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 Lions

Tuesday Snow Potential - Early Case of Spring Fever?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 28, 2015 - 11:47 PM

In Like a Yak?

"If March comes in like a lamb it will go out as a lion?" How predictably pedestrian.

Sadly, lions are endangered and the lambs have hired lawyers. I was raised (by wolves) to believe that, when March comes in like a yak, it will go out like an emu. Or is it tortoise and aardvark? I'm just not good with animals.

I apologize for any confusion.

Welcome to March, a baffling month of slush, puddles and a wild freeze-thaw cycle, where the only thing guaranteed is crater-size potholes. By the end of this month the average high is close to 50F, but temperatures can range from subzero to 80s.

With an average of 10.3 inches, March, once the snowiest month of the year, is now second only to January.

A few inches of snow may fall on Tuesday, maybe 6 inches for southeast Minnesota. A rapidly thawing atmosphere will push the storm track north in the coming weeks, increasing the potential for moisture here. But by the latter half of next week temperatures aloft should be warm enough for rain. I see persistent 30s and 40s by the second week of March. It still looks like the wicked winds of winter, a winter that hasn't been that bad, will subside within 2 weeks.

Very yak-like, don't you think?


Potentially Plowable. I'm not yet convinced the metro area is picking up 6" on Tuesday, but a plowable, 2-3"+ slush-fest is possible, slowing down your commute a bit, maybe enough to shovel, plow (and lead the news).


An Early Taste of Spring Fever? One more cold front with subzero implications arrives Wednesday; 2 more nights below zero later this week. No travel problems today or Monday but Tuesday may be a mess with a few inches of snow, with could be catastrophic, conisdering we're all forgotten how to drive on "snow". A Pacific warm front arrives Friday; 40s may be commonplace next week with a chance of "rain". So many new terms in the weather blog.


The (Mild) Ides of March. 500 mb winds (18,000 feet) are forecast to be zonal, blowing in from the Pacific Northwest by mid-month. That should mean 40s, even a chance of a few 50s within 2 weeks or so, temperatures aloft warm enough for rain. I don't think March 2015 will in any way resemble March, 2014.


Too Early To Celebrate. The (new) GFS model hints at 60F in roughly 2 weeks. Not sure I'm buying that, at least not yet. We have a trace of snow on the ground and even if we pick up a few more inches Tuesday most of that will be gone by next weekend. If the sun comes out temperatures may surge into the 50s in about 12-14 days. Source: Ham Weather's Aeris Enterprise.


Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Saturday night, February 28, 2015.

* Major icing event possible Sunday afternoon, evening and early nighttime hours as rain falls on ground temperatures colder than 32F. I-95 may be wet and slushy, but many state and local roads from Baltimore to Philadelphia to New York City will become icy during the late afternoon and evening hours.

* Potential for major travel disruptions on land, and from BWI to PHL, JFK, EWR and LGA.

* Power outages possible as ice accumulates on power lines and transformers. Risk appears to be greatest in the Delaware Valley.


Major Ice Storm Potential. Internal Alerts Broadcaster algorithms focus the greatest risk of moderate to severe glaze icing from Baltimore and Wilmington to Lancaster, Philadelphia and south Jersey late afternoon and evening hours on Sunday. Graphic: Alerts Broadcaster.


Cities We're Tracking. Over a third of an inch of freezing rain (rain freezing into glaze ice on sub-freezing surfaces, including streets, sidewalks and power lines) from Baltimore to Philadelphia and the suburbs of New York City. Credit: Alerts Broadcaster.


Why We're Concerned. Model guidance shows the 32-degree isotherm staying south of Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City at 4 PM Sunday, increasing the risk of significant accumulations of ice. Models print out .50 to .80" of rain, and a significant percentage of that rain may freeze into glaze, especially at the onset of precipitation Sunday afternoon. 4 PM NAM: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster


2015 Boston Blizzard Takes It's Toll On Region's Buildings. I found a story at Architecture Magazine interesting - here's an excerpt and link: "This winter has been a particularly tough one for those in the Boston area, which has experienced 31 days and counting of heavy snow, ice, and deep freezes. The severe winter weather has not only claimed several lives, but also a number of the region’s buildings44 in a two-day span. In particular, the unanticipated and extreme snow and ice loads have taken their toll on the region’s roofs, causing them to sag, leak, and collapse. The damage to municipal buildings can be seen through the city’s drone footage..."

File Photo credit above: "Graham Jamison, right, and Austin Anschultz walk through blowing snow on Beacon Hill in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal communities from Rhode Island to Maine, promising heavy snow and powerful winds to heap more misery on a region that has already seen more than 6 feet of snow in some areas." (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer).


Close-Up Lightning Strike Compilation. No, don't try this at home - some of these close calls are truly amazing. Check out the YouTube clip, which has received 3.7 million views.


Aeris Pulse: Location-Specific Severe Weather Threats. Full disclosure: this is an app for Apple iOS and Android that my team is working on, the ability to create GPS-centric alerts that are different for everyone, based on their current location  and the areas they care about. Learn more about Aeris Pulse: "Using your current GPS location, Aeris Pulse highlights where the weather threats are relative to you. Aeris Pulse informs you to a variety of threats, whether it’s a severe thunderstorm with large hail and lightning or a winter storm with ice and heavy snow. All of this is immediately available when you launch the app in an easy-to-read, clean interface."


Aeris Wear. Doppler on your watch? People raised eyebrows when we (first) put Doppler radar on cell phones back in 2001. Why on Earth would you ever want that? Maybe in a few years (most) weather enthusiasts won't think twice about checking their watches to see if rain or lightning (or any threat) is lurking nearby. For now Aeris Wear is available for Android phones only, and the basic version is free. A version for iOS and Apple is coming soon.


What ISIS Really Wants. Just in case you missed this important story in The Atlantic; here's a link and excerpt: "The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it..." (Image credit: AP/The Atlantic).


Who Is Hacking Whom? Ham Weather uber-programmer and weather model specialist, Patrick Francis, wrote a recent story that made me do a triple-take. Here's an excerpt from aplus.com: "Modern Media will "Hype" times that a massive hack occurs, such as Sony Corporation, but does that tell the real story? For the last two months I have tracked every attempted breach of my systems, stored the IP of the attacker, and researched information about his or her country of origin, city, company and so forth. The heck of it is, there's not a lot that can be done with this information, because there is no one to share it with who can do anything about it! :) Still, some people might be interested to know a little bit about who is hacking who..."


Who Killed Tony The Tiger? Bloomberg Business takes a look at how Kellogg lost breakfast and what it means for the rest of the industry; here's a clip: "...Now Americans have fewer children. Both parents often work and no longer have time to linger over a serving of Apple Jacks and the local newspaper. Many people grab something on the way to work and devour it in their cars or at their desks while checking e-mail. “For a while, breakfast cereal was convenience food,” says Abigail Carroll, author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal. “But convenience is relative. It’s more convenient to grab a breakfast bar, yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a breakfast sandwich at some fast-food place than to eat a bowl of breakfast cereal...."


Facebook Will Now Reach Out To Users Who Their Friends Think Are Suicidal. A big thank you to Dr. Dan Reidenberg and his amazing team at SAVE (Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education) based in Bloomington for being the driving force behind this effort with Facebook; BuzzFeed News reports: "...The social network teamed up with a number of suicide prevention organizations and research centers in hopes of helping people online prevent their friends from committing suicide. These organizations include National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Now Matters Now, Save.org, and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention from the School of Social Work at Washington University..."


-3 F. morning low on Saturday.

20 F. high Saturday afternoon.

34 F. average high on February 28.

14 F. high on February 28, 2014.

Trace of snow on the ground at KMSP.

9.4. February is running 9.4F colder than average in the Twin Cities. February 2014 was 12.3F colder than normal.

February 28, 1966: The Blizzard of '66 hits Minnesota and lasts 4 days. Aitken got 23 inches of snow. The snow depth at International Falls reached a record 37 inches by the end of the storm.



TODAY: Mix of clouds and sun, not bad. Winds: W 15. High: 27

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and chilly. Low; 10

MONDAY: Partly sunny, no travel problems. High: near 30

TUESDAY: Few inches of snow? More south. Wake-up: 22. High: 28

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and bitter. Feels like -20F. Wake-up: -1. High: 8

THURSDAY: Cold start, breezy with fading sun. Wake-up: -6. High: 19

FRIDAY: Some sun, above average. Wake-up: 17. High: 35

SATURDAY: Blue sky, feeling better out there. Wake-up: 19. High: 37

* Thanks to Media Logic meteorologist Todd Nelson, who snapped the photo above near Two Harbors on Saturday.


Climate Stories...

Is The Environment a Moral Cause? Here's a clip from a New York Times Op-Ed: "...People think quite differently, however, when they are morally engaged with an issue. In such cases people are more likely to eschew a sober cost-benefit analysis, opting instead to take action because it is the right thing to do. Put simply, we’re more likely to contribute to a cause when we feel ethically compelled to. Still, why do liberals moralize environmental issues, while conservatives do not? The answer is complex, owing in part to the specific history of the American environmental movement..."


Greenpeace Probe of Climate Naysayer Implicates Exxon Mobil. BuzzFeed News takes a look at more implications of the Willie Soon sage; here's an excerpt: "...The records released Friday show that Exxon’s support of Soon came despite a 2007 pledge to quit funding climate naysayer groups, according to Greenpeace’s Jesse Coleman, who started the Soon records search using public records laws. “Exxon told us that they would stop funding climate denial front groups,” Coleman told BuzzFeed News. “Years later, they were still funding Willie Soon...”


Climate Oscillations and the Global Warming Faux Pause. Here's an excerpt of a story written by Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann at Huffington Post: "...It is true that Earth's surface warmed a bit less than models predicted it to over the past decade-and-a-half or so. This doesn't mean that the models are flawed. Instead, it points to a discrepancy that likely arose from a combination of three main factors (see the discussion my piece last year in Scientific American). These factors include the likely underestimation of the actual warming that has occurred, due to gaps in the observational data. Secondly, scientists have failed to include in model simulations some natural factors (low-level but persistent volcanic eruptions and a small dip in solar output) that had a slight cooling influence on Earth's climate. Finally, there is the possibility that internal, natural oscillations in temperature may have masked some surface warming in recent decades, much as an outbreak of Arctic air can mask the seasonal warming of spring during a late season cold snap. One could call it a global warming "speed bump." In fact, I have..."

* An abstract of the new research is available at Science Magazine.

* Reuters has more on the latest research here.


Climate Change Might Be Causing These Huge Craters in Siberia. VICE News has the story - here's the introduction: "Reports of new methane-eruption craters in the Siberian permafrost have piqued the interest of scientists around the higher latitudes who see it as a new sign of a warming climate. The first craters were identified in summer 2014 in the natural gas-rich Yamal Peninsula, which juts into the frigid Kara Sea more than 2,000 miles northeast of Moscow. They're suspected to have been caused by eruptions of methane from beneath the region's permafrost soil, which has been thawing during recent summers..."

Photo credit: Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration/Reuters.

Snow Drought Continues - Are Major Snowstorms On The Increase Out East?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 25, 2015 - 10:50 PM

Fluke or Trend?

At last report The Weather Channel was up to "Juno". At the rate we're going we may get to "Zeus" and then start at the beginning of the alphabet. Personally, I'm dreading Winter Storm "Bubba".

From Boston to Dallas; every day there's new video, a litany of records - breathless reporting. Are big winter storms really on the increase? Or has perception become reality, thanks to Twitter and a flood of media outlets?

A recent NOAA/UCAR paper (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Agency) concluded: "For severe snowstorms and ice storms the number of severe regional snowstorms that occurred since 1960 was more twice that of the preceding 60 years." This is a bigger factor for New England and the East Coast, where warmer water offshore enhances water vapor - meaning more fuel for storms that do spin up, leading to heavier snowfalls.

Light snow may brush Minnesota next Tuesday, otherwise the forecast calls for ditto, any big storms with names sliding south of Minnesota - a cold, dry northwest wind flow blowing overhead.

I don't see any extended thaws until mid-March, when it may be warm enough for rain. And to Pete, who I sold my 2 snowmobiles to: I'm sorry - I had no idea we'd see so little snow.

Next winter will be better, right?


* My friend and meteorologist at WDIV-TV in Detroit, Paul Gross, informs me that five of Detroit's top ten all-time snowiest winters (since 1870) have occurred in the past eleven years.


When In Doubt Forecast A Cold Front. By late February a higher sun angle limits how cold it can get, especially with only an inch of snow on the ground. Expect single-digit highs today with a subzero wind chill. But the sun will be out, and that may help (at least a little). By the weekend temperatures moderate into the 20s. Progress! 2-meter NAM predicted temperatures: NOAA and Ham Weather.


Son of Polar Vortex? Which makes for a grabby headline, but it's not valid. This is just cold Canadian air; the pattern still not even close to the odd holding pattern of last winter, where a frigid cut-off low stalled for the better part of 2-3 months east of Hudson Bay. Temperature anomalies valid midday today show the core of cold air passing over the Midwest, while most of the northern hemisphere trends warmer than average; Arctic temperatures still over 4F milder than average.

Temperature anomalies obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.


Getting Better. No abrupt surges of Pacific warmth are imminent looking out 10 days or so, but we will see readings a little closer to average early next week. The best chance of light snow over the next week comes next Tuesday, but once again the bulk of any precipitation passes south of Minnesota. Getting to be a habit.


A Cruel Trick? GFS guidance prints out a shot at low 40s by March 9, after a couple of subzero mornings March 5 and 6 (late next week). This solution looks reasonable to me. Spring is coming, but winter is in no great hurry to vacate the premises. Extended temperature prediction: Ham Weather's Aeris Enterprise.


North Shore Experiencing Worst Ski Weather in 100 Years. Speaking of a lack of snow, resorts north of Vancouver, Canada have shut down due to unseasonable warmth and a lack of the white stuff. CTV Vancouver News has more details; here's an excerpt: "...The dismal ski season on the North Shore Mountains is being called the worst in a century, and climatologists warn bare slopes could become the norm. Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress are all lacking in snow, a disappointing sight for local skiers and international tourists who travelled thousands of kilometres to enjoy the popular hills. Scientists see the conditions as a statistical anomaly – a one-in-33-year occurrence – but projections suggest there will be more and more of them as the decades pass..."

Image credit above: "Bare ski runs on Cypress Mountain are seen from CTV's Chopper 9 helicopter. Feb. 24, 2015."


Minnesota's Biggest Polluters Spending Over $10 Million to Pollute Politics. Environment Minnesota has the press release, here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 47,000 miles of streams in Minnesota. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for 970,000 at risk. “When powerful special interests spend millions to influence our elections and lobby decisionmakers, they drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” said Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon. “To make sure we’re able to protect our environment and our health, we need reforms to stop the flow of big money into politics....”


Don't Weather-Shame Washington D.C. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at U.S. News and World Report: "...This isn’t a battle of toughness. This is a loudly clanging warning about climate change. The world is indeed getting warmer – 2014 was the warmest year in modern history – and severe weather patterns are a consequence of that. No, we can’t blame any of Boston’s snowstorms, individually, on climate change, any more than a heart attack victim can attribute the event to the double cheeseburger eaten the previous day. This is about long-term, sustained changes in climate and weather. The number of severe, regional snowstorms since 1960 is more than double that of the previous 60 years, according to a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Where will it be in 60 more years?..." (File photo: AP).

* The research paper referenced above is here, courtesy of UCAR.


8 Foods That Help Improve Your Memory. Details has the article - what I would give to take a daily memory pill, in the meantime I'm trying to get more salmon in my diet after reading the story; here's an excerpt: "...Forgot what you're looking for? Bad with names? Writing down a lot of lists but then misplacing them? Like most people, you're experiencing some memory loss—and growing older doesn't help matters. Luckily, researchers all over the world are scouring the earth looking for ingredients that might organically improve human recall. Scan the menu of ingredients below and, if you make the right diet changes, you too could develop a champion's memory..."


Fact-Checking Grandma. Aeon reports that the Internet is rife with myths, scams, and hoaxes. Yep. When any claim can be checked out, why does fiction still trump fact? Here's an excerpt: "...In 2012, Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman, both at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, analysed 7,000 articles from The New York Times to assess what made stories go viral. What they discovered was that stories which elicited strong emotion – both positive and negative – were the ones that got shared most often. People believe the stories that they connect to, the ones that affirm their view of the world, truth be damned..."


A Thirsty, Violent World. The author of the article at The New Yorker argues that we can and will find substitutes for oil and natural gas - as resources become scare substitutes often take their place. Clean water? Not so much. Here's an excerpt: "...Rapid climate change, population growth, and a growing demand for meat (and, thus, for the water required to grow feed for livestock) have propelled them into a state of emergency. Millions of words have been written, and scores of urgent meetings have been held, since I last wrote about this issue for the magazine, nearly a decade ago; in that time, things have only grown worse. The various physical calamities that confront the world are hard to separate, but growing hunger and the struggle to find clean water for billions of people are clearly connected..."


Mapped: These Are The Quietest Spots in America. Northern Minnesota is looking pretty good in the quiet-category; here's an excerpt of a story at Quartz: "...Researchers used sound data collected from 546 sites around the US over the past 10 summers, then estimated the noise levels in the remaining areas based on factors like population density, roadway sizes, and proximity to airports, Fristrup tells Quartz..."

Map credit above: "The dark blue areas are the quietest, and the yellow to white are the loudest." (National Park Service, Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division).


Urbanization and Smartphones are Killing Car Culture. Will our grandkids care as much about owning a car, or will we have better options, more mass transit, an Uber-mindset of rent vs. buy? Who knows, but CityLab takes a look at the trends: "The Western world's century-old love affair with the automobile is coming to an end. People are driving less than they did before the recession, and there are fewer cars on the road. In the U.S., the number of vehicles per driver has fallen from a peak of 1.2 in 2007 to 1.15 today, according to data compiled by Schroders, an asset management firm. Young Americans are getting their drivers' licenses later than they did in 1983, or even in 2008..."


100" of Snow? No Problem for Boston Bikers. Even Old Man Winter can't stop cyclists in the Boston area, as described in an article at BDCwire; here's a clip: "Along the Malden and Mystic Rivers sits the Wellington Greenway, a hiking and biking path that leads users from Boston’s inner harbor into Medford. It’s quite popular with commuters at the Wellington Station T stop on the Orange line. However, snow removal efforts by the MBTA blocked the path with a gigantic mountain of snow, rendering it all but accessible. That is, until a few local cyclists took matters into their own hands..."


16 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

32 F. average high on February 25.

6 F. high on February 25, 2014.

1" snow on the ground at KMSP.

February 25 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.

1996: A bolt of lightning from a snowstorm causes an explosion at a fireworks storage site in Milaca. One employee was injured and several homes in the area were damaged. An eight foot crater was all that remained where the storage site had been.

1971: Extremely low pressure moves across Minnesota. The Twin Cities had a barometer reading of 28.77 inches and Duluth beat that with 28.75. Freezing rain and snow hit northern Minnesota, dumping up to 18 inches in some areas. Areas around Virginia were without power for 5 days.

1896: A balmy high of 60 degrees was reported at Maple Plain. The warm weather hampered the annual ice cutting on Lake Independence to store for summer use.


TODAY: -20 wind chill early. Bright sun. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 8

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and plenty cold. Low: -6

FRIDAY: Blue sky, less wind. Still nippy. High: 18

SATURDAY: Breezy, coating of snow at night? Wake-up: 3. High: 23

SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, colder. Wake-up: 15. High: 27

MONDAY: Partly sunny, no travel headaches. Wake-up: 13. High: near 30

TUESDAY: Chance of light snow. No big deal. Wake-up: 18. High: 28

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and cool. Still cooler than average. Wake-up: 16. High: 26


Climate Stories...

Climate Change Will Hit America in the Breadbasket. NBC News has the story - here's an excerpt: "...Theoretically, reduced production along the southern edge of the country's grain-producing regions should be offset by increased production along the northern edge. The Corn Belt (and Soybean Belt) is already pushing up past the Canadian border, and Canada's wheat-producing zone is creeping farther north. But in reality, the shift is still likely to produce a net loss in crop production, said Jerry Hatfield, director of the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment..." (File photo: Star Tribune).


Sea Levels in Northeast Jumped 5 Inches In Just 2 Years, Study Says. Some of this is sea level rise, some is land subsidence, but the net effect is clear; higher water levels are making coastal storms even more damaging, especially when you superimpose a storm surge and surface waves on top of the rising Atlantic. Here's an excerpt from a story at Mashable: "Sea levels in northeastern North America jumped by more than five inches in a two-year period between 2009 to 2010, a rate unprecedented in the history of tide gauge records, a new study found. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, found that the temporary acceleration in long-term sea level rise resulted in coastal flooding and beach erosion along the Northeast coast from New York northward to Atlantic Canada..."


Sea Spike Details. Here's an excerpt from the new research referenced above via Nature Communications: "...The analysis of long-term tide gauge records identified an extreme sea-level rise (SLR) event during 2009–10. Within this 2-year period, the coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by 128 mm. This magnitude of interannual SLR is unprecedented (a 1-in-850 year event) during the entire history of the tide gauge records..."


Democrats Target Climate-Deniers-For-Hire. New Republic has the details; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...The goal of the investigation is to "establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations," writes Grijalva. "Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science. These conflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions..."


The Remote Alaskan Village That Needs To Be Relocated Due To Climate Change. A preview of coming attractions from Louisiana to south Florida and Virginia? Here's a snippet from a Washington Post story: "..The question now facing the town, the state of Alaska, and the nation is whether to move the people of Kivalina to a safer location nearby, either inland or further down the coast — and who would pay upwards of a hundred million dollars to do it. It’s a question already facing Kivalina and a handful of other native Alaskan villages, and in the coming decades could apply to numerous other towns along U.S. coastlines..."


Relocation Costs. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers takes a look at how much it might cost U.S. taxpayers to move an entire town along the coast of Alaska.


With Climate Change U.S. Presidents Matter. St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham has the story for The Guardian; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...Vetoing this pipeline, which would increase the rate of extraction of the world’s dirtiest fuels (bitumen and the byproduct petroleum coke), was a no-brainer for anyone concerned about climate change. In fact, it is not possible to be in favor of the Keystone pipeline if you accept the science of climate change. The reason this story is so big isn’t just about carbon dioxide emissions (although that matters). It is more about the strong stand taken by the President against a well-funded campaign to force the pipeline through. It is also important because of the signal it sends to those intent on long term dirty-fuels extraction..."


Lester Brown: "Vast Dust Bowls Threaten Tens of Millions With Hunger". The Guardian has details; here's a clip: "...Vast tracts of Africa and of China are turning into dust bowls on a scale that dwarfs the one that devastated the US in the 1930s, one of the world’s pre-eminent environmental thinkers has warned. Over 50 years, the writer Lester Brown has gained a reputation for anticipating global trends. Now as Brown, 80, enters retirement, he fears the world may be on the verge of a greater hunger than he has ever seen in his professional lifetime. For the first time, he said tens of millions of poor people in countries like Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Peru could afford to eat only five days a week..."


My Depressing Day With A Famous Climate Skeptic. NPR reports, here's an excerpt: "...I came away from my meeting with this famous climate skeptic feeling pretty depressed. What I had seen was a scientist whose work, in my opinion, was simply not very good. That, on its own, is no big deal. There are lots of scientists whose work is not very good — and some people may even think my science should be included in that list. But Soon's little string of papers were being heralded in the highest courts of public opinion as a significant blow to everyone else's understanding of Earth's climate. From TV studios to the halls of Congress, we were being told his was world-shaking research of the highest caliber, and that we had to take notice..."


Investors, Science Group Pressure Oil Companies to Disclose Climate Climate Risks. Here's an excerpt from the UCS, the Union of Concerned Scientists: "Five major oil and gas companies aren’t doing enough to disclose risks from climate change to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including sea level rise and storm surge, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Several investment groups, including Calvert Investments Management, joined UCS and Ceres today in sending letters to the five companies—Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero—expressing concern about these risks. Calvert has also filed a shareholder resolution with Phillips 66 urging the company to disclose climate risks..."


Can Only Republicans Help Republicans on Climate Change? Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: "...A more useful option than simply doing more research is for Republican politicians who know better to start behaving more responsibly. Opposing even the simplest, most market-oriented climate policies has to stop being a signifier of conservative tribal allegiance. But it will be very tough for those outside the GOP tribe — independent scientists, climate activists, Democrats — to fight the cultural politics that have made the climate debate intractable. Their efforts might even deepen the divide..."


Burst of Warming May End Lull in Rising Temperatures. New Scientist has the article - here's an excerpt: "...Global mean surface temperatures have not risen significantly since about 1998, which could be thanks to the oceans sucking up the extra heat. If this turns out to be the case, Chris Roberts from the Met Office in the UK and colleagues have found that there is a 60 per cent chance the hiatus will be followed by a five-year period of rapid warming at twice the usual background rate of around 0.2°C per decade. The models also suggest there is a 15 per cent chance the hiatus will continue for five more years..."

Wednesday Coating, Temperature Relapse - Mild Pattern Shift 10-14 Days Away

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 25, 2015 - 7:58 AM

Oddly Incomplete

"It's too cold to work in the garage" my wife complained the other day. "When is it going to get warmer?" May, I answered. "Seriously?"

I do see an abrupt shift in the upper level pattern the second week of March. A massive ridge of high pressure builds over the Plains, treating us to 30s, maybe a few 40s.

"Huh?"

Cue Minnesota's legions of incredulous snow lovers. "What happened to winter?" It seems very odd to be getting the cold without the snow. It's a little like Adam without Eve, Minneapolis without St. Paul, The Suburbs without Chan Poling. Just. Not. Right.

I'll get complaints from stressed commuters, grateful for fewer mornings of skating-rink-conditions, but a total lack of snow on the ground in late February, like there is now south & west of the Minnesota River, is a bit surreal, and doesn't fill me with hope we'll experience a drought-free 2015.

Our nagging snow recession lingers into mid-March; a few bursts of snow from assorted clippers, but nothing that will show up on The Weather Channel. The next 36 hours will be character-building, but 30s return by early next week, before the next Canadian relapse.

Storm-free. Weakening cold waves. Winter may end with a fizzle. Hold on. Better days ahead. In the words of Dan Rather...courage.


What Is The "Polar Vortex" Anyway? NOAA does a very good job explaining a term that's been around for a long time, one that got hijacked by popular media last winter. And no, this winter is not Exhibit A of the Polar Vortex. Here's a clip: "...The jet stream snakes around the globe like a ring on the southernmost periphery of the circulation.  The shape of the polar vortex drives the evolution of the jet stream and subsequently the areas of low pressure that bring us our weather.  The larger and more intense the polar vortex is, the further south the jet stream sets up which is why the polar jet pushes south during the winter.  It is NOT the result of climate change whatsoever, although climate change may influence its behavior.  The polar vortex has been around since the Earth had an atmosphere."


Clipped Again. A plowable snowfall is likely from South Dakota into far southwest Minnesota and Iowa. We can't even get a healthy snowfall from an Alberta Clipper this winter. 60-hour accumulated snow: NOAA NAM and Ham Weather.

Ski Arkansas. Cold air has penetrated unusually far south (for late February) setting the stage for another snow and ice event from Dallas to Huntsville, north Georgia, the Carolinas and Tidewater of Virginia, where plowable snowfall amounts are possible.

Hints of Relative Warmth. Kind of sad (and pathetically wondrous) how good low 30s feel in late February after a few cold weeks. Yesterday, if you squinted just right, you could make out the vague form of spring-to-come, but that illusion evaporates today and tomorrow as another surge of cold air arrives. Not as cold as a few days ago but numb enough. A thaw arrives the first half of next week; you'll be shocked to hear that no significant snow, ice or rain is in sight.

F-F-F-February. With a February like this who needs January? The consistent chill is supressing the main storm track well south of Minnesota, meaning fewer icy commutes, but a sense of general malaise for snow lovers ("ripped off again this winter"). It won't be as cold as last week, but the next 36 hours will be a blunt reminder that meteorological spring doesn't start until Sunday, March 1. 2-meter NAM temperatures: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Phase Shift. 500 mb winds valid Tuesday evening, March 10, carve out a big ridge over the central USA and Canada, allowing milder Pacific air to surge inland, meaning 30s, even a few 40s close to home (especially southwest Minnesota, where there's little snow on the ground as of Tuesday night). It should start to look and feel like March within 2 weeks; vague hints of a muddy spring to come. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.

Not Quite "Circle Me Bert!" Please square me with red, Paul. Restore my confidence in March while you're at it. Temperatures cool down again late next week before recovering into the 30s to near 40 the second week of March, based on GFS guidance.

Dakota County Will Sound Sirens Less Often. A step in the right direction? Here's an excerpt from The Star Tribune: "In an effort to combat “siren fatigue,” Dakota County is likely to sound its weather sirens less often. Outdoor sirens typically have been activated during tornado warnings and any severe thunderstorm warnings, which meant the sirens were used 96 times from 2010 to 2014. But under a new policy recommended by the National Weather Service, the county’s sirens will be activated only during tornado warnings and for storms where wind speed is expected to hit 70 miles per hour or more..."


Minnesota's Biggest Polluters Spending Over $10 Million to Pollute Politics. Environment Minnesota has the press release, here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 47,000 miles of streams in Minnesota. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for 970,000 at risk. “When powerful special interests spend millions to influence our elections and lobby decisionmakers, they drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” said Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon. “To make sure we’re able to protect our environment and our health, we need reforms to stop the flow of big money into politics....”


Polluting Politics. The complete 21 page (PDF) report from Environment Minnesota is here.


Is Drought The New Normal for Southern California? The Los Angeles Times has a harrowing story about trends in The Southland. Let's hope those climate models are wrong, but recent history would suggest that Californians should continue to pay attention. Here's a snippet: "...Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is altering Earth's most important atmospheric weather cell, drawing more moisture into the deep tropics and broadening areas of drought at higher latitudes, according to a new study. The U.S. west, including Southern California, as well as swaths of subtropical Brazil that are suffering from acute drought lie in the heart of the decreased rainfall band shown in 33 climate scenarios run over a 140-year span, according to the study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..."

Photo credit above: "In this Feb. 4 2014 file photo, a warning buoy sits on the dry, cracked bed of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, Calif. As bad as the drought in California and the Southwest was last year and in the Midwest a couple years ago, scientists say far worse historic decades-long dry spells are coming. “Unprecedented drought conditions” - the worst in more than 1,000 years - are likely to come to the Southwest and Central Plains near the end of this century and stick around because of global warming, according to a new study in the journal Science Thursday." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


Paper Details. The new paper referenced by the L.A. Times above is available from pnas.org.


Don't Weather-Shame Washington D.C. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at U.S. News and World Report: "...This isn’t a battle of toughness. This is a loudly clanging warning about climate change. The world is indeed getting warmer – 2014 was the warmest year in modern history – and severe weather patterns are a consequence of that. No, we can’t blame any of Boston’s snowstorms, individually, on climate change, any more than a heart attack victim can attribute the event to the double cheeseburger eaten the previous day. This is about long-term, sustained changes in climate and weather. The number of severe, regional snowstorms since 1960 is more than double that of the previous 60 years, according to a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Where will it be in 60 more years?..." (File photo: AP).

* The research paper referenced above is here, courtesy of UCAR.


Cities Spark More Thunderstorms Than Rural Areas. It's something I've noticed for decades now, dust and particulant pollution can "seed" clouds and spark more showers and thunderstorms downwind over the suburbs. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story at Discovery News: "...Some big cities, particularly those located in hot and humid environments, actually spawn more thunderstorms than surrounding rural areas. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Northern Illinois University researchers, which was published in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. The scientists found thunderstorm “births” were significantly higher on weekdays compared with weekend days, suggesting that increased pollution levels related to industry and commuting may play a role..."


Better Prepared? What Meteorologists Learned From Hurricane Sandy. NJ Spotlight has a story focused on lessons learned; here's an outtake: "...As the largest hurricane on record when it made landfall two years ago, Sandy presented a variety of challenges for forecasters and emergency management officials. Some have since been addressed, but many others remain. Communication problems meant that residents didn’t understand the true nature of the threat or how it would affect them; warnings were misinterpreted; and people failed to take them seriously. Above all, there was a pervasive mistrust of the predictions, with many people falsely believing that the storm couldn’t be as bad as forecasts suggested, since they had never experienced anything of that magnitude..." (File image above: NASA).


A Thirsty, Violent World. The author of the article at The New Yorker argues that we can and will find substitutes for oil and natural gas - as resources become scare substitutes often take their place. Clean water? Not so much. Here's an excerpt: "...Rapid climate change, population growth, and a growing demand for meat (and, thus, for the water required to grow feed for livestock) have propelled them into a state of emergency. Millions of words have been written, and scores of urgent meetings have been held, since I last wrote about this issue for the magazine, nearly a decade ago; in that time, things have only grown worse. The various physical calamities that confront the world are hard to separate, but growing hunger and the struggle to find clean water for billions of people are clearly connected..."


An Illustrated Guide to Ben Lecompte's Nightmares. And here I thought the mile swim was a big deal in the Boy Scouts. How about swimming from Japan to California? Outside Magazine has the jaw-dropping details; here's an excerpt: "This spring, 47-year-old Frenchman Ben Lecomte will step into the Pacific Ocean in Japan and, over the next five months, attempt to become the first swimmer to cover the 5,500 miles to California. His plan: swim eight hours a day—using flippers and a snorkel but no flotation device—then rest for 16 hours on his support boat. We’d doubt his prospects if he hadn’t become the first person to swim 3,700 miles across the Atlantic in 1998..."


"Raht Racer" on Kickstarter. I know Rich Kronfeld, who is raising money via Kickstarter to build and distribute his Raht Racer. It's a cool concept and I wish him well as he tries to make this go mainstream. Here's a quick overview: "The RAHT RACER™ is a power biking vehicle that uses state of the art pedal-electric hybrid technology to amplify pedal power, enabling the rider’s legs to propel the vehicle up to highway speeds, giving the rider the feeling of super strength.  On a bicycle, your pedals are the accelerator.  Same with the Raht Racer, only multiplied a hundred times! The result is a breathtaking new, Iron Man-like, power-sport experience.  Safer than a motorcycle, or bicycle on a busy street, the Raht has an integrated roll cage, reinforced carbon fiber body and automotive safety features like headlights, tail lights, seat belts & air bag. What you see here is our first prototype. Its top speed is roughly 70 mph. Our goal is to begin development of our actual production model this year. It will have a top speed of about 100 mph..." Kronfeld writes: "We're also a finalist in the Clean Energy Trust Challenge and we'll be on the Science Channel tomorrow night on "All American Makers."

http://challenge.cleanenergytrust.org/#!/finalists

http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/all-american-makers/


How Long Can We Stay Awake? 92 days on the toilet? I've never seen that in print, and I can't say I'm a fan. I posted a link to this BBC article just for the mind-boggling statistics: "...It’s surprising how we spend our lives. Reach your 78th birthday and according to some back-of-the-envelope calculations, you will have spent nine of those years watching television, four years driving a car, 92 days on the toilet, and 48 days having sex. But when it comes to time-consuming activities, there’s one that sits head and shoulders above them all. Live to 78, and you may have spent around 25 years asleep. In an effort to claw back some of that time it’s reasonable to ask: how long can we stay awake – and what are the consequences of going without sleep?..."


32 F. high on Tuesday in the Twin Cities.

32 F. average high on February 24.

14 F. high on February 24, 2014.

1" snow on the ground.

4.7" snow so far in February.

17.5" fell on the metro area as of February 24, 2014.

February 24, 1934: Late season cold snap with a low of -46 at Big Falls.


TODAY: Coating of snow earlier, couple inches far southern MN. Windy with partial clearing by afternoon, turning colder again. Wind chill: 0. Winds: N 10. High: 14

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and nippy. Low: -3

THURSDAY: More sun, less warmth. Wind chill: -15. High: 10

FRIDAY: Blue sky, still chilly. Wake-up: -4. High: 15

SATURDAY: Breezy, a bit milder by afternoon. Wake-up: 4. High: 23

SUNDAY: Early flakes, then clearing. Wake-up: 13. High: 29

MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, quiet. Wake-up: 16. High: 32

TUESDAY: Mostly gray, almost average. Wake-up: 22. High: 31


Climate Stories...

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill. The New York Times has details here.


Burst of Warming May End Lull in Rising Temperatures. New Scientist has the article - here's an excerpt: "...Global mean surface temperatures have not risen significantly since about 1998, which could be thanks to the oceans sucking up the extra heat. If this turns out to be the case, Chris Roberts from the Met Office in the UK and colleagues have found that there is a 60 per cent chance the hiatus will be followed by a five-year period of rapid warming at twice the usual background rate of around 0.2°C per decade. The models also suggest there is a 15 per cent chance the hiatus will continue for five more years..."


Armageddon For Climate Change Deniers? Not sure about Armageddon, but it confirmed the obvious. Here's a clip from The Daily Beast: "...For decades, the fossil-fuel industry has been underwriting a huge, successful campaign to lie about climate change. Like the tobacco industry before it, energy companies have created a body of pseudoscience, created by paid lackeys, and successfully co-opted the mainstream of the Republican Party to their “point of view.” This week, that campaign took a serious body blow, as one of its leading pseudo-scientific voices was exposed as a liar and a fraud, having accepted millions of corporate dollars to pose as a climate-change skeptic..."


Editorial: Climate Change is Real, Congress Isn't. Amen. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Daily Astorian: "...The politicization of just about everything is a benefit to campaign fundraisers and ideological media, but it only yields stalemate. No business would tolerate that approach. In fact, many large corporations have long recognized the dimensions of climate change. The Weyerhaeuser Co. has a climate change strategy. And despite Congress’ standoff, the CIA and the Department of Agriculture long ago admitted this was coming. In raising the alarm about climate change, this high profile group of business people is at odds with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as the fossil fuel industry..."


Here's Where Ocean Acidification Will Hit The U.S. Hardest. Climate Central has the story - here's an excerpt: "...But the new study published in Nature Climate Change on Monday makes it clear that while ocean acidification may make conditions tougher on shellfish, how much coastal communities rely on those shellfish and how ready they are to deal with changes makes a big difference in how ocean acidification plays out on land. With more than $1 billion in revenue to U.S. coastal communities from mollusks, which the study focuses on, just how prepared those communities are could have huge financial ramifications..."

* The new research on ocean acidification referenced above is available at Nature Climate Change.


Are Siberia's Mysterious Craters Caused By Climate Change? Scientists Find Four Enormous New Holes in Russia. The Daily Mail takes a look at a rather odd phenomena popping up across Siberia - is there a provable link to a warming climate and thawing permafrost? Here's an excerpt: "...Four new mysterous giant craters have appeared in the Siberian permafrost in northern Russia, sparking fears that global warming may be causing gas to erupt from underground. Scientists spotted the new holes, along with doszens of smaller ones, int he same area as three other enormous craters that were spotted on the Yamal Peninsulat. The craters are thought to be caused by eruptions of methane gas from the permafrost as rising temperatures causes the frozen soil to melt..." (Photo credit: siberiantimes.com).


Pachauri Steps Down As Head of U.N. Climate Panel. Carbon Brief has an update; here's the intro: "Dr Rajendra Pachauri has stepped down from his role as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), effective today. After nearly 13 years in the job, Pachauri was due to step down later this year. However, his departure has been brought forward pending allegations of sexual harassment at the New Delhi-based research centre TERI, where he is director general..."


The Weather Wake-Up Call. Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at The Hill that got my attention: "...Instill in your children the importance of working on global issues of sustainability. Teach them how to report about climate and food using their smartphones and tablets. Teach the value of nature and science. Demand that media organizations report about sustainability issues more fully than they do. Seek out publications on green living or food safety. Invest in print and online media that have deep and sustained commitments to environmental reporting like National Geographic, Food Tank and other outlets that delve into stories about weather, agriculture, farming and climate..." (Photo credit: NOAA).


Religious Leaders Urge Action to Combat Climate Change. National Catholic Reporter has the story - here's a clip: "...Given what Pope Francis has said in the past on the environment, "I think that he will call us to prudent action that promotes the common good for present and future generations and respects human life and dignity while always giving priority to the poor and vulnerable," Wenski said. "Care for creation should engage us all -- and thus I also think that the pope will tell us also to be mindful of and heed the voices of poor who are impacted most by climate change and certainly will be impacted either for good or ill by the policies proposed to address climate change..."


Policing The Online Climate Conversation. Forbes takes a look at new online tools that can help consumers of information (all of us) better navigate what is scientifically-based vs. not; here's an excerpt: "...The Climate Feedback Project is the brainchild of Emmanuel M. Vincent, a post-doctoral research fellow in climate and oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The project harnesses the power of a browser plug-in known as Hypothes.is, which allows users to highlight and critique select bits of well, really anything that appears online. These annotations then appear to all Hypothes.is users in a panel directly to the right of the text being analyzed..."


No, The Sun Isn't Driving Global Warming. It did in the past, but there's no apparent link between spiking temperatures and increased solar radiation reaching Earth. The Washington Post takes a look; here's a snippet: "...However, the idea that the sun is currently driving climate change is strongly rejected by the world’s leading authority on climate science, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found in its latest (2013) report. “There is high confidence that changes in total solar irradiance have not contributed to the increase in global mean surface temperature over the period 1986 to 2008, based on direct satellite measurements of total solar irradiance,” the report found..."


Harvard's Star Alumni Urge Week of Protests on Fossil Fuels. Here's the intro to a story at Bloomberg Business: "Actress Natalie Portman, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and other high-profile Harvard University alumni are calling for demonstrations to urge divestment from fossil fuels. Organizers of “Harvard Heat Week” are planning events of “highly civil civil disobedience,” including daily sit-ins for the week of April 13, according to a letter released Friday asking alumni to come to the campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to join the effort..."


Global Warming Changing Weather In The U.S. Northeast. Greg Laden had an article at scienceblogs.com that made me do a double-take; here's the clip: "...In a recent paper, “Quasi-resonant circulation regimes and hemispheric synchronization of extreme weather in boreal summer,” Dim Coumou, Vladimir Petoukhov, Stefan Rahmstorf, Stefan Petri, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber noted the emergence of more frequent “Rossby Waves” in the jet stream, indicating that these waves have become more common and more persistent. They said, “We show that high-amplitude quasi- stationary Rossby waves, associated with resonance circulation regimes, lead to persistent surface weather conditions and therefore to midlatitude synchronization of extreme heat and rainfall events. Since the onset of rapid Arctic amplification around 2000, a cluster of resonance circulation regimes is observed involving wave numbers 7 and 8. This has resulted in a statistically significant increase in the frequency of high- amplitude quasi-stationary waves with these wave numbers..."

Photo credit above: "Pedestrians walk single file through snow banks on a Beacon Street sidewalk in Boston, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Midway through an epic winter that's shattered records and buried Boston in more than 8 feet of snow, locals and outsiders alike could be forgiven for wondering why a world-class city that's accustomed to heavy snowfall — and prides itself on being a global center of technology and innovation — can't seem to dig out and move on." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola).

1-3" Snow From Today's Clipper. Boston Closing In On 40" On Ground, Most On Record

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 9, 2015 - 11:45 PM

Chirp Chirp

Signs of spring are popping up, a bit prematurely I fear. My tax accountant is leaving me cryptic messages. A pale white light is now visible at breakfast and dinner! Progress. And yesterday a few cardinals were chirping a happy tune outside my bedroom window. They may be jumping the gun.

January was milder than normal, based on a rolling 30-year average at MSP. February is 2.4F colder than average, and it's about to get even colder.

Arctic air doesn't arrive all at once, it comes in waves, like breakers on the beach; each one larger than the one before. Temperatures slip below zero Thursday, over the weekend - with an even colder surge by the middle of next week. Expect 4 subzero nights in the next week. Numbing, but probably not school-closing cold. Unlike last winter I see no evidence of polar air stalling nearby, no perpetual blocking pattern capable of long-term polar pain.

The approach of cold front number one sparks a period of snow this afternoon; a quick 1-3" possible with more north of MSP.

I have new respect for what a lousy inch of snow can do to our highways at 10-15F, but with highs today near 30F most freeways should be wet & slushy. In theory.


Staggering Amounts Of Snow in Boston. Over 22" from this last storm, on top of the 4 feet of snow that has fallen in the previous 2 weeks. USA TODAY has an article that made me think of Buffalo's ordeal back in December. This is what happens when unusually warm ocean water mixes with bitterly cold air pouring out of Canada - record snow events. Here's an excerpt: "...Monday's snow depth in Boston was 37 inches, which was the city's largest depth ever recorded since weather records began. The National Weather Service's Boston office said on Twitter that the city has received 76.5 inches of snow so far this winter. But nearby Providence, R.I., got just 4.2 inches of snow from this storm, the weather service reported. Boston set a record for the most snow recorded in a 30-day period, with 71.8 inches, breaking the record of 58.8 inches set in February 1978..."

Photo credit above: "Taylor LaBrecque digs her car out of a snow pile on Beacon Hill Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Boston. A long duration winter storm that began Saturday night remains in effect for a large swath of southern New England until the early morning hours Tuesday." (AP Photo/Steven Senne).

* Boston isn't alone in experiencing more severe winter storms and snowfall amounts. 5 of New York's 10 most severe blizzards have all struck in the last 12 years. Coincidence?


Nuisance to Plowable Snowfall. No Boston-style snows anytime soon. Beggars can't be choosy. Much of the metro will pick up an inch or two today, maybe 3-4" northern suburbs, the plowable potential increasing as you head north across the metro area. Details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR TUESDAY MORNING
THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING FOR A PORTION OF WEST CENTRAL...CENTRAL
AND EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA...AS WELL AS WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN.
THIS WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS MAINLY NORTH OF A LINE FROM
REDWOOD FALLS AND LAKEVILLE MINNESOTA...TO DURAND WISCONSIN.

A POTENT...BUT FAST MOVING SYSTEM WILL SPREAD A BAND OF SNOW INTO
WESTERN MINNESOTA LATE TONIGHT...ACROSS CENTRAL AND EAST CENTRAL
MINNESOTA AROUND 9 AM AND INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN BY NOON. THE
INITIAL BAND MAY PRODUCE A PERIOD OF HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 TO
2 INCHES PER HOUR. THUNDER MAY ALSO ACCOMPANY THE HEAVIEST SNOW
BURSTS. LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW WILL THEN CONTINUE THROUGH THE
AFTERNOON. THE STORM WILL QUICKLY DEPART THE AREA BY TUESDAY
EVENING AS IT MOVES OFF INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION.

THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR NORTH OF INTERSTATE 94 WHERE 3
TO 5 INCHES WILL FALL. ELSEWHERE IN THE ADVISORY AREA...A QUICK
ONE TO THREE INCHES OF SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR BEFORE IT TAPERS OFF.
SOME SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN IS ALSO POSSIBLE DURING THE ONSET
ACROSS PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA TUESDAY MORNING.

Fast-Moving Clipper. A couple of inches may fall midday into the afternoon hours, but with temperatures in the upper 20s MnDOT chemicals should do a better job keeping freeways more wet and slushy than snow-covered with this system. It may still be a slow PM commute, but I don't expect a rerun of last week's nightmare when 1.4" snow fell at ground temperatures in the low teens shortly before evening rush hour. That sure was fun. 60-hour accumulated snowfall: NOAA NAM model and Aeris Weather.


Cold Bias. I count 4 nights below zero, starting Wednesday night, again Friday night and next Monday and Tuesday night for good measure. Again, a pale imitation of last winter's polar pain, but still cold enough to get your attention. After today's clipper the next chance of a little snow comes Sunday. A cosmetic snowfall, not a Boston-snow. Graph: Weatherspark.


Bottoming Out Middle of Next Week? Various models are converging on the middle of next week for the coldest air temperatures, possibly dipping to -10F in the metro, but only lasting 1 or 2 nights. Some recovery is likely as we sail into the last week of February, but nothing springy is brewing just yet, based on GFS guidance from NOAA.


Slow Late-Month Moderation. The core of the coldest air shifts into Hudson Bay, eastern Canada and northern New England the last week of February with more of a modified-Pacific airflow reaching Minnesota. This would favor temperatures at or slightly below average with more clippers - no chance of southern moisture reaching us with 500 mb winds screaming from the northwest. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Warmer Air And Water Juicing Snowstorms in New England? Since 1958 there has been a 71% increase in the most extreme precipitation events (rain and snow) across New England. Warmer air holds more water vapor, increasing the potential for record amounts of precipitation. Here's an excerpt of a post from Climate Nexus: "As you prepare to report on what is now the fifth in a series of snowstorms affecting southern New England, please consider some of the following information on the costs of extreme snow events and how climate change is linked to extreme events of this nature. Having received 61 inches so far this winter, Boston has already broken it’s 30-day snowfall record, and is now preparing for another two feet this week. Governor Baker said that enough snow has been plowed to fill the Patriot’s stadium 90 times.  Snowstorms are an expected feature of winter weather in the Northeast, but the recent spate of storms in the region exhibits the fingerprints of climate change in several distinct ways.Above average sea surface temperatures add energy to the system, creating a stronger contrast with the cold front. That temperature gradient powers the storm, so a stronger gradient means a stronger storm. Also, warmer air holds more moisture, resulting in more precipitation..."

* graphic above courtesy of earth.nullschool.net shows Gulf Stream water temperature anomalies 11.5C warmer than average, roughly 14-15F warmer than average for early February.


But Wait, There's More! One of pet peeves watching reporters doing weather stories. Invariably they'll scream into the microphone "...and meteorologists say another storm is ON THE WAY!" Uh huh. That's a pretty safe forecast. It's the where, when and how much that's problematic. But in the case of Boston, it may be true. ECMWF guidance brushes coastal New England with blizzard conditions this weekend as polar air invades. Yes, it actually can get worse. Map: WSI Corporation.



DSCOVR Satellite To Keep A Weather Eye On Solar Storms. It's primary mission is to provide additional early warning for potentially dangerous solar flares capable of bringing down the power grid. But cameras will also be trained on Earth, to provide (delayed) imagery of our planet from space. Here's an excerpt from Gizmag: "...DSCOVR, formerly known as Triana, is a first step toward remedying this. It began in the late 1990s as an Earth observation satellite. Though DSCOVR was built, it ended up in storage when the mission was canceled in 2001. There it remained until NOAA and the US Air Force took it out of mothballs in 2008. It was then refurbished by NASA and equipped with updated instruments, while the Air Force offered to foot the bill for a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle to put it into space on a five-year mission to provide warnings of incoming solar flares approaching the Earth..."


University of Iowa Study: Floods Not Markedly Bigger, But They Are Getting More Frequent. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids has a very interesting story - here's a link: "...The central United States — including Iowa — has seen more flood events in recent years, although the magnitude of those events has not increased, according to a new study out of the University of Iowa. Changes in both seasonal rainfall and temperature across the Midwest appear to be driving the rise in flood frequency, causing “adverse societal consequences” — like decreased food production, displaced communities and residents, and other economic losses reaching the billions..."

Photo credit: "Manhattan Park in Cedar Rapids is inundated by floodwaters from the Cedar River on Sunday, July 6, 2014." (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)


Mystery Of The "Milky Rain" In Eastern Washington Solved? It would appear it's Nevada's fault. KOMO News has an interesting article about a meteorological mystery; here's an excerpt: "...Strange things were afoot in eastern Washington and parts of eastern Oregon and the Idaho panhandle Friday when the day's rain showers left a bit of a milky residue on cars and whatnot...."

Photo credit: "Photo of a dirty, milky substance that has fallen on cars outside the National Weather Service office in Spokane, Wash. on Feb. 6, 2015." Photo courtesy: National Weather Service, which has a good explanation of how a white rain may have formed.


Send In The Weathermen. The meteorological equivalent of Navy Seals or Delta Force? I had no idea. Check out the article from NBC News; here's a clip: "...He was a weatherman. More precisely, he was a special operations weather technician, known as a SOWT (pronounced sow-tee). As the Department of Defense’s only commando forecasters, SOWTs gather mission-impossible environmental data from some of the most hostile places on Earth. They embed with Navy SEALs, Delta Force and Army Rangers. Ahead of major operations they also head in first for a go/no-go forecast. America’s parachutes don’t pop until a SOWT gives the all-clear..."


Hurricane Sandy Turned A New York Subway Station Into a Petri Dish of Antarctic Bacteria. Quartz has a fascinating tale; here's a clip: "...The difference almost certainly came down to what Mason calls the “molecular echo” of Hurricane Sandy, whose tidal storm surge transplanted a colony of fishy, polar sea bugs. This is a phenomenon scientists have never before demonstrated—proof that, as Mason puts it, “an environmental disaster can be rendered onto the surfaces of a given area...”

Photo credit above: "What lurks beneath?" (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)


How Warming May Alter Critical "Atmospheric Rivers". Climate Central has a summary of new research focused on these firehoses of moisture that can turn drought into flood in the meteorological blink of an eye; here's a clip: "...The hose has been turned back on full-force over Northern California: A stream of moisture is flowing over the drought-riddled state and dropping copious amounts of rain just days after the close of one of the driest Januaries on record. The influx of much-needed rain comes courtesy of a feature called an atmospheric river that is a key source of much of the state’s precipitation and water supply. A relatively recent meteorological discovery, these ribbons of water vapor in the sky are something scientists are trying to better understand. They are flying research planes into the heart of the current storm to study what fuels it, which could help improve forecasts of the events..."


Your Samsung SmartTV Is Spying On You, Basically. Add this to a long and growing list of things to be paranoid about. Be careful what you say in front of that big screen television set. Here's an excerpt from The Daily Beast: "You may be loving your new Internet-connected television and its convenient voice-command feature—but did you know it’s recording everything you say and sending it to a third party? Careful what you say around your TV. It may be listening. And blabbing. A single sentence buried in a dense “privacy policy” for Samsung’s Internet-connected SmartTV advises users that its nifty voice command feature might capture more than just your request to play the latest episode of Downton Abbey..."

* Yes, this does bear a striking similarity to some of the plot lines in George Orwell's 1984. God help us when the machines take over.


How YouTube Changed The World. The Telegraph explains why many legacy media networks remain paranoid about YouTube, and for good reason. Here's a clip: "...In the eight years since, YouTube has become a raucous town square for those who aspire to power, good and evil. Isil and KKK propaganda videos jostle for attention alongside English town council candidates and teenage pranksters. The veteran Middle East reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg, recently wrote that extremists no longer bother meeting with journalists. “They don’t need a middleman anymore. Journalists have been replaced by YouTube..."


The Life, Death, And Rebirth Of BlackBerry's Hometown. Fusion has the story; here's a snippet: "...BlackBerry is still alive – it has 7,000 employees worldwide, trades at a market value of $5.25 billion, and turned a small profit last quarter – but most people here speak about it in the past tense. The company’s market value has fallen more than 90 percent from its peak, and it has less than a one percent share of the global smartphone market, having been reduced to rubble by Apple, Samsung, and other manufacturers years ago. President Obama still has his BlackBerry, but most other people ditched theirs a while back..." (Image credit: Gabriella Peñuela).


High-Tech Hotel in Japan Will Be Staffed By Multilingual Robots. It's a slippery slope, automation, robotics and computers replacing things done by carbon-based lifeforms. Check out this story from The Verge; here's an excerpt: "...This summer, a hotel will open in the Netherlands-themed Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan. It will have 72 rooms. Room fees will start at $60 per night. And it will be staffed by 10 humanoid robots. The Henn-na Hotel's blinking and "breathing" actroids will be able to make eye contact, respond to body language, and speak fluent Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English, The Washington Post reports. They will check in guests, carry bags, make coffee, clean rooms, and deliver laundry..."


33 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

27 F. average high on February 9.

9 F. high on February 9, 2014, after waking up to -7.

Trace of snow on the ground at KMSP as of Monday evening at 7 PM.

February 9 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1965: Snowstorm dumps 15 inches of snow at Duluth over two days.

1861: Ice storm near Elk River. Coatings of a 1/2 inch of ice reported. The ice broke off many large branches and saplings were bent to the ground.

1857: Extreme cold at Fort Ripley. E.J. Baily, Assistant Surgeon notes : "Spirit thermometer -50 at 6am. Mercury frozen in charcoal cup. Spirit thermometer at Little Falls 16 miles from the fort -56 at 6am. The lowest degree of cold on record in the territory.


TODAY: Dry start. Snow develops. 1-3" by evening, only a coating far south metro. Winds: SE 15. High: near 30

TUESDAY NIGHT: Slick roads as snow tapers to flurries. Low: 20

WEDNESDAY: Windy, tumbling temps. Winds: NW 15-30+ High: 22

THURSDAY: Blue sky, light winds. Wake-up: -4. High: 13

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, colder surge late. Wake-up: 5. High: 22

SATURDAY: Hello January! Wind chill: -20. Wake-up: -2. High: 6

SUNDAY: Next clipper. Light accumulation? Wake-up: -3. High: 17

MONDAY: Gray, snow may stay south. Wake-up: 6. High: 25


Climate Stories...

State Looks At Health Impact of Climate Change. Here's the introduction to a story at The Star Tribune: "Minnesotans will suffer from more asthma, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and such bug-borne diseases as West Nile virus and Lyme disease as climate change takes hold across the Upper Midwest, according to a new report from the Minnesota Health Department. It’s the latest in a series of “vulnerability assessments” that Gov. Mark Dayton ordered from his Cabinet to prepare Minnesota for the inevitable..." (Image: NASA).


White House: Climate Change Threatens National Security. The Hill has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.” The administration argues that effective action against climate change will bolster the security of the United States and its allies..."


Will Global Warming Bring More Tornadoes? Here's an excerpt of a story from LiveScience and The Christian Science Monitor: "...Researchers examined how global warming will affect severe weather during the heart of tornado season — March, April and May. They found that while the yearly tornado total will climb by 2080, the number of tornadoes will also vary wildly from year to year. That's because sometimes, the weather will get stuck in a pattern that favors tornadoes, and sometimes, conditions will stymie stormy weather, according to the report, published Jan. 15 in the journal Climatic Change..."

Graphic credit above: "Average differences between severe weather in 1980-1990 and 2080-2090. Red means more severe storms, and blue means fewer storms." Victor Gensin.


Talking Like Grown-Ups About Climate Change. If you could pay a few dollars a month to lower the risk of (catastrophic) climate change down the road would you consider it? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Bloomberg View: "...If the second answer is the right one, then there may be an opening for an adult conversation about the topic. If we are worried about climate change, surely we would be willing to pay something -- at least if it isn't a lot -- to reduce the risk. According to some estimates, the U.S. could do a lot to reduce greenhouse gases if the average American paid a monthly energy tax, targeted to such emissions, of $10, along with an equivalent gasoline tax..." (Stock image above: PBS).


Climate Change, Weather Variability Challenge Yukon Quest Mushers. Where's the snow? An anthem being heard from Minnesota to Alaska, it seems. Alaska Public Media has the story; here's the intro: "The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race starts Saturday. For more than 30 years, the race course has followed an old Gold Rush era trail that took advantage of the frozen Yukon River. But recently, there have been places where the river hasn’t frozen up. That’s starting to raise question about the impacts of climate change on Alaska’s state sport..."


Major Snowstorms In British Columbia Prompt Climate-Change Worries. In at least one case freak midwinter rains have forced one ski resort to close altogether. Here's an excerpt from The Globe and Mail: "Warm weather and rain linked to the Pineapple Express weather system is forcing Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island to shut down its winter operations as of Monday, a rare situation that comes as industry operators fear the impact of climate change..."


Quantifying The Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia. The Climate Council has a full report; here's an excerpt of a summary: "...Climate change is making Australia hotter. Hot days are happening more often while heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.

  • The annual number of record hot days across Australia has doubled since 1960. Over the past 10 years the number of record hot days has occurred three times more frequently than the number of record cold days.
  • The annual occurrence of very hot days across Australia has increased strongly since 1950 and particularly sharply in the last 20 years..."

6 More Weeks of Winter? Count On It - Chicago Digging Out from 20" Snow

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 2, 2015 - 9:28 AM

Bored Groundhogs

"Why are we not getting any snow this winter?  It's SO boring!" wrote Sylvia Goldman from Anoka. I agree. Try and make a snow angel and you'll get brush burns. While you're at it BORROW a friend's skis or sled and expect a rough ride.

Snow lovers are in a dark place. Snowfall so far this winter is half as much as last year: 5.4 inches in January, 20.4 for the winter, to date. At this rate we may wind up with 30-40 inches for the season, significantly less than average.

We're stuck in a rut; big storms sailing to the south, a relatively dry, mild Pacific influence with the coldest fronts of winter taking aim at New England, not Minnesota.

While residents of Chicago, Detroit & Boston dig out from a foot of snow we track a series of feeble clippers, each one capable of a coating. Zzzzzzzzzz.

This week trends colder than average but a thaw returns next week. Minnesota continues to dry out; a simmering low-grade El Nino should mean a mild, dry bias into early spring, but I'm not convinced this means a drought-summer is imminent.

And it doesn't really matter what Punxetawney Phil says. At this latitude 6 more weeks of winter is a sure thing, but it'll be a pale imitation of last year.


Heavy Snow Pushes Across New England. The Patriots may have to delay their victorious flight back to BOS by 24 hours, as heavy snow sweeps eastward, near-blizzard conditions possible for coastal New England by this afternoon. Meanwhile residents from Davenport to Chicago to Detroit will be digging out today. 60-hour 4 km NAM accumulated snowfall product via NOAA and Aeris Weather.

Cold, But Nothing Brutal. Old Man Winter is pulling his punch; the high temperatures highlighted above are considerably warmer than GFS numbers were hinting at just 1-2 weeks ago, when it looked like an extended streak of nights below zero. According to European guidance we may not see any subzero lows into early next week, another shot at freezing Friday before a clipper brushes us with a coating of snow Saturday. Woo hoo!

Seasonable Second Week of February. Temperatures run about 5-10F colder than average this week, but moderation is still expected next week with a few days near or above freezing. You may be shocked to hear this, but the pattern doesn favor significant snow into mid-February.


Alerts Broadcaster Situation Report: Issued Monday morning, February 2, 2015.

- Snowiest Week on Record for Boston? If Boston sees 8.3" of snow from yesterday/today combined, that will put them at 31.3" for the week of Jan 27-Feb 2. The snowiest week on record for Boston was 31.2" Jan 2-8, 1996.

- Chicago saw 16.2" of snow Sunday. This broke the previous calendar day record for the month of February, which was 13.6" set on Feb. 1, 2011 (The Groundhog Day Blizzard). So far this storm has been Chicago's 5th biggest storm on record. Details below.

- As of 7:30 AM, ComEd (serving the Chicago area) estimated that 54,400 customers were affected by the blizzard. 95% of those customers have had power restored. 2,500 remain out of service. (https://www.comed.com/_layouts/comedsp/OutageMap.aspx)

- Boston, Detroit, Toledo, Hartford, Chicago Public Schools all closed today.

- Over 2,800 flights within, into or out of the U.S. have been cancelled today according to FlightAware. Airports with the most cancellations: Chicago O'Hare, Newark, Boston and LaGuardia. (http://flightaware.com/live/cancelled)

- Heavy snow continues in Boston today, where 6-9" of snow is likely, on top of the 20-30" that fell 1 week ago today.

- New York City picks up a wintry mix of ice, rain and snow, maybe 1-2" of slush for the suburbs before precipitation tapers off.

- Colder air returns tomorrow, leaving wet, untreated roads icy. The pattern remains ripe for more big coastal storms for the Mid Atlantic and New England into March.


Here We Go Again. The morning high-res visible image shows Atlantic moisture streaming inland, enhancing snowfall rates from Albany to Hartford to Boston, where travel conditions by land and air will remain treacherous.


The Big Dump. Snowfall amounts have been impressive, the storm system we're tracking originally fueled with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, slow forward motion of this massive low pressure system helping to tally up higher amounts. Nearly a foot of snow fell in Des Moines and Milwaukee; closer to a foot and a half from Chicago's suburbs to Kalamazoo and Detroit.


Chicago Snow Day. The groundhog will probably be proven right from Chicago to Boston this year; no early springlike weather brewing for the eastern half of the USA. The storm has dumped nearly 20" on O'Hare over 2 days, making in Chicago's 5th biggest snowstorm on record.


Additional Accumulation Today. The axis of heaviest snow is forecast to fall from the Catskills and northern Hudson River Valley into the Berkshires; as much as 16" from Manchester and North Conway to near Worcester, Mass. Boston will probably pick up about 8" of snow from this system.


Another Rough Travel Day in Boston. The Patriots won't be getting home today, unless they can commandeer an armada of snowmobiles. Our models are converging on a solution of roughly 8" of snow for Boston by late evening, with conditions rapidly improving Tuesday. Model data: Aeris Weather.


Latest Warnings. Most of New England is under a Winter Storm Warning, but it appears New York City will be spared any heavy snow, an icy mix ending as an inch or two over the northern and western suburbs. Expect widespread facility disruptions today with severe impacts to the transportation grid. There may be power failures from the Berkshires into the Green and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, where the heaviest amounts of snow will pile up. Write today off in New England, but a rapid rebound is likely tomorrow - another Nor'easter may brush New England with heavy snow and high winds Thursday night into Friday morning.

I fear Punxetawney Phil will be right. 6 more weeks of winter seems like a pretty sure bet.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster


Important Leadership Lessons From The Blizzard That Never Came. Inc.com has an interesting post; here's an excerpt: "...A post-crisis review included apologies for the snow that never came--but no one talked about how well it all went. I don't think an apology was necessary, and I give my city an A in crisis management. Better safe than sorry; better over prepared than under prepared. Leadership Lesson:Appoint a team (with different membership from the crisis management team) to assess the response and recommend changes in procedures..."


Minnesota Struggles To Slow Deforestation, Protect Water. In case you missed it in Sunday's Star Tribune, here's a link and excerpt: "Kathy Connell never thought she’d see it in Minnesota: deforestation. But last year she watched with dread as the pine trees surrounding her tiny vegetable farm 60 miles northwest of Brainerd were torn out and heaped into piles of slash. Now she fears what might come next — huge potato fields, aerial pesticides and contaminated drinking water. Already her neighbors are paying thousands of dollars to dig deeper wells. “To me the earth is a God-given gift,” she said. “It’s morally wrong to poison the water...”

Photo credit above: "A lone pine tree survived the plowing of this field south of Park Rapids." Photo: Brian Peterson.


Why It's Taking The U.S. So Long To Make Fusion Energy Work. Huffpo has the article; here's a clip that got my attention: "...Fusion scientists make an incredible proposition: We can power our cities, they say, with miniature, vacuum-sealed stars. According to those who study it, the benefits of fusion power, if it ever came to fruition, would be enormous. It requires no carbon drawn from the ground. Its fuel -- hydrogen harvested from seawater -- is inexhaustible. It emits no gases that warm the planet. And unlike its cousin fission, which is currently used in nuclear power plants, fusion produces little radioactive waste, and what it does produce can be recycled by the reactor. The only hurdle, as many U.S. physicists tell it, is the billions of dollars needed before the first commercially viable watt of power is produced..."

Photo credit above: "A researcher examines the National Spherical Torus Experiment."


Poll Shows Giant Gap Between What Public, Scientists Think. In the end this comes down to education and science literacy, according to a story at AP; here's an excerpt: "...The American public and U.S. scientists are light-years apart on science issues. And 98 percent of surveyed scientists say it's a problem that we don't know what they're talking about. Scientists are far less worried about genetically modified food, pesticide use and nuclear power than is the general public, according to matching polls of both the general public and the country's largest general science organization. Scientists were more certain that global warming is caused by man, evolution is real, overpopulation is a danger and mandatory vaccination against childhood diseases is needed..."


Dying To Be Free. If you have a friend or family member with an addiction read this long, but remarkable bit of investigative journalism from Huffington Post. Abstinence simply doesn't work for a majority of people. But there are medications that can ease recovery and decrease the risk of relapse (and death by overdose). Here's an excerpt of this important article: "..There’s no single explanation for why addiction treatment is mired in a kind of scientific dark age, why addicts are denied the help that modern medicine can offer. Family doctors tend to see addicts as a nuisance or a liability and don’t want them crowding their waiting rooms. In American culture, self-help runs deep. Heroin addiction isn’t only a disease – it’s a crime. Addicts are lucky to get what they get.......”

Illustration by Jan Diehm / The Huffington Post.


21 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

25 F. average high on February 1.

22 F. high on February 1, 2014.

1/2 inch of snow fell at MSP International Airport Sunday morning.

Minnesota Weather History, courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1996: State record low temperature set in Minnesota. With numerous media folk present, the low dipped to -60 three miles south of Tower. Governor Arne Carlson cancelled school statewide due to the cold.

1988: Temperature bottoms out at -43 at Embarrass.

1927: Spring-like temperatures on Groundhog's day. Tracy is 57 and Fairmont reaches 56.


TODAY: Sunny start, clouds increase. Winds: SW 10. High: 18

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and chilly. Low: 10

TUESDAY: Another clipper, coating possible. High: 22

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, colder smack. WC: -15. Wake-up: 14. High: 16 (falling during the day)

THURSDAY: Cold start, breezy afternoon. Wake-up: 3. High: 19

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy and milder. Wake-up: 7. High: 32

SATURDAY: Another clipper, light accumulation. Wake-up: 24. High: 30

SUNDAY: Partial clearing, close to average. Wake-up: 20. High: 27


Climate Stories...

Why Bigger Snowstorms Come With Global Warming. "Juno" last week and the recent storm tracking from Chicago to Boston evidence that climate change is a hoax? Just the opposite, as explained in this InsideClimate News article at Ames Tribune: "...That claim is nonsensical," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. "Yes, we have always had storms in the winter, but climate change is often teh contributing factor that pushes these events over the edge to become record-breaking." Here's why. As the oceans warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, the atmosphere above can hold more moisture, which in turn fuels the creation of the most intense precipitation events..."


“That claim is nonsensical,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. “Yes, we have always had storms in the winter, but climate change is often the contributing factor that pushes these events over the edge to become record-breaking.”

Here’s why: As the oceans warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, the atmosphere above can hold more moisture, which in turn fuels the creation of the most intense precipitation events.

- See more at: http://amestrib.com/news/why-bigger-snowstorms-come-global-warming#sthash.CAFsfewG.dpuf

Climate Change's Bottom Line. Thanks to Greg Page and Cargill for standing up for data, facts and science - and not giving into ideological talking points. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Mr. Page is not a typical environmental activist. He says he doesn’t know — or particularly care — whether human activity causes climate change. He doesn’t give much serious thought to apocalyptic predictions of unbearably hot summers and endless storms. But over the last nine months, he has lobbied members of Congress and urged farmers to take climate change seriously. He says that over the next 50 years, if nothing is done, crop yields in many states will most likely fall, the costs of cooling chicken farms will rise and floods will more frequently swamp the railroads that transport food in the United States. He wants American agribusiness to be ready..."

* The 58 page PDF from Risky Business, "Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest" is here.


In Major Shift, Obama Administration Will Plan For Rising Seas In All Federal Projects. The Washington Post has the story - here's the intro: "President Obama issued an executive order Friday directing federal agencies to adopt stricter building and siting standards to reflect scientific projections that future flooding will be more frequent and intense due to climate change. The order represents a major shift for the federal government: while the Federal Emergency Management Administration published a memo three years ago saying it would take global warming into account when preparing for more severe storms, most agencies continue to rely on historic data rather than future projections for building projects..."

Graphic credit: "Figure from the new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on flood risks to the North Atlantic coast, showing sea level rise scenarios for Sandy Hook, N.J." Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Does Global Warming Mean More or Less Snow? Climate scientist Kevin Trenberth pens an article for The Conversation in the wake of this week's New England blizzard; here's a clip: "...By contrast, the heaviest snowfalls occur with surface temperatures from about 28°F to 32°F – just below the freezing point. Of course, once it gets much above freezing point, the snow turns to rain. So there is a “Goldilocks” set of conditions that are just right to result in a super snow storm. And these conditions are becoming more likely in mid-winter because of human-induced climate change..." (Image: NOAA/NASA).