We often escape to 18 screen movie theaters to cheer on our favorite super heroes, when in fact, they're all around us.
I'm proud of both my sons. One is a digital media entrepreneur with an up and coming blues band. The other is a Navy helicopter pilot. His daily sacrifices remind me how lucky we all are to have such dedicated soldiers defending this grand and fragile experiment we call America.
A modest suggestion: instead of just thanking troops and veterans for their service take the next step. Ask how their families are doing - if you can help them find the right job - and if they're getting the care they need to move forward. Treat them like your sons and daughters because, in a way, they are.
A well-timed warm front just sparked the first 80s in nearly 8 months. This jolt of tropical air fuels a few T-storms today - it won't be nearly as photogenic as the past 2 days.
Speaking of weather-whiplash, we go from whining about 40s and wind chill to complaining about the heat this week. I see a streak of 80s, possibly 90F later this week with a dew point that could make one long for April. Yes, be careful what you wish for. Calendar, notwithstanding, summer is here!
Happy Memorial Day.
Photo credit above: http://respect-our-troops.tumblr.com/
Looks Like Summer. Depending on cloud cover highs may top 80F again today; a better chance of 80s Wednesday into Saturday before cooling off next week. Expect scattered T-storms today into Tuesday, then a run of mostly dry weather (the atmosphere "capped") Wednesday into Saturday morning before a cooler front sparks T-storms Saturday PM hours.
America's Moisture Haves and Have-Nots. Dry weather persists over the southwestern USA into next Sunday, while heavy showers and T-storms fire up from the Plains and Upper Midwest to New England. A Pacific storm pinwheels heavy showers into the Pacific Northwest. Loop: NOAA NAM and HAMweather.
7-Day Rainfall Prediction. NOAA guidance is printing out some 4-5" rainfall amounts over Oklahoma and Texas, which may take the edge off the worst of the (exceptional) drought in the coming days. The drought continues to worsen from New Mexico and Arizona to California.
Hurricane Amanda: Category 4 Strength Storm Not Expected to Hit any Populated Areas Along It's Path. Strongest hurricane ever measured in the eastern Pacific in May? More details from International Business Times: "...Amanda is now the strongest May hurricane on record in the eastern Pacific basin during the satellite era," Stacy Stewart, U.S. National Hurricane Center senior hurricane specialist, said. The system is expected to continue moving northward, well off Mexico's Pacific coast. Scientists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center saw on Sunday afternoon Hurricane Amanda's maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 150 miles (240 kilometres) per hour..."
Hurricane Amanda. Hurricane season officially kicked off May 15, a full 2 weeks earlier than hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean (due to consistently warmer ocean water). That warm water, possibly fueled by El Nino, has given birth to an impressive hurricane. More on Amanda at NOAA NHC.
Wanted: A Breed of Chicken That Can Survive Crippling Heatwaves. The Guardian has the story of the race to find chickens that don't complain about the heat and humidity; here's an excerpt: "American scientists are racing to develop chickens that can cope with scorching heat as part of a series of government-funded programmes looking to adapt to or mitigate the effects of extreme weather patterns on the food supply. A University of Delaware project is developing ways to introduce climate hardiness to the US domestic breed stock before summer heatwaves predicted under climate change models kill or spoil the meat of billions of birds..."
Photo credit above: "Efforts are under way to introduce climate hardiness to the US domestic breed stock." Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Alamy.
Alaska Battles Huge Wildfire While Arizona Struggles to Contain Blaze. Details from The Guardian: "Firefighters in Alaska on Sunday were battling a huge wildfire that was pushing towards hundreds of homes and vacation cabins, with residents urged to be ready for a possible mandatory evacuation, state emergency officials said. In Arizona, meanwhile, a wildfire burning in rugged terrain in a northern canyon grew significantly because of fires intentionally set by crews to rob the blaze of its natural forest fuels, officials said Saturday..."
Photo credit above: "More than 100-foot flames consume ponderosa pine trees in Oak Creek Canyon in the Slide Fire south of Flagstaff, Arizona." Photograph: Rick D'Elia/Corbis
What If The Drought Continues For Another 10 Years. I'm reminded of an old Sam Kinison bit. "You're living in a desert - move!" I love Arizona, but like many others I worry about an uninterrupted supply of water to keep the lights on and the local economy humming along. The western USA was settled during a relatively wet phase - what happens if the drought lingers, or gets worse? Climate models suggest dry areas will get drier over time, so this outcome may be more likely than you think. Pondering a worst case scenario here's an excerpt from azcentral: "...If the current 15-year drought on the Colorado River continues for another decade, it will rival the "mega-droughts" that appear in tree-ring records. There are two ways that this could play out for Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. In one future, Lake Mead and Lake Powell are both dangerously low. Colorado River water deliveries are effectively reduced to whatever system runoff is available each year. Hydropower generation for the Southwest is minimal or non-existent due to low reservoir levels..."
A New and Unexpected Twist to Life in Japan: Tornadoes. Twisters in Japan? The perception is that they're on the increase, but is that a fluke, an aberration, or a true trend? Here's an excerpt from The Japan Times: "...Yet the other day, someone asked what was new about life in Japan, seen from the context of almost 35 years of residency. And it hit me like a wall of wind: Tornadoes are new. They weren’t here when I first arrived. Well, of course, they were here. They were just rare and drew little attention. Sort of like — in a bit of a stretch — avocados. In 1980 in Japan you had to hunt to find an avocado. More than that, you had to hunt to find someone who even knew what an avocado was. And now avocados are as common as bananas. Almost..."
Photo credit above: "No laughing matter: A tornado touches down in a field in Akron, Colorado, on May 7." AP.
The Top 10 Surprising Tornado Facts. This comes from a publication in the U.K,with some interesting perspective on (rare) tornadoes on the other side of the pond. EF-4 to EF-5 tornadoes in England? I had no idea. Here's an excerpt from The Tarboro Times:
- On average, 33 tornadoes occur every year in the UK. Last year there were 45; in 1984 there were 47.
- Britain’s most severe tornado may have been the one that destroyed the church of St Mary le Bow and 600 houses in London on 23 October 1091. Four of the church’s 26-foot long rafters were reportedly driven so hard into the ground that only four feet of them was visible.
- The other candidate for the UK’s top twister occurred on 12 September 1810, when one thought to have registered F4 to F5 on the Fujita scale cut a devastating path from Old Portsmouth to Southsea Common. An eyewitness spoke of the roof of a bank being “rolled up like a piece of canvas and blown from its situation”...
Watch a Captivating Segment on the Physics of Wildfires. Here's a clip from a very worthy article and video, courtesy of io9.com: "At the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, researchers use wind tunnels, combustion chambers, fire-whirl generators and high-speed cameras to study the start, structure and spread of one of nature's most bewildering phenomena: the wildfire..."
79 F. high on Sunday in the Twin Cities.
72 F. average high on May 25.
62 F. high on May 25, 2013.
MEMORIAL DAY: Humid. Few T-storms likely. Winds: SW 8. Dew point: 64. High: 81
MONDAY NIGHT: Lingering T-storms, a few downpours. Low: 65
TUESDAY: Sticky with more sun, just an isolated storm possible. High: 84
WEDNESDAY: Some sun, muggy. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 66. HIgh: 85
THURSDAY: Hot sun. Feels like summer. Wake-up: 66. High: 87
FRIDAY: Free sauna. Feels like mid 90s. Wake-up: 68. High: 88
SATURDAY: Still tropical. PM T-storms arrive. Wake-up: 69. High: 86
SUNDAY: Wet start, then slow clearing. Wake-up: 69. High: 82
University of Miami Geologist in Trenches of Climate Change. The implications of rising seas are especially bleak for southern Florida, where denial is rapidly giving way to action. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Miami Herald: "...But Wanless contends that softening predictions is irresponsible. In typical fashion, his warning comes in stark terms. “The truth is out now. Our tenure on low-lying parts of South Florida is coming to an end. You buy down here at your own peril,” he said. “If communities and governments aren’t fairly warning people, they are at massive risks for lawsuits because the reality is here.”
* graphic above: Florida Center for Environmental Studies. Featured in an article at WLRN, "Why Handwringing about Sea Level Rise Won't Save Miami."
Greenland Ice May Melt Even Faster. Watch for more "unknown unknowns", otherwise known as tipping points. Satellite and radar data is discovering what's really going on beneath Greenland's rapidly melting ice sheet. Here's a clip from a story at Climate News Network and truthdig.com: "Just days after US researchers identified geophysical reasons why West Antarctica’s glaciers are increasingly vulnerable to global warming, a partner team has pinpointed a related cause for alarm in Greenland. Many of the bedrock crevices and canyons down which the island’s glaciers flow have basements that are below sea level. This means that as warm Atlantic waters hit the glacier fronts, the glaciers themselves become more vulnerable to global warming and increasingly likely to melt at a faster rate..."
Photo credit above: "Melting away: an aerial view of the margin of Greenland’s threatened ice sheet." Photo by Hannes Grobe/Alfred Wegener Institute via Wikimedia Commons.
Who Are The "Alarmists" Here? Real Conservatives Value Evidence. Barry Bickmore presents his argument at Utah's Deseret News; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...So who is being “hysterical” and “alarmist?” On one hand, we have people using all the best scientific, political and economic analyses — complete with estimates of uncertainty and risk — to come up with recommendations on how to solve a pressing problem in the most cost-effective manner. On the other hand, we have self-proclaimed “conservatives,” supposed champions of personal responsibility, neglecting to obtain even a cursory familiarity with the best scholarship on the topic, blaming our inaction on what they assume (without evidence) China will do, extolling the unlimited capacity of humans to solve problems while excusing the present generation from even trying, and shrieking overwrought, nonsensical warnings about what serious climate action will cost..."
Thomas Friedman: Climate Change Needs Urgent Action. Should future generations get a vote....today? Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at Times Union: "...Even if we can't know what future citizens will actually value and believe in, we can still consider their interests, on the reasonable assumption that they will somewhat resemble our own (everybody needs breathable air, for example)," wrote Wells in Aeon Magazine. Since "our ethical values point one way, towards intergenerational responsibility, but our political system points another, towards the short-term horizon of the next election," we "should consider introducing agents who can vote in a far-seeing and impartial way..." (Image: NASA).
"Votes for the Future", the article referenced above, is at Aeon.
Memorial Day 2015. Here's another excerpt from Thomas Friedman's recent Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...We would be taking money away from the worst enemies of freedom on the planet, the world’s petro-dictators; and we would be incentivizing our industries to take the lead in manufacturing clean air, water and power systems, which will be in huge demand on a planet going from 7 billion to 9 billion people by 2050. In short, by taking the climate threat seriously now, we’d make ourselves so much more economically, physically, environmentally and geopolitically resilient — and, therefore, more free..."
Willful Ignorance in Wyoming. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...Some of this is to be expected in a political season, when politicians will do almost anything to prey on the public’s fear of job losses. What is truly depressing is the news that Wyoming’s State Legislature has become the first in the nation to reject the new national science standards for schools, standards that include instruction on the human contribution to climate change..." (Image: Shutterstock).
Keep Battling Koch Industries and its Allies to Deliver Clean, Renewable Energy. Anything that threatens the old order, powered by dirty fossil fuels, must be crushed, right? Tapping (free) solar power or renewable wind power and new clean-energy innovations? But how do we maintain our monopolies? Here's the intro to an Op-Ed from the editorial staff at The Kansas City Star: "Supporters of the polluting and powerful fossil-fuel industry have a message for Kansans and others eager to improve how Americans consume energy: We are going to do everything possible to derail, delay and demean clean, renewable power. It’s all part of a multibillion-dollar, self-interested scheme by groups including Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council to keep people tethered to old-fashioned energy sources..."
Photo credit above: "Windmills that fill the horizon along Interstate 70 near Salina, Kansas, deliver clean and renewable energy." David Eulitt, The Kansas City Star.