Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
By Paul Douglas
January came early this winter, but here's some encouraging news for Minnesotans counting the days until spring break. According to meteorologist Dean DeHarpporte tomorrow marks the earliest sunset time of the year: 4:31 PM. After that the sun sets later: 4:41 PM New Years Day and 5:00 PM by January 17. Dean points out that December 21 is the shortest day. He explains "The December acceleration of the earth in its orbit around the sun distorts the time of earliest sunset back to Dec. 9. To compensate, the sun will be rising later every day until Dec. 30, when it's latest sunrise is 7:51 AM."
A faint glimmer of good news for those of us trying to remember what "warmth" feels like. Models hint at 20s & 30s from next weekend to about December 22. NOAA's 45-Day CFS run, which is displaying real skill, shows a relatively mild first half of January (and 11 inches of snow on the ground at MSP for Christmas). We'll see.
When it's this cold snow piles up quickly; chemicals unable to melt ice. I expect a plowable snow today; maybe 2-5 inches of fluffy, powdery, Aspen-like snow.
Two more fleeting bursts of arctic air the first half of this week, then a welcome temperature recovery.
SUNDAY: Cloudy. Snow likely. 2" to 4" of fluff possible by evening. High: 12. Winds: SE 5-10. Wind Chill: Down to -10.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Lingering light snow early, Any additional snow less than 1". Low: 1. Winds: Turning NW 10-15.
MONDAY: Bitter breeze returns with blowing snow. Sunshine early, then increasing clouds. Light snow possible overnight? High: 5. Winds: WSW 10-20
TUESDAY: Numbing wind. Another clipper with light snow showers. Wake-up: -3. High: 9
WEDNESDAY: More cold sunshine. Wake-up: -10. High: 4
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, more tolerable. Light snow possible up north. Wake-up: -4. High: 17
FRIDAY: Partly sunny. Slight chance of a few snow showers. Wake-up: 6. High: 18.
SATURDAY: More clouds, a few flurries. Wake-up: 5. High: 17.
Winter Weather Advisory
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for southeastern MN and west central Wisconsin through 6am Monday.
...ACCUMULATING SNOWS RETURN FOR SUNDAY...
A BROAD AREA OF 2 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL SUNDAY ALONG AND SOUTHEAST OF A NEW ULM...TO THE TWIN CITIES...TO BALSAM LAKE LINE. SNOW WILL MOVE INTO SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA AFTER MIDNIGHT AND MOVE INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN AFTER 6 AM. LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL FOR MUCH OF THE DAY AND INTO THE EVENING HOURS ON SUNDAY.
* TIMING: SNOW WILL MOVE INTO SOUTHERN MINNESOTA AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT AND CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY NIGHT.
* MAIN IMPACT: SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES.
* OTHER IMPACTS: WINDS INCREASING TO OVER 20 MPH LATE SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY WILL RESULT IN SOME BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW.
Sunday Snow Potential
Here's the National Weather Service's latest "Graphicast" which shows the snow potential for Sunday.
I know the holiday season can be a stressful time of year, but I have something that may help. It's a Stress Reduction Kit. See instructions below:
Cold Enough For Ya?
One of my favorite views during some of the first few Arctic outbreaks of the year is out of Duluth, MN. With Lake Superior water temperatures still in the upper 30s and Saturday morning air temperatures nearly -20F, steam rises due to the extreme temperature difference. It sure makes for beautiful sunrise pictures! Thanks to my good friends Wanda and Dale Brandt out of Duluth, MN for the picture below
Here's a closer view of the lake steam from the Lake Superior Marine Museum:
One thing about Arctic air is that it it very dry! The result tends to be sunny skies. Take a look at the satellite image from Friday, December 6th from across the Upper Midwest and note the mostly white coating of snow on the ground. You can pick out certain features like cities, lakes, rivers and even lake effect snow bands on Lake Superior; COOL! Also note the bare ground from extreme southeastern Minnesota to southern Wisconsin. Sunday's snowfall in those areas should take care of that though.
Lows AM Saturday
Thanks to a large dip in the jet stream, modified Arctic air has pushed through much of the nation. Temperatures are running well below average in many areas with double digit lows across the far north. Take a look at how cold it was early Saturday morning across the north-central U.S.
AM Saturday Wind Chills
Here were some of the lowest wind chills values that I could find AM Saturday. Note the near -50F wind chills across parts of Montana!
More Cold Weather Ahead
Daytime high temperatures on Sunday won't be much better than what we've been dealing with. The colder, heavier Arctic air is having a tough time getting out of the Lower 48. I liken cold air to syrup that you put on your pancakes... It's very heavy and dense, so trying to push it out can be tricky, especially if there's snow on the ground, because that's cold too!
Highs From Normal Sunday
This map is pretty remarkable! Look at how cold much of the nation is. Not only is most of the nation colder than average, but most locations are in the double digits below average for high temperatures - YIKES! Heavy to Florida is you want some warmth.
Cold Threatens Orange Crop in California
Take a look at the low temperatures expected AM Sunday for parts of California - YIKES!
A number of Frost/Freeze headlines have been posted through early next week!
The much below average temperatures are even having an impact on the orange crop in California!
"Some damage is expected to the mandarin and navel orange crops in the Central Valley but the extent is still unknown. Any losses likely won't be known for several weeks, though the industry does not expect a dramatic impact on supply or price, according to California Citrus Mutual, an association of growers."
U.S. Snow Depth
It's a new snowy benchmark for the season. As of Saturday, 55.5% of the nation had snow cover! Impressive amounts of early December cold have pushed the storm track way to the South. You can actually see our last winter storm path from Texas to the Northeast. Significant amounts of freezing rain, sleet and snow made for major headaches and nasty travel weather. Unfortunately, there's still another system that will be heading into some of the same areas through the end of the weekend/early next week.
Snow Cover Last Year - 2012
Interestingly, at this time last year there was only about 10% of the nation covered in snow!
Here's the snowfall analysis from late last week, which show a narrow band of heavier snowfall from Texas to the Ohio valley. Note the nearly 10" to 12" amounts from southeast MO, to southern IL to southwest IL!
On a side note, you can actually see the snow/ice on the ground from satellite! The visible satellite image from midday Saturday showed a narrow band of it from SE Missouri to Indiana and Ohio. The dashed blue and yellow line is the dividing line between clouds and snow.
More Wintry Weather on the Way!
Unfortunately, we have another storm system quickly moving out of the western U.S.. The storm track has the system near the Great Lakes Region already by late Sunday night/early Monday morning. Like the last one, temperature profiles in the lowest mile of the atmosphere will be ever critical and it appears we'll have more freezing rain, sleet and snow potential in some of the same areas that got hit a few days ago.
Next Winter Storm
National Weather Service offices across the country are still pretty busy this weekend. There are a number of winter weather headlines from cold to snow and ice, much of the nation will experience something as this system crosses the nation.
See more on the latest NWS watches/warnings/advisories HERE:
Sunday Weather Outlook
From rain/thunder to freezing rain, sleet and snow. This storm system will have a big impact on a large number of people through Sunday. The most concerning part to the storm will likely be from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Mid-Atlantic region where a mixed bag of wintry precipitation will be found. Ice, then snow could make for some major headaches!
The temperature profile over parts of the Ohio valley and the Mid-Atlantic Region don't look good. In fact, it looks pretty ugly on Sunday, where more freezing rain is possible. Here's a look at the freezing rain potential thru AM Monday. Keep in mind that the amounts projected below are likely too high for what atmospheric conditions will actually produce. I could reasonably see around 1/4" to 1/2" in some areas, which would certainly be enough to cause power outages and major travel headaches!
As our next storm system crosses the nation, plowable snow amounts will once again be possible from areas in the West to the Midwest and once again across parts of the Ohio Valley east to the Mid-Atlantic. Don't put away the shovels just yet. The image below suggests the snowfall potential thru AM Tuesday.
Another round of heavy precipitation looks like it will set up aross parts of the Ohio Valley and the Tennessee Valley through early next week with up to 3" or more possible.
Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your weekend!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
By Paul Douglas
Forget the thermometer. You know it's subzero when the snow squeaks underfoot and you can feel ice tingles up your nose. Lovely.
After 30 years of wrestling with fronts of Siberian origin I've learned a few tricks: multiple layers of clothing - wearing socks to bed helps if your furnace can't quite keep up - and invest in a pair of good shoes or boots. If your feet stay warm the situation is tolerable. I look like Princess Leia (on a very bad day) but earmuffs work wonders, and you don't wind up with nasty hat-hair.
Unusual? Yep. This is typical for late January. Most Decembers we limp along in the 30s, placing bets on a white Christmas.
The odds are close to 100 percent this year gazing at the latest maps. We'll see 20s late next week, maybe a few 30s during the third week of December before another big temperature dip around Christmas.
There's some truth to the adage "snow breeds more snow". Snowcover keeps the air above 10F colder, increasing the odds of additional accumulation.
The sun stays out Saturday; many towns enjoying a rare subzero "high". The next southern storm may brush Minnesota with another plowable accumulation Sunday. A real winter? Looks like it.
SATURDAY: Sunny, less wind. Bug-free. High:-1. Winds: WSW 5-10. Wind Chills: Down to -30F early.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with some light snow developing late. Low: -5. Winds: Turning SE 5-10. Wind Chills: Down to -15F.
SUNDAY: Cloudy. Snow likely. 2" to 4" of fluff possible by evening. High: 15. Winds: ESE 5-10
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with light snow. Less than 1" possible. Low: 1. Winds: Turning NW 10-15.
MONDAY: Clearing, bitter breeze returns. High: 5. Winds: WSW 10-20
TUESDAY: Numbing wind. Another clipper with light snow. Wake-up: -5. High: 10
WEDNESDAY: More cold sunshine. Wake-up: -7. High: 5
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, more tolerable. Light snow possible up north. Wake-up: 0. High: 21
FRIDAY: Partly sunny. Slight chance of a few snow showers. Wake-up: 13. High: 24.
I came across a large group of turkeys the other day on my way home and was wondering what the group was called. I've always thought it was considered a "Flock", but I've also heard it called a "Rafter". Anyway, it was a pretty good show at a fairly close range.
I've never heard of this before... A "SnowHawk"? I guess it's the latest craze in Northeastern MN. Somewhat of a car fashion statement. Thanks to my good friend, Amanda Granning for this picture out of Duluth, MN where they picked up 23.3" over a 3 day period earlier this week. That was good enough for the 6th heaviest 3 day snowfall event in recorded history. The heaviest 3 day snowfall event was 36.8" set in 1991; the "Halloween Blizzard".
Record Duluth, MN Snow
The golden snow shovel award winner was near Two Harbors, MN where nearly 3ft. of snow fell during that 3 day snowfall event!
My Favorite Winter Poem...
I'd like to share one of my favorite poems with you... see below:
This is a look at some of the coldest readings for Saturday. Note that a large chunk of the Northcentral part of the U.S. is sub-zero!
Cold Temps Continue
The forecast high temps for Saturday look quite cold across much of the nation. This is quite uncommon for this time of the year... This is a little more like mid January, wouldn't you say?
Highs From Normal Saturday
Major Concerns in the Central U.S.
Unfortunately, the colder temps have had a big impact on weather conditions in the central U.S. as of late. A mixed bag of wintry precipitation has left several areas in a big mess. Take a look at the icy scenario in Greenwood, Arkansas! Thanks to @deandeanm33 for the picture! By the way, it only takes 1/2" of ice to add nearly 500lbs. of extra weight to power lines that span pole to pole! No wonder why power outages are so common during ice storms.
More on the Ice Storm
Here's the latest on the major winter storm from CNN:
"A winter storm spread a frigid combination of ice, sleet and snow from Texas to Tennessee on Friday, shutting down schools and businesses, backing up interstate traffic for miles and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands.
At least four people were killed in storm-related incidents, including a man who died when an ice-covered tree fell on his camper in Arkansas.
Dallas/Fort Worth took the hardest hit. It was colder in the Big D (26 degrees) than in Anchorage, Alaska (34 degrees), prompting the cancellation of the Dallas Marathon and spurring Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to cancel almost 700 flights, about 80% of those scheduled."
Here's another picture from Greenwood, AR from the National Weather Service in Little Rock, AR:
National Snow Depth
This is interesting... According to NOAA as of Friday, nearly 46% of the nation was covered in snow! This is the greatest snow coverage the U.S. has seen so far this season.
Snow Cover in 2012
At this time last year, only 6% of the nation was covered in snow.
Active Weather Continues
Take a look at the national watches/warnings/advisories map from PM Friday... note how active it was across the country with 2 storm systems on either side of the country and extreme cold to boot! Our 1st winter storm by midday Saturday will be mostly done with, but our next winter storm will be cranking up! Note also how many winter weather headlines that have been posted in the western U.S.
Next Winter Storm
Our next winter storm will have big impacts across much of the nation through the weekend ahead. From the West Coast to the East Coast, there will be another mixed bag of wintry precipitation.
Snowfall Potential Next 3 Days
Here's the snowfall potential over the next 3 days as our 2nd storm system quickly heads east. The biggest impact in terms of snowfall appears to be in the western part of the country where 1ft. or more of snow could fall in the mountains! The light blue coloring over the Midwest suggests some nuisance to shoveling types of snows by late weekend. There will also be a wintry mix on the southern flank of this snow, which could once again make for some travel headaches.
This is what the weekend precipitation potential looks like across the nation. More rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow may be possible as this system quickly slides east... stay tuned to local forecast if you plan on traveling.
According to NOAA, the 6 to 10 day temperature outlook still looks quite chilly for much of the nation. Granted, it won't be quite as cold, but it still looks plenty chilly through the eastern half the the country.
Thanks for checking in and have a great weekend ahead.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
Embrace the Burn
A Minnesota winter is a steep learning curve. I remember being baffled, horrified, then deeply impressed the first time I saw someone RUNNING in subzero cold. I had moved to a state populated by a race of attractive aliens with cold-weather superpowers.
Early on someone pulled me aside with good advice: "Don't hide in the basement or hibernate in front of the tube. Embrace winter! Put on some cross-country skis, take the kids skating, build a snowman. The best antidote is to throw yourself, headfirst into winter.
As long as you're properly dressed. I've been following the no-exposed-skin rule since reaching middle age and it will apply to everyone thru the first half of next week. Windchill advisories are posted; we may see 5 nights/row below zero - highs Saturday may hold below zero.
This may wind up being the coldest stretch since 2007. According to Pete Boulay, at the MN Climate Center, we enjoyed 10 nights/row below zero in February, 2007. The record? 36 nights/row below zero in 1936.
More deep breaths: 30s return in a week, and you'll be amazed how good freezing feels a week from today.
Yes, misery loves company. Freeze warnings are posted for Phoenix, even San Francisco. Most of America is shivering right along with us!
Consecutive Nights Below Zero at MSP. Data above from the Midwest Regional Climate Center shows 10 nights/row below zero in 2007, from February 1 to February 10. 1996 saw a run of 15 consecutive subzero nights, 23 in 1976 and early 1977. Here's more information from Pete Boulay, at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group: "It's been a few years since we've had a lengthy stretch of overnight lows of 0 or below in the Twin Cities. The last time there were 10 nights in a row of at or below zero temperatures in the Twin Cities was in Feb 2007. The record is 36 nights in a row from 1/18 1936 to 2/22/1936."
6 AM Saturday Morning. Cold enough for 'ya? I thought so. Temperatures bottom out early Saturday, double digit negative numbers pushing into much of Minnesota, as cold as -10 to -12F in the outlying suburbs of the Twin Cities. Winds will ease up on Saturday so chill factors won't be quite as obscene. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Character-Building. Temperatures hold below zero from this afternoon into Sunday morning across most of Minnesota. Highs Saturday may blip up to zero in the metro (urban heat island), but we're looking at roughly 36 consecutive hours below zero. Not days, hours. Another surge of subzero weather is likely Monday PM, another clipper drags a quick shot of bitter air into town late Tuesday into much of Wednesday. And then the recovery begins; 30s possible by Friday. Which will feel like a Godsend. Graph: Weatherspark.
35.3" North Of Two Harbors. Surreal, and here I thought predicting 2 feet for the North Shore was going out on a limb. Talk about turbocharged lake effect. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley's always informative WeatherTalk Newsletter: "Most of the state reported measurable snowfall during the first week of December. Monday through Wednesday of this week (Dec 2-4) brought almost continuous snow to many areas of northeastern Minnesota, especially the north shore along Lake Superior. The greatest amount of snowfall reported by a National Weather Service observer came from 7 miles north of Two Harbors where 35.3 inches was recorded. The Duluth Weather Service Office reported a storm total of 23.3 inches, and Duluth public schools were cancelled two consecutive days over the 3rd and 4th. Tofte reported 25 inches and Wolf Ridge reported 20.7 inches for the week. Many other areas of the state accumulated 5 to 10 inches of snowfall this week, while areas of southeastern Minnesota received mostly rain and drizzle..."
* map above courtesy of the Duluth office of the National Weather Service.
A Canadian Invading Force. Canada's largest export is in full swing, waves of bitter air lapping south of the border. The solid red line marks the 32F isotherm - the solid green line shows the 0F isotherm. Only Florida escapes the cold wave over the next 84 hours. 12km NAM data courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.
Future Radar. The animation below shows a wave of low pressure rippling along the edge of arctic air, sparking a band of snow and potentially paralyzing ice from Texas and Oklahoma into Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio over the next 84 hours. Data: NOAA's 4km NAM and Ham Weather.
Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: December 6, 2013.
* Severe snow and ice storm spreading from Texas and Oklahoma into Arkansas, southern Missouri into the Ohio Valley later today and tonight.
* Most severe glaze icing stays north/west of Dallas, Little Rock and Memphis, but expect high impacts in all 3 metro areas.
* 5-10" snows push across southern Missouri into southern Illinois/Indian and southwest Ohio, shutting down much of the Ohio Valley today into Saturday morning.
* Some of the coldest air since 2007 pushing into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest; dangerous wind chills linger into Saturday; another wave of bitter air arrives early next week.
Current Warnings. Ice Storm Warnings are in effect from Wichita Falls, Texas and Ardmore, Oklahoma to Little Rock and Memphis, where some .25"+ accumulations of glaze ice (freezing rain) are expected. The heaviest snow will fall 50-200 miles north/west of the heavy ice accumulation. The current cold wave is engulfing much of America, Freeze Warnings as far south and west as Phoenix and San Francisco.
Heavy Snow Band. Our high-resolution models show the heaviest snow band setting up from southeast Oklahoma into northern Arkansas, southeast Missouri and much of the Ohio Valley, where some 5-10" snowfall amounts are likely. That much snow would be an inconvenience for Chicago and the Twin Cities, but this amount of snow may prove paralyzing for the Middle Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley.
Another Solution. NOAA's models show a band of excessive snow possible from near Cairo, Illinois and Evansville, Indiana to Bloomington, Indiana, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. These are the metro areas we're most concerned about with heavy snow amounts Friday into early Saturday. Map: NOAA.
Risk Of Severe Icing. NOAA is predicting the most severe impacts of glaze icing to come from the northern suburbs of Dallas to the northern suburbs of Little Rock and Memphis; greater impacts (and more power disruptions due to glazed power lines) from Jonesboro, Arkansas to Jackson, Tennessee. We expect widespread outages within the red/orange shaded region due to a .25 to .50" accumulation of ice.
A Closer Look. Our internal models at Ham Weather show a very high risk of severe icing from Little Rock to the western suburbs of Memphis to near Paducah and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Map: Ham Weather.
Dallas/Fort Worth: Most Severe Icing Northern And Western Suburbs. Serious icing is already being reported north and west of Dallas, with the most severe impacts closer to Wichita Falls and Paris, Texas.
Oklahoma City: Potential For 3-6" Snow. The most severe icing passes over southeastern Oklahoma; the atmosphere cold enough for a very plowable snowfall for Oklahoma City and suburbs.
Little Rock: Serious Icing - Worst Conditions Northern/Western Suburbs. High-resolution models show the best chance of .5" or more of glaze ice, capable of bringing down portions of the power grid, just north and west of Little Rock. Fayetteville and Jonesboro may experience more severe icing than metro Little Rock. Map: Little Rock National Weather Service.
Memphis: A Very Close Call. Minor icing is possible in Memphis, but the band of heaviest ice is forecast to track north and west of Memphis, with greater impacts from Jonesboro, Arkansas to Union City, Mississippi. Map: Memphis National Weather Service.
Louisville: Probably Plowable. A band of 3-6" of snow is forecast to set up over Louisville, closer to 5-8" for Evansville, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio, enough to bring most travel by land and air to a temporary halt Friday into Saturday morning. Map: NOAA.
Indianapolis: A Half Foot Or More. Although the heaviest snow band is forecast to set up over southern Indiana, metro Indianapolis may be digging out from 5-7" snows by Saturday morning. Expect major delays and cancellations. Map: NOAA.
Positively Polar. What may be some of the coldest air since 2007 is draining southward, creating dangerous wind chills across much of the Plains and Upper Midwest. The Alerts Broadcaster model solution above shows 6 AM temperatures Saturday; air temperatures as cold as -10 in the Twin Cities, teens in Chicago, where wind chill values will dip to -15.
Summary: I've tried to go into even more detail with the current storm scenario, isolating metro areas expecting ice vs. snow. A slight shift in the storm track will make a significant difference in final amounts, but there's enough continuity and agreement between models for a moderate to high confidence level. The Middle Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley will bear the brunt of snow and ice. The storm may push a coating to an inch of slush into Washington D.C., and Philadelphia by Sunday, but right now no major travel disruptions are expected. Thick fog is blanketing metro New York City and much of New England as unusually warm air flows northward on the warm side of this intense storm. The fog will dissipate by Saturday as temperatures begin to cool. Good luck - be careful out there.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
These 11 Cities May Completely Run Out Of Water Sooner Than You Think. We will take many things for granted in the 21st century. Access to clean, reliable water is not one of them, especially west of the Mississippi, but some cities you might not suspect are on this list. Here's a clip from a long and thorough story at Huffington Post: "Columbia University's water scarcity study showed most of California, from San Diego all the way to Santa Barbara, at high risk for water problems. And CIRES' study showed much of the same areas with high to moderate stress on regional watersheds from the coast and all the way inland. Los Angeles relies on importing much of its water from the Colorado River system which has long provided the American West with water -- seven states in all that are home to almost 40 million people. But demands on the river are often cited as unsustainable, due to predicted population increases and climate change. A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a water supply and demand gap in the Colorado River of about 3.2 million-acre feet by 2060 -- roughly five times the amount of water that Los Angeles uses in a year..." (Image: NASA Earth Observatory).
New Research Maps The Secret Structure Of The Sun. I found this article at The Verge interesting - revealing how little we know about the star that sustains us - here's a clip: "...But David Hathaway, a NASA scientist whose new paper in Science confirms the existence of giant cells, was able to find the structures by tracking supergranules over time. Hathaway and fellow researchers used NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory to monitor the sun every 45 seconds for a few months. With careful averaging, they were able to determine that large groups of supergranules were being moved by an underlying presence — the long-sought giant cells...."
Image credit above: "An illustration of giant-cell flow trajectories in 2010". Credit: Hathaway/NASA.
Top 10 Fuel Efficient Vehicles For 2014. A few more surprises on this list, courtesy of Ecowatch. Here's the intro: "The government’s ranking of the 10 most fuel-efficient cars for 2014 doesn’t sport any fuel at all. The 10 vehicles on the list by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy are all either 100 percent electric (EV) or plug-in hybrids. Keeping in mind that one gallon of gasoline equates to 33.7 kilowatt-hours, the vehicles on the list all achieve at least 58 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Though the Nissan LEAF is the highest selling EV, it did not make the cut. None of Elon Musk‘s Tesla models are listed either..."
Photo credit: "The Chevrolet Spark gets 128 MPGe in the city and 109 on the highway." Photo credit: Chevrolet.
Why You Should Give LED Lightbulbs For Christmas. Seriously. The Daily Beast has an interesting analysis about why LED bulbs pay longterm dividends; here's a clip: "...And yet not many people will go out and make the switch. Our existing bulbs tend to work, and we are not yet conditioned to think of them as capital investments. “This isn’t a disposable commodity,” said Watson. “It is a transferrable asset.” Behavioral economists have taught us that we are often wired to ignore the long-term financial benefits of a transaction in favor of perceived short-term benefits. That’s why I think LEDs make excellent gifts. For the giver, these bulbs offer a huge amount of leverage. You pay $22 out of pocket for a 75-watt bulb, but you are in effect giving the recipient an annuity that will pay out $215.50 over its lifetime. No savings bond promises that kind of bang for the buck. And even though the recipient might recoil at first, he will come around once you point that they’re getting a household utility and an income stream—all with no upfront cost." (Image above: The Daily Beast).
How The NSA Is Tracking People Right Now. If this keeps up I'm going to toss the iPhone into a lake and rely on Morse Code. Here's an amazing and vaguely terrifying infographic from The Washington Post.
Netlix's War On Mass Culture. It turns out binge viewing is just the beginning, as reported in an eye-opening story at New Republic; here's a clip: "...And that’s why what Netflix is trying to do is so audacious. For the past two years, the Silicon Valley company has been making a major push into original programming, putting out an ambitious slate of shows that have cost Netflix, which had profits of $17 million in 2012, hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of the relative quality of some of those series, such as “House of Cards” (a multiple Emmy winner) and “Orange Is the New Black,” they’ve been widely interpreted as part of an attempt to become another HBO. Because every episode of every show is made available to watch right away, they’re also seen as simply a new twist in on-demand viewing. But in fact the company has embarked upon a venture more radical than any before it. It may even be more radical than Netflix itself realizes..."
The Rise And Fall Of Blackberry: An Oral History. Creative disruption is happening faster than ever. Remember, oh, 6-7 years ago when everyone was walking around glued to their "crackberrys"? Then came the iPhone, then Android, and Blackberry didn't react to the disruption until it was too late. Here's a clip from this week's cover story at the always-excellent Bloomberg Businessweek: "In 1984, Mike Lazaridis, an engineering student at the University of Waterloo, and Douglas Fregin, an engineering student at the University of Windsor, founded an electronics and computer science consulting company called Research In Motion, or RIM. For years the company tinkered in obscurity, until it focused on a breakthrough technology: an easy, secure, and effective device that allowed workers to send and receive e-mails while away from the office. They called it the BlackBerry. RIM grew into one of the world’s most valuable tech companies. The BlackBerry became the indispensable accessory of business executives, heads of state, and Hollywood celebrities—until iPhone and Android came along and spoiled the party. Today the company, which has been renamed, simply, BlackBerry (BBRY), is burning through cash as sales keep falling. On Nov. 21, BlackBerry shares closed at just above $6, the lowest it’s been in almost 15 years..."
The 80 Most Powerful Photos Of 2013. Here's one of 80 compelling, sometimes chilling photos that encapsulate 2013, courtesy of The Roosevelts: "Chris Hadfield: Chesapeake to Cape Cod to Lake Huron – in a glance, so much history, geology and geography, May 9, 2013."
A "Mood-Sweater" That Shows People How You're Feeling. Yes, this is at the top of my Christmas shopping list, right behind glow-in-the-dark Honey Boo Boo slippers and a robotic cat that meows my latest Facebook posts. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "A phlegmatic character can belie a multitude of feelings, making it difficult for others to pick up on emotional cues. But help is at hand. The GER mood sweater, by design lab Sensoree, is wearable tech that attempts to shed light on the inner feelings of the wearer, without the need for uncomfortable chat. According to Sensoree, the top makes use of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) – the way in which the conductance of human skin changes in response to stimuli..."
Photo credit above: "The GER mood sweater means you will never again have to tell people how you are feeling."
"Snow-Hawk". From mohawk to snowhawk - nice SUV decoration, very much in the holiday spirit. Thanks to Amanda Granning in Duluth, via WeatherNation TV's Todd Nelson.
14 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
30 F. average high on December 5.
40 F. high on December 5, 2012.
Trace of snow reported yesterday.
3" of snow on the ground at KMSP.
TODAY: Windchill advisory. Some sun. Windchill: -20. High: 3
FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and polar. Low: -15
SATURDAY: Sunny, less wind. Bug-free. High: -2
SUNDAY: Clouds increase, light snow possible late in the day and at night. Wake-up: -4. High: 10
MONDAY: Clearing, bitter breeze returns. Wake-up: 7. High: 8 (falling during the afternoon)
TUESDAY: Another clipper, still numbing. Wake-up: -10. High: 12
WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, clouds increase late. Wake-up: -14. High: 3
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, more tolerable. Wake-up: 0. High: 21
* 30s are possible a week from today.
** photo above of a "light pillar" and sundogs courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Large Companies Prepared To Pay Price On Carbon. The New York Times has the article - here's an excerpt: "More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming. The development is a striking departure from conservative orthodoxy and a reflection of growing divisions between the Republican Party and its business supporters. A new report by the environmental data company CDP has found that at least 29 companies, some with close ties to Republicans, including ExxonMobil, Walmart and American Electric Power, are incorporating a price on carbon into their long-term financial plans..."
Photo credit above: "The Motiva refinery, co-owned by Shell in Port Arthur, Texas, April 2, 2013. More than two dozen major American corporations, including the five oil giants, are preparing to pay climate-related taxes, departing from the conservative orthodoxy of the party they traditionally support." (Michael Stravato/The New York Times)
Experts Say The IPCC Underestimated Future Sea Level Rise. St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham has the story at The Guardian; here's the introduction: "It looks like past IPCC predictions of sea level rise were too conservative; things are worse than we thought. That is the takeaway message from a new study out in Quaternary Science Reviews and from updates to the IPCC report itself. The new study, which is also discussed in depth on RealClimate, tries to determine what our sea levels will be in the future. What they found isn't pretty. Predicting of sea level rise is a challenging business. While we have good information about what has happened in the past, we still have trouble looking into the future. So, what do we know? Well it is clear that sea levels began to rise about 100 years ago. This rise coincided with increasing global temperatures..."
Photo credit above: "Sea level rise over the next century depends on future greenhouse gas emissions." Photograph: Jon M Fletcher/AP.
Obama To Feds: Boost Renewable Power 20 Percent. AP and ABC News have the article - here's a clip: "Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Obama says the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs. Obama announced the plan Thursday as part of a wide-ranging, second-term drive to combat climate change and prepare for its effects. A plan announced in June would put first-time limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, boost renewable energy production on federal lands and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures..."
Worst Case Scenario For Oil Sands Industry Has Come To Life, Leaked Document Shows. Pulitzer-prize winning InsideClimate News has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—with how-to's for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement's growing influence seems to have come to life. The December 2010 presentation by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Texas, mostly advised oil sands companies to ignore or limit reaction to the then-burgeoning tar sands opposition movement because "activists lack influence in politics." But there was a buried warning for industry under one scenario: Letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about "the most significant environmental campaign of the decade..."
Less Riff Raff
I vividly remember my first Minnesota winter, 30 years ago, a record 98.6 inches of snow submerging the Twin Cities, waist-deep in snow, thinking "what have I done?" A friend at KARE-11 (WTCN) took me aside. "Paul, at least the cold and snow keeps the riff raff out" he whispered. Really? Then how did I get in? His other exhortation: the crime rate drops - and your garbage doesn't stink.
So much to look forward to.
One of the coldest blobs of Yukon chill in a decade is about to drain out of the frozen wastelands of western Canada. By Friday daytime "highs" struggle to top 0F; temperatures may hold below zero Saturday in spite of a bright, pleading sun.
This will be one of the coldest outbreaks of the winter - and no, it doesn't necessarily mean the entire winter will be Nanook.
If you're dressed properly & active you can reduce the risk of frostbite. The "no-exposed-skin" rule comes into play for kids at the bus stop, with a wind chill of -10F today, dipping to -20F Friday AM.
We may be brushed by light snow Sunday night, but highs reach the 20s late next week; a few 30s the 3rd week of December.
This too shall pass, but short term? Cash in those frequent flier miles. Or just grin and bear it.
* photo above: Clint Austin, Duluth News Tribune.
Windchill Advisory Posted. NOAA has issued an advisory for dangerous windchills from 6 PM this evening through midday Saturday. Values may dip as low as -20 to -30F in the metro, -40F up north. Details from the Twin Cities NWS:
DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS WITH WIND CHILL READINGS DROPPING TO BETWEEN 25 BELOW AND 35 BELOW ZERO WILL OCCUR AT TIMES FROM THIS EVENING INTO SATURDAY MORNING. WHILE WIND CHILLS WILL BRIEFLY IMPROVE ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON...THEY WILL QUICKLY PLUMMET BACK TO DANGEROUS VALUES ON FRIDAY EVENING AND PERSIST UNTIL LATE MORNING SATURDAY. THE COLDEST CONDITIONS WILL BE FOUND OVER WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA...WHERE WIND CHILLS WILL APPROACH 35 BELOW FRIDAY NIGHT. A WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON SATURDAY FOR CENTRAL AND WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA...GENERALLY WEST OF A LINE FROM LITTLE FALLS TO REDWOOD FALLS. EAST OF THAT LINE... INCLUDING THE TWIN CITIES METRO...MANKATO...AND EAU CLAIRE... WIND CHILL ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT DURING THE NIGHTTIME HOURS TONIGHT AND AGAIN ON FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING.
Extra-Fickle Snowfall Pattern. The metro-scale snowfall total map (courtesy of the Twin Cities NWS) had me scratching my head: 1" at Bloomington, 2" at Edina and North Minneapolis, 1.5" Golden Valley, but 6" north of Crystal? Plowable - just enough snow to foul up traffic and get snow lovers excited.
Coldest In 4 Years? This will probably be the coldest spell in at least 4 years, possibly a decade for parts of Minnesota. Historically winter temperatures bottom out in mid-January, so this is coming a good 5 weeks ahead of schedule, which is unusual, but not unprecedented. Twin Cities temperatures may hold below zero much of Friday and Saturday, more subzero weather Monday night, again Tuesday PM into Wednesday morning. 20s (above!) return by the end of next week, according to the ECMWF model. Source: weatherspark.
Probability Of Subzero Windchills: December 12-18. Here's a new NOAA product showing the risk of wind chills dipping below 0F: 90% for the Red River Valley, with a high probability extending into New England.
Midday Saturday Temperatures. The map above shows NOAA's NAM surface temperature guidance, valid at noon Saturday, readings just below zero in the Twin Cities metro, along with most of central and western Minnesota and the Dakotas. At least the sun will be out. Source: Ham Weather.
Canadian Invasion. Here is the 12km NAM model showing predicted temperatures into Saturday night; the green solid line is the 0F isotherm, pushing as far south as Chicago and Kansas City by late week. How quickly can you get to Florida? Loop: NOAA and Ham Weather.
NOAA Climate Forecast System. Here is the latest CFS model, showing two episodes of bitter weather for the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest, from today into the middle of next week, another numbing spell predicted around Christmas. Temperatures bounce back to near freezing for much of the first half of January. In theory. Source: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Skill - Or Luck? Here is the NOAA CFS 45 day (!) snow cover trend I showed you back on November 21. I was (and still am) highly skeptical that there's a shred of skill going out that far, but the model did a pretty good job picking up yesterday's snow event, forecasting 2-3" for the metro - on the low side but the timing of the snowy spike raised a few eyebrows. For the record, CFS predicts 5-6" snow on the ground in time for Santa's triumphant arrival December 24.
Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
* Push of arctic air sparks a period of ice and singificant snow from the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma, Arkansas, the Middle Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley late Thursday into Saturday morning.
* Potential for 1/4" glaze ice amounts from near Little Rock to Memphis and Bowling Green Thursday night into early Saturday - capable of significant travel challenges and downed trees, powerlines. Power outages are possible as this storm ripples across the Mid South into the Ohio Valley.
* No major snow/ice problems for major east coast cities into Saturday. A cold rain is likely New York to D.C. Friday into Saturday.
A Stripe of Snow & Ice. Our in-house Alerts Broadcaster models show the greatest potential for plowable snows and ice Thursday into Saturday from Oklahoma City into northern Arkansas and the Mid South, with significant snow into Ohio, western Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Snowfall Potential. Here are a few select city amounts, the latest snowfall predictions, showing the most concern from the Texas Panhandle into western Kentucky and Ohio. Friday may be the most problematic day for travel (land and air).
Thursday Ice Risk. The red-shaded area shows a high risk of .25" of glaze ice or more, capable of disrupting travel and triggering power outages - the greatest concern over southeast Oklahoma and western/northwestern Arkansas.
Friday Ice Potential. By Friday surface temperatures dip below 32F in the Memphis area, possibly Nashville, creating freezing rain (glaze ice) problems. Moderate to heavy snow is likely just north and west of the regions of heaviest ice, brushing Louisville, Cincinnati and Columbus.
Summary: One of the coldest outbreaks in a decade will push into the USA later this week, preceded by a band of snow and ice pushing unusually far south. Facilities and staff from Little Rock and Hot Springs to Memphis, Nashville, Louisville and Columbus should monitor forecasts - watches and warnings are inevitable, and the risk of winter-related impacts to operations will be high late Thursday into Saturday morning.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
Bitter Outbreaks In A Warming World. How on Earth can we get arctic "invasions" if the atmosphere is warming? It's a good question. Nature rarely moves in a perfectly straight line, and that certainly applies to the atmosphere. As one climate scientist told me recently "if we ever get to the point where we don't see cold fronts or snow we'll be too far gone to do anything about climate change." The reality: in spite of a warmer atmosphere (globally) and rapidly warming oceans, bitter air will still find its way into the USA when prevailing jet stream wind patterns are favorable. As they will be over the next week or so. We focus on the coming cold wave and cold vs. warm weather records for the USA in today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the coming cold snap for the United States and shows the bigger picture of the overall warming trends. This is the first time in 20 years that there were more cold weather records than warm weather records, and how does it play into the overall climate picture?"
2013 On Track To Be 7th Warmest Year Since 1850. Although the USA will wind up with more record lows than highs for 2013, worldwide it was another unusually warm year for air and ocean temperatures. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "The world is on track to have its 7th warmest year on record in 2013, which is up from 2012, which was the globe’s 9th warmest year, according to a new report released on Wednesday. The report from the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva found that the January to September period tied with 2003 for the 7th warmest such period on record, with an average global surface temperature that was 0.86°F above the 1961-1990 average. In addition, global average sea level reached a record high this year, with an average rate of increase of 0.13 inches per year, which is double the observed 20th century rate. Sea level is rising because of melting polar ice caps and warming ocean temperatures that cause the water to expand over time..."
Graphic credit above: "Global average surface temperature departures from average from different global datasets." Credit: WMO.
National Standards Urged For U.S. Tornado Protection. Better warning detection and warning systems only go so far. If no basement or underground shelter (or "safe room") is available and an EF4+ tornado is approaching, the odds of survival are small. Lives can be saved by enacting stronger building codes, but that will ultimately result in more expensive construction techniques, costs that will inevitably be passed on to consumers. Here's a clip from Reuters: "National standards should be set for building construction, storm shelters and emergency communications to reduce death and damage from tornados, a federal agency that studied the deadly 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, recommended on Thursday. The National Institute of Standards and Technology said 135 of the 161 deaths from the May 22, 2011 tornado resulted from building failure. The EF-5 tornado was the deadliest single tornado in the United States since official records were first kept in 1950, the agency said..."
Photo credit above: "A funnel cloud is spotted moving east over Highway 5 near Rosebud, Arkansas April 10, 2013." Credit: Reuters/Gene Blevins.
Federal Agency Releases Joplin Tornado Study. No building will ever be tornado-proof, but how can we strengthen national building codes to make commercial and residential buildings more tornado-resistant? Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...The overarching conclusion of our two-year study is that death and destruction from tornadoes can be reduced,” said Eric Letvin, the institute’s director of disaster and failure studies. “Our scientific understanding of tornadoes and their effects has matured substantially,” he added. “It’s time to begin developing and implementing nationally accepted standards and codes that directly address tornado hazards.” The May 2011 Joplin tornado killed 161 people and destroyed thousands of buildings, including homes, churches, businesses big and small, and one of the city’s two hospitals. The study found that all but 26 of the deaths came from building collapses..." (Images above: NOAA).
America's Southern States, From Sunbelt To Stormbelt. Here's a clip from a photo essay at The Guardian: "When Robert Leslie first visited the US as a child in the late 1960s, it was the world's most productive country, driven by the sunbelt stretching across the south from Florida to California. Stormbelt is a collection of photographs taken between 2009 and 2012, when Leslie returned to the region. What he found was an area battling not just the economic recession, but also natural disasters such as hurricanes, forest fires and drought. Caption text by Edward Burtynsky."
In A Tornado, What Would You Run To Save? The most likely answer: the things that can't be replaced: photo albums, family heirlooms, your children (!) - the list goes on. This is one (of many) good reasons to back up your photos in the cloud, just in case. Here's an excerpt of a press release at Digital Journal that got me thinking (it hurt my brain so I stopped): "We've all asked ourselves the question: Should we ever be confronted with a natural disaster - a tornado, a hurricane, a flood - what is the one thing we'd go for that would give us solace, were we to lose everything? Most often, the answer would be: The photographs. It's a universal sentiment that has found its way into "Running for Photographs," a heartrending music video featuring family photos and keepsakes that were scattered hundreds of miles across the states and discovered in the aftermath of the recent tornadoes that pounded the Midwest. Dedicated to storm victims everywhere and to all those who help, the music video is posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/71XBxHCk-kE..."
Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt. If you haven't checked out the 5 chapters in this multimedia NPR production, it's definitely worth a look. It will make you think twice about what goes into your next shirt.
Music Lessons Boost Emotional, Intellectual Development. Yes, try to get your kids or grandkids to play an instrument - any instrument will due! Here's a clip from Pacific Standard Magazine: "There is no longer any doubt that student musicians perform better than their peers on a variety of measures, including getting better grades. But the chicken-and-egg question lingers: Is this effect due to their musical training? Or are sharper, more motivated kids more likely to take up an instrument? While it doesn’t provide a definitive answer, new research from Germany presents evidence that improved academic performance truly is a result of musical training..."
How (Hypothetical) Zombie Infections Might Mimic A Major Influenza Outbreak. Medium.com has the vaguely terrifying story; here's an excerpt: "When it comes to the zombie movies, it’s easy to imagine that the way the living dead spread through the population has little or nothing to do with real infectious diseases. Not so! Today, Caitlyn Witkowski at Bryant University in Smithfield and Brian Blais at Brown University in Providence, both in Rhode Island, show how the way people turn into zombies in horror flicks, is remarkably similar to real epidemics. In fact, the links are so similar that it is possible to use the same mathematical models to describe both types of epidemic..."
The "Sweariest" States In The USA? Wait, Wisconsin is one of the least courteous states in the USA? Really? Here's an excerpt from a story at The Atlantic: "...A new map, though, takes a more complicated approach. Instead of using text, it uses data gathered from ... phone calls. You know how, when you call a customer service rep for your ISP or your bank or what have you, you're informed that your call will be recorded? Marchex Institute, the data and research arm of the ad firm Marchex, got ahold of the data that resulted from some recordings, examining more than 600,000 phone calls from the past 12 months—calls placed by consumers to businesses across 30 different industries. It then used call mining technology to isolate the curses therein, cross-referencing them against the state the calls were placed from..."
Map credit: Marchex.
Ron Burgundy Interviews Payton Manning For SportsCenter. If you haven't seen this it's worth a look, courtesy of Athlete Swag.
32 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
31 F. average high on December 4.
45 F. high on December 4, 2012.
.52" precipitation fell at MSP International yesterday.
4.1" snow reported at the airport. Around the metro amounts ranged from 1 to 6".
TODAY: Some sun, a very cold wind. WC: -12 Winds: NW 20. High: 9
THURSDAY NIGHT: Windchill Advisory. Mostly clear and nippy. Low: -8
FRIDAY: Windchill Advisory. More sun, bitter. Morning wind chill dips to -20. High: 3
SATURDAY: Windchill Advisory thru noon. Bright, ineffective sun. Less wind. Wake-up: -14. High: -1
SUNDAY: Clouds increase, snow at night? Wake0up: -10. High: 10
MONDAY: Partly sunny, still numb. Wake-up: 3. High: 6
TUESDAY: Flurries, then sharply colder PM. Wake-up: -9. High: 13
WEDNESDAY: Frigid start, breezy by afternoon. Wake-up: -13. High: 12
* highs reach the 20s next Thursday and Friday.
When Global Warming Kicks Into Overdrive How Will We Know? What many scientists are calling the biggest environmental threat we've ever faced as a species may require a new network of sensors trained on potential tipping points. Here's an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor: "...The panel, convened by the National Research Council, recommends the establishment of an early-warning system for abrupt change, noting that even slow warming trends can reach levels that threaten to drive plant and animal species extinct, disrupt agriculture, and trigger political instability in the space of a few years to a few decades – well within the span of a human lifetime. Such a monitoring system, whose specific definition the panel acknowledges it has left to others, is crucial to help decisionmakers anticipate abrupt changes as much as possible and begin to adapt ahead of time..."
Climate Change Is Happening. Will L.A. Have Enough Water? The short answer appears to be no. KCET has the story; here's an excerpt: "...More than just disappearing polar ice caps, climate change has far-reaching consequences, such as increased rates of allergies, diseases, and even death, as Los Angeles writer Linda Marsa explains in her new book, "Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health -- and how we can save ourselves." It also means there will be water shortages in Los Angeles, unless we become more efficient with our supply. Right now only 11 percent of the Los Angeles's water comes from local sources, and 1 percent is recycled. Fifty two percent comes from the Colorado River through the Metropolitan Water District. Thirty six percent comes from the Eastern Sierra Nevadas through the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Unfortunately, the Colorado River is currently the country's most endangered river from being so overused, and all but one of the Sierra's 24 major watersheds are impaired..." (Image: ThinkStock).
Panel Says Global Warming Carries Risk Of Deep Changes. It's the unknown unknowns that keep scientists up at night. Here's an excerpt from a Justin Gillis article at The New York Times: "...It cited the outbreak of mountain pine beetles in the American West and in Canada. The disappearance of bitterly cold winter nights that used to kill off the beetles has allowed them to ravage tens of millions of acres of forests, damage so severe it can be seen from space. Likewise, a drastic decline of summer sea ice in the Arctic has occurred much faster than scientists expected. The panel warned that Arctic sea ice could disappear in the summer within several decades, with severe impacts on wildlife and human communities in the region, and unknown effects on the world’s weather patterns. Among the greatest risks in coming years, the panel said, is that climate change could greatly increase the extinction rate of plants and animals, essentially provoking the sixth mass extinction in the earth’s history..."
The Climate Bomb Redux. It's hard to wrap your head around how much additional heat energy Earth's atmosphere and oceans are retaining due to a sharp spike in greenhouse gases. This story at Discover Magazine tries to provide some perspective; here's an excerpt: "Imagine four atomic bombs like the one that incinerated Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945 exploding in the atmosphere every single second of every day of every week and every month, year after year, ad infinitum. That, says John Cook and colleagues at the web site Skeptical Science, is a good way to understand the excess heat that is building up in the atmosphere as a result of humankind’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Four atomic bombs’ worth of extra energy, every second..."
Photo credit above: "Mushroom clouds blossom over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right) from atom bombs dropped by the United States on August 6 and 9, 1945." (Source: Wikimedia Commons).
Bloomberg LP Launches First Tool That Measures Risk Of "Unburnable Carbon" Assets. InsideClimate News has the story - here's the introduction: "In a move that underscores Wall Street's growing unease over the business-as-usual strategy of the world's fossil fuel companies, Bloomberg L.P. unveiled a tool last week that helps investors quantify for the first time how climate policies and related risks might batter the earnings and stock prices of individual oil, coal and natural gas companies. The company's new Carbon Risk Valuation Tool is available to more than 300,000 high-end traders, analysts and others who regularly pore over the stream of information that's available through Bloomberg's financial data and analysis service. The move significantly broadens and elevates the discussion of "stranded" or "unburnable" carbon reserves—expanding it beyond climate groups and sustainability investors to the desks of the world's most active and influential investors and traders..."
Photo credit above: "Bloomberg LP is now offering a Carbon Risk Valuation Tool through its terminal subscription service (seen here), which is available to more than 300,000 high-end traders, analysts and others." Credit: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Subarctic Lakes Are Drying Up At A Rate Not Seen In 200 Years. Here's a clip from Science Daily: "...The drying of some lakes, which first became visible to the naked eye in 2010, was even more pronounced in summer 2013. "With this type of lake, precipitation in the form of snow represents 30% to 50% of the annual water supply," explained the study's lead author, Frédéric Bouchard, a postdoctoral fellow at Université Laval's Department of Geography and the Centre for Northern Studies. The kind of desiccation seen by the researchers is without precedent in 200 years. Isotopic analyses conducted on the remains of phytoplankton accumulated in lakebed sediment show that the lakes have maintained water balance for 200 years. This stability was abruptly disrupted a few years ago..."
Photo credit above: "Desiccated lakes in Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Manitoba (Canada) are shown. Desiccation of shallow lakes has occurred recently in response to lower-than-average snowmelt runoff. This phenomenon appears unprecedented over the last 200 years." (Credit: Hilary White).