Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
Hot Tea Alert
"Man plans, God laughs".
That's especially true when traveling by air, but I have a solution: only fly on sunny days.
Last week my flight to Baltimore was delayed 3 hours when lightning struck the control tower at BWI. Flying home yesterday I was dozing contently when clear air turbulence dumped hot tea into my crotch. Pain, then an oddly refreshing sensation.
Sorry for the visual.
My point: in spite of all our computers, gizmos & redundancies you can't push the weather. Summer T-storms trigger more airline delays than winter snow & ice, especially over southern and eastern states. The only thing you can do to lower the risk of getting delayed or cancelled is fly in the morning, before instability T-storms have a chance to pop up and wreak havoc.
Fall is in the air, but summer isn't through with us yet. Highs may hit 80F tomorrow, again early next week. Midweek dew points reach the sticky upper 60s before a cleansing breath of cooler, drier, Canadian air arrives by Friday & Saturday.
And yes, it's perfectly acceptable to wear a light jacket over your shorts. Expect more wardrobe confusion ahead.
The best chance of rain comes Thursday, followed by a dry, lukewarm weekend. Models show a few more 80s into early October.
A Little Close For Comfort. Morning temperatures dipped into the upper 20s over much of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin Monday morning - another frost is possible early today. If you missed a frost the past couple of nights odds are you'll stay frost-free thru the end of the week. Map above from the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Above Average. ECMWF guidance shows 70s the next 3 days, followed by a brief late week cooling trend - Friday the coolest day in sight. Highs may approach 80F again by Sunday, a mild bias into much of next week as well. Showery rains, even some thunder, is possible Thursday, but no soakings are in sight yet. Graph: weatherspark.com.
Tracking Ingrid - And A Showery Swirl Into The Midwest. The 4 km. NAM shows showers and possible T-showers sprouting along the leading edge of warmer air pushing north across the Plains into the Midwest. Colorado (finally) dries out a bit, while the soggy remains of Hurricane Ingrid push into Mexico, a few heavy rain bands brushing far southern Texas. Animation: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Historic Flooding Across Colorado. You only get so much from the written word, statistics and numbers. After seeing some of the photos in this piece from The Atlantic you get a much better sense of the scope of this flooding disaster: "Over the past few days, a 4,500-square-mile area across Colorado's Front Range has been hit by devastating floods, leaving at least six dead, forcing thousands to evacuate, and destroying thousands of homes and farms. Record amounts of rainfall generated flash floods that tore up roads and lines of communication, leaving many stranded, and hundreds still listed as missing. Evacuations are still underway as weather conditions have improved slightly. Forecasters predict drier weather by mid-week. Gathered here are recent images of the devastation in Colorado."
Photo credit above: "A raging waterfall destroys a bridge along Highway 34 toward Estes Park, Colorado, as flooding devastates the Front Range and thousands were forced to evacuate, on September 13, 2013."
* In Longmont, Colorado they're already calling this a 1 in 500 year flood.
Flood Transforms Colorado's "Gore-Tex Vortex". Here's a clip from The AP and KUSA-TV in Denver: "The cars that normally clog Main Street in Lyons on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park have been replaced by military supply trucks. Shop owners in Estes Park hurriedly cleared their wares in fear that the Big Thompson River will rise again. A plywood sign encouraged residents mucking out their homes to "Hang in there."Days of rain and floods have transformed the outdoorsy mountain communities in Colorado's Rocky Mountain foothills affectionately known "The Gore-Tex Vortex" from a paradise into a disaster area with little in the way of supplies or services - and more rain falling Sunday. The string of communities from Boulder to Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, is a base for backpackers and nature lovers where blue-collar and yuppie sensibilities exist side by side. Now, roadways have crumbled, scenic bridges are destroyed, the site of the bluegrass festival is washed out and most shops are closed..."
* Map above, courtesy of NOAA, shows 21.13" of rain in the last 7 days in falling on South Boulder.
Historic Flooding Continues To Ravage Colorado. It was the Perfect Storm for the Front Range. Stalled synoptic-scale storm near Salt Lake City, turning on an extended 5-6 day "fetch" of tropical moisture originating from the eastern Pacific with record precipitable water values - combined with a stubborn upslope flow that created wave after wave of heavy rain. "Atmospheric Rivers" are thought to pose the greatest risk to California, but there's no reason why a river of excessive moisture can't set up from southwest to northeast, as it did late last week. Today's Climate Matters segment looks at the Colorado Flood; natural weather enhanced by strange twists and turns in the jet stream (and more water vapor) that may be a direct result of a slowly warming climate.
Flood-Ravaged Boulder, Colorado Sets Annual Rainfall Record. This takes weather whiplash to a whole new extreme. Here's a clip of Climate Central story from meteorologist Andrew Freedman, with some remarkable rainfall statistics: "...With 30.12 inches of rain and counting, more than half of which fell since Sept. 9, the city has already eclipsed its previous mark of 29.93 inches, set in 1995. Boulder's average yearly precipitation (rain and melted frozen precipitation) is 20.68 inches. The record is especially noteworthy since before Sept. 9, Boulder, along with much of eastern Colorado, was still mired in long-term drought conditions..."
Graphic credit above: "So much rain fell since Sept. 9 that Boulder, Colo., went from having one of its driest years on record to its wettest." Credit: Dennis Adams-Smith/Climate Central.
5-Day Rainfall. NOAA HPC prints out heavy rains for coastal Texas, a 1-2"+ smear of rain from near Kansas City to Davenport, more heavy showers and T-storms for south Florida. The Pacific Northwest sees a healthy soaking, while much of the Southwest stays dry.
Colorado Floods: Death Toll Climbs As Hundreds Still Stuck. The Denver Post has a town by town update on historic flooding still underway - it will take months, if not years for some of these communities to return to some sense of normalcy. Here's an excerpt: "As many as 1,000 Larimer County residents remain trapped by washed-out roads in mountain canyons after helicopters set to rescue them were grounded by rain and fog Sunday. "Mother Nature is not cooperating," said Shane DelGrosso, one of two Type II incident commanders who are assisting the county with coordination of local, state and federal rescue efforts. Saturday, 475 people were evacuated by air and taken to shelters in the county. Two 80-person urban search and rescue teams will arrive Monday and begin house-to-house searches around Estes Park, where the only passable route in and out of town is Colorado 7..."
Photo credit above: "The eastbound lane of 9th Ave collapsed near Fordham St in Longmont, CO September 15, 2013. Evacuations are underway Sunday morning in some Longmont neighborhoods because the St. Vrain River is rising quickly." (Photo By Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post).
* Only 22,000 homes and businesses in Colorado have flood insurance, roughly 10-25% of people living in high risk flood zones have coverage. This will compound the disaster for survivors according to USA Today.
NWS Says Flooding "Historically Significant". No kidding. Here are more details from The Boulder County Business Report: "Is this week's flooding in Boulder County a 100-year event? Five hundred? One thousand? Jim Keeney, weather program manager for the National Weather Service's Central Region, said the NWS hasn't made a determination because flooding is still rampant along Colorado's Front Range. But he did offer one comparison to lend some perspective on Friday. The Big Thompson River flood of 1976 has long been a sort of benchmark for flooding in the region. That flood crested at 9.31 feet in the town of Drake. The flooding that slammed the foothills and Front Range this year crested at 10.55' Friday morning..."
Photo credit above: "A house lays completely demolished in what was the path of the recent floods that have destroyed the town of Jamestown, Colo., on Sunday Sept. 14, 2013. No one has been able to access the town until late Sunday afternoon when crews finalized repairs of the upper portion of the road for emergency traffic only. The town has no infrastructure or running water. Some parts of town amazingly enough have electricity. A dozen or so residents stayed as most of the town was evacuated by helicopters." (AP Photo/ The Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson)
What We Learned From Vermont's Epic Flood. CNN has the story - here's a snippet: "...From that emergency response, we learned a few critical lessons that I offer for our counterparts in Colorado:
Sleep and eat. This flood emergency response will continue for many weeks. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and you and your staff can only be helpful if you take care of your own basic needs.
Ask for help. Many folks want to help, including experts who are prepared to pitch in at a moment's notice. Take some time to think carefully about where you could use the extra boots on the ground and ask for assistance.
Communicate. The first casualty of a crisis is information. Make sure you have the facts before you act. Talk to the folks in the field. Share relevant information with the emergency response directors. Let the public know what you know through updates and guidance from your experts. You cannot communicate too much..."
File photo credit above: "Water from the Connecticut River floods Route 5 in Westminster, Vt. Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011, after Tropical Storm Irene moved through the area over the weekend." (AP Photo/The Brattleboro Reformer, Zachary P. Stephens).
Ingrid Fizzles. Once-hurricane Ingrid should weaken rapidly today as it pushes into Mexico; some of the outer bands brushing far southern Texas (Brownsville area) with heavy rain and 30 mph wind gusts. More details from NOAA: "Monday morning (9/16/2013), the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center indicated that Tropical Storm Ingrid continues to move farther inland from the eastern coast of Mexico, centered at midday about 25 miles west of La Pesco. A Tropical Storm Warning continues along the coast of Mexico from La Cruz northward to Rio San Fernando. Maximum sustained winds are 60 mph. Ingrid is forecast to weaken to a depression later today and dissipate on Tuesday. These rains are likely to produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides."
Fogbow. When it's time to graduate from just-another-rainbow. Details from WeatherNation TV: "Here's a cool weather phenomenon! This photo was taken in Cloquet, MN. Fog bows are similar to rainbows, except due to a smaller droplet size, white is the color reflected to the eye instead of the normal ROYGBIV. Photo from Jason Hollinday via NWS Duluth, MN."
From Crankstarting To Charging: Why Tesla's Model S Is The Model T Of Our Time. Here's a clip from a long and excellent article about Tesla, redefining the meaning of disruptive innovation, courtesy of Digital Trends: "What is the future of the automobile? One hundred years ago, America was in the midst of a mobility revolution as the Ford Model T put the nation on wheels for the first time. Today, we’re seeing the next era of mobility begin to unfold, and much of the credit goes to that EV icon, the Tesla Model S. After more than a century of driving gasoline and diesel-powered cars, hybrids and fully electric vehicles are finally beginning to chip away at the market share of their fossil-fueled forefathers. So what has a century of progress wrought? I recently had the chance to get two revolutionary cars – a 1913 Ford Model T and a 2013 Tesla Model S – together at the same time to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed. While electric vehicles today seem like something from a science fiction future, the truth is they’re as old as cars themselves..."
The iPhone's Secret Flights From China To Your Local Apple Store. Apple flies chartered 777's from China, each one loaded with 400,000+ iPhones. Who knew? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating tale from Bloomberg: "As Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled new iPhones yesterday, a complex operation had already kicked into gear behind the scenes to send millions of the handsets to store shelves worldwide. The process starts in China, where pallets of iPhones are moved from factories in unmarked containers accompanied by a security detail. The containers are then loaded onto trucks and shipped via pre-bought airfreight space, including on old Russian military transports. The journey ends in stores where the world's biggest technology company makes constant adjustments based on demand, said people who have worked on Apple's logistics and asked not to be identified because the process is secret..."
Photo credit above: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg. "Boxes of Apple Inc. iPhones are stacked in a London store."
Texas A&M - Alabama: Inside College Football's Supercharged Economy. If you had any doubt that college football is BIG business, check out this story at TIME Magazine's Keeping Score Blog; here's an excerpt: "...Still, no scene captured the perks of college football quite like College Station on Saturday. Games like Bama-A&M deliver psychic benefits to guys like Robinson, publicity benefits to Texas A&M, economic benefits to everyone from sponsors to shirt-sellers to the port-o-potty operators. Thanks to Manziel, a polarizing figure who was accused of accepting money for signing autographs — Texas A&M and the NCAA cleared him — this was one of the most highly anticipated regular season games in years. According to one study, a season’s worth of Texas A&M home games delivers $86 million in sales to Brazos County, where College Station sits. The people who deliver the actual product everyone is all excited about — the players — deserve the right to earn more. An athletic scholarship, no doubt, is sweet. But College Station on Saturday resembled any insane NFL game, rock concert or NASCAR event in size and scope. It’s a commercialized carnival. In a fairer world, the college entertainers — just like the NFL players, the rock stars, and the NASCAR drivers — get a fairer cut..."
Photo credit above: Todd Spoth for TIME. "Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel walks with his teammates onto the field for warm ups prior to an NCAA football game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide."
67 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday, after a morning low of 44 F.
72 F. average high on September 16.
80 F. high on September 16, 2012.
+1.6 F Meteorological summer (June thru August) was 1.6 F. warmer than average at MSP.
+3.5 F. Temperature anomaly during meteorological summer, 2012.
Why Did Colorado See Historic Flooding? Natural weather patterns, turbocharged by an unusual jet stream feature that caused a storm to stall for the better part of 5-6 days + record amounts of tropical moisture flowing from the eastern Pacific across Mexico into Colorado. Did climate change make the floods worse? Probably. Here's a clip from Peter Sinclair at Climate Denial Crock Of The Week: "...A blocking pattern has set up over the western United States, drawing a conveyor belt of tropical moisture north from coastal Mexico. Blocking patterns form when the jet stream slows to a crawl, and weather patterns get stuck in place. When all that warm, wet air hit the Rocky Mountains, it had nowhere to go but up, pushed further skyward by the mountains themselves. By some measurements, the atmosphere at the time of the heaviest rains was the among most soaked it has ever been in Colorado. Gauge measurements show floodwaters in Colorado have now exceeded the legendary Big Thompson Canyon Flood of 1976, the flood of record for the region. In downtown Boulder, a meandering creek expanded 40-fold in just a few hours..."
Photo credit above: occuworld.org.
Temperature Chart For The Last 11,000 Years. Here's an excerpt from a post at kottke.org: "For the first time, researchers have put together all the climate data they have (from ice cores, coral, sediment drilling) into one chart that shows the "global temperature reconstruction for the last 11,000 years" The climate curve looks like a "hump". At the beginning of the Holocene - after the end of the last Ice Age - global temperature increased, and subsequently it decreased again by 0.7 ° C over the past 5000 years. The well-known transition from the relatively warm Medieval into the "little ice age" turns out to be part of a much longer-term cooling, which ended abruptly with the rapid warming of the 20th Century. Within a hundred years, the cooling of the previous 5000 years was undone..."
Environmental Consequences Of Fracking. If you're interested in learning more about fracking and the impact on the environment I encourage you to attend this evening's meeting of the Minnehaha Chapter of the Izaak Walton League at 7 PM this evening. The presenter is Matt Norton, Campaign Director at the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP). The location: Linden Hills Recreation Center, 3100 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408.
Encouraging Results Seen In First Nationwide Look At Gas Leaks From Drilling Boom. There are still many unanswered questions about the long-term environmental safety of hydraulic fracture, or "fracking", including possible negative impacts on groundwater and a potential link between injecting water and chemicals deep underground, as well as a rash of recent (small) earth tremors near drilling sites. But recent papers suggest methane leakage from fracking may not be as bad as previously thought. The jury is still out, but the process is still considerably cleaner than coal. Here's an excerpt of an Andrew Revkin post at The New York Time's Dot Earth: "...The analysis, led by David T. Allen and other energy and environment researchers at the University of Texas, finds that estimates of methane escaping from gas drilling made by the Environmental Protection Agency are fairly accurate, over all, while those from industry critics and some indirect studies of leakage (from aerial measurements, for example) appear far too high. A comprehensive package of background on the research has been posted by the university. While the researchers found that emissions from a critical stage of well construction — “completions” — are far lower than regulators had estimated, they pinpointed an important under-appreciated source of escaping gas — pneumatic devices powered by the pressure of the extracted natural gas..."
The 5 Stages Of Climate Denial Are On Display Ahead Of The IPCC Report. The Guardian has the story - here's a clip: "...Just in the past week we've seen:
Interestingly, these pieces spanned nearly the full spectrum of the 5 stages of global warming denial.
Often when people are first faced with an inconvenient problem, the immediate reaction involves denying its existence. For a long time climate contrarians denied that the planet was warming. Usually this involves disputing the accuracy of the surface temperature record, given that the data clearly indicate rapid warming..."
No December For You
By Todd Nelson
Are you as weirded out by this weather as I am? I mean, come on... 50s in December, what gives?
A nearly stationary and powerful Pacific storm is responsible for our late October/early November like weather as of late. The record high for today's date is 62F and we should fall short of that mark, but looking back through past Decembers, since 2000, I could only count a +50F high only 3 times; 2011, 2006 and 2004.
Upper level winds have been consistently blowing in from the west. This mild Pacific or zonal flow will get a little nudge north today as an approaching storm system rides along the international border. Even after the cold front passes later today, Tuesday's 'colder' temperatures will still be warmer than normal average high. In fact, I don't see us going below average until maybe the end of the week.
I, probably like many other, have the shovels at the ready and the snow blower all gased up. Though I still don't see whopper storm system brewing, models are hinting at a little more substantial shot at something by the end of the week/weekend ahead. Until then, enjoy winter-lite. Minnesota weather will likely return soon! -Todd Nelson
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin CIties and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY: Brief shower?Turning colder later. High: 54 (by midday, then falling) Winds: S, then WNW 10-20
MONDAY: Breezy and cooler. Low: 32
TUESDAY: Cool breezy, more PM sun. High: 41
WEDNESDAY: Jacket weather. Clouds increase, light wintry mix late? Low: 21. High: 36
THURSDAY: AM wintry mix, more PM sun. Low: 31. High: 43
FRIDAY: Fading PM sun, PM flurries?. Low: 26. High: 33
SATURDAY: Cloudy with light snow late. Low: 18. High: 31.
SUNDAY: Sun/cloud mix with light snow. Low: 24. High: 30.
Somewhat Soggy and Foggy Sunday
I had to work the early shift on Sunday, so the drive into work at 4am wasn't the greatest... in fact, it was a bit nerve wracking. I wasn't a big fan of driving on the highway with extremely low visibility. It was almost hypnotic, staring into the abyss, watching the white lines whizz past. I snapped this shot earlier Sunday... the low fog layer opened up enough to get a quick glimpse of the near full moon.
Sunday Sunshine or No Sunshine
Look at how close the clearing line was to the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon... If you were northeast of the yellow through the day Sunday, you more than likely had a pretty gloomy day. Southwest of that line, the sun popped out and temperatures warmed close to 60F... remind me what month it is again.
Sunday Afternoon Temperatures
It's hard to see in the map below, but temperatures across southwest Minnesota on Sunday afternoon warmed into the low 60s. Marshall, MN reported a 61F temp by 2pm, while temperatures in the Twin Cities were only in the 30s.
68 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
68 F. average high for September 25.
67 F. high on September 25, 2011.
No rain predicted thru Sunday.
107 days above 70 F. in Duluth in 2012, a new record. Monday's high of 73 F. broke the old record of 106 days above 70, set in 1955. Source: Duluth News Tribune. Average number of days above 70 for KDLH? 85. Image: Wikipedia.
$1 billion. The amount of money that reportedly changed hands (legal gambling) as a result of Monday night's blown call against the Green Bay Packers. Source: ESPN. Photo credit: wrapupp.com.
Driest September Since 1882. We've picked up a paltry .30" rain so far this month, nearly 2.5" less than average, to date. Only 1882 was drier (.27" for the month). So unless something changes between now and Sunday this should wind up being the second driest September in modern day records. Source: Minnesota Climate Office.
Supernaturally Dry. Second driest September on record for the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota, and it looks like October will at least get off to a dry start. 60s today and Thursday, then back into the 70s from Friday into next Tuesday, the ECMWF model hinting at a stray shower Monday from a passing clipper (better chance of showers over Wisconsin).
Drier Than Normal. The 84-hour NAM model prints out a narrow band of showers across the Ohio River Valley into Pennsylvania, spreading into southern New England by Thursday morning. Scattered T-showers pop up frm Florida into Texas by the end of the week, while the west stays dry and hot.
"...Climate change is accelerating. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen by 31% since 1750 and is now at the highest concentration seen in the last 420,000 years..." - from a Huffington Post story below.
"...The future points to intense, less frequent precipitation; and wetter winters and springs, along with drier summers, Jarchow said. “We are seeing more events like 3 inches (of precipitation) followed by long periods of no rain, compared to spread-out rainfalls. That requires much adjustment,” she said..." - from a story at The Yankton Press & Dakotan; details and links below.
How Hot Was It? (part 2). If a picture tells a thousands words, then I've just run out of reasons to keep typing. Here is a collection of photos that sum up the relentless, at times unbearable heat of the Summer of 2012. Thanks to Gary Botzek from capitolconnections.com.
NOAA's Main Weather Satellite Goes Offline Amidst Hurricane Season. GOES-13 began vibrating and then went dead. Another geosynchronous weather satellite is being positioned to take its place - forecasters hoping there are no big hurricanes in the Atlantic in the interim. Here's a good summary of where things stand from Think Progress: "In the midst of the very active North Atlantic hurricane season, the main weather satellite scientists use for keeping tabs on the weather across eastern North America and the Atlantic Ocean has gone offline. [Climate Central] A San Diego County brush fire that has already destroyed 20 homes and damaged 10 others continued to threaten an additional 80 homes, officials said. [Los Angeles Times] Forty-seven Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing Speaker John Boehner to eliminate the wind production tax credit, a tax break that has split Republicans and drawn criticism from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. [Reuters]"
Using Polar-Orbiting Satellite Data To Help Fill In The Gaps During A GOES-13 Outage. Yes, satellite data has been wonky in recent days; there's an explanation - here's an excerpt from the CIMSS Satellite Blog from The University of Wisconsin: "The GOES-13 (GOES-East) satellite suffered anomalies that forced it to be placed into standby mode late in the day (at 21:22 UTC) on 23 September 2012 (NOAA NESDIS notification message). The GOES-15 (GOES-West) satellite was then placed into Full Disk scan mode, supplying images to cover as much of the eastern US and adjacent offshore waters as possible at 30-minute intervals. During the GOES-13 outage, satellite imagery viewed in AWIPS on the “CONUS” scale did not display the complete full disk scan information from GOES-15, resulting in large areas with no data over the southeastern and eastern US (note: the full GOES-15 scan sector is available when viewed on the AWIPS “North America” scale, but the data resolution is degraded due to the very large satellite viewing angle)."
Weather Service Warns That 1938-Type Hurricane Could Someday Devastate Massachusetts. Meteorologists are concerned about a growing sense of apathy, an "it can't happen here" mentality, especially over coastal New England. Here's an excerpt of an ominous article at boston.com: "If a storm similar to the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 were to strike again, communities in Buzzards Bay could be devastated, according to a computerized model developed by the National Weather Service. “It’s beautiful to live at the coast, that’s for sure, but one of these days it’s going to get us,” said Glenn Field, warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service in Taunton. The SLOSH, or Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes, model was used to simulate a Category 3 hurricane traveling at 60 miles per hour, similar to the 1938 storm, moving through Narragansett Bay, just west of Buzzards Bay, Field said."
Photo credit above: "Could this happen again someday? The 1938 hurricane left the heart of Providence…" (Associated Press )
Concerns Grow As Tsunami Debris Continues To Arrive In U.S. The forecast calls for...debris? Here's an excerpt from Stars and Stripes: "HONOLULU — Concern is growing about the potential effects on the environment and on boating as more tsunami debris from Japan reaches Hawaii and the western coast of Canada and the United States. Japanese officials confirmed Friday that a container fished out of the ocean Wednesday off Windward Oahu between the Makai Research Pier and Rabbit Island was tsunami debris. The 4-foot-tall blue bin was spotted floating 150 yards offshore. It was encrusted with crabs and barnacles and contained dead birds. In addition, officials continued to look Friday for a floating concrete dock, about 50 by 30 feet, reported by Maui fishermen and last seen Wednesday afternoon about 15 miles northwest of Molokai."
Photo credit above: "In this Sept. 19, 2012 file photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, a worker removes barnacles and other marine life from the bottom of a large blue plastic bin in Honolulu. There were no foreign plant or animal species on the bin, the first confirmed piece of marine debris from last year's tsunamis in Japan to arrive in Hawaii." (AP Photo/Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources, File)
This School-Bus-Sized-Satellite Will Deliver Insanely Accurate Weather Reports. The data may be insanely accurate - let's hope it leads to a noticeable improvement in forecast accuracy. It's not always a direct line from A to B. And any improvements will probably be limited to Europe, but having better "eyes in the sky" benefits a global community of weather consumers, no question. Here's an excerpt of a story at Gizmodo.com: "Europe will receive nearly infallible weather data thanks to this trio of school bus-sized spacecraft, and the EU saves £4.5 billion in weather-related damage annually. This is what the atmosphere will look like in HD. The satellite MetOp-B, which launched yesterday, is part of a 3.2 billion Euro joint venture between the European Space Agency and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)."
Dropsondes - Work Horses In Hurricane Forecasting. These little instruments that drop (via parachute) into hurricanes send back vital data to NHC forecasters. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has a good article about how they work; here's an excerpt: "Small cylinders dropped from airplanes gather atmospheric data on their way down. Inside a cylinder that is about the size of a roll of paper towels lives a circuit board filled with sensors. It's called a dropsonde, or "sonde" for short. It's a work horse of hurricane forecasting, dropping out of "Hurricane Hunter" airplanes right into raging storms. As the sonde falls through the air, its sensors gather data about the atmosphere to help us better understand climate and other atmospheric conditions. "Dropsondes have a huge impact on our understanding of hurricanes and our ability to predict hurricanes," explains electrical engineer Terry Hock at the Earth Observing Laboratory in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), located in Boulder, Colo." Photo: NCAR.
Curiosity's Weather Report From Mars Reveals "Truly Enormous" Daily Atmospheric Pressure Swings. Oh, to be a weatherguy on Mars. Here's a snippet from a fascinating story about weather extremes on the surface of Mars from phys.org: "...Over the last 35 years, a total of four NASA probes had reached the Martian surface and returned weather data. "These earlier observations had shown a large daily cycle in temperature and air pressure on Mars. The atmospheric temperature near the surface of Mars generally varies by more than 100 F. between day and night because of the overall thinner Martian atmosphere and lack of oceans and their moderating influence," says Hamilton."
Photo credit above: "Image of a dust storm on Mars from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter." Credit: Jet Propulsion Lab.
WeatherTalk: Russian Research Station In Antarctica Records Minus 129 F. Good grief. Remind me not to complain about -20 F. ever again. Details from Fargo/Moorhead's inforum.com: "Antarctica is by far the coldest area on the planet. The coldest temperature recorded on Earth was recorded at Vostok, the Russian Antarctica research station in July 1983, when the temperature plunged to minus 129 degrees. That same station, just last week, recorded a low temperature of minus 119 degrees on Sept. 16. That was very close to the coldest temperature recorded on earth during the month of September of minus 122 degrees at that very same site."
A Finger In The Wind: Forecasters Of Yesteryear. Yes, I have my bootleg copy of the Farmers' Almanac in my (locked) desk drawer - always fun and informative to see their predictions for the upcoming season. Hey, I'm not ruling anything out - and neither should you. The more data points the better. Here's an excerpt of an article that provides some historical context with weather forecasting thru the ages: "From the beginning of time, weather and the forecasting of it have affected the course of history. Accordingly, the quest to understand, forecast, and adequately communicate conditions in a timely manner has consumed civilization in one form or another for hundreds and even thousands of years. Based on Aristotle’s treatise on earth sciences Meteorologica, the name “meteorology” has come to mean the science of the atmosphere and weather. But long before the Greeks delved into the tenuous world of weather observation and prognostication, ancient Babylonians—among the earliest weather forecasters—had learned enough about the subject to write “when a cloud grows dark in heaven, a wind will blow,” opening the door to exploration and discovery."
"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:
Just took a look at the Fall Colors map on the DNR site and it seems like they've actually bumped the Ft. Snelling percentages back down to 25-50%. This essentially has removed all portions of the metro from that 50-75% back down to the 25-50%. Not sure why the 'downgrade' in percentage.
You can really see the 'spotchiness' on the map now as a handful of state parks are reporting 75-100% color.
Weather Data Performance Manager @ Telvent
Jon - I see what you mean. Baffling. The latest Minnesota DNR fall foliage map is here. Colors are peaking north of St. Cloud and from Crosby to Aitkin - more intense color along the North Shore of Lake Superior and the International Falls area. Thanks for the note.
Another Perfect Day. Getting sick of this? Me neither. Although a little rain would be nice to break the San Diego-like monotony. Under a sunny sky with a few cirrus clouds streaking overhead highs ranged from 53 at International Falls to 67 St. Cloud, 68 Twin Cities to 73 at Redwood Falls.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
TODAY: What else? Sunny, comfortable. Winds: N 10. High: 65
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 44
THURSDAY: Blue sky, beautiful. High: 69
FRIDAY: Lot's of sun, a bit milder. Low: 48. High: 72
SATURDAY: We're in a drought. Still sunny - still dry. Low: 51. High: 75
SUNDAY: Yawn. Yep, still sunny. Light winds. Low: 53. High: 74
MONDAY: A few clouds? Wisconsin shower possible. Low: 54. High: 75
TUESDAY: One more time Paul: "sunny & mild". Low: 57. high: 78
Only 1882 Was Drier
Let's review state capitals and fantasy football pics...and give thanks we didn't take a part-time NFL referee gig. Ouch. There's no "weather" out there, and won't be looking out more than a week.
This is why I plead with atmospherically-challenged June brides to consider late September for that "little outdoor wedding for 350 people". The odds are in your favor.
The Force is with you.
Spring comes earlier (most years), and autumns tend to be super-sized now; weather since 2000 consistently warm enough for golf as late as November. If you need dry weather for an outdoor bash, odds of quiet, dry, sunny weather are much higher in autumn than spring or summer. Especially during a drought.
I'm enjoying a lukewarm blue sky just as much as the next guy, but I agree with NOAA: our drought will, in all probability, get worse in the months to come. I don't see a drop of rain for most towns thru the end of next week.
Cool 60s today give way to 70s from Friday into Tuesday of next week.
Sketchy long-range model guidance is hinting at some rain the first weekend of October. At .30 inches, this will be the driest September since 1882; second driest on record.
Let it rain.
NASA: Arctic Cyclone Breaks Up Sea Ice. A series of major storms accelerated Arctic ice loss during August and September; more details in this excerpt from Staple News: "Watch how the winds of a large Arctic cyclone broke up the thinning sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean in early August 2012. The storm likely contributed to the ice cap's shrinking to the smallest recorded extent in the past three decades. The frozen cap of the Arctic Ocean likely reached its annual summertime minimum extent and broke a new record low on Sept. 16, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder has reported. Analysis of satellite data by NASA and the NASA-supported NSIDC showed that the sea ice extent shrunk to 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square kilometers), or 293,000 square miles less than the previous lowest extent in the satellite record, set in mid-September, 2007."
Ice-Free Arctic Is "Uncharted Territory." Here's an excerpt from Common Dreams: " - The melt of Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest point this year, shrinking 18 percent from last year’s near-record low. Summer ice this year is half what it was 30 years ago and is now affecting weather patterns. The massive declines in ice in recent summers have shocked scientists and Arctic experts. Some predict that in just a few years we will witness an event that hasn’t happened in millions of years: the complete loss of summer ice. “We are now in uncharted territory,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado."
Graph above courtesy of JAXA: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Earth Observation Research Center.
Climate Change Adventure: The Arctic's Melting, So These Guys Sailed Across It. Amazing. The Atlantic has details of a cross-Arctic voyage that would not have been physically possible 10 years ago; here's an excerpt: "...For centuries European explorers searched for a passage unsuccessfully, until 1906 when an expedition led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made it across. Since then, better boat and navigation technology have enabled more regular crossings, but the most northern routes have remained off-limits for all but the strongest, diesel-powered, extra-fortified, ice-breaking boats. Until this year, when three men made the complete Northwest crossing through the M'Clure strait (the northernmost of the direct routes) in the Belzebub II -- a sailboat with no fortification. Previously, the only boats that had made it through M'Clure were ice-breakers, and none had been able to complete the pass through Viscount Melville Sound after shooting through M'Clure. Usually only either the sound or the straight are open to boats, but not both at once..."
How To Relate Climate Extremes To Climate Change. Is there a connection? Here's a clip from a story at theenergycollective.com:
Trenberth: "The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….
The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and in turn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatly amplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land and caught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributes to more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring."
Graphic credit above: "Seasonal Jun-Jul-Aug 2010 sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies relative to 1951–70. Record high SSTs were recorded in the locations and at the times indicated with record flooding nearby."
Undecided Voters Care About Global Warming, Report Finds. Here's an excerpt from Live Science: "Only about 7 percent of likely voters have not yet decided whether they will support Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, a new national survey finds. But on the topic of climate change, at least, these undecideds look more like Obama supporters than Romney voters. Undecided voters are more likely than Romney voters to see climate change as an important issue, and their desire for government action approaches levels seen in Obama voters. What's more, undecideds are as likely as Obama supporters to believe that global warming is happening and that humans are causing it."
U.S. Needs Climate Change Plan, Carbon Tax, Says Sachs. Here's a clip from an article at bloomberg.com: "The U.S. needs a policy to address climate change and a plan to reduce emissions that may include a carbon tax and bonds, Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs said. “We have to make a technological transition that’s quite deep to new energy systems, new transport systems, more efficient buildings and that can be back loaded,” Sachs said to reporters today at Climate Week NYC in New York. The public needs a plan that isn’t just about electricity prices rising, said Sachs. “You can’t tell the public that our plan is cap-and-trade,” he said. “That’s not a plan, that’s frightening, that just means: our electricity prices are going up.”
USD Panel: "Climate Change Will Change Us." Here's another article that caught my eye, an excerpt of a story from The Yankton Press & Dakotan: "VERMILLION — At Monday’s forum, University of South Dakota panelists found global warming to be a very hot topic. “Global Warming: The Evidence Is In!” covered the scientific data pointing to global warming. But the panelists also acknowledged the political, social, economic and religious issues. Climate change will directly affect agriculture and the way an exploding world population is fed, according to Dr. Meghann Jarchow, assistant professor of Sustainability in the Department of Biology. The future points to intense, less frequent precipitation; and wetter winters and springs, along with drier summers, Jarchow said."
Photo credit above: "Dr. Meghann Jarchow, assistant professor of Sustainability, speaks about the challenges facing agriculture because of climate change during Monday’s international forum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion." (Kelly Hertz/P&D)
"The Climate Clock Is Ticking". Bianca Jagger (yes, that Jagger) has a story at Huffington Post that caught my eye Tuesday; here's an excerpt: "...If you had told me twenty years ago that by 2012 global carbon emissions would have increased by around 50%, that 1 billion people in the world would be hungry, that fossil fuel subsidies would amount to $1 trillion a year, I would have been horrified. The science cannot be ignored. Climate change is accelerating. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen by 31% since 1750 and is now at the highest concentration seen in the last 420,000 years. August 2012 was the fourth warmest such month on record worldwide. July 2012 was the hottest month on record for the continental US. In June 2012 monitoring stations in the Arctic showed the highest ever recorded concentrations of carbon dioxide, of over 400 ppm (parts per million). The rest of the world will soon follow suit. Between the 8th and the 12th of July 2012 the melted ice area in Greenland increased from the usual 40% to 97%: a 57% increase over the course of just four days. On 4 September, sea ice extent fell below four million sq km, a record low in the 33-year satellite record..."
"Utter Nonsense." 10 Scientists Who Have Criticized Fox's Climate Coverage. Media Matters has the story; here's the introduction: "An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that 93 percent of Fox News' recent climate change coverage was misleading. Over the last two years, several leading scientists have told Media Matters the same thing, calling Fox's climate change stories "completely wrong," "patently false," and "utter nonsense." Here are ten scientists who have criticized Fox for distorting science to downplay the threat of climate change:
1. Scientist Called Fox's Global Warming Claims "Utter Nonsense."
Last summer, Fox News hosted global warming "expert" Joe Bastardi to claim that the human-induced climate change contradicts the 1st law of thermodynamics and Le Chatelier's Principle. Duke University scientist William Chameides called Bastardi's claims "utter nonsense," and the University of Chicago's David Archer said Fox is "wrong" to suggest that these basic principles negate the risks of climate change. Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed that Bastardi's claims are "completely wrong," adding that "even skeptics of global warming, if they know physics, would disagree with him." Even Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a frequent critic of the IPCC, said that Bastardi's statements imply that "he does not understand the very basics of the science." She added, "Fox News needs to find a more credible spokesperson."
* here is a long list of Bastardi's factual errors and persistent confusion about how science and physics really works. CO2 can't cause warming? In short, he is using hand-waving arguments and blog posts to try and invalidate 200 years of scientific discovery. Joe Bastardi is a gifted meteorologist and weather forecaster but on the subject of climate science? Not so much.
80 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
72 F. average high for September 16.
60 F. high on September 16, 2011.
25-30+ mph wind gusts possible today as colder air arrives.
Freeze Watch Up North. I don't expect a frost or freeze in the immediate metro area, but north of a line from Brainerd to Hinkley temperatures may dip below 30 for 2-3 hours, leading to a hard freeze. Details from the Duluth NWS:
...FREEZE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DULUTH HAS ISSUED A FREEZE WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. * LOCATION...NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA...AS WELL AS DOUGLAS... BURNETT AND WASHBURN COUNTIES OF NORTHWESTERN WISCONSIN. * TEMPERATURE...OVERNIGHT LOWS ARE EXPECTED TO DROP INTO THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. * IMPACTS...THE VERY COLD TEMPERATURES COULD BRING AN END TO THE GROWING SEASON FOR MUCH OF THE REGION. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A FREEZE WATCH MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE. THESE CONDITIONS COULD KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION.
Hints of October. After early morning showers skies rapidly cleared, but some of that clearing will fill in with scrappy, lumpy stratocumulus this afternoon with temperatures stuck in the 50s. 1 pm visible loop from WeatherTap.
40 Degree Temperature Drop in 36 Hours. From 80 Sunday afternoon to 40 Tuesday morning, some upper 30s in the outlying suburbs. Most of the metro area, even the outlying suburbs, will probably avoid a killing frost late tonight. Graph: Iowa State.
First 32? According to the Minnesota State Climate Office the average (median) date of the first 32 F. low at MSP International is October 7, but outlying suburbs usually see the first 32-degree temperature the last few days of September. The first killing freeze (28 F. for several hours) is October 20, on average. At the rate we're going we may still see an early frost this season, although I think most suburbs will avoid a frost this week.
Greenland Block. Technically it's a negative phase of the AO (Arctic Oscillation). Translation: the jet stream winds are buckling, plunging Canadian air southward in a pattern that may become temporarily "stuck", at least for the next 1-2 weeks, sending a series of 3-4 separate surges of Canadian air south of the border. Arctic Oscillation trend since June 1 (and prediction for the next week) courtesy of NOAA CPC.
ECMWF: Not Quite As Chilly As Previous Runs. With the latest European model run Mother Nature pulls her cold punch just a bit. Highs may hold in 50s to near 60 Tuesday, a second push of 50s by Friday and Saturday before warming up a bit Sunday, probably the nicer day of next weekend. A third surge of cool air arrives early next week; more 50s by Monday and Tuesday of next week.
One Silver Lining To Today's Cold Front. Rain will bring some of that nasty ragweed pollen to the ground today, resulting in a (rare) Pollen Count in the low range. Graph above courtesy of pollen.com.
"So in the latest 15 year period there were almost twice as many billion dollar plus extreme weather events as in the 15 year period preceding it..." - from a story at The San Diego Free Press; details below. AP photo: Peter Morgan.
"The first eight months of 2012 have gone into the books as the warmest January-August period on record for the continental US, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The 12-month span ending in August 2012 was the warmest 12 months on record. The summer itself ranks third among the warmest summers on record." - from a Christian Science Monitor article; details below.
"Only the USA has been experiencing extreme heat this year - the rest of the planet has been unusually cool." Sorry, that statement doesn't hold up. Check out global 2012 temperature trends from NASA below.
Typhoon "Sanba". As of Sunday evening Sanba was still a Category 2 typhoon (same thing as hurricane) with sustained winds close to 100 mph. Seoul will be brushed with 30-50 mph wind gusts and 3-6" of rain, the core of strongest winds and heaviest rains passing south/east of South Korea's capital city. Image: Digital Typhoon.
Sanba's Track. The center of the red circle marks the location as of Sunday evening. Sanba will hit the southern/eastern coast of Korea with winds gusting to 80-95 mph before accelerating out to sea Monday night and Tuesday. Forecast map: Japan Meteorological Agency.
A Big Canadian Leak. The 84-hour NAM model shows a chilly blast of air pushing east today and Tuesday, sparking a band of heavy showers and T-storms from the Great Lakes to the east coast, followed by a risk of frost for Michigan and northern Wisconsin Tuesday morning. Model data: NOAA.
2012: Global Warming. I run into a fair number of people who tell me "Paul, yes, the USA had a very hot summer. So what? The rest of the world has been unusually chilly so it all cancels out." Really? The global data set doesn't support that statement. NASA data (above) shows global temperatures anomalies since December, 2011. The upper left graphic shows December - February temperature trends, showing intense warming over North America and far northern latitudes, but a cool bias for portions of Asia. Spring anomalies (upper right) show a fairly uniform warming over most of the planet, the same with summer anomalies (bottom map) - average summer temperatures 3-5 F. warmer than the long-term average for Canada, North Africa and a big chunk of Asia. The data is the data, and the maps above reflect trends seen not just since December of 2011, but since the mid-80s.
Summer Of 2012: Just Hot Or Did We Do It? WJLA-TV meteorologist Bob Ryan does a good job of sorting out the (global) trends from land-use issues and "normal" variations in temperature in this important post; here's an excerpt: "...The long term trend is clear, but the year to year variability is also clear. I deal with probabilities so I'll go out on a limb and say I think it is unlikely next summer in Washington will be our 4th really hot summer in a row. Then to answer the question in my title. Did "we" make the past summer as hot as it was? I think the answer is no . . . but we sure helped make it hotter than average and our footprints of a warmer world, probably a warmer DC area in the coming decades are clearer and clearer all the time. Some of my colleagues don't agree. I look forward to their blogs on climate and if there is a human "footprint" on our environment, climate and weather patterns."
Drought of 2012: Status Quo. Not much change in the U.S. Drought Monitor - the driest conditions from the Midwest into the Central and Southern Plains, a pocket of extreme/exceptional drought over eastern Alabama and Georgia.
Blocking Patterns: How Global Warming May Have Worsened U.S. Drought. Extreme warming over the Arctic is affecting the jet stream patterns, with a greater tendency toward "blocks", holding patterns aloft that can make heat, drought (and flooding) worse. The Christian Science Monitor explains; here's an excerpt: "As the summer of 2012 winds down, with drought and searing temperatures its hallmark for much of the continental United States, researchers are trying to get a better handle on the factors that contribute to the persistence of weather patterns responsible for the extremes. The immediate culprit: patterns of atmospheric flow that steer storms along a given path for weeks, heating and depriving some areas of needed rain while drenching others. Such blocking patterns are a global phenomena, a normal component of Earth's weather systems. But some researchers suggest that global warming's influence on the Arctic and on the tropics can change circulation patterns in ways that keep blocking patterns in place longer than they otherwise might."
Photo credit above: "Drought-damaged corn is seen in a field near Nickerson, Neb., on Aug. 16." Nati Harnik/AP/File
Getting The Drop On Storms. Hurricane Hunter aircraft drop highly-sensitive weather instruments into hurricanes; these "dropsondes" send back a real-time stream of information that bolsters the high-resolution computer models hurricane forecasters rely on to get a handle on these massive, Texas-size storms. Here's a great explanation of how these instruments work in a post at NCAR's AtmosNews: "Whenever NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) warns millions of coastal residents about a potential storm, one of the tools backing up the decision is a small and highly sophisticated instrument package developed at NCAR. Dozens of these packages, known as dropsondes, are released at high altitudes by “hurricane hunter” aircraft to transmit data on temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind while descending by parachute through tropical storms and hurricanes. Equipped with GPS technology to pinpoint atmospheric conditions by location, the dropsondes have led to an average 10–20% improvement in track forecasts for the critical 48-hour window in which hurricane watches and warnings are issued, according to the NHC. Those warnings are estimated to save an average of about 200 lives yearly."
Hurricane Climatology. The Tampa office of the National Weather Service has an interesting post, reminding us of a the tragic Hurricane of 1928 (before storms had names) that claimed nearly 2,000 lives across Florida. Other charts include the return frequency of all hurricanes (middle) and major, Category 3+ hurricanes (bottom). Details: "Florida's deadliest hurricane struck on this date back in 1928. The "Okeechobee" hurricane of 1928 made landfall near Palm Beach as a category 4 storm. Over 1800 people lost their lives, mostly from a 6 to 9 foot storm surge on Lake Okeechobee. The bottom two images show the average return date for hurricanes and major hurricanes. On average, Tampa Bay would see a hurricane pass within 50 nautical miles every ten years. Tampa Bay would see a major (category 3 or higher) hurricane pass within 50 nautical miles every 33 years. The last major hurricane to make landfall within 50 miles of Tampa Bay was in 1921!"
"After You". I mean, what were these guys thinking?
iPhone 5: Everything You Need To Know. Did you hear, Apple just came out with a new smartphone? Gizmodo.com does a nice job of summarizing the iPhone 5; here's an excerpt: "The new iPhone 5 is here. It's thinner and faster than ever, with a new form factor that uses a gorgeous panoramic screen with more resolutions and less consumption. It also surfs the web much faster, thanks to its new LTE capabilities. And, just as we knew, it has a new smaller dock connector called Lightning. Overall, it seems they have incrementally improved every single aspect of the iPhone. It's not a revolutionary phone, but it is a very nice release."
"Fair, Balanced, And Not Especially Good at Geography." Hey, cut us a break, it was spot news and there was a new guy on Chyron who got a little confused. It's those crazy southern states anyway. Who cares where Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi are on a silly map anyway. We got Texas right!
Last 80 of 2012? Probably Not. I base that on the overall trends: this year is the warmest on record (to date) and long range guidance is hinting at 70s and 80s the last few days of September. But a definite correction is shaping up through at least the middle of next week. Sunday highs ranged from 80 in the Twin Cities to 81 St. Cloud and 83 Redwood Falls.
On This Date in Weather History (courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service):
1955: A late-season tornado hits Koochiching County. Most damage was confined to trees.
1911: Pipestone is hit with baseball-sized hail that smashes numerous windows at the Calumet Hotel and high school. The local observer measured hail three inches deep. People got their photos taken in automobiles surrounded by the icy white ground.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Windy and cool with a mix of clouds and sun. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 59
MONDAY NIGHT: Freeze Watch up north (no frost/freeze for the immediate metro). Low: 40
TUESDAY: Chilly start. Bright sun, breezy. High: 59
WEDNESDAY: Next clipper. Milder, patchy clouds. Low: 46. High: near 70
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, cooler. Low: 49. High: 64
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds & sun, brisk. Low: 45. High: 62
SATURDAY: Sunny start, PM clouds, cool wind. Low: 39. High: 59
SUNDAY: Fading sun, brief warm-up. Low: 43. High: 69
Why weather? I'm not smart enough to be a lawyer or doctor. I'm still mesmerized by storms; they remind me how small, insignificant and powerless I really am.
On sunny, quiet days I can turn to my wife for that.
There's the intellectual challenge of predicting the future, and the communications challenge: choosing the right words to paint a picture in the mind of the reader. Great toys (um technology) too. That, and every day is different. Weather patterns may be similar, but never identical. Tough to get stuck in a boring rut.
Especially this year. No snow is in sight for the metro area through the end of the month. Where else does the weather guy have to put that down on paper in mid-September? A light frost can't be ruled out for far outlying suburbs Tuesday morning, but right now I don't see a widespread frost/freeze for most suburbs. It doesn't look quite as cold as it did 24 hours ago.
A blocking pattern over Greenland keeps a family of windblown clippers pumping chilly air into Minnesota thru early next week. The first reality check arrives today with showers; by tomorrow there will be NO doubt in your mind that it's meteorological autumn.
Don't write off warmth just yet: 70s, even a few 80s are possible the last few days of September.
Extreme Weather Watch: The Effects Of Global Warming Are Here Right Now. Here's an excerpt from a story at The San Diego Free Press: "Even those global warming deniers can’t escape the fact that the weather events causing a billion dollars or more of damage and destruction are piling up at an increasing rate. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather/climate events. The NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. The U.S. has sustained 133 weather/climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion - assuming Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment to 2012. 46 of these events occurred between 1980 and 1995 and 87 occurred between 1996 and 2011."
In the Future Living In U.S. Will Be More Neighborly. I hope this extended outlook proves prescient; details from The Detroit Free Press; here's an excerpt: "In the next American metropolis, people will live in smaller homes, relax in smaller yards, park their smaller cars in smaller spots. They will be closer to work, to play and, above all, to one another. Global warming will be a fait accompli in 30 years, and so these urban Americans will raise their own food, in fields and on rooftops, and build structures to withstand everything from hurricane winds to Formosan termites. They will walk and ride more and drive less. And they will like it. This is the future envisioned by Andres Duany, architect, town planner, teacher and polemicist. And the future, he will tell you, is his business."
Saving The Ozone Layer: Lessons For Fighting Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an article from NRDC and Huffington Post: "....Now that CFCs have been eliminated through the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer has started to repair itself and to restore its capacity to shield us from disease. Just phasing out the U.S. portion of CFCs will prevent nearly 300 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in America and many more worldwide by the year 2165. The effort to restore the ozone layer is a resounding public health and environmental success -- one in which I am proud to say NRDC played a central role. It is a testament to the human community's ability to solve global problems. And it is proof we can do it faster and cheaper than originally thought. Now it is time to apply the lessons learned in the ozone achievement to the fight against another planetary crisis: climate change."
Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign. Have you noticed any commercials for "clean coal" in recent weeks? Me too. Details on the geyser of fossil-fuel money involved in this year's presidential campaign from The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming. As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets."
Forecast The Core Facts On Climate Change. Doug Craig has had enough, and he's not mincing words in his latest "Climate of Change" post at redding.com. I'm not sure name-calling is the answer, although I'm amused when people call me a "warmist" or "alarmist". The trends are in fact, alarming. Just calling it like it is. Here's an excerpt from the post: "Calling the deniers by the name deniers is too kind. A better name would be saboteurs. A saboteur is someone who engages in sabotage. "Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction." The saboteurs have one aim. Delay. They pretend to participate in this process in good faith but they cannot be trusted. Nothing they say can be believed. They offer us nothing. They come in the name of science but they deliberately deceive. They are the enemies of the Earth, our children, their own children, future generations, the poor and non-human life. They are essentially a destructive or negative force in the world. Some of them do this consciously. They know the truth and deliberately choose to lie. Others are simply misinformed, easily misled or closed to new information that conflicts with their core beliefs and values...."
74 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Monday.
71 F. average high for May 21.
73 F. high temperature on May 21, 2011.
+5.8 F. May temperatures through the first 20 days of May are running nearly 6 degrees warmer than average.
1.32" rain predicted for the Twin Cities by Thursday afternoon.
90 F. possible Sunday afternoon, probably the hottest, most humid day of the holiday weekend - best day up at the lake?
Severe Risk Later Today. SPC has much of the Dakotas and Minnesota's Red River Valley in a slight risk of severe storms; the biggest concerns: large hail and damaging straight-line winds.
Wednesday Severe Threat. The greatest chance of severe weather tomorrow stretches from central Nebraska into southwest Minnesota. I suspect a few storms may approach severe levels in the Twin Cities metro by evening.
Extended Outlook. The wettest day of the week (according to the European ECMWF model): Thursday, with over 1.4" of rain predicted. Scattered T-storms are likely over the holiday weekend (big surprise); Sunday still looks like the hottest day - if the sun comes out Sunday afternoon temperatures may shoot up into the 90s. Saturday appears to be the coolest day, highs near 70.
"One of the new descriptions, written in cooperation with social scientists, informs those in the storm path: “You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter.” Another warns: “Complete destruction of entire neighborhoods is likely.”....“We were ringing the bell a little louder,” Hudson said. “That’s one of the lessons learned from Joplin".- from a Joplin Globe story highlighted below that describes the new, more dire and urgent terminology used by local NWS offices during "tornado emergencies" - when large, violent, killer tornadoes are on the ground, moving toward urban areas. Photo above: NOAA.
27 glaciers left at Glacier National Park. In 1910 there were 150 glaciers. Photo courtesy of USGS.
May 22, 2011 Minneapolis Tornado. Here's a good overview of last year's violent tornado outbreak in the close-in suburbs and North Minneapolis, from the Twin Cities office of The National Weather Service: "The severe weather season is definitely starting off in a big way this year, not only in Minnesota, but all across the country. On Sunday, May 22, there were 56 reports of tornadoes extending from northeastern Oklahoma, up the Mississippi Valley to northern Wisconsin. The strongest hit was Joplin, Missouri where at least 125 people have lost their lives and thousands are displaced from their homes. In Minnesota, there were reports in Fillmore, Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington Counties of tornadoes and property damage. Here is a radar image, taken at 2:19cst on May 22 that shows the pronounced hook echo southwest of Columbia Heights moving to the northwest at 35 miles per hour. Early estimates by the National Weather Service of the strength of the tornado in Minneapolis is a high end EF1 to EF2 tornado with winds between 100 and 125 miles per hour. The majority of the damage came from mature trees being uprooted and falling on houses and vehicles. Tragically, one man lost his life when a tree fell on his vehicle in North Minneapolis....The storms in the Twin Cities took on a familiar path for residents. On May 10, 2011 an EF1 tornado moved through St. Michael, Minnesota tearing the roof off a house and a severe thunderstorm-- close to developing a tornado-- moved northeast through the downtown area causing golf ball sized hail falling on players and fans at the Twins vs. Tigers game. This severe weather event was also caused by a low pressure system that developed on the lee side of the Rocky Mountains and took a similar track across Minnesota, thus leading to the similar storm paths."
Remembering The Tornadoes Of May 22, 2011. Here's an informative look back at last year's outbreak, the tornadoes that proved major metro areas are not immune to violent winds. Details from the local National Weather Service: "A 3-D look at the Minneapolis tornado from the Chanhassen radar. The "column of red" is a descending core of air moving away from the radar that can sometimes be seen when stronger tornadic storms are close to a radar (greens represent air moving toward and reds away from the radar). The first image where a column appears is when the storm was near I-394 and MN-100 (fourth image in loop), which is where the tornado touched down. This feature began to fall apart as it moved into Anoka county. This coincides with the tornado weakening as it moved through Fridley."
Tropical Depression Alberto. Weakened by wind shear, Alberto fizzled into a tropical depression late Monday, now pushing east, out to sea - not a threat to the Carolina coast. Visible satellite loop capable of CIMSS, and the University of Wisconsin.
Alberto's Track. In the end wind shear aloft was too strong for Alberto, which was downgraded to a tropical depression Monday evening. In spite of drifting over warmer, Gulf Stream waters (low 80s) strong winds aloft shredded the storm, preventing it from strengthening. Above is a map from tropicalatlantic.com, showing the projected track of the soggy remains of Alberto in the coming days.
Pond-size Puddles By Thursday? A slow-moving cool front may squeeze out an inch or two of rain on much of Minnesota Wednesday night and Thursday. Graphic: University of Iowa.
Rainfall Predictions. Once again the heaviest rains (over 1") are forecast to fall from St. Cloud to Crosby and Duluth. Some 2"+ amounts are forecast for the Duluth area, closer to .5" to 1" for the Twin Cities, based on the latest NAM model.
Outlook: Drippy Dew Points. The dew point (an absolute measure of how much water is in the air) is forecast to reach the mid 60s by tomorrow, possibly flirting with 70 by Sunday, up in the oh-zone. Neighbors and friends will be whining about the humidity by Sunday afternoon, no question.
May 19 Kingman And Harper County Tornadoes. Here's an update from the Wichita office of The National Weather Service; one of the tornadoes was a large, violent EF-3 twister.
Weather Service Implements Storm Warning Changes After 2011 Tornadoes. Here's a good article from The Joplin Globe: "JOPLIN, Mo. — The May 22 tornado changed more than just Joplin. It also changed the way people get information about severe weather and the way the National Weather Service informs people about the severity of storms. But one thing has not changed. Eric Wise, the meteorologist who gave Joplin 20 minutes to prepare for the seventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history, is still on the job at the weather service forecast office in Springfield. The Springfield native can recall May 22 as if it were yesterday. “I was watching three different radars — Tulsa, Springfield and Pleasant Hill — as the main storm moved out of Southeast Kansas,” he said. “At 5 p.m., it looked like it would be no more than a shower." Image above: NOAA.
Details On The Joplin Tornado. More facts from NOAA on the extreme EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri one year ago today: "On May 22, 2011, one of the deadliest tornadoes in United States history struck Joplin, Missouri, directly killing 158 people and injuring over 1,000. The tornado, rated EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with maximum winds over 200 mph, affected a significant part of a city with a population of more than 50,000 and a population density near 1,500 people per square mile. As a result, the Joplin tornado was the first single tornado in the United States to result in over 100 fatalities since the Flint, Michigan, tornado of June 8, 1953. The tornado was rated EF-5 on the Enhanced-Fujita Scale, with its maximum winds estimated at more than 200 mph. The path of the entire tornado was 22.1 miles long and was up to 1 mile in width. The EF-4/EF-5 damage path was roughly 6 miles long from near Schifferdecker Avenue along the western portions of Joplin to near Interstate 44 east of Joplin, and generally ½ to ¾ of a mile wide along the path."
More Joplin Details. More information on the historic Joplin EF-5 from the NWS Central Region: "A large portion of Joplin, Missouri was devastated by an EF-5 (greater than 200 mph) tornado, resulting in 158 fatalities and over 1,000 injured in the Joplin, MO area. The Joplin tornado is the deadliest since modern record-keeping began in 1950 and is ranked 7th among the deadliest tornadoes in the U.S. history. The tornado surpassed the June 8, 1953 tornado that claimed 116 lives in Flint, Michigan, as the deadlist single tornado to strike the U.S. since modern tornado record-keeping began in 1950. The deadiest tornado on record in the U.S. was on March 18, 1925. The "Tri-State Tornado" (MO, IL, IN) had a 291-mile path, was rated F5, based on an historic assessment, and caused 695 fatalities. More information on 2011 Tornado statistics can be found at the following web site: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/2011_tornado_information.html
A Year After Joplin Tornado, Records Show Twister Was The Costliest Since 1950. Details from AP and The Star Tribune: "JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The cost of 30 manhole covers that got sucked away: $5,800. A new concession stand at the destroyed high school: $228,600. Shelter and care for more than 1,300 homeless pets: $372,000. The tornado that tore through Joplin a year ago already ranks as the deadliest twister in six decades. Now it carries another distinction — the costliest since at least 1950. Insurance policies are expected to cover most of the $2.8 billion in damage. But taxpayers could supply about $500 million in the form of federal and state disaster aid, low-interest loans and local bonds backed by higher taxes, according to records obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with federal, state and local officials."
Photo credit above: "FILE - This May 24, 2011 aerial file photograph shows a neighborhood destroyed by a powerful tornado in Joplin, Mo. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Monday, May 30, 2011 that it will consider bringing in trailers, as it did for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, if enough homes are not available."
Safe Boating Week. This is Safe Boating Week in Minnesota - details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service: "There are no specific warnings or advisories for lightning, but all thunderstorms produce lightning. A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics. If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn't have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat. Boaters should use extra caution when thunderstorm conditions exist and have a plan of escape. Mariners are especially vulnerable as at times they may be unable to reach port quickly. It is therefore strongly recommended you do not venture out if thunderstorms are a possibility."
|The United States Coast Guard's boating statistics show on average that 80% of all reported fatalities occur on boats where the operator has not received safety training. Learn about boating accident statistics.|
|There are a variety of life jackets and they are designed for different uses. Many drownings could have been prevented if life jackets were used. Learn more about life jackets and how to properly use them by visiting the Life Jacket Resource website. When out on the water - WEAR A LIFE JACKET!|
National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Next week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and NOAA has resources on Facebook to answer commonly asked questions: "As we get ready for National Hurricane Preparedness Week -- May 27 to June 2, 2012-- and as part of NOAA's efforts to improve communication about storm surge, the NOAA launched a new storm surge web site. Take a look…"
A Colorful Ocean. Here's an explanation from NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory: "The average chlorophyll concentration during April 2012 is shown here using data acquired from the MODIS sensor on board the NASA Aqua satellite. Phytoplankton blooms can be seen all along the coastline of North and South America, and are monitored by NOAA for use in determining productive fishing grounds, managing coastal ecosystems, and identifying potential human health impacts from harmful algal blooms."
Only In Kansas. Here's a great photo (not for broadcast) from Mike Smith Enterprises Blog: "A just-married couple sharing a first kiss, bountiful ripe wheat, and a landspout tornado*. The photo, in Harper County, is by Cate Eighmey Phototgraphy and the couple is Caleb James Pence and Candra Kim Pence via Facebook. *The tornado is the bowed, narrow tube midday between Caleb's hat and the tree on the horizon."
Dan Rather: Corporate Media "Is In Bed With" Washington (Video). Monday's are tough enough without conspiracy theories, but this might be worth a look - I wouldn't dismiss this out of hand; details from Huffington Post: "Dan Rather slammed corporate media on Friday night, alleging that news coverage is guided by political interests and profits. The former CBS News anchor has recently returned to the spotlight, speaking out about his former employer and defending the controversial Bush National Guard story that ended his storied career at the network. On Friday, Rather appeared on Bill Maher's show to discuss his new book "Rather Outspoken." He spoke out about the controversy again, and stood by his story (his comments start at the 1:50 mark in the video above). He said that he was fired because CBS News caved into the Bush administration's demands."
Blind Chinese Dissident Already Sick of Kardashians. This headline could only come from one source, one of my favorite comedy sites, The Borowitz Report: "In his first interview since arriving in America, blind Chinese activist Cneh Guangcheng told reporters today that he is grateful to be in the United States but is already "sick of these Kardashians." "Who are they, and what do they do?" Chen asked. "I have asked these questions of many people, and no one will answer me. It seems to be some kind of state secret." After being monitored for years by Chinese authorities, Chen said he finds the omnipresence of the Kardashians "troubling". "It almost feels as though I have traded one kind of tyranny for another," he said.
Probable Cause To Impound a BMW? Check out the license plate, and the back-seat passenger. That's a dude driving that 3-series BMW convertible. I have nothing against poodles, but this is just...wrong. Thanks to Tricia Frostad in Chanhassen for passing this along. Another sign of the pending Apocalypse.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Warm sun, windy. Feels like summer again. Storms north. Winds: S 15-30. High: 82
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and muggy. Low: 62
WEDNESDAY: Increasing clouds. Strong PM T-storms possible. High: 83
THURSDAY: Lingering showers & heavy T-storms. Drying out late in the day. Low: 65. High: 80
FRIDAY: Cooler. Shower, then clearing. NW 7-12. Low: 56. High: 71
SATURDAY: Muggy, heavy T-storms likely. E 10. Low: 55. High: 72
SUNDAY: Hot sun, steamy. Best day at the lake? Dew point: near 70 Winds: S 10-20. Low: 64. High: 91
MEMORIAL DAY: Less sun, few T-storms likely. Winds: W 7-12. Low: 64. High: 81
Aftermath. In March, 2000 downtown Fort Worth took a direct hit from a violent tornado, killing 5, injuring hundreds. Photo courtesy of "Restless Skies."
A year ago today was a violent wake-up call for people who still believe tornadoes can't hit cities. The same day Joplin, Missouri was leveled by a mile-wide EF-5 tornado packing 200 mph winds - a swarm of 11 tornadoes hit Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. The EF-1 tornado that touched down in Golden Valley and ripped up North Minneapolis was on the ground for 14 miles; half a mile wide, ripping mature, 100-year old trees out by the roots, damaging hundreds of homes.
It could have been worse. A 2000 Ft Worth tornado hit after rush hour, shredding skyscraper walls/windows, leaving 5 dead. Oklahoma City has been hit 112 times since 1890! If you live or work downtown you're not immune. The safest spot is usually a concrete stairwell or interior rest room. Take warnings seriously, and buy a NOAA Weather Radio.
The next 4-6 weeks are prime time for severe storms and tornadoes.
We heat up into midweek; the next frontal zone pushing more strong/severe storms into town Wednesday & Thursday
We cool off late week; another wave of heavy T-storms Saturday before breaking out into 90-degree sun on Sunday.
Memorial Day? Three guesses. Sticky with heavy T-storms.
Why Do Economists Describe Climate Change As A "Market Failure"? No, the (true) price of carbon is not factored into everything we purchase or use, as this article at The Guardian explains: "When free markets do not maximise society's welfare, they are said to 'fail' and policy intervention may be needed to correct them. Many economists have describedclimate change as an example of a market failure – though in fact a number of distinct market failures have been identified. The core one is the so-called 'greenhouse-gas externality'. Greenhouse gas emissions are a side-effect of economically valuable activities. Most of the impacts of emissions do not fall on those conducting the activities – instead they fall on future generations or people living in developing countries, for example – so those responsible for the emissions do not pay the cost."
Photo credit above: "Markets have made a calmer start to the week." Photograph: Tony Gentile/REUTERS
The Week Ahead: EPA To Hold Hearings On Carbon Dioxide Limits For Power Plants. Here's an excerpt of a story at Bloomberg BNA: "The Environmental Protection Agency will hold two public hearings May 24 in Washington, D.C., and Chicago on Clean Air Act new source performance standards that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. As detailed in a World Climate Change Report article, the proposed NSPS, issued April 12, would limit emissions from new fossil fuel-fired power plants with a generating capacity greater than 25 megawatts to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. The rule is expected to further the power industry trend toward cheaper and cleaner natural gas power plants."
The "Great Big Book Of Horrible Things": WWII And Climate Change. This is an interesting (and vaguely troubling) article, from ABC News; here's an excerpt: "Sometimes, a little humor is indispensable. Matthew White uses it elegantly in the title of his fascinating new, big and easy-to-read reference book. “The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History’s 100 Worst Atrocities” is a bright door stopper and mind opener. That jaunty title, which often brings a smile to those to whom I mention it, even hints at one reason we may have evolved humor in the first place: A little sugar can make the worst sort of important news at least palatable, so we can swallow it, get it down to where we can try to digest it. And with a growing number of the world’s climate scientists now speaking publicly about the grave global “catastrophe” and the imminent “threat to global civilization” now building in the form of manmade global warming, White’s book offers a simple, painful lesson. It reminds us that humanity has often and recently failed to prevent collective calamity, even when many people can see it coming and try to warn everyone." Photo: Wikipedia.
Book It, We're Toast. The Fate Of The Species. Don't read this if you're already in a bad new. Alarmism? I sure hope so; here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "If you grew up in the 1950’s and early 60’s, you probably remember the faint air of existential angst that lingered constantly in the background. With the creation of atomic weapons, and the booming stockpiles of missile-mounted bombs in the arsenals of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., it seemed perfectly plausible that an all-out nuclear war could wipe out a significant fraction of the world’s population — the first time in history that humanity was capable of such destruction. But as Fred Guterl says in a sobering, important and highly readable new book, those were really the good old days. The nuclear threat has receded, he acknowledges in The Fate of the Species: Why the human race may cause its own extinction and how we can stop it (Bloomsbury: $25), but warns that “the success of Homo sapiens has created new and terrifying risks that didn’t exist a few decades ago.”
Arctic Melt Releasing Ancient Methane. Here's a snippet of a story from The BBC: "Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere. The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2 and levels are rising after a few years of stability."
Photo credit above: UAF/Nature Geoscience.
* the actual research paper from Nature.com is here.
Pollution In Thunderhead Increases Global Warming. Here's a story from TG Daily: "Pollution is leading thunderstorm clouds to capture heat, increasing global warming in a way that climate models have failed to take into account. It strengthens them, causing their anvil-shaped tops to spread out high in the atmosphere and capture heat, especially at night, says Jiwen Fan of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Global climate models don't see this effect because thunderstorm clouds simulated in those models do not include enough detail," says Fan. "The large amount of heat trapped by the pollution-enhanced clouds could potentially impact regional circulation and modify weather systems."
Can Global Warming Be Contained? A Multi-Media Answer. Here's a fascinating article from livinggreenmag.com: "Click on the link to see a thoroughly comprehensive infographic, a text version of the content, and a video highlighting key data on the infographic. Plus, you can answer their poll question. The infographic is fun, but read the text for details. It starts with a succinct description of global warming, and provides many interesting and alarming facts, such as:
Climate Change Hits Globe's Water Cycle. UPI.com has the details: "LIVERMORE, Calif., May 21 (UPI) -- The Earth's dry lands are getting drier and wet ones wetter as climate change shifts and accelerates the globe's water cycle, U.S. researchers say. Changing patterns of salinity in the global ocean during the past 50 years show a clear fingerprint of climate change on the shift in worldwide rainfall and evaporation, they said. Scientists with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California along with colleagues at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization say the Earth's water cycle has strengthened by 4 percent 1950-2000."
The Titanic, Climate Change And Avoidable Tragedies. That's a mouthful, but this Huffington Post article is a worthy read; here's an excerpt: "One of the most legendary maritime disasters was the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. In a pivotal scene in James Cameron's 1997 film, master shipbuilder Thomas Andrews looks around the magnificent foyer of the grand staircase, swarming with frantic passengers. Rose Bukater asks how serious the situation is. Says Andrews: "In an hour or so, all this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic." The tragedy that was Titanic presents us with some sobering parallels to the great environmental challenges facing our civilization in the 21st century. Titanic suffered a cascading disaster in which sea water from one ruptured compartment spilled over the bulkhead into the next, inexorably causing the ship to founder. Analogously, as our ever-increasing human demands for energy, water, housing, transportation and agricultural land run up against the immovable iceberg that is human carrying capacity, we are witnessing the cascading failure of our fragile terrestrial support systems. Both calamities are the result of a collision between human over-confidence and the implacable forces of nature." Photo: Wikipedia.
Let's End Polluter Welfare. Here's a post from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at Huffington Post: "At a time when we have more than $15 trillion national debt, American taxpayers are set to give away over $110 billion dollars to the oil, gas, and coal industries over the next decade. Clearly, we cannot afford it. When the five largest oil companies made over $1 trillion in profits in the last decade, with some paying no federal income taxes for part of that time, they certainly do not need it. It is time we end this corporate welfare in the form of massive subsidies and tax breaks to hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations. It is time for Congress to support the interests of the taxpayer instead of powerful special interests like the oil and coal industries. That is I joined with Congressman Keith Ellison to introduce legislation in the Senate and the House called the End Polluter Welfare Act. Our proposal is backed by grassroots and public-interest organizations including 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and many others."
Fracking In New York: For Farmers Gas Drilling Could Mean Salvation - Or Ruin. Here's a clip of a story at Huffington Post: "ALBANY, N.Y. -- When Dan Fitzsimmons looks across the Susquehanna River and sees the flares of Pennsylvania gas wells, he thinks bitterly of the riches beneath his own land locked up by the heated debate that has kept hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, out of New York. "I go over the border and see people planting orchards, buying tractors, putting money back in their land," said Fitzsimmons, a Binghamton landowner who heads the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York. "We'd like to do that too, but instead we struggle to pay the taxes and to hang onto our farms."
Photo credit above: "In this Feb. 2, 2012 file photo, organic dairy farmer Siobhan Griffin stands in a field with her cows a field at Raindance Farm in Westville, N.Y. While other states are reaping the wealth of the Marcellus Shale, New York has had a moratorium on drilling for four years while it overhauls regulations amid intense lobbying for a ban. Griffin, who raises grass-fed cows and sells organic cheese, doesn’t see gas as the answer. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)."
Fighting Climate Change With Low-Tech Tools. Another must-read article from Bloomberg; here's an excerpt: "In the late 1990s, regulators in some U.S. states began to make electric utilities sell their nuclear reactors to private operators. They weren’t trying to help head off climate change, yet they managed to do just that. Deregulation was supposed to bring down power prices. The sale of nuclear plants to nonutility owners, such as Exelon Corp. (EXC), was part of the process and was intended to serve that goal. But it also helped offset more greenhouse gas emissions in the 2000s than all of the wind and solar generation in the country combined. Increased nuclear output is an example of what I call “low- tech cleantech,” or the intelligent management of our energy infrastructure to make it more efficient. A small improvement in nuclear operations can have a much bigger impact than double- digit growth in renewable power sources for a simple reason: Nuclear reactors today generate far more of the U.S.’s electricity than wind turbines and solar panels."
Heartland Institute Facing Uncertain Future As Staff Depart And Cash Dries Up. Here's an excerpt of a story from The Guardian: "The first Heartland Institute conference on climate change in 2008 had all the trappings of a major scientific conclave – minus large numbers of real scientists. Hundreds of climate change contrarians, with a few academics among them, descended into the banquet rooms of a lavish Times Square hotel for what was purported to be a reasoned debate about climate change. But as the latest Heartland climate conference opens in a Chicago hotel on Monday, the thinktank's claims to reasoned debate lie in shreds and its financial future remains uncertain."
On Blogging, Comments...And Online Civil Discourse. Here's a portion of a post from St. Thomas professor and climate scientist John Abraham at The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Environment: "A recent posting on The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media website linked to a very long piece regarding climate change by Christopher Monckton. "As a practicing scientist, I recognize and value the role that The Yale Forum plays in furthering civil discussion on this topic. As a society, we have too few venues of this type where ideas can be discussed, solutions proposed, and our preconceptions challenged. It is not difficult to appreciate the dilemma faced by editors of sites like The Yale Forum when submissions such as that cited are offered, particularly when, as here, the respondent is addressing an earlier posting in which he or she was specifically named."
To See Climate Change, Watch The Sea. Here's an excerpt of a story at thestar.com: "THE Earth turns white when a change in large-scale ocean circulation triggers a sudden worldwide shift toward freezing temperatures. You may remember this apocalyptic scenario as the climax of the 2004 US movie The Day After Tomorrow. But how many of us are aware that the ocean can dramatically effect our climate in reality? In addition to well-known currents near the surface of the sea, such as the Kuroshio current around the coast of south east Asia, Japan and China, there is a massive global current that flows unseen in the deep, thousands of metres below the surface, called oceanic general circulation." Photo credit: Jefferson Beck, NASA.
Climate Scientists Say They Have Solved Riddle Of Rising Sea. Here's a clip from a story at Yahoo News: "Massive extraction of groundwater can resolve a puzzle over a rise in sea levels in past decades, scientists in Japan said on Sunday. Global sea levels rose by an average of 1.8 millimetres (0.07 inches) per year from 1961-2003, according to data from tide gauges. But the big question is how much of this can be pinned to global warming. In its landmark 2007 report, the UN's Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ascribed 1.1mm (0.04 inches) per year to thermal expansion of the oceans -- water expands when it is heated -- and to meltwater from glaciers, icecaps and the Greenland and Antarctica icecaps."
Climate Change As An Afterthought. Here's a portion of an Op-Ed from The Bangkok Post: "...However, there are certain steps that could make an immediate difference and that would involve little political risk. As the summit statement in Pittsburgh noted: ''Enhancing our energy efficiency can play an important, positive role in promoting energy security and fighting climate change''. The statement also said ''inefficient fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption, distort markets, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with climate change''. This is a very important point, and it can be taken a bit further. Until the true costs of fossil fuels are taken into account, clean energy sources will continue to be at a great disadvantage in attracting investment. These costs include not only climate change but also the deterioration of air quality and the potential for more catastrophic accidents at sea, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010."