Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. 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.

Still Breezy and Cool Thursday Ahead

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: March 25, 2015 - 7:23 PM

Clash to Seasons
By Todd Nelson 

I've notice a certain jump in my step lately... maybe it's the Wheaties, maybe it's the additional daylight? We're sitting at 12.5 hours daylight in the Metro, nearly 3 hours 45 mins more daylight since the Winter Solstice 3 months ago. Get this, we'll still gain another near 3 hours of daylight by the Summer Solstice, 3 months from now.

Yes, the additional daylight is nice. Area plant life is responding; if you look close, you'll notice tree/bush buds beginning to swell. I've seen my first few robins of the season and huge flocks of grackles and starlings... boy do they go through the bird seed fast!

Spring weather has had a bit of a wintry hangover the past week, but we picked up some much needed/beneficial moisture! In fact, the Twin Cities saw nearly 0.35" liquid from Sunday to Tuesday. That's the most precipitation in a 3-day stretch since early October! Crazy huh?

Despite recent snowfall, it appears we'll end the 3rd snowiest month of the year with a snowfall deficit around 3 next Tuesday.

It'll be cool and breezy today, but temperatures warm into the 50s by Sunday/Monday. There's a shot that we could see widespread 60s in southern MN Tuesday!

===============

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Breezy and colder. Low: 25. Winds: NW 15-25mph

THURSDAY: Breezy. More clouds than sun, chilly for late March. High: 38. Winds: NNW 10-20

THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Less wind and chilly. Low: 17. Winds: N 5-10

FRIDAY: Who turned off the heat? Brisk. Feels like late February, but the sun is out. High: 36

SATURDAY: Breezy, turning milder with fading sun. Wake-up: 19. High: 43

SUNDAY: Rain/snow mix early. Windy. Wake-up: 34. High: 52

MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Wake-up: 33. High: 53

TUESDAY: Warm, chance of widespread 60s Wake-up: 38. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: April Fools' Day. PM showers? Wake-up: 45. High: 54.

===============

This Day in Weather History
March 26th

2007: Temperature records were shattered across much of central and southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. The following records were set: 69 at Alexandria, 75 at Mankato, 77 at Little Falls, 79 at St Cloud, 81 at Minneapolis-St Paul and Eau Claire, 82 at Redwood Falls and 83 at Springfield.

1991: A record of 76 is set at Eau Claire.

===============

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
March 26th

Average High: 47F (Record: 81F set in 2007)
Average Low: 28F (Record: -10F set in 1996)

===============

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
March 26th

Sunrise: 7:05am
Sunset: 7:33pm

===============

Moon Phase for March 26th at Midnight
First Quarter

=================

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

High temps mid March were quite nice! 50s, 60s and even a 70° reading on March 15th. Since then, we've seen slightly cooler than average temperatures with a bit of much needed precipitation (snow). We'll have to endure a few more days of cooler weather, but take a look at the warming trend into next week! It's possible that we could spike near 60° by Tuesday of next week before another potential cool down into the first weekend of April/Easter Sunday.

==============

Thursday Temperature Outlook

Thursday will be a little cooler in the wake of the storm system that brought a slushy coating of snow to parts of the region PM Tuesday/AM Wednesday. Note high temperatures (left) will be in the 20s and 30s across much of the state with a few 40s possible near the Iowa border. Keep in mind that winds will still be quite brisk, so feel-like temps will more in the 10s and 20s range across the state...

Thursday Weather Outlook

The storm system exiting the region on Thursday will keep a few clouds and light snow showers in place over the Western Great Lakes Region on Thursday... Note that most of the snow potential will miss MN, but winds on the western edge of this system will still be kicking. A north/northwesterly breeze 10-20mph will make it feel more like a February day.

Ice Out on Some Lakes

According to the MN DNR, a number of lakes across southern MN are ice out. Cleary Lake south of the Twin Cities was one of the latest to be ice free. I expect of number of other lake to go ice free by next week as temperatures warm into the 50s and 60s across the southern half of the state.

See the MN DNR Ice Out map HERE:

Precipitation Past 7 Days

According to radar estimates from NOAA, precipitation over the last 7 days shows some much needed precipitation across parts of the Midwest. In fact, the Twin Cities had greatest daily precipitation value of 0.20" on Sunday, March 22nd since that of December 27th, when 0.22" of liquid fell!

Midwest Precipitation Deficit Continues

Despite seeing some recent (beneficial) precipitation, much of the Midwest is still running well below average precipitation. The image below shows the percent of average precipitation over the last 30 days. Note that most areas northwest of the Ohio River are running below the 30-day average, some of which are have only seen 2% to 10% of their 30-day average. However, areas along and south of the Ohio River are running well above the 30-day average; 150% to 200% of average!

Midwest Snowfall Deficit Continues

Season to date, many areas in the Midwest are running well below their seasonal snowfall average. However, the image below shows the 30-day percent of average snowfall. Note that thanks to some recent snow across parts of MN, WI and IA, we're a little closer to average in that 30 day period, but some folks in the Ohio Valley are running nearly 250% to 750% of their 30-day average! Remember that record snows buried parts of the Ohio Valley earlier this month.

National Snow Cover

According to NOAA's NOHRSC, 19.3% of the nation was covered by snow as of March 25th. Some of the deepest snow cover still sits across the Northeast and the higher elevations of the Intermountain West.

At this time last year, 22.6% of the nation was covered in snow with some of the deepest in the Northeast, Intermountain West and also across the Midwest!

New Severe Threats...

If you're a regular to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center website: www.spc.noaa.gov - you might have noticed the *NEW* look to the threat maps. Of course, this change occurred late last fall, but with a lack of severe weather over the winter and so far this year, it really hasn't been all that noticeable. Thanks to a little more active weather this week, we're really getting our first real look since some of the changes took place.

Q: Why is the SPC doing this?

A: A primary goal of these changes is to bring better consistency to the risks communicated in SPC outlooks, from the short-range Day 1 outlooks through the extended range Day 4-8 outlooks. The changes have been made based on customer feedback and to better meet their needs.

Example: Previously, a 10 percent tornado probability including a risk of a significant tornado (>=EF2) was categorized as a Slight Risk. This was the same category used for a "low end" 15 percent risk of severe thunderstorm wind and hail events. In the new scheme, a 10 percent tornado probability that includes the chance of significant tornadoes is categorized as an Enhanced Risk.

In addition, "See Text" did not convey a threat area, due to the lack of a contour in any "See Text" categorical forecast. And the previous "Slight Risk" category covered too broad a range of severe weather probability values.

See more from NOAA's SPC HERE:

**EXAMPLE** OLD OUTLOOK 

This is what an SPC outlook looked like prior to October 22, 2014

(SPC Outlook for 2/10/2013)

**EXAMPLE** NEW OUTLOOK

This is what that same outlook would look like under the current SPC criteria

(SPC Outlook for 2/10/2013)

SPC Categorical Risks

Here's a better understanding of what/why each individual categorical risk would be issued for...


Day 1:

a. General Thunderstorms 
          - 10% or greater probability of non-severe or near severe thunderstorms.

b. Severe Category 1 - Marginal
          - 2% tornado probability, or
          - 5% severe hail or severe wind probability.

c. Severe Category 2 - Slight 
          
- 5% tornado probability, or 
          
- 15% severe hail or severe wind probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter, or wind gusts 75 mph or greater.

d. Severe Category 3 - Enhanced
          - 10% tornado probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado, or
          - 15% tornado probability, or - 30% severe hail or severe wind probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter, or wind gusts 75 mph or greater, or
          - 45% probability of severe hail or wind.

e. Severe Category 4 - Moderate
          - 15% tornado probability AND 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado, or
          - 30% tornado probability, or
          - 45% severe wind probability AND 10% or greater probability of a wind gusts 75 mph or greater, or
          - 45% severe hail probability AND 10% or greater probability of hail 2" or greater in diameter, or
          - 60% severe wind probability, or
          - 60% severe hail probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2" or greater in diameter.

f. Severe Category 5 - High
          - 30% tornado probability AND 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado, or
          - 45% or greater tornado probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado, or
          - 60% severe wind probability AND a 10% or greater probability of a wind gust 75 mph or greater.

National Weather Outlook

The storm system responsible for strong to severe thunderstorms across the central U.S. will begin to tire as it moves into the Eastern U.S. - A lack of instability and dynamics will limit severe weather potential through the rest of the week, but heavier precipitation and colder temperatures will allow for some snow potential across the Northern New England States.

Precipitation Outlook

The storm system moving through the eastern two-thirds of the nation will be responsible for some decent precipitation in spots, especially in areas where thunderstorms were ongoing across the Central U.S.

Northeast Snow Potential

The probability of snow for the Northeast looks to be ramping up once again for the end of the week. According to NOAA's HPC, the probability of 4" or more is up to 50% in light blue from western New York to western Maine.

"Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences"

Here's an interesting article from WashingtonPost.com about how our warming climate is affecting ocean circulation...

"According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation that, among other planetary roles, helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast. The consequences could be dire – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston."

See more from WashingtonPost.com HERE:

"Large Hadron Collider Scientists Hope to Make Contact with Parallel Universe"

"Here's another interesting article from SecondNexus.com about the interesting happenings over at CERN centre in Geneva, Switzerland. They will be firing up the 'atom smasher' this week!

The staggeringly complex LHC ‘atom smasher’ at the CERN centre in Geneva, Switzerland, will be fired up to its highest energy levels ever in a bid to detect – or even create – miniature black holes.

If successful a completely new universe will be revealed – rewriting not only the physics books but the philosophy books too.

It is even possible that gravity from our own universe may ‘leak’ into this parallel universe, scientists at the LHC say.

The experiment is sure to inflame alarmist critics of the LHC, many of whom initially warned the high energy particle collider would spell the end of our universe with the creation a black hole of its own.

But so far Geneva remains intact and comfortably outside the event horizon.

Indeed the LHC has been spectacularly successful. First scientists proved the existence of the elusive Higgs boson ‘God particle’ – a key building block of the universe – and it is seemingly well on the way to nailing ‘dark matter’ – a previously undetectable theoretical possibility that is now thought to make up the majority of matter in the universe.

But next week’s experiment is considered to be a game changer."

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

February Flashback - Springy 60s Next Week - Baffling Tornado Drought

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: March 24, 2015 - 10:43 PM

Uncharted Territory

As of Tuesday there hasn't been a single March tornado reported anywhere in the USA. You have to go back to 1969 to find a comparable month. El Nino appears to be strengthening; this pervasive warm phase of the Pacific Ocean forecast to linger most of 2015. Every El Nino event is different, but most favor a southerly detour of the jet stream, a shift that diminishes the threat of tornadoes and hurricanes. That southward shift in steering winds may pinch off much of our moisture; I'm worried about an intensifying drought.

ECMWF guidance shows a potentially significant rain event brewing for the middle of next week, possibly ending as wet snow on April 1. A foul April Fool's joke. Out ahead of this rare "storm" temperatures surge to near 60F Monday and Tuesday. That partially makes up for any late-season goosebumps tomorrow & Friday, when a fresh sweep of Canadian air keeps highs in the 30s.

And last night's minor slush event? My favorite banker at Northern Trust, Jeff Huybrecht, wrote: "The great thing about a March snow is that it's usually beautiful (wet snow that sticks to trees), melts quickly from roads and driveways, and provides needed moisture. What's not to like?"


Colder Surge - Then Spring Returns Next Week. At least the sun will be out Thursday and Friday, when highs may not climb out of the 30s in the Twin Cities. A milder Pacific breeze kicks in over the weekend, the warmest temperatures early next week out ahead of a system that may pull steadier rain into Minnesota by midweek.


Another Spring Fling. After hovering about 5-10F colder than average into Saturday the mercury gets a nice boost next week with 50s and a few 60s the first half of the week. A period of rain midweek gives way to another cold front by the end of next week. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Moderating Temperatures Second Week of April. Within 2 weeks winds aloft (500 mb) are forecast to be strong and zonal, meaning highs mostly in the 50s. The pattern in early April still doesn't look ripe for significant rain. Map: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Flashes of Warmth. This is pretty typical for late March and early April; oscillating between 30s and slush to 60s and outbreaks of spring fever. Such will be the case in early April with highs mostly in the 50s, a few days of 40s and 60s, but nothing too outrageous in the temperature department. GFS data above: NOAA.


Odd Tornado Drought of 2015 Puts U.S. Into "Uncharted Territory". Here's a clip from a story at weather.com: "...There has still not been a single tornado reported anywhere in the U.S. so far in March 2015, through March 22. Only one other March – in 1969 – has gone tornadoless so deep in the month, according to reliable records dating to 1950. March 1969 had its first tornado of the month on March 23. The lowest U.S. March tornado count was six in 1951, though you could argue some weaker tornadoes may have been unobserved back then, in the pre-smartphone, pre-Doppler radar era. While March is not typically one of the most active months, March has averaged 78 tornadoes in the U.S. over the past 20 years, according to Forbes..."


Experimental Forecast Projects Tornado Season. A low-grade El Nino is already producing conditions downwind generally unfavorable for tornado formation - but there are exceptions to every rule. Here's a clip from Climate Central: "...El Niño tends to tamp down on tornadoes because it shifts the jet stream further south over the U.S., which blocks moisture from flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico. The moisture is one of the key ingredients for fostering the unstable, stormy atmospheric environment on which tornadoes thrive. La Niña acts in the opposite way, pushing the jet stream to the north and letting that moisture penetrate further into the heart of the country. Some of the biggest outbreaks in history — including the 1974 Super Outbreak, as well as the devastating 2011 season — occurred during La Niña years..."


Storm Chasers Suddenly Out Of Work As Tornadoes Vanish in U.S. Bloomberg has more details on the weather pattern that is producing such a quiet March: "...The mechanics of the weather pattern causing heat in the West and cold in the East are easy to trace -- a ridge of high pressure in the eastern Pacific and a trough of low pressure across central North America have locked in place. The pattern “is exactly the opposite of the pattern you need to get an active tornado period in late winter and early spring,” said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist at WSI in Andover, Massachusetts. Severe weather is usually more common when the West is cool and the East is warm, Crawford said. The chances of that happening anytime soon look slim..."


Welcome To The "Double El Nino" - And More Extreme Weather. Although El Nino tends to often tamp down tornadoes and hurricanes for the USA it can spike extreme weather (and temperatures) worldwide. Here's the intro to a story at PRI, Public Radio International: "We’re about to experience a “double El Niño” — a rare weather phenomenon that climatologists had warned about several months ago. That means two consecutive years of the concentration of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that brings West Coast storms, quiet hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and busy ones in the Pacific. The danger is that this could mean more than a few months of odd weather, but instead usher in a new phase of climate change. Last year was the warmest year on record; 2015 looks set to be even warmer..."

Image credit: "El Niño Makes Atlantic hurricanes less likely." Credit: NOAA/ National Climatic Data Center.


A More Significant (Longer Duration) El Nino Event in 2015? The Pacific continues to warm and factors may be converging to prolong some of this warmth into the end of 2015. Expect more warm weather records to be broken. Chart above: NOAA.


Snowflakes Aren't Even Like Themselves, New 3D Images Reveal. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article from LiveScience and Yahoo News: "You've heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but it gets even more complicated: The two sides of the same snowflake aren't even alike. Now, researchers using a cutting-edge 3D camera are able to use these imperfections to update estimates of road slickness and other storm impacts, improving winter weather warnings in real time and saving lives..."


Troubled National Weather Web Sites Among Government's Most Popular. Here's a clip from an Andrew Freedman story at Mashable: "...Uccellini readily admitted that the NWS' warning and forecast dissemination system "is broken." “We are very aggressively trying to replace our dissemination system,” he told Mashable last year. “I’m not walking away or trying to hide.” The NWS has been prevented from developing its own mobile apps because of statutes that forbid it from competing with the private weather sector..."


U.N. Report Warns of Serious Water Shortages Within 15 Years. TIME has the story; here's the introduction: "If we continue on our current trajectory, warns the report, we'll only have 60% of the water we need in 2030 The world will only have 60% of the water it needs by 2030 without significant global policy change, according to a new report from the U.N. While countries like India are rapidly depleting their groundwater, rainfall patterns around the world are becoming more unpredictable due to global warming, meaning there will be less water in reserves..."


The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was. Backchannel at medium.com has an interesting look at the movement to clean up the iGenius's image and ongoing legacy. Frankly I don't even care if he was an a-hole. He pushed people to do things they didn't even know they could accomplish and put a sizable dent in the (digital) universe. That's quite enough for one life. Here's an excerpt from the article: "...Isaacson’s eponymous biography of Jobs became a publishing phenomenon, selling over a million copies and making Isaacson himself somewhat of a celebrity. But privately, those closest to Jobs complained that Isaacson’s portrait focused too heavily on the Apple CEO’s worst behavior, and failed to present a 360-degree view of the person they knew. Though the book Steve Jobs gave copious evidence of its subject’s talent and achievements, millions of readers finished the book believing that he could be described with a word that rhymes with “gas hole...”


To Move Beyond Boom and Bust We Need A New Theory of Capitalism. Is there a better, smarter, more sustainable way to run the markets? Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Minsky’s genius was to show that financially complex capitalism is inherently unstable. Under conditions of stability, firms, banks and households will, over time, move from a position where their income pays off their debt, to one where it can only meet the interest payments on it. Finally, as instability rises, and central banks respond by expanding the supply of money, people end up borrowing just to pay back interest. The price of shares, homes and commodities rockets. Bust becomes inevitable..."


Driverless Cars Will Shield The Haves From The Have-Nots. Redefining the meaning of a "bubble"? Here's a clip from a story at Fusion: "...That’s one of the things I found most interesting — and disturbing — about Mercedes’ vision of the future. It is the wealth bubble incarnate. It’s easy to forget there are housing projects, homeless people on the street, shelters, food desserts, etc. when you literally never have to see them. Not even in passing. Cars have always provided distance and protection from the wider world, but Benz’s F 015 takes it to a whole new level. Yes, it’s just a concept. But this is what a radically unequal world could look like in 15 years..."


Waterspout Tears Through Beach in Brazil. Here's a link to a few video clips, courtesy of Huffington Post. Call me crazy, but if a funnel is approaching you might not want to just stand on the beach: "A relaxing day at the beach turned dark after a waterspout made landfall over Candeias Beach in Brazil earlier this month. At first, according to Slate, beachgoers watched the waterspout from the beach as it churned over the ocean at a distance. The waterspout then moved quickly onto the beach, blowing debris and palm fronds in the air, according to a local report from Brazilian news site NE10..."


38 F. high on Tuesday in the Twin Cities.

45 F. average high on March 24.

31 F. high on March 24, 2014.

30.8" snow so far this winter season at KMSP.

62.7" snow fell last winter, as of March 24, 2014.

March 25, 2007: Record warmth with 72 degrees at Owatonna, MN, 77 at Menomonie, WI and 80 at Eau Claire, WI.

March 25, 1981: An F2 tornado hits Morrison county and does 25 thousand dollars worth of damage.


TODAY: Coating of slush early? Windy with more clouds than sun. Winds: W 15-30. High: 42

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, turning colder. Low: 21

THURSDAY: More clouds than sun, chilly for late March. High: 38

FRIDAY: Who turned off the heat? Brisk. Feels like late February, but the sun is out. Wake-up: 22. High: 35

SATURDAY: Breezy, turning milder with fading sun. Wake-up: 23. High: 44

SUNDAY: Mild, springy start. Late shower? Wake-up: 35. High: 54

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, pleasant. Wake-up: 33. High: 57

TUESDAY: Mild sun, first clap of thunder? Wake-up: 40. High: 62

* Heavier, steadier rain is possible next Wednesday as temperatures begin to fall.


Climate Stories...

The Real Cost of Coal. The fundamental problem right now: the true cost of burning coal (and other fossil fuels) is not being factored into the markets. Fossil fuel companies are getting a free pass by being able to pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere as they want. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...This failure by the government to collect fair value for taxpayer coal is made more troubling by the climate-change implications of burning this fossil fuel. Taxpayers are already incurring major costs in responding to the effects of global warming. Coastal infrastructure is being battered by sea rise and storm surges; forests are being devastated by climate-aided pest infestations; and studies are suggesting that temperature rises have increased the likelihood of devastating droughts in California..."


Scientist Says Florida Wasting Time Debating Climate Change. The scientist is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and here are recent comments, courtesy of HeraldTribune.com: "Renowned scientist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson called Gov. Rick Scott's ban on official use of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” astonishing and disappointing, and held voters responsible for electing Scott and other like-minded politicians to office. “I thought as a nation we were better than this,” Tyson said. People like to blame politicians, he said, but the challenge is educating the electorate..." (Image: NASA).


U.S. Is Laggard Among Developed Nations In Understanding Climate Change. InsideClimate News has an interesting article; here's an excerpt: "...Capstick and his colleagues found that during the 1980s and 1990s, there was increasing awareness and public concern about the issue around the globe. In many countries, skepticism about the scientific evidence of climate change took hold late in the following decade, and climate quickly became a partisan issue largely because of the global recession and concern that taking action would hurt economies. But while most countries have since moved away from this partisan divide, the political split over climate change has only widened in the U.S., Capstick said. This reflects fossil fuel-funded denial campaigns and the widening ideological divide between conservative and progressives in the U.S. Australia and the U.K. have similar divides..."


Carbon Price Should Increase Up To 200% To Avoid Tipping Point, Study Says. Blue and Green Tomorrow has the story - here's an excerpt: "...In order to avoid dangerous levels of climate change and crossing irreversible tipping points in the future, the price of carbon should be increased by up to 200%, according to a new study. Researchers from the Universities of Exeter, Zurich, Stanford and Chicago have urged policymakers not to discount the damages from future climate tipping points. The study, which has been published the journal Nature Climate Change, argues that the prospect of future tipping points should greatly increase the amount we are willing to pay now to limit climate change..."


Science Museums Urged To Cut Ties With Kochs. The New York Times reports; here's the introduction: "Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers. A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change..." (File photo: AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack).


Cyclone Pam Is Just The Start. Newsweek puts the super-cyclone (same thing as a typhoon and hurricane) into perspective; here's an excerpt: "In the wake of island nation Vanuatu’s devastation by Cyclone Pam, in which 320 mile-per-hour winds killed dozens of people and destroyed 90 percent of the buildings in the capital city of Port Vila, public health experts fear that the country's ruined infrastructure will result in mass starvation and epidemics of disease. As the rate of global climate change continues to increase, such tragedies will become more and more common around the world. Vanuatu is not alone..."

Image credit above: "An aerial view of the destruction after Cyclone Pam hit Port Vila, capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, on March 17, 2015." .


A Slow-Down In The North Atlantic Conveyer Belt? There was always concern among scientists that melting of (fresh) water, mainly from a rapidly melting Greenland, might impact the broad Atlantic Ocean circulation pattern. Chris Mooney has details of new research at The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation that, among other planetary roles, helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast. The consequences could be dire – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston..."

* The paper at Nature Climate Change is here.

Spring On Hold Into Friday - Minor Slush Event Tonight - Longer, Stronger El Nino in '15?

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Bears, Lions Updated: March 23, 2015 - 11:00 PM

“...With that kind of an increase, there is about 2 percent increase in the moisture in the atmosphere, which feeds into all the weather systems that occur, and it gets concentrated and magnified by all of the storms, so you can get double or quadruple the effects,” Trenberth says. - from a PRI article focused on El Nino.


Perspective. It can always be worse, right? Rodney and Esther Turnquist sent me this photo taken on St. Patty's Day, 1965. I'm happy to see the red MG wasn't impacted by the 4-6 foot drifts that buried greater Minnesota on March 17, 1965. The sign says "St. Patty's Day 1965". It puts the meager snow piles in my yard into perspective.


One Step Back

Considering most of Minnesota is in a moderate drought I'm happy to see any water, in any state - liquid or frozen - falling from the sky. If you've lived here more than 10 minutes you know that spring is more theory than reality; often two steps forward, one step back.

This week is a poignant, downright blunt reminder that March is Minnesota's third snowiest month of the year, just behind January and December. Considering the sun is as high in the sky as it was in mid-September snow can't stay on the ground for long.

Keep telling yourself that Wednesday morning, when we could wake up to a light slushy coating (of sweet frozen custard!) In spite of a pleading sun temperatures may not climb out of the 30s Thursday and Friday. No worries. Hints of spring return this weekend; ECMWF guidance shows a few days in the 60s next week - maybe a heavier rain event the middle of next week. Bring it on.

Tuesday night's clipper may spark a light coating, but winter snowfall to date (30.8 inches) is 20 inches below average here in the Twin Cities. Perspective: New York City has picked up 23 more inches than the metro area. Boston is up to 110.3 inches and counting.

Make it stop!


* I snapped the photo above at Maynards in Excelsior Monday afternoon. Yes, that's open water in Excelsior Bay. Note to self, and to anyone else intent on testing Darwin's Law: stay off the ice.


Tuesday Night Slush? Right now I don't see a rerun of Sunday night's snow blitz, maybe a coating to an inch of additional slush for portions of Minnesota as rain ends as a few hours of wet snow tonight. 60-hour NAM snowfall prediction: NOAA and HAM WEATHER.


Spring On Temporary Hold. Thursday and Friday will be chilly with temperatures struggling to climb out of the 30s, but a high sun angle will make mid to upper 30s feel considerably better than in January. We warm up over the weekend, European guidance hinting at 60s by Tuesday with a potential for a more significant rain event the middle of next week.


High Amplitude Pattern. Northern and southern branches of the jet stream are forecast to merge and amplify by April 6, with a possible rain/snow mix pushing across the Plains into the Ohio Valley and Northeast, short-circuiting any warming during the first week of April. Map: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


March: Third Snowiest Month of the Year, On Average. I stand corrected. The other day I mentioned that March was the second snowiest month (behind January) but in reality the latest 30-year NOAA averages show March as third snowiest, with an average of 10.3", behiind January and December. Graph above: Twin Cities National Weather Service.


Welcome To The "Double El Nino" - And More Extreme Weather. Although El Nino tends to often tamp down tornadoes and hurricanes for the USA it can spike extreme weather (and temperatures) worldwide. Here's the intro to a story at PRI, Public Radio International: "We’re about to experience a “double El Niño” — a rare weather phenomenon that climatologists had warned about several months ago. That means two consecutive years of the concentration of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that brings West Coast storms, quiet hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and busy ones in the Pacific. The danger is that this could mean more than a few months of odd weather, but instead usher in a new phase of climate change. Last year was the warmest year on record; 2015 looks set to be even warmer..."

Image credit: "El Niño Makes Atlantic hurricanes less likely." Credit: NOAA/ National Climatic Data Center.


A More Significant (Longer Duration) El Nino Event in 2015? The Pacific continues to warm and factors may be converging to prolong some of this warmth into the end of 2015. Expect more warm weather records to be broken. Chart above: NOAA.


Step Into a 3-D Tornado And See An Epic Storm Up Close. Here's a quick story and video focused on recreating the May, 2013 EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, killing 23 people. Scientists are modeling the storm in high-resolution and then visualizing the supercell to try to learn more about what makes some supercells spin up monster tornadoes. Here's a clip from New Scientist: "...Using radar data collected as the event unfolded, Bill Carstensen from Virginia Tech and colleagues built a 3D model of the developing storm, stacked on top of a digital version of the Oklahoma landscape. The tornado is displayed in a unique, four-story-high virtual theatre at the university where it can be viewed with an Oculus Rift headset. The set-up allows a person to walk into the tornado as though they were a towering giant, viewing it from the perspective of someone 2.1 metres tall..."


Why Spring Gets About 30 Seconds Shorter Every Year. Minnesota springs are already short enough, some might add. Here's an excerpt from Live Science: "...The Earth's seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth on its axis (not by how close the planet is to the sun). This tilt of 23.5-degrees from the straight-up-and-down position means that for six months of the year, the Earth's Northern Hemisphere is leaning slightly toward the sun, whereas during the other six months, the Southern Hemisphere leans toward the sun. The main reason spring is getting shorter is that the Earth's axis itself moves, much like a wobbling top, in a type of motion called precession..." (Image credit above: NASA).


U.N. Report Warns of Serious Water Shortages Within 15 Years. TIME has the story; here's the introduction: "If we continue on our current trajectory, warns the report, we'll only have 60% of the water we need in 2030 The world will only have 60% of the water it needs by 2030 without significant global policy change, according to a new report from the U.N. While countries like India are rapidly depleting their groundwater, rainfall patterns around the world are becoming more unpredictable due to global warming, meaning there will be less water in reserves..."


Costa Rica Has Powered Itself Using Only Renewable Energy for 75 Days Straight. Granted, the country is a fraction of the size of the USA, but this is still an impressive feat. Here's an excerpt from Metro: "Thanks to heavy rainfall powering four hydroelectric plants, no fossil fuels have been burnt to generate electricity since December 2014. According to the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute, 80 percent of the country’s energy came from hydropower and 10 percent came from geothermal energy in 2014..."


Tesla's Elon Musk: "A Future Time When Human Driving is Illegal?" A bold statement, and it seems ludicrous today, but 20 years from now? Who knows - but check out gizmag.com for the story; here's a clip: "...He's also bullish on self-driving cars, and this week Musk went so far as to declare that they may completely replace the cars we drive today."In the distant future, [legislators] may outlaw driven cars because they’re too dangerous," Musk said on stage at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, following the introduction of Nvidia’s Drive PX self-driving car computer. "We’ll take autonomous cars for granted in quite a short time..."


The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was. Backchannel at medium.com has an interesting look at the movement to clean up the iGenius's image and ongoing legacy. Frankly I don't even care if he was an a-hole. He pushed people to do things they didn't even know they could accomplish and put a sizable dent in the (digital) universe. That's quite enough for one life. Here's an excerpt from the article: "...Isaacson’s eponymous biography of Jobs became a publishing phenomenon, selling over a million copies and making Isaacson himself somewhat of a celebrity. But privately, those closest to Jobs complained that Isaacson’s portrait focused too heavily on the Apple CEO’s worst behavior, and failed to present a 360-degree view of the person they knew. Though the book Steve Jobs gave copious evidence of its subject’s talent and achievements, millions of readers finished the book believing that he could be described with a word that rhymes with “gas hole...”


What Comes After Wave Runners? Well, if you have a need for serious speed on the water consider a Jet Capsule Reptile; details via Gizmag: "Following the success of the Lazzarini-designed Jet Capsule mini yacht, a lighter and faster version called the Reptile has been launched. It's 500 kg (1,102 lb) lighter than its predecessor and is equipped with a 570 hp Ilmor MV8 high performance marine engine that powers the compact vessel to maximum speeds of 50 knots – that's over 90 km/h (57.5 mph)..."


Hungry Pandas and Smiling Sea Lions. I just got back from San Diego, where I had a chance to check out the zoo and a couple of very cute panda bears from China. Lounging on the rocks in La Jolla were sea lions and I swear I saw a few of them grinning under a lukewarm sun. Hey, I'd be grinning too...


32 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

45 F. average high on March 23.

26 F. high on March 23, 2014.

2" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.

March 24, 1851: Heat wave across Minnesota with 60's and 70's common.


TODAY: Clouds increase. PM showers develop. Winds: SE 15. High: 39

TUESDAY NIGHT: Rain ends as a little wet snow. A light coating of slush is possible. Low: 32

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, drying out. High: 42

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, cold breeze. Wake-up: 28. High: 37

FRIDAY: Cold start with a bright blue sky, light winds. Nippy. Wake-up: 19. High: 35

SATURDAY: Intervals of sun, milder breeze. Wake-up: 23. High: 49

SUNDAY: Mild start, then cooling off. Dry. Wake-up: 41. High: 53

MONDAY: Plenty of sun. Springy again! Wake-up: 31. High: 57


Climate Stories...

Cyclone Pam Is Just The Start. Newsweek puts the super-cyclone (same thing as a typhoon and hurricane) into perspective; here's an excerpt: "In the wake of island nation Vanuatu’s devastation by Cyclone Pam, in which 320 mile-per-hour winds killed dozens of people and destroyed 90 percent of the buildings in the capital city of Port Vila, public health experts fear that the country's ruined infrastructure will result in mass starvation and epidemics of disease. As the rate of global climate change continues to increase, such tragedies will become more and more common around the world. Vanuatu is not alone..."

Image credit above: "An aerial view of the destruction after Cyclone Pam hit Port Vila, capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, on March 17, 2015." .


A Slow-Down In The North Atlantic Conveyer Belt? There was always concern among scientists that melting of (fresh) water, mainly from a rapidly melting Greenland, might impact the broad Atlantic Ocean circulation pattern. Chris Mooney has details of new research at The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation that, among other planetary roles, helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast. The consequences could be dire – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston..."


Amazon Forest Becoming Less of a Climate Change Safety Net. Justin Gillis has the story for The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "The ability of the Amazon forest to soak up excess carbon dioxide is weakening over time, researchers reported last week. That finding suggests that limiting climate change could be more difficult than expected. For decades, Earth’s forests and seas have been soaking up roughly half of the carbon pollution that people are pumping into the atmosphere. That has limited the planetary warming that would otherwise result from those emissions..."

File photo credit: "Rivers meander like brown snakes through the world's largest tropical rain forest, the Amazon basin, home to an estimated 50,000 Asheninka Indians." (Photo by Tyrone Turner).


Journalists Have To Decide What To Do About Candidates Who Are Climate Change Denialists. Jay Rosen has an interesting post at PressThink; here's an excerpt: "...Persistence: Call what it is — a rejection of the science — and keep calling it that. “The Senator doubts that climate change is real, a position at stark odds with an overwhelming scientific consensus.” Here, you take responsibility for pointing out to voters that, while the candidate has his views, the evidence does not support them. And you do this not once, but every time the issue comes up. This is the fact-checking solution. Advantage: puts the campaign press back on the side of truthtelling. A major plus! Problem: likely to result in charges of bias from the candidates so described, likely to trigger the backfire effect among some voters (“in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.”)..."

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