at just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Now new studies have begun to sketch out what the tighter target -- compared to the longtime benchmark goal of 2 degrees (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) -- actually means. Their overall message to climate envoys meeting in Bonn, Germany this week: Better get cracking. “We would need an incredibly dramatic reduction in emissions in the very near future,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist with Berkeley Earth. He called the 1.5 degree target “a little ridiculous and implausible...”
Image credit: NOAA.
TO THE COURTS: From Climate Nexus Hot News: "Evidence strong enough to sue fossil fuel companies for climate impacts, study says (Climate Liability News), appeals court takes up youth climate change lawsuit against Trump (InsideClimate News), 'we should be on the offensive' – James Hansen calls for wave of climate lawsuits (The Guardian)"
Image credit: NASA.
Democrats are Shockingly Unprepared to Fight Climate Change. The Atlantic explains why: "There’s a wrinkle in how the United States talks about climate change in 2017, a tension fundamental to the issue’s politics but widely ignored. On the one hand, Democrats are the party of climate change. Since the 1990s, as public belief in global warming has become strongly polarized, the Democratic Party has emerged as the advocate of more aggressive climate action. The most recent Democratic president made climate policy a centerpiece of his second term, and the party’s national politicians now lament and oppose the undoing of his work. Concern for the climate isn’t just an elite issue, either: Rank-and-file Democrats are more likely to worry about global warming than the median voter. On the other hand, the Democratic Party does not have a plan to address climate change..."
Image credit: Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock / Eric Thayer / Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters / Paul Spella / The Atlantic.
It's OK That Democrats Don't Have a National Climate Policy. In a bit of a rebutal to the story in The Atlantic above Eric Holthaus writes a story for Grist; here's an excerpt: "...And contrary to what you might hear in Washington, pro-climate efforts don’t come at the expense of the economy. In New York City, emissions are down 15 percent since 2005. In the same timeframe, the economy has grown by 19 percent. In Minneapolis, emissions are down 18 percent while the economy is up 30 percent. Even in red states like Kansas and Texas, bipartisan coalitions are emerging to take advantage of tremendous renewable energy resources in wind and solar. In 2005, Kansas sourced less than 1 percent of its electricity from wind. Now, it’s at 25 percent and, like California, is on pace to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources in the next few years. There is now a nationwide job boom in construction and installation of renewable energy..."
Image credit: U.S. Department of Energy.
Climate Change is Here: Wisconsin Is Seeing Earlier Springs, Later Falls, Less Snow and More Floods. Here's a clip from a story at madison.com: "...Badger State folks have a front-row seat to the effects of global warming, which are significantly more pronounced in northern latitudes. In Wisconsin, more than states to the south, climate change is ushering in earlier springs, later falls, less snow, less lake ice, more floods, more drought, more algae. More heat. Scientists with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Initiative on Climate Change Impacts — an effort to identify climate change fallout and offer coping strategies — believe that the effects can be mitigated with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. They believe that policy makers and public agencies can take measures to adapt. But those measures are on indefinite hold..."
Map credit: . By Brandon Raygo
These Are The Melting Glaciers That Might Someday Drown Your City, According to NASA. Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post: "New York City has plenty to worry about from sea level rise. But according to a new study by NASA researchers, it should worry specifically about two major glacier systems in Greenland’s northeast and northwest — but not so much about other parts of the vast northern ice sheet. The research draws on a curious and counterintuitive insight that sea level researchers have emphasized in recent years: As ocean levels rise around the globe, they will not do so evenly. Rather, because of the enormous scale of the ice masses that are melting and feeding the oceans, there will be gravitational effects and even subtle effects on the crust and rotation of the Earth. This, in turn, will leave behind a particular “fingerprint” of sea level rise, depending on when and precisely which parts of Greenland or Antarctica collapse..."
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