Increasingly Hot, Sweaty & Thundery
I can't wait to whine about the heat. Minnesotans suffer for their summers. Our growing season is getting longer, but summers are still too short.
Great news for optimists with pools and convertibles: you'll get the last laugh from later week into the 4th of July weekend. A spell of hot, sweaty weather is imminent. Saturday's heat index may top 100F, with a touch of Florida humidity. I wouldn't be surprised to see the National Weather Service issuing Excessive Heat Watches or Warnings by the weekend.
A few observations: early summer heat waves are more dangerous than 90s in August - our bodies simply haven't acclimated to the heat yet. No kidding. And heat is cumulative. Negative effects are worse on Day 3 or 4 than Day 1 of sizzling heat.
Thunderstorms flare up today along the leading edge of steamy air. An inflamed, unstable airmass sparks scattered storms each day into next week as the pattern stalls.
The best chance of 90s comes this weekend, but 80s linger into a delightfully hot and sweaty 4th of July.
Predicted GFS late afternoon heat index on Saturday courtesy of NOAA and WeatherBell.
Scattered T-storms. The approach of inflamed air leave our atmosphere increasingly unstable and capable of heavy showers and T-storms. NOAA's models show the greatest rainfall potential from southeastern Minnesota into central and southern Wisconsin. Map: Praedictix and AerisWeather.
Update: NOAA's 00z Thursday NAM model prints out 1.96" of rain from Thursday afternoon into Thursday night for the Twin Cities metro.
Heat Wave Tips. You probably know this already, but this may be a good time to review some hot weather tips, courtesy of ready.gov: "In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body. Remember that:
Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.
IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:
Find air conditioning.
Avoid strenuous activities.
Watch for heat illness.
Wear light clothing.
Check on family members and neighbors.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
Major Heat Wave Roasts Europe. Details via The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "An intense heat wave is set to bake Europe in coming days, and it could be historic, potentially shattering records across a large portion of the continent. The heat wave is expected to peak between Wednesday and Friday, when a swath from Spain to Poland is expected to see temperatures at least 20 to 30 degrees (11 to 17 degrees Celsius) above normal. Actual temperatures should surge to at least 95 to 105 degrees (35 to 40 degrees Celsius) over a sprawling area. Some locations could be even hotter, especially within cities where a “heat island” effect from asphalt and concrete increases temperatures. Mika Rantanen, a meteorologist in Finland, described computer model forecasts for the intensity of the heat “totally unheard of for June” in France..."
Map credit: "
John MacDonald, professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the relationship between heat and crime and offered some theories as to why crime levels can increase with temperature. Crime can occur when potential victims run into motivated offenders. Rising temperatures can put more victims in the crosshairs of offenders. “When heat waves happen, there’s more people out and about in the street. Often, people are agitated,” Mr. MacDonald said. “There is some evidence also that it’s more likely that people will be drinking beers or other kinds of alcohol to stay hydrated, stave off the heat. That kind of change in human activity would lead to more potential victims interacting with individuals who are either inclined to violence or prompted to it...”
Deal to Close Minnesota Coal Plants Includes "Historic" Efficiency Push. Energy News Network has perspective; here's an excerpt: "As Xcel Energy prepares a filing to close its last coal units in Minnesota, a lesser-known provision of the settlement announced last month commits the utility to energy savings equivalent to another power plant. The agreement with clean energy organizations and a labor union signed in early May requires Xcel to close the last two coal plants it operates in Minnesota, the Allen S. King facility in Stillwater and Sherburne County Generating Station (Sherco) Unit 3. In addition, the utility committed to building 3,000 megawatts of solar energy. Fresh Energy, which publishes the Energy News Network, is one of the parties to the agreement..."
File image: Xcel Energy.
Robots Could Take 20 Million Manufacturing Jobs by 2030. New jobs (we can't even imagine) will emerge, but will the workforce that's disrupted by robotics have the skills necessary to thrive and transition to new opportunities. CNN reports: "Robots are getting better at doing human jobs. That's probably good for the economy — but there are some serious downsides, too. Machines are expected to displace about 20 million manufacturing jobs across the world over the next decade, according to a report released Wednesday by Oxford Economics, a global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm. That means about 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce could be displaced by robots. The report also notes that the move to robots tends to generate new jobs as fast as it automates them, however it could contribute to income inequality..."
At Work, Expertise is Falling Out of Favor. Companies are looking for generalists, good problem solvers who can learn and implement the new-new thing? Here's a quote from an interesting post at The Atlantic: "...If you ask Laszlo Bock, Google’s former culture chief and now the head of the HR start-up Humu, what he looks for in a new hire, he’ll tell you “mental agility.” “What companies are looking for,” says Mary Jo King, the president of the National Résumé Writers’ Association, “is someone who can be all, do all, and pivot on a dime to solve any problem.” The phenomenon is sped by automation, which usurps routine tasks, leaving employees to handle the nonroutine and unanticipated—and the continued advance of which throws the skills employers value into flux. It would be supremely ironic if the advance of the knowledge economy had the effect of devaluing knowledge. But that’s what I heard, recurrently, while reporting this story. “The half-life of skills is getting shorter,” I was told by IBM’s Joanna Daly..."
How Many Bridesmaids Is Enough? CNN reports: "A bride from New Orleans went all out for her beach wedding -- enlisting 34 of her closest friends and family to join her as bridesmaids on her big day. Casme Carter tied the knot June 2 in Destin, Florida, with her six sisters and 28 friends by her side. She says that she planned on having 50 ladies but some couldn't make it because of family reasons and an Army deployment…But why -- and how -- so many? Carter says she has a lot of friends from mentoring and participating in women's empowerment groups. "I wanted them all to experience the love that they've seen that I've been praying for and wanting. I wanted them to witness it first hand," Carter says..."
Fast Walkers Live an Average of 20 Years Longer Than Slow Walkers, Research Finds. CBS Philadelphia has the story: "It can be relaxing to take a leisurely stroll, but the next time you go for a walk, you might want to pick up the pace. Everyone marches to the beat of their own drum but that tempo seems to be divided in two…Well, according to a new study out of the University of Leicester in England, brisk walkers have a long road ahead. After researching a pool of almost 500,000 people, the study found that fast walkers lived an average of 20 years longer than their slow-paced counterparts..."
86 F. maximum temperature in the Twin Cities on Wednesday.
82 F. average high on June 26.
73 F. high on June 26, 2018.
June 27, 1908: A tornado hits Clinton in Big Stone County.
THURSDAY: Humid, few T-storms likely. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 86
FRIDAY: Partly sunny and sticky. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 69. High: 88
SATURDAY: Tropical heat, few T-storms. Feels like 100F. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 91
SUNDAY: Sun and thunder. Feels like 100F. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 75. High: 93
MONDAY: Unsettled, lingering T-storms. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 68. High: 88
TUESDAY: More showers and T-storms. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 65. High: 86
WEDNESDAY: Hazy sun, PM T-storms. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 68. High: 89
Heat Waves and Climate Change: Is There a Connection? Here's an excerpt of an explainer at Yale Climate Connections: "...This animation shows that as the middle of the curve shifts just slightly to the warm side, a much larger chunk of the curve moves into extreme territory. In other words, extremely hot days occur more often. Extreme heat occurred very rarely 50 years ago in the United States. But as a result of climate change, the bell curve has already shifted by one standard deviation interval – a measure that tells you how spread out the values are – according to a 2016 paper by climate scientist James Hansen. As a result, extreme summer heat now occurs about 7% of the time. The U.S. still sets some record lows, but it’s been setting far more record highs. In fact, recent record highs have been outpacing record lows at a ratio of two to one..."
Graphic credit: Climate Central
Florida's New Reporting Network: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: "Six of Florida's leading news organizations will band together to report on climate change, outlets said Tuesday. The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel and WLRN Public Media are the founding members of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, which plans to expand to include other outlets in the state. The initiative was inspired by The Invading Sea, a collaboration between the opinion editors at the Miami Herald, The Palm Beach Post, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and WLRN that runs opinion pieces highlighting the impacts of sea level rise on South Florida. "It’s not a science story for us here in South Florida," WLRN vice president Tom Hudson told Nieman Journalism Lab. "It’s not some kind of theoretical exploration. It’s real. It’s what many in our community experience in their neighborhoods. It’s just become daily news." (Miami Herald, Nieman Journalism Lab, The Hill).
File image: NASA.
Exclusive: Investors With $34 Trillion Demand Urgent Climate Change Action. Reuters has details: "Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week. In an open letter to the “governments of the world” seen by Reuters, groups representing 477 investors stressed “the urgency of decisive action” on climate change to achieve the Paris Agreement target. Almost 200 nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Current policies put the world on track for at least a 3C rise by the end of the century..."
Companies Can Deny Climate Change But They Can't Shun Capital Markets. Or the courts. Here's a clip from a story at Forbes: "The US SIF Foundation’s 2018 biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends found that sustainable, responsible and impact investing assets now account for $12.0 trillion —or one in four dollars— of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the United States. This represents a 38% increase over 2016. Companies focused on the triple bottom line — environment, social and governance— are outperforming other broader indices while also upholding their missions and burnishing their brands. “Large institutional investors in particular have a fiduciary responsibility to their beneficiaries to ensure investments in companies that create long-term value,” says Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. “Companies that have large climate emissions and insufficient demonstrated transition plans, are not likely to create such value...”
Warming Lakes. Climate Central takes a look at the trends: "Stream temperatures are rising at 65% of the continental U.S. gauges with sufficient data since 1990. While many factors influence stream temperatures, from water source and depth to agriculture and dams, rising air temperatures can play a key role. Warming streams impact fish by intensifying some algae blooms and helping viruses affect more species. Inland fish are also moving north, altering predator-prey interactions and changing the timing of migrations and spawning. Meanwhile, every Great Lake has warmed at least 1.5°F since 1995 (when data became available for all lakes), led by Lake Ontario at 2.2°F. In addition to the above impacts, warmer water has increased the size and feeding rates of the parasitic sea lamprey, which can latch onto and devastate large Great Lakes fish..."
"Climate Apartheid": UN Report Predicts Rich Will Buy Their Way Out of Disaster. Details via Big Think: "Global warming could create a "climate apartheid," where rich people pay to escape the worst effects of climate change while poor people are left to suffer, according to a new United Nations report. "Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger," wrote the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, in a report released today. Alston penned the report to make the UN Human Rights Council "face up to the fact that human rights might not survive the coming upheaval." "Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction," Alston said..."
"Freedom from Fossil Fuels". Check out Washington State Governor (and presidential candidate) Jay Inslee's plan; here's an excerpt: "...Cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 and achieving net-zero pollution by mid-century is a crucial necessity to avoid crippling the U.S. economy and the planet with vast and irreparable harm. These goals are ambitious, but they are achievable — and based on successes in Washington state and other communities all across America. However, these climate pollution-reduction goals simply cannot be achieved unless America as a nation is prepared to take on the greatest and most powerful special interests that are holding back our clean energy future: fossil fuel corporations. In order to build a more prosperous, just and inclusive clean energy future, our nation must confront the economic and environmental harm caused by corporate polluters..."
Inslee Sets Fossil Fuel Industry in Crosshairs: Links and headlines via Climate Nexus: "Presidential candidate Jay Inslee unveiled a new proposal Monday designed to completely wean the United States off fossil fuels. The Freedom from Fossil Fuels plan introduces 16 new initiatives to phase out oil, gas and coal in the United States, including banning new drilling on public lands as well as mountaintop coal mining and fracking; applying a "climate test" to all new infrastructure; ending oil exports; and introducing a carbon tax. The proposal also claims that an Inslee administration would "not hesitate to prosecute [polluters] to the fullest extent of the law." (Miami Herald, Vox, Politico, The Intercept, Axios, CNN, The Hill, UPI, Reuters, Gizmodo)
File image: History.com.
How to Design a Green New Deal That Really Works, For Every Industry in the U.S. Fast Company has a worthy read - here's a nugget: "...The Green New Deal has captured national attention for its confrontation of major and interconnected issues, and its broad scope symbolizes the enormous challenge of tackling them both. Focusing on its application to specific industries can begin to ground the symbolism in some detail. Every industry, as Markey says, will need to adapt and change to effectively address the dual issues of climate change and economic inequity. These conversations are already happening at private companies, in governments, and around nonprofit and advocacy organizations. This week, we’ll be looking at eight sectors of the U.S. economy and considering what changes might be on the horizon for them as they work to address these challenges. Read the whole series here..."
Trump Administration Prioritizes Coal Companies and Miners. Here's the intro to an Op-Ed at The Chicago Tribune: "For a long time, the threat of climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions was distant and abstract. But the evidence suggests it’s now an immediate reality. Globally, the last five years have been the hottest five on record. Melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, severe droughts and hurricanes — all provide a picture of what a warmer planet will bring, if it hasn’t already. A recent poll found that nearly half of Americans think they are being hurt by climate change “right now.” So you might think a federal body called the Environmental Protection Agency would be doing all it could, within reason, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the harm of the carbon dioxide already pumped into the atmosphere. But President Donald Trump’s administration has chosen a different approach that places the immediate interests of coal companies and miners ahead of everything else..."
The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Bloomberg that caught my eye: "...There is also a concern in some parts of the country that a carbon tax would be the death knell to a coal industry already in decline due to larger economic forces. Pairing a carbon tax with relief for coal miners would at least provide some recompense for job losses that are all but inevitable. There are obvious reasons why Republicans have been hesitant to embrace carbon taxes. But American politics are shifting rapidly. Failure to articulate a climate change policy has hurt Republicans with younger voters. If economic conservatives want to stay relevant, they need to provide market-based solutions to one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century."