We're all environmentalists - some of us just don't know it yet. On Earth Day 2014 America's air and water is dramatically cleaner than it was 40 years ago. But greenhouse gases continue to spike at an alarming rate, worldwide.
Who cares? As I gently remind my friends on the right: conservatism shouldn't be a la carte. It should apply to the very thing that sustains us, the amazing gift we've been loaned. We're all stewards of God's Creation.
I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like to save money. Skeptics may perk up when they realize clean energy options will eventually put more green in their wallets. Solar power is catching on as innovation causes prices to fall dramatically, but that's just the beginning.
Last year I traded in 2 gas-powered cars for a Tesla Model S, an all electric vehicle that I charge up every night in my garage. It has a range of 200 miles and is continually connected to the Internet, allowing streaming media on a super-sized iPad-like center console. Software upgrades are sent automatically, making it the rough equivalent of an iPhone on wheels. I'm a car nut, and I can safely say this is the most fun I've had in a vehicle in 40 years. The best part: I'm saving $600/year on insurance and my electricity rates have yet to blip upward. The dream is to drive for free, powered by the sun. Some day soon.
Enjoy a flawless blue sky today. A free lawn watering is still on tap for late Wednesday and Thursday; maybe half an inch of water for your garden. Clouds thicken Saturday; a cold rain reaches southern Minnesota Sunday, but the storm track may keep moisture just south of MSP early next week. The risk of slush next Monday has diminished just a bit.
Insert deep sigh here.
Cooling Trend. After peaking in the upper 50s to near 60F Tuesday afternoon temperatures drop off into the 40s to near 50F, according to ECMWF guuidance. The best chance of rain comes late Wednesday into Thursday; drier air pushing in for Friday and Saturday. Latest guidance keeps most of the moisture to our south Sunday and Monday; a very slow warming trend set for next week. Graphic: Weatherspark.
Future Radar. NOAA's 12km NAM guidance shows heavy showers and a few embedded T-storms pushing across the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes as the eastern USA dries out; waves of moderate to heavy rain sweeping into the Pacific Northwest. 84-hour loop: HAMweather.
7-Day Rainfall Amounts. As much as 5" of rain may soak the Pacific Northwest over the next week as a series of impulses push inland. Heavy showers and T-storms may drop some 2-3" amounts from near Kansas City to Little Rock, with as much as 1" for portions of southern MInnesota Wednesday and Thursday. Source: NOAA.
Burning Restrictions In Effect For All of Minnesota. Until we get to statewide spring green-up conditions will remain ripe for spotty brushfires. Here's a video and story excerpt from northlandsnewscenter.com: "In a quicker than anticipated time frame, burning permit restrictions for Minnesota now cover the entire state. According to the Minnesota DNR, burning permits are now required for anyone in the state wanting to burn small amounts of dry leaves, plant clippings, brush, and untreated, unpainted wood as long as weather conditions do not pose an immediate fire hazard..."
Slowest Start To U.S. Tornado Season On Record. It's a little premature to get too complacent about a lack of major tornado outbreaks (93 so far nationwide, less than a quarter of "average", to date). That's the topic of today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over this years tornado stats. So far, we've been extremely lucky to see only 93 tornadoes. But in all things weather, it can change on a dime. Peak tornado months are May followed closely by June. So don't write off tornado season yet, this could be just the beginning."
Quietest Start To Tornado Season In 60+ Years? So says NOAA SPC. Details from the Storm Prediction Center here.
Experts: Civilians Not Ready For EMP-Caused Blackout. No kidding. Watchdog.org has the details; here's the introduction: "The catastrophic effects of an electromagnetic pulse-caused blackout could be preventable, but experts warn the civilian world is still not ready. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, said the technology to avoid disaster from electromagnetic pulses exists, and upgrading the nation’s electrical grid is financially viable. “The problem is not the technology,” Pry said. “We know how to protect against it. It’s not the money, it doesn’t cost that much. The problem is the politics. It always seems to be the politics that gets in the way....”
Poll: Big Bang A Question For Most Americans. Here's an excerpt of a story from Associated Press: "...On some, there's broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines. About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the Earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory...."
Image credit here.
TODAY: Sunny, still mosquito-free. Winds: NW 10. High: near 60
TUESDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase. Low: 43
WEDNESDAY: Showers arrive, windy. SE 15-25. High: near 50
THURSDAY: Rain, heavy at times. Raw and very soggy. Wake-up: 45. High: 48
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, few sprinkles. Wake-up: 40. High: 49
SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, cool. Wake-up: 35. High: 51
SUNDAY: Cold rain far southern Minnesota. Wake-up: 39. High: 47
MONDAY: Patchy clouds, few sprinkles. Wake-up: 34. High: 45
* lone boat on the water courtesy of WeatherNation TV meteorologist Todd Nelson, who snapped this photo at Maynards in Excelsior as the ice was coming off Lake Minnetonka Monday morning.
NOAA Releases Arctic Action Plan. Details from NOAA: "Earlier this year, President Obama released a plan for moving forward on his national strategy to advance U.S. security and stewardship interests in the Arctic. Today, in keeping with the goals and tenets of his strategy, NOAA unveils its Arctic Action Plan—a document that provides NOAA scientists, stakeholders and partners a roadmap to make shared progress in monitoring, understanding, and protecting this vast, valuable, and vulnerable region. Climate change is making the Arctic a greener, warmer, and increasingly accessible place for economic opportunity. However, climate impacts such as sea ice loss and rising ocean acidification are straining coastal community resilience and sound resource stewardship. Impacts are also being studied outside the Arctic, as NOAA scientists and colleagues work to better understand the region’s influence on global weather and climate patterns..."