Cool Blue Sky (bad news for allergy sufferers; Super Typhoon Usagi pushing toward Hong Kong)
- Blog Post by: Paul Douglas
- September 21, 2013 - 1:23 AM
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is predicting a warmer than average October for much of America, including Minnesota. The first frost comes later in autumn now, extending allergy season nationwide. In fact the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that rising temperatures and CO2 levels are extending ragweed season over northern cities by up to a month. Yes, those extra lukewarm days come with a price it seems.
At least we didn't make the Top 10 Worst Cities for Allergies. Wichita has the dubious distinction of being number one, according to Live Science. Details below.
A refreshing weekend is shaping up - sunshine returning today with highs in the 60s and less wind than yesterday. A fine day to do yard work, wash the car, take apart the dock, or better yet find a soft couch and fall into a college football coma.
70s return next week, maybe 80F by Friday, but the pattern still doesn't favor significant rain. For that we'll have to get much colder air flowing out of Canada. A large temperature gradient or contrast usually whips up the big storms with heavy, sustained rains, as opposed to garden-variety T-storms.
I don't see a real storm looking out 2 weeks.
The 10 Worst U.S. Cities For For Fall Allergies. Happy we didn't make this list, at least not this year. Frosts are coming later in the fall, which is good news for many, but not for allergy sufferers. Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "..."The frosts are coming later, so the ragweed pollen season is later, and is lasting longer, because it is not killed off by frost," said Dr. Richard Weber, a professor of medicine at the National Jewish Health Medical Center in Denver, Colo. and the University of Colorado, Denver, who was not involved in producing the report. "And while this does not apply to everything, we are seeing probably longer seasons across the country, and are seeing higher peaks of pollen." ....Here are the top 10 worst cities for this year, as ranked in the report:"
1. Wichita, Kan.
2. Jackson, Miss.
3. Knoxville, Tenn.
4. Louisville, Ky.
Cool Weekend - Flashes Of Summer Return Next Week. We see a minor temperature relapse, followed quickly by a summer rerun. Yes, it's a confusing time of the year to get dressed. After holding in the 60s across most of Minnesota today and Sunday highs return to the 70s next week, maybe some low 80s by the end of next week, according to ECMWF guidance. A shower is possible Tuesday, a better chance of T-storms late Friday as cooler air approaches. Graph: Weatherspark.com.
Gulf Coast Soaking. The same slow-moving frontal boundary that sparked extensive flash flooding across Texas on Friday will stall over the Gulf Coast, spiked by the soggy, tropical remains of "Invest 95", the disturbance that once threatened to grow into "Jerry". The result may be some 4-7" rains from near Houston to New Orleans to Mobile, Pensacola and Jacksonville. In addition, soaking rains are predicted for the Pacific Northwest, as much as 3-5" of rain near Seattle. Map: NOAA.
October Outlook. Roll the dice, choose your favorite dart and give it a shot. Since we had a cool, tortured spring, maybe it makes sense (weather justice?) that autumn is extra-long and extra-warm. That's what NOAA CPC is predicting, a warm bias for most of the USA in October. We'll see.
Wettest And Driest Parts of Minnesota in 2013? A great question, and - as usual - Dr. Mark Seeley has the answers; here's a clip from this week's WeatherTalk Newsletter: "...Fillmore County is probably still the wettest county in the state for 2013 as Ostrander reports over 40 inches of precipitation this year. Nearby Grand Meadow and Harmony have reported over 37 inches of precipitation for the year. The northwest is among the driest areas of the state. Both Warroad and Roseau report less than 15 inches for the year so far."
Typhoon Usagi. On Friday Usagi was a Category 4 storm, with 130-160 mph winds, carving out 48 foot seas in the Luzon Straight. Usagi should weaken into a Category 2 typhoon (same thing as a hurricane) before coming ashore near Hong Kong late Sunday, Hong Kong time - still capable of extensive damage and storm surge flooding.
Underwater "Glider" Robots Aid Quest For Better Hurricane Predictions. I had no idea NOAA was doing this - using underwater drones to collect real-time ocean information to input more accurate, timely data into the models. Pretty amazing. Here's a clip from International Business Times: "Not all storm chasers are men in large vehicles careening down tornado-filled highways. Some, in fact, are underwater robots that gulp down water and spew it out again to fuel their path through the ocean. Such “gliders” are key to compiling better hurricane forecasts, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On Thursday, NOAA announced it is putting 15 gliders out to sea off coasts from Georgia to Nova Scotia. The gliders can operate autonomously for up to eight weeks during the Atlantic storm season in the fall. On their voyages, the gliders will make observations on ocean temperature, salinity, ocean currents and the sounds of fish and sea mammal migrations. Rutgers University researchers are managing the gliders themselves, but the data will be shared with NOAA, the U.S. Navy and others..."
* more details on this "gliders" from Rutgers. I need one of these for Pelican Lake.
From Boulder, Colorado: Notes On A Thousand-Year Flood. Here's a snippet of a harrowing first-person experience with last week's historic floods along Colorado's Front Range, reported at The Atlantic: "...The damage to our neighborhood is stark. Driveway-sized dumpsters sit everywhere. One has labeled a pile "CONTAMINATED," to discourage dumpster diving in belongings covered with fecal matter, I suppose. Generators power pumps shooting sewer water out of people's basements through fire hoses. Down the street, a neighbor's sewer line collapsed. The street is filled with cleanup crew trucks and porta-potties. All the family's belongings are strewn over the yard, like a sodden eviction. Tomatoes have ripened and rolled away. The woman who owns the home sits outside, sorting through wet pictures, flicking them severely onto the ground, her expression the most extreme frown I've ever seen. There is no emoticon for her emotion—a mixture of anger, sadness, and disgust. I want to tell her I’m sorry, but she doesn't look up, so I leave her alone..."
Photo credit above: "A stranded home near Golden, CO on September 12" (Rick Wilking/Reuters).
Why We Don't Design Our Cities To Withstand 1 in 1,000 Year Floods. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article from Gizmodo: ..."Nothing that you can build is ever going to prevent all flooding," says Dr. Josephine Axt, the chief of planning for the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages levees, dams and other urban river projects across the country. "If you get a big enough storm it doesn't matter what dam or channel you have, it can be overcome." The Corps of Engineers works is doing so by evaluating its projects on a cost-risk basis, says Kerry Casey, a senior hydraulic engineer. "We're trying to find the best project we can build that absorbs the risk requirement at the best cost..."
Image credit above: Gizmodo. "Satellite imagery by NASA shows Colorado's Front Range before and after the floods. Dark blue and black are floodwaters. (The images have ben artificially colored)."
Colorado Flooding: After The Deluge. The Atlantic has a remarkable series of photos that really bring home the magnitude of the flooding disaster; here's an excerpt: "Following days of record-setting rainfall and historic flooding across Colorado's Front Range, skies have cleared, and the recovery has begun. The number of people still unaccounted for has dropped to about 200, as helicopter teams are fanning out across the foothills in the largest aerial rescue operation since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Colorado authorities coping with the aftermath are now preparing possible evacuations of prairie towns in danger of being swamped as the flood crest moves downstream. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, a problem exacerbated by the fact that only about 1 percent of Colorado homeowners have flood insurance..."
Photo credit above: "A view of a residential area destroyed by heavy rains, with some areas receiving as much as 18 inches in a 24-hour period in Boulder, Colorado, on September 14, 2013."
Fire And Rain, Colorado Edition. The combination of a 14 year drought and recent wildfires may have made a bad situation much worse. Here's a clip from a story at Mother Jones: "...Still, the compounded damages from the cycle of wildfire and flooding could very well be amplified on the Front Range in coming years. Climate models foretell larger regional storms, and scientists have also predicted bigger, more intense wildfires in Colorado's future. "What is that going to mean for the people living in the mouth of these areas?" wonders Hyde. If the 100-year flood that turned Boulder inside out last week is any indication, living at the base of the Rockies—while arguably worth it—isn't getting any less complicated."
Photo credit above: ".
Into The Wildfire. Here's a clip from an article examining how residents of the west are coping with increasingly large and devastating fires, and what new tools and technologies may help in the years ahead, from the New York Times Magazine: "Lassen Volcanic National Park, in Northern California, consists of more than 100,000 acres of wilderness and woodlands surrounding Lassen Peak, a volcano named for a pioneer and huckster who guided migrants through the area, that last blew its top in 1915, before anybody knew it was an active volcano. Last summer the park, like much of the West, was in the midst of a yearlong drought — which could be more accurately described as the continuation of a decade-long drought that had merely been less severe for a couple of years. A forecast of thunderstorms might seem like welcome news for a firefighter in charge of so many acres of dry forest — parts of the park can get so hot and dry during the summer that rain evaporates before it reaches the trees — but Mike Klimek, the firefighter in charge of the park on July 23, 2012, knew better..."
Atlantic Hurricane Numbers "Linked To Industrial Pollution". Is aerosol pollution making clouds brighter, dampening hurricane formation over the Atlantic in the process? Here's a clip from a recent press release from the UK Met Office: "The paper, published in Nature Geoscience, suggests aerosols may have suppressed the number of Atlantic hurricanes over the 20th Century and even controlled the decade-to-decade changes in the number of hurricanes. Researchers found that aerosols make clouds brighter, causing them to reflect more energy from the sun back into space. This has an impact on ocean temperatures and tropical circulation patterns, effectively making conditions less favourable for hurricanes. This interaction between aerosols and clouds is a process that is now being included in some of the latest generation climate models..."
The Many Small Ways Americans Are Adapting To Climate Change. This will be a growing theme in the years to come, not only trying to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but adapting to changes already in the pipeline. Details on how some communities are already adapting in this excerpt from The Atlantic: "...In March of this year, a Gallup poll highlighted an interesting tension in American thinking on global warming: While a majority of respondents said they believe global warming has already begun, a majority also said they don’t expect to suffer any hardships from global warming within their lifetimes. What the survey didn’t ask was how many people across the country are already reacting to rising temperatures—and preparing for those ahead. This past summer, twenty-somethings Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard took a road trip to document stories of what they call “climate resilience” – examples of individuals and communities finding creative ways to adapt to hotter summers, stronger storms, bigger wildfires, rising sea levels, and more. They visited 31 states and offset their minivan’s carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits from Terrapass...."
Photo credit courtesy of Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard.
You Genuinely Have To Be An Idiot To Think That Arctic Sea Ice Is Recovering. Subtle as a brick. And talk of a "recovery" of Arctic sea ice is a bit premature, it seems. Here's a clip from a story at The Telegraph: "There are serious debates to be had about climate change, and what we should do about it. Whether or not the Arctic ice is retreating is not one of them. This is going to be a brief post, because other people – notably Phil Plait, the "Bad Astronomy" science blogger, and Martin Robbins, at Vice – have written about it at length, pointing out the fundamental nonsense of the "sea ice is recovering" brigade, and doing it better than I can. I just thought it was worth making it clear here, as well....The bit in red is the "recovery" of this year. If you think that means that things are getting better, you genuinely must be an idiot. It's not. The overwhelming long-term trend is still towards much less ice..."
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