I'm pausing to pay my respects to an enlightened Muslim inventor named Ziryab, the first person to introduce underarm deodorant, back in the 9th century, in what is now northern Spain. According to Wikipedia a Philadelphia man, whose name has been lost to history, was the first entrepreneur to commercialize & patent this miracle product ("Mum"!) in the U.S. back in 1888.

Let us give thanks.

From a tender age we've all been told "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!" It's true. When there's this much water in the air (dew points at or above 70) your body can't cool itself naturally by evaporating sweat off your skin. You can overheat much more rapidly, especially infants, the sick & elderly, and people taking certain medications.

Recent research suggests it's not daytime highs, but consistently warm, 80-degree lows at night that cause the most mortality.

A Heat Advisory is posted into Thursday - it will feel like 100F for this evening's Torchlight Parade. Storms Thursday night mark the arrival of a cooler front in time for the weekend, but long range models show highs from 92-97F the by the middle of next week.

My advice? Slow down, avoid the midday sun, lose the tie, and check in on older friends & neighbors.


Stinking Hot For The Torchlight Parade. The parade kicks off on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis at 8:30 PM, well past the peak heat of the day, but expect evening temperatures around 90F, with a heat index of 94-97 into the late evening hours. The metro area can be slow to cool on a day like this, asphalt and concrete retaining the heat of the day (longer). Dress light out there and stay hydrated - water still works best. The graph above is from our Smart Energy unit; one of the most reliable models, the HRRR, shows a high of 95.2F in the metro, which seems realistic to me - nearly as hot again tomorrow before a nice cool-down Friday and Saturday.


Heat Advisory. The combination of 90-degree heat and dew points at or just above 70F will create a heat index near or just above 100F from Minnesota to Michigan and much of the Northeast today. Heat Advisories in orange from NOAA, an Excessive Heat Warning for the Philadelphia area.


Friday Heat Guidance. NOAA predicts a Friday heat index as high as 110-115F. for Richmond and Roanoke, 105-110 for Washington D.C., as hot as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Barstow. The worst of the heat begins to shift south of the MSP metro by Friday, but a vast sweep of the USA will experience 100+F heat indices the latter half of this week.


Two Pulses of Heat. Pulse number one arrived yesterday, and lingers into Thursday, highs in the low to mid 90s. After cooling down over the weekend the second surge of tropical heat and humidity arrives by Tuesday of next week, according to ECMWF (European) guidance.


Sweet (and temporary) Weekend Relief. Dew points hold near 70F today and tomorrow, dipping into the 50s by Saturday night and Sunday morning. That means by the weekend there will be roughly HALF as much water in the air. A rerun of the muggies returns early next week, so enjoy the well-timed break. Graphic: Iowa State.


Even Hotter Next Week? It's too early to say with anything approaching confidence, but the ECMWF model shows an even hotter bubble of air expanding northward across the Plains by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. If this forecast verifies (582 to 586 thicknes) highs may approach 100F in the Twin Cities by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, followed by a slight cooling trend late next week. Yes, it looks like we'll see a real summer after all. Map valid next Tuesday evening, July 23, courtesy of WSI.


Keeping Your Cool - Retrograding Weather Systems - Why High Dew Points Increase Heat Risk. That's a lot to jam into a 2:30 YouTube segment, but I'm going to give it a try. Here's more on today's installment of Climate Matters: "Just like we read left to right, most weather systems move left to right (West to East). Right now however, the weather pattern is out of whack, moving East to West, creating a monster tropical heatwave for a big chunk of the U.S. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas has more on the rare retrograde weather pattern and why it's important to take the heat seriously, but not lose your sense of humor."


Why Do We Sweat More In High Humidity? When there's a lot of water already in the air (days with a dew point above 70F) your body has a much tougher time cooling itself naturally, by evaporating sweat off your skin. You're more likely to overheat, with unpleasant and even dangerous implications. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of what happens from MIT's School of Engineering: “When it’s humid, I’m drenched,” says Patricia Christie, a lecturer in MIT’s Experimental Studies Group who teaches The Chemistry of Sports. Some research studies do suggest that the human body sweats more as humidity increases, while others suggest that sweat eventually decreases. But what’s really sopping Christie is that the sweat’s just not evaporating as fast. Normally, the body cools itself by opening pores on the skin and releasing water and salts. As the water evaporates, it transfers the body’s heat to the air. Because water has a high latent heat, which is the heat required to change liquid water to vapor, this process usually carries away enough heat to do a good job of cooling the body.”It’s a fabulous system,” says Christie. But the rate at which water—or in this case, sweat—evaporates depends on how much water is already in the air. On dry days, sweat evaporates quickly, which means it also carries away heat faster. On humid days, when the air is already saturated with water, sweat evaporates more slowly..."


Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others. Because, face it, some of us aren't very sweet, right? Wrong answer. If you're pregnant, have Type O blood, love to exercise, wear bright colors or just want to enjoy a beer in the great out of doors, you may be out of luck. Here's a clip from an article at Smithsonian.com that delves into this question: "You come in from a summer hike covered with itchy red mosquito bites, only to have your friends innocently proclaim that they don’t have any. Or you wake up from a night of camping to find your ankles and wrists aflame with bites, while your tentmates are unscathed. You’re not alone. An estimated 20 percent of people, it turns out, are especially delicious for mosquitoes, and get bit more often on a consistent basis. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, other than preventing bites with insect repellent (which, we’ve recently discovered, some mosquitoes can become immune to over time), they do have a number of ideas regarding why some of us are more prone to bites than others..."

Photo credit above: "Blood type, metabolism, exercise, shirt color and even drinking beer can make individuals especially delicious to mosquitoes." Photo by Flickr user Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel.


More Tornadoes In Unlikely Places. Thanks to Kim Murray and the National Weather Service in Glasgow, Montana for sharing this - photo courtesy of WeatherNation TV.


Supercell. This is what Doppler radar tracks, rotating thunderstorms that produce the largest hail and most of the tornadoes, nationwide. Thanks to Kristin Jenson and WeatherNation TV for showing us the kind of cloud formation that should get us to the basement - quickly.


The Space Race Is On For Climate, Weather Privatization. Yes, let's put all of Earth's monitoring devices in private hands, because there's no question they will look out for all our interests right? Here's a clip from a story at Climate Central: "The latest version of the "Space Race" lacks the Cold War-era drama of the last one, and does not even involve daring feats of manned spaceflight. No, this one is a race to launch a network of increasingly tiny Earth-observing satellites that will change how weather and climate information is gathered and disseminated. And in this race, it is private industry, not the government, leading the charge. Instead of stirring presidential speeches, plans are being hatched in office parks around the country, by companies such as Skybox Imaging, PlanetIQ, and GeoOptics. They are vying to launch fleets of small, advanced, and low-cost satellites that represent a revolution akin to the one that turned computers from room-sized behemoths into things we hold in the palms of our hands..."


Surviving The Inevitable Summer Power Outage. Here's an excerpt of a story at Popular Mechanics with some interesting details and data nuggets: "Summer is blackout season - when heat waves bring on extra air-conditioning use, and extra air-conditioning use taxes the power grid and leads to rolling blackouts. And while the power grid in the U.S. is relatively stable—99.9 percent stable if you factor out weather-related outages, according to the Electric Power Research Institute—power outages are a year-round fact of life.  A growing population, along with more homes that cover more area, has meant that hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters impact more people and have led to a staggering increase in power outages. According to Dr. Massoud Amin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota, 500,000 people per day in the U.S. lose power for at least two hours. Between 2005 and 2010 there were 272 power outages that each affected more than 50,000 people. In 2011 alone there were 136 weather-related power outages that snuffed out 178 million meters. The economic toll is equally intense, costing between $80 billion and $188 billion annually..."

Photo credit: Matt Sledge/Flickr.
Skyfall. Thanks to Dave Newman, who snapped this photo from his trusty pontoon on North Long Lake. Very nice.

Same Storm - Different Perspective. As fate would have it, I snapped a shot of the same wild cloud formation, a heavily sheared build-up, from Pelican Lake on July 5. That's the thing about Minnesota's lakes - it's hard to take a bad photograph.

Air Pollution Causes Millions Of Deaths Each Year. Why Do We Let It Happen? EmaxHealth has the story; here's the introduction: "Air pollution that is implicated for a number of health issues including cardiovascular disease, stroke and respiratory ailments is found in a new study to kill more than 2 million people annually. The question is why do we let it happen? The finding, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, highlights the need for community and individual actions to protect human health that we should all take seriously. Smog that comes from the ozone layer contributes to premature death from inhalation of fine particulate matter resulting in inflammation – the root cause of disease..."


Drought Policy Of The Day: Get Paid To Kill Your Lawn. The Atlantic Cities has the story - here's an excerpt: "If you live in L.A., here's an easy green-for-green trade: replace your lush Bermuda Grass with less-thirsty shrubs and bushes, and get a healthy incentive to make it worth your while. The city of Los Angeles and several other cities in drought-plagued Southern California are actually paying homeowners to lower their monthly water bill. In the four years since the program launched, around 850 homeowners have taken the offer, re-landscaping a total of 1.5 million square feet of grass within the city. And the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the country's largest municipal utility, recently announced plans to up their offer from $1.50 per square foot to an even $2..." (Image credit above: Reuters).


$120 Million: Biggest Mortgage In The USA? Talk about a jumbo loan. This article at The New York Times (subscription may be required to read full text) may bring tears to your eyes, especially when you calculate the monthly payment; here's an excerpt: "In Greenwich, Conn., there sits an estate with an 1,800-foot driveway, 15,000 square feet of living space, 50 acres of waterfront land and a $190 million price tag. When it hit the market in May, it was proclaimed the most expensive home ever formally listed in the country, and an extraordinary monument to magnitude. But that was just the half of it. Copper Beech Farm, as the estate is called, also carries more than $120 million in debt, surely making it one of the most heavily mortgaged homes in American history as well..."

Photo credit above: Natalie Keyssar. "Copper Beech Farm, an estate in Greenwich, Conn., with a $190 million price tag, also carries more than $120 million in debt."


Exclusive: Apple Pitches Ad-Skipping For New TV Service. Maybe the (real) Apple TV device isn't a pipe dream after all? Here's an excerpt from a post at jessicalessin.com: "Apple has a new trick up its sleeve as it tries to launch a long-awaited television service: technology that allows viewers to skip commercials and that pays media companies for the skipped views. For more than a year, Apple has been seeking rights from cable companies and television networks for a service that would allow users to watch live and on-demand television over an Apple set-top box or TV. Talks have been slow and proceeding in fits and starts, but things seem to be heating up. In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations..."


Do You Know Where You'll Be 285 Days From Now at 2 PM? These Data-Masters Do. Forget about trying to predict weather or climate - I want to know exactly where I'm going to be in the future. Not sure what I'd do with that information, but knowledge is power, right? I just hope I'm still here (anywhere) 285 days from now. Here's a clip from an interesting story at Fast Company: "...Using information from a pool of 300 volunteers in the Seattle metro area, Sadilek and Krumm gathered a mountain of location data. As the volunteers went about their daily lives--going to work, to the grocery store, out for a jog, even for transcontinental travel--each carried a GPS device much the same way they carried a cell phone. To further ensure accuracy, the researchers also installed GPS devices in commercial shuttles and transit vans that the volunteers used regularly, and the volunteers’ own vehicles. After collecting over 150 million location points, the researchers then had Far Out, the first system of its kind to predict long-term human mobility in a unified way, parse the data. Far Out didn't even need to be told exactly what to look for--it automatically discovered regularities in the data..."


Enough Said. Here's a nugget from a terrific article at Wired on gaming the system. Not that I would ever think of doing that, but if I did I would turn to this online resource. For example:

Take Back the TV: Ninja Remote ($20) Your favorite bar suddenly started running the other team’s games. Stay on your stool: This little gizmo can hijack almost any television. Complete the takeover by pressing the “jam” button, which will block anyone else from reversing your decision.

Beautify the Neighborhood: Seed Bombs ($6) Don’t let that hideous weed patch next door put your property value in the toilet. Toss some of these seed sachets over the fence and wait for rain—with enough flower-starters, the blooms just might hide your neighbor’s negligence.

Take a Stand at 35,000 Feet: Knee Defender ($22) Stop sacrificing your patellas to inconsiderate flightmates. To conserve the last bit of personal space in the sky, clamp a set of Knee Defenders on your tray table and prevent the chair in front from reclining. Sorry, 14A!"


What State Is At The Highest Risk For A Real "Sharknado"? Wait, you didn't catch this movie on the SyFy Channel last week? I've seen a lot of things in my 40 year weather career, but a tornado brimming with sharks isn't one of them. Not yet. Will climate change bring Sharknadoes to Florida in the years to come? We can only hope. Here's a "story" from Film School Rejects that made me laugh.


And You Thought Your Beach Was Crowded. The U.K. is baking under intense heat as well; details from The Atlantic: "Crowds fill the beach near Brighton Pier during the hot, sunny weather in Brighton Southern England, on July 7, 2013." (Reuters/Luke MacGregor).




An All-Star Evening. It was hot for yesterday's big ball game at Citi Field in New York City, but not as hot as it's going to be today into Friday. Photo courtesy of Max Augeri.


92 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

84 F. average high on July 16.

98 F. high a year ago, on July 16, 2012.

Last week, the world reeled at the thought of a powerful hurricane creating freak tornadoes that would scoop up dozens of man-eating sharks and deposit them onto dry land. The idea of a sharknado probably never occurred to anyone outside of the production offices of The Asylum, until the Syfy Original Movie Sharknado hit the air on July 11th.

The movie tells the (possibly) unlikely story of a global-warming-fueled hurricane that strikes the coast of Southern California. This unprecedented hurricane spawns a line of tornadoes that fling sharks across Los Angeles, and the only people who can stop them are Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Were this real life, we’d be screwed. (Pinning humanity’s hope on drop outs from Beverly Hills 90210 and the American Pie franchise has almost never worked out.)

However, that got us thinking: should we be worried about a Sharknado really happening? Shouldn’t we be planning for its imminent arrival?

- See more at: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/what-state-is-at-the-highest-risk-for-a-real-sharknado.php#sthash.WEo8wmzR.dpuf

Last week, the world reeled at the thought of a powerful hurricane creating freak tornadoes that would scoop up dozens of man-eating sharks and deposit them onto dry land. The idea of a sharknado probably never occurred to anyone outside of the production offices of The Asylum, until the Syfy Original Movie Sharknado hit the air on July 11th.

The movie tells the (possibly) unlikely story of a global-warming-fueled hurricane that strikes the coast of Southern California. This unprecedented hurricane spawns a line of tornadoes that fling sharks across Los Angeles, and the only people who can stop them are Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Were this real life, we’d be screwed. (Pinning humanity’s hope on drop outs from Beverly Hills 90210 and the American Pie franchise has almost never worked out.)

However, that got us thinking: should we be worried about a Sharknado really happening? Shouldn’t we be planning for its imminent arrival?

- See more at: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/what-state-is-at-the-highest-risk-for-a-real-sharknado.php#sthash.WEo8wmzR.dpuf



TODAY: Heat Advisory. Hot sun, sticky. Feels like 100+ Dew point: 70. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 95


WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and sultry. Low: 76


THURSDAY: T-storms north. Steamy sun central and southern MN. Metro heat index 100F again. High: 94


FRIDAY: Early thunder, then turning cooler and less humid. Wake-up: 75. High: 85


SATURDAY: Comfortable sunshine. The nicer day of the weekend. Dew point: 55. Wake-up: 62. High: 78


SUNDAY: More clouds, rather unsettled, Risk of a passing T-shower or two. Wake-up: 59. High: 83


MONDAY: Sticky, few T-storms. Dew point: 68. Wake-up: 66. High: 87


TUESDAY: Hot sun returns. Feels like 95-100F by afternoon. Wake-up: 69. High: 94



Climate Stories...


This Film Will Convince Every Skeptic That Climate Change Is Real. Maybe not - you have to be open to new data and be willing and able to change your mind. Not everyone is capable of that; their minds are made up and they will cherrypick any and all questionable data to support their views. More facts, more data doesn't necessarily convince them of anything. The man behind the "Chasing Ice" documentary, James Balog, was once a skeptic. Until he saw the impact of climate change on the Arctic with his own eyes. If you're still skeptical and you read one article about climate change in the next year, this should be the one. Here's a clip from Business Insider: "photographer James Balog went from being a climate-change skeptic to documenting our planet's rapidly melting glaciers. In the 2012 film"Chasing Ice" he gathers irrefutable evidence that climate change is real.  Until recently, Balog thought climate change was only based on computer models and hyperbole. "I didn't think that humans were capable of changing the basic physics and chemistry of this entire, huge planet," he said in the film. "It didn't seem probable, it didn't seem possible." The turning point came when Balog was sent to the Arctic on an assignment for National Geographic to capture the Earth's changing landscape. This spawned a bigger project — the Expedition Ice Survey — where Balog and his team used time-lapse cameras pointed at glaciers in Europe and North America to document the effects of climate change..."


Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope. People ask if I'm optimistic or pessimistic about climate change. It's a daunting subject - I understand why so many people deny it, or don't want to think about it. Ultimately, in spite of plenty of gloom and doom, I'm optimistic. Technology may not save us, but it will help mitigate some of the worst impacts of a warmer, stormier climate. It may be one of the most complex problems we've ever faced, requiring not only innovation and reinvention but a social movement to point us in the right direction and make sustainability more than a buzzword or catch-phrase. The Guardian has the story; here's the introduction: "There is a new environmental agenda out there. One that is inimical to many traditional conservationists, but which is picking up kudos and converts. It calls itself environmental modernism – which for many is an oxymoron. Wasn't the environmentalism of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Greenpeace's warriors against industrial whaling and the nuclear industry, and efforts to preserve the world's last wild lands, meant to be the antithesis of the modern industrial world? But the prophets of ecological modernism believe technology is the solution and not the problem. They say that harnessing innovation and entrepreneurship can save the planet and that if environmentalists won't buy into that, then their Arcadian sentiments are the problem..."

Photo credit above: "Apollo 8 view of the Earth that was used on the cover of first Whole Earth Catalog." Photograph: NASA.


Things Climate Change May Ruin: From Allergies To Wine. Here are a few of the things The Pacific Institute's Peter Gleick is concerned about, as explained in this post at scienceblogs.com. It's a fairly long list:

Beaches and Island Vacations: Ok, this one should be self-evident, since a significant amount of sea-level rise is well understood to be an unavoidable consequence of a warming planet. In addition to the serious and massive threats to lives and property, your beach vacations are also at risk. South Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii – all will suffer beach destruction as seas continue to rise.

Chocolate:  A detailed study concluded that the areas suitable for growing cocoa in the prime growing areas of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will substantially decrease by 2050 as warming expands. Other research also suggests risks to cocoa production from temperature and precipitation changes. (Some references here, here –a .pdf, and here )

Coffee:  Coffee is one of the world’s most important and valued commodities, worth tens of billions of dollars annually and employing over 25 million people worldwide. There is now evidence that the spread of a deadly coffee fungus is linked to rising global temperatures and research shows that “nearly 100 percent of the world’s Arabica coffee growing regions could become unsuitable for the plant by 2080.” Starbucks is already having to spend money to study and test climate change-resistant coffee varieties....

Image credit above: The Wine Economist.


Methane's Contribution To Global Warming Is Not Just Hot Air. Nice visual huh? Here's a clip from a story at Earth Island Journal and Living Green Magazine: “Methane is 21 times more heat-trapping that carbon dioxide.” If you’re a frequent reader of environmental websites, no doubt you’ve seen some version of that sentence many times.   The “twenty-times” figure is the most common way of explaining how methane (or CH4, or uncombusted natural gas) reacts in the atmosphere. Just one problem: It’s not entirely accurate — at least not in the time-scale we should be using to think about how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Actually, any CH4 released today is at least 56 times more heat-trapping than a molecule of C02 also released today. And because of the way it reacts in the atmosphere, the number is probably even higher, according to research conducted by Drew Shindell, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Center. So why is the 21 times figure the one that gets bandied about? Because methane breaks down much faster than carbon dioxide..."


These Maps Show The Best Places To Put Solar And Wind Power (It's Not Where You Think). Here's an excerpt of a Washington Post story that made me do a triple-take: "At first glance, it might seem obvious where the United States should focus on building more renewable energy. Stick the solar panels in sunny Arizona and hoist up the wind turbines on the gusty Great Plains, right? Well, not necessarily. A recent study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University offered another way to look at the issue. A solar panel built in cloudy New Jersey can actually offer more overall benefits than one built in Arizona — when you take into account all the carbon dioxide and other pollutants that get reduced. Likewise, a new wind farm in West Virginia can deliver more health benefits than one built in California, at least in the short term..."