Sweaty October: 80s Today
Cooler, Windblown Monday

Meteorologists love arcane acronyms: NAM, GFS, ECMWF and vorticity. Another favorite is "persistence", which means the best first guess is to predict a continuation of the current pattern. Just go with the flow.

September was the warmest on record for Minnesota and Wisconsin; 6F warmer than average. 2015 is on track to be the warmest year, worldwide. A stain of El Nino warmth in the Pacific is helping to push mild air well inland, deflecting the coldest winds across Canada. Will a mild bias continue into the winter? Probably.

80s on October 11? Impressive considering the sun is as high in the sky as it was on March 1; 11 hours, 15 minutes of daylight.

In 1977 the residents of the metro area were still scraping 2.5 inches of snow off driveways and sidewalks on October 11, so no complaints. Today would be perfectly average for August 11.

A sharp drop in temperature turns on high winds tonight; a fleeting shower north of MSP tomorrow as the mercury free-falls into the 50s.

No rude, Canadian slaps brewing: 60s for highs this week; a slight chance of a metro frost by Saturday as we limp into fall.

A Very Bad Hair Day. This one is for C.J. Yes, I've had a series of bad hair days since the early 80s. But that's another story. A sharp drop in temperature will turn on the wind machine, with sustained winds of 25-35 mph Monday; higher gusts. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Near-Record Warmth Today. The all-time record high in the MSP metro is 84F, set in 1930. The 4 KM NAM suggests a high of 84F between 2 and 4 PM this afternoon; models in fairly good agreement we'll at least see low 80s. Not bad for October 11.

August and October - 24 Hours Apart. Today will feel like mid or late summer with 80s (and far less humidity than we enjoy during the summer months). NOAA's NAM shows a surge of cooler air pushing south, although I hesitate calling this a cold front. Not yet. But a sharp temperature contrast will put the squeeze on the atmosphere, whipping up a howling wind Monday. Source: Aeris Weather.

Blustery Monday. According to Aeris Enterprise (on my iPhone - very cool, but I'm admittedly biased) winds are forecast to gust over 40 mph by 10 AM Monday morning as much cooler air pushes south on northwest winds. Temperatures will drop from 80s today to 50s Monday; the sharper the temperature contrast, the faster winds have to blow.

In Rare Event, Remnants of Pacific Hurricane Hit Alaska. You don't see this very often - the soggy remains of Hurricane Oho battering....Alaska? Here's an excerpt from The Seattle Times: "Remnants of Pacific Hurricane Oho battered Alaska’s southeast coast on Friday, the latest unusual weather event to hit a state that so far this year has dealt with a lack of snow, warmer temperatures and intense wildfires. The storm on Thursday brought more than 7 inches of rain to Ketchikan, a scenic town in Alaska’s coastal rainforest. Gusts of up to 80 mph were forecast for Friday, and more rain was expected across the region. Jon Dorman, deputy emergency manager for the city of Ketchikan, said Friday morning that creeks were swollen and residents were keeping an eye on the storm, but no other major issues had been reported..."

Cold "Blob" in North Atlantic Ocean May Affect Weather in Europe, Eastern U.S. Is rapid melting of Greenland and a subsequent flush of fresh water into the North Atlantic impacting weather patterns? Here's an excerpt from a story at AccuWeather: "...According to According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "If the Gulf Stream and correspondingly other currents in the Atlantic weaken, then it could change long-term temperature patterns all around the Atlantic basin." Some scientists believe that prior temperature anomalies have already begun to alter and slow the Gulf Stream and the balance of the currents circulating through the Atlantic over the past 100 years or so. The temperature of surface ocean water can vastly affect the temperature of nearby land areas..."

September: 6F Warmer Than Average, Statewide. It was the warmest September on record for Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan; 3rd warmest ever recorded for the Midwest. Source: Midwest Regional Climate Center.

Balmy September For Most of USA. Parts of the Deep South and Pacific Northwest saw September temperatures close to average, no cooler than average weather in the Lower 48. The most pronounced warmth was observed from the Rockies and Upper Midwest into parts of New England. Source: NOAA.

Some Autumn Dryness Showing Up. Here's a clip from the latest installment of Dr. Mark Seeley's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "September was the warmest in history on a statewide basis, surpassing September of 1931. The MN-State Climatology Office offers a summary of the month o their web site. But the second half of the month also brought drier than normal weather to many parts of the state and this has been further amplified by a dry start to October.  Some areas of west-central, northwestern, and southeastern Minnesota have reported less than a quarter of an inch of rain over the past 15 days.  As a result the DNR reports a moderate fire danger in some areas.  On the other hand weather has generally been good for harvesting the corn crop which is expected to be a record across the state.  Good field drying conditions have been a benefit in reducing drying costs before storage..."

Colors Peaking Up North. This will be the weekend to head north and check out the colors from Bemidji to Duluth; great splashes of color in the Brainerd and Alexandria Lakes area, but only 25-50% of the trees have turned in the metro area, still 1-2 weeks away from peak color. Source: Minnesota DNR.

Tampa Bay Rated Nation's Most Vulnerable to Hurricane Storm Surge. Thinking about a place in the Tampa area? Cheap advice: rent, don't buy. Here's an excerpt from The Tampa Bay Times: "With $175 billion in potential losses, Tampa Bay is the most vulnerable metro area in the nation to storm surge floods caused by a once-in-a-century hurricane.That's the conclusion from a recent study by Karen Clark & Co. (KCC), a Boston-based firm that specializes in modeling the likely property damage and losses from windstorms, earthquakes and other catastrophes for the insurance industry. Analysts estimate Tampa could suffer higher losses than New Orleans or New York City, the next two most vulnerable cities on the KCC list..."

When Amazon Dies. Hopefully no time soon, mind you. But what happens to all your digital content (movies, books, music) if and when the big tech giants get disrupted? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at The Atlantic: "...In order to keep a film in your collection watchable, there’s a constellation of pieces that must be in place: The software that streams the video has to work, the devices you want to use to run that software have to remain compatible with it, and the film itself has to be accessible on that software. None of these things is guaranteed. The films you buy could already, at any time, automatically disappear from your Instant collection. (Again, that's right there in the Amazon service terms.) All this signals a larger cultural shift in the way people think about ownership of media in the 21st century, or how they ought to be thinking of it..."

Ambitious Renewables Bill Signed Into Law in California. Is this a cue for the rest of the nation? We'll see. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law a bill requiring California to produce half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, a goal he said was key to combating global climate change. "A decarbonized future is the reason we're here," Brown said at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles. "What we're doing here is very important, especially for low-income families." The bill also requires a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings by 2030..."

NASA Releases Plan Outlining Next Steps in Journey to Mars. I hope I live long enough to see an American flag planted on the surface of Mars. It may come faster than you think - here's an excerpt from NASA: "NASA is leading our nation and the world on a journey to Mars, and Thursday the agency released a detailed outline of that plan in its report, “NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration.” “NASA is closer to sending American astronauts to Mars than at any point in our history,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Today, we are publishing additional details about our journey to Mars plan and how we are aligning all of our work in support of this goal. In the coming weeks, I look forward to continuing to discuss the details of our plan with members of Congress, as well as our commercial and our international and partners, many of whom will be attending the International Astronautical Congress next week...”

Astronaut's Stunning Photo Shows the Darkness That Sweeps North Korea At Night. They have nukes, but no electricity - here's an excerpt of a story at TIME: "Astronaut Scott Kelly, who is spending the year in space aboard the International Space Station, tweeted a stunning image of outerspace view of North Korea on Saturday showing the vast country without power while twinkling light illuminated the rest of the world..."

74 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

61 F. average high on October 10.

53 F. high on October 10, 2014.

October 11, 1909: Snowstorm hits state with temperatures dropping to 7 degrees over the north.

TODAY: Sunny with near-record warmth. Old record is 84F (1930). Winds: S 10-20. High: 83

SUNDAY NIGHT: More clouds, windy and cooler. Low: 56

MONDAY: Gusty with more clouds than sun, few showers north. Winds: NW 20-35. High: 59

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, less wind. Wake-up: 46. High: 62

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Wake-up: 45. High: 67

THURSDAY: Cloudier, cooler. Showers likely. Wake-up: 51. High: 59

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, brisk. Wake-up: 45. High: 57

SATURDAY: Small frost risk in the suburbs. Cool sunshine. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 35. High: 54

Climate Stories...

Exxon's Climate Concealment. My late father in law worked for Exxon - he had a PhD in chemical engineering, had scores of patents and worked on catalysts for refineries. He died way too early - from cancer, which may have been a result of the carcinogens he was exposed to. No way to prove it, true, but he spent much of his time around exotic chemicals - it's not a leap of logic to think this may have been a factor. I wonder what he would have thought of Exxon's apparent obfuscation of their own scientist's research into climate change. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Exxon (which became Exxon Mobil in 1999) was a leader in these campaigns of confusion. In 1989, the company helped to create the Global Climate Coalition to question the scientific basis for concern about climate change and prevent the United States from signing on to the international Kyoto Protocol to control greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition disbanded in 2002, but the disinformation continued. Journalists and scientists have identified more than 30 different organizations funded by the company that have worked to undermine the scientific message and prevent policy action to control greenhouse gas emissions...."

Photo credit above: "The Exxon Mobile Refinery in Torrance, Calif." Credit Jamie Rector/Bloomberg.

Teaching the Truth About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the New York Times Editorial Board: "Misinformation about climate change is distressingly common in the United States — a 2014 Yale study found that 35 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused mostly by natural phenomena rather than human activity, and 34 percent think there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is even happening. (In fact, an overwhelming majority of scientists agree that climate change is here and that it is caused by humans.) One way to stop the spread of this misinformation is to teach children about climate change...."

Economist Greenstone Sees Climate Change Accelerating as Developing Countries Rise. Here's an excerpt from The Star Tribune: "...Asking the Chinese and Indians to hold off on development that improves people’s lives — especially after a century in which the Western world pumped out the lion’s share of CO2 emissions — is a non-starter, Greenstone said. Governments subsidize energy in myriad ways that confuse and distort the market. Many economists argue that more money should be spent on research for cheaper green energy. Warming temperatures will hit countries like India hardest....

What Exxon Knew About the Earth's Melting Arctic. More details below from InsideClimate News, but The Los Angeles Times takes a look at Exxon's own internal scientific research focused on warming and melting ice and how it would impact their operations in the Arctic; here's an excerpt: "...In addition, the company should expect more flooding along its riverside facilities, an earlier spring breakup of the ice pack, and more-severe summer storms. But it was the increased variability and unpredictability of the weather that was going to be the company’s biggest challenge, he said. Record-breaking droughts, floods and extreme heat — the worst-case scenarios — were now events that not only were likely to happen, but could occur at any time, making planning for such scenarios difficult, Lonergan warned the company in his report. Extreme temperatures and precipitation “should be of greatest concern,” he wrote, “both in terms of future design and … expected impacts....”

Politicians Should Be Scientifically Literate. A recent poll shows 87% of Americans believe that candidates for office should have a basic understanding of science informing public policy. The "I'm not a scientist" line just doesn't cut it anymore. View the poll from ScienceDebate: "An overwhelming majority of Americans (87%) say it is important that candidates for President and Congress have a basic understanding of the science informing public policy issues, including majorities across the political spectrum (92% of Democrats, 90% of Republicans and 79% of Independents). Americans also say the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss key science-based challenges facing the United States, such as healthcare, climate change, energy, education, innovation and the economy, with  91% of Democrats, 88% of Republicans and 78% of Independents agreeing..."

Snatching CO2 Back from the Air. Will we see new technologies capable of removing CO2 from the air? Count on it - the question is how quickly these new technologies can scale, and how quickly prices can drop to the point where they can be deployed (everywhere). Here's an excerpt of a promising example from The Toronto Star: "Residents of Squamish, B.C., will witness history this week when a small company from Alberta flicks the switch on an industrial facility that chemically grabs carbon dioxide out of thin air. The facility, designed and built with support from billionaires Bill Gates and oilsands financier Murray Edwards, isn’t just a first for Canada. It may be the largest demonstration of its kind in the world, and takes us closer to a day when humans can suck more CO2 from the atmosphere than they dump in..."

Image credit above: Carbon Engineering. "A rendering of a commercial-scale CO2 air capture system being designed by Calgary-based Carbon Engineering. The company hopes to one day make it economical to pull CO2 from the air."

Climate Change: Facts vs. Opinions. No, the science is never settled (it never is), and climate models have conflicting predictions for the future. But some things are now beyond dispute. Here's an excerpt from a Scientific American blog post that provides a much-needed reality check:

FACT: Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil-fuel combustion, is a greenhouse gas, which traps solar radiation in the atmosphere. (Sources for my first seven “facts” include NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)

FACT: Increased human fossil-fuel consumption over the past two centuries has increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 recently surpassed 400 parts per million, the highest level in more than 800,000 years.

FACT: As a result of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, global surface temperatures have increased by about one degree centigrade since 1880. The 10 warmest years ever recorded—with the exception of 1998—have occurred since 2000. 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded.

Image credit above: "It is a fact, not an opinion, that human consumption of fossil fuels has boosted global temperatures over the last century." Source: NASA, http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

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The Winds of Aug-tober: 70s Today, 80s Sunday (near-record highs)

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Close to 100F on October 11? Wind Advisory Today - Mild Bias Continues