Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
Fluke or Trend?
At last report The Weather Channel was up to "Juno". At the rate we're going we may get to "Zeus" and then start at the beginning of the alphabet. Personally, I'm dreading Winter Storm "Bubba".
From Boston to Dallas; every day there's new video, a litany of records - breathless reporting. Are big winter storms really on the increase? Or has perception become reality, thanks to Twitter and a flood of media outlets?
A recent NOAA/UCAR paper (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Agency) concluded: "For severe snowstorms and ice storms the number of severe regional snowstorms that occurred since 1960 was more twice that of the preceding 60 years." This is a bigger factor for New England and the East Coast, where warmer water offshore enhances water vapor - meaning more fuel for storms that do spin up, leading to heavier snowfalls.
Light snow may brush Minnesota next Tuesday, otherwise the forecast calls for ditto, any big storms with names sliding south of Minnesota - a cold, dry northwest wind flow blowing overhead.
I don't see any extended thaws until mid-March, when it may be warm enough for rain. And to Pete, who I sold my 2 snowmobiles to: I'm sorry - I had no idea we'd see so little snow.
Next winter will be better, right?
* My friend and meteorologist at WDIV-TV in Detroit, Paul Gross, informs me that five of Detroit's top ten all-time snowiest winters (since 1870) have occurred in the past eleven years.
When In Doubt Forecast A Cold Front. By late February a higher sun angle limits how cold it can get, especially with only an inch of snow on the ground. Expect single-digit highs today with a subzero wind chill. But the sun will be out, and that may help (at least a little). By the weekend temperatures moderate into the 20s. Progress! 2-meter NAM predicted temperatures: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Son of Polar Vortex? Which makes for a grabby headline, but it's not valid. This is just cold Canadian air; the pattern still not even close to the odd holding pattern of last winter, where a frigid cut-off low stalled for the better part of 2-3 months east of Hudson Bay. Temperature anomalies valid midday today show the core of cold air passing over the Midwest, while most of the northern hemisphere trends warmer than average; Arctic temperatures still over 4F milder than average.
Temperature anomalies obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.
Getting Better. No abrupt surges of Pacific warmth are imminent looking out 10 days or so, but we will see readings a little closer to average early next week. The best chance of light snow over the next week comes next Tuesday, but once again the bulk of any precipitation passes south of Minnesota. Getting to be a habit.
A Cruel Trick? GFS guidance prints out a shot at low 40s by March 9, after a couple of subzero mornings March 5 and 6 (late next week). This solution looks reasonable to me. Spring is coming, but winter is in no great hurry to vacate the premises. Extended temperature prediction: Ham Weather's Aeris Enterprise.
North Shore Experiencing Worst Ski Weather in 100 Years. Speaking of a lack of snow, resorts north of Vancouver, Canada have shut down due to unseasonable warmth and a lack of the white stuff. CTV Vancouver News has more details; here's an excerpt: "...The dismal ski season on the North Shore Mountains is being called the worst in a century, and climatologists warn bare slopes could become the norm. Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress are all lacking in snow, a disappointing sight for local skiers and international tourists who travelled thousands of kilometres to enjoy the popular hills. Scientists see the conditions as a statistical anomaly – a one-in-33-year occurrence – but projections suggest there will be more and more of them as the decades pass..."
Image credit above: "Bare ski runs on Cypress Mountain are seen from CTV's Chopper 9 helicopter. Feb. 24, 2015."
Minnesota's Biggest Polluters Spending Over $10 Million to Pollute Politics. Environment Minnesota has the press release, here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 47,000 miles of streams in Minnesota. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for 970,000 at risk. “When powerful special interests spend millions to influence our elections and lobby decisionmakers, they drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” said Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon. “To make sure we’re able to protect our environment and our health, we need reforms to stop the flow of big money into politics....”
Don't Weather-Shame Washington D.C. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at U.S. News and World Report: "...This isn’t a battle of toughness. This is a loudly clanging warning about climate change. The world is indeed getting warmer – 2014 was the warmest year in modern history – and severe weather patterns are a consequence of that. No, we can’t blame any of Boston’s snowstorms, individually, on climate change, any more than a heart attack victim can attribute the event to the double cheeseburger eaten the previous day. This is about long-term, sustained changes in climate and weather. The number of severe, regional snowstorms since 1960 is more than double that of the previous 60 years, according to a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Where will it be in 60 more years?..." (File photo: AP).
* The research paper referenced above is here, courtesy of UCAR.
8 Foods That Help Improve Your Memory. Details has the article - what I would give to take a daily memory pill, in the meantime I'm trying to get more salmon in my diet after reading the story; here's an excerpt: "...Forgot what you're looking for? Bad with names? Writing down a lot of lists but then misplacing them? Like most people, you're experiencing some memory loss—and growing older doesn't help matters. Luckily, researchers all over the world are scouring the earth looking for ingredients that might organically improve human recall. Scan the menu of ingredients below and, if you make the right diet changes, you too could develop a champion's memory..."
Fact-Checking Grandma. Aeon reports that the Internet is rife with myths, scams, and hoaxes. Yep. When any claim can be checked out, why does fiction still trump fact? Here's an excerpt: "...In 2012, Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman, both at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, analysed 7,000 articles from The New York Times to assess what made stories go viral. What they discovered was that stories which elicited strong emotion – both positive and negative – were the ones that got shared most often. People believe the stories that they connect to, the ones that affirm their view of the world, truth be damned..."
A Thirsty, Violent World. The author of the article at The New Yorker argues that we can and will find substitutes for oil and natural gas - as resources become scare substitutes often take their place. Clean water? Not so much. Here's an excerpt: "...Rapid climate change, population growth, and a growing demand for meat (and, thus, for the water required to grow feed for livestock) have propelled them into a state of emergency. Millions of words have been written, and scores of urgent meetings have been held, since I last wrote about this issue for the magazine, nearly a decade ago; in that time, things have only grown worse. The various physical calamities that confront the world are hard to separate, but growing hunger and the struggle to find clean water for billions of people are clearly connected..."
Mapped: These Are The Quietest Spots in America. Northern Minnesota is looking pretty good in the quiet-category; here's an excerpt of a story at Quartz: "...Researchers used sound data collected from 546 sites around the US over the past 10 summers, then estimated the noise levels in the remaining areas based on factors like population density, roadway sizes, and proximity to airports, Fristrup tells Quartz..."
Map credit above: "The dark blue areas are the quietest, and the yellow to white are the loudest." (National Park Service, Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division).
Urbanization and Smartphones are Killing Car Culture. Will our grandkids care as much about owning a car, or will we have better options, more mass transit, an Uber-mindset of rent vs. buy? Who knows, but CityLab takes a look at the trends: "The Western world's century-old love affair with the automobile is coming to an end. People are driving less than they did before the recession, and there are fewer cars on the road. In the U.S., the number of vehicles per driver has fallen from a peak of 1.2 in 2007 to 1.15 today, according to data compiled by Schroders, an asset management firm. Young Americans are getting their drivers' licenses later than they did in 1983, or even in 2008..."
100" of Snow? No Problem for Boston Bikers. Even Old Man Winter can't stop cyclists in the Boston area, as described in an article at BDCwire; here's a clip: "Along the Malden and Mystic Rivers sits the Wellington Greenway, a hiking and biking path that leads users from Boston’s inner harbor into Medford. It’s quite popular with commuters at the Wellington Station T stop on the Orange line. However, snow removal efforts by the MBTA blocked the path with a gigantic mountain of snow, rendering it all but accessible. That is, until a few local cyclists took matters into their own hands..."
16 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
32 F. average high on February 25.
6 F. high on February 25, 2014.
1" snow on the ground at KMSP.
February 25 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
1996: A bolt of lightning from a snowstorm causes an explosion at a fireworks storage site in Milaca. One employee was injured and several homes in the area were damaged. An eight foot crater was all that remained where the storage site had been.
1971: Extremely low pressure moves across Minnesota. The Twin Cities had a barometer reading of 28.77 inches and Duluth beat that with 28.75. Freezing rain and snow hit northern Minnesota, dumping up to 18 inches in some areas. Areas around Virginia were without power for 5 days.
1896: A balmy high of 60 degrees was reported at Maple Plain. The warm weather hampered the annual ice cutting on Lake Independence to store for summer use.
TODAY: -20 wind chill early. Bright sun. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 8
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and plenty cold. Low: -6
FRIDAY: Blue sky, less wind. Still nippy. High: 18
SATURDAY: Breezy, coating of snow at night? Wake-up: 3. High: 23
SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, colder. Wake-up: 15. High: 27
MONDAY: Partly sunny, no travel headaches. Wake-up: 13. High: near 30
TUESDAY: Chance of light snow. No big deal. Wake-up: 18. High: 28
WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and cool. Still cooler than average. Wake-up: 16. High: 26
Climate Change Will Hit America in the Breadbasket. NBC News has the story - here's an excerpt: "...Theoretically, reduced production along the southern edge of the country's grain-producing regions should be offset by increased production along the northern edge. The Corn Belt (and Soybean Belt) is already pushing up past the Canadian border, and Canada's wheat-producing zone is creeping farther north. But in reality, the shift is still likely to produce a net loss in crop production, said Jerry Hatfield, director of the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment..." (File photo: Star Tribune).
Sea Levels in Northeast Jumped 5 Inches In Just 2 Years, Study Says. Some of this is sea level rise, some is land subsidence, but the net effect is clear; higher water levels are making coastal storms even more damaging, especially when you superimpose a storm surge and surface waves on top of the rising Atlantic. Here's an excerpt from a story at Mashable: "Sea levels in northeastern North America jumped by more than five inches in a two-year period between 2009 to 2010, a rate unprecedented in the history of tide gauge records, a new study found. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, found that the temporary acceleration in long-term sea level rise resulted in coastal flooding and beach erosion along the Northeast coast from New York northward to Atlantic Canada..."
Sea Spike Details. Here's an excerpt from the new research referenced above via Nature Communications: "...The analysis of long-term tide gauge records identified an extreme sea-level rise (SLR) event during 2009–10. Within this 2-year period, the coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by 128 mm. This magnitude of interannual SLR is unprecedented (a 1-in-850 year event) during the entire history of the tide gauge records..."
Democrats Target Climate-Deniers-For-Hire. New Republic has the details; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...The goal of the investigation is to "establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations," writes Grijalva. "Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science. These conflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions..."
The Remote Alaskan Village That Needs To Be Relocated Due To Climate Change. A preview of coming attractions from Louisiana to south Florida and Virginia? Here's a snippet from a Washington Post story: "..The question now facing the town, the state of Alaska, and the nation is whether to move the people of Kivalina to a safer location nearby, either inland or further down the coast — and who would pay upwards of a hundred million dollars to do it. It’s a question already facing Kivalina and a handful of other native Alaskan villages, and in the coming decades could apply to numerous other towns along U.S. coastlines..."
Relocation Costs. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers takes a look at how much it might cost U.S. taxpayers to move an entire town along the coast of Alaska.
With Climate Change U.S. Presidents Matter. St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham has the story for The Guardian; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...Vetoing this pipeline, which would increase the rate of extraction of the world’s dirtiest fuels (bitumen and the byproduct petroleum coke), was a no-brainer for anyone concerned about climate change. In fact, it is not possible to be in favor of the Keystone pipeline if you accept the science of climate change. The reason this story is so big isn’t just about carbon dioxide emissions (although that matters). It is more about the strong stand taken by the President against a well-funded campaign to force the pipeline through. It is also important because of the signal it sends to those intent on long term dirty-fuels extraction..."
Lester Brown: "Vast Dust Bowls Threaten Tens of Millions With Hunger". The Guardian has details; here's a clip: "...Vast tracts of Africa and of China are turning into dust bowls on a scale that dwarfs the one that devastated the US in the 1930s, one of the world’s pre-eminent environmental thinkers has warned. Over 50 years, the writer Lester Brown has gained a reputation for anticipating global trends. Now as Brown, 80, enters retirement, he fears the world may be on the verge of a greater hunger than he has ever seen in his professional lifetime. For the first time, he said tens of millions of poor people in countries like Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Peru could afford to eat only five days a week..."
My Depressing Day With A Famous Climate Skeptic. NPR reports, here's an excerpt: "...I came away from my meeting with this famous climate skeptic feeling pretty depressed. What I had seen was a scientist whose work, in my opinion, was simply not very good. That, on its own, is no big deal. There are lots of scientists whose work is not very good — and some people may even think my science should be included in that list. But Soon's little string of papers were being heralded in the highest courts of public opinion as a significant blow to everyone else's understanding of Earth's climate. From TV studios to the halls of Congress, we were being told his was world-shaking research of the highest caliber, and that we had to take notice..."
Investors, Science Group Pressure Oil Companies to Disclose Climate Climate Risks. Here's an excerpt from the UCS, the Union of Concerned Scientists: "Five major oil and gas companies aren’t doing enough to disclose risks from climate change to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including sea level rise and storm surge, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Several investment groups, including Calvert Investments Management, joined UCS and Ceres today in sending letters to the five companies—Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero—expressing concern about these risks. Calvert has also filed a shareholder resolution with Phillips 66 urging the company to disclose climate risks..."
Can Only Republicans Help Republicans on Climate Change? Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: "...A more useful option than simply doing more research is for Republican politicians who know better to start behaving more responsibly. Opposing even the simplest, most market-oriented climate policies has to stop being a signifier of conservative tribal allegiance. But it will be very tough for those outside the GOP tribe — independent scientists, climate activists, Democrats — to fight the cultural politics that have made the climate debate intractable. Their efforts might even deepen the divide..."
Burst of Warming May End Lull in Rising Temperatures. New Scientist has the article - here's an excerpt: "...Global mean surface temperatures have not risen significantly since about 1998, which could be thanks to the oceans sucking up the extra heat. If this turns out to be the case, Chris Roberts from the Met Office in the UK and colleagues have found that there is a 60 per cent chance the hiatus will be followed by a five-year period of rapid warming at twice the usual background rate of around 0.2°C per decade. The models also suggest there is a 15 per cent chance the hiatus will continue for five more years..."
I just staked my driveway, checked the inflation of my tires, threw an ice-scraper in the trunk. Here we go. September was pleasant, much of October was a dream. Now we skip 2 months and head right to mid-January.
Sadly, I'm not exaggerating. The next two weeks will run 20-30F colder than average: a giant ice cream scoop of polar pain making a few passes at the USA - each jolt of cold air spinning up a new storm.
And the rumors are true: it's going to snow tomorrow. The air and ground will be cold enough for that snow to stick. Traffic may be a mess by afternoon. A plowable snowfall is likely; my concern is will it be 5 inches, or closer to a foot? Right now I'm leaning toward the latter (greater) solution, with some 6-12" amounts in the metro, maybe more just to the north/west of MSP. A wave of low pressure passes south of Minnesota, throwing up a long-duration shield of light to moderate snow Monday morning into Tuesday morning. I expect treacherous travel from the PM hours Monday into midday Tuesday. Get your errands done today; you'll thank yourself tomorrow.
Models consistently show an enhanced band of heavier snow with 6 to 12 inch snowfall totals possible over central Minnesota, even pushing in the MSP metro. The first snow of the season is always memorable; this one should be a doozy.
Highs in the 20s, even a subzero low by next week? The maps do look bitter for the eastern USA, vaguely similar to last winter's pattern.
Don't assume the worst. Not yet.
* 4 km NAM accumulated snow forecast map above courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather.
Upgrade to Winter Storm Warning. A Winter Storm Warning issued by NOAA means that heavy snow and treacherous travel is imminent. Get your travel plans out of the way today; you may want to go easy on the freeways Monday into Tuesday. Details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:
A POTENT STORM SYSTEM WILL BRING SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL TO MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. A LARGE SWATH OF CENTRAL MINNESOTA...FROM THE MORRIS AND GRANITE FALLS AREAS IN WESTERN MINNESOTA...THROUGH THE TWIN CITIES METRO...TO MUCH OF WESTERN WISCONSIN CAN EXPECT 8 TO 12 INCHES OR MORE OF SNOW FROM LATE SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT OR TUESDAY MORNING. MOST IT WILL FALL FROM EARLY MONDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY EVENING...INCLUDING BOTH THE MORNING AND EVENING COMMUTES. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR CAN BE EXPECTED AT TIMES. ACROSS SOUTHERN MINNESOTA...LESSER AMOUNTS OF 5 TO 8 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED...AND THIS INCLUDES THE NEW ULM...MANKATO AND OWATONNA AREAS. PREPARATIONS SHOULD BE MADE WITH THIS BEING THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT SNOW STORM OF THE SEASON. EXPECT TRAVEL ON MONDAY TO BE SEVERELY IMPACTED...AND TRAVEL MAY BE IMPACTED AFTER THE STORM ENDS AS MUCH COLDER AIR SURGING IN BEHIND THIS STORM MAY KEEP COMPACTED SNOW ON THE ROADS FOR A FEW DAYS.
Model Creep. So much data, so litte wisdom. Which model do you believe, and why? We now have scores of weather models to browse, each simulation running slightly different initiatlization parameters and physics. In a perfect world all the models agree. This rarely happens. When models converge on a specific number our confidence level goes up, and as of late Saturday night the ensemble mean was close to 10". That number could still verify, especially far northern suburbs.
Accumulated Snowfall Potential. You can see the band of moderate to heavy rain pushing across the eastern Dakotas into central Minnesota Monday. A difference of 50 miles in the storm track could make the difference between 4-5" in the Twin Cities or a cool foot. At this point it looks plowable for the Twin Cities, where a period of ice may keep amounts down a bit on Monday. The best chance of 6, 8 or 10" may come over the north metro. 4 km NAM guidance: NOAA and HAMweather.
When A Forecast of 6-12" is Conservative. Check out the 00z NAM numbers from NOAA, a total of 1.18" liquid by midday Tuesday, all of it falling as snow. No mix, no changeover to ice or rain to keep snowfall amounts down. But that's less (liquid) moisture falling than Sunday's 00z run, which was closer to 1.5". Could the storm still take a more northerly track, pushing the heaviest snow bands into St. Cloud? Absolutely. But as of now I think 6-12" of snow in a good range across the metro from Monday into midday Tuesday. Then it's going to get abnormally cold. Other than that, not much to talk about today...
"Deadliest Catch" Fishing Boats To Ride Out Killer Storm. Typhoon Nuri was a Category 5 Super Typhoon. It has lost all tropical characteristics, but it promises to kick up 50 foot seas and hurricane-force winds off the coast of Alaska. The Bering Straight will be a tough place to ride out what may turn into an historic storm; here's an excerpt from Discovery News: "Three Alaskan fishing boats on Discovery Channel's award-winning program "Deadliest Catch" will be riding out a massive Bering Sea storm that is powering hurricane force winds and waves up to 50 feet and forecast to bring unseasonable cold to most of the United States next week. The remnants of Typhoon Nuri is moving northeast from off the Japanese coast and is mixing with cold air and the Jet Stream. It could arrive Saturday before weakening in the Bering Sea, the National Weather Service (NSW) said..."
Melting Arctic Sea Ice Doubles The Chances of Harsh Winters In Other Parts of the World. Public Radio International had a very interesting interview on a subject that may be relevant and timely; here's an excerpt: "...In its simplest terms, she says, when sea ice melts, the dark ocean underneath absorbs much more energy from the sun during the summer, which warms the water more than usual. When fall arrives and cold air moves in again, all the energy stored in the water gets released into the atmosphere, which, in turn, causes the air above the water to warm up more than usual. This warming has the effect of pushing the jet stream northward. The jet stream is a fast-moving river of air high in the atmosphere that generates the weather we experience at the Earth's surface..." (Image: NOAA Photo Library).
October 2014 Weather Recap. Here's an excerpt from the Minnesota DNR's Hydroclim Update: "...
Why Sand Is Disappearing. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The New York Times that got my attention: "...Today, however, 75 to 90 percent of the world’s natural sand beaches are disappearing, due partly to rising sea levels and increased storm action, but also to massive erosion caused by the human development of shores. Many low-lying barrier islands are already submerged. Yet the extent of this global crisis is obscured because so-called beach nourishment projects attempt to hold sand in place and repair the damage by the time summer people return, creating the illusion of an eternal shore..."
Sandy file photo: Mike Groll, AP.
The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare. Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story of greed, courage and redemption at Rolling Stone: "...Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing. Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank's mortgage operations..."
43 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
46 F. average high on November 8.
47 F. high on November 8, 2013.
No snow reported at MSP International Airport as of November 8.
November 8 in Minnesota Weather History:
2003: Parts of west central and north central Minnesota received anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of new snow. Canby had the most at 6 inches and Benson measured 5 inches.
1977: A foot of snow falls in Western Minnesota. I-94 is tied up.
1850: The sky darkened at Ft. Snelling due to prairie fires.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, no travel problems. Winds: NW 10. High: 39
SUNDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with light snow spreading into western Minnesota. Low: 29
MONDAY: Winter Storm Watch. Snow gets heavier. PM traffic mess. High: 32
TUESDAY: Treacherous travel. Snow slowly tapers, band of 6-12" close to MSP? Wake-up: 26. High: 28
WEDNESDAY: Scrappy clouds. Roads still icy. Wake-up: 8. High: 25
THURSDAY: Average for mid-January. Nippy. Wake-up: 10. High: 27
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, feels like 10F. Wake-up: 8. High: 25
SATURDAY: Light snow develops. Few inches? Wake-up: 13. High: 28
Conservatives Don't Hate Climate Change; They Hate The Proposed Solutions: Study. Huffington Post has the story; here's the intro: "Conservatives who reject the science of climate change aren't necessarily reacting to the science, according to a new study from researchers at Duke University. They're reacting to the fact that they don't like proposed solutions more strongly identified with liberals. The paper looks at the relationship between political ideology and rejection of scientific evidence. The researchers look most closely at climate change and other environmental challenges, an area where those who identify as liberals or Democrats mostly accept scientific conclusions while conservatives or Republicans largely reject them. The researchers conclude that on climate and other important societal issues, this denial is "rooted not in a fear of the general problem, per se, but rather in fear of the specific solutions associated with that problem..."
I Was Once A Climate Change Denier. Salon traces the chronology of one skeptic as he went from denying to ultimately accepting the science; here's a clip: "...As time went on, I was exposed to more and more evidence in support of climate change that I could no longer deny. I had no choice but to adapt my theory and finally admit to some sort of climate change. “OK, it may be happening, but how can you tell if it’s our fault? We lack a control Earth!” To back myself up, I clung to a variety of fringe arguments: “It’s the sun!” or “We can’t trust the measurements!” or “It has happened before! It’s normal!” and so on. (You can find a long list of common climate change myths debunked here and a shorter version here. Right now the list counts up to 176. New ones are added often.)..."
Denying Problems When We Don't Like The Solutions. Here's an excerpt of a story at Duke University highlighting and confirming what many of us already suspect: "...A new study from Duke University finds that people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don't, then they tend to deny the problem even exists. “Logically, the proposed solution to a problem, such as an increase in government regulation or an extension of the free market, should not influence one’s belief in the problem. However, we find it does,” said co-author Troy Campbell, a Ph.D. candidate at Duke's Fuqua School of Business. “The cure can be more immediately threatening than the problem...”
Report on Second Annual Climate Adaptation Conference. This conference was held Thursday at the Hyatt in Minneapolis; I was very encouraged to see the turn-out, the variety of participants across multiple fields and the focus on finding solutions to adapt to a more volatile climate. Here's an excerpt of a summary from one of the conferences organizers, Dr. Mark Seeley, in his weekly WeatherTalk Newsletter: "...Highlights: Dr. Harold Brooks-NOAA Severe Storms Lab, Oklahoma lecturing on severe weather and climate change;
-Climate trends are clearly showing greater variability in some severe weather elements, including heavier rains, cluster outbreaks of tornadoes, more large hail, and seasonal changes in peak risk periods for hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Peak season for heavy rainfall has shifted to August in our region.
-More research with reanalysis of upper air data and high resolution climate model outputs will be useful in further delineating the future risk of specific severe weather elements over finer scale geography.
-Climate trends are effecting recreation and tourism in terms of number of visitors and seasonal use and activity, e.g. northern MN more stable environment for winter recreation (skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing); Mississippi River accessibility for educational programs has recently been restricted due to many high flow periods..."
Power of Perception
Every day I fall out of bed, rub my eyes, and gaze out the Amish Doppler (window) to get the most accurate, real-time weather report available. The Earth appears flat, but NASA scientists are convinced that we live on a big, lush, spinning sphere. I'm inclined to believe them.
With record rains in June, freak cold fronts in July and an early frost for much of Minnesota last Saturday the perception is that we just muddled through a very chilly summer. But National Weather Service data begs to differ. Cooling degree day data for MSP shows temperatures have been running close to average, yet significantly cooler than 2013.
Perception becomes reality, right? Some days it's hard keeping the big picture. My window keeps getting in the way.
More evidence of a high-amplitude pattern aloft with big swings in temperature: after nudging 80F late this week with sticky dew points in the 60s we cool off again Sunday; another early frost can't be ruled out Tuesday morning. Followed by 70s, even a crack at 80F late next week. You'll need shorts and jackets.
Hurricane Odile just whacked Cabo San Lucas, the strongest hurricane ever to hit Baja Mexico. Moisture from Odile may spark severe flash flooding over Arizona in the coming days.
Warming Trend - Frost Risk Early Next Week? Long-range guidance shows 70+ temperatures as early as Wednesday; 80F not out of the question by Friday and Saturday with a few scattered T-storms as dew points surge into the upper 60s. A strong cool front arrives Saturday PM hours; you start to feel the cool breeze Sunday with a big drop in humidity; as winds ease Monday night we can't rule out a frost Tuesday morning, especially outside the immediate Twin Cities. Graphic: Weatherspark.
Growing Flash Flood Potential Desert Southwest. Moisture from Hurricane Odile will spread up Baja Mexico, fueling intense and persistent monsoonal thunderstorms from near Phoenix and Tucson to Albuquerque in the coming days. I could see some 5"+ amounts capable of severe flash flooding. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: NOAA's 4 KM NAM model and HAMweather.
Odile Ravages Cabo San Lucas, Strongest Known Hurricane To Hit Baja Mexico. Here's an excerpt of a good recap from the always-interesting Capital Weather Gang: "...It’s very rare to get a major hurricane [ category 3 or higher] to reach the Baja Peninsula,” said Brian McNoldy, Capital Weather Gang’s tropical weather expert. “I found just two previous storms in the records to make landfall as major hurricanes: Kiko (1989) and Olivia (1967).” McNoldy said Odile’s intensity exceeded Kiko’s and matched Olivia’s. “Specifically in Cabo San Lucas, it was the most intense landfall,” McNoldy added..." (credit: CIMSS).
* The Wall Street Journal has raw footage of Cabo San Lucas before Odile struck.
The Impact of Solar Flares On The Human Mood and Psyche. Could CME's have an impact on the human mind or is this all a scientific stretch, the stuff of urban legend? Here's an excerpt of a post at Communities Digital News that got my attention: "...From 1948 to 1997, the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia found that geomagnetic activity showed three seasonal peaks each of those years (March to May, in July, and in October). Every peak matched an increased incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide in the city Kirovsk. One explanation for the correlation is that solar storms desynchronize our circadian rhythm (biological clock). The pineal gland in our brain is affected by the electromagnetic activity..."
California Just Banned Free Plastic Bags. Hold the Rejoicing. Mother Jones has a vivid reminder of why you want to use paper, not plastic - here's a clip: "...No one is sure how long a plastic bag takes to decompose, but estimates range from 500 to 1,000 years. Even then, they never fully biodegrade; they just break down into ever-tinier plastic pellets. Each year, tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, and turtles die after getting entangled with bags or mistaking them for food. In 2010, a gray whale that was beached and died in Seattle was found to have more than 20 plastic bags in its stomach..."
Photo credit above: "." .
Tsunami Survival Capsule Could Help Save Lives. If you live near sea level and an active earthquake fault this might look pretty good under the tree come Christmas morning. Ubergizmo has an interesting story and video clip; here's an excerpt: "Tsunamis do show how the forces of nature are not meant to be trifled with. In fact, after three years have passed where the earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan, resulting in close to 20,000 deaths in the Land of the Rising Sun, work is being done with a U.S. company to deliver a ‘tsunami survival capsule’ which has the potential to save lives in the event of a future tsunami..."
Is Google's Self-Driving Car Ready For Prime Time? I'm holding off on placing my order after reading this article at IEEE Spectrum; here's an excerpt: "...IEEE Spectrum has now obtained the driving log of this test, and e-mails referring to it, under Freedom of Information legislation. Some of this information is not new. For example, Nevada officials shared that the Google’s autonomous Toyota Prius passed the test almost immediately. What has not been revealed until now, however, is that Google chose the test route and set limits on the road and weather conditions that the vehicle could encounter, and that its engineers had to take control of the car twice during the drive..." (Photo credit: Google).
Made in Chicago: World's First 3-D Printed Electric Car. Will there come a day when you can use a home 3-D printer to manufacture your next vehicle, to your specs? It sounds like science fiction, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out, either. WGNtv.com has the video and story excerpt: "In a matter of two days, history was made at Chicago’s McCormick Place, as the world’s first 3D printed electric car—named Strati, Italian for “layers”– took its first test drive. “Less than 50 parts are in this car,” said Jay Rogers from Local Motors. Roger’s company is part of the team that developed the engineering process to manufacture an entire car with carbon fiber plastic and print it with a large 3D printer set up at McCormick Place by Cincinnati Incorporated..."
On Death and iPods: a Requiem. WIRED has an interesting essay about what our music (and devices) say about us. No more iPods and more than a few music lovers are in iDenial. Here's an excerpt: "...In all likelihood we’re not just seeing the death of the iPod Classic, but the death of the dedicated portable music player. Now it’s all phones and apps. Everything is a camera. The single-use device is gone—and with it, the very notion of cool that it once carried. The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore. Soon there will be no such thing as your music library. There will be no such thing as your music. We had it all wrong! Information doesn’t want to be free, it wants to be a commodity. It wants to be packaged into apps that differ only in terms of interface and pricing models. It wants to be rented..." (Photo credit: Jim Merithew/WIRED).
Smartphones Ruin More Than Your Sleep - They May Also Be Destroying Your Vision. Here's an excerpt of a story at Business Insider that made me do a double-take: "f you are buying a new iPhone, don't use it in bed — and not just because nighttime smartphone use messes up your sleep cycle. The blue light from personal electronic devices has also been linked to serious physical and mental health problems. Blue light is part of the full light spectrum, which means we're exposed to it by the sun every day. However, nighttime exposure to that light, which is emitted at high levels by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other LED screens, may be damaging your vision. It also suppresses production of the hormone melatonin, which throws off your body's natural sleep cues..."
Photo credit: m01229/flickr
Is TV Stuck in the 70s? We have more channels than I recall in the 70s (when there were 4, give or take), but I still find it difficult to watch everything I'm paying for in the satellite/cable world. Here's a Charlie Rose video interview and story excerpt from Fortune: "...The reality is that cord cutting is happening whether or not these companies do anything or not,” says Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG. “Multi-channel TV is in secular decline. It’s not rapid. It’s a slow melting. The question is what do you do to address it.” Ultimately, it’s not just recalcitrant content owners that are holding back the dream of a Web-like TV world. It’s also economics. Buying channels individually may not prove any cheaper for consumers—not after they spend ever-larger sums for broadband service that is sold by the same companies brought them the cable bundle..."
40 of the Healthiest Packaged Foods You Can Buy At The Supermarket. Like so many others I'm trying to make smarter decisions when it comes to food. Here's an excerpt of a story at Buzzfeed that caught my eye: "...To that end, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) publishes newsletters naming the healthiest brand-name foods you can find at the supermarket. To make their selections, CSPI, which is an independent organization that doesn’t take money from the government or the food industry, crunched data on calories, saturated fat, sodium, and other nutritional information, depending on the category. CSPI says the selections below, handpicked by its nutritionists just for BuzzFeed, taste good, too..."
62 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
72 F. average high on September 15.
67 F. high on September 15, 2013.
.06" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.
September 15 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:
2006: A rapidly forming tornado hits Rogers just before 10pm, killing a 10 year old girl.
1992: New Market received nearly a foot of rain. A bridge collapsed from floodwater in northern Le Sueur County.
1955: An F1 tornado touched down in Mille Lacs and Kanabec Counties causing 1 fatality and $500,000 in damages.
TODAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: SW 10. High: 66
TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and not as cool. Low: 50
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, milder. Dew point: 50. High: near 70
THURSDAY: Fading sun, more wind. Wake-up: 51. High: 71
FRIDAY: Humid, growing thunder risk, especially Friday night. Dew point: 62. Wake-up: 58. High: 78
SATURDAY: Wet start, gradual clearing. Warm breeze. Wake-up: 63. High: 79
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 58. High: 68
MONDAY: Hints of October. Spotty frost late. Wake-up: 44. High: 57
Warmest August, Worldwide, Since 1888. We're on track for the 4th warmest year on record, globally, factoring land and ocean temperatures. The graphic above is courtesy of NASA GISS.
Climate Change: A Hole Too Big To Ignore. Why should we care about these strange holes appearing in Siberian permafrost? Canary in the coal mine? We'll see. Here's a clip from a story at The Jewish Daily Forward: "...Why should we care? The problem is that decaying organic matter releases high levels of methane, a carbon-based greenhouse gas that’s about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Tests of the air at the bottom of the first crater found methane content of 9.6%. That’s roughly 54,000 times higher than normal air (normal is 0.000179% methane). Three holes in Siberia aren’t the end of the world, of course. Not by themselves. But they’re part of an alarming pattern of methane leaks discovered recently that look like products of climate change..."
Image credit above: Wikipedia. "Bottomless: One of the giant craters that appeared in Northern Siberia this summer, a result of global warming."
Climate Activism's New Frontier is Targeting Fossil Fuel Investors. Churches are getting involved in the fossil fuel divestment movement, selling their investments in carbon-producing firms. Here's an excerpt from The Sydney Morning Herald: "...The report, funded by World Wildlife Fund UK, said the movement's real power lies in its ability to stigmatise the industry. "In almost every divestment campaign we reviewed, from Darfur to adult services, from tobacco to South Africa, divestment campaigns were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation affecting stigmatised firms." It identified three stages of divestment, beginning with churches or bodies such as public health associations – who are motivated by ethical priorities – then moving to universities or cities, and finally, investors such as banks and pension funds. The fossil fuels divestment campaign had moved rapidly to the second stage, the report said..."
Just Keep Smiling
I'm older, but no wiser, yet one thing I know: Minnesota Nice evaporates when you're standing in line for a Paul McCartney concert and the sky begins to leak.
"Paul, if it rains you're in trouble!" a women scowled, repeatedly poking me with hypodermic fingernails. Really? I checked Doppler on my cell phone (something my team at a former company, Digital Cyclone, invented in 2001) and was gratified to see others in the crowd quietly doing the same. "Ma'am the shower is ending. And it won't snow. That I can promise you."
Here's the thing: I love the weather. I do my job for free. They pay me (actually I pay myself) to put up with noisy skeptics. It's a never-ending MBA in public relations and crowd control. No wonder I'm neurotic.
A northeast breeze drops dew points to comfortable levels today; most of the T-storms stay south and west of MSP into midweek.
Thursday appears to be the wettest day, with sunshine and 80s next weekend luring you back onto the lake. After record June floods and mostly-lousy weekends in July we're trying to cram an entire summer into August.
Soak it up because the ECMWF hints at 60s for highs by the middle of next week.
PS: the sprinkles ended in time for McCartney's amazing rendition of "8 Days a Week".
No flurries either.
Definition of Isolated Thunderstorms. When it rains hard in your yard the probability of precipitation goes up to 100%, but the high-res visible loop from Sunday shows showers and T-storms over less than 5-10% of the area during the midday and afternoon hours; cumulonimbus flaring up ahead of a slightly cooler and drier front that will leave us breating a bit easier today and Tuesday. Loop: HAMweather.
A Summerlike Week. Next Week? Not So Much. 80s will be the rule this week, with the exception of Thursday, when showers and T-storms will keep temperatures in the 70s. You'll notice a welcome dip in dew point today, but humidity levels creep up as the week goes on, a very lake-worthy weekend shaping up with mid-80s possible both days. A cool frontal passage sparks more heavy T-storms Monday, followed by a possible temperature tumble next week. Source: Weatherspark.
Moisture Plume. The amount of tropical moisture available to a stalled East Coast frontal boundary is impressive, and I could see some isolated 6" amounts near Wilmington North Carolina by 2 AM Wednesday. Slightly cooler, drier air pushes south into Minnesota and Wisconsin; monsoon T-storms producing localized flash flooding from California's Sierra Nevada into Las Vegas and possibly Salt Lake City. 4 KM WRF data: NOAA and HAMweather.
Carolina Flood Potential. 7-Day accumulated rainfall guidance shows some 4-5" amounts possible from near Charleston to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, capable of ongoing flooding headaches. More heavy showers and T-storms are likely to dump 1-3"+ rains from near Sioux Calls to Des Moines and Kansas City. Source: NOAA.
A Close Call from Bertha. No, not Bertha Butt (one of the Butt Sisters), but Tropical Storm Bertha, which may grow to minimal Category 1 hurricane status by Wednesday, well east of the US coast. But the Carolinas will be brushed by strong winds and rip currents, moisture from Bertha fueling additional heavy showers and T-storms with potential flash flooding for the Outer Banks. Storm track: NOAA NHC.
Gov. Brown Declares State of Emergency for California Wildfires. Here's the latest from The Los Angeles Times: "Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday declared a state of emergency due to the effects of several wildfires burning in central and northern California counties. Thousands of acres have burned in El Dorado, Amador, Butte, Humboldt, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta and Siskiyou counties, which have been suffering from lightning strikes and high temperatures. Some homes have burned..."
Photo credit above: "This July 28 photo by the U.S. Forest Service shows flames and smoke in the Sierra National Forest." (Burt Stalter / U.S. National Forest Service via AP).
As Wildfires Burn Through Funds, Washington Seeks New Way To Pay. Nothing like running out of money to sharpen one's focus. Maine Public Broadcasting reports; here's an excerpt of a very interesting interview: "...Together, the Interior Department and the Forest Service, which bears the lion share of wildfire fighting responsibilities, have budgeted over a billion dollars for firefighting this year. That's five times more than 20 years ago, and even that may not be enough, if recent years are any guide. There are other costs associated with wildfires, says Rachel Cleetus, a senior climate economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists..."
Photo credit above: "Smoke rises from a fire in Burney, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital." (AP Photo/Record Searchlight, Clay Duda)
Downright Dismal Images of the Western Drought, A Record-Setter in California. The acceleration of drought out west, especially California, is remarkable. Climate Central provides additional perspective; here's a clip: "...California is turning brown and you can see it from space. Look at the difference between June 2011 and June 2014 in the animation of NASA images below. Note the dwindling snowpack, as well. Sierra Nevada snowpack was just 18 percent of normal this spring..."
Animation credit: "Pair of images above from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite." (NASA).
10 Cities Running Out Of Water. Most of them are in California, as USA TODAY reports: "...Based on data provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaboration between academic and government organizations, 24/7 Wall St. identified large U.S. urban areas that have been under persistent, serious drought over the first seven months of this year. The Drought Monitor measures drought by five levels of intensity: from D0, described as abnormally dry, to D4, described as exceptional drought. For the first time in the Drought Monitor's history, 100% of California is under at least severe drought conditions, or D2. It was also the first time exceptional drought of any kind — the highest level — has been recorded in the state..."
Otherworldly Downpour Precedes Deadly Landslide in India. When it does rain it's falling harder, with tragic consequences at times. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "When the storm came to this tiny village on Wednesday morning, with a resounding blast and mere seconds of a downpour so heavy it could not be called rain, Dilip Bhagwa Lembeg was walking to his paddy fields. He heard the blast, looked up to the hill behind him, and saw that the mango trees on the hilltop were trembling. Seconds later, most of the houses in the area were gone..."
Photo credit above: "Villagers watch a rescue operation standing by mud and slush at the site of a landslide in Malin village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Heavy rains hampered efforts Friday by hundreds of rescue workers digging through heavy mud and debris, as the death toll from a landslide that engulfed an entire village in western India crossed 50". (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool).
Extreme Flash Flooding In Italian Tourist Town Kills 4, Injures 20. The UK Daily Mail has details on another tragedy. Is the rain falling harder or is this just the media doing a better job of reporting extreme rains that have always been with us? I suspect the former, but I'm keeping an open mind. Here's a clip: "At least four people have died after a flash flood swept revelers at a village festinval in Italy into a river. A furious torrent carried off cars, kiosks and villagers, who were celebrating the traditional "Feast of the Omens" in Molinetto della Croda, near Venice. Around 200 people had taken shelter under a tent when "an avalanche of water" struck, leaving more than 20 people injured, four badly, authorities said..."
Heavy Rain Paralyzes Life Across Turkey. Istanbul was hit by a rare tornado; here's an excerpt from Today's Zaman: "İstanbul was hit by heavy rain on Saturday evening, causing water to collect on several roads, bringing traffic to a standstill. Many locals, heading home from work, were trapped in their vehicles when floodwater accumulated on the roads. Flooding caused traffic jams and congestion problems throughout the city. Municipal workers worked all night to clear streets across the city...."
Science Fair Project Spins Up NASA Hurricane Study. Are hurricanes becoming larger, and if so what are the economic implications? Should we be focusing less on wind speed and category and more on the size of a storm? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating study from NASA JPL: "...They found that the common practice of using only wind speed to represent hurricanes in economic hurricane damage models is inadequate for large storms, such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy. Zhai and Jiang are the first to quantify the economic impacts of increasing hurricane size. Analyzing 73 hurricanes from 1988 to the present, Zhai and Jiang found that a doubling in size, without a change in wind speed, more than quadruples the economic loss a hurricane causes. Tripling its size multiplies the loss by almost 20 times..."
Photo credit above: ".
Researchers Take New Approach To Hurricane Forecasting. Track predictions are consistently accurate, but how do we make that quantum leap and make a more accurate hurricane (intensity) forecast? News 92 FM in Houston has an interesting story; here's an excerpt: "...Forecasters have gotten pretty good at forecasting a hurricane’s path, but when it comes to intensity forecasting, especially intensity just before landfall, researcher Alex Soloviev of Nova Southeastern University says there just hasn’t been much progress. “During the last 25 years or so, there has been no serious improvement in forecasting of hurricanes,” Soloviev said..." (File photo of Hurricane Katia: NASA).
A Look At Some of History's Most Intense Hurricanes. RNN and WDAM.com have a good recap of some of America's superstorms; here's an excerpt: "Here’s a look at some of the most intense hurricanes to hit the United States.
Labor Day hurricane, 1935: This hurricane is still ranked as the most intense hurricane to ever hit the U.S. nearly eight decades after it struck the Florida Keys. Residents in the area had very little warning or chance to evacuate, as the storm was predicted to pass south. Survivors told The Associated Press their families only knew something was wrong in the hours before landfall when their barometers began showing low readings. While no wind speeds are available, the storm’s pressure was measured at 892 millibars, one of the lowest ever recorded. The unnamed hurricane killed 408 people in the Keys, many of them World War I veterans working on a local construction project..."
File photo above: Hurricane Andrew, 1992. "Many houses, businesses and personal effects suffered extensive damage from one of the most destructive hurricanes ever recorded in America. One million people were evacuated and 54 died in the hurricane." (Source: FEMA).
Only 6% of Weather-Related Deaths from 2006-2010 Were from Severe Weather. It may be counterintuitive, but the vast majority of the roughly 2,000 American weather-related fatalities were due to extreme cold and extreme heat. More details from WWLP.com.
Dramatic Image of Supercell Wins National Geographic Contest. Yes, this is one of the most spectacular photos I've ever seen of a strongly rotating thunderstorm. These are the extreme storms that often produce damaging hail and tornadoes. More from The Capital Weather Gang: "A beautiful, dramatic image of a Colorado supercell thunderstorm won first place in National Geographic’s 2014 Traveler Photo Contest. The image, taken by photographer Marko Korošec of Slovenia, is a striking representation of the power of thunderstorms in North America. Low precipitation supercells, like this one in Colorado, are most common in the high plains of the United States. They provide excellent opportunities to visualize the rotating updraft — part of what makes these storms so dangerous..."
Photo credit above: "The Independence Day" – "While on storm chasing expeditions in the Tornado Alley in USA I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching the storm near Julesburg, Colorado on My 28th, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but stayed an LP storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail and some rain." (Photo and caption by Marko Korošec / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
After Ebola. The world is a dangerous place, but all other risks pale compared to virus and pandemic. That's the argument of this harrowing story at The New Yorker, including the story of Patrick Sawyer, the only American to die from ebola so far, was scheduled to fly to Minnesota - he never had a chance to get on that plane: "...But as the world’s worst Ebola epidemic yet spreads through western Africa, it is important to remember that we won’t always see something. “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus,” the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg once wrote. Few epidemiologists would disagree. There is no bomb, no poison, no plan of attack with the potential to do as much damage..."
Image credit above: "A woman in protective clothing drives an ambulance after departing Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta., Ga., en route Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days." (AP Photo/John Bazemore).
When It's Bad To Have Good Choices. I've noticed for some time (in me). More choices sounds great, but it also makes me more neurotic - having to choose. This is why you never wander into Byerly's on an empty stomach. Here's a clip from The New Yorker: "...Perhaps, then, what we’re really seeing is how the old fear of missing out plays out in the brain. We’re surrounded by great choices to make, great places to be, great things to do—and that’s wonderful. But when we’re made to commit to one, just think of everything that gets away. Shenhav himself refers to it as the “neural correlates of First World problems.” We know that someone else is eating that delicious ice cream that we passed up—or filling that job that we turned down..." (Image credit: Psychology Today).
88 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
82 F. average high on August 3.
80 F. high on August 3, 2013.
TODAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 56. NE 8. High: near 80
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, more comfortable sleeping. Low: 57
TUESDAY: Comfortable sunshine. Dew point: 54. High: 80
WEDNESDAY: Sun fades, isolated thunder late. Wake-up: 55. High: 82
THURSDAY: Wettest day of the week. T-storms likely. Wake-up: 58. High: 76
FRIDAY: Unsettled, spotty T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 81
SATURDAY: Warm sun, hit the lake. Dew point: 59. Wake-up: 62. High: 84
SUNDAY: Sticky sunshine, feels like July. DP: 63. Wake-up: 63. High: 85
Ignoring Climate Change is Risky Business. U.S. News has the article following up on the recent "Risky Business" report; here's the introduction: "The U.S. faces significant and diverse economic risks from climate change.” No, that’s not a scary pronouncement from the Obama administration to justify its climate policies. That’s the first sentence of the report “Risky Business”— from a staid committee co-chaired by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and retired hedge fund founder Tom Steyer — urging the business community “to rise to the challenge and lead the way in helping reduce climate risks...”
Minnesota: Likely Impacts 2020-2039. Here's a graphic from the recent "Risky Business" report, detailing the changes that may be coming to Minnesota and the rest of the planet. It's a worthy read.
Global Warming Kicks up Record Pacific Trade Winds. Remember that everything in the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system is interconnected. It's one big domino effect and we're in uncharted waters. Here's an excerpt from Discovery: "Rapid warming of the Atlantic Ocean is "turbocharging" Pacific equatorial trade winds, according to new research. These are the strongest trade winds since recording began in the 1860s, according to scientists from the University of New South Wales and the University of Hawaii. "The increase in these winds has ... amplified the Californian drought, accelerated sea level rise three times faster than the global average in the Western Pacific and has slowed the rise of global average surface temperatures since 2001," the study's authors report..." (image above: iStock).
Where Should You Ride out Global Warming? Hint: It's Not The South. Here's an excerpt of an interesting analysis at al.com: "University of Washington atmospheric science professor Dr. Cliff Mass says in his blog this week that the Pacific Northwest is the spot in the lower 48 states to ride out global warming. Mass starts out by assuming global warming is real and "will take hold" later this century. Here's why he says the "Pacific Northwest is the place to be."
1. Sea level rise
It's not a big problem in the Pacific Northwest, Mass says, because of the general rise in elevation along Northwest shorelines. "Forget Florida," he says flatly. And South Alabama's beaches won't fare much better, his map indicates..."
Image credit above: "
...So, I can go through one item after the other of major changes that are going to happen under global warming. And most of them will not produce serious effects here in the Northwest,” Mass said. Mass also cites researchers at Portland State University, who have published a study suggesting the Willamette Valley could become a place to ride out worsening conditions of a warming planet."
Map credit above: "The colored dots plot out expected effects of climate change." Courtesy Cliff Mass.
New Study Sees Warming Atlantic Behind a Host of Recent Climate Shifts. Andrew Revkin reports at The New York Times; here's the intro: "Using climate models and observations, a fascinating study in this week’s issue of Nature Climate Change points to a marked recent warming of the Atlantic Ocean as a powerful shaper of a host of notable changes in climate and ocean patterns in the last couple of decades — including Pacific wind, sea level and ocean patterns, the decade-plus hiatus in global warming and even California’s deepening drought. The study, “Recent Walker circulation strengthening and
Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming,” was undertaken by researchers at the University of New South Wales and University of Hawaii..."
China's Surprise on Climate Change. Yes, the effort to wean ourselves off fossil fuels has to be a global effort, and China now emits more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the USA. They're starting to realize they have a longer term problem, and challenge. How do you keep the lights on, grow the economy, move more people into the middle class, with far less carbon-based pollution? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY that caught my eye: "...Taking a long view, Chinese leaders see the threats posed by rising sea levels, droughts and other effects of climate change. For all these reasons, China is considering its first mandatory cap on coal use. Whether that will happen, or be sufficient, remains uncertain. Sustaining economic growth that has lifted a million people out of poverty remains China's overriding priority. Signals of its intentions could emerge at climate talks next month in New York, in December in Peru and next year in Paris. That's where the United States comes in. As the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and America hold the key on global warming..."
In town for the All-Star game? I predict you'll enjoy your stay in Minneapolis and enjoy a healthy serving of "Minnesota Nice" while you're here. What? It's "too cool for baseball?"
Well, unlike some stuffy American cities, where July heat can bake the paint off cars and make you want to live in your swimming pool, we prefer our summers fresh and comfortable, with a faint Canadian accent. In fact today is a little on the warm side for many of us! That's why you'll see throngs of smiling locals in shorts and sweatshirts.
Sort of a passive-aggressive thing we have going here. We ignore the weather we don't like. And we never, ever complain.
It may, in fact, be the coolest MLB All-Star Game since 1980 (if the first-pitch temperature is cooler than 68F). No haze, no smog. No raging storms - just popcorn cumulus clouds and a sprinkling of stars by 10 PM. Baseball the way it was meant to be.
A flawless Wednesday gives way to a warming trend later this week; the next chance of T-storms late Saturday.
Oh, if anyone asks (doubtful) Fairbanks, Alaska was warmer than the Twin Cities yesterday. And a light frost is possible over the Minnesota Arrowhead late tonight.
An All-Star Weather Report: Fresh Air; Frost Risk Northern Minnesota Wednesday Morning? In today's first Climate Matters segment I take a look at the crazy temperatures extremes across North America; wind chill over the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, while the western USA and Canada fries under 90 and 100-degree heat. Blame (or thank) strange loops and permutations in the jet stream: "It's been all or nothing in the moisture department, why not temperature too? WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the chilly temperatures over the Eastern half of the United States and the baking heat across the West. What is to blame?"
A July Vortex from Space. The gyre of unusually chilly air pinwheeling out of Canada showed up in yesterday's visible satellite image, a counterclockwise swirl centered over Duluth. As cool as it was at the surface, temperatures aloft were much colder, resulting in numerous instability showers, some heavy.
Whiff of Wind Chill. At 10 AM Monday the wind chill in Hibbing was a crisp 46 F. Not too bad considering the air temperature was a chilling 52 F. with a windblown rain falling. What month is this again?
A Crazed Jet Stream. Yes, winds aloft are redefining the meaning of "high amplitude flow", record heat surging across western Canada with 80s reported as far north as the Arctic Circle, while a gyre of October-like air swirls across the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes, where temperatures are running 20-30 F. cooler than average. When, precisely, was the last time our weather was average?
A Mid-Summer Correction. NAM 2-meter temperature guidance shows free A/C pushing into the Ohio Valley and New England by midweek; sizzling 90s and 100-degree highs still commonplace from Texas into much of the western USA. There is a 1 in 3 chance of isolated frost by Wednesday morning over far northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. Remarkable. Animation: NOAA and HAMweather.
Mother of All July Cool Fronts - 90F Next Week? Brisk weather continues today; in all probability tonight's MLB All-Star game will be the coolest ever played. We slowly warm in the coming days; a few T-storms popping up again late Saturday into early next week. All guidance shows a surge of heat next week, maybe a few days at or above 90F. Talk about a temperature turnaround. Meteogram: Weatherspark.
Lake Mead Levels to Drop to Historic Lows. More symptoms of a lingering, multi-year drought; here's an excerpt from PRWeb: "Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, is anticipated this week to reach its lowest water level since the lake’s initial filling in the 1930s. The Bureau of Reclamation’s Boulder Canyon Operations Office is projecting the elevation to drop to 1,081.75 feet above sea level during the week of July 7, and to continue to drop, reaching approximately 1,080 feet in November of this year..."
Lake Mead Water Levels Since 1935. Nebraskaweatherphotos.org has more fascinating details, graphs and photos focused on the gradual decline of Lake Mead.
Driest Year Across California Since 1923-24. Lake Mead water levels are the lowest recorded since it started to fill up in the mid-30s. Looking at statewide data ithe period from June 30, 2013 to July 1, 2014 was the second driest in California history. That, and smoke plumes from western fires, is the subject of today's second Climate Matters segment: "Wildfires, extreme heat, and drought are all characteristics of the Western United States right now. What has one of the worst droughts in 500 hundred years brought with it? Shrinking reservoirs, including Lake Mead, can be seen all over the West. When will it end?"
6.5 Million American Homes Face Hurricane Risk. Realty Biz News has the story and highlights of a recent comprehensive study; here's the introduction: "More than 6.5 million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts could be at risk of a storm surge from a hurricane, which could amount to nearly $1.5 trillion in potential reconstruction costs, according to the 2014 storm surge analysis conducted by CoreLogic..."
Image credit above: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via photopin cc.
Surge Could Do Serious Damage Here. The Herald-Tribune looks at the implications of a hurricane storm surge for southwestern Florida, from Sarasota to Naples and Fort Myers; here's an excerpt: "Southwest Florida has more residential real estate at risk from storm surge damage than almost any other metropolitan area in the country, a new report shows. If a major hurricane were to strike here, it would cost nearly $43 billion to rebuild the homes destroyed by the storm and subsequent surge in the region, according to data from housing researcher CoreLogic. Statewide, more than two million homes could be impacted and cost nearly $500 billion to replace..."
Photo credit above: "Storm surge swallows up the public beach near the city pier in Naples in 2005, after Hurricane Wilma powered through the city. A new report indicates storm surge could damage thousands of homes in this region." H-T ARCHIVE / 2005.
Swimsuits for Snow Boots. Freak Summer Snow and Hail Hit Siberia, Urals. RT News has the photos and article; here's an excerpt: "Snowdrifts piled up on the roads of Russia's Ural region on Saturday as an abnormal summer snowstorm hit the region, bringing the area into the spotlight once again after last year's meteorite fall. Siberia also witnessed a downpour of giant hailstones. Residents of the cities of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk, located in Russia's eastern Ural region, were taken aback when it suddenly started snowing in the middle of summer on Saturday..."
Vietnam's Overdue Alliance with America. I didn't think I'd live long enough to see this headline, but after touring Vietnam earlier this year, seeing their market-based economy and remarkable work ethic, and sensing a growing concern and unease about China's aspirations, some sort of alliance may be all but inevitable. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "...Because of China’s recent territorial grabs at sea and its complete disregard for international law, we are now back to square one. Without a major strategic realignment, Vietnam’s island territories will simply be gobbled up by China. Our country must dispose of the myth of friendship with China and return to what Ho Chi Minh passionately advocated after World War II: an American-Vietnamese alliance in Asia. Ho’s sympathies with the United States and its platform of self-determination for all peoples went as far back as the Paris Peace Conference after World War I..."
Tree Houses: High-End Style Goes Out on a Limb. Put up a flat-screen TV, WIFI and a flush toilet and I'm there. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Boston Globe: "...Regardless of where the house is built, however, clients look at it as an escape. And that’s exactly the way B’fer Roth likes it. He can install electricity and plumbing and all that if customers insist, but that’s not his preference, truth be told. “The whole point of a treehouse is getting away from all the stuff we’re inundated with in the luxuries of our homes,” he said. “My ideal treehouse doesn’t have all the trappings of the modern urban house...”
Photo credit above: Nelson Treehouse and Supply. "Nelson Treehouse and Supply of Fall City, Wash., built this treehouse with the varied rooflines and the Arts-and-Crafts-style elements on the Cape."
How Coffee Protects Against Parkinson's. Good thing I had my triple-shot latte this morning - it's now possible to rationalize away almost anything. Here's a clip of an interesting article at medicalxpress.com: "...An epidemiological study of Parkinson's patients from two counties in south east Sweden examined a combination of a previously known protective factor – caffeine – and the genetic variant in GRIN2A. The findings show that individuals with this combination run a significantly lower risk of developing the disease..."
Stress-Busting Diet: Eight Foods That May Boost Resilience. I put down my donut just long enough to read an interesting article at NPR; here's a clip: "...There can be a bit of a vicious cycle," says , a professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard University and a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital. "When we feel stressed we seek foods that are going to comfort us immediately, but often times those foods lead to surges and crashes in hormones and blood sugar that increase our susceptibility to new stresses..."
Photo credit above: "A nutrient-dense diet may help tamp down stress. And these foods may help boost our moods (clockwise from left): pumpkin seeds, sardines, eggs, salmon, flax seeds, Swiss chard and dark chocolate." Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Utilities to Battery-Powered Solar: Get Off Our Lawn. Grist has an interesting article for anyone considering trying to sell excess (free) solar energy back to the grid; here's an excerpt: "In Wisconsin, utilities are jacking up the price to connect to their electrical grid. In Oklahoma, utilities pushed through a law this spring that allows them to charge the people who own solar panels and wind turbines more to connect to their electrical grid. In Arizona, the state has decided to charge extra property taxes to households that are leasing solar panels. Welcome to the solar backlash..."
Apple Patent Hints the iPhone 6 Will Be Made of Indestructible Glass. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "A new Apple patent gives more weight to rumors that the next iPhone will be made of a nearly indestructible type of glass. Apple won a patent this week for “fused glass device housings," a new method of fusing together pieces of glass, which could be used to make casings for devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple Insider reports..."
People Who Complain About Tornado Coverage Deserve To Miss Their Show. I understand the angst and frustration when the meteorologist interrupts your favorite show for a tornado warning. But here's the thing: TV stations are licensed by the FCC to serve the public interest. That very much includes passing on warnings for imminent, life-threatening weather from their local NWS offices. There are other (better) ways to get these warnings, including smartphone apps, but cut the poor TV meteorologist some slack. He's just doing his job. And you may think different (sorry Steve Jobs) when it's your neighborhood in the path of an EF-4. Here's a clip from The Vane at Gawker: "...Most television stations in the United States have policies in place that require their weather personnel to break into programming when a tornado warning is issued in their viewing area. As tornado warnings are only issued during imminent life-threatening severe weather situations, meteorologists need to get the word out as fast as they can so people in the way of the storms can take cover just in case the worst happens...
Runner Struck in the Head by Lightning, Finishes Third. And the gold medal winner for dumb-tenacity has to go to this guy - as reported by Fitish: "Over the weekend the Hardrock 100 ultramarathon wound its way through the mountains around Silverton, Colo. The men's winner set a course record. But more impressive or stupid or mind-boggling was that the third-place finisher, Adam Campbell of Canada, was struck by lightning. In the head. And then he kept running..."
65 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday, the coolest July 14 on record. Old record: 68 in 1884.
84 F. average high on July 14.
86 F. high on July 14, 2013.
.06" rain fell yesterday at KMSP.
July 14, 1980: Straight-line winds of nearly 100 mph causes enormous damage, mainly in Dakota County. 43 million dollars in damage was reported and 100 thousand people were without power.
TODAY: Fresh air. More clouds than sun. Winds: NW 15. Dew point: 46. High: 68
TUESDAY NIGHT: Great baseball weather (bring a sweatshirt). Slow clearing. Low: 52
WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, less wind. Perfect. High: 72
THURSDAY: Sunny, a bit milder. Dew point: 48. Wake-up: 58. High: 74
FRIDAY: Warm sunshine, more July-like. Wake-up: 60. High: near 80
SATURDAY: Sticky sun, T-storms late. Dew point: 65. Wake-up: 64. High: 82
SUNDAY: Patchy clouds, stray T-shower. Dry most of the day. Wake-up: 65. High: 81
MONDAY: Shocker: more T-storms, downpours. Wake-up: 64. High: 83
"Tornadoes of Fire" in N.W.T. Linked to Climate Change. Record heat (and sudden drought) has ignited a rash of wildfires across Canada's Northwest Territories, and the trends suggest warming since the 1970s is at least partly to blame for an increase in frequency, size and duration of wildfires. But is there a link to climate volatility? Here's an excerpt from Canada's CBC: "Climate change is responsible for more frequent and larger forest fires, such as the ones now plaguing the Northwest Territories, says an Edmonton professor. “What we are seeing in the Northwest Territories this year is an indicator of what to expect with climate change,” says Mike Flannigan, a professor of Wildland Fire in the University of Alberta’s renewable resources department. “Expect more fires, larger fires, more intense fires...”
Photo credit above: "A boy points to a fire on the other side of a lake near Gameti, N.W.T. Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, says climate change is responsible for the hot, dry conditions that are causing fires to burn out of control." (Jenn Wetrade)
How A Flood-Prone Village In The U.S. Moved To Higher, Drier Ground. Expect to see more of this in the years ahead. Here's an excerpt from Thomson Reuters Foundation: "...So Valmeyer (Illinois) did what many vulnerable, disaster-prone communities around the world have considered: It moved to safer ground. Climate change, coupled with deforestation to make way for cities and farms and population growth that results in people living in increasingly vulnerable places, is leading to more severe and frequent natural disasters, scientists say. Those disasters are forcing millions to relocate temporarily or even permanently to safer areas. An estimated 31.7 million people were displaced by weather-related disasters in 2012 alone, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre..."
Photo credit above: "A 1993 map of plans for a new Valmeyer, Illinois, located on a bluff above the old flood-hit town." Photo courtesy of Dennis Knobloch.
8 Charts That Show How Climate Change is Making The World More Dangerous. The Guardian has the story - here's a clip: "...Flooding and mega-storms were by far the leading cause of disaster from 2000-2010. About 80% of the 3,496 disasters of the last decade were due to flooding and storms. Seas are rising because of climate change. So are extreme rain storms. There is growing evidence that warming temperatures are increasing the destructive force of hurricanes..."
Dr. Jason Box Interviewed by Bill Maher. Jason Box is Chief Scientist for the Dark Snow project. His recent award-winning documentary "Chasing Ice" showed, in stark details, the rate of ice loss taking place at northern latitudes, worldwide. This interview took place on July 12, 2014; here's the clip on YouTube.
Climate Change: Birds Most Influenced by Precipitation, Not Warming Temperatures. Nature World News has a story focused on new research; here's an excerpt: "...Although it would seem that warming temperatures associated with climate change would most greatly influence animal species like birds, a new study shows that precipitation is actually the key to bird adaptation. Past studies have shown that warming temperatures can push some animal species - including birds - into higher latitudes or higher elevations. However, few have explored the role that precipitation has on how they adapt to their environment..."
Photo credit above: "Although it would seem that warming temperatures associated with climate change would most greatly influence animal species like birds, a new study shows that precipitation is actually the key to bird adaptation." (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
America's Oil Consumption is Rising, Not Falling, Outpacing China's. InsideClimate News has the details; here's an excerpt: "U.S. oil demand reversed course in dramatic fashion in 2013, as the nation's growth in crude consumption outpaced perennial leader China for the first time since 1999, according to oil company BP's annual compendium of world energy statistics. The U.S. increase follows two years of declines, and dampens hopes that the world's largest oil guzzler was permanently reining in its appetite for crude..."
Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Understand Climate Change Basics And That's a Problem. And that fundamental scientific ignorance and misinformation trickles down to his global media empire. The Guardian has the article; here's an excerpt: "...Rupert Murdoch's media outlets frequently publish opinion articles from non-experts who similarly downplay the risks we face from climate change. It's not surprising that Murdoch is misinformed on the subject if those biased non-experts are his sources of information. However, it's not just Murdoch who's being misinformed by these inaccurate and biased opinions, it's also the vast audience that his media empire reaches. Murdoch's media outlets are of course free to publish whatever misinformation they like. However, given their immense size and reach, it's difficult to offset the damage this misinformation causes to the public understanding about climate change..."