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.

Posts about Vikings

Flashes of Indian Summer - Mild Bias Lingers into Late October

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 11, 2014 - 9:51 PM

No Drama October

If only we could bottle this magic weather elixir and the view out the window. Trees are wearing their rainbow jackets, posing for pictures. A stubble of frost has ended the growing season, and the sneezing season. Allergy-suffers can breathe easier - and all the mosquitoes have died and gone to bug heaven. RIP.

A preliminary scan of NOAA data suggests October sees the fewest watches and warnings of any month. Big storms can spin up, with only a small risk of extremes that can get you in serious trouble like tornadoes, flash floods, ice storms or blizzards. It's the in-between season.

Patterns can be similar, but never identical. Odds don't favor another 30-year winter like we had last year. I'm seeing cues that suggest winter snow and cold closer to average, even a bit milder than normal.

Winds and clouds slowly increase today, any showers holding off until after the Vikings game. Rain spills into Monday, and a southern storm may push more showers back into Minnesota by Thursday. A minor puff of Canadian air arrives late week, but what really caught my eye was ECMWF (European) guidance for next week. A massive ridge of high pressure sparks a string of 60s, even 70F.

Yes, I'm smitten.

* photo credit: Mike Hall Photography.


Technicolor Rainbow. Actually it was a double rainbow (notice how the colors reverse as white light is refracted twice within prism-like raindrops). Photo taken in Missoula, Montana courtesy of grantr44.


Eastern Pacific Trough - Modified Zonal Flow for USA. Watch for the uber-persistent ridge of high pressure over the west coast to begin weakening in the weeks ahead, with at least the possibility of some precious rains pushing into California. If this pattern emerges it would push a warm ridge east of the Rockies, meaning a mild bias into at least the end of October. 500 mb winds aloft forecast for October 17-21 courtesy of NOAA.


Full-Latitude October Storm. NAM guidance shows a significant surge of Gulf moisture pushing across the Plains and Mississippi River Valley into the Midwest Monday and Tuesday, with a few showers rotating into the Great Lakes, even Minnesota and Wisconsin by late Wednesday and Thursday. Short-term a trailing front pushes a few rain showers across Minnesota later today and Monday, but the heaviest rains this week fall to our south and east. Some 3 inch amounts are predicted from near Des Moines to Nashville and Little Rock. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: HAMweather.



A Fairly Nice Couple of Weeks. Last week was remarkable, and the next 10-14 days promises to be pretty nice, especially next week. The metro area brushes 60F today, again Tuesday, with a better chance of a streak of 60s emerging next week as a ridge of high pressure builds north. I expect dry weather for the Vikes game; a period of rain tomorrow and a possibilty of showers by Thursday as a pinwheel of southern moisture brushes the Upper Midwest. MSP Meteogram: WeatherSpark.


Peaking Fall Color. This will be the weekend to check out ripening leaves from Alexandria Lakes to the Brainerd Lakes area, much of northern Minnesota and the Red River Valley already past peak. My hunch is that metro trees will peak in the next 7-8 days, peak color along the Mississippi River is still 1-2 weeks away. Source: Minnesota DNR.


Changing Day Length Effects on Daily Temperature. Here's a clip from the latest installment of Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "...As we continue to lose daylight hours this month, you may notice an increase in the daily temperature range. Though the sun will heat the dry landscape substantially during the day (as we have seen this week), the longer nights allow for more cooling to occur, dropping the overnight lows to a greater degree than just a month ago. This produces a larger daily temperature range in the absence of significant cloud cover (note many observers reported a 30-35 degrees F temperature rise on Monday, October 6th)..."


University of Miami's New Research Tank May Hold Key to Hurricane Forecasts. A monstrous aquarium that can simulate Category 5 hurricane winds and waves? You could sell tickets to this experience (life insurance policies too). Here's the intro to a story at The Miami Herald: "When hurricanes sweep across the ocean’s surface, they whip up a foamy mix of sea and air, swapping energy in a loop that can crank up the force of powerful storms. The physics of that exchange — nearly impossible to measure in the dangerous swirl of a real storm — has remained largely a mystery, vexing meteorologists who have struggled to improve intensity predictions even as they bettered forecast tracks. Now scientists have a shot at solving that puzzle with a new 38,000-gallon research tank unveiled this month at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami..."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Study Says Gulf and East Coasts May See Tripling of Flood Events By 2030. Rising seas are compounding coastal flood potential; here's an excerpt from VICE News: "...Over the next 30 years, King Tide-like conditions might become the "new normal" as "more tidal flooding is virtually guaranteed," according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). UCS analyzed flooding in 52 coastal communities, from Maine to Texas, and found that many of these areas now experience dozens of tidal floods per year, up to four times the number of tidal flooding days as occurred in 1970. By 2030, two-thirds of these communities are likely to see at least triple the number of high tide floods annually, says UCS..."

File photo: Virginia Department of Transportation.


Decade of Destruction: The Wrath of 15 Hurricanes In One Infographic. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story (and terrific infographic) from Capital Weather Gang: "...The Master of Public Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill created the infographic below that summarizes the overwhelming toll of these storms which collectively claimed over 2,000 lives, destroyed millions of homes, and cost $310 billion. Incredibly, the last “major” hurricane – ranked category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale – to make landfall in this stretch was Wilma in 2005. The storms thereafter were “only” category 1 and 2s, yet still left damages in the billions of dollars..."


Wisconsin City Votes To Get Rid of Tornado Sirens. I know sirens are expensive to maintain, and a switchover to text alerts sure sounds like a good idea, assuming everyone is walking around Antigo, WI with a smart phone and everyone has the capacity to receive text alerts. Until that day comes I'm not sure about this one; here's an excerpt from local8now.com: "The Antigo City Countil voted Thursday night to do away with its two traditional tornado sirens and switch to a text alert system. The Langade County Emergency Management Director says the warning system needs at least $35,000 worth of upgrades to continue functioning, in addition to adding another one..."


The Suicide Crisis. Kudos to USA Today for running a series on America's silent epidemic, the second greatest cause of death for young people. Here's an excerpt from Part 1 of 4 painful, yet critically important chapters within the larger narrative. It's worth a read: "...Americans are far more likely to kill themselves than each other. Homicides have fallen by half since 1991, but the U.S. suicide rate keeps climbing. The nearly 40,000 American lives lost each year make suicide the nation's 10th-leading cause of death, and the second-leading killer for those ages 15-34. Each suicide costs society about $1 million in medical and lost-work expenses and emotionally victimizes an average of 10 other people. Yet a national effort to stem this raging river of self-destruction — 90% of which occurs among Americans suffering mental illness — is in disarray..."


Our Sun In A Halloween Mood? Check out this article from Tech Times: "...Scientists at NASA got this ghoulish image by combining several images of active regions on the sun. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona," according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center...."

Image credit above: NASA / GSFC / SDO.



31 F. low Saturday morning, first sub-freezing temperature since April 18 in the Twin Cities.

57 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

61 F. average high on October 11.

75 F. high on October 11, 2013.

October 11 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1969: Snow accumulated in several locations. Minneapolis received 2 inches, while St. Cloud record 3.6 inches, Redwood Falls had 1.7 inches, and Springfield recorded 1.5 inches.

1918: Dry fall weather set the stage for a dangerous fire threat. Several fires roared through large area of Carlton and St. Louis County. Hardest hit were the towns of Cloquet, Moose Lake and Brookston. The Carlton County Vidette called it a "Hurricane of burning leaves and smoke." At least 453 people died, possibly as many as 1,000. Over 11,000 people were homeless.


TODAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Late showers. WInds: S 20. High: 60

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds, a few showers. Low: 50

COLUMBUS DAY: Damp, periods of rain. High: 56

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, pleasant. Wake-up: 43. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase. Wake-up: 41. High: 58

THURSDAY: Unsettled, chance of a few showers. Wake-up: 48. High: 57

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 45. High: 56

SATURDAY: Fading sun, showers at night. Wake-up: 38. High: 57


Climate Stories...

"...Bogus scepticism does not centre on an impartial search for the truth, but on a no-holds-barred defence of a preconceived ideological position. The bogus sceptic is thus, in reality, a disguised dogmatist, made all the more dangerous for his success in appropriating the mantle of the unbiased and open-minded inquirer..." - Richard Wilson in an article at NewStatesman; details below.


The Gathering Storm. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Secretary of State John Kerry at Huffington Post that got my attention: "...Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command, said climate change "will cripple the security environment." Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret.), the president of the American Security Project, wrote that "addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth's climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers. Climate change is a threat to our national security. Taking it head on is about preserving our way of life." General Gordon R. Sullivan (Ret.) -- the former Army chief of staff -- said that "climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world..." (File photo: AP).


These 14 States Have a Climate Action Plan - The Rest Of You Are Screwed. Possibly my favorite headline of the week. Minnesota is catching up, the state seems to be taking adaptation and resilience seriously. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic CityLab: "...Researchers at the center, a D.C. policy research group based at Georgetown University's law school, surveyed states' climate adaptation policies—plans to build sea walls, for example, or to shift hazardous waste facilities out of flood zones. They found that only a minority of states—14 right now—have fully fledged adaptation plans with specific goals in place. Nine more have adaptation plans in the works. The rest have not developed statewide adaptation plans (though a number of these states do have plans in place at the local or regional level)..."


Against The Evidence. What's the critical difference between doubt and dogmatism? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at NewStatesman: "...In a sceptical age, even those disseminating wholly bogus ideas - from corporate pseudo-science to 9/11 conspiracy theories - will often seek to appropriate the language of rational inquiry. But there is a meaningful difference between being a "sceptic" and being in denial. The genuine sceptic forms his beliefs through a balanced evaluation of the evidence. The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself "sceptical" of any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it..."


A Glimpse Of A New, Emerging Clean Energy Economy. Check out how many jobs Massachusetts has added focused on clean energy; this clip courtesy of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center: "...Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come..."


Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.

In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come.

- See more at: http://www.masscec.com/blog/2014/10/09/global-fight-against-climate-change#sthash.keJKGUQy.dpuf

"The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself  "scepticalof any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it. Such an approach has become typical of those who deny the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change and devolve quickly into conspiracies instead."


Our Planet Is Going to Blow Past The "Two Degrees" Climate Limit. Here's a clip from a story at New Republic: "...This call to nix the two-degrees metric has spurred a backlash from the climate-science establishment, and, more importantly, it raises big financial questions for companies and consumers worldwide. If the two-degrees goal changes, then so might the many climate policies framed around itpolicies that translate into costs for polluters and profitable markets for clean-energy providers. At stake in this fight over a couple of degrees is potentially billions of dollars..."


The $9.7 Trillion Problem: Cyclones and Climate Change. An estimated 35 percent of the world's 7 billion people live in the potential path of cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons, etc). Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "You can do a lot with $9.7 trillion: buy all the real estate in Manhattan 12 times over, purchase 22 carbon copies of Apple, or an absurd quantity of apples. It’s also the amount of money that tropical cyclones could cost the global economy over the next century, especially if climate projections of fewer but more intense cyclones are accurate. In comparison to those losses, the cost of action to reduce emissions and beef up coastal preparedness is relatively cheap say researchers..."


Why Climate Change Litigation Could Soon Go Global. Canada's Globe and Mail has an intriguing story, one that should give trial lawyers a cheap thrill. Class action lawsuits down the road? Count on it. Here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Canadian oil and gas companies could soon find themselves on the hook for at least part of the damage. For as climate change costs increase, a global debate has begun about who should pay. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu recently called on global leaders to hold those responsible for climate damages accountable. “Just 90 corporations – the so-called carbon majors – are responsible for 63 per cent of CO2 emissions since the industrial revolution,” Tutu said. “It is time to change the profit incentive by demanding legal liability for unsustainable environmental practices...”

Friday Frost Potential - Touch of Indian Summer Next Week?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 9, 2014 - 8:00 AM

Weather Phobia

Halloween is coming; candy-craving freaks and zombies show up at your door in about 3 weeks. But if you REALLY want to get scared just pick up the paper or turn on the news.

People ask me if I'm frightened of the weather. Only if I'm flying into a thunderstorm or stuck on a lake during a severe electrical storm. But today there's no excuse for either. With phone apps and thousands of free web sites you can SEE the weather moving in and take precautions.

Even so, new research at Ball State suggests 1 in 10 Americans suffer from severe weather phobia - an almost debilitating paranoia over tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and fires. Some can't sleep, others are depressed, many obsessively check their phones, laptops or TV's for the latest updates.

A healthy respect for weather is a good thing. So is perspective.

Cool, dry weather spills over into much of Sunday; temperatures a few degrees cooler than average. Rain may hold off until after Sunday's Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Monday showers give way to a warming trend: 60s, maybe 70F by Thursday & Friday.

The extended outlook calls for a corn harvest, aerobic leaf-raking and home winterizing. Nothing too scary in sight.


Mellowing Trend Next Week. European guidance is fairly consistent, showing a warming trend into the 60s again next week, even a shot at 70F in roughly 1 week. In the meantime light winds near the center of a high pressure bubble may spark a frost for the inner suburbs of the Twin Cities Friday morning. The best chance of a little rain: Sunday PM into Monday AM hours. Map: Weatherspark.


Scared of Storms? Ball State Studies Severe Weather Phobias. It's good to be a little paranoid about the weather, especially during severe storm, flash flood and icing situations, but a pervasive, paralyzing fear of the weather? Here's the introduction to a story at Indystar: "Do you lose sleep over the weather? One in 10 Americans may suffer from severe weather phobia — a fear of extreme weather such as hurricanes, wildfires or tornadoes so strong that they may feel helpless or can’t sleep, according to new research. Ball State University geographer Jill Coleman teamed up with her mother, University of Kansas psychologist Karen Multon, to survey 300 people about their weather anxieties..."


NASA Adds Up Japan's Soaking Rains from Phanfone. Here's the intro to a story at spaceref.com: "Typhoon Phanfone packed heavy rainfall as it brushed over Japan and NASA's TRMM satellite identified where the rain fell. That data was used to make a map of rainfall totals. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has the ability to calculate rainfall rates within storms as it orbits around the Earth's tropics from space. TRMM data can also be used to create rainfall maps that show how much rain has fallen over given areas...


Dueling Super Typhoons. Check out the nearly perfectly-concentric eyewalls for the Category 5 Typhoons in the western Pacific over the last year. Haiyan may have been the most extreme typhoon (same thing as a hurricane) ever observed before it came ashore near Tacloban City, Philippines. Vongfong, with a central pressure of 900 mb, showed characteristics and intensity similar to that of Haiyan. Graphic: NOAA.

What Sort of Weather Can You Buy for $100 Million Pounds? A rhetorical question for residents of the UK, where the Met Center is about to spend a very significant amount of money on a supercomputer outbreak. Will locals notice the difference in accuracy? Here's a clip from The Telegraph: "...To grasp how it might improve matters, we need to understand the basic mechanics of how the weather is forecast. The Met Office currently takes in 106 million observations a day from around the world using a variety of sources, from old-fashioned weather balloons reading the atmosphere, to satellites high up above the stratosphere, and hundreds of commercial aeroplanes which send back data as they fly between destinations..."

Image credit above: "Michael Fish’s notorious 1987 storm forecast: the weather and public failure combined are guaranteed to attract an audience."  Photo: BBC.


Atlantic: Fewest Named Storms Since 1983. CTV News has more details: "This year's Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to be one of the weakest in decades with only five named storms formed in the region so far this year. That's the fewest named storms formed during a single season in the Atlantic since 1983, when there were four..."

Photo credit above: "A man crosses a flooded Highway 64 as wind pushes water over the road as Hurricane Arthur passes through Nags Head, N.C., July 4, 2014." (AP / Gerry Broome, File)

Why Florida's Record-Setting Hurricane Drought Portends Danger. Complacency is growing as fast as the potential for disaster. The last major hurricane in south Florida was Andrew in 1992. Here's the intro to a Jason Samenow article at Capital Weather Gang: "Florida has gone 3,270 days without a hurricane – nearly nine years and, by far, the longest stretch on record (the next longest streak is 5 seasons from 1980-1984, in records dating back to 1851). Meanwhile, the Sunshine state’s population and development have boomed. Florida is long overdue for a destructive hurricane and has never had so many people and so much property in the way..." (1992 Hurricane Andrew time lapse: NASA).


Our Moods Have a Surprising Effect On Just About Everything We Do. And guess what one of the biggest drivers of our moods is? Business Insider just ran an interesting story - here's a clip that got my attention: "...After looking at more than 1 million online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, they found that restaurants received significantly better ratings on days with nice weather and worse reviews on any day with rain. “The best reviews are written on sunny days between 70 and 100 degrees,” researcher Saeideh Bakhshi concluded. “A nice day can lead to a nice review. A rainy day can mean a miserable one.” In short: Yelp reviews are accidental weather reports..." (File photo: Neil Hall, Reuters).


Buy Experiences, Not Things. Following up on today's weather column here's an excerpt of a post at The Atlantic: "...Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. The idea that experiential purchases are more satisfying than material purchases has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. Since 2003, he has been trying to figure out exactly how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material purchases. In the journal Psychological Science last month, Gilovich and Killingsworth, along with Cornell doctoral candidate Amit Kumar, expanded on the current understanding that spending money on experiences "provide[s] more enduring happiness...."


Ebola Fears Are Triggering Mass Hypochondria. No kidding. That's why I'm watching a lot of HGTV and ESPN these days. This is bad news for anyone who is already freaked out about their health, as this snippet at New York Magazine confirms: "...In a way, what we’re seeing here is hypochondria manifested on a mass scale, said Catherine F. Belling, an associate professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, who has written a book on hypochondria. “I know that there are a lot of people, clearly, who are very anxious and panicking at this point, who maybe don’t altogether trust what the CDC is saying,” she said. “And they’re worried that it’s out in America now, instead of being far away in Africa...”

Photo credit: PLoS.


Is This The New iPad Air2? Newsweek has the rumors and (alleged) leaked photos of what's to come.


Heavy Coffee Drinker? Blame Your Genes, Study Suggests. Yes, I prefer my coffee delivered via IV drip. Here's an excerpt from The Boston Globe: "Ever wonder why you can’t get through the day without your two cups of java, but your spouse and college-age daughter shun the brew? (Okay, I have.) A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers found genes may be at least partly to blame -- and not necessarily those that govern our taste buds..."

Image credit above: Keith Srakocic/AP/File. "In a giant analysis of 120,000 regular coffee drinkers from dozens of studies, scientists identified six new gene variations linked to coffee and caffeine consumption."


59 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

62 F. average high on October 8.

77 F. high on October 8, 2013.


TODAY: Plenty of sun, cool breeze. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 55

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear, touch of frost late. Low: 34

FRIDAY: Cool blue sky. High: 56

SATURDAY: Nicer day of the weekend. Early frost, then sunny and breezy. Wake-up: 33. High: near 60

SUNDAY: Fading sun, showers at night. Wake-up: 42. High: 58

MONDAY: Showers slowly taper. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and quiet. Wake-up: 38. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: Mild sunshine, beautiful. Wake-up: 41. High: 68


Climate Stories...

Why Americans Are Flocking To Their Sinking Shores. As I tell my friends thinking of retiring to Florida for a Gulf or Bay view, buy (or rent!) something a few blocks inland, and be patient. You may get your waterfront property sooner than you think. Here's an excerpt from The Chicago Tribune: "...The ease with which Huckabee and his neighbors have been able to work around some of the most restrictive beach development laws in the country is indicative of a problem that only worsens as rising seas gnaw at U.S. shores: Americans are flocking to the water's edge, as they have for decades, even as the risks to life and property mount. And government is providing powerful inducements for them to do so. Between 1990 – when warnings were already being sounded on rising sea levels – and 2010, the United States added about 2.2 million new housing units to Census areas, known as block groups, with boundaries near the shore, a Reuters analysis found...


East Coast Cities Face Frequent Flooding Due To Climate Change. The sea is rising, and that has implications, especially at high tide. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...The report, Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years, from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), found most of the towns on America’s east coast will see triple the number of flooding events by 2030. By 2045, those towns will see 10 times as many tidal floods – and those floods will seep further inland, and last longer, the researchers said. Many coastal towns already see dozens of small tidal floods every year, typically lasting only a few hours. But the frequency of such events is marching upwards because of sea level rise – which at some points along the east coast is more than twice the global average..." (Photo: Aaron Favila, AP).


Miami Beach Trying To Stem The King Tide. Now it doesn't even take a major storm for significant flooding in Miami Beach - a full moon will do the trick. Details from NBC Miami.


Flood Warning: Report Predicts Baltimore, Annapolis, Ocean City Will Get Wetter More Often in Next 30 Years. Following up on the stories above here's an excerpt of a story at The Baltimore Sun: "...A report issued Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists says tidal flooding already is happening more often than it did in the past in coastal communities like Baltimore. With sea level predicted to rise by a foot over the next 30 years, the environmental group warns, such periodic disruptions could become a chronic problem, closing streets and driving people from homes and businesses on a regular basis..."

Photo credit above: "Low-lying waterfront communities like Miller's Island in Baltimore County are predicted to get flooded more often in years ahead as seas rise." (Kenneth Lam / October 8, 2014).


2014 Extreme Weather: What Attribution Can Tell Us. You can make an argument that climate change is flavoring all weather now, but which (extreme) weather events have a climate fingerprint, and which don't? This gets into attribution; a subject tackled by Climate Central - here's a clip: "...Extreme event attribution, as the nascent field is called, is a quickly growing one, with more and more researchers publishing studies that aim to tease apart the influences of climate change and natural variability on some of the biggest weather outliers we experience — and do so on shorter timescales. “People are really engaged when events are happening and we’re trying to speak to that by saying something that’s relatively robust” and fairly close to the event, said Peter Stott, a climatologist with the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre and one of the report’s editors. The effort isn’t without critics, though, who say such efforts can confuse the conversation about what we know about the effects of global warming..."

Photo credit above: "Shasta Lake, the largest manmade lake in California, was at 36 percent of capacity when this photo was taken in January 2014. As of Sept. 28, it was at 26 percent of capacity."
Credit: USGS/Angela Smith.


The Strangest Ways to Tackle Climate Change Ever Suggested. Sometimes it's the slightly-crazy-sounding ways that wind up working. Here's an excerpt from The Independent: "Changing the diet of cows would significantly reduce flatulence and remove as much methane from the environment as taking 19 million cars off the road, researchers at Scotland’s Rural College have claimed. Is there method in the madness of these scientists’ unusual attempts to tackle global warming?..."


If We Cared About The Environment Like We Care About Sports. I enjoyed this PG-rated (salty language) video from Buzzfeed. No, don't hold your breath.


Can Sucking CO2 Out Of The Atmosphere Really Work? And even if you can get it to work, can it work cost-effectively, at scale? MIT Technology Review has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The need for a carbon-sucking machine is easy to see. Most technologies for mitigating carbon dioxide work only where the gas is emitted in large concentrations, as in power plants. But air-capture machines, installed anywhere on earth, could deal with the 52 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions that are caused by distributed, smaller sources like cars, farms, and homes. Secondly, air capture, if it ever becomes practical, could gradually reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere...."

Photo credit above: "CTO and co-founder Peter Eisenberger in front of Global Thermostat’s air-capturing machine."


Black Hills Blizzard of Early October, 2013, Probably Not Linked to Climate Change. USAgnet.com takes a look at the freak blizzard that unloaded as much as 55" of snow on the Black Hills of South Dakota on October 3-5, 2013. Was there a connection to increasing moisture levels and climate volatility? "...It was just an anomaly," Edwards said. "This type of early season blizzard is an outlier and is not any more likely to occur in the future due to a changing climate." Such a storm occurs about once every 10 years, so it is not uncommon to get that much precipitation in a two- or three-day period in western South Dakota. But the timing of the 2013 early October blizzard created devastating impacts. Computer models showed a reduction in what Edwards called "extreme precipitation events" in the fall season in western South Dakota when compared to climate conditions in the 1800s. However, she added, the results were not statistically significant..." (Image above: YouTube).


How To Lie With Data (or "Melting Away Global Warming"). Phil Plait looks past the propaganda and spin to what's really happening at both poles in Slate; here's the introduction: "After a summer of seasonal melting, on Sept. 17, 2014, Arctic sea ice extent likely hit its minimum for the year. The official word is that it was measured at 5.02 million square kilometers (1.94 million square miles). This is the sixth-lowest minimum since satellite records began in 1979. It also fits right in with the overall declining trend of Arctic sea ice..."

Chilly Marathon - Slight Moderation into Midweek - Earliest Measurable Snow On Record at Eau Claire

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 4, 2014 - 10:08 PM

Running in Place

My dream is to one day finish the Twin Cities Marathon in first place in my age division - cheerfully waving to the crowd from a Segway Scooter. It probably won't happen, but it's good to dream.

My wife is a marathon runner and after consulting her I've reached the conclusion that weather should be nearly ideal for today's Twin Cities Marathon: temperatures rising from the mid-30s into the mid-40s with a mix of sunshine and scrappy cumulus clouds; a west breeze at 5-15 mph pushing you toward the finish line in St. Paul.

Good luck.

We will all participate in the annual Minnesota Winter Weather Marathon, which runs about 6 months or so. Last winter's pattern became locked in a blocking pattern that funneled arctic air into much of the USA. The QBO, or quasi-biennial oscillation, tracks winds near the stratosphere that increase the risk of these stubborn blocks forming. So far the trends are diametrically opposite of last year, to date. I don't think this winter will be nearly as harsh as last.

A cool, dry week gives way to showers next weekend. Just rain, no snow in sight. No warm fronts brewing but no drama either.

Today Tokyo may see a direct hit from Typhoon Phanfone.


Perspective. Thanks to the Twin Cities National Weather Service for putting Friday night's snowy near-miss into perspective. The earliest trace of snow on record: September 15, 1916. Nearly 2" of snow fell on September 26, 1942. I can only imagine how thrilled the locals were back then.


October Extremes. Here's a good, day-by-day analysis of daily snowfall records for October. Of course the record goes to Halloween, 1991, as the (memorable) Halloween Superstorm kicked in: 8.2", on our way to close to 30" over 3 days as a storm stalled over Lake Superior. I'll take that one to my grave...


PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL

707 AM CDT SAT OCT 4 2014 /807 AM EDT SAT OCT 4 2014

...CHICAGO ILLINOIS RECORDS THIRD EARLIEST SNOWFALL ON RECORD...

THE WEATHER OBSERVER AT CHICAGO OHARE CONFIRMED THAT SNOW WAS OCCURRING. THIS SNOW IS THE THIRD EARLIEST SNOWFALL TO BE OBSERVED AT CHICAGO DATING BACK TO 1884. THE EARLIEST SNOWFALL TO OCCUR IN CHICAGO WAS ON SEPTEMBER 25 IN 1928 AND 1942 WHEN A TRACE FELL. THE AVERAGE FIRST TRACE OF SNOW AT CHICAGO IS OCTOBER 30TH.


Chilly Sunday, Then Slight Moderation. I'm not sure I'd call a shot at 60F Tuesday a warm front, more of a not-as-cold front, but the next few days should feel a little more like October. Highs clip 50 today, then rise to near 60F Tuesday before cooling off slightly late in the week. Any significant rain passes south of Minnesota until a more formidable front arrives next weekend. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Continuing Cool Bias Northern USA. An intense storm rotating around Hudson Bay keeps cool exhaust flowing into the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and New England in the coming days, unusually cool air pushing as far south as Florida. Any significant rains pass well south of Minnesota until late week, when the next long-wave trough pushes showery rains into Minnesota. Yes, the atmosphere should be warm enough for liquid precipitation. Source: NOAA ARL.


Wet Start to October - Will Harvesting Be Impacted? Dr. Mark Seeley takes a comprehensive look at weather trends; highlighting a possible impact/delay on the corn harvest due to a very wet start to October. Here's an excerpt of this week's WeatherTalk Newsletter: "...Winona reported 1.36 inches and Caledonia 1.81 inches, while in the Twin Cities Metro Area MSP airport reported 1.47 inches and the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus 1.20 inches. Well over half of the state's corn crop has reached physiological maturity now and a majority of the soybeans have dropped their leaves. As the corn and soybean harvesting season gets underway in earnest this month Minnesota farmers will be hoping for a series of dry days to get some harvesting done. It appears that patience will be required waiting for a warm and dry interval of weather..."


Vikings Stadium Crane Operators Swing Carefully From 300 Feet In Air. And you thought you had an interesting gig? Here's a snippet from a Star Tribune article: "...The highest point of the structure — the west prow, which is now in place — soars to 270 feet. The cranes Koebnick and his colleagues run go even higher than that, reaching 300 feet and providing a panoramic view of car crashes, police chases and the incoming weather system at the farthest reaches of the horizon. The crane operators make the long climb to the top each morning and don’t return to earth until quitting time, often 12 to 14 hours later. Their lunches go up with them, and they tend to nibble all day rather than take a break or relax over a sandwich. For the call of nature, they each have a 5-gallon bucket..."


NASA Satellites Put California Drought Into Shocking Perspective. Mashable has the story - here's the introduction: "Newly released images created from NASA satellite data illustrate the staggering effect the California drought has had on groundwater supply in the state. The images show the amount of water lost over the past 12 years, with different colors indicating severity over time..."

Image credit: UC Irvine, NASA.


2014 Hurricane Season Winding Down With Only Five Named Storms. It's been a very busy hurricane/typhoon season in the Pacific, but unusually quiet (again) in the Atlantic. Here's an excerpt of a good recap from meteorologist Steve Rudin at WJLA-TV in Washington D.C.: "...With less than two months to go, the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has been lackluster at best. Earlier this year, NOAA predicted near-normal to below-normal tropical season. One factor could be the development of El Niño along with cooler Atlantic water temperatures. The original forecast was for eight to 13 named storms, three to six becoming hurricanes and one or two becoming major hurricanes..."


The Freak Hurricane of 1821 And Why It Should Worry Every Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coastal Resident. I'm feeling better about living in the Upper Midwest, in spite of the fresh slaps of Canadian air. Here's an excerpt from meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Capital Weather Gang: "Nearly 200 years ago, a devastating hurricane with sustained winds up to 130 mph crashed into the North Carolina Outer Banks.  This beast of a storm than roared up the East Coast, inflicting immense damage in Norfolk, swamping Cape May and raising New York’s East River 13 feet in one hour. Re-insurer Swiss Re, which analyzed this storm, says such a storm today would cause over $100 billion in damages, and prove 50 percent more costly than 2012′s Superstorm Sandy, in a recent report “The big one: The East Coast’s USD 100 billion hurricane event...”


The Human Factor. Automation in the cockpit is generally thought to be a good thing, but is too much automation making it difficult or even impossible for pilots to cope when things go really wrong? Here's a summary of a long, but excellent article at Vanity Fair: "Airline pilots were once the heroes of the skies. Today, in the quest for safety, airplanes are meant to largely fly themselves. Which is why the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed 228 people, remains so perplexing and significant. William Langewiesche explores how a series of small errors turned a state-of-the-art cockpit into a death trap..."

Image credit above: Sean McCabe. "TROUBLE AHEAD Inside the automated cockpit of an Airbus A330—like the one belonging to Air France that crashed into the equatorial Atlantic in 2009."


The World's Loudest Sound. Kottke.org has a fascinating story about the debilitating and life-threatening impact of unimaginable noise at close range. Imagine the loudest concert you've ever attended. Multiply by 100. Here's an excerpt: "The sound made by the Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883 was so loud it ruptured eardrums of people 40 miles away, travelled around the world four times, and was clearly heard 3,000 miles away. Think, for a moment, just how crazy this is. If you're in Boston and someone tells you that they heard a sound coming from New York City, you're probably going to give them a funny look. But Boston is a mere 200 miles from New York. What we're talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland..."


Failing Sense of Smell May Predict Sooner Death. Nose, don't fail me now. Here's the intro to a fascinatingly troubling article at The New York Times: "A defective sense of smell appears to be a good predictor of dying within five years, a new study has found. Researchers tested a nationally representative sample of 3,005 men and women aged 57 to 85 on their ability to identify five smells: rose, leather, orange, fish and peppermint. The study appears online in PLOS One..."


Google Glass Now Plays Movie Trailers, Close Captions Your Conversations. If done right this could be a big breakthrough for the hearing-impaired. Gizmag has the details; here's a clip: "Google Glass hasn't exactly set the world on fire – or, for that matter, even left beta status. But that doesn't mean there aren't still some cool potential uses for the headset. Today Glass has two big new apps: one that can turn it into a life-changing tool for the hearing-impaired, and another that, erm, helps movie theaters sell tickets..."


 


51 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

64 F. average high on October 4.

59 F. high on October 4, 2013.

.03" rain fell yesterday.

No snow reported Friday night at MSP International.

.6" snow reported at Eau Claire, Wisconsin yesterday, earliest measurable snowfall on record.

October 4, 1963: Heat wave across area with 98 at Beardsley, 96 at Madison, and 94 at Elbow Lake.


TODAY: Partly sunny, brisk. Winds: 8-15. High: 52

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 37

MONDAY: More clouds, stray shower possible. High: 57

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, still cool. Wake-up: 40. High: 59

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, winds ease. Wake-up: 36. High: 56

THURSDAY: Blue sky, mosquito-free! Wake-up: 35. High: 57

FRIDAY: Blue sky, still pleasant. Wake-up: 37. High: 56

SATURDAY: Showery rains push in. Wake-up: 41. High: 55


Climate Stories...

Why Climate Change Affects Poor Neighborhoods The Most. Those who have the least will be the first to suffer the impacts of a rapidly changing climate, worldwide. Here's an excerpt from Time Magazine: "Scientists frequently tout new evidence that climate change will drive some of the most populated cities in the United States underwater. New York, Boston and Miami are all at risk. But the impact of climate change varies even within cities, putting residents of poor neighborhoods at greatest risk of suffering from heat-related ailments, researchers say..."


NASA Explains How Climate Change Is Like The Flu. It's an analogy I use often when I speak in public about climate change. When's the last time you were 2-3 degrees warmer - how did you feel? Chances are there were symptoms to go with the low-grade fever: chills, a cough, maybe a rash or sniffles. We are experiencing the symptoms of a warmer atmosphere - it's showing up in the weather. Here's a clip from National Journal: "For NASA, climate change is kind of like flu season. In a new animated video, the space agency calls the warming phenomenon "planetary fever." Just as the human body heats up in response to an infection or illness, Earth has warmed from the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. The average temperature of the planet has increased more than 1 degree Fahrenheit in the last century, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, which tracks global temperatures..."


A Cargo Ship Just Completed A Historic Trip Through The Northwest Passage. Business Insider has the eye-opening story; here's the introduction: "The hazardous Northwest Passage is open for business. The MV Nunavik left Canada’s Deception Bay on September 19 and rounded Alaska’s Point Barrow on Tuesday – without an icebreaker escort. Owned by shipping firm Fednav and built in Japan, the Nunavik is the first cargo ship to make the trip unassisted, although technically, she is rated as a Polar Class 4 vessel, and can withstand year-round operations in first-year ice..."

Map credit above: "The ship's route through the Northwest Passage." CNA.


Travel Scene: Global Warming Opens Northwest Passage to Pleasure Cruises. If anyone onboard is sober enough to pay attention they might be a little distressed at the ability to cruise NORTH of Canada, but maybe that's just me. Keep the champagne flowing. Here's an excerpt from PostBulletin.com: "Global warming and the resultant melting of parts of the Arctic icecap have opened a new world of travel — a 900-mile, 32-day luxury cruise with fares starting at $20,000. Crystal Cruises, one of the world's top-rated cruise lines, has announced that one of its ships, the Crystal Serenety, will traverse the fabled Northwest Passage on this Pacific-to-Atlantic voyage, beginning from Seward, Alaska, through the north part of mainland Canada and the Arctic Ocean to New York City..."


Earth Losing A Trillion Tons of Ice A Year. Antarctic sea ice may be increasing (due to ocean warming and changes in wind circulations in the Southern Hemisphere) but it's not close to making up for ice loss in the Arctic and Greenland, according to this post at Quark Soup by David Appell; here are a few excerpts: "At Slate, Phil Plait notes a new paper that finds the Antartic is losing 159 gigatonnes of land ice a year. How does that compare to the increase in Antarctic sea ice, a favorite talking point of [fake] skeptics?...So unless the frozen bus stop puddles of the world are gaining over a 1,000 gigatonnes of ice a year -- doubtful even in Canada -- the world is definitely losing a lot of ice. And Greenland's loss is accelerating..."


Global Warming: A Battle For Evangelical Christian Hearts and Minds. I talk frequently in public about Creation Care and stewardship - we are called to care for God's Creation, and that means not shrugging your shoulders and lapsing into conspiracy theories when the subject of environmental responsibility to future generations comes up. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Many evangelical Christians recognize this moral angle of human-caused climate change, and also view the issue as one of stewardship of the Earth. For example, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian herself, and often speaks to like-minded groups. She recently did an interview with Bill Moyers that’s well worth watching. Hayhoe told me,

The foundation of the Christian faith is about loving others as Christ loved us, and it is clear from the work that I do myself as well as I see from other colleagues that those with the least resources to adapt to a changing climate will be most affected by our actions.

Map credit above: Top frame: national per capita carbon pollution emissions. Bottom frame: Vulnerability Index from Samson et al. (2011). Source: Skeptical Science.


Explaining Extreme Events of 2013: Limitations of the BAMS Report. Greg Laden has perspective on attribution and causation, taking a closer look at a recent BAMS (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) report linking climate change to 9 of 16 global weather extremes last year. Here's an excerpt at scienceblogs.com: "...There was a pattern in the results. The studies looking at heat all suggested a link to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). This is not surprising because AGW has involved a global increase in average temperature which is manifest across a variable climate, so even a modest increase in global temperature, bunched up in to places that are a bit cooler or warmer than average (at a given moment in time) is going to be blatantly obvious when picking out heat events. Some of the studies that looked at the California drought and drought in New Zealand attributed these conditions to climate change, others were more ambiguous or suggested that there was no link. All of the studies that looked at extreme precipitation events concluded that there was no way to make a connection, except one (in Northern India) which as ambiguous..."


If A Tree Falls In The Forest, But No Scientist Says So... Dr. Michael Mann at Penn State has an article at Huffington Post, talking about climate change impacts on major global weather events, including the perpetual, ongoing drought gripping California. Is there a link? Here's an excerpt: "...The California drought is of particular interest since it is both an unprecedented and absolutely devastating ongoing event. The thread potentially connecting that event to climate change is the unusual atmospheric pattern that prevailed during winter 2013/2014. That pattern was associated with a persistent "ridge" of high pressure over the western U.S. (see my previous Huffington Post piece) that caused the jet stream to plunge southward over the central U.S., chilling the eastern third of the country, and to veer northward over the west coast, pushing the warm moist subtropical Pacific air masses that would normally deliver plentiful rainfall (and snowpack) to California well to the north, resulting in bone-dry conditions in California and balmy weather in Alaska. In fact, there are at least three different mechanisms that are potentially relevant to the connection between the 2013/2014 California drought and human-caused climate change..."


South Florida at Forefront of Climate Planning, Top U.S. Scientist Says. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Miami Herald: "...In his address, Holdren ran down a laundry list of climate-related risks from rising temperatures to worsening storms. Sitting just feet above sea level, South Florida is particularly vulnerable to both flooding and saltwater tainting water supplies. Because porous limestone lies under Florida, controlling water can be tricky, Tommy Strowd, director of operations for the Lake Worth Drainage District and a former deputy director at the South Florida Water Management District, told the group. The system of canals and flood control structures built a half century ago to drain the Everglades that covered much of South Florida only made matters worse..."

Arthur's Revenge? Record Chill Monday into Tuesday - Summer Returns Late Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 12, 2014 - 11:38 PM

Arthur's Revenge?

Historically we are now entering the hottest week of the year. MSP average highs plateau at 84F between July 6-21. We SHOULD be in the 90s. I SHOULD be babbling about dew points, heat indices and hot weather safety tips.

Instead I'm checking the furnace, digging my favorite Twins sweatshirt out of cold storage and debating whether including Monday's forecast wind chill is a smart career move. Answer: probably not. A wind chill in July? That's a new one.

One theory that could have merit: Hurricane Arthur may have dislodged a chunk of unusually chilly air over James Bay as it howled into Canada's Maritimes last week. Much like powering up a snow blower in your attic throws debris into the family room, intense counterclockwise winds howling into eastern Canada disrupted an already fickle & unstable jet stream, now bulging southward with chilly implications.

We cool off today; tomorrow will feel like any other October 7; a wind chill in the 50s. I'm so sorry. Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game should be the chilliest on record. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings or Gophers take the field.

Our weather has become a Meteorological Bizarro World.

What's next? I wish I knew.


500 mb Winds: Typical for Early October. Jet stream winds buckle, plunging record chill unusually far south into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. While the western USA and Canada fries with highs well up into the 90s, even some 100s. Yes, this is unusual for mid-July, historically the warmest period of the entire year. 84-hour NAM 500 mb winds and vorticity: NOAA and HAMweather.


A New Level of Weather Extremes. Temperature anomalies Monday evening may be 20-24F cooler than average from the Twin Cities to Des Moines and Madison, while readings 30-35F warmer than average bak much of western Canada, sparking a rash of records. I can't remember (ever) seeing these kinds of extremes in July, at least going back to the early 70s. Map: Weather Bell.


Tuesday Morning: Furnace-Worthy. Where are those sweatshirts I stashed into cold storage back in early May? Get ready for a fleeting time warp, Tuesday wake-up temperatures ranging from mid 40s to low 50s. I wouldn't be shocked to hear of a few frost reports near Embarrass and Tower by Wednesday morning. Map: Weather Bell.


This Too Shall Pass. Extended weather data from the ECMWF model shows showers Monday with a chill factor (again, my apologies) dipping into the low and mid 50s. We'll set a record Monday for the coldest July 14 daytime high, dating back to 1871. Game time temperatures will be in the low to mid 60s for Tuesday evening's MLB All-Star Game, probably the coolest All-Star baseball game ever played. Dew point drop into the 40s, typical for late September and early October, before summer returns by the end of the week. Meteogram: Weatherspark.


Sandbags on 'Tonka. Saturday evening I noticed a number of homes still have sandbags on their shoreline, something I've never (ever) seen before. The water level has come down a bit, maybe an inch or two, but at the rate we're going no-wake restrictions may not come off Lake Minnetonka until late July or even early August.


Four Weather Events in History Mistaken For The Apocalypse. One of them, according to this interesting story at AccuWeather.com, was 1816, the "Year Without a Summer". Here's an excerpt: "...As the weeks continued, the icy winter spell would linger for the remainder of the summer, causing an immense burden on farmers across the country. "On July 4, water froze in cisterns and snow fell again, with Independence Day celebrants moving inside churches where hearth fires warmed things a mite," Virginia resident Pharaoh Chesney is quoted by the Smithsonian Magazine. "Thomas Jefferson, having retired to Monticello after completing his second term as President, had such a poor corn crop that year that he applied for a $1,000 loan," the article reported..."


NASA's TRMM Satellite Maps Tropical Storm Neoguri's Soggy Path Through Japan. Satellite-derived rainfall estimates - pretty cool, and surprisingly accurate. Here's an excerpt from Science Codex: "...Southern Japan received a soaking from Tropical Storm Neoguri on July 9 and 10 and data from the TRMM satellite was used to create a map that shows how much rain fell in Kyushu. Kyushu is the southwestern most and third largest island of Japan. The island is mountainous and is home to Mount Aso. Heavy rainfall from Neoguri fell on land that was already soaked in the past week from a slow moving frontal system..."

Image credit above: "This rainfall analysis using TRMM satellite data showed that rainfall totals of over 490 mm (19.3 inches) fell in western Kyushi over the period from July 3-10, 2014.The red line indicates Tropical Storm Neoguri's track." (Photo Credit: Text : Hal Pierce / Rob GutroImage : SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce).


So What Do You Know About Hurricanes? Metro Jacksonville has a terrific infographic with a few surprises: "Considering it's hurricane season, Metro Jacksonville shares a Global Data Vault infographic featuring data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."


NASA Spots a Super Typhoon. National Geographic has a post about "Neoguri", captured by the ISS, The International Space Station: "Watch out, Japan!" said European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst after taking this July 7 picture of Supertyphoon Neoguri from the International Space Station. The supertyphoon lashed Okinawa this week, and at the time the photo was taken, was producing 150-mile-an-hour (240-kilometer-an-hour) winds..."

Photograph by Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA.


Upgraded HWRF and GFDL Hurricane Models Excelled During Hurricane Arthur. Weather Underground has a good summary of how NOAA's enhanced, recently upgraded high-resolution models just performed; here's an excerpt: "The landfall last week of Hurricane Arthur, the first named tropical system in the Atlantic for 2014, brought a quick start to this year’s hurricane season. Perhaps lost in the predictions and preparations for Arthur’s landfall was the fact that there have been major upgrades this year to the two operational National Weather Service (NWS) regional hurricane prediction systems, the GFDL and HWRF models. Here we will provide background on each of those models and highlight the forecast improvements achieved from recent upgrades to both models..."

Image credit above: "Inner core structure of Hurricane Katrina of 2005 simulated from the GFDL hurricane forecast model. Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) are denoted by the color shading, with the darker colors of blue showing the cooling of the SSTs due to the hurricane winds mixing the cooler waters from below to the surface."


Study Provides New Approach to Forecast Hurricane Intensity. Predicting hurricane intensity is much more challenging than forecasting track; here's an excerpt of a story focused on new research from The University of Miami: "New research from University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that physical conditions at the air-sea interface, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, is a key component to improve forecast models. The study offers a new method to aid in storm intensity prediction of hurricanes. “The general assumption has been that the large density difference between the ocean and atmosphere makes that interface too stable to effect storm intensity,” said Brian Haus, UM Rosenstiel School professor of ocean sciences and co-author of the study. “In this study we show that a type of instability may help explain rapid intensification of some tropical storms...”


Data and Analytics Try To Limit Hurricane Damage. Dell Computer has an interesting guest post about the power of analytics and models to get a better handle on which communities in Hurricane Alley are most vulnerable, and how much cash to set aside for a rainy (windy) day. Here's a clip: "...With every new hurricane that makes landfall in the U.S., advanced catastrophe modeling and analytics allow property-casualty carriers to more accurately price a homeowners insurance policy. Models also help insurance carriers calculate the amount of capital they need to set aside in reserve to pay claims and how many catastrophe insurance policies insurers can afford to reinsure. Catastrophe models help insurance companies plan ahead and serve as a tool that contributes to the industry allocating capital more efficiently, Larsen says..." (File image: EPA).


Graphic: Wildfires Raging in North America. Canada's National Post has a terrific infographic and explainer, pinpointing all the wildfires across North America. Smoke from the 100+ blazes burning in Canada's Northwest Territories has been sweeping southward into the USA in recent weeks. Here's a clip: "Hundreds of wildfires are raging in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and the Northwest Territories while the U.S. is battling large blazes in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, California, Colorado, Florida, Washington state and New Mexico. Canada has already had more than 2,000 wildfires this year. And this week saw U.S. President Barack Obama ask Congress for $615-million to help fight the fires this season. So where are the hotspots in North America and how do those fires start and spread?"


What Is Causing The Kidney Stone Epidemic? Staying hydrated in the (increasing) heat is everything; here's an excerpt from io9.com: "Pediatric urologist Gregory Tasian and his team analyzed over 60,000 medical records of people with kidney stones in major cities throughout the U.S. What they found was that people were more likely to develop the painful calcium deposits (pictured above) in their kidneys when average temperatures rose over 50 degrees. In fact, many cases of kidney stones cropped up roughly three days after a hot day. Now that climate change means that some regions of the globe are heating up, it's likely that kidney stones will become even more common..."


Car Insurance Companies Want to Track Your Every Move - And You're Going to Let Them. If you want the lowest possible rate you give up a little more of your privacy (and soul) right? Here's the intro to a story at Quartz: "The proposition is simple: Install a device in your car and allow your insurance company to monitor your driving—how fast you drive, how hard you brake, how sharply you corner, and so on. In exchange, it will give you a discount on your premiums.  That might sound alarming, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Considering internet users already happily trade data on every online move they make in exchange for free services, the only surprise is tracking-based insurance isn’t already more widespread..."


Say It Isn't So - World's Largest Mall Slated for Dubai. It should be noted that Dubai already has 52 malls, each with it's own magazine. Because they do BIG THINGS in Dubai. Maybe our Mall of America can expand into MSP International to keep us in the hunt. Gizmag has more details: "...Dubai Holding hasn't revealed firm dates nor a budget for the project yet, but we do know some basic information. It comprises 743,224 sq m (8 million sq ft) of floorspace, which makes it easily the largest mall in the world, a shade larger than China's Forbidden City, and about four times the size of France's Louvre Palace..."


Every State in the USA, Ranked by it's Food/Drink. Minnesota ranked 23rd out of 50 states. Really? Here's an excerpt of a sure-to-be-controversial story at Thrillist: "...Surly’s was at the forefront of a damn fine brewing scene, but really this ranking is about the glorious innovation that is the Juicy Lucy. Any chump can melt cheese ON a burger, but it takes vision to put it INSIDE the burger. For such achievements you get a pass on that suspect-looking hot dish stuff..."


Amazon Asks FAA For Permission to Fly Drones. Some-day delivery within 30 minutes? Like a vending machine in the sky. The Associated Press has the story; here's a clip: "...In a letter to the FAA dated Wednesday, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds. About 86 percent of Amazon's deliveries are 5 pounds or less, the company said. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Amazon said in the letter..." (Image credit: amazon.com).


80 F. high in the Twin Cities yesterday.

84 F. average high on July 12.

90 F. high on July 12, 2013.

.06" rain fell at MSP International Airport Saturday.


Big Variations in Saturday Rainfall. Although only .06" fell at Richfield, St. Paul reported half an inch, with .81" at Eau Claire and .83" rain reported at Eden Prairie.

July 12 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1933: Odd heat wave affects Grand Marais with a high of 90. Most of Minnesota was in the 100's.

1890: Tornado hits Lake Gervais north of St. Paul. People rushed from St. Paul to help victims and look for souvenirs. One reporter noted... "nearly everyone who returned from the disaster last evening came laden with momentoes (sic) denoting the cyclone's fury."


TODAY: Partly sunny, comfortable breeze. Dew point: 55. High: 75

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, chilly for mid-July. Low: 55

MONDAY: Record chill. Raw, windy & showery. High: 62 (record cold max temperature: 68F in 1884)

TUESDAY: Football weather with more clouds than sun. Take a sweatshirt for the All-Star Game. Wake-up: 52. High: 68

WEDNESDAY: Sunny. Less October. More September. Wake-up: 50. High: 73

THURSDAY: Sunny and milder, still comfortable. Dew point: 49. Wake-up: 58. High: 79

FRIDAY: Feels like July again. Warm sunshine. Wake-up: 61. High: 83

SATURDAY: Warm sun, nighttime T-storms. Wake-up: 66. High: 84


Climate Stories....

Adapting to Climate Change: Let Us Consider the Ways. Breaking news: we're already being forced to adapt to a warmer, more volatile climate. ScienceNews has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...The title of the report, “Climate Change Adaptation,” sounded familiar. That’s because it was very similar to the working title of this issue’s cover story. And although our article deals with the feathered and flowered worlds of plants, animals and other creatures — and not military infrastructure — biologists are similarly concerned with how natural populations might respond to the consequences of climate change. The feature “Quick change artists” tells an important story about some of the ways that vulnerable organisms might adapt to a changing world..." (Image: Shutterstock).


North Carolina's Outer Banks "Ban" Rising Seas. Many people in Europe think we've lost our minds on this side of the pond, at least when it comes to science. Here's a clip from a story at a radio station in the U.K. that caught my eye: "...An overwhelming majority of scientists predict sea levels will rise by at least a metre up and down the coast of the US by 2100.   One of them is Professor Orrin Pilkey, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at Duke University in North Carolina. He says the people of the Outer Banks and their politicians are living in denial. It is impossible, he says, for politicians simply to legislate that a scientific prediction should be ignored. "All up and down the East Coast, Gulf Coast and West Coast it's all the same and still they stick their heads in the sands," he says..."


No Magic Bullet for Climate Change, Swiss Scientist Says. No silver bullet, but plenty of silver buckshot. The Boston Globe has the article; here's an excerpt: "...The lesson, says Lino Guzzella, president-elect of the renowned Swiss university known as ETH Zurich, is we cannot expect technological discoveries like those conceived by Einstein to save us from the pain of climate change. “We cannot sit and fold our hands waiting for a new technology. If we have to wait until the next Einstein comes, it won’t do,” says Guzzella. “The problems we are talking about need to be tackled with the existing tools we have...”


"But There's Been No Warming Since 1998!" Global surface temperatures have plateaued, but the oceans continue to warm, in fact more than 90% of all warming is going into the world's oceans. Here's an excerpt from The Union of Concerned Scientists: "...Focusing on relatively short time periods to claim global warming is not happening is a misleading way to use statistics. These false claims have become so persistent that late last year the Associated Press asked a team of independent statisticians to review global temperature data without revealing to them what the data represented.[5] All of the statisticians concluded that the data showed an unmistakable upward trend over time..."


In Las Vegas Climate Change Deniers Regroup, Vow to Keep Doubt Alive. Bloomberg Businessweek has the story; here's the introduction: "Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute convened its Ninth International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas. A nonprofit, free-market think tank in Chicago with a $6 million annual budget, Heartland has been hosting conferences since 2008 for those dubious of the science confirming human-caused climate change. It is called the ICCC for short, the acronym an intentional echo of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body that has published the most comprehensive studies of global warming..."

Image credit above: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times via Redux. "The Greener Horizon booth at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change."

Cool Canopy of Crud Today - Timing Holiday Weekend T-storms - El Nino: Is 2014 The New 1997?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: May 21, 2014 - 9:07 AM


Imagine if the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild lost EVERY game, and you were the poor schlub-of-a-sportscaster who has to report on what happened & why. Over time this perpetual losing streak would begin to eat away at your soul.

As meteorologists we're trained to take an objective look at the data; take emotion out of the equation. Just issue the best forecast you can. That looks good on paper, but when the weather is foul for extended periods of time - and nearly everyone you talk to is ranting about "this crummy pattern!" - it wears on you.

A foul forecast fatigue sets in.

So I'm as happy as the next guy to see Mother Nature turning the page. May is finally popping up on the maps and 80F should feel like a revelation by the weekend.

Lingering fog and low-level crud kept us a bit cooler than predicted yesterday, but a puff of drier, slightly cooler Canadian air treats us to sunshine the rest of the week. No frost this time around.

A return southerly flow of humid air sparks T-storms Sunday and Memorial Day. If the sun peeks out for even an hour or two (likely) we'll see highs at or just above 80F. In fact we may see 80s much of next week with sporadic outbreaks of T-storms, some capable of minor flash flooding as a warm front stalls nearby.

In the blog below: lousy weather is good for job productivity and globally, April tied 2010 for the warmest on record.


Canopy of Crud. Cool exhaust on the backside of last night's frontal passage, coupled with chilly air aloft and lingering moisture will keep us mostly cloudy today; highs in the 50s north to low and mid 60s south, with a stiff northwest breeze at 10-20 mph. Not a picture-postcard-perfect day on the lake by any stretch.


Gradual Warming Trend. Memorial Day weekend doesn't look quite as warm as it did yesterday, but I still see upper 70s to near 80F from Saturday into Memorial Day. T-storms may keep us a bit cooler, especially Sunday, which appears to be the wettest day right now with the most widespread T-storm outbreak. ECMWF data suggests a streak of 80s next week. You remember 80s, right?


84 Hour Future Radar. HAMweather visualization of NOAA's NAM data shows showers and T-storms, some severe, popping up across the Ohio Valley today, pushing into the Mid Atlantic. A plume of moisture pushing out of the Gulf of Mexico may drop significant rains on drought-plagued regions of Texas and Oklahoma; T-storms reaching the Upper Midwest again by late Saturday and Sunday.


Slight Risk. NOAA SPC shows a slight threat of severe storms today from Denver east to St. Louis, Louisville, Columbus and Washington D.C. - storms firing along an active frontal boundary by mid and late afternoon.


April 2014 Ties 2010 For Warmest On Record, Worldwide. And the first 4 months of 2014 were the 6th warmest on record. A strong El Nino forecast for the latter half of 2014 may cause global temperatures to spike even more. Here are more details from NOAA NCDC:

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2014 tied with 2010 as the highest on record for the month, at 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5°F), marking the third warmest April on record. For the ocean, the April global sea surface temperature was 0.55°C (0.99°F) above the 20th century average of 16.0°C (60.9°F), also the third highest for April on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–April period (year-to-date) was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 12.6°C (54.8°F), the sixth warmest such period on record.

Are We Overdue For A Major Hurricane? The short answer is yes. It's been 9 years since a Category 3 or stronger hurricane hit the U.S. coastline (Wilma in 2005). Among other fears: complacency. It's been so quiet, maybe we let our guard down a little. In today's Climate Matters, new features and capabilities from NHC in 2014, who remind us all that "it only takes one storm": "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the unusually quiet past few years for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Statistically we are vastly overdue for another major hurricane. Why has the Atlantic been so quiet?"


New Hurricane Tools and Capabilities in 2014. NHC will be issuing operational storm surge forecasts if and when a tropical system approaches the coast, but I found a few other interesting nuggets here.


Sample NOAA NHC Storm Surge Forecast. No, residents of Tampa don't need to be concerned, at least not yet. Keep in mind most of the structural damage from hurricanes doesn't come from high winds, but from the "storm surge", a rapid rise in water levels triggered by sustained winds and low pressure, pushing water well inland. This year NHC will begin issuing surge predictions based on a storm's track, intensity, natural tides and bathymetric data (slope of terrain just offshore).


How Might El Nino Affect Hurricane Season? In clip #2 of Climate Matters: statistically El Nino summers and falls tend to increase wind shear over the tropics, resulting in fewer tropical storms and hurricanes. But that's no reason for complacency - we've had a nearly 9 year lull in hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but at some point America's luck will run out. Will 2014 be the year? "The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Wilma in 2005. Since then the tropics have been *relatively* quiet, and that is leading some meteorologists to worry. WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over just why we shouldn't let our guard down."


Massive Wildfires Cause For Concern In Oklahoma. Here's an excerpt from The Daily Ardmoreite in Ardmore, Oklahoma: "Wildfires in Oklahoma so far this month have burned more than 60 times the average acreage, according to data from the Oklahoma Forestry Services. Since 2005, the state has averaged 454 acres burned from May wildfires. So far this month, more than 30,000 acres have burned, The Oklahoman reported Sunday. Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow says that if things don't change, fire crews will be in for a long summer. "We shouldn't have this fire behavior the first week of May," he said...."

File Photo credit above: "Firefighters work to extinguish a flare up on Monday, May 5, 2014, in Guthrie, Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state emergency across Oklahoma after several wildfires broke out across the state, including a blaze north of Oklahoma City that destroyed at least a half dozen homes and left one man dead." (AP Photo/Nick Oxford).


Forest Services Expands Fire-Fighting Tanker Fleet. Under the extenuating conditions (historic drought from California to Texas and Oklahoma) this strikes me as a prudent move. Here's an excerpt from AP and ABC News: "As the Obama administration pushes Congress to ensure that enough money is available to fight destructive wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday it was adding four aircraft to its firefighting fleet ahead of what's expected to be another hot, dry summer in the West. In a statement, the service said it will have a second DC10 and three smaller planes in service in the coming weeks to support over 10,000 firefighters "in the face of what is shaping up to be a catastrophic fire season in the southwest..."


Monitoring The State of Global Rainfall and Drought. redOrbit has an interesting story about pushing the science to be able to accurately predict drought, months in advance. Here's an excerpt: "...A team of researchers from UC Santa Barbara and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a new dataset that can be used for environmental and drought earl warning. The dataset is called CHIRPS, or Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations, and it is the result of a collaboration between UCSB's Climate Hazards Group and USGS's Earth Resources Observations and Science (EROS). CHIRPS combines space observed rainfall data with more than three decades of ground station data collected worldwide..."

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com


Can Poor Air Quality Lead To Pregnancy and Birth Complications? Here's an excerpt of a (sponsored) story at The Salt Lake Tribune: "...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers similar advice and has also researched the health effects of bad air on pregnant women and newborns. In a report titled "Promoting Good Prenatal Health: Air Pollution and Pregnancy," the EPA warns that prenatal exposure to pollutants increases risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight — factors that can compound to other problems for babies, including developmental disabilities later on..."


El Nino: Is 2014 The New 1997? NASA Science has an update on what may turn into a significant warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean water; here's a video and story excerpt: "Every ten days, the NASA/French Space Agency Jason-2 satellite maps all the world's oceans, monitoring changes in sea surface height, a measure of heat in the upper layers of the water.   Because our planet is more than 70% ocean, this information is crucial to global forecasts of weather and climate. Lately, Jason-2 has seen something brewing in the Pacific—and it looks a lot like 1997. "A pattern of sea surface heights and temperatures has formed that reminds me of the way the Pacific looked in the spring of 1997," says Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "That turned out to be the precursor of a big El Niño..."

A team of researchers from UC Santa Barbara and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a new dataset that can be used for environmental monitoring and drought early warning. The dataset is called CHIRPS, or Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations, and it is the result of a collaboration between UCSB’s Climate Hazards Group and USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). CHIRPS combines space observed rainfall data with more than three decades of ground station data collected worldwide.
Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113148141/drought-and-rain-monitoring-chirps-051614/#fAijzheZX6rIZfy5.99Can Poor Air Quality Lead To Pregnancy and Birth Complications? Here's an excerpt of a (sponsored) story at The Salt Lake Tribune: "...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers similar advice and has also researched the health effects of bad air on pregnant women and newborns. In a report titled "Promoting Good Prenatal Health: Air Pollution and Pregnancy," the EPA warns that prenatal exposure to pollutants increases risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight — factors that can compound to other problems for babies, including developmental disabilities later on..."

Strongest El Nino in 17 Years Brewing: Oregon Weather Watch. OregonLive.com has more data from NASA on a pending El Nino event, which may be the most significant since 1997-98. Here's an excerpt: "NASA satellites and ocean sensors are showing that sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean this May look similar to the conditions in May 1997 that resulted in one of the strongest El Niño events of the last century during the fall and winter of 1997-98..."


How El Nino Might Alter The Political Climate. Here's a snippet from The Upshot at The New York Times: "...But El Niño has the potential to do more than offer a one-time jolt to climate activists. It could unleash a new wave of warming that could shape the debate for a decade, or longer. In this chain of events, a strong El Niño causes a shift in a longer cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which favors more frequent and intense El Niños during its “warm” or “positive” phase. The oscillation has been “negative” or “cool” since the historic El Niño of 1998..."


This Is What's Actually Making Your Horribly Unproductive. Confirming our suspicions that spring fever can distract us from the task at hand; here's a clip from a story at TIME.com: "...If you think gloomy weather saps your motivation, you’re not alone; more than 80% of people surveyed by researchers thought so. But the authors of this new study found out the opposite is actually true: Good weather makes us want to go do fun things, and thinking about what we’d rather be doing distracts us from what we should be doing. Career and workplace experts have some suggestions for how to keep “spring fever” from infecting your job performance on nice days..."


UW-Madison Captures Video of "Fire Rainbow". I found this interesting - "fire rainbows" are only visible close to the summer solstice. Here's an explanation and video clip from WXOW.com in La Crosse: "...This week UW-Madison shared a video and photo of what experts are calling a rare rainbow imposter showing up in the sky on Thursday. UW meteorologists say a 'fire rainbow' is an atmospheric phenomenon known as a circumhorizontal arc, often mistaken for a rainbow because of its colors. "They're not all that common but they're not completely rare, either," says Steve Ackerman, director of the UW-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. "I've only seen a half-dozen in my lifetime here in Madison..."


The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York's Hottest Tourist Attraction. The author of this story at Buzzfeed lost his sister in the 9/11 terrorist attack of The World Trade Towers. Here is an excerpt of the article he wrote after entering the 9/11 Memorial Museum for the first time: "... I am allowed to enter the 9/11 Museum a few days before this week’s grand opening for the general public, but why would I want that? Why would I accept an invitation to a roughly $350 million, 110,000-square-foot refutation of everything we tried to practice, a gleaming monument to What Happened, not What Happened to Us? Something snapped while reading about the gift shop — I didn’t want to duck and hide, I wanted to run straight into the absurdity and horror and feel every bit of the righteous indignation and come out the other side raw..."


How Far Your Paycheck Goes in 356 U.S. Cities. Planet Money at NPR has an interesting story about just how far your paycheck really goes - the amount you make vs. cost of living factors. Here's an excerpt: "...So what you really want to know is this: How much do workers make in different cities? And how far does that money go in each city? The that lets us dive into these questions. In the graph below, the left-hand side shows the annual income for typical, full-time workers in different metro areas. The right-hand side adjusts that figure for the cost of living in each metro area..."


New "Dual Carbon" Battery Charges 20 Times Faster Than Li-ion. Will new innovations and technological breakthroughs continue to make renewable power cheaper and accelerate adoption? Right now I wouldn't bet against the trends, as Moore's Law applies to solar, wind and other (clean) forms of energy. An even bigger question is whether most of these breakthroughs will originate in the USA or elsewhere? Here's a clip from an article at Gizmag: "Japanese company Power Japan Plus has announced the development and planned mass-production of "Ryden," a disruptive carbon battery that can be charged 20 times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell. The battery, which is cheap to manufacture, safe, and environmentally friendly, could be ideal to improve the range and charging times of electric cars..."


This Will Make You Never, Ever Want To Get In A Hot Tub Again. Just wake me up when it's safe to come out of my bunker. Huffington Post has a story that was not sponsored by America's hot tub manufacturers. Here's an excerpt: "...While hot tub rash typically clears up on its own without treatment, another more serious condition to be aware of is the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by a germ called Legionella, which is found in water (especially warm water) and can be breathed in from the steam or mist surrounding a contaminated hot tub -- people older than age 50, smokers and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible..."


Netflix's Vision For 2025: 48 Million Channels. And still nothing worthwhile to watch? We'll see. Wired.com has the story and interview; here's an excerpt: "...According to Hunt, this will change with internet TV. He said Netflix is now working to perfect its personalization technology to the point where users will no longer have to choose what they want to watch from a grid of shows and movies. Instead, the recommendation engine will be so finely tuned that it will show users “one or two suggestions that perfectly fit what they want to watch now.” “I think this vision is possible,” Hunt said. “We’ve come a long way towards it, and we have a ways to go still.”


Sorry, But There's No Such Thing As A "Healthy" Sugar. But wait, I read just the opposite on the Internet. Sugar is GOOD for me, in large doses, preferably in processed food and Halloween candy. This article at Huffington Post will most certainly add to the confusion; here's the introduction: "We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but we feel the need to clarify a common misconception: There's no such thing as a "healthy" sugar. Or even a "less bad" sugar. Your body doesn't care if it's "organic" or "unrefined" or "all-natural," and it certainly doesn't care if Gwyneth Paltrow deems it suitable for her children's consumption. Done hyperventilating? Now let's delve into the nutritional science behind this..."


78 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday. Had fog burned off faster we would have hit 80 F or warmer.

71 F. average high on May 20.

72 F. high on May 20, 2013.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15. High: 63

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 48

THURSDAY: Blue sky, less wind. High: 69

FRIDAY: Plenty of sun. Leave work early. Wake-up: 51. High: 75

SATURDAY: Some sun, best day for the lake? Wake-up: 54. High: 79

SUNDAY: Few heavy T-storms likely. Sticky. Wake-up: 60. High: 77

MEMORIAL DAY: Peeks of sun, still very humid. More PM T-storms. Wake-up: 62. High: 81

TUESDAY: More storms. Flash flood risk? Wake-up: 63. High: 79


Climate Stories...

* thanks to science writer Greg Laden for passing this one along. I'm no rocket scientist, but even I can solve this one, Pat.

Weathercasters Grapple With Climate Change. No kidding. You have 3 minutes to discuss the (increasingly toxic) weather, and, oh, by the way, can you squeeze a little climate science in? Mission impossible, at least the way a typical local TV newscast is structured today. Here's an excerpt from a story at TVNewsCheck: "...But whether the administration reached out to the right people to cover the highly charged issue depends on whom you ask.  Even the weathercasters who went to the White House are not sure covering climate change should be part of their jobs. “I wish climatologists were doing this and not me. They know their stuff,” says Bill Martin, chief meteorologist at KTVU, the Cox-owned Fox affiliate in San Francisco (DMA 6). “I am not super comfortable talking about climate change. I am super comfortable talking weather,” says Martin, who was caught so off-guard by the administration’s invite that he didn’t even bother returning the initial calls, figuring they were pranks..."


Climate Change, Forest Fires Drove Widespread Surface Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet. Other factors come into play, beyond warming temperatures, according to this post at phys.org; here's a clip: "Rising temperatures and ash from Northen Hemisphere forest fires combined to cause large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, contradicting conventional thinking that the melt events were driven by warming along, a Dartmouth College-led study finds. The findings suggest that continued climate change will result in nearly annual widespread melting of the ice sheet's surface by the year 2100, and that a positive feedback mechanism may be set in motion..."

Photo credit above: "This image shows Kaitlin Keegan, the study's lead author and a Dartmouth doctoral student, examining the melt layers of the Greenland ice sheet at the summit." Credit: Kaitlin Keegan.

Rising temperatures and ash from Northern Hemisphere forest fires combined to cause large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, contradicting conventional thinking that the melt events were driven by warming alone, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-climate-forest-drove-widespread-surface.html#jCp

ESA's CryoSat Data: Antarctica's Ice Sheet Shrinking Faster Than Ever. Here's an excerpt from a good explainer at gizmag.com: "...The UK-based Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling analyzed data collected over three years (by nearly continuous surveillance) from CryoSat, to create the world's first comprehensive assessment of elevation change in the Antarctic ice sheets. Results of the analysis found that ice loss in the polar region was 31 percent greater than that of the previous period of observation (from 2005-2011), with substantial thinning of the ice in the Amundsen Sea area of West Antarctica..."

Graphic credit above: "Recent observations of Antarctica suggest as much as 159 billion tonnes of ice is lost each year." (Image: CPOM/Leeds/ESA).


Evangelicals in Florida Turn To Climate Change And Call on Gov. Scott To Act. Full disclosure: I'm on the board of EEN, the Evangelical Environmental Network. It's President, Rev. Mitch Hescox, was recently quoted in the Tampa Bay Times; here's an excerpt of what he had to say: "...Among the panelists is the Rev. Mich Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, who wrote a letter to Rubio about his widely publicized comments doubting man’s contribution to climate change. Hescox is also gathering signatures for a petition aimed at Scott. “As Christians, we believe that God's grace empowers us to honestly confront the challenges we face and change for the better,” it reads. “We are failing to keep our air and water clean for our children, contributing to a changing climate that most hurts the world's poor, and putting Floridians at risk as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise. To meet these challenges, we need leaders who understand our duty to God’s creation and future generations..."


National Landmarks Threatened By Climate Change. USA TODAY has the article; here's an excerpt: "...The report, which was not a peer-reviewed study, includes 30 at-risk locations, including places where the "first Americans" lived, the Spaniards ruled, English colonists landed, slavery rose and fell, and gold prospectors struck it rich. Locations include the Statue of Liberty; Jamestown, Va.; the Cape Hatteras (N.C.) Lighthouse; and the Kennedy Space Center. "You can almost trace the history of the United States through these sites," says Adam Markham, director of climate impacts at UCS and report co-author..."

Graphic credit above: Union of Concerned Scientists; Note: NM = National Monument. Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY.


Pat Sajak's Tweet, and subsequent comments on Twitter are here.


A Response. Climate scientist Michael Mann's Twitter comments are here.



European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 Satellite: Antarctica Shedding 160 Billion Tons of Ice A Year. Here's a clip from Daily Kos that I wasn't aware of: "...Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice. The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete..."


The Melting Isn't Glacial. Are we at a tipping point - or is the news coming out of West Antarctica and Greenland more "alarmist hype"? Are you willing to roll the dice? Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...The ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland together possess about 100 times as much ice as all of the mountain glaciers combined, but contribute only slightly more to the sea level rise: 310 billion tons a year, Dr. Scambos said. That is because most of the mountain glaciers lie in areas where temperatures are closer to the melting point than they are in Greenland or Antarctica, and so slight warming tips them to melting. Greenland, with 10 percent of the world’s ice, has enough to raise sea level by 23 feet. “I still think Greenland is the most important thing to watch for this century,” Dr. Scambos said..."

Photo credits above: "Muir Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska is among the many worldwide that are disappearing. Muir, left, as seen in August 1941, and photographed in August 2004." Credit W. Field; B. Molnia/U.S.G.S. via Glacier Photograph Collection.


Climate Change: Get Ready or Get Sued. What are the liability implications of climate change, specifically the trend toward heavier summer downpours and more extreme flooding east of the Mississippi? The insurance industry and lawyers far and wide will be keeping a close eye on this case in Chicago's suburbs. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Washington Post: "...This is a new kind of storm associated with climate change,” Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, told Medill Reports on day two of the April flood. Extreme flooding is part of a pattern that has emerged in the last two decades, according to Illinois State climatologist Jim Angel. Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming..."

YouTube video credit above: "Flooding of the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines , IL. the weather overcast and severe thunder storms. Over 5 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. Temps in the 60s." Filmed by Ed Pilar for 8desplaines.com.


The People of Miami Know About Climate Change. We're Living It. You no longer need a hurricane or even a coastal storm or thunderstorm downpours to get flooding in Miami. Now it often floods at high tide, a rising tide at that. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: "...People in Miami Beach are living climate change," said David Nolan, a meteorology and physical oceanography professor at the University of Miami. "They're on the frontline." The people of Miami Beach didn't need the National Climate Assessment to tell them low-lying south Florida is "exceptionally vulnerable to sea level rise". The city is already spending $206m to overhaul its drainage system. The day after the White House released its climate change report, Miami-Dade County's commission passed a 6 May resolution that calls on planners to account for sea level rise. Local officials across the four counties of south Florida are making similar moves. Almost anyone who lives in south Florida has a nagging fear about climate change. It's both abstract and, at times, very real..."

Photo credit above: "Bozon Jeremie, a tourist from France, crosses a flooded intersection during high tide in Miami Beach, Fla., Nov. 6, 2013. A new scientific report on global warming released in 2014 by the National Climate Assessment named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to severe damage as a result of rising sea levels." (Angel Valentin/The New York Times).


Global Warming Responsible for Increased Wildfires in California? If this is, in fact, a "natural cycle" it's one heck of a coincidence. Here's an excerpt from a story at Headline & Global News: "...Global warming also contributes largely to mega-fires, which occur when multiple wildfires combine together to form a larger, deadlier blaze, and the size of these fires makes it difficult for containment.  In the last decade, the occurrence of such fires has increased in frequency. According to Global Change, about 6.4 million acres have been burned per year on an average since 2010, amounting to a 3.5 million acres increase since the 1980s. Many studies have also highlighted that global warming also increases wildfires indirectly. This climate change leads to other factors that promote wildfires, such as drought and insect outbreaks..."

File Photo credit: "Smoke plumes rise behind the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton entrance Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton." (AP Photo/Gregory Bull).