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.
A Local Touch
It's been said that all weather, like politics, is local. You tend to care about what's outside your window, not weather building 90 miles up the road.
Meteorologists factor local conditions into their forecasts, like proximity to water, hills and the urban heat island. And they all think THEIR town's weather is the hardest on Earth to predict. I ask a buddy in Phoenix at a local station "What do you do all day?" He gets indignant. "It's harder than it looks, Paul. We get summer monsoon storms and massive haboobs, giant sandstorms that come on with little warning". Uh huh. He also told me that management told him not to use the word "hot" in the 7-Day. Apparently it agitates the locals and scares the tourists.
"Very warm with a high of 113!"
Sticky sun gives way to a rare severe storm outbreak later today. Hail, isolated tornadoes and a possible MCS squall line may form by the dinner hour. Go jump in a lake before 3 PM but keep an eye on the western sky.
Labor Day gets off to a damp start but the sun comes out by midday with a welcome dip in dew point. Not bad for a holiday.
80s return by midweek with signs of a more September-like airmass sweeping into Minnesota by late in the week.
Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest. With all apologies to my TV meteorology friend in Phoenix, haboobs are a clear and present danger, especially during the summer months. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path..."
Significant Severe Threat. A slight risk of severe storms extends from Minnesota and western Wisconsin into Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas later today; the greatest potential for damaging hail and a few isolated tornadoes over western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, from roughly Des Moines to Omaha. I wouldn't be surprised to see NOAA SPC elevate the risk to moderate for some of these areas.
Tornado Potential Index. Ham Weather's proprietary TPI shows a strong risk of severe storms between 4 PM and 10 PM from Omaha and Des Moines into southeastern Minnesota and the St. Croix River Valley. Although the greatest potential for damaging winds and hail will stay south of Minnesota I wouldn't be shocked to see a couple of smaller EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes over east central and southeastern Minnesota by the dinner hour.
Sunday Super-Soakers. The 4 KM NAM prints out some excessive 2-5" rainfall amounts just south of the metro area by tonight as cooler air sparks a series of squall lines, even a slight chance of an MCS (meso-convective) system flaring up later, especially south of the Minnesota River Valley where dew points are highest. 60-hour rainfall accumulation amounts courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather.
Irritable Sunday - Slow Improvement on Labor Day. Strong to severe storms are likely later today across much of the state, but a wind shift to the west/northwest pushes drier, more stable air back into town tomorrow. I still expect a wet start, but partial clearing is expected by midday with enough sun for mid to upper 70s Monday afternoon. We warm up again by midweek, before a more September-like airmass arrives by Sunday. Graphic: Weatherspark.
TODAY: Sticky sun, severe storms later? Dew point: 68. Winds: S 15+ HIgh: 83
SUNDAY NIGHT: Thunderstorms likely, some strong to potentially severe. Low: 66
LABOR DAY: Wet start. Slow clearing, less humid. Dew point: 54. High: 79
TUESDAY: Some sun, pop up PM T-shower possible. Wake-up: 59. High: 78
WEDNESDAY: Sunny and warmer again. Wake-up: 61. High: 82
THURSDAY: Less sun, few T-storms. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 67. High: 85
FRIDAY: Clearing, drop in dew point. DP: 49. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, pleasant. DP: 52. Wake-up: 54. High: 75
* lightning photo credit: AJ Pena.
Athabasca Glacier: A Tragic Vanishing Act. Here's the introduction to a story at Skeptical Science and Critical Angle: "The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is probably the easiest glacier in the world to access by car. It’s just a few hundred metres’ stroll from the nearest parking lot on the magnificent Icefields Parkway in Alberta. The problem is, the stroll keeps getting longer by about 10 metres every year. Since 1992, the snout of the glacier has retreated about 200 metres, requiring tourists anxious to set foot on the glacier to walk a little further. The glacier has lost about 2 km of its length since 1844 (Geovista PDF)..."
Photo credit above: "The Athabasca Glacier seen from the access trail. This point is about halfway from the parking lot and the current snout of the glacier, which is about 200 metres away. In the centre background is the ice-fall from the Columbia Icefield. The marker shows where the glacier snout was in 1992, coincidentally the year of the Rio Earth Summit. It is just possible to make out some people walking on the glacier on the left-hand side."
Beachfront in the Time of Climate Change. The Atlantic's Citylab has a poignant article of what we will soon miss; here's an excerpt: "...But this year, as everybody packs up and heads back to school in the ritual of Labor Day Weekend, there’s something sinister about being near the water. It’s an end-of-days feeling, the grim reality that, because of climate change, these places are going to be very different in 30 to 50 years. Vast acreage will be inundated. Many of the most sought-after houses on the coastline will be erased from the landscape..." (Photo credit: author Anthony Flint).
Managing Coasts Under Threat from Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Is there an orderly, methodical way to gradually retreat from the oceans? Here's a clip from a story at phys.org: "...The scientists also acknowledged that long-term adaptation to climate change can greatly reduce impacts, but further research and evaluation is required to realize the potential of adaptation. "Many parts of the coast can, with forward planning, adapt to sea-level rise, but we need to better understand environments that will struggle to adapth, such as developing countries with large low-lying river deltas sensitive to salinization, or coral reefs and particularly small, remote islands or poorer communties," said Dr. Brown..."
1 in 4 Republicans Say Global Warming is a Major Threat. The Daily Caller has highlights of a recent Pew research study.
As Louisiana Sinks and Sea Levels Rise, The State is Drowning. Fast. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post that caught my eye: "...In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy. And it’s going to get worse, even quicker. Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed..."
Animation credit: From Bob Marshall, The Lens, Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw, ProPublica:
Why Climate Change Won't Intensify Extreme Snowstorms. The most intense snowstorms may shift north over time, which isn't surprising in a slowly warming world. Here's an excerpt from Live Science and Yahoo News: "...The study revealed little change in the intensity of major snowstorms in wintry regions. In areas where winter temperatures hover near the snow "sweet spot," the heaviest snowstorms became only eight percent less intense. The higher latitudes will shift the other way, with 10 percent more snow during extreme events, O'Gorman found. In regions where there is usually little snowfall, there will be fewer days with history-making storms..."
Does Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Negate Climate Change? Scientists Say No. Here's a clip from a good explanation of what's really happening at the bottom of the world from The Los Angeles Times: "...Scientists say sea ice and continental ice are probably responding to the same forces — namely, changes in ocean circulation and winds. However, they also influence each other. Sea ice helps buffer ice shelves, the floating tongues of glacial ice that dam the ice sheets and keep them from spilling irreversibly into the sea. It also keeps warm ocean waters trapped beneath a frozen lid, insulating the ice sheet from their destructive heat..."
Photo credit above: "Ice off Antarctica's Alexander Island. This year, Antarctic sea ice has expanded its frigid reach with unprecedented speed, setting records in June and July." (Eye Ubiquitous / UIG).
Summer's Last Gasp
By Todd Nelson
"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, today is a gift!"
This Labor Day weekend will be a memorable one for us in the Nelson household as we will be sending our oldest off to kindergarten in a few days. The sign on the school says "Welcome class of 2027" - GULP! I think I remember watching movies back in the day that had us driving flying cars at that point.
It has been a somewhat soggy go of things over the past couple of days. There will be a few lingering puddles on Saturday, but the weather will be fair for the Fair. It'll still be a bit muggy, but lingering clouds with peeks of sun shouldn't have any impact on your food consumption.
We warm up Sunday ahead of a developing storm system that could bring strong to severe storms close to home by late afternoon/evening hours. The Storm Prediction Center has already placed much of Minnesota under an enhanced thunderstorm risk, so stay tuned to weather maps near you.
Summer's last gasp quickly moves out by the start of Meteorological Fall on Monday. Other than having to tiptoe over a few puddles filled with remnant somethings on a stick, you should have no problem looking for some last minute deals -Todd Nelson
FRIDAY NIGHT: Rain/thunder threat continues. Low: 64
SATURDAY: Best day? Patchy fog, then intervals of sun. Dew point: 64. High: 78
SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, quiet. Low: 63.
SUNDAY: Sticky sun, severe T-storms late? Dew point: 67. High: 85
LABOR DAY: AM puddles. Sunny and less humid. Wake-up: 66. High: 78
TUESDAY: Back to school. Average for early September. Wake-up: 59. High: 77
WEDNESDAY: Few afternoon clouds, still dry. Wake-up: 59. High: 79
THURSDAY: Increasing clouds, growing PM thunder risk. Wake-up: 61. High: 83
FRIDAY: Unsettled. Scattered T-Storms. Wake-up: 62. High: 83.
This Day in Weather History
1977: Flooding on the southwest side of the Twin Cities, with the international airport getting 7.28 inches of rain in 4 1/2 hours.
Average High/Low for MSP
Average High: 78F (Record 96F set in 1941)
Average Low: 59F (Record 45 set in 1974)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for MSP
Moon Phase for August 30th at Midnight
2.2 Days Before First Quarter
Minneapolis Temperature Trend
Meteorological Fall starts Monday, September 1st. That means the warmest 3 months (on average) for the northern hemisphere will be behind us. Looking ahead to the early part of September, there could be a bigger cool down headed our way by late next week/first weekend of September. In the meantime, temperatures through the weekend look to stay slightly above average with a bit more humidity.
According to Pollen.com - this weekend could be a rough one for seasonal allergy sufferers. Sunday, pollen levels look to spike considerably, but it doesn't look much better on Labor Day Monday.
Saturday Weather Oultook
We'll see improving weather conditions on Saturday. There could be a few leftover puddles and lingering showers in the early part of the day, but the sun should break out with highs approaching 80 by the afternoon. In my opinion, Saturday looks like the better Fair day.
Saturday Rainfall Potential
Here's the national rainfall forecast from AM Saturday through AM Sunday. Note the larger swath of rainfall from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, this is the rainfall threat we endured Friday. Saturday looks to be the drier day of the weekend as Friday's rain moves east, however there is another system moving in for Sunday.
Sunday Weather Outlook
Sunday will start off dry, but it'll quickly get warm and more humid as our next storm system approaches. There is a growing thunderstorm risk by late afternoon/evening across western MN that could wind up rolling into the Twin Cities by the evening/overnight. The Storm Prediction Center has put most of Minnesota under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for PM Sunday... Stay tuned!
Sunday Severe Risk
Here's the latest from NOAA's SPC regarding Sunday's severe weather potential:
SIGNIFICANT SHORT-WAVE TROUGH WILL MIGRATE INTO THE HIGH PLAINS SUNDAY AFTERNOON WITH MODEST WSWLY FLOW FORECAST TO OVERSPREAD THE IMMEDIATE FRONTAL ZONE AS FAR SOUTH AS KANSAS...AND ALONG THE DRYLINE ACROSS THE TX PANHANDLE. LARGE SCALE PATTERN IS EXPECTED TO BE SUBSTANTIALLY DIFLUENT ALOFT WHICH SHOULD ENCOURAGE QUITE A FEW STORMS TO EVOLVE ALONG WIND SHIFT BY LATE AFTERNOON AS CINH WEAKENS. THUNDERSTORMS MAY BE ONGOING AT THE START OF THE PERIOD ACROSS PARTS OF ND/NRN MN BUT THIS CONVECTION SHOULD BE ELEVATED AND POSSIBLY POST-FRONTAL BEFORE LIFTING NORTH OF THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER. OF MORE CONCERN WILL BE TSTMS THAT DEVELOP ALONG THE FRONT BY MID-LATE AFTERNOON...INITIALLY ACROSS MN...THEN PROGRESSIVELY SW ALONG THE WIND SHIFT ACROSS NEB INTO KS WHERE TEMPERATURES SHOULD SOAR INTO THE MID 90S. DEEP LAYER SHEAR IS FORECAST TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF AT LEAST ORGANIZED MULTI-CELL CLUSTERS AND A FEW SUPERCELLS MAY ULTIMATELY DEVELOP TOWARD EVENING WHEN SHEAR/LLJ INCREASES...ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE CNTRL PLAINS. LARGE HAIL AND STRONG WINDS ARE THE PRIMARY THREATS WITH NEAR-FRONTAL CONVECTION. SEVERE THREAT COULD LINGER WELL INTO THE EVENING HOURS AS SHORT WAVE EJECTS TOWARD THE MID MO VALLEY.
Sunday Rainfall Potential
Sunday's storm chance will not only bring us a strong to severe weather threat, but there will be some hefty rainfall totals possible as well. According to NOAA's HPC, the rainfall potential from AM Sunday to AM Monday could bring 1" of rain or more across parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley.
It's pretty easy to see the two different storms systems that we'll be dealing with over the weekend. One moving east of us by Saturday, while the second one will be moving into the Upper Mississippi Valley by Sunday. That second one is the one that could bring strong to severe storms close to home.
According to NOAA's NHC, the Atlantic Basin still looks to stay fairly quiet over the next 5 days. There are only 2 weak disturbances that have only a low chance of further development.
Thanks for checking in and have a great weekend ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX
By Todd Nelson
Most of the time I feel like Dopey from the Seven Dwarves, but lately I'm feeling a little more like Sneezy. AAACHOOO!
It never fails; right around State Fair time, I get bit by the allergy bug. I don't want to wish ill will on anything, but I hope that ragweed gets blasted by a big cold front in September... not sure how much longer I can take this.
Meteorological Summer will conclude this Sunday, meaning the 3 warmest months (on average) will be behind us. Keep in mind that we've only seen two 90 degree days this summer, which is nearly 8 to 9 days below average! Despite the recent EF-O tornado near Gilman, MN on Sunday, we've only seen 23 tornadoes this year. According to NOAA's NCDC, the annual average number of tornadoes in Minnesota is 45.
Looking ahead, the severe threat may be increasing as a stronger cold front pushes through the state on Sunday. This will bring another round of heavy rain to parts of the Midwest, but drier weather moves in quickly for Labor Day. The early part of September looks to start off on a cooler note with highs in the mid/upper 70s. In a few months we'll all likely forget what 70s felt like, so enjoy it now!
THURSDAY NIGHT: More showers, possible thunder. Low: 65
FRIDAY: Lingering showers. Partly soggy. Skies dry out late. High: 80 Winds: SW 5mph.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Rain/thunder threat continues. Low: 64
SATURDAY: Best day? Patchy fog, then intervals of sun. Dew point: 62. High: 80
SUNDAY: Sticky sun, severe T-storms late? Dew point: 67. Wake-up: 64. High: 84
LABOR DAY: Clearing trend, not as muggy. Wake-up: 66. High: 79
TUESDAY: Back to school. Spotty PM T-Shower. Wake-up: 58. High: 77
WEDNESDAY: Quiet. Cool breeze. Wake-up: 58. High: 78
THURSDAY: Warmer, slightly more humid. Wake-up: 59. High: 80
This Day in Weather History
1948: An airliner crashed during a thunderstorm near Winona, killing 37 people on board.
1863: A devastating killing frost affected most of Minnesota, killing vines and damaging corn.
Average High/Low for MSP
Average High: 78F (Record: 96F set in 1969)
Average Low: 60F (Record: 45F set in 1946)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for MSP
Moon Phase for August 29th at Midnight
3.2 Days Before First Quarter
Minneapolis Temperature Trend
Waves of cooler air appear to be rolling in with a little more frequency as we approach September. Note the 2 dips over the next 15 days. 1 occurs early next week with a potentially bigger temperature drop by the first weekend in September. Keep in mind that extended model runs are always as reliable, but if this were to pan out, we could be looking at highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s by the first weekend of September!
AAAAACHOOOOOO!! UGH! Not sure about you, but I've been battling the seasonal allergy bug like many others out there. It seems to really set in around the Minnesota State Fair, when ragweed seems to be at it's peak. I generally don't wish any cold spells upon us, but not sure how much longer I can take this sneezing, itching and watering eyes. According to Pollen.com - we're in for a fairly high pollen weekend, especially Sunday.
Friday: Wetter Weather Keeps Pollen Levels Low
Thanks to an impulse of energy moving through the Midwest on Friday, cloudy and soggy weather will help to keep pollen levels lower. The image below suggests the weather conditions at 5pm Friday.
A big blob of moisture on a northeast heading toward the U.P. of Michigan through Friday will be responsible for several inches of precipitation, which could lead to some localized areas of flooding.
Sunday Severe Threat?
A strong cold front will arrive on Sunday and bring strong to severe thunderstorm chances back to the Upper Midwest. As of now, NOAA's SPC has parts of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities under an enhanced risk of stronger storms. Keep up to date with the latest storm chances for Sunday.
Thanks to @WIStrmChaser for the picture below out of Aurora, WI !! Amazing colors in the northern lights display from earlier this week thanks to a geomagnetic storm on the sun a few days ago.
"The CMEs that instigated the display were launched toward Earth on Aug. 22nd. As NOAA analysts predicted, the solar wind speed did not change much when the slow-moving CMEs arrived. However, the storm clouds were still effective because they contained a south-pointing magnetic field that opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in to fuel the show."
2 Different weather features will keep somewhat soggy weather conditions in place through the early weekend. By Saturday, most of the 'heavy' precipitation will shift into the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley Region.
According to NOAA's HPC, the 5 day rainfall forecast suggests quite a bit of heavy rain potential over parts of the Midwest/Great Lakes through early next week. Note also the heavy rain potential across the Mississippi River Valley, while the Western U.S. looks to remain still very dry.
9 years ago (Monday, August 29th) Hurricane Katrina plowed ashore in southeastern Louisiana as a major category 3 storm. A catastrophic levee failure in New Orleans caused much of city to flood. The image below is from August, 28th when Katrina was at it's strongest intensity; Category 5 with 175mph sustained winds!!
Ski Season Approaches...
Hopefully it'll be a while before we start seeing our first flakes here in Minnesota, but ski season is nearing quickly in the mountains. Thanks to the Telluride Ski Resort for the picture below - they documented snow on the back of this car window earlier this week!
Big Surf Across Southwest California
Southwest California was a buzz earlier this week a huge waves moved into the Wedge. There were reports of near +20ft waves that caught the attention of quite a few surfers. These massive breakers were caused by Hurricane Marie in the East Pacific, which was a category 4 storms on Monday with near 150mph winds!
Hurricane Marie Fades...
Hurricane Marie in the East Pacific was a major category 4 hurricane earlier this week with near 150mph winds. The imagery that NASA satellite captured was amazing! The Capital Weather Gang has a nice write-up about it... See more HERE:
Active East Pacific
The Eastern Pacific has been very active this season with Marie being the 13th named storm of the 2014 season!
Somewhat Quiet Atlantic
The Atlantic basin has been a lot quieter by comparison... Our latest storm, Cristobal, became the 3rd named storm and 3rd hurricane of the 2014 season. The only storm that made landfall with the U.S. was Arthur, which was briefly a category 2 storm as it made landfall with the Outer Banks of North Carolina on July 3rd. Bertha and Cristobal made similar paths, curving east of the Eastern Seaboard during their life-cycle.
Atlantic Acting Up
The image below from the National Hurricane Center showed 4 different areas of interest as of Thursday with Hurricane Cristobal on a northeast heading toward Iceland by Labor Day Monday. The 3 " X's " indicate disturbances that the NHC is keeping an eye on.
According to NOAA's NHC, there are 2 disturbances that will have to be monitored over the next 5 days for further development. #1 in the Caribbean heading west towards the Yucatan Peninsula has a LOW chance of development, while the disturbance moving west off the western tip of Africa has a medium chance of development.
Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX
During a presentation of weather and climate trends at General Mills Tuesday a question came up. "Paul, with more volatility in the system has that made weather forecasting more difficult?"
Short answer: yes.
Weather has always been erratic, severe and generally unpredictable, but I've noticed distinct changes in Minnesota's weather patterns since the late 90s. More rainfall extremes, higher dew points in the summer, wetter springs and milder autumns, on average. And the normal rhythm of fronts and storms seems...off. Like a band playing slightly out of tune. Much of the year our weather seems to be moving in slow-motion.
Maybe I've just been standing too close to the Doppler.
A wave of low pressure rippling north pushes showers and a few T-showers into town later today & Friday. Skies dry out with some sun on Saturday, which may be the best day of the 3-day holiday weekend. T-storms flare up north Sunday; a few severe storms may rumble into the metro late Sunday - some heavy rain spilling into Monday morning. Of course. It's a holiday. Keep your expectations low - you'll never be disappointed.
A cooler, drier front Tuesday gives way to a slow warming trend next week.
Wet Stain For Upper Midwest; Tracking Cristobal and Marie. It sounds like a new comedy series on FOX, but Cristobal is veering out to sea (pushing larger breakers and rip tides all up and down the eastern seaboard), and Marie is weakening over colder water, but capable of large swells along the California coast. Meanwhile the next surge of southern moisture and warmth sparks locally heavy rain from Nebraska into Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. 4 KM NAM accumulated precipitation: NOAA and HAMweather.
Sunday Severe Risk? SPC is already tracking an enhanced threat of severe storms Sunday over central and southern Minnesota. Here in the metro storms may not arrive until late afternoon or evening, but you'll want to stay alert for possible warnings close to home.
Hurricane Katrina Then and Now: Lifting The Fog of Memory. Photographs can be powerful tools, and this photo essay at National Geographic brings that fact home, showing the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and those same locations today. It's hard to believe it's the same city. Here's an excerpt: "...According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest storm since 1928 responsible for 1,200 deaths. It was the costliest U.S. hurricane on record with $75 billion in damages to the Gulf Coast. This is a storm worth remembering..."
Photo credit: Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune.
Groundwater Depletion is Destabilizing the San Andreas Fault and Increasing Earthquake Risk. If fracking, injecting chemically-laden water deep underground, may be a factor in sparking small earthquakes maybe it's not much of a stretch that depleting underground aquifers is impacting stress on earthquake faults. Here's an excerpt of a story at San Francisco Public Press that caught my eye: "Depletion of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley is having wide-ranging effects not just on the agricultural industry and the environment, but also on the very earth beneath our feet. Massive changes in groundwater levels in the southern Central Valley are changing the stresses on the San Andreas Fault, according to research published today..."
Photo credit above: "In a newly published scientific paper, researchers attributed modest uplift in areas of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges across central California to human-caused groundwater depletion in the adjacent San Joaquin Valley. GPS stations such as this one, P311 in the eastern Sierra Nevada, are administered by the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory." Photo courtesy of UNAVCO.
Depletion of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley is having wide-ranging effects not just on the agricultural industry and the environment, but also on the very earth beneath our feet. Massive changes in groundwater levels in the southern Central Valley are changing the stresses on the San Andreas Fault, according to research published today.
Researchers have known for some time that human activity can be linked to localized seismic effects. In particular, much of the debate about fracking in California in the past few years has centered on evidence that the process of injecting large volumes of liquid underground can lubricate fault lines and increase local earthquake risk.- See more at: http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2014-05/groundwater-depletion-is-destabilizing-the-san-andreas-fault-and-increasing-earthquake-risk#sthash.S1I1Q4xa.dpuf
Visualize It: Old Weather Data Feeds New Climate Models. How do you get old, relatively crude, hand-drawn weather maps into the climate models? Crowd-sourcing. Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at Climate Central: "In the 1930s, there were no computers to run climate models or record weather observations. Instead, weather reports were written or typed on typewriters and forecast maps were drawn by hand. Those observations from the past contain valuable data that can help scientists better understand what the climate may look like in the future. But gathering that data and making it usable is a tall task involving scanning millions of sheets of paper and transcribing them into formats that scientists can use..."
Choking The Oceans With Plastic. Here's an excerpt of a Charles Moore Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...Plastics are now one of the most common pollutants of ocean waters worldwide. Pushed by winds, tides and currents, plastic particles form with other debris into large swirling glutinous accumulation zones, known to oceanographers as gyres, which comprise as much as 40 percent of the planet’s ocean surface — roughly 25 percent of the entire earth. No scientist, environmentalist, entrepreneur, national or international government agency has yet been able to establish a comprehensive way of recycling the plastic trash that covers our land and inevitably blows and washes down to the sea..."
File photo credit: Marine debris washing up onto the coast of Hawaii courtesy of Wikipedia.
Brazil Coffee Output Set For Longest Decline Since 1965. The world may go down the tubes, but please don't take away my coffee. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg: "...Production in Brazil, the world’s top grower, may drop as much as 18 percent to 40.1 million bags when the harvest ends next month, the National Coffee Council estimates, after a 3.1 percent slide last year. With damage worsening before the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, the council said farmers may collect less than 40 million bags in 2015, creating the longest slump in five decades..."
A Gut Microbe That Stops Food Allergies. Science Magazine has an interesting article; here's an excerpt: "...Food allergies have increased about 50% in children since 1997. There are various theories explaining why. One is that the 21st century lifestyle, which includes a diet very different from our ancestors’, lots of antibiotic use, and even a rise in cesarean section deliveries, has profoundly changed the makeup of microbes in the gut of many people in developed countries...."
TODAY: Rain develops. Cool and damp. Winds: SE 10. High: 68
THURSDAY NIGHT: More showers, possible thunder. Low: 61
FRIDAY: Lingering showers. Partly soggy. Skies dry out late. High: 74
SATURDAY: Best day? Patchy fog, then intervals of sun. Dew point: 62. Wake-up: 62. High: 79
SUNDAY: Sticky sun, severe T-storms late? Dew point: 67. Wake-up: 63. High: 81
LABOR DAY: Stormy start. Showers taper. Wake-up: 68. High: 76
TUESDAY: Some sun, PM shower risk. Wake-up: 57. High: 75
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, milder. Wake-up: 55. High: near 80
Ken Burns: Glaciers National Park in Trouble. We've gone from nearly 150 glaciers at Glacier National Park in the mid-1800s to fewer than 30 today. Here's an excerpt of an interview iwth Ken Burns by USA TODAY: "...If you're interested in seeing the namesake glaciers of Glacier National Park, Ken Burns has a piece of advice: hurry. "The great sadness of Glacier National Park is that it's probably going to be true that fairly soon, we're going to call it 'The National Park Formerly Known as Glacier'," Burns says. With current global warming trends, the United States Geological Survey warns that Glacier National Park's glaciers could disappear within the next several decades..."
Photo credit above: ".
Russia Is Feeling The Heat. Will warming be a good thing for Russia? So far the jury is out, but warming is coming with some unpleasant symptoms, as reported by Quartz; here's an excerpt: "When Vladimir Putin declined to support the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit carbon emissions, he famously quipped that higher temperatures might actually benefit Russia since its people would have to spend less on fur coats. Well, he’s getting his wish. Changes in wind and ocean currents caused by global warming shift heat around unevenly, causing some areas to heat up dramatically even as other regions cool. Russia, it turns out, is in the unusually hot category..."
Graphic credit above: "Trends in Russia’s average temperatures." Russian Hydrometeorological Service.
If You Have Allergies Talk To Your Doctor About Cap and Trade. Here's a clip from a story at The Atlantic: "...For one, when there is more carbon dioxide in the environment, plants produce more pollen, which is no good for allergies and asthma. Rutgers allergist Leonard Bielory recently warned that pollen counts are projected to double by 2040. Likewise, U.S. foresters recently calculated that trees seem to be averting around $6.8 billion in human health costs annually, largely due to mitigating effects of air pollution (even if they do produce pollen). And already the World Health Organization is warning that air pollution is responsible for one out of every eight human deaths, largely because combustion of fossil fuels results in invisible airborne particles that get lodged in our lungs and suspended in our blood..."
Image credit: AP/Shutterstock/The Atlantic.
Why Investors' Fossil Fuel Addiction is Hard to Kick. This may come as a shock, but it's all about the money. Here's an excerpt from National Journal: "...A new report explains why getting big money out of fossil fuels, especially big oil, is a tall order, even if a growing number of universities, cities, and churches have agreed to shift their investments in recent years. "Fossil fuels are investor favourites for a reason. Few sectors offer the scale, liquidity, growth, and yield of these century-old businesses vital to today's economy," states the report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based research and analysis company..."
Photo credit above: "Oil and natural-gas companies are very attractive for investors." (Repsol).
Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct. Here's a clip from an article at the San Diego Free Press: "...If business continues as usual, the surface ocean pH will drop to 8.0 by 2050 and to 7.8 by century’s end. At that point the oceans will be 150% more acidic than they were at the start of the industrial revolution. Marine biologists like Jason Hall-Spencer have warned about the catastrophic consequences to marine life if the oceans’ pH reaches 7.8. According to him this represents a tipping point at which the ocean’s ecosystems start to crash. The ones most at risk are the calcifiers. The term calcifier refers to an organism that builds a shell or external skeleton or, in the case of a plant, an internal scaffolding out of the mineral calcium carbonate. Some examples of calcifiers are starfish, sea urchins, clams, oysters and barnicles..."
Irreversible Damage Seen From Climate Change in UN Leak. Bloomberg obtained a leak draft of the next IPCC report; here's an excerpt of their reporting: "...Possible permanent changes include the melting of the ice sheet covering Greenland. That would boost sea levels by as much as 7 meters (23 feet) and threaten coastal cities from Miami to Bangkok along with island nations such as the Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu. The scientists said they have “medium confidence” that warming of less than 4 degrees Celsius would be enough to trigger such a melt, which would take at least a millennium. Other impacts the report flags include reduced food security such as crops such as production of wheat, rice and maize in the tropics are damaged, the melting of Arctic sea ice, and the acidification of the oceans..." (Image: NASA).
Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Growing, and Growing More Dangerous, Draft of U.N. Report Says. Here's a snippet of a Justin Gillis article at The New York Times: "Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control....."
A Climate For Change: America Should Not Wait While The World Warms. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: "...Between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of U.S. property will likely be below sea level by mid-century. The federal government will probably have to spend billions more in disaster relief. Waiting to deal with carbon emissions until the effects are clearer or technology improves is not a wise strategy. The emissions humans put into the atmosphere now will affect the climate in the middle of the century and onward. Technological change, meanwhile, could make a future transition away from fossil fuels cheap — or it might not, leaving the world with a terrible choice between sharply reducing emissions at huge cost or suffering through the effects of unabated warming."
Why The Washington Post is Running a Series Of Editorials on "The Existential Threat of Climate Change". Media Matters reports; here's a clip: "..Over the long run it is an existential threat to the planet, I believe that, so you don't get much bigger than that," Hiatt said about the decision to run the week of editorials. "That doesn't mean that you can set aside other really big problems that are facing us today, but over time ... the longer we wait to do something about it, the greater the damage is likely to be and the more disruptive the response will be." Monday's first editorial lamented the faltering national debate on this issue, while today's offering explained why the country can't afford to "wait while the world warms..."
Old School Farming Methods Could Save The Planet. Sometimes the old ways are still the best ways, especially when it comes to agriculture? Here's an excerpt of a story at PRI, Public Radio International: "...The soil has been playing a mighty role in our climate ever since we've been a planet,” Ohlson says. It's full of carbon fuel that helps plants and microorganisms thrive, but today's industrial farming methods rip up the soil and release huge amounts of that carbon into the air. Ohlson argues that returning to no-till farming practices, which leave the soil undisturbed and carbon trapped underground, will help reverse climate change and solve other pressing environmental issues at the same time. "Everything we want for our planet above the soil line depends on the activity of those microorganisms below," she says..."
Photo credit above: Tim McCabe/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. "No-till planting is under way at an alfalfa field on a farm in Montgomery County, Iowa."