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Smoked Sunshine - July Flashback - Erika Fizzles But Florida Flood Risk Remains

Cluttered Houses

I get my best material at the State Fair. "Paul, the weather has been TOO NICE this summer. I haven't had any time to declutter my home!" said Marilyn from Plymouth. Yes, it has been a remarkable summer, all things considered.

Which brings up an interesting metaphysical question: can the weather be too nice? Let's ask someone in San Diego or Honolulu. All that nice, bright, boring sunshine. How do people find the will to work out there?

No big tornadoes, no drought, no nasty rashes of 90-degree heat? It has been a perfect summer; as good as it gets. And it's not over yet.

The bloated ridge of inflamed air that stalled over the western USA this summer pushes east this week, treating Minnesota to a streak of 85-90F degree days from Monday into Friday; one of the hotter stretches of the summer.

Expect murky sunshine again today. Smoke from western wildfires will give the sky a milky appearance - like peering up from the bottom of a dirty aquarium (which I don't recommend).

A midweek rumble of thunder is possible but most of us won't see T-storms until Saturday night & Sunday. A puff of cooler, drier air arrives just in time for Labor Day.

Not perfect but we've seen worse.


A Risk of Smoke. The map above shows the aerial extent of yesterday's smoke plume, a massive plume of smoke from fires still burning out of control from Washington State into Idaho and Montana. Map: NOAA.


A Dirty Sky. Yesterday's visible satellite loop showed the veil of smoke pushing in from the Dakotas and Manitoba, giving the sky a milky, almost eerie appearance. And I'm fairly convinced the smoke plume kept us cooler. Cirrus clouds can keep afternoon highs 2-4F cooler than they would be otherwise. A thick pall of smoke may have a similar or even greater ability to screen sunshine, keeping surface temperatures cooler. That may be part of the reason why the MSP metro high was only 74F. Imagery: WeatherTap.


North Dakota - Or Mars? AerisWeather meteorologist Todd Nelson forwarded this image from a family member in Alamo, North Dakota, in the northwest corner of the state. They were combining yesterday, visibility greatly reduced due to smoke from western fires.


84-Hour NAM Model Output. The best chance of flooding rains from the soggy remnants of Erika will come Sunday evening into Monday night. A persistent ridge of high pressure keeps Minnesota warm, sticky and smoky through the end of the week. Meanwhile heavy showers push into the Pacific Northwest, hopefully taking the edge off the worst of the wildfires burning from Washington to Montana.


Southeastern Soaking. NOAA's 7-Day model ensemble prints out some 4-8" rainfall amounts from Florida into coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Just because Erika has fizzled doesn't mean the flood risk has passed. Weak, slow-moving tropical systems are often deceptive; people let their guard down, only to be flooded out of their homes.


* Tropical Storm Erika weakens into a tropical depression over eastern Cuba. Probability of re-strengthening into a hurricane is low, but there is a small chance that this system could regenerate into a tropical storm again as it approaches Florida or the eastern Gulf of Mexico. We need to continue monitoring this system.

* Although the risk of hurricane impacts over Florida, the Gulf Coast or Southeastern USA are small, excessive rains are still likely, especially over Florida, where the risk of flash flooding will be elevated from Sunday into Tuesday.

Photo credit above: "Residents work to salvage personal items from the site of a mudslide in rain-soaked Montrouis, Haiti, Saturday, August 29, 2015. Erika dissipated early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said. In Haiti, one person died in the mudslide just north of Port-au-Prince." (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Situation Report:

* Intense rains flooded the Dominican Republic on Friday, with a personal weather station in Barahona reporting over 24 inches of rain. That station also reported an astonishing 8.80 inches of rain in one hour from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

* A band of torrential rain also resulted in deadly flash flooding on the island of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles, Thursday. Roads were washed out, homes were damaged and an airport flooded.

* Canefield Airport near the capital of Roseau, Dominica, picked up 12.64 inches (322.4 millimeters) of rain in a 12-hour period ending just before 2 p.m. EDT Thursday. Source: The Weather Channel.


Ripe for Flash Flooding. With an additional influx of tropical moisture from the Caribbean conditions remain ripe for flash flooding across Florida over the next 72 hours. Facilities that often flood may experience drainage issues between Sunday and Tuesday of next week. Latest Cuba radar here.


Swath of Concern. Although downgraded into a tropical wave/depression, the moisture leftover from Tropical Storm Erika will stream toward Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, creating a ripe environment for flooding T-storms capable of 5"+ rainfall amounts. It's still premature to lower your guard, especially for locations in Florida. Here is an excerpt from the latest discussion from The National Hurricane Center:

 The remnants are expected to move west-northwestward near the northern coast of central and eastern Cuba for the next 12 to 24 hours and reach the southeastern Gulf of Mexico in about 36 hours. After that time, a more northward motion is expected over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The dynamical models suggests that the current strong wind shear could relax by the time the system reachs the Gulf of Mexico, and there is a possibility that Erika could regenerate. Regardless of regeneration, locally heavy rains and gusty winds should spread across portions of Cuba, the Bahamas, and southern Florida during the next couple of days. 

84-Hour Forecast Rainfall. NOAA's NAM model still prints out locally excessive rainfall amounts from Florida into Georgia by midday Tuesday. It's impossible to predict with any accuracy which cities in Florida and Georgia might experience flash flooding. Remember that flooding from slow-moving tropical systems can create more serious flooding than fast-moving hurricanes. Bottom line: stay alert and prepare for potential urban and small stream flooding from Miami and Naples to Orlando, Jacksonville and Augusta, Georgia. Map above: WeatherBell.

Summary: Erika has weakened to "depression" status, the result of wind shear, dry air and interactions with mountainous terrain over the Dominican Republic. Although the risk of a full-blown hurricane has diminished, flash flood concerns remain, especially for FLorida and coastal Georgia from Sunday into Tuesday. Facilities and operations may still be negatively impacted. Stay alert; more briefings will be issued as required.


10 Years After Katrina, Miami Very Vulnerable to Hurricane Hit. Here's a clip from a video and story at NBC News: "...Of the 20 large (global) cities that people talk about as being highly at risk for coast storms, about eight of them are on the American coast: the East Coast and the South coast," said Greg Baecher, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland. "If a Katrina directly hit Miami, you are talking about damages that could be several multiples of what happened in New Orleans," Baecher told CNBC. "First, you have the size of the city, and the fact that there is nothing between the coast and the ocean..."

Photo credit: Wikipedia.


Billions Spent on Flood Barriers, But New Orleans Still a "Fishbowl". The number I heard from PBS News Hour was $14 billion, which is a staggering sum. It doesn't help that the city is actually situated below sea level. Will the new and improved (and wildly expensive) levees and storm barriers hold? Only time will tell. Here's an excerpt from WUNC: "...Flood protection" is a loaded term. The Army Corps of Engineers prefers to call it a "risk reduction system." The new system is designed to withstand a 100-year hurricane or a storm that has a 1 percent chance of occurring each year, and to significantly reduce flooding from a 500-year cyclone. "We changed that lexicon after Hurricane Katrina because we didn't want the public to be deluded into thinking that they were protected, that they're safe, that once we have a system that was complete they were relieved from any risk of flooding," says Mike Park, the Corps' chief of operations in New Orleans..."

File photo above: "Nathaniel Dowl, 18, right, leads his mother Estelle Dowl and sister Cayla Dowl into the waters around the Superdome, Wednesday Aug. 31, 2005, in New Orleans, days after Hurricane Katrina hit the city." (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth)


Extended Outlook: Odds Favor a Milder Fall. Thank (or blame) a Super El Nino for what appears to be a mild bias for much of the USA into November. The only exception: the southern Plains, where El Nino may energize the southern branch of the jet stream, resulting in cooler, wetter weather for parts of the southern USA. Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.


Hurricane Katrina In The New Yorker. Click here to see a rundown of stories from The New Yorker since Katrina struck 10 years ago; here's an excerpt: "...A decade later, reliable information has emerged; so have many stories of endurance and survival. As a result, many of the New Yorker pieces collected here have a dual aim. They aim to tell the story of the storm as it was experienced by those caught up in it; they also try to answer, in an analytical way, the question of “societal fault.” The term “natural disaster,” Jelani Cobb wrote last week, can function as a “a linguistic diversion, one that carries a hint of absolution. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are natural phenomena; disasters, however, are often the work of humankind.” In exploring Katrina and its aftermath, these writers have tried not to be diverted from the ways in which it was the most human of hurricanes..." (Katrina file image: NOAA).


10 Years After Katrina: The Science Behind The Most Damaging Hurricane in U.S. History. Tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy has a very good explanation at Capital Weather Gang; here's an excerpt: "...The very warm ocean eddy that Katrina tracked over in the central Gulf was associated with the Loop Current which transports warm Caribbean water northward towards the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys. As you can see from the track, it intensified as it passed over the high ocean heat content region, and began to weaken once it exited that region. Vertical shear was quite low throughout Katrina’s lifetime. On August 28, when Katrina was at its peak intensity, vertical shear throughout most of the Gulf of Mexico was below 12 mph (10 knots)..."


Katrina Landfall. NOAA NCDC has a great animation of the dynamics involved with Hurricane Katrina as it made landfall; here's an explainer of the graphic above: "A 3-D animated image of downscaled Global Forecast System (GFS) model data showing Hurricane Katrina making landfall on August 29, 2005. This image was generated with the Visualization and Analysis Platform for Ocean, Atmosphere, and Solar Researchers (VAPOR) tool and ImageMagick."


10 Years Later: Was Warming To Blame for Katrina? Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were close to 90F as Katrina came ashore, adding additional fuel to the hurricane's massive heat-engine. But was it triggered by warming? Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Unlike temperature records, which tend to extend back long enough to show how the odds of heat waves have changed over time — and whether those changes are beyond the normal chaotic ups and downs of nature — reliable hurricane records extend back at most a few decades to the beginning of satellite observations. That isn’t long enough for scientists to say with confidence that any changes to hurricane frequency or intensity over that time aren’t from natural variability alone. In fact, some work has shown that any expected trends in increased hurricane intensity may not be detectable for several decades..." (Image credit: NASA).


Ranking The World's Most Water-Stressed Countries. World Resources Institute has the research referenced in the story above; more perspective and details: "...Using an ensemble of climate models and socioeconomic scenarios, WRI scored and ranked future water stress—a measure of competition and depletion of surface water—in 167 countries by 2020, 2030, and 2040. We found that 33 countries face extremely high water stress in 2040 (see the full list). We also found that Chile, Estonia, Namibia, and Botswana could face an especially significant increase in water stress by 2040. This means that businesses, farms, and communities in these countries in particular may be more vulnerable to scarcity than they are today..."


How Tesla Will Change The World. If you haven't had a chance to read Tim Urban's 3 part series on energy at Wait But Why carve out some extra time. It's slightly irreverent, but information-rich with great illustrations and animations that help to explain why we are where we are; still stuck with 200-year old technology to power our vehicles and utilities. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 2: "...If electric motors were the more advanced technology—if they were considered ideal because they were quiet, clean, and took advantage of cutting edge technology—why did the world give up on them? In 1900, neither electric nor gas cars were viable for mass adoption—both needed a few key technological breakthroughs. The key breakthroughs needed for gas cars happened first—but why was that reason for us to just settle, permanently, for the more primitive technology and the one that, over time, would make our cities smoggy and change the chemical makeup of our atmosphere? If 20th-century human invention could go from the Wright Brothers’ 12-second flight to the moon in just 66 years, surely advancing battery technology enough to bring electric car prices and charging times down while increasing range shouldn’t have been beyond our scope. Why did innovation and progress in something as important to the world as car-powering technology just stop?..."


74 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

78 F. average high on August 29.

80 F. high on August 29, 2014.

August 29, 1948: An airliner crashed during a thunderstorm near Winona, killing 37 people on board.

August 29, 1863: A devastating killing frost affected most of Minnesota, killing vines and damaging corn.



TODAY: Murky sunshine. More smoke. Winds: S 10-15. High: 83

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and mild. Low: 67

MONDAY: Sticky sun, feels like July. Dew point: 70. High: 89

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, still muggy. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

WEDNESDAY: Isolated T-shower, then hot sun. Wake-up: 70. High: 87

THURSDAY: Early thunder possible, then tropical sun. Wake-up: 70. High: 88

FRIDAY: Hot sun, feels like 95-98F. Wake-up: 72. High: 91

SATURDAY: Sweaty sun, late PM T-storms. Wake-up: 73. High: near 90

SUNDAY: Showers and T-showers, turning cooler. Wake-up: 69. High: 76

LABOR DAY: Partly sunny and pleasant - big drop in humidity. Dew point: 52. Wake-up: 58. High: 74


Climate Stories....

U.S. Is Seen as Laggard as Russia Asserts Itself in Warming Arctic. This is why the Navy and all arms of the military are taking warming (and rapidly melting Arctic ice) so seriously. The New York Times has the story - here's an excerpt: "...When President Obama travels to Alaska on Monday, becoming the first president to venture above the Arctic Circle while in office, he hopes to focus attention on the effects of climate change on the Arctic. Some lawmakers in Congress, analysts, and even some government officials say the United States is lagging behind other nations, chief among them Russia, in preparing for the new environmental, economic and geopolitical realities facing the region. “We have been for some time clamoring about our nation’s lack of capacity to sustain any meaningful presence in the Arctic,” said Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, the Coast Guard’s commandant..." (Image credit: Ruth Fremson, The New York Times).


There Is Still Scientific Research That Says Man-Made Climate Change is a Myth. Here Is Why It's Wrong. But I read it on the Inter-web - it must be right! Quartz has an explanation of the methadology used to shoot down some of the favorite conspiracy theories: "...To see if there is indeed such a possibility, Rasmus Benestad of the Norwegian Meteorology Institute and his colleagues set out to replicate the results from the tiny sliver of studies that believe humans are not responsible for climate change. Their results, published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology, show that all of the chosen 38 studies had some, often serious methodological flaws. If these contrarian studies are corrected, their new conclusions would probably end up agreeing with the consensus—or be inconclusive..."


Why Climate Change Could Make Hurricane Impact Worse. Sea level rise magnifies storm surge damage and the amount of land impacted by extreme coastal flooding. But that's only part of the story; here's an excerpt from TIME: "...While scientists have come to a consensus about how storm surge will affect cities, research on how climate change affects hurricane strength and intensity remains unclear, and no findings have been positive. Many peer-reviewed studies suggest that warmer weather in tropical oceans has increased the frequency of tropical storm activity, though not necessarily the intensity. Others suggest that climate change has made storms more intense. Still other research has suggested that future storms will be both more frequent and more intense..."

Warming Up: Sweaty Start to September. Weakened "Erika" May Flood Florida by Monday

My Outsourced Memory

My name is Paul. At least that's the name that comes up on my iPhone. I seem to have forgotten key memories; I think I left them back in the 70s. Memorization, problem-solving, even common sense is now optional, so long as you have a shiny smartphone in your pocket.

All I have to do is ask Ms. Siri or Mr. Google! Directions? There's an app for that. My Audible app will even read to me. Because reading is hard! A moment isn't real until I snap a photo or capture video. I'm in a perpetual digital daze.

The 21st century looked so promising. I'm still waiting on my flying car and a robot-butler that looks like Jennifer Anniston. In the meantime I have a powerful supercomputer in my pocket to pass the time. If that goes away I'm in big, big trouble.

Floridians may be suffering from amnesia: no hurricanes in nearly a decade. It now it appears "Erika" will remain a tropical storm, flooding Florida with up to 10 inches of rain next week. The ECMWF model had the right idea weakening the storm yesterday.

The storm that flooded Sioux Falls with 4-8 inches in one hour (!) is drifting away; skies clear today with 85-90F degree heat every single day next week.

Summer's last gasp? With a Super El Nino in the Pacific I expect spurts of sweaty weather into October. 


Astonishing 4-8" of Rain In One Hour Floods Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The rain is falling harder now during the warm season. Not everywhere, certainly not simultaneously, but when it does rain it often comes down with much greater intensity. Warming has boosted water vapor levels by 7-10% (roughly 7% for every 1C of warming) so there's more moisture available to fuel intense thunderstorms. This was a train-echo phenomenon, but it doesn't change the fact that more moisture was available to create jaw-dropping rainfall rates; here's an excerpt from Capital Weather Gang: "A deluge of epic proportions swamped portions of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Thursday evening. Jay Trobec, the chief meteorologist  for Keloland TV out of Sioux Falls, said thunderstorms unloaded up to 4-8 inches of rain in less than an hour.  The torrential downpours blocked intersections and boats were dispatched on busy streets to assist stranded motorists. The Associated Press reports that Sioux Falls’ mayor, Mike Huether, called it a “100-year rain...”

Image credit above: "Doppler radar estimated rainfall totals around Sioux Falls, S.D. August 27, 2015. Note that radars often underestimate totals in extreme events like this." (NWS).


1,000 Year Minnesota Flash Flood Events Since 2004. The Minnesota Climate Office and Minnesota DNR counts at least three 1-in-1,000 year events in southern Minnesota in the last 11 years. Extreme flooding in Duluth in 2012 may have been another 500 to 1,000 year event. Fluke or trend?


Hurricane Risk Diminishes. There may be too much wind shear for Erika to strengthen to hurricane strength, but that doesn't mean the flooding threat has dissipated. Some of the worst flooding events have taken place with weak, slow-moving tropical depressions and tropical storms, still capable of 10"+ rains.


10-Day GFS Outlook. Now the GFS shows a weakened "Erika" pushing into Florida by Monday, where it's forecast to stall over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, possibly resulting in excessive rainfall amounts for Florida and portions of the southeastern USA. A hot week is brewing for Minnesota, with little chance of free, Canadian A/C until after September 7. Source: NOAA.


Southeast Soaking. 7-Day NOAA model ensembles print out some 6-8" amounts for Florida, but this may be light; if the soggy remnants of "Erika" do in fact stall near Florida some 10"+ amounts are possible, creating favorable conditions for extensive flash flooding.


A Very Wet Week for Florida. Friday night's 00z run of the 12 KM NAM model shows a plume of 5-7" rains from Miami and Orlando to near Jacksonville; locally heavier amounts are possible. Source: WeatherBell.


What September? The first week of September will look and feel more like mid-July, with a streak of daytime highs ranging from 85-90F. An isolated thundershower is possible Wednesday, but most towns and farms won't see significant rains from scattered T-storms until next weekend. Source: Weatherspark.


Extended Outlook: Odds Favor a Milder Fall. Thank (or blame) a Super El Nino for what appears to be a mild bias for much of the USA into November. The only exception: the southern Plains, where El Nino may energize the southern branch of the jet stream, resulting in cooler, wetter weather for parts of the southern USA. Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.


Unusually Windy for August. Here's the intro to this week's weather update from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "For many parts of Minnesota last Saturday through Monday (August 22-24) was the windiest 3-day period this summer, as well as the windiest period since mid-April.  Average wind speeds for all hours ranged from 15-20 mph, and peak gusts each day ranged from 35 to 45 mph around the state.  From the stand point of normal climate conditions for August, this was a highly unusual period fueled by the passage of a strong low pressure system across the state and into Canada, a pattern more commonly seen in the late autumn period..."


10 Years After Katrina: The Science Behind The Most Damaging Hurricane in U.S. History. Tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy has a very good explanation at Capital Weather Gang; here's an excerpt: "...The very warm ocean eddy that Katrina tracked over in the central Gulf was associated with the Loop Current which transports warm Caribbean water northward towards the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys. As you can see from the track, it intensified as it passed over the high ocean heat content region, and began to weaken once it exited that region. Vertical shear was quite low throughout Katrina’s lifetime. On August 28, when Katrina was at its peak intensity, vertical shear throughout most of the Gulf of Mexico was below 12 mph (10 knots)..."


Katrina Landfall. NOAA NCDC has a great animation of the dynamics involved with Hurricane Katrina as it made landfall; here's an explainer of the graphic above: "A 3-D animated image of downscaled Global Forecast System (GFS) model data showing Hurricane Katrina making landfall on August 29, 2005. This image was generated with the Visualization and Analysis Platform for Ocean, Atmosphere, and Solar Researchers (VAPOR) tool and ImageMagick."


Hurricane Models Have Gotten Way Better Since Katrina. But they'll never be perfect, and predicting tropical cyclone intensity days in advance is still problematic. Here's a clip from WIRED: "...Where did these improvements come from? The first is data—more of it and better integrated in models. NASA has launched satellites such as the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. (Another powerful weather satellite is launching next fall.) Field campaigns, in which planes drop sensors into hurricanes, have gathered valuable data, too..."


10 Years Later: Was Warming To Blame for Katrina? Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were close to 90F as Katrina came ashore, adding additional fuel to the hurricane's massive heat-engine. But was it triggered by warming? Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Unlike temperature records, which tend to extend back long enough to show how the odds of heat waves have changed over time — and whether those changes are beyond the normal chaotic ups and downs of nature — reliable hurricane records extend back at most a few decades to the beginning of satellite observations. That isn’t long enough for scientists to say with confidence that any changes to hurricane frequency or intensity over that time aren’t from natural variability alone. In fact, some work has shown that any expected trends in increased hurricane intensity may not be detectable for several decades..." (Image credit: NASA).


Florida Is Nearing 10 Years With No Hurricanes. Here's an excerpt of a timely overview on Florida's unusual hurricane drought, courtesy of The Weather Channel: "...Prior to this long period with no hurricanes in Florida, CharleyFrancesJeanne and Ivan pounded the state in 2004. This was followed by DennisKatrina and Wilma in the historic 2005 hurricane season. Rita passed south of the Florida Keys that year, but did produce significant storm surge flooding in Key West. Wilma was also the last major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) to make landfall in the United States. According to Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and blogger for wunderground.com, this year's Hurricane Danny was the 26th straight Atlantic major hurricane to not impact the United States. The odds of that happening are about 1 in 7,400 based on the 1900-2000 rate of 29 percent of all major hurricanes impacting U.S., Klotzbach said...." (Image credit: NASA).


These Are The Cities Most Vulnerable To The Next Katrina. TIME has the story - here's a clip: "...But, while New Orleans still has much work to do to prepare fully for the next storm, in some ways the storm has been a helpful reminder—albeit a painful one. For other regions that haven’t prepared, the next storm could only be a season away. According to RMS, three cities beyond New Orleans face especially high chances of large-scale damages: Miami, Tampa and New York City. Currently, Tampa faces a 1-in-80 annual chance of a storm surge event causing more than $15 billion in damage. The odds are 1-in-125 in Miami and 1-in-200 in New York City..." (Map credit: Climate Central).


There Aren't Enough Firefighters To Stop America's West From Burning. Here's a snippet from Bloomberg Business that got my full attention: "...Accounting for insurance costs, damages to businesses and infrastructure, and the flash floods and mudslides caused by denuded slopes, this year’s fires will likely cost taxpayers $25 billion—and that’s if a whole town or city doesn’t burn, which is a distinct possibility. If that happens, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the costs could double or triple: One hundred forty million Americans live in fire-prone regions, and $237 billion in property sits in those high-risk areas. The Forest Service, the country’s largest wildland firefighting agency, has spent $800 million trying to control the flames this year, and it’s only August..."


Drought-Plagued California Readies For El Nino Storms. But will they come? Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "...While the warming of Pacific Ocean waters tends to bring heavy winter rain to California and much of the southern and eastern U.S., California's state climatologist noted only half the time when there have been big El Ninos has there been meaningful, heavy rains. California would need 1 ½ times its normal rainfall to get out of the extended drought, which is unlikely, according to Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. Emergency planners said the prolonged dry conditions across the state could lead to more debris, fallen trees and flooding during early rains..." (Image: NOAA NCEP).


China Air Pollution: Beijing Records Its Cleanest Air Ever. They had to shut down industries to achieve this milestone, but it's a step in the right direction. Here's a clip from Energydesk: "...Ahead of the city’s grand celebration on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the state both shut down industrial facilities in the region and cut down on car emissions —  all because it wants the sky to be ‘Parade Blue’ on September 3. This has led to five straight days in which PM2.5 concentration (the go-to pollution particulate) has been better than the 35 mg/m³ national air quality standard, according to data from Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Monitoring Centre (BMEMC)..."


These Nations Are About To Start Running Out of Water. What can possibly go wrong? VICE News has the story - here's an excerpt: "...The study ranked all countries according to the severity of the water crisis they are estimated to face, and the Middle East stood out as the most vulnerable region. Fourteen of the 33 countries most likely to suffer water shortfalls are in the region, including nine that are considered extremely susceptible: Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Lebanon. "The region, already arguably the least water-secure in the world, draws heavily upon groundwater and desalinated seawater, and faces exceptional water-related challenges for the foreseeable future," says the report..." (Photo credit: Yahya Arhab/EPA).


Ranking The World's Most Water-Stressed Countries. World Resources Institute has the research referenced in the story above; more perspective and details: "...Using an ensemble of climate models and socioeconomic scenarios, WRI scored and ranked future water stress—a measure of competition and depletion of surface water—in 167 countries by 2020, 2030, and 2040. We found that 33 countries face extremely high water stress in 2040 (see the full list). We also found that Chile, Estonia, Namibia, and Botswana could face an especially significant increase in water stress by 2040. This means that businesses, farms, and communities in these countries in particular may be more vulnerable to scarcity than they are today..."


The Happiest (And Least Happy) Countries In The World, Ranked. What is going on in Central America? They're at the top of the list. Here's the intro to a story at Quartz: "As it turns out, humanity is pretty happy. That’s according to the latest Global Emotions report by polling company Gallup, which interviewed more than 150,000 adults in 148 countries in 2014 about their emotions and wellbeing. Asking questions such as “did you smile or laugh yesterday” or “did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?” the survey rated positive emotions on a scale from 0 to 100, and was able to rank countries according to a “positive experience index...”


76 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

78 F. average high on August 28.

72 F. high on August 28, 2014.

Trace of rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

August 28, 1989: Baseball-sized hail pummels Pequot Lakes.



TODAY: Warm sunshine, hints of smoke in the air. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 81

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 63

SUNDAY: Sunny, bordering on hot. Dew point: 67. High: 87

MONDAY: Steamy sun, stinking hot. Wake-up: 68. High: 90

TUESDAY: Still sticky, isolated T-storm possible. Wake-up: 70. High: 88

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, mostly humid. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 69. High: 86

THURSDAY: Dog Days of September. Stuffy. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

FRIDAY: Escape to the lake. Feels like July. Wake-up: 70. High: near 90


Climate Stories....

There Is Still Scientific Research That Says Man-Made Climate Change is a Myth. Here Is Why It's Wrong. But I read it on the Inter-web - it must be right! Quartz has an explanation of the methadology used to shoot down some of the favorite conspiracy theories: "...To see if there is indeed such a possibility, Rasmus Benestad of the Norwegian Meteorology Institute and his colleagues set out to replicate the results from the tiny sliver of studies that believe humans are not responsible for climate change. Their results, published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology, show that all of the chosen 38 studies had some, often serious methodological flaws. If these contrarian studies are corrected, their new conclusions would probably end up agreeing with the consensus—or be inconclusive..."


Why Climate Change Could Make Hurricane Impact Worse. Sea level rise magnifies storm surge damage and the amount of land impacted by extreme coastal flooding. But that's only part of the story; here's an excerpt from TIME: "...While scientists have come to a consensus about how storm surge will affect cities, research on how climate change affects hurricane strength and intensity remains unclear, and no findings have been positive. Many peer-reviewed studies suggest that warmer weather in tropical oceans has increased the frequency of tropical storm activity, though not necessarily the intensity. Others suggest that climate change has made storms more intense. Still other research has suggested that future storms will be both more frequent and more intense..."


New Orleans' Greatest Threat is Climate Change Plus The "Loop Current" Plus a Future Katrina. ThinkProgress takes a look at how future warming of the atmosphere and oceans may impact hurricanes in the future; here's an excerpt: "...While most stories making this point tend to focus on sea level rise, I’m going to look at the role of the “Loop Current” — and why Hurricane Katrina (and Gustav) weren’t as strong and hence as devastating at landfall as they could have been. The key point: All things being equal, if a storm taking the same track of Katrina (or Gustav) occurred in 2050, then, rather than weakening before making landfall, it will probably strengthen considerably, creating far more havoc. To understand why, let’s first answer the question — How did Katrina turn into a powerful Category Five hurricane so rapidly?.."


New NASA Videos Show Stark Ice Loss From Earth's Ice Sheets. The Carbon Brief delves into the latest findings from NASA; here's a clip: "The US space agency, NASA, yesterday released brand new images showing the pace of ice loss from Earth's two vast ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica. The amount of ice lost from the frozen expanses at the very north and south of the planet is accelerating, say the scientists, and together have helped raise global sea level by more than 7cm since 1992..."


NASA Science Zeros In On Sea Level Rise. How Much? How Soon? Here's a clip from a good summary, courtesy of NASA: "...East Antarctica’s massive ice sheet remains the primary unknown in sea level rise projections. Though it appears to be stable, a recent study found under a major glacier two deep troughs that could draw warm ocean water to the base of the glacier, causing it to melt. “The prevailing view among specialists has been that East Antarctica is stable, but we don’t really know,” said glaciologist Eric Rignot of the University of California Irvine and JPL. “Some of the signs we see in the satellite data right now are red flags that these glaciers might not be as stable as we once thought. There’s always a lot of attention on the changes we see now, but as scientists our priority needs to be on what the changes could be tomorrow...”

Animation credit above: "This video describes the causes of sea level rise and how sea level has changed over the last two decades as observed by the Jason series of satellite missions." Credits: NASA/JPL.


Farmers On Four Continents Tell Their Climate Change Stories. RTCC.org has the stories; here's the introduction: "Whether it is deciding when to plant crops or where to graze livestock, farmers constantly have an eye on the sky. As greenhouse gases warm up the planet, they are on the front line of shifting weather patterns. It is one thing to look at climate models, but what do farmers experience on the ground?...