Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Posts about Bears

Sunday Clipper Potential - February To Start on a Numbing Note

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 21, 2015 - 11:26 PM

A Progressive Pattern

If the Earth was flat I'd be out of a job. Wait, a few friends nursing conspiracy theories are convinced NASA faked the "round Earth thing" but I tend to believe the scientists. A spherical planet means the tropics receive direct sunlight; the poles only get a glancing blow of warmth. This is the primary engine that drives the weather machine; eddies and swirls of cold air breaking off, making a mad dash toward the equator. Most of our "weather" occurs along this atmospheric battle zone.

Last winter polar air become perpetually stuck over North America, odd jet stream gyrations stalling a dome of subzero air overhead week after week, month after month. This winter I see no sign of a similar blocking pattern. It gets cold for a few days, then it warms as steering wind blow from the west, pumping temperate Pacific air back into Minnesota.

The sun peeks out today; temperatures still a few degrees above average. We should top 30F every day from Friday thru the middle of next week, before an inevitable temperature tumble.

February kicks off with single-digit highs, a few subzero lows, but not persistently polar for days on end. Sunday's clipper may be a bust, too.

Surprised?


Serious Snow. A plowable accumulation of 3-6" is possible from near Albuquerque and Santa Fe into the Texas Panhandle, with a couple inches predicted by the 4 KM NAM just north and west of Fort Worth. Models are hinting at a mix farther east near Little Rock. Lovely. Source: Aeris Enterprise.


An Inevitable Temperature Dip. Models are in good agreement looking out 10 days, showing temperatures trending above average through the end of next week, followed by a significant cold front as we end January and sail into February. GFS guidance suggests that daytime highs on February 2 (Groundhog Day, our newest national holiday) may hold near zero. Source: Aeris Enterprise.


Hanging On To Relative Warmth. Average highs now are in the low and mid 20s, so readings continue to trend above average into the middle of next week before taking a tumble. Models are in disagreement about the strength of the next clipper coming in Saturday night into Sunday, but there's still a potential for a couple inches. By the end of next week there will be no doubt in your mind that it's still mid-winter. Source: Weatherspark.


Why The Entire U.S. Weather Satellite System Is At Risk. Here's the introduction to an article at Popular Mechanics: "Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are worried about the future of U.S. weather satellites, which may include a gap in coverage that could leave the U.S. without crucial satellite data for over a year. NOAA (the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration) maintains two types of satellites: Geostationary (or GOES series), which provide continuous images of the earth from a fixed point about 22,000 miles up, and Polar-orbiting (or JPSS series), which circle 500 miles above the planet and provide the images used in long-range forecasting. A legacy of mismanagement, budget overruns, and slipping deadlines means that satellites in both programs may well fail before their replacements are launched and become fully functional.."

Image credit above: "JPSS-1 is the second spacecraft within NOAA's next generation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites- scheduled to launch in early 2017." (Photo Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)


Go Figure. Figuring The Odds of Earth's Global Hot Streak. I'm all for coincidence and serendipity, but at some point you detect a trend in the numbers. This article from AP provides some badly needed perspective on the recent run of warm years worldwide: "...Thirteen of the 15 the hottest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years. The odds of that being random are more than 41 trillion to 1, the statisticians said. All 15 years from 2000 on have been among the top 20 warmest years on record. They said the odds of that are 1.5 quadrillion to 1. A quadrillion is a million billion. And then there's the fact that the last 358 months in a row have been warmer than the 20th-century average, according to NOAA. The odds of that being random are so high — a number with more than 100 zeros behind it — that there is no name for that figure, Grego said."


Map: The Fracking Boom, State By State. Thank God there are no (economically feasible) reserves of natural gas lurking underneath Minnesota's constellation of clean lakes and rivers. Here's an excerpt of a story at InsideClimate News that caught my eye: "As debate intensifies over oil and gas drilling, most states with frackable reserves are already fracking—or making moves to do so in the near future. That translates to 22 states, from California to Texas, Michigan to West Virginia, currently employing this high-intensity form of energy extraction, and five others may soon follow..."


Solar Is Cheaper Than Electricity From The Grid in 42 of 50 Largest U.S. Cities. We are #27! EcoWatch has the article; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Now a new report called Going Solar in America, prepared by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, shows how the plummeting costs of going solar could already make it the more economical choice for energy consumers in 42 of the U.S.’s 50 largest cities. It found that in those cities, a fully financed solar system would cost average residential consumers less than they would pay for electricity from their current local utility. New York and Boston topped the list, in large part because the cost of electricity from the grid is very expensive there..."

"Going Solar in America". The pdf report is here.


Technology Disrupting The American Dream. Think your job can't be displaced by automation, AI or next-generation robotics? Think again. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...It’s clear by now that the fruits of automation, computerization and outsourcing are being reaped by the top 1 percent — in this case, shipping companies and not drivers. The old bell curve with the middle class bloating comfy in the middle is being replaced by what’s called the power curve, in which something called the 80/20 rule applies: 20 percent of the participants in an online venture get 80 percent of the rewards. Think Uber. It’s not the drivers who are getting rich. Something new and possibly awful is happening..."


Google Is Now A More Trusted Source Of News Than The Websites It Aggregates. Quartz has the sobering news (for traditional/legacy media); here's an excerpt: "...Online search engines have overtaken traditional media as the most trusted source for general news and information, according to a global survey of 27,000 people by Edelman, a public relations firm. The data will be presented to delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. The trust gap between traditional media and search engines is even more pronounced among millennials..."


A Treatment For Alzheimer's Might Lie In The Brains of Hibernating Bears. VICE News has a fascinating story; here's an excerpt: "...Chances are that if you've been somewhere cold during the winter months you've had to fight off the urge to curl up under the covers, imitating the tranquil state of a hibernating bear. Well, it turns out, according to scientists, hibernation might provide some lessons for treating the five million Americans that suffer from Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative brain disorders..."


See How Much The "Perfect" Female Body Has Changed in 100 Years (It's Crazy!) Thank you Madison Avenue; here's a clip from a story at greatist.com: "...That silhouette of the “ideal woman” has been put through a series of fun house mirrors (fashion, movies, pop music, politics). It also changes year over year, so the physical qualities we embrace today are often at odds with those from previous generations. To prove our point, we’re taking a closer look at body ideals over the last 100 years—which shows that, as they say on Project Runway, “In fashion, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out...”


29 F. high in the Twin Cities yesterday.

24 F. average high on January 21.

6 F. high on January 21, 2014, after waking up to -13 at KMSP.

2" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.

January 21, 1982: The Twin Cities got 21.1 inches of snow, with a total of nearly 40 inches on the ground.

January 21, 1936: Perhaps the coldest windchill the Twin Cities has ever seen was -67 on this day with the new windchill formula (-87 with the old formula). The temperature was -34 with a wind speed of 20mph. All traffic in the Twin Cities was severely hampered and a number of fatalities were caused by the cold. (source: Twin Cities National Weather Service)


TODAY: Partly sunny. No problems. Winds: SW 10. High: 28

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, milder than average for late January. Low: 23

FRIDAY: Milder with clouds, few flurries. High: 37

SATURDAY: Better travel day. Sun fades, late night snow. Wake-up: 27. High: 36

SUNDAY: Early coating to a couple inches possible with slick highways. Snow tapers. Wake-up: 29. High: 31

MONDAY: Peeks of sun, light winds. Wake-up: 23. High: near 30

TUESDAY: Next clipper. Quick shot of snow. Wake-up: 24. High: 32

WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, PM flurries possible. Wake-up: 21. High: 31

* Turning substantially colder by the end of next week: single-digit highs possible by Friday and Saturday.

** Photo credit: Donna Wick Paul.


Climate Stories...


Climate Scientists Rebuff Skeptics' Arguments Against 2014 "Warmest Year" Claim. Well, this was predictable. Push-back from contrarians, flat-Earthers and professional climate deniers impervious to facts, data and reason - and for some reason don't like it when they're proven wrong, again and again. Here's an excerpt from Andrew Freedman at Mashable: "...NASA and NOAA scientists say they have not changed their tune about 2014, since the data clearly shows that it was most likely the warmest year to date since instrument records began in 1880. Furthermore, they argue that climate skeptics are twisting the meaning of uncertainty ranges and making it seem like there is far less confidence in temperature data than there actually is. Climate science debates occur every day in the blogosphere and on cable news shows, but this particular fight about a major temperature record (and therefore, major news story) highlights the extent to which many boil down to mere contradiction and rejections of facts, rather than arguments based on competing lines of evidence..."


Climate Action Protects The Middle Class. Here's an excerpt from a post by Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA at Huffington Post: "...And when climate disasters strike -- like more frequent droughts, storms, fires, and floods -- low-income neighborhoods and communities of color are the hardest hit. Climate action is crucial to helping reduce barriers to opportunity that keep people out of the middle class. That's why EPA is taking action, delivering on a key part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan with the first-ever carbon pollution standards for our nation's largest source -- power plants. When we act, we deliver the certainty companies need to drive innovation and create new jobs..." (Image: NASA).

Image credit: NASA, NOAA.


Study Says Trees Species Will Change With Climate. It's already happening, a slow-motion transformation as climate zones creep northward in a warming world. Minnesota's long range forecast calls for more oaks and maple trees. Here's the intro to a story at Duluth News Tribune: "Minnesota’s northern forests will look much different in coming decades as a warming climate encourages tree species like oaks and maples and pushes others, including spruce and fir, out of the region. That was the finding of a University of Minnesota study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change that used growing plots near Cloquet and Ely and added the amount of warmth expected later this century..."


Romney Says He's Still Mulling 2016 Presidential Run. And it appears that Mr. Romney has shifted his stance on climate change, as reported by The Des Moines Register; here's an excerpt: "...Romney, though, kept his focus on the issues. He said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it's real and a major problem. He said it's not enough for Americans to keep their own carbon emissions in check when much of the rise in greenhouse gases globally is coming from countries such as China and India..."


Obama Toughens Up On Climate. President Obama is making action on climate change one of the centerpieces of his second term, as reported at The Hill: "...In November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved on a long-awaited update to ozone pollution standards, which cut the allowable threshold for the ground-level smog to between 60 parts per million and 75 parts per million. And over the last six weeks the administration has floated guidelines for federal agencies to weigh climate change impacts when reviewing energy and infrastructure projects, and released first-ever regulations on methane emissions from industrial sources..."


2014 Record Breaking Heat Is Bad For Business. Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at Forbes that caught my eye: "...The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report shows that leaders increasingly see these phenomena as a major drag on their bottom lines, ranking severe weather events and water crises among the top 10 likeliest global risks, and the risks expected to have the most impact in 2015. Neeraj Sahai, president of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, put it this way in Fortune magazine: “The investment community – along with regulators – has woken up to this threat..."


Pope Has U.S. Climate Naysayers In An Uproar. Here's an excerpt from an AP story at The Star Tribune: "...He said global warming was “mostly” man-made. And he said he wanted his ­encyclical out in plenty of time to be absorbed before the next round of U.N. climate change talks in Paris in November. “I don’t know if it [human activity] is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” Francis said. “We have in a sense taken over nature...”

Photo credit: AP Photo/Giuseppe Cacace, pool.


Why Do Religious People of Color Care So Much About Climate Change? Climate change will become one of the most pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century. Because those with the least will be the first to be impacted. Deseret News has the story - here's a clip: "...Contrary to the prevailing perception that climate change is primarily a cause for upper-middle-class, highly educated white liberals, a 2014 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows the highest levels of concern for the issue can be found among black Protestants like the Rev. Keys, as well as Hispanic Catholics. Compared with 50 percent of all Americans, 73 percent of Hispanic Catholics and 58 percent of black Protestants said they were "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about climate change..."


"It Is Profitable To Let The World Go To Hell". Can capitalism, free-market forces, eventually deal with climate change and increasing weather (and water) volatility? Once we find a way to put a price on carbon I want to believe that this is possible. There's little doubt in my mind that our grandkids will be dealing with something closer to "sustainable capitalism". How do we grow economies, consume energy and keep the lights on with minimal impact on the environment? Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...The professor of climate strategy at the Norwegian Business School has been pretty close to giving up his struggle to wake us up to our unsustainable ways, and in 2004 published a pessimistic update of his 1972 report showing the predictions made at the time are turning out to be largely accurate. What he cannot bear is how politicians of all persuasions have failed to act even as the scientific evidence of climate change mounts up, and as a result he has largely lost faith in the democratic process to handle complex issues..."


Is The Climate Movement At A Tipping Point? EcoWatch has the story; here's the intro: "Is the climate movement at a political tipping point? Could right now, 2015, be that moment in history, be something akin to the 1964-1965 period for the civil rights movement? Those were the years that two major pieces of legislation, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, ended legal segregation in the South and opened the way for a whole series of positive social, cultural and political changes in the U.S. in the years since..."

Capital of Cold: 7 More Nights/Row Below Zero - Dangerous Wind Chill Tomorrow

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 5, 2015 - 11:39 PM

Benefits of Brrr

This may prove the perils of cold weather brain-shrinkage, but consider: 1) Living in Minnesota gives you cold weather boasting rights for the USA! Anchorage? Not even close. Alaska's biggest city didn't see ONE subzero low in 2014. 2) A low of -30 to -40F is required to kill off most invasive pests, including hungry Pine Beetles. A cleansing cold wave is very good news for our North Woods. 3) There's anecdotal evidence that the crime rate drops during extended cold waves. It turns out thugs, creeps and criminals don't much care for extreme wind chills either.

Feeling better? Me neither.

The next surge of polar exhaust arrives today. Temperatures tumble, bottoming out tomorrow morning around -15F in the suburbs with a wind chill of -35 to -40F. Pioneer cold, but a rebound is likely by the weekend with highs luxuriating in the teens. Yes, teens above! will feel amazingly good.

I still don't see anything that qualifies as a storm, just slow moderation next week as winds begin to blow from the Pacific instead of the Arctic Circle. That should mean a thaw by the end of next week.

Is this the worst of winter? Probably. Then again I'm a naive optimist with debilitating brain-freeze.


Blistering Cold. Although not as cold as last winter, it will be cold enough for mere mortals, the lowest temperature and wind chill of the week coming Wednesday morning. The map above shows 10 AM predicted wind chill values tomorrow morning, dipping as low as -37F in the Twin Cities, -45F at Duluth.


An Arctic Intrusion. Invasion sounds too strong, but there's little doubt that most of America east of the Rockies will experience a serious smack; the coldest subzero readings from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and New England by Thursday. This surge of bitter air turns on the lake-effect snow machine over the next 72 hours as chilly air pushes as far south as Florida.


Coldest Week of Winter. I feel a little more confident making that claim, the same irresponsible forecast I've been making for a few days now, after looking at latest guidance. Subzero lows are likely into next Tuesday morning; probably 8-9 subzero lows in the row. We'll see subzero lows into late February, but I doubt we'll see the duration and intensity of cold we will into early next week.


Canada: Temporarily Running Out Of Cold Air In 1-2 Weeks. Don't worry, they'll make more, and export it south of the border. 500 mb steering winds aloft look a bit more zonal, blowing west to east by Monday evening, January 19, which should be good for 20s, maybe a few days in the 30s. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Liability Concerns Prompt Some Cities To Limit Sledding. Yes, this Grinch-like move is an apparent step to try and avoid dealing with injuries and inevitable lawyers. Here are two excerpts from an eye-opening story at AP: "...A study by Columbus, Ohio-based Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that between 1997 and 2007, more than 20,000 children each year were treated at emergency rooms for sledding-related injuries....Some cities have opted for less drastic measures in the last several years rather than an all-out ban, including Des Moines, Iowa; Montville, New Jersey; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Columbia City, Indiana. By banning sledding on certain slopes or posting signs warning people to sled at their own risk, cities lessen their liability if someone is seriously hurt, but they're still more vulnerable to lawsuits than if they had adopted an outright ban..."

Photo credit above: "In this Dec. 11, 2013 file photo Zoe Reisen,10, of Dubuque, Iowa, sleds down a hill at Allison-Henderson Park on in Dubuque, Iowa. Faced with the potential bills from people who are injured sledding, Dubuque is one of the cities across the country the is opting to close hills rather than face the risk of large liability claims." (AP Photo/The Telegraph Herald, Jessica Reilly, File)


Mild Bias into March. NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) publishes output from multiple longer-range climate models going out many months. I wouldn't bet the farm on any of these, but it is interesting looking at the trends from month to month. A majority of these longer-range models continue to show a warm bias for much of North American into late March; symptoms of a brewing El Nino.


2014: Warmest Year On Record. This according to JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, which adds: "The annual anomaly of the global average surface temperature in 2014 (i.e. the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.27°C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.63°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.70°C per century."


2014 Temperature Departure From Average: January thru November. Here is why it's probably a bad idea looking out your window and making global assumptions. "Uh, the planet can't be warming up Paul because it's cold outside!" No, that never gets old. 2014 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record according to NOAA data, with a 60-70% probability it will be the warmest year on record according to NASA GISS numbers. The chilliest weather last year? Directly above our heads, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. Otherwise the vast majority of the world's land masses and oceans experienced record warmth. Source: NOAA NCDC.


Facebook Is The New AOL. Back to the 90s, whether you like it or not. Here's an excerpt of an intriguing article at The Verge: "...Just think about it for a minute. Of course Facebook is the new AOL. Facebook is the beginning and the end of the internet for a huge number of normal people, a combination of primary service provider (user profiles, messaging, photo sharing) and '90s-style portal to the wider web. Facebook has its own IM platform, Messenger, just like AOL had AOL Instant Messenger. Then it went and bought WhatsApp, the messaging platform more popular internationally, just like AOL bought ICQ. Facebook groups are just AOL chat rooms..."


Think Twice Before Griping About Your Job. TVSpy has a video clip focused on a guy who replaces the blinking red light at the top of radio towers - I wonder if he can get life insurance; here's an excerpt: "...KDLT, the NBC affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, needed a light changed on its inactive analog broadcast tower so planes and other flying vehicles don’t run into it. According to All Things Aero, a guy named Kevin Schmidt climbed up and did the deed. He even took a selfie 1500 feet above the South Dakota prairie while being watched by the drone that shot the video..."


Client Feedback On The Creation Of The Earth. If Silicon Valley created Creation; this is the unlikely memo that would go out well ahead of beta Earth 1.0, courtesy of McSweeneys.net; here's the intro:

"Hi God,

Thanks so much for the latest round of work. Really coming together. Few points of feedback:

1 – Really liking the whole light thing but not totally sure about the naming system. “Day” and “night” are OK but we feel like there’s more we can do here. Thoughts? Definitely need to nail this down ASAP.

2 – Re: the “sky”… not really feeling the color here. Would like something that pops more. Please send additional options...."


Man Reenacts Movie "Up" With 90 Colored Balloons and a Sun Lounger. No, you can't make this stuff up. Here's a clip from a story at Gizmag: "Have you ever wondered how many helium-filled balloons it would take to lift you up and let you fly among the clouds? Extreme sports enthusiast Erik Roner recently found out. Roner attached 90 helium-filled balloons to a sun lounger and rose to 8,000 ft (2,438 m)...."


-11 F. wake-up temperature Monday morning.

-1 F. maximum temperature yesterday at 5:59 PM.

24 F. average high on January 5.

-2 F. high on January 5, 2014.

January 5, 1942: Temperature rose from 32 below zero to 41 above in 24 hours in Pipestone.


TODAY: Some sun, colder wind. Winds: NW 20. Wind chill: -20. High: 5, then falling

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clearing and bitter. Low: -13

WEDNESDAY: Coldest day. Feels like -35. Ouch. Bright, ineffective sunshine. High: -2

THURSDAY: Next clipper, coating of flurries. Wake-up: -11. High: 13

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun. Feels like -30F. Wake-up: -8. High: 2

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, less wind. Wake-up: -9. High: 11

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, still can't feel my toes. Wake-up: -6. High: 8

MONDAY: Last shot of brittle air - for now. Wake-up: -6. High: 5


Climate Stories...


Perspective. Thanks to Elijah Zarlin and Twitter for clarifying why climate scientists are concerned.


Climate Change's Calling Card in 2014: Heat. Here's a clip from a 2014 recap at Climate Central that got my attention: "...This year is virtually guaranteed to go down as the world’s hottest on record. But it’s not just one hot year we’re talking about. It’s a staggering list. Consider that the 15 hottest years on record have all come since 1997. Or that this will be the third straight decade to break the mark for global temps. And that it’s been 358 months since the planet had a cooler-than-average month, and more than 100 years since we last had a record-cold month...."


2014 Brought Lasting Action on Climate Change Policy. Scott Horsley has the story at NPR; here's an excerpt: "...Critics complain that while the U.S. is already cutting its carbon pollution, China's emissions are allowed to keep growing until 2030. China is already making big investments in clean energy, though. And the Chinese government has announced plans to cap the use of coal within five years. Doniger of the NRDC says China's choking smog problem gives it a big incentive to clean up its power plants. What's more, he says, the Chinese government is genuinely worried by increasingly dry weather in the northern part of the country and rising sea levels in the east. "They understand climate change is real. And when their scientists tell them it's real, they don't have a bunch of ideologues who tell them it's a hoax," Doniger says..."


Tropical Forests May Inhale Third of Fossil Fuel Emissions. This is why deforestation is so critical; if we remove carbon "sinks" the amount of CO2 that winds up in the atmosphere and oceans increases dramatically; here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Tropical forests are so critical to fighting climate change that they may absorb up to one-third of all of humans’ fossil fuel emissions and may become more effective at doing so as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “While forests cannot solve the CO2 and climate change problem, without them the problem would be even harder,” said the study’s lead author David Schimel, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology..."

Photo credit above: "Spray paint indicates trees that had just been measured at Cuatro Rios as part of research carried out at La Selva Biological Station, near La Virgen, Costa Rica, Oct. 15, 2014. The return of new-growth tropical forest parcels like this one is remarkable both ecologically and economically as a sign of the growing push to halt and eventually reverse deforestation." (Adriana Zehbrauskas/The New York Times).


A Polar Bear Capital Fears A Bearless Future. You can read (or listen) to the story at Marketplace; here's the intro: "...Hundreds of bears gather every winter in the town of Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze so they can return to hunting seals. This annual migration attracts thousands of tourists, and it's an economic boon for local businesses.  The problem? Polar bear season only lasts seven weeks. And when you’re hundreds of miles from the next major city, with no roads connecting you to the outside world, and there are only a few months of the year when the ground’s not covered in snow, there aren’t many options for work. Here in Churchill, Manitoba, population 800, there are three..."


Time Is Running Out On Climate Denial. Here's a clip from a story at The Guardian: "...In fact, there are few groups that don’t support significant action to curb carbon pollution. The US military views climate change as a serious threat. The Pope is rumored to be planning a major effort to encourage an international agreement on climate policy targets in 2015. A growing number of faith groups support climate action, viewing it as an issue of stewardship. Even a majority of non-Tea Party Republicans agree that the planet is warming and support an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050..."


Can A Christian Make Conservatives Care About Climate Change? RollingStone has the article; here's a snippet: "...Last year, Joyner was featured in Showtime's documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, where she debated climate change with her father in a gripping segment. "What I found was that his resistance had very little to do with theology and much more to do with his entrenched political ideology," she says. "Conservative talking heads and think tanks don't have to prove the science, they just have to introduce an element of doubt..."

Photo credit above: The Years Project/Courtesy of SHOWTIME. "Anna Jane Joyner is trying to convince evangelicals that climate change is a problem worth solving."


Nuclear Power Is The Greenest Option, Say Top Scientists. Because in the near term renewables won't be able to produce enough energy at scale; is natural gas the bridge fuel we need to get to a much cleaner energy mix, or is it nuclear - and can nuclear energy ever be generated safely with full consideration to radioactive waste that results? Here's an excerpt from the U.K. Independent: "...Nuclear power is one of the least damaging sources of energy for the environment, and the green movement must accept its expansion if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, some of the world's leading conservation biologists have warned. Rising demand for energy will place ever greater burdens on the natural world, threatening its rich biodiversity, unless societies accept nuclear power as a key part of the "energy mix", they said. And so the environmental movement and pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace should drop their opposition to the building of nuclear power stations..."


GOP's New Refrain: "Not A Scientist". Here's an excerpt from The Hill: "...But O’Connell said “I’m not a scientist” plays an important, albeit temporary, role in the broader GOP debate. “The fact is, the party’s not come to a consensus on how they want to deal with the issue of climate change,” he said. “What they do agree on is that they do not want to pass what they see as middle-class job-killing regulations and taxes. But they want to maintain flexibility until they come to a consensus on the best way to handle it down the line...”


Editorial: The Politics of Climate Change. Is our government really capable of orchestrating a conspiracy among all the world's leading climate scientists, NOAA, NASA and nearly every scientific organization to "push their warmist agenda?" Maybe. But then again they can't even launch a successful web site, so forgive me for being dubious of conspiracy theories. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Farmington Daily Times that caught my eye: "...But there is a process in place to untangle these messes. It's called peer review. Yes, we know some believe there is a massive conspiracy among government bureaucrats to fund scientists who manipulate data to provide a basis for regulatory overreach. And the scientists who participate in peer review — the vast majority who invite criticism that helps them fine-tune their methods — are part of the conspiracy. What's curious is that many of the people who hold that belief will tell you that, in nearly every other circumstance, government is incapable of coordinated activity that achieves its stated goal..."


Back Off Baby Boomers: The Millenials Own The Fight Against Climate Change. The author of this Op-Ed at Huffington Post is a 16 year old high school sophomore in New York City; here's an excerpt: "...Only time will tell if millennials will change the ways governments look at climate change. If the present is any reflection of the future, then yes, they will bring change. But if the American people know one thing it is that those we elect to represent us so often fall into other ways of thinking that put corporations before constituents. As the old saying goes, power corrupts. Unless the grassroots campaigns gather a vast new following, policy changes related to climate change will most likely have to wait until one of the Koch brothers' beach houses is ruined by a superstorm." (File photo: Reuters).

30 Degrees Warmer Than Last Year - 50F Whiff of El Nino This Weekend?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 10, 2014 - 10:11 PM

Pausing Winter

Since 1899 there have been a total of 32 Christmases in the Twin Cities with no snow or a trace of snow, qualifying as a "brown Christmas". The last time this happened was 2011. Unless the pattern shifts dramatically and unexpectedly, I'm expecting a snow-optional Christmas this year.

Blame (or thank) El Nino, a mild stain of water in the Pacific. Yesterday the Japan Meteorological Agency called it the first official El Nino in 5 years.

Who cares?

Historically, El Nino has a domino effect worldwide, impacting not only ocean currents but how jet stream steering winds set up. Big storms tend to slam into California, track across the far southern USA before turning up the East Coast - a pattern we're already seeing manifested on the weather maps. We'll still see cold fronts, but during an El Nino winter winds aloft blow from the Pacific with greater frequency, meaning milder and (usually) drier for Minnesota.

Exhibit A: we should hit 40F tomorrow; 50s possible over the weekend - 20 to 25F warmer than average. Moist, Pacific air passing over cold ground will spark clouds and thick fog at times, even a little rain Sunday.

I don't see any accumulating snow between now and Christmas Eve.


* One year ago today the Twin Cities woke up to -8F with an afternoon high of 5F. Source: NOAA.


Shot at 50F. 40s are likely, and if everything goes just right we may hit 50F Saturday, low to mid 50s possible Sunday before temperatures cool back down closer to average early next week. No big storms of any flavor are brewing, but ECMWF guidance hints at a little rain or drizzle during the PM hours Sunday.


Wet West Coast Smack. It may be one of the biggest storms to push into California since the last El Nino 5 years ago. Models hint at 3" of rain in the Bay Area today, 1-2" near Los Angeles and San Diego tomorrow - snow tapering off over New England. 60-hour accumulated precipitation: NOAA and HAMweather.


Mild Bias Next 2 Weeks. Although temperatures peak this weekend a mild, Pacific wind aloft blows much of the next 2 weeks, keeping temperatures above average for the next 10-12 days. There are some signs of a colder front right around Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; not bitter, but closer to average. Accumulating snow? I don't see any looking out the next 2 weeks. If we do see a white Christmas it'll be by the skin of our teeth. Map: NOAA.


Historical Chances of a White Christmas? On average 72 out of 100 December 25ths have an inch or more of snow on the ground at MSP International, for those of you who live at the Twin Cities airport this is helpful information. Some days I feel like I live there, come to think of it. Just waiting for MSP to go condo. Here's a clip from the Minnesota DNR: "...In 115 years of snow depth measurements in Twin Cities, a white Christmas happens about 72% of the time. From 1899 to 2013 there have been 32 years with either a "zero" or a "trace." The last time the Twin Cities has seen a brown Christmas was 2011. The deepest snow cover on December 25th was in 1983 with a hefty 20 inches. It was also a very cold Christmas in 1983, with the high temperature of one (1) degree F. It was not the coldest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities. That dubious award goes to 1996 with a "high" temperature of 9 below zero F. The warmest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was 51 degrees in 1922. There was not a white Christmas that year. In fact, the Minneapolis Weather Bureau log book for that day states that the day felt "spring like..."


First El Nino In Five Years Declared By Japan's Weather Bureau. This call isn't universally shared by other weather services, like NOAA or Environment Canada, or even Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, but it's an acknowledgment that the Pacific is warming up. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Japan’s weather bureau said on Wednesday that an El Niño weather pattern, which can trigger drought in some parts of the world while causing flooding in others, had emerged during the summer for the first time in five years and was likely to continue into winter. That marks the first declaration by a major meteorological bureau of the much-feared El Niño phenomenon, which had been widely expected to emerge this year..."

Map credit above: "Global temperatures sea surface levels in June. Weather agencies have been predicting an El Niño all year but Japan’s is the first to declare it." Photograph: NOAA.

* El Nino Outlook from JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, is here. More information on the emerging El Nino from Climate Crocks.


El Nino Lingers into Mid 2015. NOAA says a 65% chance of El Nino this winter, lasting into the middle of 2015. Details here. This is one of many reasons why I suspect the core of the upcoming winter season won't be as harsh as last winter.


Why Hasn't A Major Hurricane Hit The U.S. In 9 Years? Andrea Thompson has a good summary focused on what meteorologists know and don't know about the recent Atlantic hurricane drought. Meanwhile the Pacific experienced 7 Category 5 typhoons this year. All or nothing. Chalk it up to luck? Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...The drought of major hurricane hits is unmatched according to records stretching back to the 1950s. And its reason is a mystery. Experts chalk it up to chance, rather than any identifiable climate pattern or the effect of global warming. After all, major hurricanes have raked Mexico and many Caribbean countries in that nine-year interval. Even Sandy was a major hurricane when it hit Cuba. “Other people have been bearing the brunt,” Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said. “We’ve just been fortunate...”

Map credit above: "The tracks of all hurricanes that reached major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher) in the Atlantic Ocean basin from the 2006 through 2013 hurricane seasons." Credit: NOAA.


Which City Has The Most Unpredictable Weather? Oh to be a meteorologist in Rapid City, South Dakota. The greatest weather extremes in general come near the center of large continents, well away from the moderating influence of warmer ocean water. Here's an excerpt from a long but excellent story at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight: "...But Rapid City isn’t alone; other cities in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest dominate the most-unpredictable list. After Rapid City, those with the most unpredictable weather are Great Falls, Montana; Houghton, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; Duluth, Minnesota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Glasgow, Montana. For the most part, these cities are landlocked. The presence of lakes or oceans can contribute to weather problems — for instance, the huge amounts of lake-effect snow in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (about twice as much as in notoriously snowy Buffalo, New York). But water usually does more to regulate temperatures and severe weather..."


The Story Behind The Winter Misery Index. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman had a good story about the origin of the WMI at Mashable back in February that's worth a read; here's an excerpt: "...The index attempts to put the “badness” or “goodness” of winter into historical context, Bousted said. The index is based on daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth. It uses thresholds of temperature and snowfall to assign a score to each day, which gets tallied up throughout a season, with a running tally and a final score at the end of the year to gauge a winter’s severity. The scores correspond to a category, with a one-through-five system — with five being the worst — similar to those used for other severe weather phenomena..." (Graphic credit above: Minnesota DNR).


The Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index. Yes, WMI roles off the tongue, but the original index is the AWSSI. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of how this running winter index is calculated and updated from the Midwest Regional Climate Center: "...Daily scores are calculated based on scores assigned to temperature, snowfall, and snow depth thresholds. The daily scores are accumulated through the winter season, allowing a running total of winter severity in the midst of a season as well as a final, cumulative value characterizing the full season. Accumulations of the temperature and snow components of the index are computed separately and then added together for the total index. This allows comparison of the relative contribution of each to the total score..."

* More information on Barbara Boustead's new winter rating scale from the AMS, the American Meteorological Society.


Scientists Find Early Warning Signs of Changing Ocean Circulation. Rapid melting of polar regions is flushing more fresh water into the North Atlantic, which may (over time) impact a global conveyor belt of moving water around the planet. Here's a clip from UPI: "The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC for short, is the large-scale flow of water -- driven by temperature and salinity gradients -- specific to the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers say they've located signs that it and other portions of Earth's oceanic conveyor belt are slowing. The global conveyor belt doesn't just move water, it moves heat too -- delivering it (in the case of the AMOC) from the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere to the North Atlantic. It is a vital component of climate as we know it. Should it continue to slow and become disrupted, it could spell drastic and abrupt climate change..." (Graphic credit: NASA).


Cruise Ships Dump 1 Billion Gallons of Sewage Into The Ocean Every Year. So please don't play in the ocean anytime soon. Quartz has the horrific details; here's an excerpt: "Some 20 million people board cruise ships every year. And while they might return to land with fond memories of umbrella drinks and shuffleboard, they leave a lot at sea. About a billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of sewage (pdf), in fact. That’s according to Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental environmental group, which used US Environmental Protection Agency data to calculate arrive at that gross figure..."

Photo credit above: "These city-sized behemoths generate a lot of waste." (Reuters/Keith Bedford).


Half of Americans Don't Want Their Sons Playing Football, Poll Shows. Here's the intro to a story at Bloomberg Politics: "Television ratings are up and merchandise sales are booming, but longer-term trends don’t look as rosy for football. According to a new Bloomberg Politics poll, 50 percent of Americans say they wouldn't want their son to play the sport and only 17 percent believe it’ll grow in popularity in the next 20 years..."

File photo credit: AP Photo/Bradley Leeb.


How Your Heatbeat Will Make Passwords Obsolete. But what happens when my high blood pressure acts up? Here's a clip from CNN: "Thought your fingerprint was secure? Think again. The unique pattern on the tip of your fingers can easily be copied and used to access your most personal information. As PIN numbers and passwords prove redundant in protecting data, tech companies are looking to convert bodily features into secure identity authenticators. Bionym, the Toronto-based biometrics technology company, have introduced The Nymi -- a wristband that measures heartbeats to authenticate identity. Its embedded sensor reads the electrical pulses produced by your heartbeat, which is unique to each of us..."


Wine-Flavored Ice Cream? And here I thought pizza was the perfect food. Chocolate Cabernet anyone?


28 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

29 F. average high on December 10.

13 F. high on December 10, 2013.

December 10, 1983: Nine cars fell through the ice at the same time on Buffalo Lake in central Minnesota. There was only 5 to 6 inches of ice on the lake.

December 10, 1979: The temperature dropped in Roseville from 48 degrees at 2 pm to zero by dawn.

December 10, 1916: Montevideo had its fifty-second consecutive day with no precipitation.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy. PM thaw. Winds: South 5-10. High: 34

THURSDAY NIGHT: More clouds, fog possible. Low: 29

FRIDAY: Clouds & fog, turning milder. High: 41

SATURDAY: Foggy & gray. Touch of March. Wake-up: 33. High: 49

SUNDAY: Mild and murky. A little PM rain. Wake-up: 45. High: 51

MONDAY: Unsettled, turning colder. Light mix southern MN? Wake-up: 31. High: 35

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, closer to average. Wake-up: 24. High: 31

WEDNESDAY: Peeks of sun. Still quiet. Wake-up: 20. High: near 30


Climate Stories....

Global Weirding Is Here. Here is a terrific visualization of future emission scenarios and impacts on weather volatility.


Editorial: Human Nature vs. Global Warming. Humans Are Winning, And That's Bad News. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "You’d almost think the world has no intention of fixing this problem. In which assumption you would be at least partially correct. If the world could fix its greenhouse gas problems painlessly, it would have been done long ago. But this is a problem that — if you address it seriously — would require significant lifestyle changes on the part of every human being living in even modestly developed nations. No politician who wants to keep his or her job is going to do that by preaching sacrifice..."


The Secret Deal To Save The Planet. Here's an excerpt of the historic agreement between China and the USA to lower greenhouse gas emissions at RollingStone: "...The agreement comes at a time when awareness of the risks of climate change has never been higher, thanks to the sobering accretion of extreme weather events around the world. But the prospects for significant action to reduce carbon pollution have never been lower. Which is why virtually everyone in the climate world was stunned when the agreement was announced on November 12th..." (File photo above: NASA).


Can America's Desert Cities Adapt Before They Dry Out And Die? Water will become a stark manifestation of the climate volatility we're already witnessing. You may not care about a few degrees and more heat waves in the summer. Odds are you will care if the water supply runs out. Here's an excerpt from Fast Company: "...With some scientists saying California could be in the midst of a 35-year megadrought, and other parts of the southwest feeling the same strain, desert cities in America will have to cope with more water scarcity, projected climate-change-induced temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a continuing growth in population. Some estimates put the population of the Greater Phoenix area at around 28 million by the year 2050, from its current population of about 4 million. That's a lot of extra water. There are several ways to combat these problems and change the ways desert cities exist..."


Water Terrorism: How Militant Groups Are Taking Advantage of Climate Change Impacts. As a general rule dry areas are getting drier, wet areas are becoming wetter over time. Here's an excerpt of a story at Breaking Energy that caught my eye: "...One of the more salient concerns to emerge from the impact of a warming planet is water scarcity, as scientists have inextricably correlated these two concepts for decades. However, what we are seeing now are terrorist groups taking advantage of areas with water shortages and manipulating water resources as a coercive tactic. The militant group, the Islamic State (ISIS or ISL) has put the issue in focus as a significant security concern and humanitarian crisis. For many geographically-disadvantaged nations in the world that are already dealing with water concerns, the impact of climate change isn’t going to be felt 20, 30, or 40 years from now. The impacts are being felt today and will only worsen as time goes on..."


How MoMA, How "Tactical Urbanism" Can Preserve The Future of Cities. CityLab takes a look at how mega-cities may be able to factor rising sea level into future growth plans; here's an excerpt: "...The teams working in Lagos (NLÉ, Lagos and Amsterdam, and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas, Madrid) and Hong Kong (MAP Office, Hong Kong, and Network Architecture Lab, Columbia University, New York), however, smartly address the looming issue of sea-level rise affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. The basis for some of their floating, Venice-like schemes is appropriately vernacular, drawing on decades of local knowledge about how to live with water..."

Graphic credit above: "A rendering of Future Lagos, with city design that works with rising sea levels." Courtesy NLÉ and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas.


Once-In-1200-Year-California Drought Bears Signature of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: "...It is the combination of reduced precipitation and record temperatures that make this a 1-in-1200-year drought. This was the same point made to me by California-based climatologist Dr. Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts. He pointed out that in fact “the last 36 months are the hottest AND driest 36 months in the instrumental record. for California,” and sent me these NOAA charts..."


Global Warming Isn't Causing California Drought? Report Triggers Storm. Many climate scientists are pointing out that the recent NOAA report focused on California was a precipitation study, not a drought study. Here's an excerpt of a summary of some new research at NBC News: "Natural conditions, not human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, are the driving force behind California's three-year dry spell, scientists on a federal task force concluded Monday. But the report came under fire from some experts who said it downplayed other factors that have humanity's fingerprints on them. The evidence suggests a naturally induced "warm patch" of water in the western Pacific helped to create a high-pressure ridge that blocked precipitation from entering California, the experts said at a news conference to release the report..."

Photo credit above: Noah Berger, Reuters.


Asking What "Caused" California's Drought Misses The Point. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus addresses the impact of extreme heat and soil moisture depletion on the historic California drought in Slate; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...One of Gleick’s main criticisms of the NOAA study was that “they completely ignored the temperature question, which is by far the clearest signal.” He continued, “There’s just no dispute that temperatures globally are going up. There’s no dispute that temperatures regionally in California are going up. There’s no dispute that the last three years have been the hottest in the instrumental record [in California]. And, there’s no dispute that hotter temperatures increase water demand in California. The exact same drought with normal temperatures is not as bad...”

File Photo credit above: "In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. Don’t blame man-made global warming for the devastating California drought, a new federal report says. A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations _ mostly a La Nina weather oscillation _ were the primary drivers behind the drought that has now stretched to three years." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since The 2004 European Heatwave. The abstract and paper are available at nature.com.

Weekend Weather Preview: Hints of Late March

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 9, 2014 - 10:58 PM

Less Misery

One of my favorite attorneys (oxymoron?) sent me a holiday card that read "Great working with you and your staff. Now, can you please fix the (censored) weather?" I'm just the messenger, Curt.

A story at FiveThirtyEight Science (on my blog) suggests that Rapid City has America's most unpredictable weather. Other landlocked Midwestern cities top the list, including the Twin Cities. No kidding.

And leave it to meteorologists to leave you feeling worse than you thought possible, from summer heat index to winter wind chills.

A NOAA meteorologist in Omaha came up with the WMI, the Winter Misery Index, also known as the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, which factors duration of cold and snow. Last winter's WMI score for Minnesota was the highest since 1983. That sounds about right.

I am a gullible naive optimist, but I still predict this winter won't be as severe as last with a more moderate Pacific breeze and fewer icy shotgun blasts from the north.

The warm front we've been advertising for 2 weeks is still coming: 40s by late week, 50F Saturday with some rain Sunday.

Most of the snow in your yard will be gone within 5 days and I don't see any fresh piles of white between now and Christmas.

Expect a little less misery this winter.


The Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index. Yes, WMI roles off the tongue, but the original index is the AWSSI. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of how this running winter index is calculated and updated from the Midwest Regional Climate Center: "...Daily scores are calculated based on scores assigned to temperature, snowfall, and snow depth thresholds. The daily scores are accumulated through the winter season, allowing a running total of winter severity in the midst of a season as well as a final, cumulative value characterizing the full season. Accumulations of the temperature and snow components of the index are computed separately and then added together for the total index. This allows comparison of the relative contribution of each to the total score..."

* More information on Barbara Boustead's new winter rating scale from the AMS, the American Meteorological Society.


December Warm Front. It's bordering on pathetic, but considering 50F is the average high on April 1 in the Twin Cities we can be forgiven for a few feeble high-fives later this week. 40s seem likely by Friday, a good shot at 50F over the weekend, even with potentially dense advection fog Saturday and a little rain on Sunday. It cools off a bit next week, but temperatures still run 10-15F above average.


Another West Coast Storm. Although not quite as intense as last week's swirl of moisture pushing in off the Pacific, flooding rains spread from north to south, right down the coast over the next 48 hours, accompanied by 20-40 mph winds. You can see the Nor'easter that dumped heavy rain on major northeastern cities; moisture from this wobbling storm forecast to linger over interior New England, dumping enough snow to shovel and plow from Manchester and Stowe to Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo.


California Rainfall Amounts Exceeding Flash Flood Guidance. This is a graphic from our Alerts Broadcaster service which alerts corporate customers of potential extreme weather that can impact operations. F060 is the 60-hour rainfall totals. HR1, HR3 and HR6 are the 1, 3 and 6 hour flash flood guidance numbers, the amount of rain over that period of time required to initiate urban and small stream flooding. Close to 2" of rain is predicted for the Bay Area, where flash floods, mudslides, road closures and even power outages are possible over the next 48 hours.


New England Snow Event. The Nor'easter that sparked coastal flooding from Delaware and New Jersey into New England is forecast to temporarily stall, dumping as much as 8-12" of snow on upstate New York and much of interior New England over the next 60 hours. Animation: NOAA and HAMweather.com.


Turning Colder by Christmas? GFS model data suggests a southward dip in the jet stream in 2 weeks as colder air finally spills into the Lower 48. Right now it doesn't look like a frigid outbreak, but after a relatively mild spell spilling over into December 22-23 we may see a temperature correction in time for Santa's arrival. Whether this push of colder air spins up a storm capable of accumulating snow is yet to be determined. Map: GrADS;COLA/IGES.


Is Weather A Barometer of Painful Joints and Achy Bones. Yes, it would appear that many in our midst are walking, talking barometers - much more sensitive to changes in barometric pressure (and moisture) than others. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story at The Star Tribune: "...That’s a widespread belief supported by an abundance of testimonials from aging jocks and grandmas everywhere who claim that they’re able to predict weather changes by increased aches and pains. The phenomenon seems to strike arthritis sufferers the most, but it afflicts others, too. Migraine headaches, sinus problems, toothaches and other maladies have been linked to weather. People with previous injuries — maybe a broken bone — say they can feel temperature shifts in those sore spots..." (Image credit: NASA).


Which City Has The Most Unpredictable Weather? Oh to be a meteorologist in Rapid City, South Dakota. The greatest weather extremes in general come near the center of large continents, well away from the moderating influence of warmer ocean water. Here's an excerpt from a long but excellent story at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight: "...But Rapid City isn’t alone; other cities in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest dominate the most-unpredictable list. After Rapid City, those with the most unpredictable weather are Great Falls, Montana; Houghton, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; Duluth, Minnesota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Glasgow, Montana. For the most part, these cities are landlocked. The presence of lakes or oceans can contribute to weather problems — for instance, the huge amounts of lake-effect snow in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (about twice as much as in notoriously snowy Buffalo, New York). But water usually does more to regulate temperatures and severe weather..."


The Story Behind The Winter Misery Index. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman had a good story about the origin of the WMI at Mashable back in February that's worth a read; here's an excerpt: "...The index attempts to put the “badness” or “goodness” of winter into historical context, Bousted said. The index is based on daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth. It uses thresholds of temperature and snowfall to assign a score to each day, which gets tallied up throughout a season, with a running tally and a final score at the end of the year to gauge a winter’s severity. The scores correspond to a category, with a one-through-five system — with five being the worst — similar to those used for other severe weather phenomena..." (Graphic credit above: Minnesota DNR).


El Nino Lingers into Mid 2015. NOAA says a 65% chance of El Nino this winter, lasting into the middle of 2015. Details here. This is one of many reasons why I suspect the core of the upcoming winter season won't be as harsh as last winter.


Can America's Desert Cities Adapt Before They Dry Out And Die? Water will become a stark manifestation of the climate volatility we're already witnessing. You may not care about a few degrees and more heat waves in the summer. Odds are you will care if the water supply runs out. Here's an excerpt from Fast Company: "...With some scientists saying California could be in the midst of a 35-year megadrought, and other parts of the southwest feeling the same strain, desert cities in America will have to cope with more water scarcity, projected climate-change-induced temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a continuing growth in population. Some estimates put the population of the Greater Phoenix area at around 28 million by the year 2050, from its current population of about 4 million. That's a lot of extra water. There are several ways to combat these problems and change the ways desert cities exist..."


5 Steps To Smarter Catastrophe Preparations. Because when you come right down to it, nobody ever expects a catastrophe to impact them, and I have yet to meet (anyone) who has backed up all the digital records they should be backing up, for personal and business. Here's a clip from a good summary at Property Casualty 360 of what you should consider to lower the odds of a post-catastrophe catastrophe: "...No one can be totally prepared for everything, but taking steps before a disaster strikes can minimize the impact for insurers and their policyholders. Here are some recommendations to help prepare for a wide variety of catastrophes.

General Preparation

  • Prepare a photo inventory of your home or office. Go room by room and take digital photos of the contents. Pay particular attention to antiques, unique works of art, office equipment and any irreplaceable items. Jewelry, furs, expensive “toys,” electronics, collections (i.e., stamps, coins, dolls, pottery, etc.) should be catalogued and may require their own policies depending on their value. Memories become fuzzy and establishing the value of heavily damaged items becomes a challenge after the fact..."


Getting Mooned. Chris Hadfield argues (quite convincingly) that we should ignore Mars for now and set up a permanent base on the moon at The Guardian.

Life Gets Better With Age? David Brooks has a great essay at The New York Times.

4DX Movies, complete with scents, rain, wind, motion, even bubbles? Get ready for a more immersive movie experience that makes 3-D as cutting edge as Betamax, according to a story at Vulture.


22 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

29 F. average high on December 9.

12 F. high on December 9, 2013.

1" of snow on the ground - officially - in the Twin Cities.

December 9 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service office:

1992: By this time there is partial ice cover in the Duluth harbor.

1979: Heat wave across Minnesota. High of 54 at Twin Cities and 57 at Winona.

1978: Alexandria ends it fourteen day stretch of low temperatures at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

1889: Late season thunderstorm observed at Maple Plain.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy, a bit milder. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 32

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds and fog. Low: 24

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, lose a layer. High: 38

FRIDAY: Patchy clouds. Feeling better. Wake-up: 27. High: 42

SATURDAY: Gray & milder with some fog. Feels like March. Wake-up: 40. High: near 50

SUNDAY: Soggy & foggy, a little rain and drizzle likely. Wake-up: 47. High: 51

MONDAY: More fog, light rain and drizzle. Wake-up: 41. High: 43

TUESDAY: Light mix possible. Sloppy. Wake-up: 32. High: 34


Climate Stories....

'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'

 - Upton Sinclair


Once-In-1200-Year-California Drought Bears Signature of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: "...It is the combination of reduced precipitation and record temperatures that make this a 1-in-1200-year drought. This was the same point made to me by California-based climatologist Dr. Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts. He pointed out that in fact “the last 36 months are the hottest AND driest 36 months in the instrumental record. for California,” and sent me these NOAA charts..."


Global Warming Isn't Causing California Drought? Report Triggers Storm. Many climate scientists are pointing out that the recent NOAA report focused on California was a precipitation study, not a drought study. Here's an excerpt of a summary of some new research at NBC News: "Natural conditions, not human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, are the driving force behind California's three-year dry spell, scientists on a federal task force concluded Monday. But the report came under fire from some experts who said it downplayed other factors that have humanity's fingerprints on them. The evidence suggests a naturally induced "warm patch" of water in the western Pacific helped to create a high-pressure ridge that blocked precipitation from entering California, the experts said at a news conference to release the report..."

Photo credit above: Noah Berger, Reuters.


Asking What "Caused" California's Drought Misses The Point. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus addresses the impact of extreme heat and soil moisture depletion on the historic California drought in Slate; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...One of Gleick’s main criticisms of the NOAA study was that “they completely ignored the temperature question, which is by far the clearest signal.” He continued, “There’s just no dispute that temperatures globally are going up. There’s no dispute that temperatures regionally in California are going up. There’s no dispute that the last three years have been the hottest in the instrumental record [in California]. And, there’s no dispute that hotter temperatures increase water demand in California. The exact same drought with normal temperatures is not as bad...”

File Photo credit above: "In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. Don’t blame man-made global warming for the devastating California drought, a new federal report says. A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations _ mostly a La Nina weather oscillation _ were the primary drivers behind the drought that has now stretched to three years." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since The 2004 European Heatwave. The abstract and paper are available at nature.com.


Louisiana's Moon Shot. ProPublica has the second installment of a important series focused on what's happening in Louisiana. It's not a computer model - it's reality; the water is rising and wetlands are disappearing. Here's an excerpt: "...Southeastern Louisiana might best be described as a layer cake made of Jell-O, floating in a swirling Jacuzzi of steadily warming, rising water. Scientists and engineers must prevent the Jell-O from melting – while having no access to the Jacuzzi controls. The problem is manmade. Over the last 80 years, Louisiana’s coast has been starved of sediment by river levees and eviscerated by canals dredged for oil and gas extraction. Now, southeastern Louisiana is sinking at one of the fastest rates on the planet as the Gulf is rising..."


Heat Waves in Europe Will Increase, Study Finds. A prolonged heat wave in 2003 resulted in the premature deaths of nearly 70,000 Europeans. A slowly warming atmosphere will increase the odds (load the dice) in favor of more extreme heat events, as reported in The New York Times; here's a clip: "...Now, three scientists from the Met Office, the British weather agency, have concluded that human-caused global warming is going to make European summer heat waves "commonplace" by the 2040s. Their findings, published Monday in the online journal Nature Climate Change, suggest that once every five years, Europe is likely to experience "a very hot summer," in which temperatures are about 1.6 degrees Celsius, or 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1961-90 average..." (Image credit above: Wikipedia).


Deadly Heat in Europe 10X More Likely Than Decade Ago. Climate Central has a slightly different perspective on the new research referenced above; here's an excerpt: "...The new study shows that a very hot summer could now occur every five years and a heat wave like the one in 2003 could occur every 127 years. The previous study just a decade earlier suggested that such a heat wave was likely less than once every 1,000 years. “Our study, which comes 10 years later, shows that a rapid increase in the frequency of such events has taken place within the last 10-15 years and confirms that this increase in the frequency will continue...”


Is Earth's Temperature About To Soar? There is no evidence of a substantive "pause" in the heating of Earth's atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere. For a detailed explanation check out the Tamino post at Open Mind; here's an excerpt: "...Therefore, for no choice of start year, for no choice of data set, can you make a valid claim to have demonstrated a slowdown in warming. As a matter of fact, in no case does the p-value for any choice of start year, for any choice of data set, get as low as the 10% level. To put it another way, there’s just no valid evidence of a “slowdown” which will stand up to statistical rigor. Bottom line: not only is there a lack of valid evidence of a slowdown, it’s not even close..."


It's Time To Start Ignoring The Climate Deniers. Wait, climate change denier denial? Whoa. Here are two quick clips from an essay at The Globe and Mail that resonated: "...I do not believe that climate change deniers exist. I have heard the statistics and have seen the graphs, but I am not convinced. So I do what the supposed deniers do – I ignore them and move on....The next time you find yourself in a conversation with friends and colleagues about climate change, I would ask that you do one thing – skip over the discussion about the deniers. By talking about the deniers, the debate focuses on how to fix the problem of denial rather than climate change itself. Not everyone has to believe in it; what is required is that most of us do something about it..."


The Plan To Get Climate Change Denial Into Schools. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Atlantic: "...Truth in Texas Textbooks formed last year to shape how climate change and scores of other topics are taught. It has no political or religious affiliation but organizers recruit volunteers through tea-party networks and church groups—as well as teachers associations, Rotary clubs, and other civic organizations—and have accused publishers of creating textbooks with an "anti-Christian" and "anti-American" bias. Teaching that the global-warming theory is controversial reflects public opinion, as there is a sharp divide over the connection between human activity and Earth's evolving climate. But that approach is sharply at odds with climate scientists, who nearly universally believe the former is driving the latter..."

Indian Summer Alert by Midweek - 2014: Third Warmest Worldwide, To Date

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 12, 2014 - 9:14 PM

Everybody Sells

"Hey Paul, remember me? You came to my 4th grade class 27 years ago. I was the guy in the back of the room!" Um, no. But I'll pretend if it makes you happy.

My short-term memory is a mess but I remember my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Eisenhart. "Use action words!" she instructed. "It's not fair but people will judge you by how well you speak" she added. She was right.

Whether selling products or services, advancing public policy or just trying to convince your 16 year old to take AP math, the words you choose are critical.

Substance matters. So does effective communication. That's why public speaking is so critical - learning to tame those inner butterflies.

After a weekend frost/freeze the growing season is over, statewide. Bugs, pollen and drippy dew points are a thing of the past.

A frontal passage sparks a few hours of showers today; a major storm over the southern Plains pushes a pinwheel of showers into Wisconsin later this week. Highs top 60F much of this week, and after a flurry of weekend jackets (highs near 50F) a warm ridge of high pressure returns next week. I see more 60s, even a 70-degree high or two in late October.

My Halloween costume this year? I think I'll go as "Al Nino".


Blah Monday - Then Touch of Indian Summer. Now that we've had our first frost/freeze we can (officially) call it Indian Summer. Showers keep temperatures in the 50s today, but the sun returns Tuesday into Thursday morning, with highs in the low 60s, even a few mid-60s are possible close to home. Winds swing around to the northwest by late week - weekend jackets give way to another warming trend. By the end of next week highs may be in the 60s to near 70F.


Flash Flood Potential. Models are printing out 3"+ rains for Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City, as a large, slow-moving storm pushes from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.

Full Latitude Trough. A slow-motion swirl of cold air aloft lifts a swirl of heavy showers and T-storms across the Plains into the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and East Coast by Thursday. Heavy rain pushes into the Pacific Northwest, but no significant rain brewing for California - yet. 60-hour NAM accumulated rain courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather.


Tornado Potential Index. A rare mid-October outbreak of severe storms and possible tornadoes is likely later today from near Houston to Shreveport, Little Rock and Memphis as this storm spins up. TPI Index: HAMweather. NOAA SPC may have to upgrade the risk from "slight" to "moderate".


384 Hour Outlook. The map above shows 850 mb winds (3,500 feet or so) two weeks from tomorrow, on October 28. GFS guidance whips up an impressive storm for New England, but it looks like a mild zonal flow for the western half of the USA, with a mild bias from the Dakotas into Minnesota. We'll see more 60s, and I don't think we've seen the last of the 70-degree warmth just yet. 90? Dream on.

First Metro Seattle Tornado Warning in 45 Years? A swarm of waterspouts were spotted near Tacoma on Saturday; more details from vancitybuzz.com: "...The tornado warning was called off within the same hour it was issued. It is the first tornado warning for the Metro Seattle region in nearly 45 years, KOMO News reports. For the Metro Vancouver, the last confirmed tornado sighting was in 1962. An unconfirmed event also happened in 1988 on the eastern fringes of the region..."


Brazil Drought Crisis Deepends in Sao Paulo. Much of Central and South America is experiencing drought conditions; here's an excerpt from The BBC: "The governor of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has asked for emergency clearance to siphon the remaining water out of the main reservoir serving Sao Paulo city, which has almost run dry. After nine months of unprecedented drought, 95% of the water has gone. Geraldo Alckmin, re-elected in last week's elections, has been criticised for not imposing water rationing to tackle the crisis. Twenty-nine other Brazilian cities have been affected by the drought..." (Photo: AP).


Not Just California. Droughts Extend Across Americas. More perspective from NBC News; here's a clip: "...A dry spell has killed cattle and wiped out crops in Central America, parts of Colombia have seen rioting over scarce water, and southern Brazil is facing its worst dry spell in 50 years. In the U.S., the few who have taken notice of this wider water scarcity include a former director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Now editor-in-chief of the journal Science, Marcia McNutt last month penned an editorial highlighting what she called “a drought of crisis proportions” across the Americas..." (Photo credit: Andre Penner, AP).


Is California Headed To "Megadrought"? UT San Diego has the story, looking at previous dry spells across the western USA; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...In a study published this month, Cornell University researcher Toby Ault and some of his colleagues calculated the risk of a megadrought happening this century. Ault is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. He and the other researchers concluded that natural circumstances and climate change combine to put the likelihood of a decade-long drought in the Southwest at 50 percent to 80 percent. And they estimate that the chance of a megadrought, which they define as a 35-year dry period, is 10 percent to 50 percent by the end of this century..."

Photo credit above: "In this photo taken Oct. 6, 2014, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. The California Department of Water Resources reported Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, the largest monthly decline in water use this year as the severity of California's drought hits home. Water suppliers reported that consumption fell 11.5 percent in August compared with the year before." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) The Associated Press.


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..."



Not Even George Clooney Can Change The Weather. Yes, think twice before buying a luxury manor home on the banks of the Thames River in England. Here's an excerpt from the U.K. Mirror: "...George Clooney and new wife Amal may have just had the wedding of their dreams - but they're now suffering a headache over their marital home. The actor, who married the British lawyer in a lavish ceremony in Italy last month, bought Grade II-listed Aberlash Manor in Sonning, Berkshire, unaware he would have to spend about £50,000 on flood defences because it's so close to the Thames..."


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

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.



61 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

60 F. average high on October 12.

58 F. high on October 12, 2013.

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

1917: Record low temperatures occurred across central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from the low to mid teens to the upper teens and lower 20s. St. Cloud had the coldest temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit; likewise, Mora recorded a low of 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

1880: An early blizzard struck southwest and west central counties in Minnesota. Huge drifts exceeding 20 ft in the Canby area lasted until the next spring.

1820: Snowstorm at Ft. Snelling dumps 11 inches.


TODAY: Cool and damp. Few hours of showers. Winds: N 5-10. High: 56

MONDAY NIGHT: A few more showers and sprinkles, mainly east metro. Low: 46

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. High: 63

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, no complaints. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

THURSDAY: Clouds increase. Wisconsin showers. Wake-up: 44. High: 63

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, turning breezy and cooler. Wake-up: 48. High: 58

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, jackets return. Wake-up: 41. High: near 50

SUNDAY: Early sun, PM showers. Wake-up: 37. High: 51


Climate Stories...

Simmering September. It's not official, but it would appear, based on NASA GISS data that after the warmest August on record, worldwide, September may also have the distinction of being the warmest on record. Check out the temperature anomalies over Antarctica above, as much as 4-9C warmer than average.

* Preliminary NASA GISS data suggests that 2014 (January - September) is the 3rd warmest on record, worldwide.


After Record Heat in August. August was the warmest ever observed over global land and water, according to NASA GISS. Once again look at the temperature anomalies over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.


"...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..."