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Looks Like a Weekend (showers today....70 possible by Tuesday)

  • Blog Post by: Paul Douglas
  • April 21, 2012 - 8:43 PM

33 F. morning low Friday morning in the Twin Cities.

58 F. afternoon high yesterday at KMSP.

60 F. average high for April 20.

46 F. high temperature on April 20, 2011.

.38" rain predicted by late tonight for the metro area.

Showers likely today and tonight, best chance of a few hours of rain midday and afternoon hours. Have a Plan B, indoors.

Sunday: a bit drier, but clouds linger - a stray shower or sprinkle possible.

70 F. possible by Tuesday in the metro area.

Frost can't be ruled out next Friday morning.

 

Mostly Rain Today. Models print out .1 to .2" rain for southern Minnesota, closer to .30 to .50" for central Minnesota, over 1" north of Duluth from today's clipper. The atmosphere may be cold enough for a couple inches of slush over the MN Arrowhead.

 

Gradual Warming Trend. After cooling off a bit today and tomorrow temperatures recover next week, possibly reaching the 65-70 range by Tuesday, before cooling off late next week - a few models hinting at another frost for the outlying suburbs next Friday morning.

 

84-Hour NAM Precipitation Outlook. While a clipper drags a few showers across the Upper Midwest, an impressive storm winding up over the Gulf of Mexico will soak Florida with a few strong/severe storms and potentially flooding rains - then charge up the east coast, resulting in a pretty good soaking for the east coast late Sunday into Monday night.

 

Photos Of The Day. I'm continually amazed by the quality of the photos we receive at WeatherNation TV. Here are some of the best I've seen the last 2 days: the great "needle funnel" photo in the upper left from Karl Johnson from Spokane, Washington. The amazing example of cumulonimbus mammatus in the upper right is courtesy of Randy Widmayer, who took the photo at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. What the heck is going on in Washington and Idaho?

 

50yearforecast.org. Check out the work Mark Mesle has put into his new web site; a great source of climate news - and a mechanism to (easily) contact your favorite local meteorologist and ask them to accurately communicate the state of climate science. Details below.

 

"The third greatest number of weather fatalities in Minnesota since 1990 has been due to excessive heat. Fourteen people have died from high heat and humidity. Only tornadoes and flooding have killed more people in the last 21 years." - from the Twin Cities National Weather Service. More on heatwaves and Severe Weather Awareness Week here.

 

"Extremes are becoming more extreme. And none of it has anything to do with Al Gore. During a 2007 homecoming banquet for Iraqi war vets I asked my personal hero, Senator John McCain, if he thought this could all be some cosmic coincidence. He rolled his eyes. “Paul, I just returned from the Yukon, where a village elder presented me with a tomahawk that had just melted out of the permafrost. The answer is no.” How did so much of the Republican Party enter perpetual denial? We’ve turned climate science into a bizarre litmus test for conservatism. To pretend that heat-trapping gases can be waved away with a nod and a smirk is political fairytale. No harm. No foul. Keep drilling." - excerpt from a 2-part story I wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek. Details below.

 

Sticking My Entire Face Into The Climate Buzzsaw. Does this mean I won't get a Christmas card from Rush, the Wall Street Journal or Fox News this year? This stopped being a popularity contest a long time ago. You may not care about our morphing climate (and more extreme weather), but I'll bet your grandkids will express a strong interest in a few years. "What did you know...when...and what did you do?" Andy Revkin's Dot Earth post at The New York Times is here.

 
 
4% increase in relative humidity, worldwide, in the last 30 years - meaning more moisture for floods and weather extremes.
 
"The fact that it's impossible to draw a straight line between climate change and the seemingly more turbulent weather doesn't mean we should act as if the two aren't linked. There's no doubt that warming raises at least the risk of extreme-weather events, something we're thinking about more in the early part of what is shaping up to be a brutally hot year in the U.S." - excerpt from an article about extreme weather and climate change from Time Magazine below.
 
"Americans, thus, correctly accept the idea global warming should make the weather warmer and precipitation events a bit more extreme. They may overreach in connecting individual weather events to climate change, but these connections are complex and it’s probably not reasonable to expect most people to unravel all of the intricacies." excerpt from meteorologist Jason Samenow in The Capital Weather Gang - details below.
 

1980 to 2009. Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi and Kansas experienced the most tornadoes in the USA. Source: CoreLogic.

 

1,000 of Texas' 4,710 community water systems are currently under water restrictions. More in The Denver Post below.

 

Some Easing Of Minnesota's Drought. There has been some improvement in soil moisture up north, much of the northern third of Minnesota has gone from moderate drought to "abnormally dry". That said, 99.26% of Minnesota is still too dry, just over 23% of the state in a severe drought. The latest MN Drought Monitor is here.

 

Drought Expands Across The USA. America hasn't been this dry in 5 years, according to NOAA's Drought Monitor. USA Today has details here.

 

Could Better Tornado Warnings Lead To Complacency? An interesting story from AP and Weatherbug.com: "OKLAHOMA CITY - Forecasters who issued dire warnings ahead of last weekend's tornado outbreak in the Midwest deemed the effort a success Monday, largely because dozens of tornadoes hit yet caused only a handful of deaths. But they expressed concern about future public complacency. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center issued a rare high-risk warning days ahead of the storms, sternly urging residents across several states to prepare for "life-threatening" weather. State officials and residents in communities where tornadoes hit praised the effort, noting only six lives were lost. But many of the tornadoes touched down in rural areas, mostly in Kansas. Forecasters worried that could result in people tuning out future warnings because they were not in this outbreak's path."

 

Tornado Threat Actually Much More Widespread Than "Tornado Alley". Here's an excerpt of a story from KJRH.com: "Yes, Oklahoma is smack-dab in the middle of the so-called "Tornado Alley," but now nearly a dozen other states are facing the same moniker. A new report suggests the traditional Tornado Alley boundaries, which includes Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, should be expanded. The report by CoreLogic , a private research and consulting company, says much of the Midwest, the Deep South and Florida should be included in Tornado Alley because of the frequency and severity of tornadoes in those areas."

Map above courtesy of Michael Frates, University of Akron. More information here.

 

Kansas Officials Call Some Storm Chasers "Outrageously Stupid." It's not good when emergency responders can't get to the scene of tornado damage because of hundreds of storm chasers clogging highways. The story from USA Today.

 

The Wind At Your Door, Literally. Americans have a fascination with tornadoes and tornado-chasing. They are nature's most fickle and fascinating wind - but the adrenaline rush, the thrill of seeing a tornado, quickly goes away when you wander through the rubble leftover from a large tornado. Here's an excerpt of a compelling story from The Baltimore Sun: "In the poem “The Wind at Your Door,” R.D. Fitzgerald references the atrocities of the past blowing into present day Australian society. Despite the differences in subject matter, not to mention continents, I couldn’t help but think about this poem while reading about the deadly storms this past weekend. Being from Iowa, tornadoes have always been a threat from April to August. The horrendous tornado damage to the town of Parkersburg in 2008 was only 25 miles from where I grew up. Imagine my surprise to read that I’m more likely to witness a tornado since moving to Baltimore because Maryland is third on the list of “Top Tornado States.

Photo credit above: "A tornado on the ground makes it way through the night near Salin, Kansas, during the third day of severe weather and multiple tornado sightings, April 14, 2012. A spate of tornadoes tore through parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, churning through Wichita and other areas, causing widespread damage and killing two. (Gene Blevins/Reuters) PHOTO LINK."

 

Do Emissions Cause Tornadoes? Climate Service Would Know. An interesting article from Bloomberg - here's an excerpt: "Last weekend, more than 100 tornadoes tore across the Plains states, smashing homes, tossing cars and killing six people. This might have counted as a rousing start to the spring tornado season, except for the dozen or more twisters that struck Dallas and Fort Worth earlier this month and the 223 that hit the U.S. in March -- almost three times the average for that month since 1990. Tornadoes have been blamed for 63 deaths this year in the Midwest and South. Already 2012 is looking as if it could keep up with last year’s lethal record of 550 tornado-related deaths nationwide -- more than in the previous 10 years combined. What’s up? Might this destructive weather have something to do with global warming?"

Illustration above courtesy of Bloomberg View.

 

The Post-Storm Chasers. Here's a fascinating article from The Atlantic Cities: "When a series of tornadoes rumbled through the Dallas-Fort Worth area earlier this month, Andrew Curtis booked a flight. He's kind of like a stormchaser, except with the good sense to wait until the storm is already gone before checking things out. It's not the storm he's interested in, anyway. He wants to see the destruction. So, with his backpack-sized equipment, Curtis set off for Dallas to see just how much destruction the multiple tornadoes had caused. What he saw was not as dramatic as the media portrayed it. "They were pretty mild," says Curtis. "They were nothing compared to Joplin and Tuscaloosa."

Image above: Google.

 

High-Resolution Winds Across The USA. Back by popular demand, this is actually a high-resolution short-term forecast of wind speed/direction, based on NOAA's NDFD - courtesy of hint.fm. You can click on the link to get this up on your browser - zoom into specific regions and a pop-up window gives you forecast wind direction/speed wherever you place your cursor. This is one of the best visualizations of weather information I've ever seen - anywhere.

 

Hurricane Preparedness: Keeping An Emergency From Becoming A Disaster. Here's an excerpt of a good article from DVIDS, The Defense Video And Distribution System: "Hart also suggested making a record of personal property. Take photographs or videotapes of belongings and store these documents in a safe place. Here are some steps to prepare for a hurricane from www.fema.gov:

• Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with about 5/8-inch-thick marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
• Install straps of additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and down spouts.
• Determine how and where to secure your boat (if you have one).
• Consider building a safe room
."

* Image of Hurricane Katrina (2005) above courtesy of NASA and NOAA.

 

NOAA Retires GOES-7 After 25 Years As A Weather And Communications Satellite. Details from NOAA: "This week, the GOES-7 satellite, one of NOAA’s earliest geostationary satellites, was moved into a higher orbit and retired from service. Launched in 1987, GOES-7 first served as a critical weather satellite, capturing images of developing hurricanes and other severe storms that impacted the United States. In 1999, when its Earth-observing instruments degraded past operational use, the Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) program began using GOES-7 to provide communications for the Pacific islands.'

Photo credit above: "This image from the GOES-7 satellite shows Hurricane Andrew at its peak intensity on August 24, 1992 before making landfall near Homestead, FL." Source: NOAA.

 

Tsunami Alert: Don't Cut That Program. Not something we need to worry about in Minnesota (one of the FEW things we don't have to fret about), but tsunamis (tidal waves) are a constant risk to the west coast; vulnerable to offshore quakes which can displace vast amounts of water - increasing the potential for a disastrous tsunami. The L.A. Times has more: "After last week's earthquake in the Indian Ocean, people in Indonesia responded far differently than they had seven years earlier, after another major quake: They evacuated low coastal areas to escape a possible tsunami. As it turned out, there were no killer tidal surges for various reasons, including the type of earth movement involved. Still, the response was a welcome improvement. The 2004 earthquake and tsunami killed close to 200,000 people in Southeast Asia; many of those victims had no idea of the impending danger. And the change this time was due in good part to an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system put in place since that catastrophe."

Photo credit above: "Sunken fishing boats in the harbor after tsunami swells from the earthquake in Japan last week stuck the area in heights of up to eight feet, in Crescent City, Calif., March 15, 2011. The city has long been known as one of the nation’s most susceptible inlets when it comes to tsunami, and this past week's tsunami has left damages believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars, shutting down one of Northern California’s most lucrative fishing operations. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)."

 

"Ask Paul." Weather-related Q&A:

"As we were trying to watch TV tonight we were constantly interrupted with annoying tornado "test" warnings.  We realize it is tornado awareness month, but we are used to tests on the first Wednesday of the month. The tests said they were supposed to expire at 7:10 but they were still broadcast well after 8:00.  All of this at the same time the weather service has been trying to get us to take actual warnings seriously!  Tornado warnings are too much like the little boy who called "Wolf" and this did not improve matters." - Anonymous.

 

Dear Anonymous- I understand your frustration, and sympathize. The last thing any of us want is a glitch or oversight that leads to apathy or complacency the next time a (real) EF-3 tornado touches down close to home. Here is an explanation of what happened from Todd Krause, at the local, Twin Cities National Weather Service:

"We used the TOR code on KEC-65 and all our other NOAA Weather Radios in the Chanhassen area. This was at about 6:57 pm, and we had a 15 minute expiration on it. Comcast chose to run it at 6:57 pm (note that stations/cable need not run any of our warnings), then somehow it kept on repeating every 5-15 minutes, long after our test warning had ended. The warning was removed from our playlist on KEC-65 at 7:15 pm. But it kept on getting repeated until shortly before 9 pm and we were inundated with calls. We talked with one of the top guys at Comcast around 8 pm, and he seemed to think this was just in the southwest suburbs. He gave the order to his people to get it stopped, which eventually happened.

You may have been called by people, which is why I'm letting you know what happened, just in case you have to explain it. Thanks."

Todd Krause, MSP National Weather Service.

 

* In short, a technical glitch. Thanks Todd (and anonymous).

 

The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes. If you're a fan of Apple, or the late, great Steve Jobs, here's a series from Fast Company you don't want to miss: "If Steve Jobs's life were staged as an opera, it would be a tragedy in three acts. And the titles would go something like this: Act I--The Founding of Apple Computer and the Invention of the PC Industry; Act II--The Wilderness Years; and Act III--A Triumphant Return and Tragic Demise. The first act would be a piquant comedy about the brashness of genius and the audacity of youth, abruptly turning ominous when our young hero is cast out of his own kingdom. The closing act would plumb the profound irony of a balding and domesticated high-tech rock star coming back to transform Apple far beyond even his own lofty expectations, only to fall mortally ill and then slowly, excruciatingly wither away, even as his original creation miraculously bulks up into the biggest digital dynamo of them all. Both acts are picaresque tales that end with a surge of deep pathos worthy of Shakespeare."

 

iPhone App Lets You Compare Carriers. From CNN Money and WISN-TV in Madison: "A new app hit the iTunes store Friday morning that your carrier probably isn't too thrilled about. It's called CarrierCompare. Developed by Boston-based startup SwayMarkets, it allows you to see which carrier offers the best service for your iPhone in any given location. The crowd-sourced app is simple to use. After you touch the start screen, the app takes about 15 seconds to analyze your network for signal strength, response time and speed. It then compares your result with other nearby results on the other two national carriers' networks. The display is intuitive, telling you where your carrier ranks compared to the competition."

 

NPR: Should We Kill The Dollar Bill? Here's a link to an NPR story, courtesy of kglobal.com: "An article and radio piece featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” explained the battle between the dollar bill and the dollar coin. It's an issue that we have certainly spent much time helping to explain. This piece is extremely well done and describes how any cost benefit to the government is actually a tax on the American people. Even the economist interviewed, who was referred to NPR by the opposite side of the coin, so to speak, sides in favor of the dollar bill. Listen to the radio piece below and tell us what you think."

 

Kids Send 3-D GoPro Cameras Into Outer Space, Get Back Stunning Footage. This is pretty amazing, courtesy of techcrunch.com: "Whip out the out the old anagylphs, folks, because you’re going to want to watch this. Some kids at the Wonderland Elementary School sent up a weather balloon mounted with a carbon fiber frame carrying six GoPro HDHERO2 cameras. Four of the cameras were set in 3D configuration and, after editing, they were able to create the first stratospheric 3D video shoot using a balloon. You can watch it in YouTube with red/blue glasses."

 

Has CNN's All-News Strategy Become Old News? True confession: I watch a lot of CNN. At least the channel is tuned to CNN (more video Muzak in the background than something I'm fixated on). They're at their best when there's...um...news. On a quiet day, they are perfectly capable of beating a story, any story, no matter how mind-numbing, to death. Here's an excerpt of a must-read story for cable news junkies from Bloomberg Businessweek: "A sketch on the April 14 Saturday Night Live mocked CNN host Piers Morgan’s attempt to “desperately grasp at straws” in his efforts to cover the case of Trayvon Martin by “talking to lesser officials and tangential celebrities.” While the spoof was played for laughs, not everyone at the Time Warner (TWX) all-news unit was feeling the joke. In an era when Americans increasingly turn to laptops, smartphones, or iPads for routine news and headlines, CNN continues to rely on the business it virtually invented on cable: covering breaking stories. Events like the O.J. Simpson trial, the Japanese tsunami, or the weeks of protests over the killing of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer can be counted on to receive blanket coverage on the network. “Our bread and butter is in-depth coverage of breaking news,” says CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker. “We have faith that will help us with the ratings.”

 

Device Determines Just How Much Pollution Its Wearer Is Breathing In. Gizmag.com has the details: "For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions."

 

Can Statistics Predict Weather Without Meteorologists? This App Thinks So. Uh oh - I'm about to be replaced by an app. I feared it would come to this. Mashable.com has the bleak details: A new app called Ourcast aims to replace the weatherman with statistics and crowdsourcing. “If you were able to watch what the weather did in the last hour, you can get a pretty good idea of what was going to happen in the next hour,” says Mark Hohmann, one of the app’s creators. Ourcast uses real-time radar data to predict, based on historical patterns, how weather at a given location will change within the next two hours. It further distinguishes between rain, snow and sunny skies by tapping into data streams from 20,000 home weather stations and asking users to check in with their local weather."

 
 
Wind Turbine To Harvest Energy And Water From Desert Air. Another fascinating article from gizmag.com. Here's an excerpt: "We've all seen ice cold glasses and bottles dripping with condensation after cooling water vapor in the air, and though grabbing water out of thin air is not new, it took French inventor and Eolewater founder Marc Parent's umpteenth emptying of his air conditioner's condensate to envision harvesting atmospheric moisture on a commercial scale using wind turbines. After years of designs and prototypes, his proof-of-concept device, essentially a wind-powered refrigeration/condensation/filtration unit, was put in operation in the dry desert air of Abu Dhabi last October where it's been reliably extracting 130-200 gal (approx. 500-800L) of clean, fresh water a day ever since."
 

 
Where Are All The TV Viewers? Ratings Are Down Across The Board. Here's an excerpt of an article from Bill Carter at The New York Times: "The pattern of plummeting ratings across the board in network television continued — with a vengeance — Tuesday night as numerous shows hit either a low-water mark for this season or even the entire series run. On Fox, “Glee” scored the lowest rating in the show’s history, a 2.4 in the 18- to 49-year-old age group that determines much of the network’s ad sales. On ABC, the new comedy “Last Man Standing” sank to a season (and thus all-time) low with just a 1.6 rating. And the drama “Private Practice,” moved to a tryout at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, plunged to a lowest-ever 1.7 rating." Photo credit: funny-pics.co.
 
 
Extended Outlook: Seasonably Mild. After a cooler front late next week, temperatures climb back into the 70s in late April and early May. The 500 mb (18,000 foot) wind forecast aloft valid May 6 (above) shows a zonal flow, implying 60s, possibly low 70s. Map courtesy of NOAA NCEP.
 
 
Fine Friday. Temperatures were 3-5 F. cooler than average yesterday; highs ranging from 56 at Alexandria and Eau Claire to 58 in the Twin Cities, 59 at St. Cloud.
 

 

"Paul...Doug...Steve...Oh Just Call Me Whatever." Hey, these days I'm just happy when it's not an obscenity.

 

Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

 

TODAY: Gray, damp. Showers likely. Today should be the wetter day of the weekend. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 52

 

SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers linger. Low: 40

 

SUNDAY: Damp start. More clouds than sun, passing shower or sprinkle? Winds: NW 10. High: 56

 

MONDAY: Sunny start, clouds increase late. Low: 41. High: 61

 

TUESDAY: Milder, isolated T-storm possible. Low: 46. High: near 70

 

WEDNESDAY: Gray start - getting sunnier. Low: 49. High: 65

 

THURSDAY: Mild sun, feels like spring. Low: 53. High: 68

 

FRIDAY: Blue sky, turning cooler again. Low: 40. High: 56

 

 

 

Hot Flash

Why do I love Minnesota? The winters. And growing up west of Philadelphia - 3 years working in Chicago - not once did I hear the expression 'quality of life'. We have something very special here.

A sudden "heat spike" in July, 1995 in Chicago claimed over 750 lives in 4 days. 106 F with a dew point of 81 - it felt like 125 F in the shade. Nighttime lows stayed above 84 for 2 nights. People could not find any relief - their hearts gave out.

So imagine my surprise when I read this from the local NWS office: "The third greatest number of weather fatalities in Minnesota since 1990 has been due to excessive heat. Fourteen people have died from high heat and humidity. Only tornadoes and flooding have killed more people in the last 21 years.

We're seeing most of the 2-3 F. warming during the winter, especially at night. Summers aren't appreciably hotter yet, but humidity levels are higher, with more 70 and 80-degree dew point days, which makes it feel hotter. This summer? No idea.

A few showers are likely today; Sunday looks drier, but a stray shower or sprinkle can't be ruled out. 70 F returns by midweek, before a display of late-week jackets - highs in the sunny 50s next weekend.

 

Climate Stories...

 

50yearforecast.org. A tip of the hat to Mark Mesle, who has created an effective web site, on that aggregates climate stories, and gives you a simple tool for contacting local meteorologists. I've seen some recent polls that suggest nearly 50% of local meteorologists are still skeptical about climate change, and whether there's a human component. That compares with 97-98% who are adamant that the data is there to make the linkage and connect the dots. That's a serious disconnect. Some skeptics will never come around, no matter how strong the data (there are a few people who still believe stratospheric ozone and acid rain are both "hoaxes"), but I'm confident that, in the end, reason (and sound science) will eventually prevail.

 

Climate Change Has Nothing To Do With Al Gore. Here's is an excerpt of a 2-article series I wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek: "I’m a moderate Republican - a fan of small government, light regulation and market solutions. A serial entrepreneur, I founded companies that invented 3-D television weather graphics and the first app on a cell phone. I’m a Penn State meteorologist. My day-job since 1979: tracking weather for TV news. If you know anything about American politics these days, and follow the climate war at all, you might anticipate with some confidence that I agree global warming is a hoax. That’s a shame, and I hope it changes soon. In the 1980s I was skeptical that an upward blip in global temperatures was the result of manmade gases. Then the blips persisted. By the mid-90s I began to see them as unsettling changes. The weather was becoming erratic and even more unpredictable than usual. Storms were more frequent and intense. Curious, I began including climate statistics in daily TV weather segments, like annual trends in flash-flooding, hail, summer humidity, fewer subzero nights and decreased snowfall."

Photo credit above: "Clouds form over an empty road, in Kearney, Nebraska. Photograph by Ryan McGinnis."

* Let me anticipate the comments (which I don't read, and never will). All this negativity and angst. Yes, I'm a "RINO", a hypocrite (I only own one hybrid and my 1950s home isn't nearly as energy efficient as it could be - or will be). I'm a bit of a creep, an opportunist, a lousy businessman (my companies over the years employed less than 250 people), a terrible father, an inconsiderate husband (still married to the same poor woman for 28 years. Imagine that.) I have bad hair and a very bad attitude on Mondays... and at times I'm SO full of myself. All true. I had a case of adult acne in my 30s, I don't floss regularly, I can be anti-social and I watch "Shameless" on Showtime (to balance out NOVA and Frontline on PBS). I have a terrible digital camera addiction too - you got me there. And those are some of my better attributes.

Dear Deniers: you're welcome to your opinions - but you are not free to make up your own scientific facts. You call me an alarmist? The data - the trends are a bit alarming, and if you're not just a little bit concerned about the direction we're heading you're not paying attention. As the data becomes more clear the professional skeptics are sounding more shrill. "We can't win on the facts, conditions on the ground (or in the air), so let's resort to name-calling. It's 4th grade all over again. The concept of "actions have consequences" (somehow) threatens their world-view and everything they hold dear. Here's some advice: get over it. Given the facts, the data, and the trends, it's OK to change your mind, however reluctantly. I promise you won't get a thank you card from Al Gore. Or me.

 

NASA's James Hansen Reviews Draft American Meteorological Society Climate Statement: Stronger But Still Inadequate. Details from Dr. James Hansen at Think Progress: "Many television meteorologists question manmade climate change, including ones certified by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The society’s statement on climate change is now more than five years old, overdue for a revision.  A few months ago, members of Forecast the Facts called on the AMS to pass a strong, science-based information statement on climate change. After months of delay, the AMS has finally completed a draft statement. The draft is only viewable by AMS members. Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has read the statement and offers his opinion — Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts. "As a climate scientist, I know that there’s a huge gap between what scientists understand about climate change and what the public knows. And when TV meteorologists get the science wrong, it just furthers public confusion."

 

Climate Shift Could Help Struggling N.E. Species. Here's a (rare) positive spin from a trusted news organization; an excerpt from an article at The Boston Globe: "Warm winters like the one that just passed are likely to become more frequent as the planet heats up, scientists predict, and many of the consequences could be dire, from rising sea levels to droughts to the spread of pests and diseases. But in the lesser-noted ledger of global warming, there are also potential benefits for wildlife. Among the potential beneficiaries is the New England cottontail, an endangered brown rabbit that, in a typical winter, stands out against the snow, making it an easy target for predators. Not so this nearly snowless year."

Photo credit above: "ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE."

 

Are We Warming The Planet? That Is The Key Question. NPR has more details: "An intense debate has been raging on The New York Review of Books the past few weeks on the issue of global warming and its skeptics. Even though Adam wrote about global warming yesterday, this is so important and powerful that it shouldn't pass unnoticed here on 13.7. In one corner stands William D. Nordhaus, the Sterling professor of economics at Yale University. In the other corner stand three of the 16 scientists behind an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on January 27, 2012, "No Need to Panic About Global Warming." The piece spells out their basic objections to global warming."

 

DoD, Navy and Wind Farm Developer Release Historic Memorandum Of Agreement. Here's a press release from the Navy. Yes, the U.S Navy: "NAVAL AIR STATION (NAS) KINGSVILLE, Texas (NNS) -- The Navy released today a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by officials from the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy and Texas Wind Group (TWG) that outlines a mutual approach to enable a renewable energy developer to build and operate wind turbines at planned locations in Kleberg County, Texas, while reducing the potential for those turbines to affect flight operations at NAS Kingsville. "Sustaining military readiness is the number one priority of everyone in the Navy chain of command," said Capt. Mark McLaughlin, commanding officer of NAS Kingsville. "This agreement helps preserve NAS Kingsville's capability to train naval aviators, while enabling the compatible development of new energy sources."

 

Has Global Warming Caused A Quantum Jump In Extreme Weather? Here's an excerpt from an article at ThinkProgress.com: "Increasingly, scientists and meteorologists are asking whether global warming is driving a quantum jump — a non-linear shift — in our extreme weather. We now have enough observations and analyses that a scientific literature on this subject has begun to emerge:

Peter Sinclair has put together an excellent video for the Yale Forum on why even the modest 1°C warming we’ve seen over the past century can cause a disproportionally large shift in our weather systems."

 

Americans Connect Dots Between Extreme Weather And Climate Change. The Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow has an excellent post in The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "Most Americans get it: global warming is intensifying heat waves and extreme precipitation to some degree. That’s the take away from a new public opinion survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The survey, which queried more than 1,000 adults across the country about global warming and extreme weather, discovered roughly two-thirds of Americans believe global warming is linked to several of the extreme weather events of 2011 and the recent mild winter. Predictably, this news has drawn the full spectrum of reactions." Photo from my book, "Restless Skies, The Ultimate Weather Book", courtesy of Sterling Publishing.

 

In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes With Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story at The New York Times: "Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming — but the public, it seems, is already there. A poll due for release on Wednesday shows that a large majority of Americans believe that this year’s unusually warm winter, last year’s blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years." Photo credit above: AP.

 

The Weekend Of 100 Tornadoes: Are Killer Storms Being Fueled By Climate Change? Here's a good, in-depth article from Time Magazine: "It could have been so much worse. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours over the weekend. Cars were tossed through the air and houses were pulverized. Hail the size of baseballs fell from the sky, crushing anything left in the open. More than what is ordinarily a month's worth of cyclones struck in a single day, yet miraculously, only one, in the Oklahoma town of Westwood, proved fatal, killing six victims who lived in and around a mobile-trailer park. "God was merciful," Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told CNN on Sunday. But it wasn't just God or chance. The low death toll was also due to a faster and more insistent warning system by weather forecasters, who put the word out early and often and over many platforms that the past weekend could be a dangerous one for the Midwest, thanks to an unusually strong storm system."

Photo credit above: "A tornado makes its way through farmlands near Rush Center, Kansas, on April 14, 2012. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours that weekend." Gene Blevins / Reuters.

 

Extreme Weather And Climate Change. Here's more from the Yale Project On Climate Change Communication:

  • 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year;
  • 35 percent of all Americans report that they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these extreme weather events in the past year;
  • Over the past several years, Americans say the weather in the U.S. has been getting worse – rather than better – by a margin of over 2 to 1 (52% vs. 22%)."

* photo above: Chicago office of the National Weather Service.

 

Global Warming: Sea Ice Decline Causing Ozone Depletion. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Summit County Citizens Voice: "SUMMIT COUNTY — Loss of sea ice in polar regions isn’t just affecting the surface of the Earth, but is also having an impact on the atmosphere. An international NASA-led team, coordinated by the National Ice Center,  is reporting that changes in sea ice are driving chemical reactions that result in ozone depletion and the toxic element mercury falling out of the Arctic atmosphere onto the ocean and icy surface. The findings may help explain why other studies documented an unprecedented loss of ozone in the Arctic last winter."

 

Global Warming Is Not A Hoax. From The Bismarck Tribune:

-- "Both the U.S. and Canada are developing technologies to better track increased shipping traffic in the Arctic.

-- Shell Oil is exploring for oil and natural gas in the Beaufort Sea, just north of Alaska, and Exxon Mobile has just signed a deal with the Russians to do the same thing in their Arctic waters.

-- In 2009, because “evidence indicates that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the most rapid changes are occurring in the Arctic,” the U.S. Navy created Task Force Climate Change to help naval leaders deal with the significant climatic changes in the Arctic.

-- The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land on the island of Fiji so it will have some place to move its 113,000 people before the Pacific Ocean inundates the entire nation (the first of thousands of islands so threatened)."

 

Climate Change Throws Nature's Timing Out Of Whack. Details from MNN, Mother Nature Network: "Timing matters: Flowers bloom, insects emerge, birds migrate, and planting and hunting seasons are carefully coordinated times in order to take advantage of what other organisms, or the weather, is up to. But increasing research is showing some of these relationships are falling out of sync as climate change alters important cues, such as the arrival of spring warmth. "There are going to be winners and losers," said David Inouye, a biology professor at the University of Maryland, who has followed seasonal events at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado since 1973. "The ultimate outcome will be that some species go extinct and some manage to adapt."

 

Goodman: The Long, Hot March Of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Denver Post: "The Pentagon knows it. The world's largest insurers know it. Now, governments may be overthrown because of it. It is climate change, and it is real. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the hottest March on record for the U.S. since 1895, when records were first kept, with average temperatures of 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average. More than 15,000 March high temperature records were broken nationally. Drought, wildfires, tornadoes and other extreme weather events are already plaguing the country."


 

Goldmark: No Time To Waste On Warming. An Op-Ed at Newsday.com: "The sea level is rising and the clock is ticking. It's time to come to our senses about global warming. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere increases relentlessly, but slowly. The greatest asset we have in dealing with it is time: time to phase in carbon limits carefully, time to make sure we don't burden the economy with emergency measures, and time to work out agreements with other countries -- since this is one of those new global problems where either we all succeed in addressing it together or we all suffer severe consequences separately. In the United States, we've been squandering that time with a senseless and paralyzing argument about whether global warming is real and if so, man-made."

 

Political Scientist: Republicans Most Conservative They've Been In 100 Years. And yes, for the record, not that it matters for anything, I'm a (moderate Republican). Oxymoron? Here's an excerpt from NPR: "When President Obama recently complained to news media executives about their ostensibly even-handed "pox on both of your houses" coverage of the partisan battles in Washington, it might have seemed like, well, a partisan shot from a Democratic president. After all, his complaint was that the GOP had moved so far right, and intransigently so, that it was wrong to create a false "equivalence" by blaming both parties equally for the Washington gridlock. To a skeptic that comment, coming from a Democrat, sounded suspiciously partisan itself."

Photo credit above: J. Scott Applewhite/AP. "Congressional Republicans have a unique achievement, they are further from the political center than their predecessors of the past century."

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