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.
Dear Santa, please send Minnesota a polar-vortex-free winter. A shiny new El Nino would be nice, with mild winds howling from the Pacific some of the time. A Doppler on the roof would be great too.
No, I haven't been a good boy. Yes, I will get off your lap now.
And was I the only one who did a double-take during Sunday's Vikings game? At one point the TV announcer referenced "frigid" weather at TCF Stadium. I frowned and checked the air temperature. 33F with a wind chill of 24F. Frigid? Maybe in Manhattan, but 30s in December, while properly dressed? Pretty reasonable.
Because there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing choices.
You'll be able to shed a few layers by late week as a mild high pressure ridge direct from the Pacific arrives. An extended thaw is likely; 40s by late week with a good chance of 50F Saturday. Mild air passing over cold ground may spark clouds & dense fog later in the week, but the pattern looks benign and storm-free looking out 10 days.
16 inches of snow fell last December; a year ago highs were already stuck in the teens with subzero lows. December 2014 should be easier to take: milder with less snow.
Consider it an early gift.
Friday Evening Jet Stream. A sprawling ridge of high pressure pushes 40s and even some 50s into the Upper Midwest by late week; Saturday probably the mildest day in sight for Minnesota. An omega-block pattern favors major storms over New England and the Pacific Northwest this week. Credit: GrADS:COLA/IGES.
Predicted Jet Stream Configuration: Sunday Evening, December 21. GFS data shows a modified zonal flow roughly 2 weeks out, a more active southern branch of the jet stream, but Pacific air engulfing most of the USA as the coldest air remains over northern Canada and Alaska.
Positive Phase of AO and NAO. A strong negative phase corresponds with a higher-amplitude jet stream, capable of sweeping arctic air southward into the USA. A strong positive phase means stronger, west to east winds aloft, which tends to trap bitter air at far northern latitudes, with fewer intrusions into the Lower 48. A positive phase into mid-December will ensure temperatures above average. How long will the (milder) positive phase linger - too early to know.
Long-Range Climate Model Solutions. The maps above show some of NOAA, NASA and NCAR's long-range climate models, in this case looking out through December, January and February. Most of the solutions suggest a milder than average winter for much of North America, in stark contrast to last winter. This assumes a minor to moderate El Nino helping to keep steering winds zonal much of the time, with fewer icy invasions. My confidence level is growing that the winter to come won't look anything like last winter. Solutions above: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.
Extended Thaw. The warming trend we've been advertising for nearly 2 weeks is still on track. It's going to warm up - the question is how mild. The answer to that question will depend on how quickly snow melts, and whether mild, Pacific air passing over cold ground sparks thick fog and low stratus clouds Saturday, which would keep us a few degrees cooler. 40s are possible as early as Thursday, with a shot at 50F by Saturday.
Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Sunday afternoon, December 7, 2014.
* No travel problems expected Monday, but heavy, windswept rain from a strengthening Nor'easter pushes up the Mid Atlantic coast Tuesday, soaking Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City, where flash flooding is expected - heavy rains push into coastal New England, including Boston, Tuesday night into Wednesday.
* Coastal flooding possible Delaware and New Jersey to Cape Cod.
* Significant snow piles up over interior New England, upstate New York and parts of central PA as storm stalls over northeast Wednesday and Thursday.
* Series of Pacific storms forecast to drop 5-10" rains over Pacific Northwest. Serious river flooding possible Olympics and northern Cascades, moderate flooding possible Seattle/Tacoma to Vancouver this week.
Tuesday Soaker. Internal Alerts Broadcaster models print out some 2-3"+ rainfall amounts near Washington D.C., Baltimore and Rehoboth, Delaware, with 1-2" amounts Philadelphia and New York City to Boston by Wednesday. With significant frost in the ground much of that rain water will run off into streets and streams. Some urban flooding is likely, with the greatest travel delays Tuesday into Wednesday.
Flash Flood Guidance. Our models show that 1.5" of rain falling over a 6 hour period would be enough to spark flash flooding in Washington D.C., where 3.13" of rain is predicted over the next 60 hours. Some 2-3"+ amounts are possible from D.C. and Baltimore to Allentown and the suburbs of New York City Tuesday and Tuesday night. Source: Alerts Broadcaster.
Latest Advisories. NOAA may have to issue Flash Flood Watches for portions of the Mid Atlantic region and New England by tomorrow. For now Winter Storm Watches are posted from the Poconos and far northwest New Jersey northward to the Catskills, for plowable snowfall amounts by midweek. It would appear that major eastern cities will avoid a heavy snow event with this coastal system. Strong winds will spark coastal flooding, especially at high tide. Details from the NWS:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOUNT HOLLY HAS ISSUED A COASTAL
FLOOD WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH
* LOCATION...COASTAL SECTIONS OF NEW CASTLE AND SALEM COUNTIES ALONG
THE UPPER DELAWARE BAY.
* COASTAL FLOODING...THE POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD MINOR TO
MODERATE TIDAL FLOODING.
* TIMING...AROUND HIGH TIDE MONDAY, WHICH OCCURS BETWEEN 1045 AM
AND 130 PM.
* OUTLOOK...TUESDAY MORNING`S HIGH TIDE CYCLE WILL SEE AT LEAST
MINOR COASTAL FLOODING AND THERE IS SOME POTENTIAL FOR MODERATE
FLOODING. A WATCH HAS NOT BEEN ISSUED AT THIS TIME SINCE THERE
IS SOME DOUBT AS TO THE TIMING OF THE STRONGEST WIND TO AFFECT
Heavy Snow Potential. This band may shift over time, but right now models show the best chance of a plowable snowfall from near Altoona and Williamsport, PA to Rochester and Syracuse, New York. I suspect heavy snow amounts may push into the Hudson River Valley and the Berkshires of Massachusetts by Wednesday and Thursday. Map: HAMweather.com.
Stormy Book Ends. Conditions are ripe for street and (minor) river flooding across New England later this week, the result of 1-3" rains. More serious flooding is expected over the Pacific Northwest as a series of very wet storms blow in off the Pacific. Models hint at 14" rainfall amounts for the Olympic Range of Washington State, capable of mudslides and serious river flooding. Seattle, Portland and northern California may see moderate urban flooding later this week. Map: NOAA.
Why We're Concerned. Our internal models show extreme amounts of rain (and very heavy mountain snows) over the Pacific Northwest. I could see avalanche conditions above 6,000 feet with flash flooding and river flooding at lower elevations by Thursday.
Summary: With El Nino gradually ramping up conditions will become increasingly ripe for major storms slamming into the West Coast, and a series of coastal storms tracking up the East Coast. One such storm will spark heavy rain and flash flooding along the I-95 corridor Tuesday into Wednesday, with high winds creating beach erosion and coastal flooding from Delaware and New Jersey Tuesday to Cape Cod by Wednesday. Heavy snows are possible from interior Pennsylvania and upstate New York into interior New England by midweek.
Meanwhile the Pacific Northwest is bracing for a parade of sloppy Pacific storms, with the best chance of urban and river flooding Wednesday and Thursday. Relatively quiet weather is expected over the central USA the next 7-10 days. We'll keep you posted.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
35 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
30 F. average high on December 7.
1 F. high on December 7, 2013.
1/10th of an inch of snow fell yesterday at MSP International Airport.
1" of snow on the ground.
December 7 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:
1995: A strong low pressure system passed across Northern Minnesota which produced considerable snowfall in advance of an intense cold front. Snowfall of five to eight inches was common with eight inches recorded at New London and Alexandria. The most snow reported was 9.6 inches in Mound. The Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport received 7.1 inches.The cold front moved through by late morning on the 8th as temperatures dropped 20 degrees within an hour of the frontal passage. Strong northwest winds of 20 to 40 mph immediately behind the front resulted in severe blowing and drifting and white-out conditions in many areas. Over 150 schools closed early or cancelled classes. Many businesses closed early as well. The Governor ordered state offices closed at noon on the 8th, sending thousands of state employees home. Over 100 outbound flights were cancelled at the Twin Cities International Airport, but the airport remained open.
1876: The term "Blizzard" first used in the government publication “Monthly Weather Review.”
1804: John Sayer at the Snake River Fir Trading Post near present day Pine City mentions: "Cold day. Thermometer 10 degrees below freezing." Lewis and Clark also noted this cold wave at their winter quarters in Ft. Mandan, North Dakota near present day Bismarck.
TODAY: Flurries taper, clouds linger. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 33
MONDAY NIGHT: Gradual clearing. Low: 20
TUESDAY: Bright sun, less wind. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Wake-up: 18. High: 32
THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, breathing easier. Wake-up: 22. High: 38
FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, jacket weather. Wake-up: 30. High: 44
SATURDAY: March preview. Patchy clouds, fog. Wake-up: 37. High: near 50
SUNDAY: Mild start, passing rain shower. Wake-up: 45. High: 48
Cutting Carbon Pollution Is The Key To Curbing Global Warming. Here's an excerpt of an article from John Abraham at St. Thomas, writing for The Guardian: "...Most of us already know this, but not all greenhouse gases are created equal. There are some greenhouse gases that, when emitted, only stay in the atmosphere for a short time. There are other greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) that stay aloft for decades to centuries. Finally, there are some that stay airborne for an intermediate duration. It has often been stated that we can “buy time” by focusing on short-lived greenhouse gases. Reducing things like black carbon or methane can give us some extra years to get our act together on carbon dioxide. But this suggestion is challenged in the PNAS paper..."
West Antarctic Melt Rate Has Tripled. Here's a clip from a press release by AGU, The American Geophysical Union: "A comprehensive, 21-year analysis of the fastest-melting region of Antarctica has found that the melt rate of glaciers there has tripled during the last decade. The glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica are hemorrhaging ice faster than any other part of Antarctica and are the most significant Antarctic contributors to sea level rise. This study by scientists at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and NASA is the first to evaluate and reconcile observations from four different measurement techniques to produce an authoritative estimate of the amount and the rate of loss over the last two decades. “The mass loss of these glaciers is increasing at an amazing rate,” said scientist Isabella Velicogna, jointly of UCI and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California..."
Photo credit above: "Glaciers seen during NASA’s Operation IceBridge research flight to West Antarctica on Oct. 29, 2014. A new analysis of the fastest-melting region of Antarctica has found that the melt rate of glaciers there has tripled during the last decade." Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger.
Research Casts Alarming Light on Decline of West Antarctic Glaciers. The Washington Post has the video and article; here's the introduction: "For two decades, scientists have kept a close watch on a vast, icebound corner of West Antarctica that is undergoing a historic thaw. Climate experts have predicted that, centuries from now, the region’s mile-thick ice sheet could collapse and raise sea levels as much as 11 feet. Now, new evidence is causing concern that the collapse could happen faster than anyone thought. New scientific studies this week have shed light on the speed and the mechanics of West Antarctic melting, documenting an acceleration that, if it continues, could have major effects on coastal cities worldwide..."
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..."
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
"...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 "sceptical” of 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 it—policies 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...”
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...
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: "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..."
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
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..."
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.
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
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: "
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..."
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:
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..."
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
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. 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..."