93 high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
100 degree high possible in the Twin Cities metro by late afternoon.
81 dew point at 8:53 pm. I believe we tied the all-time record for the highest dew point ever recorded in the Twin Cities, 81, on July 30, 1999. The heat index as 2 am Monday morning was still an unbelievable 102!
* thanks to Lance Fletcher from Richfield for the suggestion of a "Humigeddon" headline. It's perfect.
86 F. dew point in Madison, Minnesota Sunday evening at 6 pm. Heat index was 119.
119 F: highest heat index ever recorded in the Twin Cities (July 11, 1966).
125 F: highest heat index in the state of Minnesota (at the airport in Red Wing, at 3 pm on July 30, 1999, when a temperature of 97 combined with a dew point of 84)
* thanks to the University of Minnesota climatologist, and climate historian Charles Fisk.
Minnesota's Most-Watched Tornado - Ever? Today is the 25th anniversary of the tornado that touched down on Brooklyn Park on July 18, 1986. The entire tornado lifecycle, from beginning to end, was captured by KARE-11's Sky11 helicopter pilot, Max Messmer, and award-winning photographer, Tom Empey - and played out in real time during the 5 pm newscast. Details on one of Minnesota's most remarkable tornadoes below. Image courtesy of KARE-11 and tcmedianow.com.
"Lilapsophobia": fear of tornadoes and hurricanes. Story on weather-phobias below.
Ugh. Where exactly are we living again? Yesterday felt like Bangladesh - with pine trees. Temperatures shot up into the 90, a dew point near 80 typical for Fiji or Dubai but Minnesota? Hardly. It felt like 100 to 110 - and the next couple of days promise to be the hottest of summer. By Wednesday the air temperature may reach 100°. Throw in a dewpoint near 75 and it may feel like 115 later this week, the Danger Zone. Yes, this will probably be the hottest week of summer
And no, you're not imagining it: Minnesota summers are becoming more human. Not significantly hotter, at least not yet, but in recent decades there has been a trend toward higher dewpoints, and for a number of reasons. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, and as we discussed last week, improved farming practices now allow farmers to plant corn rows closer together, which releases more water into the air at night through a process known as "evapotranspiration." Something is putting more water into the air above and beyond what the Gulf of Mexico can provide. More fuel = a potential for more severe storms, more hail, and a greater potential for flash flooding. Welcome to the new normal here in Minnesota.
- Dangerous, Prolonged Heat Wave began last weekend, will spill over into much of this week.
- From Norman Heat statement (useful statement for days ahead): “...PEOPLE NEED TO REMAIN DILIGENT TO STAY SAFE DURING PROLONGED HEAT...”
- Parts of at least 13 states in Heat Advisories/Watches/Warnings.
- At least 38 of the lower 48 states will be impacted by 90°+ weather this weekend into next week.
- The prolonged period of 90+ heat forecast for NE WI next week could be longest since mid July 2006.
Redefining The Meaning Of "Tropical". Here are the National Weather Service current conditions as of 6 pm Sunday evening. Madison, Minnesota was reporting a dew point of 86 (the highest dew point I can ever recall seeing in Minnesota). Factoring in that (hideous) dew point and an air temperature of 90 it FELT like a Venus-like 119 F. Sunday evening in the Madison area!
Dangerously Hot. EXCESSIVE HEAT AND HUMIDITY THROUGH MUCH OF THE WEEK AHEAD...DUE TO THE EXPECTED PROLONGED PERIOD OF THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY...
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA... INCLUDING THE TWIN CITIES... AND ADJOINING AREAS OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN... THROUGH 9 PM ON WEDNESDAY. AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING BEGINS FOR THE REMAINDER OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN THIS AFTERNOON AND WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT THROUGH 9 PM ON WEDNESDAY. AFTERNOON HEAT INDICES WILL EXCEED 105 DEGREES FOR SEVERAL HOURS EACH AFTERNOON... WITH OVERNIGHT LOW TEMPERATURES ONLY FALLING INTO THE MIDDLE 70S TO LOWER 80S.
THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS... STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM... STAY OUT OF THE SUN... AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES...NEIGHBORS... AND PETS.
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CDT WEDNESDAY.
* TEMPERATURE...AFTERNOON HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MIDDLE 90S WITH
LOW TEMPERATURES IN THE MIDDLE TO UPPER 70S
* HEAT INDEX...105 TO 115 DEGREES IN THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY
* IMPACTS...THESE HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS WILL LEAD TO A
HEIGHTENED RISK OF HEAT RELATED STRESS AND ILLNESSES.
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE... RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK... THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY... CALL 9 1 1.
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS... STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...
AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES... NEIGHBORS... AND PETS.
Record Drought. According to data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the last 365 days were the driest July 15-July 14 period on record in Oklahoma. In other words, the July 15, 2010 through July 14, 2011 statewide average precipitation total of 22.99 inches is drier than any other July 15-July 14 period dating back to 1921.
Apalachicola, FL 5.8”
Pensacola, FL 4.39”
Gaylord, MI 94
Alpena, MI 97
Fort Lauderdale, FL 97
Miami, FL 97
New Bern, NC 63
24 Hour Rainfall. NWS Doppler estimates show some 2.5" rainfall estimates north of Morris - you can see the rainfall track of the strong/severe storm that swept south/west of the Twin Cities overnight - more heavy amounts from Red Wing to Wabasha and Durand, WI.
Monday Heat Index. Factoring dew point into the equation, it will feel roughly 10 degrees hotter in the Twin Cities than Phoenix, which doesn't happen very often in mid July. By midweek the heat and humidity will shift into Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit. 90-degree highs are forecast to linger all week between the Rockies and the Appalachians.
Blistering Heat. The worst of the heat (and humidity) will come the first half of this week. Based on dew points in the 75-80 range it will FEEL like 110-115 today, Tuesday and Wednesday, a slight dip in temperature and dew point providing some relief by the end of the week.
Monday Severe Risk. The best chance of hail and damaging winds today will come from the Twin Cities of Minnesota eastward to Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia and much of New England.
Month's Worth of Rain In The Last 7 Days. The NOAA map above shows rainfall in just the last week, 3-5" across much of the metro area, in fact much of central and southern Minnesota has picked up a month's worth of rain in just the last week. The ground is soggy/saturated, unable to hold much additional moisture. The NWS has issued a flood watch for much of Minnesota and Wisconsin, which expires early this morning.
Heat-Pump High. A sprawling ridge of high pressure (the same one responsible for one of the 3 worst droughts in Texas history, and even worse drought conditions for western Kansas than the Dust Bowl years of the mid 1930s) is expanding north and east, spreading dangerous levels of heat and humidity into the Twin Cities, Chicago, Louisville and Indianapolis. More details from the Louisville office of the National Weather Service here: "Heat and Humidity look to return to the area for most of next week. This will be courtesy of a strong upper level ridge shown by the H with green circles around it (500mb heights) in the image below. The upper level ridge will strengthen to our west during the early part of the week and then move into the Ohio Valley by the latter portion of the week."
July 18, 1986 Brooklyn Park Tornado. I still have amazing memories of July 18, 1986 it was about 7 min. before five o'clock news. I was preparing for newscast, checking my weather graphics. Someone in the newsroom, probably the assignment editor, shouts out "we have a developing tornado near Brooklyn Park!" I remember shrugging, laughing, saying "not funny, knock it off!" He says, "no, Max Mesmer can see a developing tornado - he's on his way and he's going to be sending back live pictures of a developing tornado near Brooklyn Park". We ran out into the studio to cover the tornado, and up on the screen comes this amazing video of a ghostly-white swirling tornado on the ground. It just so happens that Sky 11 was piloted by Max Mesmer, who was a remarkable pilot - and fearless.
"Mad Max". Yes, Max was something of a cowboy in the air, an amazing pilot, incredibly brave, and very, very sharp. We just so happen to have an award-winning photographer on that same chopper, Tom Empey. They were both on their way to another story. Max Mesmer sees the developing wall cloud and funnel, makes a beeline for Brooklyn Park and starts sending back incredible footage of this tornado on the ground. On the air I was literally begging Max to keep a safe distance away from the tornado. I had visions of a tree limb falling through the rotor blades and the rest would be history. Every time they lost the live signal the director came back to me, standing in front of the radar, looking like a deer in the headlights. I just could not believe what was happening. I was scared of a couple of things: the chopper coming down and that tornado drifting into a nearby neighborhood - and the specter of watching homes, schools and other buildings being destroyed, live, on the air. There was no playbook for this. Several times I looked over at anchorman Paul Magers and shrugged. Now what? Just keep talking.
Nice Hair. It was absolutely surreal. We did the best we could by the seat of our pants. I was scared to death of the chopper crashing - all the would've taken was one tree limb falling through the rotor blades and the story would have had a tragic ending for Sky11. At the time I didn't even realize that the tornado was nearly stationary, it was chewing up the Springbrook Nature Center, an F2 tornado winds up around 110-120 miles an hour, pulling out hundred -year-old trees like weeds. None of us could believe what we were seeing.
The Brooklyn Park tornado helped to put KARE-11 on the map. We showed viewers that we could cover the news better than WCCO and KSTP, at least during a big breaking weather story. There was a rumor that WCCO tried to get their helicopter pilot in the air, and he refused, as any sane pilot would probably have done. A couple of days later, during the Aquatennial Parade KARE-11 had the good sense to put the chopper, Max Messmer, and Tom Empey on a float. They got a standing ovation through the streets of Minneapolis. This may have been the most-watched, most photographed tornado in history. it almost seemed like the tornado wanted to have its picture taken. 25 years later there hasn't been a comparable tornado, one that enabled a TV news helicopter to totally circle the twister "safely", with no hail, severe lightning, turbulence or dangerous debris nearby.
Historic Footage. It's trite and cliche, but true: this was a once in a lifetime event. Tornadoes typically move along at 30-40 miles an hour; you don't have time to circle a tornado in a helicopter - there's usually too much turbulence hail, and lightning, there's just no way. But on July 18, 1986 there was no wind shear; we had incredible instability, "CAPE" values were over 4000, the temperature was 91 with a dew point around 80. A rising thermal broke through the cap, shooting straight up at about 100 miles an hour. The result was an incredible tornado that was virtually stationary. Scientists at an SSL and the Storm Prediction Center and dozens of universities have been analyzing that high-resolution video for the last 25 years, tracking tiny bits of debris to gain new insight in this circulation and inflow patterns - the anatomy of a tornado. It was an amazing day. I'm glad that nobody was injured or killed. The Springbrook Nature Center was chewed up pretty badly but it really was a best-case ending for what turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime tornado. Click here to see the entire KARE-11 newscast and what viewers saw that amazing afternoon, courtesy of KARE-11 and TCMedianow.com.
"Gyro-Zoom" Lens. Talk about the planets aligning. On the day Sky11 pilot Max Messmer was heading out to cover a different story, he just happened to have a). NPPA award-winning photographer Tom Empey onboard and b). an experimental "gyro-zoom" lens. That allowed for the smooth zooms into the tornado, no jittery/shaky video - amazingly smooth zooms and pans that took coverage to an entirely new level. Thanks to KARE-11 and Tom Oszman, who created TCMedia Now, an amazing on-line library of broadcast TV video clips going back many decades. If you haven't checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and see what he's created. Truly bookmark-worthy.
A few more random thoughts about the tornado:
1). This was a freak event. There were no watches/warnings in effect at the time – nothing from SPC, I don’t think we were even in a "slight risk" area.
2). It was oppressive: temp of 91 with a dew point close to 80. The CAPES must have been over 4,000 that afternoon – incredible instability, but NO wind shear to speak of. It just goes to show that you can still get a moderate tornado (without any wind shear) if the upward motion/instability is severe enough, as it was that day.
3). About 4:50 someone in the newsroom yells out “there’s a funnel cloud over Brooklyn Park!” At first I thought it was a bad joke, I told them to shut up. But they were insistent, said that Sky11 was about to send back live pictures. We all raced into the studio and were SHOCKED when the live video feed came up showing a rope tornado forming. Max Mesmer (Sky11 pilot) had been on his way to another story, saw the wall cloud forming, and immediately raced toward the developing tornado – didn’t get permission from KARE-11 management. He just did it on his own.
4). The tornado appears white much of the time because the sun was shining on the funnel.
5). There was very little lightning, virtually no hail to speak of, on radar (not Doppler, btw) you can see a classic hook. Because winds aloft were virtually nonexistent that thing sat over the Springbrook Nature Center, just chewed it up, like a massive vacuum cleaner. I assumed it was at least moving at 10-20, but it was stationary most of the time.
6). Smooth video from the chopper. Sky11 pilot Max Mesmer had a photographer onboard, Tom Empey, who was testing a new piece of hardware called a “gyro-zoom lens”. All the stations have them now for their choppers, but at the time they were extremely rare. We were lucky that Tom had one of these gyro-zooms – it’s one of the reasons why the video was so good.
7). Max circles the tornado – I keep pleading with him to be careful and “stay a safe distance away from the tornado”. I was scared to death that a tree limb would fall through the rotor blades and bring the chopper down.
8). At one point Paul Magers asks where Max is. There’s a long pause as Max takes the chopper down to treetop level, he READS A STREET SIGN, before rising back up to altitude to radio in his exact location. I think Max got into some trouble with the FAA for that move. But again, Max was fearless. The first thing photographer Tom Empey did when Sky11 landed was stumble out and KISS THE GROUND!
9). The tornado lasted about 35 minutes, give or take. It was a weak F-2 tornado, winds up in the 95-120 mph range. There were no serious injuries or fatalities, which is miraculous.
10). This may have been the most-watched tornado, certainly live, in Minnesota history. A few hundred thousand people were watching on KARE-11. Channel 4’s (reportedly) helicopter pilot refused to go into the air to cover the tornado. I can't say I blame him.
11). A few days later KARE-11 put the chopper, Max and Tom on a float in the Aquatennial Parade in Minneapolis. The float got a standing ovation as it passed by. People were blown away by the coverage. This event, more than anything I can remember, really put KARE-11 on the map, it showed viewers that 11 could cover the news. This was the start of the big ratings turnaround.
12). I got numerous requests for the raw footage from scientists at SPC and NSSL – there were many papers written on the tornado, and calculated wind speeds/circulation within the funnel.
13). The planets lined up: we had a chopper in the area, with a gyro-zoom lens, and an award-winning photographer, a chopper pilot with NO FEAR who probably didn’t even realize the danger he was in (he was about ¼ to ½ mile away from the funnel). The tornado was nearly stationary, which allowed him to totally circle the storm from every angle. No hail, little or no lightning. I don't think there has been a similar tornado/helicopter encounter since...
It almost seemed like the tornado WANTED to have its picture taken!
* What happened to the Springbrook Nature Center, which bore the brunt of the July 18, 1986 twister? The Star Tribune has a follow-up story on regrowth and rebirth at the park. A very good read.
Tropical Storm Bret. 2-4" rains are predicted for the northern Bahamas, but Bret is forecast to veer rapidly into the Atlantic, not a threat to the coastal USA.
Bret's Track. One of NHC's storm models brings Brett right up the east coast, the majority of solutions whisk this tropical storm, packing 50 mph sustained winds, quickly out to sea. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.
Typhoon Ma-On. This typhoon (same thing as a hurricane) is forecast to gradually weaken as it approaches the east coast of Japan over the next 36 hours. According to Bloomberg, TEPCO officials are rushing to shield the crippled nuclear reactors from wind and rain.
Ma-On Track. According to the Weather Underground and the JMA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, Ma-On is forecast to weaken to a category 1 storm before impacting the Osaka/Tokyo area, still capable of 10-15" rains.
Photo Of The Day. This panoramic view was photographed from the International Space Station toward Earth, looking past space shuttle Atlantis' docked cargo bay and part of the station, including a solar array panel. Photo was taken as the joint complex passed over the southern hemisphere. Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can be seen on Earth's horizon and a number of stars also are visible. Image courtesy of NASA.
Minot Flood Clean-up Begins. North Dakota's Inforum has the latest details on the massive recovery efforts now underway along the Souris River: "MINOT, N.D. - Bonnie Lodden moved into her northwest Minot home from Michigan a week before the Souris River overtook her neighborhood. Now she’s gutting the basement and main level – which took on more than 4 feet of murky, contaminated river water – to rebuild despite losing everything. “We moved everything in and lost it all,” said Lodden, who lives with her son. “It’s kind of devastating, but we’re keeping our heads up.” A flood isn’t the warmest of welcomes to a new neighborhood, but Lodden said she isn’t swayed in her decision to relocate to North Dakota. “Minot seems to be a nice little town, so we’re here for the duration,” she said. About a quarter of Minot’s 41,000 residents evacuated last month as the river rose and eventually crested on June 26 at a record 1,561.7 feet. Authorities estimate that 4,000 homes in the state’s fourth-largest city were damaged. About 800 sustained severe damage. The Souris is expected to remain high through August."
Extensive Flooding In Scotland. The BBC reports: "Flooding has caused disruption across Scotland after almost 24 hours of heavy rain. In the Highlands, homes in the Culloden, Balloch and Smithton areas near Inverness have been affected. Police closed Murray Road and Murray Terrace in Smithton, and Barn Church Road, Culloden, and said the A96 Balloch junction was also "badly flooded". There were also flash floods in Perth and Balerno in Edinburgh. Northern Constabulary said other roads in the Highlands were affected by "significant surface water" and advised drivers to take alternative routes. Highland Fire and Rescue service sent four pumps to the area. Flooding in Glasgow also affected some train services. No high-level trains were operating to or from Queen Street and the service between Rutherglen and Partick was disrupted."
"Weather Phobia". Storm survivors often suffer from the meteorological equivalent of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. When a storm approaches they become anxious and nervous, sweaty palms, racing pulse - in some cases professional treatment/therapy is necessary for these people to lead normal lives. WSAZ-TV has more: “My friends think I'm crazy because they're enjoying summer and they like to go out and do different things every day,” she said, “but I end up getting so nervous about if it's going to rain or if it's going to storm, I'm praying it just comes to winter so I don't have to feel this anxiety." Experts say Lilapsophobia is a condition that's grown rapidly because between TV and the internet, you can find a storm every minute of every day. "Now any time there's a tornado or severe weather event across the country, it's on television in a matter of minutes,” WSAZ meteorologist Chris Bailey said, “so people are seeing devastation, seeing destruction almost on a daily basis across the area. They get that video instantly so it's putting it in their minds that, ‘Ok, am I next?’" Smith says she's done research on the phobia and found that some other people who have it go to therapy. She says for now she'll try to manage it on her own, but if it gets any worse she'll have to break down and seek treatment."
Austrian Man Wins Right To Wear Pastra Strainer For License Photo. O.K. This is one of the stranger stories I've run across recently, brought to you by the folks over at NPR: "In Austria one of the strangest fights for religious freedom has come to an end: Niko Alm, a self-described "Pastafarian," fought for three years for the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver's license photo. His argument? Alm claimed he belonged to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wearing the strainer was part of his religion. The BBC reports: "Mr Alm's pastafarian-style application for a driving licence was a response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs. The licence took three years to come through and, according to Mr. Alm, he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive but - straining credulity - his efforts have finally paid off. It is the police who issue driving licences in Austria, and they have duly issued a laminated card showing Mr. Alm in his unorthodox item of religious headgear."
Amazon North. It was a jungle-like Sunday with dew points flirting with 80. highs ranged from 89 at Alexandria to 90 in St. Cloud, 93 in the Twin Cities and 94 at Eau Claire, but all that moisture in the air made it feel more like 103-108. Clouds sprouted by mid afternoon, a few heavy downpours in the metro - otherwise the mercury would have probably topped off in the 96-98 range.
"Leo". We lost our dog a few months ago - Max had been part of the family for 15 years. Over the weekend we drove to Chicago to pick up another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, "Leo", who is a distant relative of Max. Yep, we're dog-people, and we're thrilled to have a new addition to our family.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Excessive Heat Warning. Periods of sunshine, tropical humidity levels. A few strong/severe storms. DP: 79. Winds: S 5-10. High: 99. Heat Index: 105-115.
MONDAY NIGHT: Uncomfortably warm and humid. Isolated evening thunder. Low: 80
TUESDAY: Welcome to Fiji! Tropical. Sizzling sunshine, isolated T-storm. Dew point: near 80. High: 96. Heat Index: 105-115.
WEDNESDAY: Hottest day? Sunny, probably storm-free. Heat index: 115. High: Low: 81. High: 99
THURSDAY: No major relief yet. Very slight drop in temperature/dew point. Hope the A/C still works. Low: 79. high: 95
FRIDAY: Still hot, slight drop in dew point. Low: 78. High: 94
SATURDAY: Last uncomfortably hot day? Few T-storms possible, some strong. Low: 77. High: 94
SUNDAY: Slightly cooler front; turning less humid. Partly sunny. Low: 72. High: 87
Posing For The Camera
"There are flashes on the high tension wires - this is really spectacular!" KARE-11's chopper pilot, Max Messmer, reported during a wild (live) 5p pm newscast on July 18, 1986. With no warning an F2 tornado formed over the Springbrook Nature Center in Brooklyn Park, televised live during KARE-11's newscast. An atypical tornado: no wind shear, but enough instability to support a white tornado funnel that pulled trees out of the ground like weeds; a live feed for the entire tornado. Every time KARE-11 lost the live shot they'd come back to me, in front of the radar, a dazed expression on my face. It was surreal. Scientists have been studying the footage for 25 years; more memories on my blog.
I'm trying not to think about the heat: 6 more days above 90, 100 not out of the question on Wednesday. The dew point hit 80 Sunday, typical for the Amazon (or Guam); making it feel like 105-110. More debilitating heat is on tap this week, probably the hottest week of summer.
Infants and the elderly, and people who are ill or on certain medications, are most at risk. Slow down, stay hydrated, and try to avoid the afternoon sun. Relief? Models are hinting at a cooler front by Sunday.
Could The Sun Save Us From Global Warming? Salon poses the question: "During the summer months, it's both difficult and remarkably easy to forget how dangerous the sun can be. Sometimes it takes a space weather event to reinforce the point. Last month, the Solar Dynamic Observatory recorded a massive eruption on the sun's surface that produced a mushroom cloud of ionized particles. Had the resulting solar winds struck the Earth's magnetic field directly, the damage to our electrical grids might have proven catastrophic. If you think our politicians have a tough time agreeing on debt ceilings, just imagine how much difficulty they'd have figuring out how to finance trillion-dollar repairs to our country's infrastructure. As astronomy author Bob Berman's new book reveals, storms like these are actually a common byproduct of the Sun's 11-year cycle of pulsing, dimming and brightening. "The Sun's Heartbeat," which takes its title from this phenomenon, offers a compelling and surprisingly playful history of our solar system's most famous star -- from the alternately brilliant and misguided theories of the ancient Greeks, to the modern-day discoveries that would make Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick blush. Along the way, Berman, a columnist for Astronomy magazine and the science editor of the Old Farmer's Almanac, examines how solar cycles can offset global warming and how mankind has, by its own ambitions and neuroses, devolved into a collection of sun-starved troglodytes."
Mountaineers See Dramatic Climate Change In the Himalayan Region. A few first-hand observations reported by The Hindu: "Since 2007 the ice pinnacles in the Everest area have reduced in height and at the advanced base camp, there has been flowing water in the climbing season, a clear indication that ice is melting. “You no longer have to melt ice to drink water,” says Dawa Steven Sherpa. He too noted that the Imja lake was growing bigger. It is upstream of the Everest Base Camp and above major village settlements. “Imja and its potential threat are in the forefront of everyone's mind since the devastation could be huge,” he fears. Unpredictable weather is making climbing risky but that did not seem to stop 506 climbers, including 219 sherpas, getting to the top of Mt. Everest in 2011. “Rockfall is increasing and I have seen it break a leg. Ice avalanches are also dangerous.” However, we are getting good at judging the mountain and we know it so well now which is why there are fewer deaths,” says Dawa Steven Sherpa. Motup Chewang of Rimo Expeditions said major changes had swept the Karakoram Range as well in the last 20-30 years. The glaciers were retreating much faster and huge glacial lakes were forming there. Central east Bhutan also had a large glacial lake and it could be seen from satellites. Even near the Everest base camp some large cornices were disappearing. The Khumbu glacier had retreated by at least a couple of km."
More Climate B.S. At Forbes: Hiding The Energy Imbalance Of The Planet. Climate scientists are upset with Forbes, an otherwise reputable publication that has been (allegedly) reporting a fair amount of climate-nonsense in recent months. Peter Gleick, a water and climate scientists, and President of the Pacific Institute has a retort to a recent Forbes story at Huffington Post: "On July 1st, I published a blog entry here about climate distortions and misrepresentations at Forbes, which regularly publishes biased and misleading opinion pieces on climate issues. That entry described a remarkable piece by serial climate science conjurer Patrick Michaels and showed his clear misrepresentation of data on food production and climate risks. This falls well into the category of climate B.S. (bad science). While I have no misconceptions about the likelihood of Forbes trying to apply any error-checking or fact checking to these opinion pieces, I was somewhat astounded to read today another piece by Michaels on the Forbes site, in which he makes even more egregious and outrageous claims and errors. In this new piece, Michaels poses and then tries to answer a rhetorical question: "Why Hasn't The Earth Warmed In Nearly 15 Years?" I am not going to go into the detail of why his specific arguments in his opinion piece are wrong, self-serving, or serious misinterpretations of good, peer-reviewed science. Why? Because his fundamental premise -- his initial rhetorical question -- is wrong. Very simply, the Earth has warmed over the past 15 years. Significantly. Michaels' essay is like trying to prove why the sun goes around the Earth. Or why gravity doesn't work. Or how the U.S. faked the moon landing. It doesn't matter what his arguments are: his initial premise is wrong.