Still Giddy After Yesterday's Solar Eclipse?

Well, that was underwhelming. And for the record, we could have successfully predicted a cloudy solar eclipse for much of Minnesota 10 years ago. If you did see the moon-shadow consider yourself extra blessed.
 
It's a metaphor. Summer has been eclipsed by a persistent family of Canadian cool fronts in recent weeks. August is running 2.6F cooler than average in the Twin Cities, and odds are we'll finish the month with a deficit of degrees.

Farmers are complaining about a lack of heat (so crops can mature and fill out). Cabin dwellers are whining that it's been too cool for a dip in their favorite lakes.
 
If only I could push a big red button and change the weather!
 
Skies clear today as Canada sneezes the latest cool front south of the border. Highs in the 70s (60s up north) with lows in the 50s? Hints of late-September. At least we can enjoy a dry sky today into much of Friday.
 
A return flow of moisture fuels showers late Friday into Sunday with temperatures trending cooler than
average. Maybe we'll warm up by Labor Day.
 
Life goes on after an (alleged) partial solar eclipse.

Ultimate Before - After Photograph. The image above pretty much sums it up. For more details on what the total solar eclipse looked like in Torrington, Wyoming check out the post at CityLab.



 
Next Solar Eclipse? If you didn't see the eclipse yesterday don't despair. It all depends where you live, but much of Minnesota will see a partial solar eclipses on October 14, 2023 and again on April 8, 2024, according to timeanddate.com. Punch in your zip code to get more information on the next eclipse. On second thought, maybe I'll just watch it on TV.

Cool Bias Lingers. The ECMWF model may be overdoing the cooling trend this upcoming weekend (50s for highs Sunday in the metro seems a bit stark) but the general idea is correct - a cool bias continues into  much of next week with a possible warming trend in time for Labor Day. Twin Cities data: WeatherBell.


Tuesday Flash Flood Threat. The greatest potential for lingering storms later today comes from near Amarillo and Wichita Falls to Oklahoma City and Little Rock, according to NOAA guidance.


7-Day Rainfall Potential.  Keep an eye on Texas in the coming days - too early to say where the heaviest rains will accumulate, but with ex-tropical storm Harvey likely to strengthen again and track toward Texas amounts may be excessive from Brownsville and Corpus Christi to Houston and New Orelans. South Florida may pick up 4-6" rains over the next week.

Keep An Eye on the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA's 12 KM NAM strengthens what's left of "Harvey" into a full-blown hurricane by Friday with movement toward the Texas coastline. Confidence levels are very low, but water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are unusually warm - rapid strengthening is possible in the coming days. Residents living on or near the Gulf Coast need to pay attention. Loop: Tropicaltidbits.com.


Why Isn't Local Media Covering the Clean Power Plan? Columbia Journalism Review takes a look: "A daily newspaper in Texas published an editorial about a month ago arguing that any changes President Trump makes to Barack Obama’s climate-change plan shouldn’t include propping up the coal industry at the expense of other energy sources: “The EPA has no business in picking winners and losers.” “We’re in the middle of oil country,” says Roy Maynard, a senior editor at the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “We’re looking at that from a free-market approach. The government doesn’t need to be propping up any of these industries...”

Escaping One of the Nation's Worst Environmental Disaster Zones. As is often the case, the poor are first to be impacted by the ravages of pollution. The Washington Post reports: "...In May 2016, Turner unknowingly moved her family into one of the nation’s worst environmental disaster zones. Last summer, shocked residents in the public housing complex called West Calumet were told that the soil in their yards had been contaminated for decades. In some places, the lead in the dirt measured 228 times the maximum level considered safe. Subsequent blood tests found that 18 out of 94 children younger than 6, the age group most at risk, had elevated lead levels. Then officials tested the water and discovered that it, too, contained lead, raising concerns that East Chicago was becoming the next Flint, but worse. Vice President Pence was governor of Indiana at the time of the announcement a year ago that the neighborhood was uninhabitable..."


From Tesla to Mercedes-Benz, Automakers Become Energy Companies. Ask Apple - it's all about the ecosystem. GreenBiz explains: "Drive your electric car to your solar-powered home, plug it in to charge and enjoy the flexibility provided by the oversized battery parked in the driveway. It's a long-sought environmental ideal, but one that may be getting closer to reality as automakers throw their technical expertise and deep pockets more directly into new ventures in the energy business. "This is the integrated future. You’ve got an electric car, a Powerwall and a Solar Roof. It’s pretty straightforward, really," Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk explained to Fast Company at a model all-electric neighborhood earlier this summer. "[This] can solve the whole energy equation." Aside from the union of Musk's clean energy empire, with Tesla's late 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz launched a U.S. energy division in November. BMW, Ford and other auto companies are also doing their own energy storage and vehicle-to-grid pilots with a range of utilities and renewable energy providers..."

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz Energy. "Mercedes-Benz Energy, an offshoot of automotive giant Daimler, is among the companies with roots in the car business branching into energy storage."


Before You Study, Ask for Help. The Wall Street Journal has timely advice for kids heading back to school: "What’s the best way to study for a test? Many students will plunge into marathon study sessions this fall, rereading textbooks and highlighting their notes late into the night. The more effort the better, right? Not so, new research shows. Students who excel at both classroom and standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT aren’t necessarily those who study longest. Instead, they study smart—planning ahead, quizzing themselves on the material and actively seeking out help when they don’t understand it. Carl Wilke, a Tacoma, Wash., father of six children ages 4 to 22, sees the studying challenges that students face almost every school day. He coaches his children to pick out the main points in their notes rather than highlight everything, and to look for headings and words in bold type to find the big ideas in their textbooks..."


The Idea of "Screen Time" is Muddled and Misquided. So says the author of a story at The Conversation: "...But the term “screen time” is problematic to begin with. A screen can refer to an iPad used to Skype their grandparents, a Kindle for reading poetry, a television for playing video games, or a desktop computer for their homework. Most screens are now multifunctional, so unless we specify the content, context and connections involved in particular screen time activities, any discussion will be muddled. Measuring technology usage in terms of quantity rather than quality is also difficult. Children spend time on multiple devices in multiple places, sometimes in short bursts, sometimes constantly connected. Calculating the incalculable puts unnecessary pressure on parents, who end up looking at the clock rather than their children..."

Photo credit: "Hang on mum, I’m just catching up on The Conversation." Shutterstock


Scientists May Have Discovered What Causes Migraines and a Path Toward a Cure. Big Think has more details: "...This study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, is likely to put the controversy to rest, and help researchers develop novel approaches to treat the condition. 59,674 migraine sufferers and 316,078 controls, or those who didn’t get the headaches, participated. They hailed from 12 different countries. All participants were part of previous studies, where they had their DNA or genome scanned. Researchers identified 38 specific genes or loci tied to migraines, 28 of which had never been implicated before. What’s interesting is these same genes are associated with other forms of illness, all in the realm of vascular disease. Due to this, researchers believe blood vessel problems are at the heart of migraines..."

Image credit: "The part of the brain where migraines originate."


How More Americans Are Getting a Perfect Credit Score. Well, don't have to worry about that. Bloomberg has the story: "...Some 200 million U.S. consumers have FICO credit scores, while just under 3 million, or about 1.4 percent, have perfect 850s. That’s according to Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind the 28-year-old scoring model used by lenders to predict whether you will pay back a loan. But over the years the number has become much more than that—it’s now an American totem of success or failure, hope or despair, security or risk. While there are competing models, almost anyone with a credit card knows that a number typically ranging between 300 and 850 holds huge sway over their financial life..."


What's It Like To Be a Solar Eclipse "Addict"? Quartz explains: "Asking an eclipse chaser why they go to such great lengths to spend a minute or two beneath a darkened sky is like asking a person why they bothered to fall in love. Words, they stress, are mere approximations; it’s impossible to actually describe the feeling. But they try anyway: I didn’t have a choice, it just happened. You won’t get it until you see one. Unlike anything else. Gobsmacking. It takes us to another place. It really is a sort of high without ingesting anything. I hear the words “overwhelming” more times than I can count from this group of people who proudly self-identify as addicts..."

Photo credit: "Kate Russo, a clinical psychologist, has seen 10 total eclipses all over the world. Missing one is absolutely not an option." (Paul McErlane).


80 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

80 F. average high on August 21.

74 F. high on August 21, 2016.

August 22, 1910: Daylight is dimmed in Duluth due to smoke from Rocky Mountain forest fires.

August 22, 1870: Downpours across southern Minnesota produce 5 inches at Sibley, and 3.49 at Ft. Snelling. Much of the wheat crop is damaged.



TODAY: Cool sunshine, breezy and pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 75

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 55

WEDNESDAY: Comfortable sun, early touch of fall. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 73

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, low humidity. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 74

FRIDAY: Sunny start, T-storms arrive late. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: 75

SATURDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 59. High: 73

SUNDAY: Low expectations: showers may linger. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 57. High: near 70

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, another shower? Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 68


Climate Stories...

How the U.S. Navy is Responding to Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Harvard Business Review: "...One is that the Navy is our primary waterborne military force. And as the planet warms, the amount of water is going to increase. That is, the area near the poles, which until quite recently has been closed to marine traffic for much if not all of the year, is going to be increasingly open as the ice melts. You think the last time the Western world really encountered a new ocean was in the early part of the 1500s, and the same kinds of opportunities and conflicts are going to exist in the Arctic. A second reason is that climate change is potentially destabilizing to societies, especially societies which are not particularly rich and not particularly well governed. And as those societies become increasingly stressed by things like drought and storm severity, the kinds of behaviors that call the military into action are going to become more frequent, whether those are wars or internal conflicts or just need for humanitarian assistance..."


What Liberals Get Wrong About Climate Change. An article at Axios resonated: "Democrats and environmental groups too often let their ideological agendas get in the way of addressing climate change. My thought bubble: Republicans are the bigger sinners in this debate because most of them refuse to acknowledge that climate change and humans' role driving it is a real thing, as I wrote in my column last week. The left faces an inherently different and trickier problem than the right's rejection of the science: Their tactics and messaging are hobbling their push to address climate change. To be sure, "the left" is broad and diverse, so much of what I say here can't apply to each and every elected Democrat or environmental group. Looking at the left broadly though, I see three big problems with their approach.  Beltway Democrats and green groups have increasingly backed renewables at the expense of technologies that economic modeling says will be needed to tackle climate change to the extent scientists say is needed..."

Image credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.


More GOP Lawmakers Bucking Their Party on Climate Change. Politico reports: "...And last month, 46 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would have deleted a requirement that the Defense Department prepare for the effects of climate change. The willingness of some Republicans to buck their party on climate change could help burnish their moderate credentials ahead of the 2018 elections. Of the 26 Republican caucus members, all but five represent districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee next year. But it has also buoyed activists who view the House members’ positioning as a rare sign of GOP movement on climate change..."

Photo credit: "Rep. Carlos Curbelo, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House, said this week that the Climate Solutions Caucus has grown faster than he expected." | Susan Walsh/AP Photo.


Seas Rise, Trees Die: Climate Change Before Your Eyes. NBC Connecticut has the article: "They're called "ghost forests" — dead trees along vast swaths of coastline invaded by rising seas, something scientists call one of the most visible markers of climate change. The process has occurred naturally for thousands of years, but it has accelerated in recent decades as polar ice melts and raises sea levels, scientists say, pushing salt water farther inland and killing trees in what used to be thriving freshwater plains. Efforts are underway worldwide to determine exactly how quickly the creation of ghost forests is increasing. But scientists agree the startling sight of dead trees in once-healthy areas is an easy-to-grasp example of the consequences of climate change. "I think ghost forests are the most obvious indicator of climate change anywhere on the Eastern coast of the U.S.," said Matthew Kirwan, a professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science who is studying ghost forests in his state and Maryland..."

Photo credit: Stephen B. Morton/AP. "In this July 16, 2017, photo, the sun rises on a "ghost forest" near the Savannah River in Port Wentworth, Ga. Rising sea levels are killing trees along vast swaths of the North American coast by inundating them in salt water."

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