Frozen. The Sequel

Yes this is a Disney epic gone bad. I'd belt out a hopeful tune, an off-key ballad of how meteorological spring is just 55 days away, but my larynx is partially frostbitten.

We're all huddled in our frozen foxholes, but consider this: the Minneapolis Boat Show is just over 2 weeks away and parkas are 40 percent off at Macy's!

You'll need extra layers this week, probably the coldest of the winter. Winds ease today but the next, reinforcing flush of frigid air whips up an inch or two of Minnesota Powder tonight; heavier amounts south of MSP.

Arctic winds howl Tuesday with the mercury bottoming out Wednesday morning around -10 to -15F, with a wind chill of -35F. A few schools may close. Models show lesser cold fronts spilling south of the border Friday, again Sunday - but a warming trend is likely late next week.

What a waste of perfectly good cold air. Our biggest snowstorms tend to come immediately after major Arctic outbreaks, as southern storms push moisture up and over a cold dome. Not this time. A mild, zonal, west to east jet stream flow returns in 1-2 weeks as battery-draining air lifts north.

Minnesota. Come for the culture. Stay because your car won't start.

Clipped Again. A reinforcing surge of frigid air will spin up a fast-moving Alberta Clipper capable of plowable snowfall amounts from the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities to the Iowa border. The farther south you drive tonight, the worse travel conditions will become. Some 4-7" snowfall amounts are possible south and west of the Minnesota River. 60-hour NAM snowfall potential: NOAA and HAMweather.

Advisories and Warnings. A Wind Chill Warning remains in effect across most of central and northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, Wind Chill Advisories for the Twin Cities metro and St. Cloud; a Winter Storm Warning for far southwest Minnesota for later today. A clipper will brush the Twin Cities with a coating to an inch or two of powder later today and tonight, with much heavier amounts south of the Twin Cities. Details from NOAA:


Super-Sized Clipper. When it's this cold it doesn't take much moisture or upward motion (lift) to squeeze out a few inches of powdery, fluffy snow. Our internal models show a potential for plowable snowfall amounts from southern Minnesota and Iowa into southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area.

Coldest Week of Winter? Could something colder come along in late January, even the first week of February? Absolutely. But I suspect this week will have the most cumulative hours below zero of any week this winter, a winter moderated (slightly) by a brewing El Nino. I think we'll be back in the 20s, possibly near freezing the latter half of next week.

Warming Trend by Mid-January. Our internal Aeris Enterprise software shows tight agreement between various models with temperature predictions out 2 weeks; a warming trend by the end of next week, even 32F by next Thursday, January 15. Circle your calendar. Does anyone still use "calendars"?

Trending Milder by Mid-January. I don't see any 50s, but 20s and a few 30s are likely by the third week of January as Pacific air penetrates farther inland. California has gotten a break in recent weeks, but guidance suggests another parade of major storms may be about to push from Hawaii to the west coast, helping to keep our winds aloft blowing from the west and even southwest. Map: GrADS:COLA/IGES.

Emerging From The Deep Freeze. NOAA's GFS guidance shows highs in the 20s, even a few 30s from January 13-20. I still see no evidence of a major southern storm impacting Minnesota or the Upper Midwest looking out 1-2 weeks, just a return to average, which will be welcomed by most Minnesotans.

Mild Bias into March. NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) publishes output from multiple longer-range climate models going out many months. I wouldn't bet the farm on any of these, but it is interesting looking at the trends from month to month. A majority of these longer-range models continue to show a warm bias for much of North American into late March; symptoms of a brewing El Nino.

2014: Warmest Year On Record. This according to JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, which adds: "The annual anomaly of the global average surface temperature in 2014 (i.e. the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.27°C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.63°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.70°C per century."

2014 Temperature Departure From Average: January thru November. Here is why it's probably a bad idea looking out your window and making global assumptions. "Uh, the planet can't be warming up Paul because it's cold outside!" No, that never gets old. 2014 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record according to NOAA data, with a 60-70% probability it will be the warmest year on record according to NASA GISS numbers. The chilliest weather last year? Directly above our heads, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. Otherwise the vast majority of the world's land masses and oceans experienced record warmth. Source: NOAA NCDC.

Alaska's Toasty Temperatures in 2014 Worry Observers. Anchorage didn't dip below 0F once in 2014, which is a bit hard to fathom. Here's a clip of a story at The Los Angeles Times: "The biggest state in America, home to more ocean coastline than all others combined, has just set another record. This one, however, is nothing to cheer. For the first time in recorded history, temperatures in Anchorage did not drop below zero once in an entire calendar year. In comparison, Alaska's largest city had 14 days below zero in the 2013 calendar year and 32 days in 2012. The average is 29 days..."

Photo credit above: "In this photo taken on Dec. 18, 2014, Terry and Dan Goodwin, from left to right, cross-country ski as a snow-making machine churns snow at the city's largest park in Anchorage, Alaska. A spate of weird weather lingers in Anchorage, which is almost 2 feet behind typical snowfall totals for December." (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen).

2014 In Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence. I'm already paranoid that Siri is going to start scheduling meetings and making calls without me - this story at MIT Technology Review just fanned the flames: "The holy grail of artificial intelligence—creating software that comes close to mimicking human intelligence—remains far off. But 2014 saw major strides in machine learning software that can gain abilities from experience. Companies in sectors from biotech to computing turned to these new techniques to solve tough problems or develop new products. The most striking research results in AI came from the field of deep learning, which involves using crude simulated neurons to process data..."

That's It, We Can Never Trust Bankers Again. Disclaimer: I like my bankers here in Minnesota, for the record. Does this apply to all bankers or just greedy New York City mega-bankers? Not sure, but here's a snippet of a story at Quartz that caused me to move my cash into a shoebox under my pillow: "...In an experiment recently published in the scientific journal Nature, bankers distinguished themselves by their dishonesty. Asked to report the results of unsupervised coin flips in return for financial rewards, bankers bent the truth more than any other group. Crucially, this was only after researchers asked the subjects questions about what they did for a living. Thus, bankers who are reminded that they work in banking are more likely to cheat than people in other lines of business...."

12 F. maximum temperature yesterday at 12:01 AM Sunday morning.

-1 F. daytime high on Sunday.

24 F. average high on January 4.

35 F. high on January 4, 2013.

January 4, 1984: Warm-up across Minnesota. Twin Cities reaches 43.

TODAY: Sunny start. Clouds increase by afternoon. Winds: SW 10. High: 3

MONDAY NIGHT: Light snow, an inch or two possible, more south of the Twin Cities. Low: -5

TUESDAY: Sunny peeks, character-building. Feels like -20 to -25. High: 8

WEDNESDAY: Coldest day in sight. Feels like -35. Sunny. Wake-up: -14. High: -3

THURSDAY: Another clipper. Snow or flurries. Wake-up: -9. High: 16

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, a bit chilly. Wake-up: -7. High: 5

SATURDAY: Period of light snow. Wake-up: 2. High: 13

SUNDAY: Some sun, still below average. Wake-up: -3. High: 10

Climate Stories...

Editorial: The Politics of Climate Change. Is our government really capable of orchestrating a conspiracy among all the world's leading climate scientists, NOAA, NASA and nearly every scientific organization to "push their warmist agenda?" Maybe. But then again they can't even launch a successful web site, so forgive me for being dubious of conspiracy theories. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Farmington Daily Times that caught my eye: "...But there is a process in place to untangle these messes. It's called peer review. Yes, we know some believe there is a massive conspiracy among government bureaucrats to fund scientists who manipulate data to provide a basis for regulatory overreach. And the scientists who participate in peer review — the vast majority who invite criticism that helps them fine-tune their methods — are part of the conspiracy. What's curious is that many of the people who hold that belief will tell you that, in nearly every other circumstance, government is incapable of coordinated activity that achieves its stated goal..."

Back Off Baby Boomers: The Millenials Own The Fight Against Climate Change. The author of this Op-Ed at Huffington Post is a 16 year old high school sophomore in New York City; here's an excerpt: "...Only time will tell if millennials will change the ways governments look at climate change. If the present is any reflection of the future, then yes, they will bring change. But if the American people know one thing it is that those we elect to represent us so often fall into other ways of thinking that put corporations before constituents. As the old saying goes, power corrupts. Unless the grassroots campaigns gather a vast new following, policy changes related to climate change will most likely have to wait until one of the Koch brothers' beach houses is ruined by a superstorm." (File photo: Reuters).

Dear Captains of Industry In Charge of Maintaining The Fossil Fuel Status Quo. John Irving in Ottawa, web master for Climate News and Resources, wrote a post at Facebook that is generating some buzz - here's an excerpt: "... Even worse the planet’s biosphere is now completely out of whack and will be for millennia. Hundreds of millions of people, if not more, will be displaced and require aid due to everything from sea level rise, extreme weather events, drought, crop failure and more. Countless species will go extinct. To put it bluntly - it’s an absolute mess! People are now starting to realize what you guys have done and they are not very happy about being completely screwed over for decades just so you could have private jets, mansions and plastic surgery. Even some of your traditionally dependable supporters have been abandoning you lately..." (File image: NASA).

It’s 3:23 in the morning, and I’m awake because my great, great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep.
My great, great, grandchildren ask me in dreams
What did you do, while the planet was plundered?
What did you do, when the earth was unraveling?
Surely you did something when the seasons started failing as the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying?
Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?
What did you do once you knew?


- a poem from Drew Dillinger, highlighted in a story at Details below. Photo: Koichi Wakata.

2014 Was The Year Of The Melting Ice Sheet. Quartz has a recap of trends as both poles; here's an excerpt: "...Though scientists have known that the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the global average, the south pole is harder to measure. Well, this just in: Since 1992, an annual average of 83 gigatons (91.5 billion tons) of West Antarctic glacier has dripped into the sea. That’s the rough equivalent of losing a Mt. Everest’s worth of ice every two years, according to a new study (pdf) by University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory..."

Image credit above: "Meltdown." (Reuters/Pauline Askin).

Playing Dumb on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Naomi Oreskes, author of "Merchants of Doubt" at The New York Times: "...Years ago, climate scientists offered an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the “safe” limit or ceiling for the long-term warming of the planet. We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1 degree Celsius. The evidence is mounting that scientists have underpredicted the threat. Perhaps this is another reason — along with our polarized politics and the effect of fossil-fuel lobbying — we have underreacted to the reality, now unfolding before our eyes, of dangerous climate change." (Image: Wanda Brandt).

It's Not The Heat, It's The Stupidity. Will the collective scientific-IQ in Congress rise in the years ahead? Don't bet on it. Playing dumb, at least on scientific issues, helps to get you elected these days. Here's a clip from Environmental Health News: "...The 114th Congress convenes this week. The last time a Congressional anti-science caucus was this strong may have been during the Scopes Monkey Trial ninety years ago. But that’s not the worst part of it: The folks who want to gut government research and deny climate change are virtually guaranteed perpetual re-election and jobs for life. Let’s get straight to the moral of this story: Entrenched anti-science isn’t going away. Not soon, maybe not in our lifetimes.  Every one of the most ardent congressional climate deniers who chose to run won re-election, mostly by runaway margins, and probably have jobs for as long as they want them. A landscape of gerrymandered “safe” districts and wide-open campaign cash spigots make their futures even safer, even as their behavior helps make our own a little more bleak..."

A Grandfather on Climate Change and the Poem That Led To Activism. Care2 Healthy Living has a story of one grandfather coming to terms with the world we are leaving behind to future generations. Are we doing enough? "...The end result of my evolution to climate activist is BoomerWarrior, a website focused on the environment, climate change, energy, water, global warming and climate reality. More specifically, it’s about…

1. Raising Awareness to the vast challenges we face

2. Coming to Our Senses

3. Creating a Sense of Urgency to galvanize people into positive activism..."

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