How did the pioneers do it? Last week I was treated to a thunderous orchestral concerto of whines, gripes & groans about the heat. "Really Paul? Can't you turn down the thermostat?"
No, not really.
Many of us complain, even as we're darting from one air conditioned space to the next. How did Minnesota's 19th century pioneers do it? Before DEET, sunscreen, storm warnings and an electrical grid capable of powering a simple table fan?
The settlers who weathered nature's dark side without the modern comforts we often take for granted were a race of super-heroes. Their tenacity & spirit still inspires to this day.
In spite of a chilly spring locally NOAA reports the first half of 2013 tied 2003 for the 7th warmest, globally, since 1880.
A sneeze of cooler, Canadian air has taken the edge off the heat across Minnesota; this week should average 10F cooler than last week. An airmass tug-of-war sparks showers & T-storms today and Monday - generally quiet skies with highs near 80F Tuesday into Friday. T-storms next Saturday should give way to a clearing trend one week from today.
July is Minnesota's hottest month of the year, but we enjoy a siesta from the Dog Days this week.
Map credit above: mnterritorialpioneers.org.
Thundery Start - Some PM Sun. Don't panic (yet). A warm frontal boundary pushing into the MSP metro set off numerous T-storms this morning, but the rain is over, and there's a very good chance we'll see a few hours of sun this afternoon and evening, as highs top 80, and humidity levels increase.
Sunday Severe Risk. NOAA SPC shows a slight risk of severe storms (mainly hail and damaging straight-line winds over 58 mph) from Minnesota's Red River Valley and much of the Dakotas into the Panhandle of Nebraska today.
Cooling Trend. With the exception of Monday, when highs may approach 90F (if there's any sunshine at all) high temperatures hold in the 70s to near 80F most of this week, a few degrees cooler than average for late July. How is it already late July?
Risk Of A Quiet Week. After a hot, thundery Monday another puff of Canadian air pushes south of the border, keeping us comfortable and dry Tuesday into Friday. It's a little early to be pondering next weekend, but the ECMWF model is hinting at numerous showers and T-storms next Saturday, followed by a gusty cool front next Sunday.
Taking The Edge Off The Heat. The 84-hour NAM model shows another push of cooler, drier, less humid Canadian air reaching the Great Lakes and New England by midweek, hot, steamy air lingering from the Carolinas westward to Denver; no significant rain for the west coast. Model animation: NOAA.
Monday Downpours? I'm not buying the 4km. NAM solution (yet), which is predicting over 2" of rain between now and Monday night. It doesn't look quite as wet today, but there will be a risk of a passing shower or T-storm, enough sun for low 80s. As 70-degree dew point air surges into southern Minnesota Monday conditions will be ripe for heavier T-storms, even a few severe storms. The weather looks good for outdoor activities from Tuesday into Friday.
Hot Tips To Cool Pets When Summer Temperatures Soar. Among the suggestions offered in this timely Op-Ed from LiveScience: 1). Never leave your pets in a parked car, 2). Watch the humidity, 3). Limit exercise on hot days, 4). Don't rely on a fan, 5). Provide ample shade and water, and 6). Cool your pet inside and out, and that's just a few of the tips worth checking out. Yes, dogs, cats and horses feel the heat as much as we do.
Road-Melting Heat. You think it was hot here? In part of the United Kingdom it's so hot that roads are beginning to melt. A Level 3 Heat Warning has been issued for much of England; details from The BBC and audioboo.fm.
No Air Conditioner? How To Keep Your Cool No Matter How Hot It Gets. I thought some of the reader suggestions at this post at apartmenttherapy.com were on the money; here's an excerpt: "Now that the high temps have really kicked in, it's hard to remember that this is the season everyone longs for during the darker, colder months of the year. Ha! If your home doesn't have AC (or you are choosing to leave it off as much as possible) you can feel stuck, especially when it comes to getting a restful nights sleep. Thankfully our readers have come to the rescue with a long list of tips ranging from from absolutely quirky (but they swear they work!) to "why didn't I think of that!?" good old common sense ideas . Bookmark this quick list of possible solutions and get started on your a cooldown plan!
Freeze a 2 liter bottle with water. Put in a pillow case and hold to your chest like a teddy. Cooling down the central core will cool down all extremities as a result. My roomie calls them "ice babies". - Novalis..."
Drought Update. For the first time since May, 2005 drought conditions are not showing up anywhere east of the Mississippi River. Map: U.S. Drought Monitor.
7th Warmest Start To The Year On Record. In spite of a persistently chilly spring over much of the USA, taking a step back and looking at global temperature trends for 2013 tells a different story. Climate Central has the details: "Global temperature records are in for first half of the year, and they indicate a planet with no intention of cooling off. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its analysis for the period from January to June. They show that six-month span ties with 2003 as the seventh warmest on record since 1880. Temperatures averaged over both land and sea ran 1.06°F above the 20th century average.
Some of the highlights include:
- The land temperature alone is the sixth warmest on record, running 1.80°F above average.
- The ocean temperature alone is seventh warmest, running 0.79°F above average.
- While this was the seventh-warmest start to the year, some regions of the world experienced their warmest January-June on record. These include parts of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia, which had to add a new color to its temperature map to account for the extreme heat.
- June marks the 340th consecutive month — a total of more than 28 years — with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-normal month was February 1985."
Graphic credit above: "A map showing January-June temperatures across the globe." Credit: NOAA & Climate Central
Sequestration Could Curtail "Hurricane Hunter" Missions. This would not be a good development. Meteorologists can only glean so much from satellite imagery - there is a data-driven need to fly planes into tropical storms and hurricanes, to get a better fix on position, estimate strength, and future development. Bottom line: forecast accuracy could be compromised, especially for large hurricanes approaching landfall. WWNO.org has the story; here's the intro: "Federal furloughs caused by sequestration could ground "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft, depriving forecasters of real-time measurements of storms during what's expected to be an especially active Atlantic hurricane season. While NOAA operates some of the Hurricane Hunters, most of the modified C-130s transports that fly into storms to gather vital information on their position, strength and direction are flown by the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. The unit is part of the larger 403rd Wing based in Biloxi, Miss. The Vice Commander of the 403rd, Col. Craig La Fave, told Miami TV affiliate WPLG that, "while NOAA is exempt of the furloughs, we are not..."
Photo credit: AP.
Do You Know About Problems With FEMA's Flood Mapping? ProPublica has the story - here's a clip: "Homeowners across the country are facing headaches over flooding, but not because of water-damaged property or lack of insurance. They are being asked to buy insurance they don’t need for houses built on high ground. That’s because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has used outdated data in a number of its new flood maps and mistakenly mapped homeowners into high-risk flood areas. Homeowners in such areas with federally backed mortgages (and most mortgages are) are required to buy insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. We’ve heard from homeowners such as Donna Edgar, whose home in Texas was mapped into a high-risk flood area last year by mistake. But we don’t know exactly how widespread the problem is. That’s where you can help. If you think FEMA has mapped into a high-risk flood area by mistake, please let us know by filling out the form below..."
Geothermal Exploration Causes Earthquake in Switzerland. NDTV.com has the story; here's the intro: "Geothermal exploration was the likely cause of a 3.6 magnitude earthquake on Saturday in northeastern Switzerland, authorities said. Further seismic activity cannot be ruled out in the region in the coming days, the seismology department of the Zurich Federal Polytechnic School (EPFZ) said in a statement. Experts "manually" recorded Saturday's quake at 5:30 am (0330 GMT) at a depth of four kilometres (2.5 miles) near the city of St Gallen. "The quake is probably directly linked to trials and stimulation activities during the drilling involved in a geothermal project at St Gallen, where several mini-quakes have already been recorded in recent days," the EPFZ statement said..."
Before Air Conditioning. Yes, we feel it's our birthright to whine about the heat, as most of us dart from one air conditioned space to the next. How did our parents and grandparents get by? This story from The New Yorker gives us a glimpse; here's an excerpt: "...My first direct contact with an air-conditioner came only in the sixties, when I was living in the Chelsea Hotel. The so-called management sent up a machine on casters which rather aimlessly cooled and sometimes heated the air, relying, as it did, on pitchers of water that one had to pour into it. On the initial filling, it would spray water all over the room, so one had to face it toward the bathroom rather than the bed. A South African gentleman once told me that New York in August was hotter than any place he knew in Africa, yet people here dressed for a northern city. He had wanted to wear shorts but feared that he would be arrested for indecent exposure."
Photo credit: verydemotivational.com.
Will Nissan's Next Electric Car Finally Challenge Tesla? The success of Tesla with their (amazing) Model S is spurring other competitors to step up and offer luxurious cars that are carbon-free. Here's an excerpt from Daily Finance: "We've been hearing for a while that Nissan is planning an all-electric luxury car to be sold under the Infiniti brand. It's expected to look a lot like the Infiniti LE concept car, shown above, which the company first unveiled last year. Many have speculated that this could be the first direct competitor to Tesla Motors' hot Model S sedan, coming from the company that had the first successful mass-market electric car with its Nissan Leaf. But more recently, Nissan has said that the program could be delayed, hinting that other (non-electric) new models might take precedence..."
The Way Way Back. Looking for a movie without the superheroes, explosions and predictable plot lines (if there's a plot at all?) Consider "The Way Way Back". My wife and I saw this at the ICON theater in St. Louis Park yesterday and loved it. I predict you will too.
New York Man Just Going To Stick An Entire Air Conditioner In His Car Window. Hey, why not? If you're hot enough you'll try anything. Details from New York Magazine: "Courtesy of our friends at the Lo-Down, here's a photo of an SUV, on Pitt Street in the Lower East Side, with a standard window air conditioner unit in a back window (à la Mayor Bloomberg, except it's not stationary). Maybe the car's A/C is broken, or maybe this guy just likes being really, really cold. Either way, if you were already afraid of air conditioners falling from the sky — and you should be — now you have to worry about them hurtling out of speeding cars as well. Flying air conditioners are our Sharknado."
82 F. high Saturday in the Twin Cities.
84 F. average high on July 20.
87 F. high on July 20, 2012.
Trace of rain fell yesterday at MSP Internertional Airport.
TODAY: Morning T-storms, skies brighten midday with some PM sunshine. Dew point: 66. Winds: SE 10. High: 82
SUNDAY NIGHT: Lingering shower, possible thunder. Low: 66
MONDAY: Some sun, sticky and warmer. A few strong T-storms. Dew point: 71. High: near 90
TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, drier, cooler and less humid. Dew point: 64. Wake-up: 64. High: 80
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, pleasantly warm. Wake-up: 64. High: 82
THURSDAY: Clouds increase, lukewarm. Wake-up: 65. High: 81
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, seasonably warm. Wake-up: 65. High: 82
SATURDAY: Showers & T-storms likely. Wake-up: 67. High: 79
* photo above: Brownsville National Weather Service.
Are The East Coast Heat Waves Related To Global Warming? A warmer, wetter atmosphere is flavoring all weather now. LiveScience.com takes a look - here's a clip: "...however, a combination of rain and heat leads to high humidity, which is being seen in many place currently. And humidity can lead to higher nighttime temperatures, which are a major factor in deaths from heat, said Jeff Weber, a scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Hot nights don't allow people to cool down and get some relief, Weber said. As the Earth continues to warm, heat waves are tending to last longer, Weber told LiveScience. The jet stream, which generally ferries weather patterns from west to east across North America, is driven by a difference in temperature between the cold Arctic and warmer equator. Polar regions are heating faster than the equator is, which is leading to a weaker jet stream, Weber said. That means weather systems, like high pressure systems with high temperatures, tend to stay in place longer, he added."
Photo credit above: "A crossing guard tries to cool off with a bottle of water while working on a sweltering street in New York's Chinatown, Friday, July 19, 2013. A punishing heat wave continues to scorch New York, threatening to break heat records and putting a huge strain on the state’s overworked power grid." (AP Photo/Jon Gerberg)
The Climate Change Real Estate Boom Is Coming. I'm no futurist, but I strongly believe that Minnesota and the Twin Citiies will benefit from warming temperatures, as will many northern cities and southern Canada. Others envision a real estate boom for many northern cities, well away from rising seas, persistent heat waves, wildfires and water shortages plaguing much of the south. Here's a clip of an interesting story at fastcoexist.com: "Fabulously wealthy British futurist James Martin spoke about climate change at New York’s Lincoln Center and how it will change global population patterns in one of his last public appearances before passing away on June 30 at 79 years of age. Martin, who donated more than $150 million to Oxford University and lived on his own private Bermudan island, believed one of the biggest land booms in history is on its way--and it will happen in less than 100 years. At the June 15 Global Future 2045 conference, Martin explained that events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina will hit major American cities harder and more frequently because of climate change. Scientists and politicians have even come to the conclusion that whole countries such as Mauritius and Tuvalu will need to evacuate due to rising sea levels. But while coastlines in much of the world may suffer, climate change will be a positive development in some areas. Specifically, Canada; northern Europe; Russia; Alaska; Patagonia, Argentina; and southern Africa may all experience real estate booms. These booms, he claimed, will be in “Climate Change Cities” with military fortifications catering to an increasingly displaced global elite..."
Like Butter: Study Explains Surprising Acceleration Of Inland Ice. Think Progress has the story - here's the intro: "In 2011, scientists explained that the Greenland Ice Sheet “could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming” that is “difficult to halt.” Last November, a major international study in the journal Science found that the Greenland ice sheet’s melt rate was up nearly 5-fold since the mid-1990s. This acceleration has put ice sheet loss far ahead of what most climate models had predicted several years ago. Now a new study by scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface explains at least one key factor the models have missed:
Surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster..."
Photo credit above: "Meltwater from the surface of the Sermeq Avannarleq Glacier drains down toward interior ice. This photograph depicts a region about 10 miles from the ice sheet margin in Southwest Greenland. A new CIRES-led study helps explain the surprising acceleration of inland ice. Meltwater draining through the ice likely warms the ice sheet from the inside and like a stick of warm butter, the sheet softens, deforms and can flow faster." Photo: CIRES.
Here's An Easy Way To Protect Coastal Communities From Rising Seas And Storms. Grist has the story - here's an excerpt: "...Led by Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project, researchers mapped the intensity of hazards posed to communities living along America’s coastlines from rising seas and ferocious storms now and in the decades to come. They examined the hazards those communities would face in the year 2100 with and without the coastal habitats left intact. Here is what they found:
Habitat loss would double the extent of coastline highly exposed to storms and sea-level rise, making an additional 1.4 million people now living within 1 km of the coast vulnerable. The number of poor families, elderly people and total property value highly exposed to hazards would also double if protective habitats were lost..."
Image credit: Dan Anderson, EPA.
This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like. All those feel-good commercials on TV from energy companies extolling the virtues of oil and natural gas? There's another side to this story. Slate has the story (and photos) - definitely worth a look. Here's a clip from the article: "Photographer Nina Berman had just started focusing on climate and environmental issues when she read an article about fracking and its connection to the possible contamination of New York City’s drinking water. Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011. “I knew there would be demonstrators (opposed to his support of natural gas drilling), and I wanted to learn what they were screaming about,” Berman said. After researching the issues, she then had to figure out how to document them in a visual way. “It’s a very hard subject to photograph,” Berman explained. “You see a drill, and you don’t know what that means, and then it disappears. What does that mean? It took me a while to figure out how to approach it...”
Photo credit above: "Jodie Simons demonstrates how her sink water, full of methane, lights on fire. Simons' household's water was pristine before gas drilling started, but now they've been without clean drinking or bathing water for months." Nina Berman/NOOR.
Koch-Funded Climate Contrarians Make Mischief On Capitol Hill. Huffington Post has an update; here's an excerpt: "With Congress about to head out of town for its summer recess, a Washington-based think tank is ramping up a campaign to foil any attempts to institute a tax on carbon emissions, The Hill, a Washington political trade publication, reported this week. "We're hoping to put the final nail in the coffin of the carbon tax," said Benjamin Cole, the communications director for the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA). "The proposal should be dead on arrival by the time lawmakers come back from August recess." IER's campaign includes a survey of American attitudes about such a tax and a $120,000 to $150,000 radio ad buy targeting a handful of House members who, according to Cole, "are soft on the carbon tax issue..."
Photo credit above: "Robert P. Murphy, an economist with the Koch-funded Institute for Energy Research, essentially told a Senate committee yesterday that carbon emissions are harmless."
Cities Taking Initiative On Climate Change Preparedness. Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of the cities not waiting for Washington D.C. to take action on climate change. Here's an excerpt of a story at Climate Science Watch: "...So, while the ability to adapt to global climatic disruption will be limited, and while preparedness can't substitute for a radical transformation to a sustainable energy system, I think these are good developments:
However, a combination of rain and heat leads to high humidity, which is being seen in many places currently. And humidity can lead to higher nighttime temperatures, which are a major factor in deaths from heat, said Jeff Weber, a scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Hot nights don't allow people to cool down and get some relief, Weber said.
As the Earth continues to warm, heat waves are tending to last longer, Weber told LiveScience. The jet stream, which generally ferries weather patterns from west to east across North America, is driven by a difference in temperature between the cold Arctic and warm equator. Polar regions are heating faster than the equator is, which is leading to a weaker jet stream, Weber said.
That means weather systems, like high-pressure systems with high temperatures, tend to stay in place longer, he added.- See more at: http://www.livescience.com/38315-heat-waves-global-warming.html#sthash.GKiAGaxH.dpuCities Taking Initiative On Climate Change Preparedness. Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of the cities not waiting for Washington D.C. to take action on climate change. Here's an excerpt of a story at Climate Science Watch: "...So, while the ability to adapt to global climatic disruption will be limited, and while preparedness can't substitute for a radical transformation to a sustainable energy system, I think these are good developments:
45 Top Mayors Pledge Action on Extreme Weather, Launch National Resilience Campaign
Mayors of Washington DC, Denver, Cincinnati, Sacramento, San Diego, Milwaukee, El Paso, Broward County and others—commit to creating more resilient cities and counties in response to nation’s growing extreme weather, climate and energy challenges; call for greater federal support
[Washington DC, June 17, 2013] – Forty five leading local elected officials today committed to creating more resilient cities, towns, and counties in the face of unprecedented extreme weather and energy challenges that threaten communities across the country. The “Inaugural Signatories” of the Resilient Communities for America Agreement letter pledged to take cost-effective actions to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, severe storms, and wildfires. In addition, they called for more action and support from federal leaders..."