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Paul Douglas on Weather

More 4th of July Than Memorial Day: 15-25F Warmer Than Average Into Next Week

Hot Mess: Steamy Into Most of Next Week

Blizzard Warnings and 26.1 inches of snow in April - a heat wave 5-6 weeks later? Makes perfect sense, if you live in Minnesota. Land of 10,000 Weather Extremes.

One thing I've learned, the hard way: when weather swings too far in one direction, the "correction" can be just as extreme, in the other direction. I hope I remember how to sweat.

We probably won't set any records, but daytime highs flirt with 90F or beyond from today into much of next
week. I don't see any significant relief from the heat & humidity until the following weekend (June 2-3) when Canadian air finally drifts south. Until then our weather will be a hot mess. And many of us are OK with that.

3-4 inch rains soaked Martin County early Thursday and a few storms later today may turn severe, especially western counties.

Monday may be the first 90-degree Memorial Day high at MSP since 2006. I hope you can evacuate to your favorite lake or pool.

A tropical system may stall over the Gulf Coast for the better part of 5 days, with persistent rains and potentially serious flooding near from New Orleans to Pensacola. 


Slight Severe Storm Risk. The best chance of 1"+ hail and winds over 58 mph is forecast to emerge over western and northern Minnesota later today as a squall line fires up, fueled with dew points in the mid to upper 60s. Map credit: NOAA SPC.




Heaviest Rains Up North. NAM model guidance predicts some 1"+ downpours with a few waves of thunderstorms between now and Saturday night, with the best chance of getting wet from the Minnesota Arrowhead to the Red River Valley. 00z NAM prints out a whopping .07" rain over the next 84 hours. My semi-educated hunch (spidey-sense) is that we will see a hot/dry summer vs. cool/wet. Map credit: pivotalweather.com.


Memorial Day Sizzler? This may turn out to be one of the hottest Memorial Day weekends in recent memory. Here's some perspective from Bring Me The News: "...As for Memorial Day, it could be the hottest we've had in a decade and maybe one of the five hottest on record. According to the NWS, it hasn't been 90 degrees on Memorial Day in the Twin Cities since MSP Airport reached 94 degrees in 2006. The five warmest Memorial Day temps in the Twin Cities are: 

  1. 95 degrees, 1939
  2. 94 degrees, 2006
  3. 91 degrees, 1988, 1994
  4. 88 degrees, 1944, 2011..."

Gulf Coast Flood Risk Memorial Weekend. Praedictix Briefing: Issued Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018:

  • We continue to watch a broad area of low pressure near Belize that could form into a tropical system as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Right now the National Hurricane Center has probability of formation at 60% over the next five days.
  • Whether or not this becomes a named system, we will be watching the threat of heavy rain across a good portion of the Southeast for the Memorial Day weekend. Rainfall totals of at least 4-7” will lead to the potential of flooding through the weekend into early next week.

Watching A Potential Tropical System. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to watch an area of low pressure near Belize that will continue to move toward the Gulf of Mexico over the next several days. This system has a very low chance (0%) of becoming a tropical or subtropical system in the next two days due to hostile atmospheric conditions as well as its location near the Yucatan Peninsula. However, once this system does move into the Gulf of Mexico toward the weekend conditions will become more favorable for some development. Due to that potential, this system has a 60% probability of formation in the next five days according to the NHC.


Heavy Rain Threat. Whether or not this system becomes a named tropical or subtropical system, heavy rain is expected through at least the Memorial Day weekend across the Southeastern United States. Significant rainfall amounts of at least 4-7” are expected across the Southeast over the next seven days, with most of this falling as that potential system moves onshore. Especially across areas that have received heavy rain over the past 1-2 weeks we will have to watch the threat for flooding through the weekend into early next week.

Summary. We continue to watch the potential of a tropical or subtropical system forming in the next several days in the Gulf of Mexico. As of Wednesday morning, probabilities sat at 60% of this occurring as we head into the weekend. Whether or not this system forms, the main story with this system will be heavy rain due to another surge of tropical moisture across the Southeastern United States as we head toward the Memorial Day weekend. This heavy rain of at least 4-7” over the next seven days could spark the potential of flooding, especially near the coast. We will continue to keep an eye on this potential system, as well as the heavy rain and flood threat, over the next several days.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.



Early Predictions Suggest More Hurricanes Than Average for 2018 Atlantic/Gulf Season. Here's a clip from Business Insider: "...An average hurricane season is based on the 30-year average from 1981 to 2010. By that definition, an average season includes 12 named storms and six hurricanes, with three of those being major hurricanes — storms that qualify as category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The researchers at Colorado State's Tropical Meteorology Project issued their extended range forecast for the 2018 season on April 5, predicting 14 named storms. Of those, they forecast seven hurricanes, three of which could be major. The Weather Channel's early predictions suggest a more average year, with 13 named storms and six hurricanes, two that qualify as major hurricanes. A team at North Carolina State announced April 16 that it predicted 14 to 18 named storms, seven to 11 of them hurricanes. Of those, the team expects three to five to be major..."
 
Image credit: CIRA/RAMMB; GOES-16/NOAA.

Incredible New NASA Images Show Puerto Rico's Forests Still Scarred from Hurricane Maria. Here's a clip from a story at Earther.com: "We’re 10 days out from the 2018 hurricane season, but if a new NASA-led aerial survey is any indicator, Puerto Rico’s forests and wetlands still have a long way to go before they’ve recovered from the last one. In April, a NASA science plane flew across a vast swath of Puerto Rico’s ecosystems, from tropical rainforests in the northeast to dry forests in the southwest. A follow-on to a similar mission conducted last spring, the goal was initially to track long-term forest regrowth after land abandonment. Hurricane Maria changed all that. Instead of focusing on land use change, the research flights—whose G-LiHT instrument system included LiDAR and more—became the first large-scale, multi-sensor aerial survey of the island after the Category 4 storm that struck last September..."

Image credit: "A hard-hit area of coastal forest and mangrove swamp near Laguna Grande in northeastern Puerto Rico." Photo: NASA

Minnesota Native Leading Weather Warning Revolution. A story at KSTP.com caught my eye: "...What we're trying to do here is minimize the false alarm," Rothfusz said. "And you get to the point that when the message that this tornado or hail storm is coming to you, it is you we're talking about and not another part of the county that you don't have to worry about." The information would stream in much earlier too. Rothfusz wants to better alert people during the watch period, before a warning is issued and a tornado becomes more imminent. Rothfusz said the information would be targeted down to every two miles, updating every two minutes, creating a constant flow of data for specific locations. He realizes that could lead to an overwhelming amount of information, so researchers are trying to find a balance..."

Minnesota On Track for a Record Number of Tornadoes This Decade. No, it's not climate change, it's better detection technology, according to a post a Star Tribune: "There have been just over 400 tornadoes recorded in Minnesota since 2010 – four times more than during the 1950s. But this doesn’t mean tornadoes are happening more often. We’re just better at spotting them, thanks to technological advances. Still, limited record-keeping in the early years of tornado tracking means experts don’t have enough information to say whether climate change is influencing the frequency or strength of tornadoes, as has been documented with other dangerous weather like hurricanes. “With the changing climate, I think people really want to know what’s going on with severe weather, what’s going on with tornadoes … We’ve looked for trends,” said Kenny Blumenfeld, senior climatologist with the Minnesota State Climatology Office. “It just looks like what we call basic variability...”


Debunking The Most Common Tornado Myths. May is the month I worry about allergies, flash floods and Tornado Amnesia. "Paul, you have to understand, I live in the metro area. Tornadoes can't hit here!" I hear this a lot, and it's just not true. Tornadoes can hit cities, cross lakes and rivers, even track across mountain ranges. If the circulation of heat and moisture swirling into a rotating "supercell" T-storm is strong enough, there is no reason why a large tornado couldn't hit a downtown. It's happened across the USA, multiple times. On May 22, 2011 an EF-1 tornado packing 110 mph winds tracked 14 miles, from St. Louis Park to North Minneapolis. It was up to half a mile wide. It's good to be prepared (and perpetually paranoid).


Lava Enters Hawaii Power Plant, Rising Deadly Gas Release. The Daily Beast has harrowing details: "Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano entered the grounds of a nearby geothermal power facility Monday, threatening the plant’s sealed-off wells and potentially triggering a catastrophic explosion and an “uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide or other potentially dangerous volcanic gases,” the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. Workers were particularly concerned about a deep geothermal well that was difficult to seal off as lava advanced within a few hundred yards of a well pad area. Facility employees have been attempting to “quench” the wells—or pumping cold water into them to trap the gases—but the contents of one close to the lava were heating up despite their efforts..."

Photo credit: Handout/Reuters.


It's Been 5 Years Since the Last EF-5 Tornado Hit the U.S. The Weather Channel has details: "It's been five years since the last catastrophic EF5 tornado struck the United States, occurring in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. Tornadoes assigned an EF5/F5 rating have historically been rare, but when they do strike, the damage in the affected communities is devastating. Since 1950, a total of 59 tornadoes have been rated EF5/F5, an average of less than one per year, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The frequency has ranged from several tornadoes rated this magnitude in a single year to multi-year periods with none..."



NOAA Addressing Performance Issue on New Weather Satellite. Can we get someone up there (stat) to fix this? KGAN-TV has details: "During on-orbit testing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has encountered a problem with the cooling system on the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). The ABI is the 'camera' that takes the satellite images from geostationary orbit over 22,000 miles overhead. The cooling system is necessary, and without it, the infrared and near-infrared channels will be impacted. Those channels make up 13 of the 16 products on the ABI. The visible channels are not impacted..."

Image credit: "GOES-17, formerly known as GOES-S, is experiencing a cooling issue on the imager."


What Are Weather Models, Exactly, And How Do They Work? Capital Weather Gang has a great explainer; here's an excerpt: "...The foundation for models are mathematical equations based on physics that characterize how the air moves and heat and moisture are exchanged in the atmosphere. Weather observations (pressure, wind, temperature and moisture) obtained from ground sensors and weather satellites are fed into these equations. The observations are brought into the models in a process known as data assimilation. In a model, the atmosphere is divided into a three-dimensional grid and each grid point is given the assimilated data. These are called initial conditions.  Then at each grid point, the mathematical equations are applied and stepped forward in time. The outputs over many time steps specify future weather at all grid points. The two most well-known weather models are the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) model and the National Weather Service’s Global Forecast System (GFS) model..."

Image credit: "European model showing a simulation of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012." (WeatherBell.com).


Leveraging Global Air Quality for Business. I wrote a post for one of the weather-tech businesses I'm involved with, AerisWeather. Here's an excerpt: "An old joke insists that Californians don’t trust air they can’t actually see. Unfortunately, air pollution is no laughing matter. According to recent research, more than 95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air, contributing to more than 6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. In the US alone studies suggest 7,000 to as many as 200,000 premature deaths occur annually as a result of unhealthy air. At this rate, a conservative estimate can state that air pollution claims as many lives as traffic accidents each year. The statistics are staggering, but the first step is understanding. Air pollution is measured by what is generally known as an Air Quality Index (AQI). This measurement is an overall assessment and weighting of 6 main pollutants pm2.5, pm10, no2 (nitrogen dioxide), co (carbon monoxide), so2 (sulfur dioxide), and o3 (ozone). If you don’t know what these mean you are not alone..."


EPA Bars AP, CNN From Summit on Contaminents. AP has the latest: "The Environmental Protection Agency is barring The Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants. The EPA blocked the news organizations from attending Tuesday's Washington meeting, convened by EPA chief Scott Pruitt. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred. Pruitt told about 200 people at the meeting that dealing with the contaminants is a "national priority." Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building..."

Photo credit: Andrew Harnick, AP.


EPA Bars Press From Chemicals Meeting: More perspective and links via Climate Nexus: "The EPA blocked reporters from selected outlets from attending an industry-laden meeting on contaminants in drinking water Tuesday. The AP, CNN, and E&E News all reported being turned away from the summit by security, and the AP reports that its journalist was "forcibly" shoved by agency security and escorted from the building. EPA reversed course and later opened the event to press, saying the initial exclusion was due to capacity issues (a claim some journalists invited to attend questioned on Twitter). Activists for communities exposed to the chemicals expressed frustration to Politico that they were granted little access to the summit, especially following reports last week that government agencies, including EPA, had potentially blocked a study on the chemicals' impacts." (Politico, AP, CNNNew York Times $, The Hill, Michigan Live, Ars Technica, Wall Street Journal $, Washington Post $. Commentary: Washington Post, Eric Wemple analysis $, Washington Post, Helaine Olen analysis $, Slate, Jeremy Stahl analysis)


Ridgedale Center Now Has a Solar Panel Rooftop. Details via Sun Sailor: "Ridgedale Center recently unveiled a newly-built solar panel installation on its rooftop that will reduce the mall’s electrical consumption by about eight percent. The energy saved by the panels is equivalent to gas emissions of 155 passenger vehicles or the amount of energy used by 109 homes in Minnesota. The installation will have more than 812 kilowatts of solar generation capacity with a projected annual production of 975,000 kilowatt hours. It is part of Ridgedale’s larger energy sustainability initiative..."

Photo credit: Ridgedale Center.


Breakthrough Solar Panel Can Harvest Power From Raindrops - Day or Night. ThinkProgress documents some amazing breakthroughs: "...For instance, China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025. In another remarkable advance, researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops...”


What is Going on in Sweden? CNN has details: "Sweden's ready for war -- whenever it may break out. The government there is sending out "war pamphlets" to its 4.8 million households, informing them of the perils of battle. It's the first time Sweden's done this since the 1980s. Why now? Russia, apparently. The Russians have allegedly violated Swedish airspace and territorial waters, so there's serious discussion in the country about joining NATO. Sweden has also increased defense spending, reintroduced the draft and put troops on the strategically important island of Gotland..."


Amazon is Selling Real-Time Facial-Recognition Technology to Police for Wide-Net Surveillance. Big Brother, brought to you by Big Think: "The North Carolina Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents that show Amazon has been nearly giving away facial recognition tools to police departments in Oregon and Orlando in an effort to essentially beta test the tools, which live in the cloud via Amazon Web Services. The package is called Rekognition and has been deployed in some capacity—including alpha and beta testing—since late 2016. Today, a coalition of civil rights groups has jointly signed a letter that calls for Amazon to stop selling this technology..."

Image credit: "Amazon's website says: 'When using Rekognition to analyze video, you can track people through a video even when their faces are not visible, or as they go in and out of the scene.' (Image: Amazon)


FDA Approves New Drug That Prevents Migraines. But is the price worth it? Big Think has a post: "The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug designed to prevent migraines, marking a first for the pharmaceutical industry and the millions of Americans who suffer from the chronic, debilitating disorder. The new drug, Aimovig, is a once-monthly self-injection, and biopharmaceutical company Amgen will sell it for $6,900 a year. “Aimovig provides patients with a novel option for reducing the number of days with migraine,” said Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We need new treatments for this painful and often debilitating condition...”

Image credit: "Aimovig could help the four million Americans who suffer from at least 15 migraine days per month." (Image: Aimovig, manufactured by Amgen.)


Scratch and Sniff Stamps Coming Soon. Oh, thank God. USA TODAY explains:"Ah, the sweet smells of summer: freshly cut grass, barbeque on a grill, the beach and suntan lotion. Now add stamps to that list. The U.S. Postal Service said Monday that it will issue its first-ever scratch-and-sniff stamps that will aim to evoke the sweet scent of summer. The 10 different stamp designs each feature a watercolor illustration of two different ice pops on a stick. There will be one scent for all of the stamps and the secret smell will be unveiled when the Postal Service issues the stamps on June 20, according to U.S. Postal Service public relations representative Mark Saunders..."

Image: U.S. Postal Service.


An Actual Sinkhole Has Opened on the White House Lawn. It's Growing. A sinkhole is growing on the north lawn of the White House grounds. How's that swamp-draining thing going? Quartz explains: "...Often described as a “swamp” of corruption, parts of the city of Washington, DC, are also literally built on a swamp. The city’s geological issues also include “forebulge collapse,” a post-Ice Age condition that means the city could sink as much as six inches this century. Sinkholes have opened up across the city in recent years. They forced two residents to abandon their homes in March, and swallowed up a school bus last year. This is the first report of one on the White House lawn. Last year, a giant hole opened in the earth in front of Donald Trump’s Florida resort, but that was due to a new water main, not a geological condition..."


Weather Nerd Chic. No, I didn't invent these - I went online and bought them. Check out the meteorological footwear at Helicity Designs.


84 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

71 F. average high on May 23.

61 F. high on May 23, 2017.

May 24, 1925: After seeing a high of 99 degrees two days earlier, the Twin Cities picks up a tenth (.10) of an inch of snow.

May 24, 1908: Tornadoes hit the counties of Martin and Blue Earth.


"Extreme Zombie Activity". Can't make this stuff up. AP reports: "Residents of a Florida city who received alerts about a power outage were also warned to look out for zombies. That’s right — zombies. The Palm Beach Post reports that Lake Worth residents received the message during a power outage Sunday. The alert warned that more than 7,000 customers lost power “due to extreme zombie activity.” City spokesman Ben Kerr later posted a Facebook message saying officials were investigating the bogus alert and that he wanted to “reiterate that Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity currently.” Kerr says 7,880 customers lost power, but it was restored within 30 minutes. He did not mention what really caused the outage..."



THURSDAY: Steamy and hot with PM storms, slight severe risk. Winds: S 15-25. High: near 90

THURSDAY NIGHT: Few T-storms possible. Low: 69

FRIDAY: More sun, a drier day statewide. Winds: W 8-13. High: 91

SATURDAY: Hot sun, get thee to a lake or pool. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 92

SUNDAY: Slow simmer. More hot sunshine. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 71. High: 93

MEMORIAL DAY: Blue sky, don't forget the sunscreen. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: 90

TUESDAY: Murky sun, few T-storms possible. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 69. High: 89

WEDNESDAY: Humid, isolated T-shower. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 67. High: 86
 


Climate Stories...

Meet NASA's New Dynamic Duo: A Pair of Climate Change-Tracking Satellites. Smithsonian Magazine has the story: "Today, NASA successfully launched a pair of satellites collectively known as GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On mission) as a replacement for the two GRACE satellites currently in orbit. Launched in 2002, GRACE helped provide a better understanding of many of Earth’s most pressing conditions, including rising sea levels, melting ice sheets and droughts. But last year, after 15 years of service, the original GRACE duo completed its mission. The new satellites will continue GRACE’s work, but feature updated tech, including improved batteries and an extra camera. The pair will map out changes in Earth’s gravitational field, which scientists use to monitor distribution of water on the planet’s surface..."

Illustration credit: "An illustration of GRACE-FO in orbit." (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Something Stirs: What Will Happen as Permafrost Melts? Discover Magazine has the post; here's an excerpt: "...And the worst is yet to come. Organic matter trapped in permafrost — everything from mammoth carcasses to ancient fruit — contains massive stores of carbon, an estimated 1,500 billion tons, or nearly twice the carbon currently in the atmosphere. As the ground warms, the long-frozen material will decay and release the carbon as greenhouse gases. “The more carbon we have in the atmosphere, the more warming we have, and that creates a feedback,” says Northern Arizona University ecologist Christina Schädel, who coordinates a global network of scientists studying the impact of permafrost thaw. As researchers scramble to predict the effects of climate change on permafrost, Arctic people are already witnessing it, right beneath their feet..."

Photo credit: "Erosion along the Arctic coast in Alaska’s Teshekpuk Lake Special Area lays bare pale permafrost just beneath the ground’s surface. Caused by the disappearance of sea ice, the rapid erosion is one of several problems in the area caused by climate change." Brandt Meixell/USGS.


Former EPA Head Gina McCarthy: The Climate Change Message Is All Wrong. At the end of the day this isn't about polar bears. This is about our kids, and their kids. What responsibilities do we have today? Here's an excerpt from a Boston Globe post: "...In addition to declaring war on confusing jargon, she calls for a wholesale recasting of the climate-change argument, which is clearly not reaching the people it needs to persuade. She wants to move the focus away from plants, animals, and the health of the planet, and toward the dire threat that global warming and pollution pose to the well-being of children. “I’m tired of climate change being projected as polar bears, or EPA being looked at as the birds-and-bunnies agency,” she says. “I work for children, for human beings.” Earth, she says, will be fine no matter what happens. Planets are survivors. Our main concern should be the ability of our descendants to thrive here..."

Photo credit: Webb Chappell for The Boston Globe. “Whoever wins in the clean energy race is going to be the strongest country in the world,” says Gina McCarthy, a Massachusetts native who headed the EPA during the Obama administration."


Harvard Overseer Resigns in Protest Over University Endowment, Fossil Fuel Investments. HuffPost has the story: "A member of one of Harvard University’s governing bodies resigned Tuesday over ethical concerns surrounding the school’s multibillion-dollar endowment, including investments in fossil fuels, an action that some environmentalists described as a “powerful act of conscience.” With just one day left on her six-year term on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, Kathryn A. “Kat” Taylor resigned in protest over what she described as the university’s failure to adopt ethical commitments tied to its endowment, according to a letter she sent on Tuesday to the university’s leadership, including incoming president Lawrence S. Bacow..."


Water's Rising Because It's Getting Warmer. No, it's not rocks falling into the sea. Here's an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: "Would the Journal run the op-ed “Objects Are Falling, but Not Because of Gravity”? That’s pretty similar to climate contrarian Fred Singer saying The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change” (op-ed, May 16). No, ice is not accumulating on Earth—it is melting. No, Antarctica isn’t too cold for melting—warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet. And no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces, but through careful peer-reviewed research. That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause. Don’t take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much. When water warms, it expands. When ice warms, it melts. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. It is to deny basic physics..."

File image: Peter Morgan, AP.


"Climate Change is Real", Carmakers Tell White House in Letter. Bloomberg has the story: "Automakers urged the White House to cooperate with California officials in a coming rewrite of vehicle efficiency standards, saying “climate change is real.” The plea came in a May 3 letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s leading trade group. It said carmakers “strongly support” continued alignment between federal mileage standards and those set by California. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG and nine other carmakers are members of the Alliance. “Automakers remain committed to increasing fuel efficiency requirements, which yield everyday fuel savings for consumers while also reducing emissions -- because climate change is real and we have a continuing role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving fuel efficiency,” David Schwietert, executive vice president of federal government relations at the Alliance, wrote in the letter, which was made public Monday..."


Hurricanes, a Bit Stronger, a Bit Slower, and a Lot Wetter in a Warmer Climate. Here's the intro to new research at UCAR in Boulder, Colorado: "Scientists have published a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would change if they instead formed near the end of this century. While each storm's transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower moving, and a lot wetter. In one example, Hurricane Ike — which killed more than 100 people and devastated parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2008 — could have 13 percent stronger winds, move 17 percent slower, and be 34 percent wetter if it formed in a future, warmer climate. Other storms could become slightly weaker (like Hurricane Ernesto) or move slightly faster (like Hurricane Gustav). None would become drier. The rainfall rate of simulated future storms in the study increased by an average of 24 percent..."

File image: NASA.


Florida Cities Are Most at Risk from Climate Change, Study Says. No kidding. Bloomberg has details: "The picturesque Florida cities of Miami Beach and Sarasota carry high investment-grade credit ratings and are popular travel destinations. They’re also two of the most exposed U.S cities to climate change in the country, according to a new analysis by advisory firm Four Twenty Seven. The Berkeley, California-based firm has developed an index surveying 761 cities’ and 3,143 counties’ exposure to sea level rise, water stress, heat stress, cyclones and extreme rainfall based on analysis of changes between current and future conditions. It found that communities in Florida are the most susceptible to climate change risks, with Miami Beach being the most exposed city and Manatee County being the most-exposed county..."

Photo credit: "Miami Beach, Florida." Photographer: Christina Mendenhall/Bloomberg.


Millenials Not Brainwashed on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Star-Telegram: "We’re teaching our kids negative things — we’re pre-biasing them.” Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian recently claimed the reason Millennials like me care about solving climate change and aren’t elbowing each other for jobs in the oil and gas industry is because our entire generation has been brainwashed. Brainwashed? If true, it’d be a national emergency. After all, who could so effectively organize such an epic conspiracy to brainwash the 91 percent of us who accept climate change is happening? Is it a plot by the Democrats? No doubt Democrats have packaged climate action into a basket of progressive issues. But before this became a polarized issue — a condition unique to U.S. politics — politically active conservatives were more likely than liberals to believe scientists about the human contribution to climate change..."

File image: accountingweb.com.

Heat Wave Coming: Potential for 5-7 Consecutive Days of 90s

Debunking The Most Common Tornado Myths

May is the month I worry about allergies, flash floods and Tornado Amnesia. "Paul, you have to understand, I live in the metro area. Tornadoes can't hit here!" I hear this a lot, and it's just not true.

Tornadoes can hit cities, cross lakes and rivers, even track across mountain ranges. If the circulation of heat and moisture swirling into a rotating "supercell" T-storm is strong enough, there is no reason why a large tornado couldn't hit a downtown. It's happened across the USA, multiple times.

On May 22, 2012 an EF-1 tornado packing 110 mph winds tracked 14 miles, from St. Louis Park to North Minneapolis. It was up to half a mile wide. It's good to be prepared (and perpetually paranoid).

A few T-storms mushroom to life today as a hot front pushes across the state. The dew point reaches drippy 60s today. Daytime highs brush 90F Saturday, with low 90s expected Sunday and Memorial Day. The timing is good - this will be a good weekend to go jump in a lake.

Any storms will be spotty; if one drifts over your house by Friday, be thankful. I'm increasingly concerned about a too-dry summer. 


Minnesota On Track for a Record Number of Tornadoes This Decade. No, it's not climate change, it's better detection technology, according to a post a Star Tribune: "There have been just over 400 tornadoes recorded in Minnesota since 2010 – four times more than during the 1950s. But this doesn’t mean tornadoes are happening more often. We’re just better at spotting them, thanks to technological advances. Still, limited record-keeping in the early years of tornado tracking means experts don’t have enough information to say whether climate change is influencing the frequency or strength of tornadoes, as has been documented with other dangerous weather like hurricanes. “With the changing climate, I think people really want to know what’s going on with severe weather, what’s going on with tornadoes … We’ve looked for trends,” said Kenny Blumenfeld, senior climatologist with the Minnesota State Climatology Office. “It just looks like what we call basic variability...”


Heat Wave Coming. Here's a special statement that the local office of the National Weather Service released yesterday. Yes, it's about to get (stinking) hot.


Best T-storm Chance Up North. Last night's 00z 12km NAM run from NOAA predicts a few inches of rain for northern Minnesota as hot, steamy air flows north, but very little rain over the southern half of the state. Nothing new there. Map credit: pivotalweather.com.





Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018:

  • We are watching a broad area of low pressure that will move into the Gulf of Mexico as we head into the second half of the week. This area of low pressure has a 40% probability of becoming a tropical/subtropical system in the Gulf of Mexico over the next five days according to the National Hurricane Center.
  • Whether or not this becomes a named system, the threat of heavy rain will once again spread across the Southeast as we head toward the end of the week and the Memorial Day weekend. The potential exists for at least 3-6” of rain across portions of the region through early next week, which could lead to flooding.

Watching A Potential Tropical System. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has highlighted an area of low pressure east of Belize that will continue to move north toward the Gulf of Mexico through the rest of the week. While this system has a very low chance (0%) of becoming a tropical or subtropical system in the next two days, there is the potential it could slowly form into a system as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. Due to that potential, this system has a 40% probability of formation in the next five days according to the NHC.


Heavy Rain Threat. Whether or not this system becomes a named tropical or subtropical system, another surge of deep tropical moisture is expected across the Southeastern United States for the Memorial Day weekend. This will lead to the potential of heavy rain across the region, with rainfall totals of 3-6”+ expected across parts of the central and eastern Gulf Coasts through Memorial Day. Especially across areas that have received heavy rain over the past 1-2 weeks we will have to watch the threat for flooding through the weekend into early next week.

Summary. While there is the potential of a tropical or subtropical system forming in the next several days in the Gulf of Mexico, the main story with this system will be a surge of tropical moisture across the Southeastern United States as we head toward the Memorial Day weekend. This will bring another round of heavy rain to the region, which could spark the potential of flooding. We will continue to keep an eye on this potential system, as well as the heavy rain and flood threat, over the next several days.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix



Lava Enters Hawaii Power Plant, Rising Deadly Gas Release. The Daily Beast has harrowing details: "Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano entered the grounds of a nearby geothermal power facility Monday, threatening the plant’s sealed-off wells and potentially triggering a catastrophic explosion and an “uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide or other potentially dangerous volcanic gases,” the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. Workers were particularly concerned about a deep geothermal well that was difficult to seal off as lava advanced within a few hundred yards of a well pad area. Facility employees have been attempting to “quench” the wells—or pumping cold water into them to trap the gases—but the contents of one close to the lava were heating up despite their efforts..."

Photo credit: Handout/Reuters.


It's Been 5 Years Since the Last EF-5 Tornado Hit the U.S. The Weather Channel has details: "It's been five years since the last catastrophic EF5 tornado struck the United States, occurring in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. Tornadoes assigned an EF5/F5 rating have historically been rare, but when they do strike, the damage in the affected communities is devastating. Since 1950, a total of 59 tornadoes have been rated EF5/F5, an average of less than one per year, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The frequency has ranged from several tornadoes rated this magnitude in a single year to multi-year periods with none..."


Thomas Jefferson and the Telegraph: Highlights of the U.S. Weather Observer Program. A story from NOAA had some very interesting nuggets: "...The earliest known systematic weather observations in America were taken by John Campanius Holm along the Delaware River in the 1640s. Some of our earliest presidents also were avid weather observers. Thomas Jefferson bought his first thermometer while writing the Declaration of Independence, and purchased his first barometer a few days following the signing of the document. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations until 1816. George Washington also took regular observations; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died. During the early and mid-1800's, weather observation networks began to grow and expand across the United States. The Surgeon-General of the Army issued a directive to his Army surgeons in 1818 to record the weather and everything of importance relating to the medical topography of his station, the climate, and diseases prevalent in the vicinity. This was to help determine if there was a cause and effect relationship between climate and the health of the soldiers and to determine the occurrence of any change in the climate of a given district over time..."

Animation credit: "For more than 120 years, participants in the U.S. Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) have supplied daily weather data to the nation. This animation shows the locations of observers each decade from 1890-2009.  As far back as the 1890s, there were stations in places as remote as Hawaii and Alaska." NOAA Climate.gov animation, based on data from NCEI.


Reforming the National Weather Service, Part 1: Changing the Role of Human Forecasters. In a day and age of model ensembles is there still a place for human forecasters? Cliff Mass has some interesting data and food for thought; here's an excerpt of a recent post: "...Humans are needed as much as ever, but their roles will change.  Some examples:

1.    Forecasters will spend much more time nowcasting, providing a new generation of products/warnings about what is happening now and in the near future.
2.     With forecasts getting more complex, detailed, and probabilistic, NWS forecasters will work with local agencies and groups to understand and use the new, more detailed guidance.
3.    Forecasters will become partners with model and machine learning developers, pointing our problems with the automated systems and working to address them.
4.    Forecasters will intervene and alter forecasts during the rare occasions when objective systems are failing.
5.   Forecasters will have time to do local research, something they were able to do before the "grid revolution" took hold
..."


NOAA GOES-17 Shares First Light Imagery from Geostationary Lightning Mapper. The lightning imagery is fairly mind-boggling; here's a clip from a NOAA post: "...The Geostationary Lightning Mapper onboard GOES-17, like the one on board NOAA GOES East, is transmitting data never previously available to forecasters. The mapper observes lightning in the Western Hemisphere, giving forecasters an indication of when a storm is forming, intensifying and becoming more dangerous. Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm may strengthen quickly and could produce severe weather. During heavy rain, GLM data can show when thunderstorms are stalled or if they are gathering strength. When combined with radar and other satellite data, GLM data will help forecasters anticipate severe weather and issue flood and flash flood warnings sooner..."


Truly EPIC. Check out NASA's EPIC imager - with unique views of our home.


Sea Level Rise in the San Francisco Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire. Here's a clip from an analysis at WIRED.com: "If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that someday, your new home could be underwater—and not just financially. Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay's densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost. The problem is a geological phenomenon called subsidence. Different kinds of land sink at different rates. Take, for instance, Treasure Island, which resides between San Francisco and Oakland..."

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.


EPA Bars AP, CNN From Summit on Contaminents. AP has the latest: "The Environmental Protection Agency is barring The Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants. The EPA blocked the news organizations from attending Tuesday's Washington meeting, convened by EPA chief Scott Pruitt. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred. Pruitt told about 200 people at the meeting that dealing with the contaminants is a "national priority." Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building..."

Photo credit: Andrew Harnick, AP.


What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out. We've outsources our plastic problem to China (and the middle of the Pacific Ocean) according to an interactive post at National Geographic: "...Direct dumping contributes a significant portion of plastic litter in rivers, but land-bound trash also can make its way to water. Rainwater ushers mismanaged waste from land into local waterways, which feed into larger tributaries and rivers, which in turn empty into oceans. In this way, plastic from far inland can travel many miles to the coastline. Polluted rivers are pumping the world’s plastic into the oceans—bringing a significant portion of the estimated 9 million tons of plastic that end up in the ocean annually. That corresponds to five grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash for every foot of coastline..."


Breakthrough Solar Panel Can Harvest Power From Raindrops - Day or Night. ThinkProgress documents some amazing breakthroughs: "...For instance, China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025. In another remarkable advance, researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops...”


This Physicist's Ideas of Time Will Blow Your Mind. Here's a clip at Quartz: "...He makes a compelling argument that chronology and continuity are just a story we tell ourselves in order to make sense of our existence. Time, Rovelli contends, is merely a perspective, rather than a universal truth. It’s a point of view that humans share as a result of our biology and evolution, our place on Earth, and the planet’s place in the universe. “From our perspective, the perspective of creatures who make up a small part of the world—we see that world flowing in time,” the physicist writes. At the quantum level, however, durations are so short that they can’t be divided and there is no such thing as time..."

Photo credit: "Time is the space between memory and anticipation." (EPA/Ralf Hirschberger).


What is Going on in Sweden? CNN has details: "Sweden's ready for war -- whenever it may break out. The government there is sending out "war pamphlets" to its 4.8 million households, informing them of the perils of battle. It's the first time Sweden's done this since the 1980s. Why now? Russia, apparently. The Russians have allegedly violated Swedish airspace and territorial waters, so there's serious discussion in the country about joining NATO. Sweden has also increased defense spending, reintroduced the draft and put troops on the strategically important island of Gotland..."


Amazon is Selling Real-Time Facial-Recognition Technology to Police for Wide-Net Surveillance. Big Brother, brought to you by Big Think: "The North Carolina Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents that show Amazon has been nearly giving away facial recognition tools to police departments in Oregon and Orlando in an effort to essentially beta test the tools, which live in the cloud via Amazon Web Services. The package is called Rekognition and has been deployed in some capacity—including alpha and beta testing—since late 2016. Today, a coalition of civil rights groups has jointly signed a letter that calls for Amazon to stop selling this technology..."

Image credit: "Amazon's website says: 'When using Rekognition to analyze video, you can track people through a video even when their faces are not visible, or as they go in and out of the scene.' (Image: Amazon)


A New Theory Linking Sleep and Creativity. A story at The Atlantic is a worthy read; here's an excerpt: "...Now, Penny Lewis from Cardiff University and two of her colleagues have collated and combined those discoveries into a new theory that explains why sleep and creativity are linked. Specifically, their idea explains how the two main phases of sleep—REM and non-REM—work together to help us find unrecognized links between what we already know, and discover out-of-the-box solutions to vexing problems. As you start to fall asleep, you enter non-REM sleep. That includes a light phase that takes up most of the night, and a period of much heavier slumber called slow-wave sleep, or SWS, when millions of neurons fire simultaneously and strongly, like a cellular Greek chorus..."

Photo credit: "A man naps at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics." Mike Segar / Reuters.


The First Holographic Smartphone Will Be Released Later This Year. Not sure I need that feature (yet), but under the heading of keeping an open mind, here's a snippet from CNN.com: "Sure, you have a fancy iPhone X or Pixel 2 that can take amazing photographs and handle even the most graphics-heavy games. But does it have holograms? AT&T and Verizon announced this week they will start selling a holographic smartphone later this year. The Red Hydrogen One smartphone is the first phone from video equipment company Red. The Android phone's killer feature is a "holographic display" that projects 3D images that can be viewed without special glasses. You will be able to view the images from the sides and behind, and interact with them using special hand gestures. It will also include cameras for capturing the custom 3D images..."

Photo credit: "The Red Hydrogen One smartphone will have a "holographic display" feature."


Stillwater Angler Hauls in Monster, Record-Breaking Sturgeon. Bring Me The News has the jaw-dropping details: "It took Jack Burke 45 minutes to reel him in, but it was worth it to claim a Minnesota record. The Stillwater angler was with his friend Michael Orgas on the Rainy River in Koochiching County, northern Minnesota, and they were having a fine time fishing for sturgeon. They managed to land 20 fish in three days, including six lake sturgeon over 60 inches. But Burke then landed something even bigger – a fish that at 73 inches is the biggest recorded catch-and-release lake sturgeon ever plucked from Minnesota's waters…He made the catch earlier this month, on May 4, around 11 a.m. using a muskie rod belonging to Orgas, with an 80-pound braided line rigged with a circle hook and crawlers..."

Photo credit: MN DNR.


Scratch and Sniff Stamps Coming Soon. Oh, thank God. USA TODAY explains:"Ah, the sweet smells of summer: freshly cut grass, barbeque on a grill, the beach and suntan lotion. Now add stamps to that list. The U.S. Postal Service said Monday that it will issue its first-ever scratch-and-sniff stamps that will aim to evoke the sweet scent of summer. The 10 different stamp designs each feature a watercolor illustration of two different ice pops on a stick. There will be one scent for all of the stamps and the secret smell will be unveiled when the Postal Service issues the stamps on June 20, according to U.S. Postal Service public relations representative Mark Saunders..."

Image: U.S. Postal Service.



WEDNESDAY: Sticky, few T-storms possible. Winds: S 10-15. High: 84

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Stray thundershower. Low: 67

THURSDAY: Muggy sunshine, few late-day storms. Winds: S 10-20. High: near 90

FRIDAY: Hot & stuffy, isolated T-storm. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 91

SATURDAY: Sunny and lake-worthy. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 67. High: 92

SUNDAY: Sunny, potentially stinking hot. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: 92

MEMORIAL DAY: Not bad for a holiday. Feels like July. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 71. High: 93

TUESDAY: Still tropical. Late-day T-storm? Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 70. High: 91


Climate Stories...

Water's Rising Because It's Getting Warmer. No, it's not rocks falling into the sea. Here's an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: "Would the Journal run the op-ed “Objects Are Falling, but Not Because of Gravity”? That’s pretty similar to climate contrarian Fred Singer saying The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change” (op-ed, May 16). No, ice is not accumulating on Earth—it is melting. No, Antarctica isn’t too cold for melting—warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet. And no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces, but through careful peer-reviewed research. That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause. Don’t take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much. When water warms, it expands. When ice warms, it melts. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. It is to deny basic physics..."

File image: Peter Morgan, AP.


"Climate Change is Real", Carmakers Tell White House in Letter. Bloomberg has the story: "Automakers urged the White House to cooperate with California officials in a coming rewrite of vehicle efficiency standards, saying “climate change is real.” The plea came in a May 3 letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s leading trade group. It said carmakers “strongly support” continued alignment between federal mileage standards and those set by California. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG and nine other carmakers are members of the Alliance. “Automakers remain committed to increasing fuel efficiency requirements, which yield everyday fuel savings for consumers while also reducing emissions -- because climate change is real and we have a continuing role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving fuel efficiency,” David Schwietert, executive vice president of federal government relations at the Alliance, wrote in the letter, which was made public Monday..."


Hurricanes, a Bit Stronger, a Bit Slower, and a Lot Wetter in a Warmer Climate. Here's the intro to new research at UCAR in Boulder, Colorado: "Scientists have published a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would change if they instead formed near the end of this century. While each storm's transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower moving, and a lot wetter. In one example, Hurricane Ike — which killed more than 100 people and devastated parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2008 — could have 13 percent stronger winds, move 17 percent slower, and be 34 percent wetter if it formed in a future, warmer climate. Other storms could become slightly weaker (like Hurricane Ernesto) or move slightly faster (like Hurricane Gustav). None would become drier. The rainfall rate of simulated future storms in the study increased by an average of 24 percent..."

File image: NASA.


Florida Cities Are Most at Risk from Climate Change, Study Says. No kidding. Bloomberg has details: "The picturesque Florida cities of Miami Beach and Sarasota carry high investment-grade credit ratings and are popular travel destinations. They’re also two of the most exposed U.S cities to climate change in the country, according to a new analysis by advisory firm Four Twenty Seven. The Berkeley, California-based firm has developed an index surveying 761 cities’ and 3,143 counties’ exposure to sea level rise, water stress, heat stress, cyclones and extreme rainfall based on analysis of changes between current and future conditions. It found that communities in Florida are the most susceptible to climate change risks, with Miami Beach being the most exposed city and Manatee County being the most-exposed county..."

Photo credit: "Miami Beach, Florida." Photographer: Christina Mendenhall/Bloomberg.


Millenials Not Brainwashed on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Star-Telegram: "We’re teaching our kids negative things — we’re pre-biasing them.” Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian recently claimed the reason Millennials like me care about solving climate change and aren’t elbowing each other for jobs in the oil and gas industry is because our entire generation has been brainwashed. Brainwashed? If true, it’d be a national emergency. After all, who could so effectively organize such an epic conspiracy to brainwash the 91 percent of us who accept climate change is happening? Is it a plot by the Democrats? No doubt Democrats have packaged climate action into a basket of progressive issues. But before this became a polarized issue — a condition unique to U.S. politics — politically active conservatives were more likely than liberals to believe scientists about the human contribution to climate change..."

File image: accountingweb.com.


Here's How Big a Rock You'd have to Drop in the Ocean to See the Rise in Sea Level Happening Now. The Washington Post explains: "...Certainly 3.3 millimeters doesn’t sound like a lot of water to displace, and it does seem, to Brooks’s point, that it’s an amount — about 0.1 inch — that would be easy to displace with a cliff collapse near San Diego. The equivalent rise relative to surface area in an Olympic-sized swimming pool would be 0.0000000000114 millimeters. That’s not possible, though, since a water molecule isn’t that small. But when you apply 3.3 millimeters of rise to the entire ocean? We’re talking about a lot of water that’s displaced — 3.3 millimeters across about 362 million square kilometers of surface area. The total volume displaced, then, would be 1.19 trillion cubic meters of water...So to make the oceans rise 3.3 millimeters, we would need to displace that 1.2 trillion cubic meters of water upward by dropping in 1.2 trillion cubic meters of dirt or stone or whatever..."

Image credit: Google Earth and WaPo.


Shell Faces Shareholder Challenge Over Climate Change Approach. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Royal Dutch Shell faces a shareholder challenge over climate change this week, as investors insist oil and gas firms should offer more transparency and action on carbon emissions. A growing number of pension funds have backed a resolution at Shell’s AGM on Tuesday that calls on the company to set tougher carbon targets that are in line with the goals of the Paris climate deal. The proposal has been backed by the Church of England, the Dutch pension fund Aegon and, most recently, Nest, the workplace pension scheme set up by the UK government, which has £7m invested in Shell..."

File image: Marco Brindicci, Reuters.


Ancient Rome's Collapse is Written Into Arctic Ice. I had no idea, but a good summary at The Atlantic opened my eyes: "...On Monday, scientists announced the discovery of an entirely new resource that has the potential to remake some of those centuries-old arguments over Roman politics and history. A team of archaeologists, historians, and climate scientists have constructed a history of Rome’s lead pollution, which allows them to approximate Mediterranean economic activity from 1,100 B.C. to 800 A.d. They found it hiding thousands of miles from the Roman Forum: deep in the Greenland Ice Sheet, the enormous, miles-thick plate of ice that entombs the North Atlantic island. In short, they have reconstructed year-by-year economic data documenting the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Empire. The first news of the record was published Monday afternoon in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..."

Image credit: Oskari Porkka / Gilmanshin / Shutterstock / Katie Martin / The Atlantic.


Climate Change, Crowding Imperil Iconic Route to Top of Mount Everest. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...Several veteran climbers and well-respected Western climbing companies have moved their expeditions to the northern side of the mountain in Tibet in recent years, saying rising temperatures and inexperienced climbers have made the icefall more vulnerable. Research by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development shows that the Khumbu glacier is retreating at an average of 65 feet per year, raising the risk of avalanche. “The icefall is obviously a dangerous place to be, especially later on in the season and with increased temperatures experienced in the Himalayas due to climate change,” Phil Crampton of the climbing company Altitude Junkies told the Everest blogger Alan Arnette earlier this year..."

File image: Britannica.com.