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Mild through Monday. First Cold Blast Next Week

3rd Wettest January - November on Record for the Twin Cities

Year to date precipitation through December 1st saw 38.18" of precipitation in the Twin Cities, which is 8.69". According to the Twin Cities NWS, the first 11 months of 2016 have been the 3rd wettest in history! Interestingly, Waseca set a new annual state precip record with 54.13" and the year isn't over yet!

Green Grass in December?

Welcome to meteorological winter... I know that calendar says December, but it sure doesn't look like it. For goodness Pete, my grass is green! I should stir things up and fire up the lawn mower... freak out the neighbors a little.

Ely MN

The picture below is from Ely, MN on Friday, which still shows a little snow on the ground from the big storm system that moved through a couple of weeks ago. 

Snow Depth Comparison 2016 vs 2015

Here's a look at the snow depth comparison from now to this time last year. Note that there is only a little snow left across parts of western and northern MN from the storm system a couple of weeks ago. Last year at this time, much of the state had a least a little bit of snow. The Twin Cites officially had 3" of snow on the ground as of December 2nd, 2015.

MN Snow Depth & Ranking

Here's a look at the snow depth across the state as of Thursday, December 1st. Note that much of the heavy snow that fell across western and northern MN a couple of weeks ago has since melted due to the ongoing mild weather through the end of November.

Each Thursday during the cold season, the State Climatology Office produces maps depicting the snow depth across Minnesota. Additionally, maps are created that depict snow depth ranking for the date. The data are provided by volunteers working with DNR Forestry, the National Weather Service, the University of Minnesota, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and CoCoRaHS.

 
Trail Conditions 
 
Here's another nice product from the MN State Climatology office, which shows updated groomed trail conditions across the state. Note that with very little snow conditions across the state, many trails are either closed or in poor condition. 
 
 
 
National Snow Cover

According to NOAA's NOHRSC, 28.6% of the nation was covered up in snow as of December 2nd. Last year at this time, 34.7% of the nation was covered up by snow!

 

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Somewhat Active Pattern With Colder Temps Ahead.

Here's the weather outlook from Saturday to Friday of next week. Note that we seem to have a few shots of light precipitation across the region, but at this point, nothing major is brewing. The big story will be the MUCH colder weather funneling into the region by the 2nd half of the week. This will be some of the coldest air of the season with highs dipping to well below normal temps for a several day period.

 
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
 
The 5 day precipitation outlook through the middle part of next week suggests fairly light precipitation amounts across the Upper Midwest. The heaviest moisture looks to be found across the Ohio Valley and parts of the Great Lakes Region. 
 
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Mild through Monday. First Cold Blast Next Week

Welcome to Meteorological Winter... I know the calendar says December, but it sure doesn't look like it. For goodness Pete, my grass is green! I should stir things up a little and fire up the lawn mower, freak out the neighbors a little.

After the 2nd warmest November on record and the warmest October through November on record for the Twin Cities, weather maps are starting to finally look a little more like winter. For the first time since 2013, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is suggesting cooler than average temperatures across the entire Lower 48 and Alaska at the end of next week! This surge of Arctic air will be some of the coldest air of the season for most across the nation. Ice anglers will be happy as we will finally start seeing skim ice on area lakes. Yes, we're on our way! Now we just need snow for skiers and snowmobilers.

No worries Saturday. Temps will be near average with a little light rain/snow mix moving in Saturday night and Sunday. Temps on Monday warm into the 40s before our first real whack of winter chill.

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Extended Weather Outlook

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, no travel problems. Winds: S 5-10. High: 34

SATURDAY NIGHT: Chance of light snow late. Winds: S 5-10. Low: 30.

SUNDAY: Chance of a light/rain snow mix early. Winds: WSW 5. High: 38

MONDAY: Peeks of AM sun. Few PM showers. Winds: SSW 5-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 42

TUESDAY: Brisk wind, lingering light snow. Winds: WNW 10-20. Wake-up: 28. High: 28

WEDNESDAY: Cold. A few wind-whipped flurries. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 12. High: 19

THURSDAY: Chilly breeze continues. Light snow. Winds: WNW 10-20+ Wake-up: 10. High: 20 (teens for much of Minnesota).

FRIDAY: Less wind. Peeks of PM Sun. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 16. High: 24.
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This Day in Weather History
December 3rd

1998: Albert Lea soars to a record-setting 67 degrees.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
December 3rd

Average High: 31F (Record: 62F set in 1962)
Average Low: 17F (Record: -19F set in 1940)

Record Snowfall: 7.4" set in 1934
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 3rd

Sunrise: 7:33am
Sunset: 4:32pm

*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~1mins & 22sec
*Daylight Lost Since Summer Solstice: ~6hours and 36mins
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Moon Phase for December 3rd at Midnight
3.1 Days Before First Quarter

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Weather Outlook Saturday

High temps on Saturday will still be running slightly above average levels with many locations warming into the 30s. A few locations across the far north and Arrowhead region will likely hover in the upper 20s to near 30F, which will still be above average by a few degrees.

 
High Temperatures From Average Saturday
 
Here's a look at high temperatures from average on Saturday and note that many locations across the state of MN will still be running above average. Note that the Red River Valley will be nearly 10F above average! Enjoy the 'warmth' while you can, MUCH cooler weather will be moving in next week.
 

Weather Outlook Saturday

Winds will not be an issue on during the day Saturday, but they will be a little stronger across far western MN with sustained winds near 10mph with gusts up to 15-20mph! This will be ahead of a weak clipper system that will bring a light rain/snow mix to the region late Saturday into Sunday. 

Weather Outlook Saturday

No weather issues are expected during the day Saturday as mostly cloudy skies continue with a few peeks of sun. However, a quick moving clipper system will slide into the region late Saturday/Sunday with a light rain/snow mix.


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Simulated Radar
 
The simulated radar from Saturday to Monday shows mostly quiet weather across the region early Saturday, but a quick moving clipper will bring us a quick shot of a light rain/snow mix late Saturday into Sunday.
 
 
Snowfall Potential

Here's a look a the snowfall potential through PM Monday, which shows VERY light snow chances across the region. It appears that most of us won't see any accumulations, but there could be up to 1" across MN's north shore and into central Wisconsin.

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Extended Weather Outlook

The temperature outlook for Minneapolis into next weekend shows some big changes coming through the weather pipeline. Note the warming taking place through Monday, but a fiarly significant whack of colder air settles in by the middle and end of next week with highs dipping into the 10s and 20s. Overnight lows will also dip into the single digits and 10s across much of the state. 

6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 6 to 10 day temperature outlook suggests colder than average temperatures settling into the region as we continue through the first part of December. Note that this will likely be some of the coldest air of the season for many spots across the Upper Midwest. 

6 to 10 Day Temp Outlook

Here's the national temperature outlook from December 8th - December 12th, which shows a big chunk for colder than average temperatures settling into much of the nation. This will be one of the first big colder outbreaks of the season, so get ready!

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National Weather Outlook

The weather looks to be fairly active across the southern US as we head through the weekend. A large blob of Gulf of Mexico moisture will begin settling into the South-central US with areas of heavy rainfall and scattered storms, some possibly strong to severe into early next week. Meanwhile, heavier moisture in the form of coastal rain and high elevation snow will move into the Pacific Northwest.

 
5 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation outlook suggests significant moisture across the southern US through the middle part of next week. Widespread 2" to 4" (isolated 4" to 8") can't be ruled out. This may lead to areas of flooding, but this additional heavy rain will be very beneficial for the drought conditions in the Southeast.

US Drought Monitor

Here's the updated drought monitor from Thursday, December 1st, which shows widespread extreme to exceptional drought conditions across much of the Southeast. While heavy rainfall last week helped some, we need more, so the upcoming heavy rainfall through the first full week of December (next week) is good news!

Rainfall Needed to End Drought

The product below suggests how much rainfall is needed to end the drought. Note that many spots need nearly a foot of rain or more to end the drought. These are the areas that are in an extreme to exceptional drought!

National Snowfall Outlook

Here's the potential snowfall through the the middle part of December, which shows the POTENTIAL of heavier snow developing across the northern tier of the nation over the next couple of weeks. This would be a big change from what we had during much of November as it was a generally quiet and warm month across the nation.

 

 
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Drought Update

According to the US Drought Monitor, 55% of the nation of considered to be abnormally dry, while 17% of the country is in a severe drought, 8% is in an extreme drought and nearly 3% is in an exceptional drought. This is a little worse than it was a week ago. The good news is that we've recently gotten into a more active pattern, so hopefully we'll see some improvement in drought conditions across parts of the nation.

 
Upcoming Heavy Rain in the South
 
Take a look at the heavy potential across the southern US through the end of the weekend! Widespread heavy rainfall could lead to areas of flooding over the next few days, especially over eastern Texas and the Lower Mississippi Valley. Not only will heavy rain be possible, but a few strong to severe storms may be possible into early next week as well.
 
 
Heavy Southern Rain
 
Here's a look at the heavy rain potential through PM Sunday. Note that some spots in the eastern part of Texas and into the Lower Mississippi Valley could see up to 3" to 6"+ rainfall.
 
 
Santa Ana Winds Through PM Saturday
 
An area of high pressure settling into the Southwest is allowing the Santa Anas to blow. Take a look at the locally strong winds that will be in place over southern California through PM Saturday.
 
 
Santa Ana Wind Event Through PM Saturday
 
...STRONG AND DAMAGING SANTA ANA WINDS EXPECTED THROUGH SATURDAY... .A STRONG SANTA ANA WIND EVENT WILL AFFECT MOST OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES THROUGH SATURDAY. WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN THIS MORNING...THEN REMAIN STRONG TO DAMAGING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE IN THE MOUNTAINS...INCLUDING THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS WHERE DAMAGING PEAK GUSTS TO 80 MPH ARE EXPECTED. THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY AND EASTERN PORTION OF THE VENTURA COUNTY VALLEYS WILL HAVE DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 60 MPH. WIND ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT FOR THE REMAINDER OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES TODAY THROUGH SATURDAY WHERE GUSTS OF 40 TO 50 MPH ARE EXPECTED. ISOLATED DAMAGING GUSTS TO 60 MPH ARE POSSIBLE NEAR FAVORED FOOTHILL LOCATIONS IN THE NORTHWEST PORTION OF THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY.
 

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"Earth’s temperature has not plunged at record clip and nationwide record cold not coming"

"Meteorologists and climatologists frequently confront bad information about their science on the Internet and elsewhere. It’s nothing new. But in the past week, particularly egregious claims emerged that have been perpetuated by outlets with large audiences."

These two dubious and deceptive assertions must be dismantled:

1) The global land temperature has just experienced its biggest drop on record.

2) Record cold is predicted for most of the U.S. next week.

"The Earth’s temperature has not crashed at a record pace. The misleading claim that global land temperatures have plunged by a record margin was first reported by David Rose of the Daily Mail last week, and it was amplified today in a piece by James Delingpole at Breitbart News. “Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year — their biggest and steepest fall on record,” Rose’s article begins. Yet it’s easy to explain why this assertion is not only misleading but also pointless. First, Rose’s claim relies on the satellite record of Earth’s temperature estimated from space, which only dates to 1978. The surface-temperature record, which directly measures the planet’s temperature using thermometers and dates to the late 1800s, exhibits a drop but not a record drop."

See more from WashingtonPost HERE:

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"Expect Climate Catastrophe: Paris Agreement Lacks Enforcement"
 
"Enforcement mechanisms for climate change targets are not being implemented, including in the Paris Agreement of December 2015. We are actually sliding backwards on this critical element of a global climate deal. Sanctions were agreed in 2001, that any developed countries that missed emission limits between 2008 and 2012 would have even steeper limits in the future. That has since lapsed. In 2011, all countries agreed that a climate agreement should have “legal force.” Legal force requires an enforcement mechanism, which the Paris Agreement lacks. The E.U. pushed hard for binding targets in the Paris Agreements, including international sanctions for noncompliance. Those did not come about. Bolivia called for an International Climate Justice Tribunal with the mandate to penalize countries for lack of compliance. There is no tribunal in the Paris Agreement. Rather, most developed and emerging economies have systematically resisted international enforcement mechanisms. China (the world’s biggest emissions producer), Russia, the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, Australia, and major energy exporters, resisted the toughest climate change countermeasures over the years, including international monitoring and sanctions. Some in these countries have bemoaned the loss of sovereignty from transparency and enforceable international climate deals. As a result, the 2°C limit in the Paris Agreement on climate change, which started this month, is unenforceable and therefore solely an aspiration if the world can achieve carbon neutrality by 2100. The way things are going, that is unlikely. The Paris Agreement is now among over 500 similarly powerless global and regional environmental agreements. President-elect Trump and other Republicans have dismissed global warming and the international coordination required to stop it. The countries most responsible for lagging in their pledges and policies since the Paris Agreement include Russia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S., China, India, Brazil, and E.U. countries also lag in their pledges and policies to achieve a climate-neutral future. Those countries that most opposed enforcement, unsurprisingly, also lag in their policy measures to achieve the Paris goals."
 
 
{INNER MONGOLIA, CHINA - NOVEMBER 04: A Chinese labourer stands next to a cooling pit at an unauthorized steel factory on November 4, 2016 in Inner Mongolia, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)}

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"NOAA satellites go HD with GOES-R"
 
"Last week, NOAA engineers and satellite mission scientists had something extra to be thankful for: the successful launch of GOES-R on November 19. Providing more timely and accurate information over the Western hemisphere, total lightning mapping, and higher resolution images streaming down from space more often, the new mission marks the first major redesign of the nation’s operational Earth-observing technology in more than 20 years. A Rich History. NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) have served as the foundation of the nation’s near real-time weather and environmental monitoring system since the launch of GOES-1 in 1975. GOES-1 only viewed the Earth every 30 minutes. Our current GOES East and GOES West satellites were launched in 2006 and 2010 respectively, and while they’ve come a long way from the technology of the 70s, all you have to do is think of how much your cell phone has changed since 2006 and you can understand why our weather satellites were due for an upgrade. (Hint: The first generation iPhone came out in 2007). “We’ve been flying operational geostationary satellites for 41 years now, and for the last 22 years we’ve been flying the same basic instrument design,” said Steve Goodman, senior scientist for the GOES-R program. “This is the first major upgrade in 22 years.” GOES-R launched with six key instruments, with two pointing towards the Earth, two focused on the surrounding space environment, and two more keeping an eye on the sun.  For monitoring Earth’s weather climate research, it’s the two pointing towards Earth that are the most exciting."
 
 
(A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 lifts off with NASA's GOES-R satellite. GOES-R is the first of four satellites to be launched for NOAA in a new and advanced series of spacecraft. Once in geostationary orbit, it will be known as GOES-16. Taken on November 19, 2016. Credit: United Launch Alliance.)

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"NOAA: Record 11th Hurricane Season Ends Without Major Strike on U.S."
 
"As November 2016 ended, the United Sates completed a record 11 straight hurricane seasons without a major hurricane striking the U.S. mainland, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. An unprecedented 11 years, one month and seven days has passed since the last major hurricane struck the U.S. mainland, according to data going back to 1851compiled by NOAA. “The 2016 hurricane season will end officially on November 30. Hurricane Wilma was the last major hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) to strike the U.S. (October 24, 2005),” NOAA spokesman Dennis Feltgen told CNSNews.com. Major hurricanes, defined on the scale as a Category 3 or above, are characterized by wind speeds of 111 mph or higher and strong storm surges capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage. “It is important to note that this scale covers only the wind impact,” Feltgen noted. “It has nothing to do with the water impact, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of the fatalities - 50 percent of which occur from storm surge and 25 percent from inland flooding."
 
 
(Image credit: NOAA)

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Homesick For Minnesota Candle
 
Looking for a good XMAS present? How about these homesick candles. There's one for every state! Here's Minnesotas:
 
"Takes you back to The North Star State, with scents reminiscent of winter air and Minnesota apple strudel"
 
 
 

Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

Wintry Slap Arrives Next Week - Subzero Chill 2 Weeks Away?

After a Warm 2016 December Will Bring Payback

"Winter is nature’s way of saying, "Up yours." wrote Robert Byrne. Then again, the atmosphere doesn't play favorites. It reacts to forcings: a low sun angle, long nights, interactions with oceans, arctic ice & CO2. Seemingly chaotic and infinitely complex, weather results from uneven heating and cooling; an atmosphere in search of equilibrium which never quite comes.

But there CAN be payback!

Long stretches of abnormally warm weather are often followed by jabs of brutally cold air. We just enjoyed 2 Octobers in a row; November was 10.4F warmer than average in the Twin Cities. Minnesota is due for a "correction". And it's coming.

Like ocean swells breaking in a rising tide bitter air won't arrive all at once. By the end of next week, teens and 20s. By mid-December we may dip below 0F.

Too much cold air arriving too fast can push the storm track south/east of MSP. Latest model runs suggest heavy snow falling on Iowa & Wisconsin Wednesday/Thursday of next week. A very close call.

It was a nice long vacation from wind chill. Almost time to dig out the parkas and welcome winter! 


Ouch. Other words came to mind, but I'm trying to keep this all PG. It's only a (GFS) forecast, but if the NOAA's premiere, long-range, global model verifies air temperatures by December 17 may be in the -10 to -20F range across Minnesota; maybe -30s for the Dakotas - with subfreezing air reaching the Gulf Coast and northern Florida. I'm not convinced it's going to get this cold but there's little doubt the honeymoon is just about over. Old Man Winter is itching for payback.



84-Hour Forecast. The animation above shows hour by hour predicted precipitation and isobars into Sunday evening. Rain and snow showers linger for northern New England; a cold rain blossoms by Saturday over Texas with a shield of rain advancing into the Mid South, Midwest and Ohio Valley, mixed with snow from the Texas Panhandle into Iowa and Minnesota Sunday. Source: Tropicaltidbits.com.

10-Day Snowfall Potential. Here is the GFS solution, showing plowable snows downwind of the Great Lakes, far northern Minnesota and the higher terrain of the Pacific Northwest by Sunday morning, December 11. Animation: AerisWeather.

A Balmy November. All those cities with red dots experienced the warmest November on record, in most cases dating back to the late 1800s. Map: NOAA NCDC and Aeris AMP.

November Precipitation. The wettest weather last month was observed from northern California into western Oregon and Washington State. Significant rains fell fromm Texas into the Mid South late in the month, but not enough to erase an extended and debilitating drought.

November Precipitation Departure From Normal. The Upper Midwest and coastal Pacific Northwest was considerably wetter than average last month, but drier than average weather prevailed for much of the eastern USA.


Top 10 Driest November. Florida gets the Goldest Dust Award with 8 cities experiencing one of the 10 driest Novembers on record. The pattern is shifting; the arrival of much colder Canadian air capable of spinning up more numerous, intense (and wet) storms from coast to coast in the weeks ahead.


Serious Catching Up To Do. A couple of storms won't pull the southeastern USA out of extreme to exceptional drought. It will take the better part of 2-3 months of consistently wetter than average conditions to recharge soil moisture, lakes, rivers and reservoirs.


Extreme Tornado Outbreaks Are Happening More Often Across the U.S. Is there a climate connection or is this a meteorological coincidence? It's unclear. But wind shear (helicity) is on the increase, creating an environment more ripe for tornadoes. Gizmodo reports: "Tornadoes that come in bunches are on the rise in the United States, according to a new study. Though it might be tempting to blame climate change, scientists aren’t entirely sure what’s causing this troubling trend. From 1965 to 2015, the frequency of tornado outbreaks—that is, six or more tornadoes that occur in close succession—has increased in the continental United States, according to a new study published in the journal Science. Alarmingly, these extreme weather clusters have caused nearly 80 percent of tornado-related fatalities between 1972 and 2010. The Columbia Engineering scientists who conducted this research say tornado outbreaks are not just increasing in frequency over time, they’re also increasing in terms of severity. The scientists are at a loss to explain why this is happening, and say further research is warranted..."

Photo credit: "A pair of tornadoes seen near Pilger, Nebraska, in June 2014". (Image: Eric Anderson/AP).


Tornado Swarms Are On The Rise - But Don't Blame Climate Change. Then again, we don't know what we don't know. Eric Roston provides more context at Bloomberg: "...Researchers generally expect that CAPE may mean more extreme storms. The other major ingredient in these violent storms is vertical wind shear, the phenomenon of wind direction and intensity shifting with altitude. Unlike CAPE, shear hasn’t been projected to change much with global warming. What they found—"the wrinkle," as lead author Michael Tippett put it—was wind shear tracked the tornado-outbreak trends more closely than CAPE. "Who do I blame for the trend, is it the CAPE or is it the wind shear? I think a lot of people, including us, would have expected CAPE. That's not what we see. So that's why it's a wrinkle..." 

Graphic credit above: "The number of tornadoes spawned in outbreaks has been increasing, according to researchers at Columbia University and Rockefeller University. Tornado strength is measured on the Fujita scale, with F5 being the most powerful." Michael K. Tippett and Joel E. Cohen, Nature Communications, February 2016.


Busiest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 2012. Details via NOAA: "As the Atlantic, eastern Pacific and central Pacific 2016 hurricane seasons end today, NOAA scientists said that all three regions saw above-normal seasons. For the Atlantic, this was the first above-normal season since 2012. The Atlantic saw 15 named storms during 2016, including 7 hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole, and Otto), 3 of which were major hurricanes (Gaston, Matthew and Nicole). NOAA’s updated hurricane season outlook in August called for 12 to 17 named storms, including 5 to 8 hurricanes, with 2 to 4 of those predicted to become major hurricanes. Five named storms made landfall in the United States during 2016, the most since 2008 when six storms struck. Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Matthew struck South Carolina. Tropical Storms Colin and Julia, as well as Hurricane Hermine, made landfall in Florida. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005..."


GOES-R Is Now GOES-16! Good news from NOAA NESDIS: "November 29, 2016, NOAA's GOES-R satellite executed its final liquid apogee engine burn without anomaly. This has placed the satellite approximately 22,000 miles away with an inclination of 0.0 degrees, meaning it has reached geostationary orbit. GOES-R is now GOES-16! Later today, GOES-16 will perform its second stage solar array deployment, releasing the solar array yoke and solar pointing platform. In the days that follow, the software will be transitioned from the 'orbit raising' mission phase to 'operational,' several maneuvers will be conducted to adjust the satellites precise orbit, and the magnetometer boom will be deployed. Testing and calibration of GOES-16 will then begin."


 


U.S. Military Prepares For The Next Frontier: Space War. CNN reports : "Since man first explored space, it has been a largely peaceful environment. But now US adversaries are deploying weapons beyond Earth's atmosphere, leading the US military to prepare for the frightening prospect of war in space. "As humans go out there, there has always been conflict. Conflict in the Wild West as we move in the West ... conflict twice in Europe for its horrible world wars," Gen. John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told CNN. "So, every time humans actually physically move into that, there's conflict, and in that case, we'll have to be prepared for that." Today, the US depends on space more than any other nation..."


The Long, Politically Fraught History of Seeds in the U.S. Remember when the government used to give seeds away? Here's a clip from a story, courtesy of Tedium and Atlas Obscura: "When you’re looking to plant a fresh urban garden, it’s natural to hit your local store and buy a bunch of tomato seeds, perhaps some carrot seeds, and maybe you’re in the mood for some spice, so you add a couple of habanero seeds to the cart. Soon, you might plant these seeds in the ground, without even giving a second thought to the fact that you showed your support to the commercial seed industry. It’s a heckuva lot larger than you’d think, bringing in $45 billion globally each year according to the American Seed Trade Association. Now, you might be wondering to yourself, “Wait, $45 billion? How? Can’t commercial farmers just use the seeds left over by the plants they grow?” Well, this issue is way more complicated than that. And, largely, you can thank genetically modified crops, and, more specifically, the 1980 Supreme Court case that paved the way for them..."

Photo credit: "Seeds on display". liz west/CC BY 2.0


Study Finds Conservative and GOP Support for Clean Energy. Here's an excerpt from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "...Among the findings in the survey was widespread support for solar power and for state utility rules known as net metering that ease the path both for homeowners to add solar and dairy farmers to generate electricity from manure digesters. Other key findings:

  • 70% of voters surveyed believe the U.S. should put more emphasis on wind energy production, and 76% support increased solar production. More than half of those polled think the country should put less emphasis on coal, with just 23% favoring more emphasis on coal.
  • Republican, Democrat and independent voters all show strong support for adoption of an energy optimization standard in their state, under which utilities are required to help customers reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency programs and products..."

Image credit: Xcel Energy.


Q&A: How Political Changes Will Impact The Market for Microgrids. We don't think twice about relying on local sources for food, why not energy? Here's an excerpt from Midwest Energy News: "...Microgrids don’t just supply electricity. Microgrids offer resilience and protection against long-term outages. That value must have some sort of price attached to it, there has to be a way to monetize it. Some states, like New York, are working on pricing for services based on a range of values including things like resiliency and sustainability. Minnesota pioneered this concept with value-of-solar pricing...."

Photo credit: "Surveying equipment as part of a microgrid demonstration and competition."


Clean Energy Gains Ground - But Old Dirty Habits Die Hard. Here's the intro from Reuters: "Solar power is becoming so cheap so fast that in Abu Dhabi it's now less costly to produce a unit of energy from the sun than from oil, leading energy experts said this week. But that doesn’t mean a global switch to renewable energy will be inevitable or speedy, they told a London conference. Difficult and sometimes unexpected problems still stand in the way, including pension funds heavily invested in fossil fuels, upfront costs for clean power, political flip-flops in key nations, and the lobbying prowess of old energy companies..."


See What People of 1967 Imagined The World Would Be Like in 1999. Is this a young Bill Gates pondering Windows back in the 60s? Wait, my PC still looks like this, come to think of it. The video from Atlas Obscura is worth checking out. As Yogi Berra said: forecasts are hard, especially about the future: "...This short film, produced in 1967 by the Philco-Ford Corporation, a maker of battery-powered tech, imagines the distant future of the year 1999. Amid all the mid-century-modern set dressing, they actually got a lot of things right. In this “society of tomorrow,” we can see precursors to personal computers, email, FaceTime, podcasts (complete with the 2x speed feature), online shopping, 3D imaging and more..."


39 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities yesterday.

32 F. average high on December 1.

34 F. high on December 1, 2015.

December 2, 1985: Record low highs are set in north and east central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from the single digits below zero to the singles digits above. Alexandria was the cold spot with a high of 4 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Other record low high temperatures included Redwood Falls with 3 below, Long Prairie with zero, and Litchfield and Little Falls with 5 degrees above zero.

December 2, 1982: A record high of 63 degrees is set at the Twin Cities.


TODAY: More clouds than sun, seasonably chilly. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 33

FRIDAY NIGHT: Leftover clouds. Low: 25

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, no travel problems. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 36

SUNDAY: Light snow or flurries. Icy coating possible. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 37

MONDAY: Cloudy, breezy and milder. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 42

TUESDAY: Cold front arrives, few flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 32. High: 37

WEDNESDAY: Colder, chance of snow late in the day. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 22. High: 29

THURSDAY: Heaviest snow pushes east. Icy roads. Winds: NW 10-20+ Wake-up: 14. High: 22 (teens for much of Minnesota)


Climate Stories...

Ivanka Trump, Climate Czar? At this point nothing would surprise me - my fingers are crossed. Here's an excerpt from a story at Politico: "...Ivanka, 35, Trump’s avatar among the moneyed left-wing elite, is now poised to be the first “first daughter” in modern history to play a larger public role than the first lady. And she’s positioning herself exactly as she did that weekend — as a bridge to moderates and liberals disgusted and depressed with the tone and tenor of the new leader of the free world. And the ambitious daughter, who once plotted her career around international brand domination, is planning to take on an even heavier lift. Ivanka wants to make climate change — which her father has called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese — one of her signature issues, a source close to her told Politico. The source said Ivanka is in the early stages of exploring how to use her spotlight to speak out on the issue..."

Photo credit: "Ivanka Trump wants to make climate change one of her signature issues, a source close to her told POLITICO." AP Photo.


Meteorologist Paul Douglas Talks Climate Change Under Trump. My thanks to Jim Poyser at NUVO in Indianapolis. Here's an excerpt of a recent interview: "...It is going to be really hard to keep that whole hoax mentality going as the symptoms become more frequent and egregious. Climate change is a slow-motion transformation. The seas are rising slowly. Seasons are getting longer, and that's been a gradual process. But we're getting clubbed over the head with greater frequency. The United States has seen six separate 1000-year floods since October of 2015. My first instinct is to give President-elect Trump a chance. Give him the space to adapt his worldview. He may decide the costs are too high to pull out of the Paris Agreement, or the costs are too high to pull out of the Clean Power Plan. On the same level, it doesn't matter who's in the White House or heading up the EPA. The clean energy economy ... that train has left the station and it is not going to be derailed. And the reason is pure economics. Decarbonization is not going to come about through a political kumbaya moment in Washington D.C. Decarbonization is going to come about because of economics and energy security..."


Meteorologist Connects Weather Data, Climate Dots. My thanks to RepublicEn for highlighting "Caring for Creation" and our efforts to frame the climate threat/opportunity for a faith-based audience: "...Douglas intends to give President-elect Donald Trump "space to adapt his worldview" on climate change. "If in fact this becomes a rabid, climate change-denying administration, it will go against the grain of much of what the GOP has done in previous incarnations," he said, citing the environmental accomplishments of Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Teddy Roosevelt. "There are still a lot of Teddy Roosevelt conservatives out there who believe that conservation should in fact apply to the very thing that sustains us," he said."


Trump Defense Secretary Favorite "Gets Climate Change". Here's the intro to an explainer at Climate Home: "US defense secretary candidate James Mattis understands the relationship between climate change and global security, according to a longtime military colleague. Retired US Marine Corps brigadier general Stephen Cheney said the willingness of Donald Trump’s head of defence to resist ideological pressure to reject climate science could have a profound effect on the nation’s security. “There’s a fair percentage of conflicts today that have a linkage to climate change that was not previously there,” he said. These include the Arab Spring and Syrian civil war – two insurrections that define world politics and security today..."

Photo credit: "General James Mattis is one of the front runners for US defence secretary under Donald Trump." (Pic: US CENTCOM).


Climate Change Will Stir "Unimaginable" Refugee Crisis, Says Military. We may just be getting a preview of coming attractions, according to a story at The Guardian: "Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”. The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required..." (File photo: AFP).


How Do We Deal With The Prospect of Increased Climate Migration? Here's the intro to a story at The Conversation: "On average, one person is displaced each second by a disaster-related hazard. In global terms, that’s about 26 million people a year. Most move within their own countries, but some are forced across international borders. As climate change continues, more frequent and extreme weather events are expected to put more people in harm’s way. In the Pacific region alone, this year’s Cyclone Winston was the strongest ever to hit Fiji, destroying whole villages. Last year, Cyclone Pam displaced thousands of people in Vanuatu and Tuvalu – more than 70% of Vanuatu’s population were left seeking shelter in the storm’s immediate aftermath...."

Photo credit: "Natural disaster can displace entire populations." EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG.



Without The Clean Power Plan, Are Nuclear Plants Essential to Combat Climate Change? Utility Dive has the article: "Renewables and distributed resources can help the U.S. significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. But a big debate remains over the role of nuclear power in that transition, especially without the Clean Power Plan. Hawaii intends to get to 100% renewables by 2045 without nuclear power. California, New York, and other states have targeted 50% renewables by 2050, with or without it. And a 100% renewables power mix without nuclear is possible for nearly every nation by 2050, according to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson's Solutions Project. But renowned climatologist James Hansen, billionaire Bill Gates, and a roster of other voices say only an energy mix that includes nuclear power can beat climate change..." (Image credit: Nuclear Regulatory Commission).


He Created a Beloved Blog About The Melting Arctic. But It Got Harder and Harder To Write. Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post - here's an excerpt: "...Curlin says the last summer — the second lowest on record for sea ice — was particularly rough to chart, adding that “it depresses me” that scientists still don’t fully understand why the ice wound up being so low in 2016. And the depressed levels continued past the summer — when Curlin actually announced he was stepping back in late November, it was amid a seemingly unprecedented burst of early winter heat in the Arctic that drove sea ice down to all-time record low levels. These record-low ice levels continued Tuesday, with 2016 ice extent far below where it was even during the prior record low year of 2012, showing the ice is struggling to refreeze as winter deepens..."


What Happens When The Ice Disappears? Pacific Standard reports: "...In the age of global warming, one thing is certain: There will be less ice and snow. Glaciers, ice shelves, and sea ice are melting away, and there has been a dramatic drop-off in the number of snow-covered days around the world, as documented by the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab. Since 1967, spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has dwindled by about three million square kilometers.The loss of Earth’s reflective white surfaces will intensify the spiral of global warming. Darker surfaces absorb more incoming solar radiation. That warmth delays the onset of winter and hastens the arrival of spring..."

Photo credit: "Quark Expedition guides stand on the shore of Paulet Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, as a pair of inflatable dinghies maneuver through icebergs. Climate scientists are keeping a close eye on Antarctica’s coastal ice masses, as a warming ocean threatens to destabilize huge sections of the cryosphere in this region. According to some recent studies, the warming could reach a tipping point that would result in several feet of global sea level rise by the end of the century." (Photo: Bob Berwyn)


The Raging Wildfires In The Southeast Could Be a Glimpse Into the Future. Here's an excerpt from a Washington Post story: "...In the areas experiencing the drought, the temperatures have been well above normal,” he said, adding that high temperatures can also lead to more water evaporation from plants and soil, making conditions even drier.  That said, Prestemon cautioned, it’s difficult to attribute any isolated event — like a single drought or wildfire — solely to climate change. Weather events and natural disasters are generally the combination of a complex set of factors, which may include long-term patterns of climate change, but also chance and natural variability in climate and weather systems. Even so, the ongoing events in the Southeast may provide some insight into the region’s future..."

Photo credit: "Fire erupts on the side of The Spur on Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28 In Gatlinburg." (Jessica Tezak/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP).


The Crops of the Future. Climate change, population growth - how will macro trends impact the crops we need to sustain the world and avoid widespread famine and dislocation? Here's an excerpt of an article at TakePart: "...But before doomsday, there’s just today—and plant breeders have plenty of work to do. Across the globe, scientists and breeders working at the seed banks that have been duplicated at Svalbard have a laborious job: making sure the world can continue to grow enough food no matter what curve balls climate change throws our way. Agriculture faces a tall order: Maintain food security as the population rises by an additional 3 billion people by 2050, requiring an estimated 60 percent increase in global food production. Farmers are already grappling with increased instances of drought, floods, and record heat waves, not to mention degraded soil. “We seem to be entering a period of relatively unstable climate, and that’s the hardest thing to breed for," said Matthew Reynolds of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. “It’s exciting [work], but a lot of people’s food security depends on it, which makes it urgent...” (Photo credit: Rob Koch).