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.

Warm Sunshine - Risk of Silly Love Songs @Target Field

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 2, 2014 - 1:54 AM

Maybe I'm Amazed

Weather is the pond in which we live, an atmospheric aquarium in which we're all bewildered spectators. As in life, weather is cyclical - the background hum of daily changes the soundtrack of our lives.

Which is a long, poetically-tortured way of saying I'm looking forward to hearing Paul McCartney rock Target Field tonight. The man is prolific and hopelessly gifted. And thinking about the arc of his amazing career made me consider all the songs ever written about the weather. Hundreds? Thousands? From classical to jazz, blues & country - artists write about their experiences.

We change our minds, our jobs, even our friends & spouses, but we can't come close to changing the rhythm and rhyme of the weather. Personally, I find that humbling...and reassuring.

Oh yeah, odds favor a dry sky this evening; today the drier, sunnier, warmer day of the weekend. An irritable warm front sparks swarms of T-storms next week; southern Minnesota will see the heaviest rains by midweek.

So, my love, listen to what the man said. With a little luck this band on the run will temporarily control the elements floating overhead and we'll all be treated to a few more silly love songs.

Sounds good.

Photo credit above: "Sir Paul McCartney performs with his band during the "Out There" Tour at the Times Union Center on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Albany, N.Y." (Photo by Hans Pennink/Invision/AP).

Spotty Weekend Storms, Especially Sunday PM. Long-range guidance shows a lake-worthy weekend, a few isolated T-storms can't be ruled out today (due to lingering instability aloft). More numerous storms are likely to bubble up late tomorrow ahead of a slightly cooler front. That front stalls, sparking another wave of potentially heavy showers and T-storms late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, especially over southern Minnesota. The latest ECMWF model run shows cooler weather by the end of next week.

Stagnant Pattern = Carolina Flooding. 60-hour NOAA WRF accumulated rainfall amounts are impressive from the Carolinas into Washington D.C., Wilmington and Philadelphia, with some 3-6" amounts possible over thhe Carolinas, maybe 2-3" from D.C. up I-95 into the Delaware Valley. Monsoon storms flare up over the southwestern USA with a scattering of storms across the Upper Midwest. Animation: HAMweather.

Jet Stream So Weak Winds Are Running From Pacific To Atlantic Across North Pole. Yes, the jet stream is confused, and I still suspect it has something to do with differential heating from the equator to the poles, and rapid warming of the arctic and far northern latitudes. Robert Scribbler explains: "...But, during recent years, temperatures in the far north have been rapidly rising by in some cases as much as 0.5 to 1.0 degrees Celsius per decade. This heating of the polar zone, together with land and sea ice loss, has resulted in a weakening of the circumpolar wind pattern called the Jet Stream. This weakening has collapsed the wall keeping southerly winds from rushing over the Arctic as we see today. The current pattern involves an extreme weakness and high amplitude wave in the Jet Stream extending from the Central Pacific and into the Arctic, extending well above the 80 degree North Latitude line..."

California Breaks Drought Record as 58% of State Hits Driest Level. The same perpetually "stuck" jet stream configuration that sparked record floods in the eastern USA is holding fast with a stalled ridge of hot, high pressure straddling the western USA and western Canada, resulting in a rash of early wildfires and some of the driest conditions on record. Here's a clip from The Los Angeles Times: "...According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report, in July roughly 58% of California was considered to be experiencing an "exceptional" drought -- the harshest on a five-level scale.

Photo credit above: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times. "Brandon Arthur, 10, crawls out of the gooey muddy tailings left by his father Steve Arthur's water well drill site in Terra Bella."

Record-Setting Drought Intensifies in Parched California. More perspective on the slow-motion natural disaster playing out on the left coast from Climate Central; an excerpt: "...While the drought can’t be directly linked to climate change, the warming of the planet is expected to make already dry places drier. And future droughts could be even worse. The current drought — which rivals the terrible drought of the late 1970s — has been 3 years in the making, as three successive winter wet seasons went by with below-normal rainfall. The paltry snowpack this year really intensified matters, and the persistent pattern of heat in the West and cold in the East has kept much of California baking all year. In fact, the state had its warmest first six months of a year on record this year. July has followed suit with, for example, San Francisco registering an uncharacteristic 90°F on July 25, a full 12°F above normal..."

Image credit above: "The progression of the drought in California through the spring and summer of 2014, as the two highest categories, extreme and exceptional drought, grew."

FDA Offers Hurricane Preparedness Tips. Long Island's Newsday has an article with some good reminders for preparation, especially as it relates to water and food; here's an excerpt: "...The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued its hurricane preparedness fact sheet for 2014. Among the recommended tips: Store a three-day supply of bottled water for each person in your household; one gallon of water per person per day. Also, now is a good time to inspect the cans of food in your pantry. Replace any rusted or swollen cans..."

Image credit above: "The FDA advises storing a three-day supply of bottled water for each person in your household -- one gallon of water per person per day." (Credit: FDA).

Where Do Hurricane Names Come From? This question comes up from time to time, and I thought in Bryan/College Station, Texas did a good job answering it; here's an excerpt: "...There are six rotating name lists for the Atlantic Basin," said Dr. Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center. "Every six years you come back to the same list of names that you had 6 years ago, minus any names that were retired after a particular storm caused a level of damage, a scope of human suffering or some other notoriety that made it insensitive for us to hold onto that name," explained Knabb. Storms like Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans and Sandy that impacted the East Coast and Andrew that forever changed how we prepare for hurricanes. Those names have all been retired..."

Image credit: NOAA NHC, which adds: "Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The six lists above are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2014 list will be used again in 2020. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. Several names have been retired since the lists were created. Here is more information the history of naming tropical cyclones and retired names..."

NOAA's Hurricane Hunters Due For Overhaul. Imagine your worst flight ever. Now multiply that by 50. That's what flying into a hurricane is like; unimaginable turbulence. Here's a clip from an interesting story at SunSentinel: "After pounding through 183 hurricanes over the past 38 years, two Lockheed WP-3 Orion turboprops are almost ready for the junk heap. Yet new hurricane hunters could cost a prohibitive $300 million. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has another option: Revive both planes with new wings, engines and avionics at a cost of about $15 million per aircraft. That should keep them flying through 2030, or for more than 50 years..."

No Record, But Arctic Sea Ice WIll Be Among 10 Lowest. Here's the introduction to a story at Climate Central: "The extent of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean at the end of the summer season likely won’t surpass the record low of 2012, but 2014 will still likely rank as one of the lowest minimum extents (or areas) in the record books. That’s according to Julienne Stroeve, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. “It’s likely that it will be among the top 10 lowest,” Stroeve told Climate Central in an email..." (Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO.)

Picture This: Eerie Wildfire, Stirring Rainbow & Sharknado! Climate Central has a grab-bag of interesting weather nuggets and photos, including this beauty; here's an excerpt: "...It would be hard to find more stunning scenery as the backdrop to an ethereal double rainbow. Double rainbows, like single rainbows, often form after storm weather when the sun’s light is reflected off the back of a raindrop, only in this case, it is reflected twice. This rainbow was photographed above Oregon’s awe-inspiring Crater Lake in the eponymous Crater Lake National Park after thunderstorms swept through the area. (Those same storms spawned lightning that ignited many of the wildfires that have burned across Oregon in recent weeks.)..."

Image credit above: "A spectacular double rainbow photographed after a thunderstorm over Crater Lake in Oregon." Credit: David Grimes/Crater Lake National Park

How "Into The Storm" Built a Better Tornado on a Budget. I know it has no resemblance to reality (anytime soon, God-willing) but I am looking forward to seeing this film. A worthy sequel to "Twister"? I'm keeping an open mind. Here's a clip from The Hollywood Reporter: "While visual effects budgets on summer's biggest movies can push $100 million, New Line's upcoming tornado pic Into the Storm defied the odds. Despite unleashing dozens of CG-rendered twisters, it was produced for a thrifty budget of $50 million. Of that, only about $23 million was spent on visual effects, the key selling point of Warner Bros.' Aug. 8 release..."

Image credit courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Crude Gamble: Oil-By-Rain Threatens Safety of People and Planet in Pacific Northwest. EcoWatch has the story - here's the introduction: "With an estimated 9 million barrels of crude oil moving over rail lines in North America at any given moment, it’s no wonder that safety and environmental ramifications of oil-by-rail are top of mind for many. In the wake of the one year anniversary of Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic fatal train derailment explosion, it’s imperative that more people become aware of the dangers of unprecedented amounts of oil being transported through the heart of communities and cities in the U.S. and Canada.  Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail, a video produced and published this week by VICE News, investigates the rapid expansion of oil-by-rail transport..."

File photo credit above: "This July 6, 2013 file photo shows smoke rising from railway cars carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec. A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes and behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules." AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson, File.

NASA Validates "Impossible" Space Drive. Wired UK has the intriguing article; here's the introduction: "NASA is a major player in space science, so when a team from the agency this week presents evidence that "impossible" microwave thrusters seem to work, something strange is definitely going on. Either the results are completely wrong, or Nasa has confirmed a major breakthrough in space propulsion. British scientist Roger Shawyer has been trying to interest people in his EmDrive for some years through his company SPR Ltd. Shawyer claims the EmDrive converts electric power into thrust, without the need for any propellant by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container..." (Image credit: NASA).

Poison Yourself - It's Good For You. Here's a headline I thought I'd never see; an excerpt from Outside Online: "...“Everybody thinks oxidation is bad, and that antioxidants are good,” says Dr. Philip Hooper, an endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “That’s bogus. A little bit of poison is good.” That poison can actually come from plants, especially those that have survived harsh conditions. 

In this Nietzschean diet principle know as xenohormesis, foods that have survived harsh conditions make us stronger by stressing our bodies, not because they’re rich in antioxidants..."

Photo credit above: "Ditch the multivitamin and grab the good stuff." Photo: mythja/Thinkstock.

87 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

83 F. average high on August 1.

83 F. high on August 1, 2013.

August 1, 1831: Cold outbreak across Minnesota with light frost reported at Ft. Snelling.

TODAY: Warm sun, isolated T-storm. Winds: SW 7. High: 83

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clearing, warm and pleasant. Risk of a Beatle. Low: 65

SUNDAY: Sunshine thru afternoon. Late-PM storms likely. High: 86

MONDAY: Partly sunny, slightly cooler. Wake-up: 63. High: 80

TUESDAY: Some sun, heavy T-storms late. Wake-up: 59. High: near 80

WEDNESDAY: Heavy T-storms southern MN. Sunshine north. Wake-up: 61. High: 78

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, sticky. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 59. High: 82

FRIDAY: Unsettled, Risk of T-storms. Wake-up: 60. High: 79

Climate Stories...

New Study Indicates Dramatic Fall-Off In Global Crop Yields By The Year 2050. The reason? Warming temperatures increase low-level ozone production, which is even more harmful to crop yields. Here's an excerpt from Gizmag: "...For example, an estimated 46 percent of damage to soy crops previously believed to have been caused by global warming was reportedly actually due to air pollution. However, whilst the two phenomenon damage the crops in their own right, they are also inextricably linked. The rising temperatures caused by global warming is itself the catalyst that leads to an increase in the creation of plant-damaging ozone. Furthermore, the study highlights that while individually air pollution or global warming would be damaging to global food production capabilities, together they pose a much greater threat, working in concert to detrimentally affect a much wider range of crops than either one could harm on its own..."

File image credit: Shutterstock.

Construction Industry Preparing For Climate Change. The smart companies are already getting out ahead of the curve and going on offense, not waiting to play defense 5-10 years from now. Here's an excerpt from The Star Tribune: "There’s little question many architects and builders are convinced of the threat of climate change and are urging clients to plan for a future of weather extremes. Those who design and construct buildings are required to look decades into the future and are expected to provide owners with their best advice on how and where they should proceed with their projects. Those considerations can include everything from what kind of materials to use that can best withstand more frequent downpours to whether to build in an area that might become a flood plain in a future with rising sea levels..."

Michael Mann: Public Opinion Critical for Climate Change Fight. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from climate scientist Michael Mann at The Morning Call: "...Natural gas may not be the panacea some see it as, however. The ramp-up of natural gas development in Pennsylvania, either as an outgrowth of the EPA plan or the continued exploration of the Marcellus Shale, raises the specter of methane emissions from well pads and compressor stations, and methane leakage along the natural gas distribution and delivery chain. More significantly, an uncertain but potentially quite significant additional amount of so-called fugitive methane might escape into the atmosphere during the process of fracking and natural gas recovery. Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, as much as 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its release into the atmosphere..."

Reason in a Dark Time. Why The Struggle Against Climate Change Failed, and What it Means for Our Future. Here's an excerpt of a book review that caught my eye at Times Higher Education: "...He then conducts a thorough review of the ethics of climate change, emphasising the degree to which the whole problem has an ethical character. Advantaged people today are benefiting from practices – such as air travel – that cause environmental harm and store up very serious future problems. But his surprising conclusion is that it is extraordinarily hard for current ethical reasoning to express this problem precisely and in a way that has clear implications for individuals’ or groups’ actions. He deduces that ethical reasoning itself needs to be refined for a climate-changed world..."

John Lennon Said It Best: "Living is Easy with Eyes Closed". The expression (oxymoron?) "sustainable capitalism" keeps rattling around in my tired brain. Can we have it all, growth, jobs, (more of everything!), economic success and lower international carbon footprints, consuming less fossil fuel as we transition to renewables and cleaner ways to keep the lights on? We're all complicit, but excessive consumption as a mechanism to help others? EcoWatch has the story; here's a clip: "...But it is not altogether fair to single out Mr. Jones as our whipping boy. We are all, in the developed world, complicit in a lifestyle that, when analyzed objectively, is immoral, given the carbon budget truth we must face up to, and the inequities of our current economic system. This truth hits harder as the assets we have the responsibility to steward grows. All outlets have inescapable consequences, whether the money is channeled into consumption, investment, or philanthropy. Welcome to the new meaning and awesome responsibility of financial stewardship in the 21st century..."

Photo credit above: "The $34 million that Dennis Jones paid for his yacht was equal to the $34 million he had donated to charity since 2000." Photo credit: Thomas Caradonna.

Heat - Smoke - Thunder (a summer version of SAD, seasonal effective disorder?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 31, 2014 - 11:06 PM

Hot Smoked Buns

I like my warm fronts like my steaks: medium rare, smoked over a wood flame. Although hardly a heatwave, our current warming trend is accompanied by a thick pall of smoke from a most unwelcome barbecue over western Canada. Hundreds of wildfires are pumping smoke into the upper atmosphere, where prevailing jet stream winds push it southeast over Minnesota. Instead of a deep, topaz-blue, the sky is a milky, hazy eggshell-blue. That's diluted smoke from fires 2,000 miles upwind.

While we dry out from record June rains - historic heat & drought from a stalled weather pattern is igniting a fiery summer, 1-2 months ahead of schedule.

A stray cumulonimbus thunderhead sprouts around the dinner hour; a warm, dry, lazy Saturday giving way to a better chance of T-storms by Sunday afternoon. Highs poke into the mid-80s both days, warm enough to work up a respectable sweat.

A stalled warm frontal boundary sparks heavy T-storms Monday into Wednesday; NOAA QPF guidance prints out some 1-3 inch rains, with a slight risk of flash flooding by midweek.

No worries: 80-degree sun returns late next week and odds favor a dry, 78-degree sky for Sir Paul McCartney at Target Field Saturday evening.

Canadian Smoke Plume. The late afternoon 1 km visible image showed a few showers sprouting near Mille Lacs and Pelican Lake; heavier T-storms near Spooner and Eau Claire. If you look carefully you can see the outline of smoke drifting out of Canada, giving the sky a milky, hazy-blue appearance. Image: NOAA and HAMweather.

Prime Time Summertime. Summer took its sweet old time, but the maps definitely look summerlike into mid-August, a taste of the mid-July we should have experienced. Expect mid-80s Saturday and Sunday; maybe a T-storm Sunday afternoon and night into Monday. A wave of low pressure tracking along a muggy warm front draped over southern Minnesota may spark heavier showers and T-storms late Tuesday into midday Wednesday. I wouldn't be surprised to see some 1-3" rains close to home. After cooling off Wednesday we warm well into the 80s again by the end of next week. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

East Coast Soaker. Once again weather patterns are slowing to a crawl, a sloppy front stalled over the East Coast may spark some 3-6" rains across thhe Carolinas by Sunday; maybe 1-2" from near Charlotte to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The Southwest sees monsoon T-storms, especially New Mexico, with potential flash flooding over Louisiana. 4 KM WRF accumulated rainfall out 60 hours: NOAA and HAMweather.

Weather Causes 2,000 Deaths a year In U.S. A significant percentage of those deaths are cold weather-related. Here's a clip from a Wall Street Journal article: "The weather kills at least 2,000 Americans each year and nearly two-thirds of the deaths are from teh cold, according to a new government report. That may surprise some people, the researchers acknowledged. Hurricanes, tornadoes and heat waves "get more publicity, for some reason, than cold-related deaths," said Deborah Igram, one of te report's authors..."

Klotzbach-Gray Call For Three More Hurricanes This Season. But will any of those predicted hurricanes strike the USA, that's the multi-million-dollar question. A 38% probability of a major hurricane strike on the USA through the rest of the season? Fort Lauderdale's SunSentinel has the story; here's an excerpt: "Storm prognosticators  Phil Klotzbach and William Gray are standing pat, still calling for a slower than normal hurricane season. In an updated outlook released Thursday, they continue to predict 10 named storms, including four hurricanes. They project one of the hurricanes will be major, with sustained winds greater than 110 mph..." (Hurricane Irene file image: NASA).

Rain, Not Heavy Winds or Lightning, Most Dangerous Effect of Hurricanes. People (including meteorologists) often fixate on the Category of the storm and peak winds near the eye, when most injuries and deaths arise from the subsequent storm surge and inland flooding. Forward speed of a tropical system can be more important than wind speed at landfall. A slowing or stalled tropical depression can be even deadlier, in terms of flash flooding, than a fast-moving hurricane. Here's a video and excerpt from WPRI-TV in Providence: "When it comes to hurricanes, many weather-watchers focus on the storm’s category or its wind speeds while the radar’s colors grow darker. But during this year’s first hurricane, it was actually the rain that caused the most local problems. Of course, the heavy winds and the lightning strikes are all dangerous and life-threatening. It’s flooding, though, that remains the nation’s top weather-related killer..."

Hurricane Sandy Is Ushering In a Smarter Power System. A silver lining from Superstorm Sandy? Here's an excerpt from The Energy Collective: "...Beyond the shock, New Yorkers found a silver lining in the destruction. The storm made crystal clear that the existing electricity system is not suited to address the challenges of the 21st century. In response, New York State recently released a powerful report illuminating how it plans to create a more affordable, efficient and more reliable grid. Titled Reforming the Energy Vision, this game-changing documentcalls for a new approach to generating, managing, and delivering electricity throughout New York. The state proposes to replace aging infrastructure by investing nearly $30 billion over the next decade to develop a smarter electricity system..."

Photo credit above: Disaster Recovery and Smarter Systems/shutterstock

When Charley Came To Call. We're 2 weeks away from the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley, a small, compact but ferocious Category 4 storm that slammed into southwestern Florida. Here's an excerpt of an excellent recap of the storm from Fort Myers Beach News: "...There’s normal time, and there’s hurricane time. When Charley darkened the skies, unleashing raging winds and torrential rain over Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and Captiva, those on the ground could only hold their breath and hang on for the wild ride. Minutes felt like hours, and hours dragged on endlessly. Yet Charley proved to be fast moving and fairly compact for a Category 4 hurricane, blasting through in just a few hours, and saving his harshest wrath for Sanibel, Captiva, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and inland communities in DeSoto, Hardee, and Polk Counties. Fort Myers Beach was spared the worst, but an 8-foot storm surge caused "the Gulf to meet the bay, and seawater covered the entire island for a brief period,” according to WINK-TV Meteorologist, Jim Farrell..."

Thousands of Inmates Serve Time Fighting The West's Forest Fires. I knew that some prison inmates were involved in fire fighting, but I had no idea of the scope of this, especially in California, until reading an article at NPR; here's an excerpt: "...Other states like Wyoming and Nevada have similar inmate programs, but the California Department of Corrections program, with about 4,000 inmates, is the largest. Corrections officials say the program saves the state more than $100 million a year. These offenders have been convicted of things like drug crimes, minor battery or robbery. They're trained by a professional and often work in crews of 16 — always with a professional firefighter in charge, like Capt. Josh Kitchens..."

Photo credit above: "Emir Dunn, an inmate firefighter stationed at the Chamberlain Creek Conservation fire camp in California, at work on a fire. About 4,000 inmate firefighters battle blazes across the state." Adam Grossberg/KQED.

When Summer is Depressing. The more I read, the more I realize the depths of my ignorance, although my wife is kind enough to remind me of that on a daily basis. I had no idea some people suffered from a summertime version of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It turns out the symptoms are much different. Here's a clip from a story at The Atlantic: "...While about 5 percent of people are thought to have the winter variety of SAD, about one percent instead feel depressed in the summer months. The two seasonal variants make their suffers feel similarly low, but they’re otherwise very different. Those who get depressed in wintertime tend to get sluggish and put on weight, but summertime SAD sufferers lose their appetites and grow agitated, as the psychologist Jason Goldman explains..."

Coming To A Lake Near You? ICON A5 Amphibian Plane Unveiled. Gizmag has the story; here's a clip: "...The ICON A5 is designed to be simple to fly with a special flapless wing, spin-resistant airframe, and Angle of Attack (AoA) instrument to prevent stalling. Inside the A5 is an cockpit with an intuitive, distinctly automotive layout marked by a mixture of analog and digital instruments. Weighing in at 1510 lb (686.4 kg), the two-seater amphibian is equipped with both a carbon composite waterproof hull and optional retractable landing gear..."

The Health Benefits of Trees. I come from a long line of German foresters, going back 8 generations to the early 1800s, so there must be something genetic about my love of trees. Like water, I find being in the woods mentally healing - my blood pressure comes down when I'm near trees, and I suspect I'm not alone. Here's are excerpts from another fascinating article at The Atlantic: "They prevent $7 billion in health costs every year by filtering air pollution—not to mention their psychological effects. New research says the closer you can live to trees, the better off you are...It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this week. And we're only beginning to understand the nature and magnitude of their tree-benevolence..."

Photo credit above: "Treehotel, Harads, Sweden." (Matt Cowan/Reuters).

Red Robin Owns Distinction of Serving America's Unhealthiest Meal. "Hi, I'd like the Monster Special please. Does that come with a heart surgeon? Are you licensed to perform CPR?" Gawker has the gawk-worthy details; here's a clip: "...Red Robin is home to the unhealthiest meal in America, according to USA Today. In a report released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the "Monster" double burger, "bottomless" fries and a "Monster" milkshake clocks in at 3,450 calories. Also on the list were offerings from The Cheesecake Factory, including a "Brulee French Toast," which sounds delicious, but also terrifying..."

A Real "Sharknado"? As Likely as a "Tsunami of Unicorns". USA TODAY gets it right with the science behind why a shower or tornado-fueled sharks is impossible; here's an excerpt of the explainer: "...Here's how Freed lays it out: Compare the size and weight of a shark to, say, a piece of hail. At some point, there is a limit to how heavy hail is that it cannot be held up by winds. Even the biggest piece of hail is not the size of a great white. The threshold is smaller for a waterspout, he says, which needs to pick an object up out of the water. Sharks are simply too heavy, Freed said, but waterspouts can and have lifted up small, minnow-sized fish and carried them hundreds of miles away..."

84 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

83 F. average high on July 31.

83 F. high on July 31, 2013.

TODAY: AM sun, late PM T-storm. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 81

FRIDAY NIGHT: Isolated evening T-shower, then clearing. Low: 60

SATURDAY: Smoky sun, probably dry. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 86

SUNDAY: Less sun, growing chance of T-storms. Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 63. High: 81

MONDAY: Sticky, T-storms late. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 67. High: 85

TUESDAY: Showers and T-storms, very humid. Dew point: 71. Wake-up: 68. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: T-storms, locally heavy rain possible. Wake-up: 68. High: 74

THURSDAY: Skies clear, spirits improve. Dew point: 55. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80

Climate Stories...

June Was The Hottest Month on Record for the Ocean. Simon Donner has more details at Maribo; here's an excerpt: "The oceans in June may have set an all-time heat record, according to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The global average sea surface temperature may have topped 17 °C for the first time in any month of any year since 1880. The NOAA State of the Climate analysis reported that last month was the warmest June on the planet since records began, thanks in large part to ocean warmth..."

This Happened While Everyone Was Putting on War Paint for the Obama Climate Hearings. Eric Roston has an interesting story at Bloomberg, highlighting General Mill's rationalization and inclusion of climate change into its long-term business strategy; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Changes in climate not only affect global food security but also impact General Mills’ raw material supply which, in turn, affects… value to our shareholders,” the policy states, in its clunky bureaucratic prose. Come to think of it, prose this clunky and bureaucratic must actually mean something. If corporate sustainability reports are off-putting because of their gloss and self-congratulatory hyperbole, the Policy on Climate should be credited for having no pictures adorning it and including statements so inscrutable they can only have been written by lawyers who are serious...."

"Peak Soil" Threatens Future Global Food Security. Reuters has the article; here's a clip: "The challenge of ensuring future food security as populations grow and diets change has its roots in soil, but the increasing degradation of the earth's thin skin is threatening to push up food prices and increase deforestation. While the worries about peaking oil production have been eased by fresh sources released by hydraulic fracturing, concern about the depletion of the vital resource of soil is moving center stage..."

Photo credit:

Climate Change is a Scientific Reality. Here is an Op-Ed penned by one of 100 scientists in Montana who have looked carefully at the data and trends and reached the same conclusion: climate change - climate volatility - is not a hoax - it's already happening. Here's an excerpt from Hungry Horse News: "...Some of Montana’s political leaders continue to ignore the most basic scientific findings about climate change. We hear them say, “I’m not a scientist so I cannot be sure.” We are scientists, and let us be clear: The scientific evidence that Earth’s climate is warming is overwhelming. We need to move from debate to solutions. We urge our policy makers to formulate solutions commensurate with the gravity of the issue at hand. Actions are needed at every level of government. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released Clean Power Plan is one of those important actions. It will limit carbon pollution from the largest emission sources — power plants — for the first time ever. It is a necessary step if we hope to avoid catastrophic climate change..."

German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts. Most of us won't be taking water for granted in the years to come, according to this story at Bloomberg; here's an excerpt: "German water supplies will become increasingly threatened this century as climate change raises the risk of droughts and water shortages in the country. While Germany is considered water-rich, more water evaporates than falls as rain in the eastern part of the country, according to a report by a German parliamentary committee. Average temperatures may rise 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, resulting in more precipitation in the winter and less in the summer, the authors wrote..."