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.
Only in Minnesota can you be ankle-deep in slush, in a T-shirt, grilling. This "spring" is taking weather-whiplash to a new & outlandish extreme. I guess it could be worse. Residents of Washington D.C. just went from 80F to flurries, wind chills in the teens, in less than 24 hours.
Much of Minnesota is waking up to snow; the heaviest bands north & west of the immediate Twin Cities, where enough warm air wrapped into the storm for a period of rain, keeping snowfall totals down a bit. But the northern and western suburbs did pick up a plowable snowfall, with some 1 foot plus amounts from Anoka County westward to Rogers and Maple Lake. If you're driving north/west, away from the downtowns this morning, leave plenty of extra time.
Memories of 2013: Duluth picked up 51 inches of snow last April, the snowiest month on record.
In April. Go figure.
One silver lining to our cold bias: no pollen yet. A researcher at the University of Tulsa reports that trees are flowering late this spring, dumping pollen all at once. Details below.
Welcome to a Light-switch Spring. Like flipping on a light, spring arrives this weekend. Expect 60s on Saturday; a few showers likely, even a clap of thunder. Skies dry out a bit Easter Sunday; 70F not out of the question by Monday & Tuesday as thoughts turn to May; cleaning up the yard & dusting off the fishing boat.
I'm ready for a long, sweaty summer. I suspect I'm not the only one.
* 17" of snow reported in Nowthen, in Anoka County, as of late last night. 19" at Isanti, while MSP International picked up 3/10ths of an inch of slush.
* 8.1" snow piles up at St. Cloud, setting a new 24-hour snowfall record for April 16. Old record: 3" (1961).
* 71 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities the previous Wednesday, April 9.
All Or Nothing. I can't remember the last time I saw a snowfall gradient this impressive across the Twin Cities. In the span of 30 miles you go from a slushy coating to nearly a foot. The northern and western suburbs got clobbered by snow Wednesday; an icy mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet kept amounts much lower south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The latest snowfall reports are here and here. I pray this is the last time I have to include these links until sometime in October or November.
New Concept: "Warmer Than Average". I can't remember the last time I saw a map like this - last autumn perhaps. NOAA CPC is predicting a warm bias from the Rockiest to the Mississippi much of next week. That will mean 60s and 70s over the Upper Mississippi Valley, with a few 80s to near 90F over the central Plains. Map: NOAA and HAMweather.
March Was The Coldest In U.S. Since 2002. Climate Central has all the details; here's a clip: "...For the lower 48 as a whole, this March was the coldest on record since 2002 (though it ranks as only the 43rd coldest in the longer-term records), according to the latest State of the Climate update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released Tuesday. The average national temperature for the month was 40.5°F, 1°F below the 20th century average for the month. The Great Lakes and Northeast saw the coolest conditions, and Vermont actually saw its coldest March on record, with temperature 8.9°F below average..." (image credit: NOAA).
From Polar Vortex To Pollen Vortex? 45 million Americans may be doing more spring sneezing and wheezing than usual, no thanks to an abrupt end to the Polar Vortex in the coming weeks. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation from Mother Jones: "...The long winter, the particularly cold weather, it all pushed the pollen season back quite a bit," says Estelle Levetin, the chair of the biology department at the University of Tulsa. Individual flowering trees probably aren't producing more pollen, Levetin says—but they're all dumping their pollen at once, making this allergy season particularly difficult for people who are sensitive to more than one type of pollen..." (Pollen file photo: Wikipedia).
Largest Solar Array For Department of Defense Coming to Arizona Army Base. Take advantage of free energy, especially in sun-drenched Arizona? Seems like a pretty good idea and the Defense Department is testing new ways to keep the lights on. EcoWatch has the story; here's a clip: "A U.S. Army base near the Mexican border will soon be home to the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest solar array on a military installation. The U.S. Army announced Monday that Fort Huachuca, in Southeast Arizona’s Cochise County, on April 25 will break ground on a solar array with panels that collectively will provide one quarter of the base’s electricity needs..."
Photo credit above: "Fort Huachuca in Arizona will soon be home to the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest solar array on a military installation." Photo credit: U.S. Army.
Parrots Name Their Children For Life. Robert Krulwich has the details in this piece that ran on NPR; here's an excerpt: "..."Most people say, 'Well, all those calls are just noise,' " Karl told Virginia Morell, but "I think they're having conversations." Berg has listened to so many parrots in so many nests for so long, he has that weeks after birth, these little birds begin to use very specific peeps to identify themselves to others. Not only that, they learn the peeping "names" of their parents, brothers, sisters, and use them in conversation, as in, "Peep-duh-dee-Peep, is that you?"... (File photo: Wikipedia).
"Climachill" Cools Athletes In Hot Weather. Can I get boxers made out of this material? Inquiring minds want to know. Here's an excerpt from Gizmag: "The sports apparel market has no shortage of solutions for cold weather, with waterproof-breathable materials, advanced natural and synthetic insulations, and battery powered heat among them. But athletes have fewer options in hot, humid weather: take off clothing, get a cold headband/cloth, or stop exercising and find an air conditioner or pool. Adidas offers one more. Its new Climachill fabric combines several cooling elements to keep athletes more comfortable during hot summer sessions..."
Bees On A Plane. A flight from Las Vegas to Duluth had to turn around because of...wait for it...bees? No, truth is stranger than fiction some days. Here's a clip from The Duluth News Tribune: "...Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said the flight crew reported at 5:30 p.m. Duluth time that shortly after takeoff, a swarm of bees was clouding the windshield and bees were being ingested into the plane’s engines. The crew decided to abort the flight, landing safely back in Las Vegas..."
37 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
58 F. average high on April 16.
47 F. high on April 16, 2013.
.3" of snow at MSP International Airport.
TODAY: Slushy, slippery start. Patchy clouds, still chilly. Winds: NW: 10-15. High: near 40
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold. Low: 28
FRIDAY: Peeks of sun, feels more like April. High: 52
SATURDAY: Hints of May. PM T-storms? Wake-up: 42. High: 65
EASTER SUNDAY: Damp start. Clouds linger much of the day. Wake-up: 45. High: 62
MONDAY: Partly sunny. Mostly springy. Wake-up: 40. High: 68
TUESDAY: Fading sun, still lukewarm. Wake-up: 44. High: 67
WEDNESDAY: Humid. Showers & T-storms. Wake-up: 48. High: 64
The world is losing the equivalent of 50 soccer fields of forest every minute. NYT. Source: Climate Nexus.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Dropped 3.4% In 2012. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States dropped by 3.4% in 2012, federal environmental regulators reported Tuesday. The decline over the previous year was driven mostly by power plant operators switching from coal to natural gas, improvements in fuel efficiency for transportation and a warmer winter that cut demand for heating, according to an inventory released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...."
Study Ties Epic California Drought, "Frigid East" To Manmade Climate Change. ThinkProgress has the details of a new NASA-funded study; here's an excerpt: "...A new study in Geophysical Research Letters (subs. req’d) takes the warming link to the California drought to the next level of understanding. It concludes, “there is a traceable anthropogenic warming footprint in the enormous intensity of the anomalous ridge during winter 2013-14, the associated drought and its intensity.” The NASA-funded study is behind a pay wall, but the brief news release, offers a simple explanation of what is going on. The research provides “evidence connecting the ampliﬁed wind patterns, consisting of a strong high pressure in the West and a deep low pressure in the East [labeled a 'dipole'], to global warming.” Researchers have “uncovered evidence that can trace the ampliﬁcation of the dipole to human inﬂuences...”
* Jeff Masters at Weather Underground weighs in on new papers linking the historic California drought and a persistent polar vortex signature this past winter to rapid warming in the northern latitudes. Here's a clip: "...A new study published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, led by Utah State scientist S.-Y. Simon Wang, found that this jet stream pattern was the most extreme on record, and likely could not have grown so extreme without the influence of human-caused global warming. The study concluded, “there is a traceable anthropogenic warming footprint in the enormous intensity of the anomalous ridge during winter 2013-14, the associated drought and its intensity..."
* Is climate change impacting the ENSO signal in the Pacific? Here's a technical paper (PDF) with details.
Canada's Climate Warms To Corn As Grain Belt Shifts North. The growing season on the Canadian prairie has lengthened by 2 weeks in the last 50 years; the trends are undeniable. Bloomberg has a story and video explanation; here's a clip: "...This is here to stay,” said Gross, who sells CNH Global NV tractors for Southeastern Farm Equipment Ltd. in nearby Steinbach. His customers are increasingly devoting acreage to corn. “There are a lot of guys who are experimenting with it and looking at it,” he said. Corn is the most common grain in the U.S., with its production historically concentrated in a Midwestern region stretching from the Ohio River valley to Nebraska and trailing off in northern Minnesota. It had been ungrowable in the fertile farmland of Canada’s breadbasket. That is changing as a warming climate, along with the development of faster-maturing seed varieties, turns the table on food cultivation. The Corn Belt is being pushed north of what was imaginable a generation ago..."
January Global Temperature Anomalies. Check out this video clip from NASA, showing a persistent pocket of cold over the eastern USA (thank you Polar Vortex), while most of the rest of the planet was milder than average. That trend lingered into March.
Turning Our Backs To Global Warming. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Virginian-Pilot that caught my eye: "...The problem, as in so many things, is America's paralyzing politics. Since limiting global warming carries its own small cost - one that will affect free-spending energy interests most - partisan opposition to change has been particularly vociferous in America. Global warming has become just another American litmus test, along with health care reform, immigration, abortion, unemployment insurance, pay equity. While the rest of the world is baffled by America's partisan disagreement over a century-old and well-supported scientific theory, it is also frustrated by the lack of leadership from the world's only superpower..."
A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn't Necessarily Matter. By the time the symptoms of climate change begin impacting everyone's daily lives will it be too late to do anything about it? That's why climate change has often been described as "the perfect problem". Andrew Revkin takes a look in an interview at his Dot Earth column at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...Consider that combating climate change requires nothing less than a radical restructuring of how the world makes and uses energy, and consider the overwhelming level of public concern it would take to impose such sweeping changes on the vested interests profiting by the status quo (and let’s be honest…to impose such changes on a public comfortable with the status quo). We’d have to feel we were at war — bullets-flying, bombs-dropping, buildings-burning and body-bags real, live, NOW “I am in Danger” war — before public concern about climate change would grow strong enough to drive those sorts of actions. The psychology of risk perception warns against the naive hope that we can ever achieve that level of concern with effective communication, but even if it is possible, we are just not going to get there in time, a point made dramatically by the latest IPCC Working Group 3 report..."
Latest Snowfall Reports, Updated 6:30 PM. 10.5" of snow has already piled up near Big Lake with 10" at Annandale and 9" at St. Francis, in northern Anoka County. An icy mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet changes to mostly snow this evening with 1-2" for the immediate downtowns, less south of the airport, more north and west of Minneapolis. The far northern and northwestern suburbs will see a plowable snowfall; most of it cutting off after midnight. Latest snow reports from NOAA are here.
Latest WRF Model. The 18z HopWRF (3 km resolution - it's done a pretty good job this winter isolated snowfall amounts) shows a band of 5-8" from near Willmar and St. Cloud, as much as 10-12" from Sandstone and Hinkley to near Duluth and Superior by Thursday morning. Expect some 3-6" amounts for the far northern and western suburbs. The farther north and west you drive up I-94 or I-35 the more treacherous travel conditions will be overnight. Pretend it's still February.
Our tormented April limps on: brief, wondrous spasms of warmth, interrupted by extended spells of wind chill & fat flakes. By the time mid-April rolls around Minnesotans do NOT want to hear about "shovel-able snows".
With a higher sun angle and temperatures above 32F in the metro most roads should remain wet, in spite of a sloppy mix. We can't rule out a coating of slush in the metro area, especially early this morning, with an inch or two north metro. If you're driving north up I-35 travel conditions should get progressively worse; mainly snow north of Monticello, Princeton and North Branch. Some 3-7+ inch amounts are possible by evening from central Minnesota and the far northern suburbs of MSP into northern Wisconsin.
Keep those driveway stakes in a little bit longer.
I expect a "snow sandwich"; precipitation starting as a coating to 1 inch of slush this morning, changing to rain, then back to snow at the tail-end of the storm by this evening. Winds reach 25 mph, creating treacherous travel up north, along with enough snow to build a respectable slush-man from Brainerd and Duluth to Hayward.
Any primal screams today give way to contented sighs next week, with highs in the 60s again next week, with definite hints of spring as early as Easter Sunday.
Easter egg hunts may be muddy this year; rain is likely Saturday into Easter Sunday. Good news for your greening garden.
Latest WRF Run. Latest guidance shifts the heaviest snow band well north of MSP today and tonight, a few inches for St. Cloud and Brainerd, with as much as 8-12" from near Crosby and Aitkin to Duluth by Thursday morning. Source: HopWRF.
On Edge. There's little doubt that the heaviest amounts of snow will fall north of MSP later today and tonight. Today's storm should pull enough warm air aloft for mostly rain midday and afternoon from the Twin Cities on south to the Iowa border, but even in the immediate metro a cold rain probably ends as an inch or two of slush. Northern suburbs may pick up a few inches of slush, with the heaviest amounts far north metro, where some 3-7" amounts can't be ruled out by Thursday morning. More details on the Winter Storm Warning from NOAA.
A Light At The End Of Our Cold, Snowy Tunnel. April is a volatile, fickle month - everything from blizzards and floods to tornadoes. After another winter tantrum later today and tonight skies begin to clear Thursday. ECMWF guidance suggests 60s by Easter Sunday, with a rerun of spring much of next week. That would be nice. Graphic: Weatherspark.
Precipitation Needed To End Drought. Here are the latest numbers from NOAA NCDC; as much as 20" or more of rain necessary to break the drought from California's Central Valley southward to San Diego.
Tornado Season Is Off To A Slow Start, But There's No Predicting What's Next. Matt Lanza has a very good summary of the (relatively) quiet start to tornado season, nationwide, and what may be driving the low numbers. Here's an excerpt from his story at FiveThirtyEight Science: "Tornado season has started quietly this year, continuing a trend that began in 2012. Through March 31, the United States had only 70 reported tornadoes even though the first quarter has averaged more than 170 a year over the last 10 years. April has remained quiet, with 36 preliminary tornado reports as of Sunday. Oklahoma hasn’t seen an intense tornado1 since May 31, the longest such stretch on record. The small tornado seen there on Sunday was the first of any kind since Aug. 7..."
March Was 4th Warmest on Record Globally. Here are a couple of excerpts from a post at Climate Central: "...March 2014 was the fourth-warmest March on record globally, according to recently released NASA data, making it the 349th month — more than 29 years — in which global temperatures were above the historic average...This warm March follows on the heels of the announcements that this winter was the eighth warmest globally and that 2013 was anywhere from the fourth- to the seventh-warmest year on record, depending on which data set is used."
Graphic credit above: "The amounts that temperatures around the world differed from the historic average."
If El Nino Comes This Year, It Could Be A Monster. Wired.com has the story; here's the introduction: "Attention, weather superfans: El Niño might be coming back. And this time, we could be in for a big one. Official NOAA Climate Prediction Center estimates peg the odds of El Niño’s return at 50 percent, but many climate scientists think that is a lowball estimate. And there are several indications that if it materializes, this year’s El Niño could be massive, a lot like the 1997-98 event that was the strongest on record. “I think there’s no doubt that there’s an El Niño underway,” said climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The question is whether it’ll be a small or big one...”
A Significant El Nino Brewing? It's still early, but leading indicators suggest a substantial warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean water for the latter half of 2014. Data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology show temperatures nearly 2F warmer than average in the Pacific by autumn: "All international climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate that SSTs in the equatorial Pacific Ocean will continue to warm during autumn and winter. Almost all models indicate El Niño thresholds will be exceeded during the southern hemisphere winter."
Earth Dodges A Huge Magnetic Bullet. We've seen a number of close calls. If a Category 4-5 X-Class solar flare ever reaches Earth's surface we won't be talking (or communicating) much about weather annoyances. We'll have much bigger problems to contend with, possibly a widespread loss of satellite communication and the power grid. Here's an excerpt from Electronic Products: "I'd say electronic engineers have not been terribly worried about a solar event upsetting their designs. But maybe they should be worried. According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth's orbit on July 23, 2012. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot was aimed at Earth, it would have potentially wreaked havoc with the electrical grid, disabled satellites and GPS, and disrupted our increasingly electroniclives..." (File photo: NASA).
Asian Air Pollution Strengthens Pacific Storms. Smog spiking storms hundreds, even thousands of miles downwind from the source? Here's an excerpt of a BBC article: "Air pollution in China and other Asian countries is having far-reaching impacts on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, a study suggests. Researchers have found that pollutants are strengthening storms above the Pacific Ocean, which feeds into weather systems in other parts of the world. The effect was most pronounced during the winter..."
Photo credit: Reuters. "A thick haze of pollution envelopes Beijing - but scientists say the toxic air travels much further afield."
Fujitsu 3-D Tsunami Simulator Predicts Watery Disasters As They Unfold. Real-time predictions of tsunami impacts? Here's a clip from vr-zone.com: "Fujitsu’s collaboration with Touhoku University led to the development of a 3D tsunami simulator for high-precision tsunami forecasting....The 3D tsunami simulator can recreate how a tsunami flows inland in very accurate detail, showing the flow of water as it interacts with the general topography of the area it is going to affect. It can also simulate waves as it breaks and forms, and as it flows through obstacles like urban buildings and local coastal geographic features..."
Tornadoes And Hurricanes And Earthquakes - Oh My! Surviving A Disaster In Your Home. I picked up a few timely tips and valuable suggestions in this Living Green Magazine article from Ross Bishop; here's an excerpt: "...The lesson is, when the infrastructure goes, the one constant is that life can be extremely difficult. And even a little preparation can make a great deal of difference. Electricity is usually the first thing to go, and our lives today are very electric dependent. No electricity means no furnace, no lights, and no computer. It also means that the refrigerator won't run and that you won't be able to recharge your cell phone. Natural gas is more reliable, so you may have the stove for cooking (even if you have to light it by hand), and you may have hot water...."
Twin Cities Crack The Top 10 Greenest Cities In America. I found this interesting, and couldn't help noticing that St. Paul is slightly ahead of Minneapolis on the list, but nowhere close to Madison and Anchorage. Anchorage? Here's an excerpt from EcoWatch: "When a website creates a list with the title, “Greenest Cities in America,” it’s easy to think you know which ones will be included and why. NerdWallet’s list of that name does contain a couple overlapping municipalities with lists on the top solar cities or the most bike-friendly communities, for example, but it’s mostly comprised of cities that deserve far more recognition for their sustainable, environment-focused efforts. California is typically associated with being green, but not under the definition provided by NerdWallet, an informational finance site..."
Graphic credit above: NerdWallet.
Turns Out, You Can Make Solar Panels Work In Cloudy Cities. Here's another article that made me do a double-take; an excerpt from The Atlantic Cities: "Solar panels have always made sense in cities that get a lot of sun, at least intuitively. But in recent years, scientists have figured out ways to make them more useful for perpetually gloomy cities like London and Seattle. The solution comes down to organic photovoltaics. Unlike traditional solar panels, made of silicon, OPV cells are made of organic semiconductors, which can be 3D-printed or coated over large areas, as seen in the video below...."
What Riding On Airforce One Is Really Like. Here's an excerpt of an interesting behind-the-scenes story from The Washington Post: "...It turns out that riding Air Force One is, in lots of ways, like flying commercial. You need to get there hours early. You send your items through a metal detector and get wanded down. The inside of the cabin is, well, the cabin of a plane, but with some much nicer touches, like real towels and hand lotion in the bathroom..."
Photo credit: "Air Force One." (Katie Zezima)
New Leak Points To Major iPhone 6 Design Overhaul. BGR has the latest on what may be coming next from Apple; here's an excerpt: "...Apple is rumored to launch at least one bigger iPhone model later this year, with various reports suggesting that a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would hit stores first, at some point in late Q3. An even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone version has also been detailed in many reports, with recent ones implying that certain manufacturing issues may prevent Apple from launching it at the same time with the 4.7-inch iPhone..."
We wanted it to be as solid on water as the Land Cruiser is on land." That's Dutch Amfibious Transport co-founder Dirk-Jan de Jong talking about his company's heavy duty amphibious 4WD, the Amphibicruiser. Built around a Toyota Land Cruiser engine, it's a fully fledged on and offroad cruiser that can be driven up a river or out to sea with next to no training..."
World's First Cannabis Vending Machine Unveiled In Colorado. The Times of India has the mind-numbing details: "A dispensary in Colorado is making the most of the state's recent legalization of cannabis by introducting the world's first marijuana vending machines. The machine, called ZaZZZ, will work in a similar way to cigarette machines but includes new technology that requires would-be tokers to scan their driving license (or other, similar documentation) before they can access the goods..."
Weather Service: Please Disregard Our Giant Biblical Flood Warning. Yes, even NOAA has occasional issues with their web sites, as described in this clip from Mashable: "NOAA, meet Noah. The website for the National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), suffered a major malfunction on Thursday leading to the false appearance of a biblical flood warning spanning from Canada (which the NWS doesn't even have responsibility over) south to Florida, and west to Michigan. The malfunction, which began around midday ET and was fixed by 3:15 pm ET, affected local NWS websites — key conduits for disseminating life-saving watches and warnings..."
18 F. low Tuesday morning, tying the all-time record set in 2002, 1935 and 1875.
36 F. high Tuesday afternoon in the Twin Cities.
58 F. average high on April 15. Was it April 15? Really?
40 F. high on April 15, 2013.
TODAY: A cold rain develops in the metro; mostly snow central Minnesota, where travel will become treacherous by afternoon and evening. Rain ends as snow by evening in the Twin Cities. MSP coating - 1" this evening. Winds: E 20+ High: near 40
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Wet snow tapers to flurries late - a few slick spots. Metro coating, few inches far north metro; plowable snow central and northeastern MN. Low: 27
THURSDAY: More clouds than sun, chilly. High: 42
GOOD FRIDAY: Partly sunny, almost spring. Wake-up: 25. High: 50
SATURDAY: Showers likely, possible thunder. Wake-up: 34. High: 58
EASTER SUNDAY: Milder under mostly cloudy skies. Isolated shower? Wake-up: 40. High: 62
MONDAY: Intervals of sun, getting better out there. Wake-up: 42. High: 64
TUESDAY: Fading sun. Welcome back spring. Wake-up: 45. High: 67
* Total lunar eclipse photo taken early Tuesday morning courtesy of photographer Steve Burns.
Tracking Temperature Anomalies Since 1968. A friend shared this site with me yesterday, a fascinating look at national temperature trends over the last 50 years. Check out the Enigma Climate Data Engine for yourself: "Every day, the Global Historical Climatology Network collects temperatures from 90,000 weather stations. Dating back as far as the late 1700's, the records provide an incredible source of insight into our changing climate."
Climate Change Doubling Big Power Outages, Group Says. A story at The Columbus Dispatch caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...The study from Climate Central says that severe weather caused 80 percent of the major outages from 2003 to 2013. A major outage is defined as one that affects at least 50,000 people or interrupts at least 300 megawatts; 1 megawatt can power about 1,000 homes. “Heat waves are hotter, heavy rain events are heavier, and winter storms have increased in both frequency and intensity,” the report says. “To date, these kinds of severe weather are among the leading causes of large-scale power outages in the United States.” The number of major outages was double that recorded during the prior 10-year period, though the author notes that reporting requirements have changed, which might be driving some of the increase..." (File photo: AP).
Canadian Economy Will Lose Billions To Climate Change: Report. Extreme droughts and floods, similar to what hit Calgary in 2013, may become the norm in the coming decades. Here's a clip from thestar.com: "A new report on the financial implications of climate change notes that while natural catastrophes are estimated to cost Canadians $21-$43 billion per year by 2050, popular economic measures like GDP fail to capture the escalation, discouraging preventative investment. The TD report follows a recent and alarming warning by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that governments are ill-prepared for a warming world. If action is not immediately taken, the UN report projected risks could become unmanageable..."
Photo credit above: "A road crew foreman surveys the washed-out lanes of northbound MacLeod Trail in Calgary, Alta., Monday, June 24, 2013. Heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuations across Southern Alberta." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh.
Rising Sun. Why don't we hear more about the ongoing solar power revolution in the popular media? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Paul Krugman at The New York Times: "...In fact, it’s possible that solar will displace coal even without special incentives. But we can’t count on that. What we do know is that it’s no longer remotely true that we need to keep burning coal to satisfy electricity demand. The way is open to a drastic reduction in emissions, at not very high cost. And that should make us optimistic about the future, right? I mean, all that stands in our way is prejudice, ignorance, and vested interests. Oh, wait..."