When will MSP International add condos, something with a nice runway view, for all those hard-charging, MQM-obsessed road warriors? OK. Not one of my better ideas.
I'm in dry, dusty Phoenix for a speech on weather & climate trends. It's true that Minnesota is blessed with a rich constellation of lakes and underground aquifers; plenty of fresh water to go around.
People living in the west don't take water for granted. Most urban areas rely on the Colorado River, which is stressed from increasingly fickle winter snows and perpetual drought. Dry areas are trending even drier; fueling larger, more intense wildfires.
As these trends accelerate many western states may look to Minnesota and the Great Lakes as an alternative, a "water safety net".
Wait for it.
Today should rub you the right way: more 70s under a sky that would feel right at home on Labor Day. A fleeting shower tomorrow heralds the arrival of a cooler front this weekend; 50s by Sunday under a dry, partly sunny sky.
You might want to check out the flaming fall foliage this weekend. Steady rain arrives late Monday into Wednesday of next week as highs slip into the 40s. Next week will feel like October; a metro frost 1 week from Saturday? For the record, that's about 2 weeks later than average. Whatever "average" is these days.
* image above: ThinkStock.
Reality Check. Nothing frigid is brewing, but next week at this time there will be NO doubt in your mind that it's October. Expect 70s today and Friday, then 50s by Sunday, a few days in the 40s next week with a cold rain late Monday into early Wednesday. ECMWF guidance is hinting at a little wet snow mixing with the rain showers next Friday. Assuming skies clear a metro-wide frost is possible next Saturday, October 19.
A Light-Jacket Weekend. The 12km. NAM forecast above shows expected temperatures at 4 pm Saturday, highs in the upper 50s to near 60 around the metro area, closer to average. Map: Ham Weather.
East Coast Beach Erosion. Some of the soggy remains of last week's Tropical Storm Karen, which fizzled in the Gulf of Mexico, is combining with a stalled high pressure bubble to create a sustained period of high winds and minor to moderate coastal flooding from the Carolinas northward to New Jersey. Meanwhile the next strong storm pushes a band of showers across the Upper Midwest Friday, setting the stage for a cooler weekend. NAM Future Radar loop courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.
Increasing October Chill - Stronger Winds. GFS guidance looking out 192 hours shows strong and persistent winds whipping up along the East Coast, a storm over the Southwest USA sparking a few wind-whipped showers today, amplifying into a significant storm over the Plains and Midwest by the weekend, but without the drama of last weekend (blizzards and EF-4 tornadoes). Map above shows forecast 10 meter wind speeds and surface pressures, courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.
Increasingly Frost-Free. This October is a shining example of longer-term trends with Minnesota's growing season. The graphic above, courtesy of Climate Central, shows a 9 day increase in the growing season between 1991 and 2011, relative to 1901-1960.
9 Extra Frost-Free Days. There's a fairly compelling data set showing that Minnesota is experiencing 9 more days of frost-free weather than during the beginning of the 20th century. Out west, especially the Southwest USA, the number jumps as high as 21 extra days without frost. Details, and a fall color update, a look at how milder weather, deeper into autumn may be impacting photosynthesis and the vibrancy of those peaking fall colors - all in today's edition of Climate Matters.
Length Of The Growing Season. The EPA has more details on America's longer growing season. Here's an excerpt:
* The average length of the growing season in the contiguous 48 states has increased by nearly two weeks since the beginning of the 20th century. A particularly large and steady increase occurred over the last 30 years.
* The length of the growing season has increased more rapidly in the West than in the East. In the West, the length of the growing season has increased at the average rate of about 22 days per century since 1895, compared with a rate of about eight days per century in the East.
Federal Shutdown Affects Weather Agencies. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Tribune, serving San Luis Obispo: "Effects of the federal government shutdown have extended to weather-related agencies. The National Weather Service will continue to operate through the ongoing shutdown. Last week about 4,000 weather service employees were excepted from the shutdown to support its mission of protecting life and property. They will continue to issue forecasts and warnings 24-7. The employees don’t know when their next paycheck will arrive, however. Many of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web sites may not be available. For example, if you visit the National Data Buoy Center webpage, you may get an unavailable message. The government sequester combined with the shutdown not only is affecting their websites, but more importantly, also having an impact on marine buoy preventative maintenance, repair and replacement..."
Climatologist Says Slow Hurricane Season Winding Down. Too much Saharan dust, too much wind shear, too much dry air. It's a long laundry-list of meteorological alibis. Here's an excerpt from Louisiana's The Advertiser: "Two-thirds of the 2013 hurricane season is gone and, so far, no storms have hit the Louisiana coast. Predictions for an active storm season appear to have been wrong, says the state climatologist. With conditions in the Gulf of Mexico becoming less hurricane-friendly, the likelihood of a major storm hitting the Gulf Coast is decreasing daily, said Barry Keim, an LSU professor and state climatologist. Gulf waters reached their maximum temperature Sept. 10, which also is the peak of the storm season, and have been cooling. But he said he learned long ago, “in the weather world, never say never...” (Image: NOAA).
Study Of April 27, 2011 Tornadoes Affirms Theories About Causes. A story at Claims Journal caught my eye - here's a clip: "...A new study of that outbreak gives forecasters and scientists who study severe weather detailed meteorological data about what happened that day, at the same time apparently affirming some new theories about factors that might enhance tornado development. “The indications are that gravity waves, topography and surface roughness each played at least some role that day in creating tornadoes or making them more powerful,” said Dr. Kevin Knupp, director of the Severe Weather Institute – Radar and Lightning Laboratories (SWIRLL) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH)..."
Flood Forensics: Why Colorado's Floods Were So Destructive. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story at NPR: "...If the soil becomes too wet, mountainsides collapse — and flow downhill. That's what happened across Colorado's northern Rockies. The floods started with a wall of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico that got trapped up against the Mountains, dumping almost a year's worth of rain in four days. As the overflow coursed through mountain ravines and canyons, it was like running a fire hydrant through a garden hose. But it wasn't just water. Streams became rivers of trees, boulders — and an avalanche of concrete. Farther along the highway, we find thousands of uprooted trees, dumped in a jumble by a flooded stream. Above the jumble, the stream bed has been scoured out..."
Photo credit above: "This aerial photo shows flood damage in Greeley Colo. during a helicopter tour by Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. John Hickenlooper, and FEMA officials, of flood-ravaged areas, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013." (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Kathryn Scott Osler, Pool).
A Must-Watch Documentary. PBS Frontline is one of the last bastions of consistently great TV journalism these days, and they've upped the ante considerably with their latest subject, concussions and football safety, not only in the NFL, but among kids. The program goes nearly 2 hours, but the stories are powerful and compelling. Disclaimer: I'm a football fan. I don't want any of this to be true. But the data is the data and we probably need to keep our eyes wide open about the long-term risks. Sound familiar?
Peak Soil: Why Nutrition Is Disappearing From Our Food. So you're telling me I could live to be 100 if the soil provided more nutrition? What do I do with THAT information? Details from The Week; here's a clip: "The fountain of youth may be made of dirt. So supposes Steve Solomon in The Intelligent Gardner: Growing Nutrient-Dense Food. He asserts that most people could "live past age 100, die with all their original teeth, up to their final weeks, and this could all happen if only we fertilize all our food crops differently." It's a bold statement, but mounting evidence suggests that remineralization could be the definitive solution to our nutrient-light diet. Concerns about the quality of our food tend to focus on the many evils of modern industrial farming, but 10,000 years of agriculture have created a more insidious problem. The minerals and phytonutrients historically derived from rich soil are diminishing in our produce and meat..." (Photo: AP).
* Congress's approval rating is at a record low of 5% Only Congress could make the meteorologists and economists look good. Details from The Atlantic Wire.
Books Don't Want To Be Free. How did publishing escape the cruel fate of other culture industries? The New Republic has the story; here's an excerpt: "...If you’re in the business of selling journalism, moving images, or music, you have seen your work stripped of value by the digital revolution. Translate anything into ones and zeroes, and it gets easier to steal and harder to sell at a sustainable price. Yet people remain willing to fork over a decent sum for books, whether in print or in electronic form. “I can buy songs for 99 cents, I can read most newspapers for free, I can rent a $100 million movie tonight for $2.99,” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle content, told me in January. “Paying $9.99 for a best-selling book—paying $10 for bits?—is in many respects a very strong accomplishment for the business..."
Meet The Beer Fridge That Opens Only For Canadians. Time to get a Canadian passport. Then again... This is one of my favorite stories of the week; Mental Floss has the breaking news; here's a clip: "Next time you backpack Europe, it may be a good idea to take along your closest Canadian friend. You just might end up with all the free beer you’d ever want. To bolster national pride, Canadian beer company Molson placed beer fridges across Europe, from the streets of London and Brussels to the pastures of Belgium. Inside those fire engine red fridges? A free stockpile of Canadian suds. (Instead of planning a pub crawl through Europe, might we suggest a fridge crawl?) A public fridge chock full of free beer may sound like heaven to some, but there’s a problem: It’s locked. And there’s only one way to open it—you have be Canadian..."
Photo credit above: molsoncanadian.ca
76 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
61 F. average high on October 9.
50 F. high on October 9, 2012.
1977: A few locations received early snow, including Minneapolis with 2.5 inches, Gaylord with 2 inches, and Jordan with 2 inches of snow.
1970: Early snowfall was recorded in west central Minnesota. Snow totals ranged from a trace to 4.2 inches in Benson. Other areas included Montevideo with 4 inches, Canby with 3.2 inches, Morris with 2.6 inches, Willmar with 2.5 inches. New London, New Ulm, and Buffalo all recorded 2 inches of snowfall.
1949: Bizzare storm brings Hurricane force winds across Minnesota. This was possibly the strongest non-thunderstorm winds seen in Minnesota. Top winds were clocked at 100 mph at Rochester, with a gust of 89 mph at the Twin Cities International Airport. 4 deaths and 81 injuries were reported. Numerous store windows were broken, and large chimneys toppled. The top 10 floors of the Foshay building were evacuated with the tenants feeling seasick from the swaying building.
1928: Record high temperatures were set across central Minnesota with high in the upper 80s to lower 90s. (information courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
TODAY: Too nice to work (much). Mild sun. Winds: S 15. High: 76
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, mild for mid-October. Low: 57
FRIDAY: More clouds, few showers. S 15-30+ High: 75
SATURDAY: Partly sunny and cooler. Wake-up: 54. High: 62
SUNDAY: Light jacket weather. Some sun. Wake-up: 44. High: 59
MONDAY: Clouds thicken, late PM rain. Wake-up: 42. High: 53
TUESDAY: Steadier, heavier rain expected. Wake-up: 42. High: 49
WEDNESDAY: Rain tapers, still raw. Wake-up: 40. High: 46
Alaska Sinks As Climate Change Thaws Permafrost. USA Today has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The pace of permafrost thawing is "accelerating," says Vladimir Romanovsky, who runs the University of Alaska's Permafrost Laboratory in Fairbanks. He expects widespread degradation will start in a decade or two. By mid-century, his models suggest, permafrost could thaw in at least a third of Alaska and by 2100, in two-thirds of the state. "This rapid thawing is unprecedented" and is largely due to fossil-fuel emissions, says Kevin Schaefer of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. He says it's already emitting its own heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane, but the amount will skyrocket in the next 20 to 30 years. "Once the emissions start, they can't be turned off." Telltale signs are common — from huge potholes in parking lots to collapsed hill slopes and leaning trees in what are called "drunken forests" in Denali National Park, home of the majestic Mount McKinley — North America's tallest peak...."
Photo credit above: "Ruth Macchione's old home in Fairbanks, Alaska, shown here on Aug. 26, is sinking into the ground. Her late husband hand-built it with sturdy logs, but the house rests on permafrost -- the top layer of which freezes and thaws each year -- so it's now tilted." (Photo: Wendy Koch, USA TODAY).
Climate Change: Uncertainty Is Not A Call For Inaction. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Forbes: "...Yet, a large part of the media coverage has been on a fact that is seen as an argument in favour of climate sceptics. In the last 15 years, temperatures have plateaued, that is they have essentially stayed at their peak, while CO2 concentration has steadily increased. This is not a serious argument against climate change; it is as if after a month of June with constant temperatures, one would deny that summer is coming. The climate models are supposed to accurately predict the evolution of temperatures over decades not year after year. In fact, similar plateaus have occurred before (temperatures were stable from the 1930s to the 1970s), and if current temperatures are below the predictions of climate models, the ones in the previous 15 years period were generally above..."
D.C. Climate Will Shift In 2047 Researchers Say, Tropics Will Feel Unprecedented Change First. Most of the climate models show the greatest risk of 2 and 3-Sigma events, 2 to 3 times the median in terms of extremes in temperature and rainfall, over the tropics. Here's a clip from a Washington Post article: "Locations around the globe will soon reach climactic tipping points, with some in tropical regions — home to most of the world’s biodiversity — feeling the first impacts of unprecedented eras of elevated temperatures as soon as seven years from now, according to a study released Wednesday. On average, locations worldwide will leave behind the climates that have existed from the middle of the 19th century through the beginning of the 21st century by 2047 if no progress is made in curbing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, said researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who sought to project the timing of that event for 54,000 locations..."
Warming Lake Superior Prompts A Tribe To Try A New Fish. Arctic ice, glaciers and even large lakes are a good barometer of long-term temperature trends. Here's an eyebrow-raising article at The Daily Climate: "...The lake is warming faster than the atmosphere, said Jim Kitchell, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and senior author of a new study examining the lake's fish. "Lake Michigan and Huron are warming but at half the rate [of Superior]." Over the past 40 years, the large, deep freshwater lake has had an average water temperature increase of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, partly due to a 50 percent ice cover reduction over the same time. Such changes have increased suitable living areas for walleye by 223 square miles, one-and-a-half times the footprint of the city of Detroit. Chinook salmon and lean lake trout have seen habitat increase by 191 and 161 square miles, respectively, according to the study from Kitchell and colleagues..."
Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation. This daylong event is being held Thursday, November 7, 2013 9 am - 5:30 pm, followed by a reception at The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. This is the first annual gathering of local and state experts covering a diverse range of topics related to climate mitigation and adaptation in Minnesota, and some tickets are still available. I'll be there; if you're personally interested in this topic, or have an interest in possible impacts on your business or public sector duties in the years ahead you should plan on attending. Here's a good overview from the organizer of the event, Dr. Mark Seeley: "The first ever statewide conference on climate change adaptation practices will take place at the Science Museum in downtown St Paul on November 7, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The cost for the conference is modest at $60 and includes lunch, breaks, parking, and a free pass to the Science Museum. This conference which is titled “Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation” has been designed by those who have been measuring and documenting the changing climate attributes in the state and their associated consequences. Professionals who have worked in transportation, agriculture, energy, health care, city planning, watershed and forest management, and the insurance industry will share their stories and experiences relative to adapting to our changing climate. The educational sessions will be followed by an evening reception in the Science Museum cafeteria at 5:30 pm so that informal socializing and networking among citizens and groups can occur." If interested in attending you can visit the web site for the conference at www.wrc.umn.edu
Can The Insurance Industry Weather Climate Change? The data is the data, and there are few climate change agnostics in the trenches of the world's major insurance companies. They can SEE what's happening with storm-related claims. Any doubts will soon be erased as our insurance premiums rise to keep some of these big companies afloat. Here's a clip from a story at LinkedIn: "...These things hit insurers hard. Zurich Insurance Group, the biggest Swiss insurer, downgraded its revenue targets after "natural catastrophe losses cut second-quarter profit by 27 percent," reported Insurance Journal in August. And it's not just hurricanes. Strong thunderstorms and rain across the greater Toronto metropolitan region in July caused significant flooding and power outages to the tune of US$1.41 billion, about half of which was covered by insurance, according to The Royal Gazette. "Nowhere in the world is the rising number of annual natural catastrophes more evident than in North America," according to Severe Weather in North America, a 2012 report (download) published by reinsurance giant Munich Re, which insures other insurers, thereby limiting the loss any single insurer would experience in case of disaster. "This increase is entirely attributable to weather events, as there has been a negative trend for geophysical events..."
New Finding Shows That Climate Change Can Happen In A Geological Instant. Rutgers University has a new study out that made me do a triple-take; here's an excerpt: "Rapid” and “instantaneous” are words geologists don’t use very often. But Rutgers geologists use these exact terms to describe a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago.In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years. Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years..."
* the actual paper (fairly technical but fascinating) is here, courtesy of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
How Carbon Became Political Kryptonite In Virginia's Gubernatorial Election. ThinkProgress has an update; here's the introduction: "Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli have been battling for control of Virginia’s Executive Mansion all year. It’s not often that energy and climate change play a significant role in gubernatorial races but if it’s true anywhere, it’s certainly true here. A new report on the consequences of Cuccinelli’s climate denial, brand-new polling on the race, and an interview with Climate Progress make clear that refusing to do anything about carbon pollution could be political kryptonite, while embracing alternative energy and mainstream climate science could lead to electoral success..."
Photo credit above: AP Photo/The Washington Post, Linda Davidson, Pool.
Toppling Climate Change Investment Myths. Here's a clip from a story focused on climate trends and investment objectives, courtesy of greentechmedia: "...So what does this mean for the financial community? Institutional investors who are inclined to be cynical about climate change are probably picking the wrong answers to five key questions.
First, isn’t the science too uncertain to act? No. Over the past five years, the scientific consensus has concluded resolutely that human emissions of greenhouse gases are heating the planet and will continue to do so. There is uncertainty over the rate of warming and the effect of feedback mechanisms, especially clouds, so future climate and weather conditions can only be thought of in terms of potential scenarios. Yet investors are trained to make decisions around a range of outcomes..." (Photo credit above: AP).
Tackling Climate Change: Copenhagen's Sustainable City Design. You'll be hearing more about sustainability and resilience in the years to come. Copehagen is doing many things right, as described in this excerpt from The Guardian: "...And those convex streets? They are main thoroughfares designed by Copenhagen's city planners to capture water from storms and flooding and direct it to the harbour. Copenhagen in 2050 will also feature smaller streets with plenty of trees, which will slow anticipated flooding "so not everything comes bursting into the cloudburst boulevards at the same time", Leonardsen explains. Pocket parks will absorb heat and can be turned into water storage during weather emergencies. In addition to storms, flooding and rising sea levels, heatwaves are the most dramatic scenario facing cities as climate change worsens..."
Photo credit above: "Copenhagen faces particular danger as sea levels rise and superstorms hit coastal areas with greater frequency." Photograph: Kontraframe.