Severe Threat Diminishes. NWS Doppler at 8:25 pm shows a line of heavy showers and T-storms pushing through the metro area. Pea-size hail (and frequent lightning strikes) are still possible into western Wisconsin, but the risk of violent winds and damaging hail has passed...for now.
*79 F. new record high for Sunday in the Twin Cities.
71 F. old record for March 18 (1921).
42 F. average high for March 18.
40 F. high a year ago, on March 18, 2011.
+12.4 F. As of Saturday metro temperatures were running more than 12 degrees warmer than average for March.
79 F. at International Falls, Minnesota, 4 degrees warmer than Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Source: Weather Underground.
12 record highs in the Twin Cities since March 10 (7 record highs, 5 record warm nighttime lows)
.62" rain predicted for MSP by Thursday evening (NAM model).
Slight severe risk into southern and western Minnesota later today.
Open Water. My friend and business partner, Todd Frostad, snapped this picture of open water on Lotus Lake, in Chanhassen. A few minutes before people were water-skiing on Lotus. Good grief. Excelsior Bay is open on Lake Minnetonka, still some lingering ice on the main Upper and Lower Lake. It won't be long now.
^The high of 80 degrees on March 17th is the earliest 80 degree temperature on record for the Twin Cities. The previous record for the first 80+ degree temperature of the year was March 23rd, set in 1910.
*The new maximum low temperature of 59 degrees, recorded on March 17th, is also the highest low temperature on record during the month of March in the Twin Cities. The previous record was 57 degrees set on March 27th and 29th 1910.
Running Tally Of Records. The chart above from the Twin Cities office of the NWS doesn't have Sunday's records, which brings the total of up 12, a couple of these records dating back to 1894.
77 F. high at International Falls Saturday. Talk about record-smashing. INL broke their old record by 22 degrees, records go back to 1897. 77 is their average mid-summer high. Thanks to my old pal, Mike Seidel, for passing that great nugget along.
First Red-Winged Blackbird Sighting. From my Mendota Heights friend Sharon Bertrand: "Yesterday I was up at my dad's - Hillman Township - west of Onamia, and there were red winged black birds at the feeder. These are usually among the first birds back in the spring, but this is early and so far north!!!" Later in the day she spotted more red-winged blackbirds at home in Mendota Heights. Amazing. File photo courtesy of allaboutbirds.org.
Sharon Sharon Bertrand, Ed.D, MHA, RN www.healintolife.com
"Showers Of Green Beer". This was the (crazy) scene in St. Paul on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, with temperatures in the upper 70s to near 80. It was hard not to have a good time, during the warmest St. Patty's Day on record for the cities. Photo courtesy of Broadcast Weather meteorologist Aaron Shaffer.
The Rhubarb Are Coming Up! Thanks to meteorologist-extraordinaire Todd Nelson for sharing his new rhubarb up in St. Michael. I'd say it's about - what - 4-5 weeks early?
Jaw-Dropping Warmth At International Falls. 14 records at Duluth since March 10? Details from the Duluth office of the National Weather Service.
Hey, What's A Few Thousand Weather Records Among Friends? 2,647 daily weather records as of Saturday, and that's just for a 7-day period. Click on the interactive map from Ham Weather (one of my weather companies) to see details.1,381 record daytime highs, 782 daily records for "warmest mins", or warmest nighttime lows in modern-day records. Hyperbole aside, I honestly can't remember anything like this, even back in 1988, when MSP experienced 44 days above 90. I'm afraid we've run out of red dots.
|Low Max Temp:||77|
|High Min Temp:||782|
19:1. Ratio of warm weather records to cold weather records so far in March, nationwide. Source: capitalclimate.com.
14:1. NOAA data shows 14 times more warm weather records than cold records since January 1 across the USA.
2:1. Ratio of record highs to lows, nationwide, in the last decade - nationwide. Source: NOAA, NCAR.
Is Your Child's School Prepared For A Severe Weather Threat? Lori Druskin Ryan has a great post at her new blog, SeeThinkTry.com: "CBS did a story this week Schools face tough calls with tornado outbreak. And they most certainly do. Administrators are making life and death decisions when severe weather threatens. And what tools and information are schools using to make those decisions? NPR just did a story this week titled “Tornado Tech: What if Dorothy Had a Smartphone?” My mind went immediately to our own district which couldn’t even make a clear choice about what to do about school on a snowy morning. I’ve never had a Facebook posts get so many comments. You can read more about it here, but the bottom line is the Superintendent in our district came under fire for her lack of leadership on a Snow Day. Instead of opening or closing school, she made school “optional” without clearly relaying that message to the schools. There was chaos when the kids got off the bus. I get a little worried if a tornado situation would strike during the middle of our school day. Could I trust our district’s staff to take control? I realize the teachers, students and staff at each school site practice tornado drills and so forth, but there are always other factors that need consideration and you need to be able to make decisions quickly."
Insurance Industry Grappling With Weather Extremes. There aren't too many climate change skeptics in the insurance industry. The Springfield, Illinois State Journal-Register has the story: "Three states — California, New York and Washington — want to know how insurance companies are planning for weather extremes that come with climate change. Such regulatory developments and storm damage in the billions of dollars in the last few years are causing the industry to take another look at forecast models used to assess the risk of catastrophic events and set rates, say organizers of a local workshop on the topic next month. The professional workshop also comes after the deadliest tornado season in more than 75 years in 2011, with 2012 off to a similar start. “We try to come up with a topic each year that we feel is timely to the insurance industry,” said Marty Dempsey, vice president of the Land of Lincoln Chapter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society." Map above: NOAA's NCDC.
Top 10 Most Vulnerable States To Flooding In The USA? A few surprises on the list (thankfully Minnesota and Wisconsin are not on the list). Details below.
$2.2 trillion dollars of the U.S. economy is thought to be affected annually by weather. Transportation, agriculture, insurance, leisure; it's a long list.
Ripe For Tornadoes? The combination of a sudden surge of warmth and moisture coupled with an extra-energized jet stream aloft may be setting the stage for a very severe tornado season in 2012. Details below. Upper level wind speed map courtesy of SPC.
North Platte, Nebraska Tornado. Here is the tornado that touched down Sunday evening, illuminated by a burst from high tension lines. Thanks to JD Rudd for passing this one along. Tornadoes are especially dangerous at night, when it's very difficult to track the funnels - spotters and chasers have to rely on lightning flashes and sparks from the tornado hitting high tension lines.
Monday Severe Risk Now Extends Into Western/Southern Minnesota. SPC has upgraded the risk to "moderate" for much of central Texas and southern Oklahoma - meaning a good chance of (significant) tornadoes on the ground later today from Austin and Dallas into Texarkana. A slight risk exists from Texas northward into the Red River Valley of Minnesota.
Preview Of Coming Attractions? This was the severe cell that raced from south to north across Wisconsin Friday evening, brushing Eau Claire, producing some quarter size hail. Thanks to Dirk S. Miller for sharing a terrific photo: "The severe thunderstorm in North Central Chippewa/Southern part of Rusk County last evening…This lightning shot was taken from 6 miles North of Rice Lake looking Southeast…"
Very Early Ice Out? The average ice-out date for Lake Minnetonka is April 13, April 2 for White Bear Lake, April 24 up at Lake Mille Lacs. Yesterday I saw a thin strip of open water on the Main Upper Lake of 'Tonka - with a strong south wind gusting to 25 mph and highs near 80 today, again tomorrow, accompanied by .25 to .50" rain late Monday into Tuesday, I suspect ice-out on most metro lakes within 48 hours - coming 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Like turning on a light switch.
"Actually, deniers are organized by conservative think tanks funded by the fossil fuel industry that attempt to create doubt about climate science and block actions that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy alternatives. To do this they use conspiracy theories and “fake” experts with no background in climate science. They insist on absolute certainty, cherry-pick the data and ignore the larger body of evidence or misrepresent data and promote logical fallacies like “the climate has changed in the past, therefore current change is natural.”- from an article about the sociology of climate change denial from Energy Bulletin, details below.
Heat Wave Sizzles On, Toppling More Than 2,000 Records. A good overview of the historic, unprecedented March warmth from Climate Central: "Records continue to fall across much of the U.S., as the extraordinary March heat wave rolls onward. The warm weather, with daytime high temperatures close to 40°F above average in some places, set the stage for severe thunderstorms that spawned rare, damaging March tornadoes near Detroit. The warm weather is the result of a weather pattern that has become stuck in place, known as a “blocking pattern,” with a stubborn, sprawling area of high pressure in the eastern U.S. that is pumping warm air northward into the Great Plaines, Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast. The West, on the other hand, is cool and stormy, with mountain snows and valley rains associated with a big dip or “trough” in the jet stream. As this trough slides slowly east, it may set the stage for an outbreak of tornadoes in the Plains late this weekend, as the cool air collides with the warm and more humid air that lies to the east."
2,912 records across the USA from March 10-16, including 1,486 record daytime highs and 808 nighttime lows. I've never seen anything like this during the month of March. It's still March, right? Map above courtesy of Ham Weather's new Aeris platform.
|Low Max Temp:||126|
|High Min Temp:||808|
A Summer To Remember, In March. "Not The Atmosphere I Grew Up With". Joe Romm at Think Progress takes a look at the freakishly warm sparking smiles (and more than a little concern about what this really means) east of the Rockies. How much of this is normal atmospheric variabilty vs. symptoms of a warmer, wetter atmosphere? A +20F temperature anomaly is usually considered a big deal, but now we're looking at +40 F, which is off the scale, as if we just got magically transported into a different atmosphere. You don't have to be a rocket scientists (or climate scientist) to realize, in your gut, that something hs changed: "It has been a summer to remember. In winter. Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. As Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro says of the current heat wave: "This remarkable warmth is associated with a bulging ridge of high pressure aloft that is exceptionally strong and long-lasting for March. While natural factors are contributing to this warm spell, given the nature of it and its context with other extreme weather events and patterns in recent years there is a high probability that global warming is having an influence upon its extremity." This year, U.S. heat records have been outnumbering cold records by a stunning amount — 14-to-1 (19-to-1 in March) – as this chart (above) from Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate makes clear."
* "Historic And Unprecedented March Warmth" To Continue. The Chicago NWS office has more details on the historic and persistent levels of warmth in Chicago here.
You Call This Winter? 4th Straight Record Day Of Heat In Chicago. MSNBC.com has the details: "Chicago saw a fourth day in a row of record-setting high temperatures on Saturday, and forecasters say 90 major cities could see records for the day fall on Sunday. O’Hare International Airport recorded a high of 75 degrees, breaking the high for March 17 of 74, set in 2009, the National Weather Service said. It was even hotter on Friday -- the earliest day ever for temperatures to hit 82 degrees, a record that had stood for 67 years, NBCChicago.com reported."
Photo credit above: "Alana Handman, left, from Atlanta, braids the hair of fellow Columbia College student, Sarah Genematis, from Detroit, Mich., in Chicago's Millennium Park, Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Temperatures were close to record highs after a mild winter on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)."
U.S. March Weather: 80 Degrees And Twisters In Michigan And 250,000 Tons Of Snow In Anchorage. Here's a fascinating story about the mind-boggling extremes from Alaska to the lower 48 states, courtesy of AP and The Washington Post: "Nearly 11 feet of snow has fallen on Anchorage, Alaska, this winter. That’s almost a record, and it’s forcing the city to haul away at least 250,000 tons of snow. Yet not much snow has dropped on the Lower 48 this year. The first three months of 2012 have seen twice the normal number of tornadoes. And 36 states set daily high temperature records Thursday. So far this month, the U.S. has set 1,757 daily high temperature records. That’s similar to the number during last summer’s heat wave, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."
Photo credit above: "(Loren Holmes, Carlos Osorio/Associated Press) - In this combination photo, Doug Hamrick shovels snow off of his family’s roof in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, left, and Katie Cramer looks over the front of her destroyed house in Dexter, Mich. on Friday, March 16, 2012 after a tornado touched down on Thursday night. America’s weather is stuck on extreme. Nearly 11 feet of snow has fallen on Anchorage this winter."
Minnesota Magic. One of the many great things about living in the North Woods is getting a (rare) glimpse of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. I've lived here for 27 years, and probably seen the aurora half a dozen times during that period. You can't really describe it - it's almost supernatural: shimmering curtains of green and red dancing on the northern horizon. With the recent storms on the sun the odds of seeing this celestial treat have increased. There's no way to predict in advance, but in the coming nights it's worth a look. The spectacular photos above are courtesy of Shawn Malone at LakeSuperPhoto.com.
Protect The National Weather Service. Will possible budget cuts/freezes impact the National Weather Service's ability to continue providing the best severe storm services in the world? There is growing concern about readiness and staffing levels. Details below.
"Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home - the rise of "connected" gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people "bug" their own homes, says CIA Director David Patraeus. The CIA claims it will be able to "read" these devices via the Internet - and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home." - from a story below at the U.K. Daily Mail. Photo credit: 929thelake.com.
Protect The National Weather Service. America has the best weather service in the world, and that didn't happen by accident. Having great forecasts, timely warnings, flood services, products for mariners and a host of other services. Congress approves budgets for the National Weather Service, and there is (growing) concern that budget freezes and possible cuts may impact the ability of the NWS to provide an acceptable level of severe storm coverage. Here's a statement from the "Protect The National Weather Service" FB page: "This graphic shows the number of tornadoes that have occurred each year from 1950 to 2011. As you all know, 2011 was a very bad year and now heading into this severe weather season we have seen too many destructive tornadoes. For all our followers living in tornado-prone areas, please take a few minutes to e-mail Commerce Secretary Bryson and tell him how vital the National Weather Service is for our communities - and tell him to make the right decision to fully fund it. Thank you.
E-mail Secretary Bryson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
* graphic above courtesy of the National Weather Service's SPC, the Storm Prediction Center, responsible for issuing all severe storm/tornado watches across the USA, with a duration of 3-8 hours, meaning conditions are ripe for violent weather. Local NWS offices go on to issue county-specific warnings, lasting 20-45 minutes.
Tornado Season's Early Start May Predict Ominous Year. The story from Live Science: "Tornado season got an early start this year, and according to one forecast, it could be an ominous sign of things to come. Tornado season typically starts in late March and revs up from May to June, though it's possible for tornadoes to pop up during any time of the year (November is often called the second tornado season). After 2011's record-breaking tornado season, and this year's early start, people in Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley might be wondering if they're in for another big bout of twisters." Graphic above: SPC.
The Strong Tornadoes Of March 15, 2012. The Detroit office of the NWS has extensive details on the historic tornadoes that swept across southeastern Michigan a few days ago - the earliest (large/violent) tornadoes ever reported so early in the season: "An amplified, upper level weather pattern allowed for an unseasonably warm and humid air mass to infiltrate the southern Great Lakes region. Highly anomalous for the month of March, surface dew points climbed into the lower 60 degree range across much of Southeastern Michigan. This rich moisture combined with an upper level disturbance tracking northward through Lower Michigan to fuel a long duration severe thunderstorm event across Southeastern Michigan. The primary severe weather type observed with these storms was very large hail, along with a few tornadoes." Photo upper right of the Monroe County tornado courtesy of Joey Wherry.
Nebraskans Feeling Snubbed By Tornado List. Florida #1? Say what? The most violent tornadoes, do, in fact, appear to be migrating east, into "Dixie Alley" and parts of the southeast, where spotting and tracking tornadoes is more problematic (more hills, higher population densities increase the odds of disaster). Here's a story from the siouxcityjournal.com: "LINCOLN, Neb. -- Here in Tornado Alley, we watch our Doppler and track our twisters with a mix of fear, respect -- and pride. But in a new study by the Weather Channel's tornado expert, Nebraska didn't crack the list of the Top 10 Tornado States. It ranked behind its neighbors, Iowa and Kansas. Behind Florida and Louisiana. Behind South Carolina, even, and Maryland.
Maryland, No. 3?
Nebraska, No. 11?
The expert, Greg Forbes, used National Weather Service data from 1950 to 2010, calculating the number of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles -- a different approach than the traditional tornadoes-per-state-per-year rankings. Florida ranked first, with 12.3 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles. Louisiana was last, with 8.5."
National Weather Service: Low Spring Flooding Risk This Year. More details from The Chicago Tribune: "We're getting a much-needed spring break this year," she said. "This is the first time in four years without a high risk of major flooding. The limited snowfall over the winter was key." She said people living along the Red, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers should experience a "spring very different from last year's," when major flooding devastated those areas for months at a time. Nearly the entire Southwest is at a below normal risk of flooding, as are the Southeast and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Only parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Ohio River Valley are at an "above normal" risk for spring flooding." Map above courtesy of NOAA.
Alaska's Largest City Eyes Snowfall Record. An update on the incredible amounts of snow at Anchorage from AP and WXVT-TV: "(AP) - A near-record snowfall this winter has buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into snow-walled canyons and even collapsing some roofs. But some residents are hoping for more, at least another 3.3 inches. Then they could say they made it through the winter when the nearly 60-year record of 132.6 inches was broken. "I want it destroyed," resident Melissa Blair said. "I want to see another foot and knock that record out of the park." Even by Alaska standards, this winter is unusual for the hardy residents of the state's largest city. But extreme weather isn't just affecting Alaska, it has also hit the Lower 48."
Photo credit above: "Mauricio Castillo, on the lower garage roof, and Hendrix Estrada and Israel Castillo clear snow off the roof of a home on Lupine Drive on Friday, March 16, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. Even by Alaska standards, this winter is unusual for the hardy residents of the state's largest city. Near-record snowfall buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into canyons with walls of snow on each side. The snow's weight collapsed the roofs of some buildings. Moose are fleeing into the city to get away from too-deep snow. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)."
10 States Most At Risk Of Flooding. Here's an interesting story from usnews.com: "A report released Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the homes of nearly 3.9 million Americans are at risk of flooding in the next century if the sea level rises one foot, as many climate scientists have predicted. While usual suspects such as New Orleans, southern Florida and the Manhattan section of New York City are at great risk, some more surprising areas also have large populations living less than a meter above sea level. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, told us which states are most at risk of devastating floods over the next 100 years."
Top 3 At-Risk States From Flooding:
Is Your Small Business Prepared For The Worst? Disaster Recovery Made Easy. Here are some timely tips for safeguarding your business before severe weather strikes, courtesy of businessinsider.com:
- Backup data daily. Your server should be configured to run backups every single evening. Be sure to check your error logs for any documents that aren’t backing up. It’s better to know now than find out the hard way.
- Store backup tapes off-site. Better yet, change your document backup to a reliable Cloud-based system. Recall provides online storage with 24/7 access to any of your stored documents through its online document retrieval service, ReQuest Web.
- Test your disaster recovery plan regularly. The only way to be certain disaster recovery is working is to imagine disaster happens. Routinely test your backup systems to make sure you’d be able to recover files if you needed to.
- Go beyond servers. The ability to retrieve documents is useless if your employees’ hardware is down. A disaster may very well take out every piece of equipment in your building. Be sure to include a plan to get your employees working again as quickly as possible, including purchasing replacement computers and peripherals, as well as printers.
CIA Capability To "Spy" On Consumers Via Their Smart, Internet-Enabled TV's? Agency Director Says 'Net-Connected Devices Will Transform Surveillance. O.K. Time to turn off my TV. Nobody wants to see me sitting on the sofa in my underwear. Sorry for that mental image. The story from the U.K. Daily Mail: "When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are. Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home - the rise of "connected" gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people "bug" their own homes, says CIA Director David Patraeus. The CIA claims it will be able to "read" these devices via the Internet - and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home." Photo: Daily Mail.
Rising Gas Prices Give A Jolt To Sales Of Electric Motorcycles. The story from the L.A. Times: "When Harry Mallin commutes to work on his motorcycle, he stops at gas stations only to pick up a Diet Coke. He rides a Brammo Enertia, which won't ever be mistaken for a loud, heavy "hog." The Enertia is a plug-in electric motorcycle. "I never have to stop at the pumps," said Mallin, who rides 25 miles round-trip to his job as a lawyer in Kansas City, Mo. Electric motorcycles, though still a rarity on the nation's byways, have been available for years. But with new models coming out that can go freeway speeds and travel more than 100 miles on a single charge, electric motorcycles could be poised to move beyond novelty status."
Photo credit above: "The Zero DS is one of the electric models made by Zero Motorcycles of Scotts Valley, Calif. Electric motorcycles cost less than 2 cents of fuel per mile to operate — considerably less than gas-fueled bikes. (Don Kelsen, Los Angeles Times / March 7, 2012)."
Looked Good On Paper. This story makes me want to weep. "The new Italian Lamborghini Gallardo Police Car at it's unveiling ceremony (upper left), one of two new, high-speed patrol cars in the Italian Police Force, needed to catch up to speeding drivers." What a shame they couldn't find someone who knew how to drive one. Mamma Mia...
More Record Warmth. With the exception of poor Grand Marais just about the entire state was treated to 70s and 80s on Sunday. Highs ranged from a chilly 51 at Grand Marais to 73 at Duluth, 75 St. Cloud, 79 at International Falls and the Twin Cities to 80 in Rochester and a balmy 83 at Redwood Falls - all records.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Warm sun early. A few strong PM T-storms (probably not severe). Winds: S 20+ Record high: 72 (1910). High: 77
MONDAY NIGHT: More showers, possible thunder. Yet another record. Low: 60
TUESDAY: Unsettled with more clouds than sun, a few T-showers. Record: 66 (1938). High: 71
WEDNESDAY: Shower, then partial clearing. Low: 52. High: 66
THURSDAY: Showers southern MN. Some sun north. Low: 53. High: 69
FRIDAY: More showers, possible thunder? Low: 54. High: 66
SATURDAY: Becoming partly sunny, mild. Probably the nicer day of the weekend. Low: 51. High: 64
SUNDAY: Cloudier, chance of rain showers. Low: 47. High: near 60
"Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day," said W. Earl Hall. Agreed. I've had the good fortune of living in Minnesota for 27 years. 27 winters, but I'm not sure this last chilly spell qualifies as "winter". Debatable. I've never seen a March like this.
The Twin Cities have set 12 new warm-weather records since March 10. Earliest 80. Earliest 60- degree dew point @MSP. 77 F at International Falls Saturday broke the record by a jaw-dropping 22 degrees! 42 degrees above average. 2100 records in 7 days?
In 32 years tracking weather I've never seen anything quite like this, certainly not in March.
We've always had our atmospheric ups and downs, but this is OFF THE SCALE WEIRD; even for Minnesota.
If word gets out that we enjoy 6 month summers watch out. The flood gates will open. Then again, who knows what next year will bring?
I keep waiting for the other shoe (boot) to drop, and even though we may see a few more 50-degree days in late March, I don't see anything remotely wintry - the GFS hints at more 60s/70s in late March and early April. T-storms today probably won't be severe. The same storm that has plagued the west with mountain snows, valley rains, high winds and temperatures 20-30 degrees below average for mid-March will pinwheel east this week, keeping us showery into Friday. Sadly rainfall amounts will be light, probably less than .25-.50" over the next 5 days. Just enough to settle the dust.
You might want to hold off on the annuals a few more weeks, eh?
Politicians Fiddle While The Earth Burns. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Bill Press at The Chicago Tribune: "But today, six years after Gore's film, climate change has disappeared as an issue. And things have only gotten worse. With glaciers all but gone, ice caps melting, and sea levels rising, we may, in fact, have already reached the point of no return. Yet, in the last four years, not one significant piece of climate change legislation has been debated in the Congress. In January 2011, a frustrated Carol Browner, director of President Obama's Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, resigned her post. No successor was named, and Congress has since eliminated all funding for the position. Ironically, the only one making noise about climate change today is anti-global warming zealot James Inhofe (R-OK) who claims, in his book "The Greatest Hoax," that the Bible tells us God created the earth, God will take care of it, and we don't have to worry about mucking it up."
MIT Climate Scientist's Wife Threatened In A "Frenzy Of Hate" And Cyberbulling Fomented By Deniers. The unbelievable story from Think Progress: "Prominent MIT researcher Kerry Emanuel has been receiving an unprecedented “frenzy of hate” after a video featuring an interview with him was published recently by Climate Desk. Emails contained “veiled threats against my wife,” and other “tangible threats,” Emanuel, a highly-regarded atmospheric scientist and director of MIT’s Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate program, said in an interview. “They were vile, these emails. They were the kind of emails nobody would like to receive.” “What was a little bit new about it was dragging family members into it and feeling that my family might be under threat, so naturally I didn’t feel very good about that at all,” Emanuel said. “I thought it was low to drag somebody’s spouse into arguments like this.”
U.S. Warmth Continues, But Globally Coolest Land Temperatures Since 1994. An update from Huffington Post: "Reading any article based on statistics is a lesson in interpretation, and the latest global temperature statistics provide an opportunity for some differing opinions on the topic of the climate: While the United States had an exceptionally warm winter (fourth warmest) and global temperatures remained above average in February, global land areas were the coolest since 1994. In other words, just as cold winter in the U.S. during the previous two years did not mean that it was cold globally, a warm U.S. winter this year didn't mean that it was warm globally. Determinations about global temperature trends need to be made based on global data, not the data in one part of the world."
Countries Most Vulnerable To Climate Change. A story from maplecroft.com: "The fourth release of Maplecroft’s Climate Change and Environment Risk Atlas includes a new Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) that analyses and maps climate change vulnerability down to 25km² worldwide. It reveals that some of the world’s fastest growing populations are increasingly at risk from the impacts of climate related natural hazards including sea level rise. Many of the countries with the fastest population growth are rated as ‘extreme risk’ in the CCVI, including the strategically important emerging economies of Bangladesh (2nd), the Philippines (10th), Viet Nam (23th), Indonesia (27th) and India (28th). Climate change and population growth form the two greatest challenges facing the world over the next century. This issue of population growth is driven home by this week’s announcement by the UN’s State of the World’s Population Report 2011 revealing that the world’s population has now reached 7 billion people."
Map credit above: maplecroft.com.
"Those who deny the reality, importance, or magnitude of climate change warrant our collective outrage. Whether by action or inaction, their denial blinds us to the risks, vulnerabilities, and threats to our well-being posed by climate change. Insofar as claims of ignorance are becoming increasingly implausible, those who support or propagate the disinformation campaign about climate change are guilty of more than deception. They are guilty of exacerbating risks to our collective well-being and of undermining society." - Donald Brown, Penn State. More at the Penn State Climate Ethics Blog.
Sociological Explanations For Climate Change Denial. The story from Energy Bulletin: "Talk about climate change seems to be a taboo subject in America today. Three years ago promises by both major political parties to do something have gone by the wayside while today’s Republican presidential candidates reject evidence that humans are responsible for the warming of the earth The mainstream media routinely report on extreme weather, like this winter’s high temperatures and last summer’s droughts, but reporters and commentators typically veer away from connecting it to climate change. Last October, the New York Times reported that those who believed the Earth was warming dropped from 79 percent in 2006 to 59 percent. However, a month later polling experts blamed this decline on a collapse in media coverage and pollsters’ deeply flawed questions."
Outdoor Skating, A Joy Of Winter In Canada, Feels Effects Of Changing Climate. The story from The New York Times: "OTTAWA — Outdoor ice skating rinks are the hubs of many Canadian communities, the basis of national legends (particularly the backyard rink where Wayne Gretzky learned to play hockey) and the source of some of its best-loved stories (“The Hockey Sweater” by Roch Carrier). Now a study by climate scientists suggests that they may be doomed. The analysis, led by H. Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal, of 50 years of rink-related climate data shows a steady and rapidly increasing deterioration of rink-friendly weather in most of southern Canada." Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune.
* the full study (pdf) is here.
Better Wind Forecasts? That's Not Just A Lot Of Hot Air. An update from Discovery News and MSNBC.com: "One of the biggest strikes against renewable energy is its unpredictability. The vagaries of wind and sunshine makes it tough for utilities to plan when these forms of green power will be available to customers on the electric grid, so they often need to have a backup power source ready to burn, usually a more polluting coal- or gas-fired fossil fuel plant. “The wind is variable, the sun doesn’t shine all the time,” said Phil Larochelle, a researcher at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E)." Photo: LM Otero/AP.