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.

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No Sweat. Coolest MLB All-Star Game on Record? Frost Potential North early Wednesday - 90s Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 14, 2014 - 10:49 PM


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.

Welcome!


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


Climate Stories....

"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..."

Stumbling into Spring (Minnesota average ice-out coming 10 days earlier than 2013)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: May 2, 2014 - 10:52 PM

Getting Better

So it's come to this. Yesterday, when the sun finally came out in all its glory, the meteorologists I work with crept up to the Amish Doppler (window) and began clapping. Kind of sad. Moss is now forming on my north side. Daffodils coming up in the yard are doing the backstroke, but my rice paddies are coming along nicely.

Nearly 10 inches of precipitation has fallen on MSP since January 1, 3.63 inches wetter than average. With any luck a deepening drought spreading from California to the Plains won't creep back up to our latitude.

I still see a cool bias into much of May; the core of the jet stream still 200-400 miles farther south than usual for this time of year. But we're stumbling in the right direction.

Showers sprout near Duluth later today, but much of Minnesota salvages some sun with highs near 60F. A few light showers may brush far southern Minnesota Sunday morning - heavier T-storms are brewing for the middle of next week. A few could even be severe as temperatures rise above 70F.

In today's weather blog below: CO2 levels hit a new record, the most Great Lakes ice in April since 1973 and Minnesota ice-out dates are running 8 days later than average. Never a dull moment.


Stumbling Into Spring. Expect mid to upper 50s today, but a warming trend arrives next week. Not exactly a hot front, but a spike of warmth Wednesday may spark a few strong to potentially severe thunderstorms nearby. Steadier rain gives way to clearing next Friday; ECMWF guidance suggesting more low 70s next weekend. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Weekend Showers. The best chance of a few instability showers today will come north and east of Duluth. A second (weak) system spreads a few light showers into southwestern Minnesota Sunday; rain will probably pass south and west of MSP with some high and mid level clouds nearby. 4 KM WRF data: NOAA and WeatherBell.


Drying Out. After this week's stalled storm and record rains from Pensacola to Tampa northward to Philadelphia and Long Island much of America dries out this weekend. Next week's northward shift of the jet stream may spark a wave of heavy showers and T-storms from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes by midweek.


Extended Outlook: East Coast Heats Up - Cool Bias Rockies to Upper Midwest. After warming into the 60s next week, even 70s by Wednesday, temperatures cool off a bit between May 8-12 from Denver to the Twin Cities and Green Bay as the jet stream continues to bulge southward, pulling cooler air out of Canada. Map: NOAA and HAMweather.


April Weather Highlights and Low-Lights. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley's always-illuminating WeatherTalk newsletter: "...Cooler and wetter than normal describes the month of April in Minnesota for a second consecutive year. April of 2014 was the 6th consecutive month with cooler than normal mean monthly temperatures reported. Most observers reported mean values for April temperature that were from 4 to 6 degrees F cooler than normal. Extremes for the month ranged from 82 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on April 9th to -11 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) on April 2nd. Only 9 days during the month brought above normal temperatures. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation on four dates during the month..."




April Climate Recap. Here are a few highlights from the most recent HydroClim Minnesota Update from the Minnesota DNR:

  • April precipitation totals were variable across Minnesota, ranging from less than two inches in southwest and north central Minnesota counties, to over six inches in east central, south central and southeast Minnesota locales. In the wetter areas, monthly precipitation totals approached or exceeded all-time record highs for the month of April.
  • Average monthly temperatures for April in Minnesota were below historical averages. It was the sixth consecutive month of below-average temperatures.
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor places portions of southwest Minnesota in the Moderate Drought category.
  • Stream discharge values are high to very high at most Minnesota monitoring locations. Minor flooding is occurring in some areas. Moderate flooding is underway or projected at a few locales along the Red River of the North.
  • Most lakes in the northern one-quarter of Minnesota remain ice covered. This spring, lake ice out dates are approximately eight days later than historical median ice out dates, but 10 days earlier than in 2013

Speaking of ice....

Wall of Ice Damages Homes, Threatens Resort Near Mille Lacs. It's deja vu all over again. Here's a clip from an article and video at The Star Tribune: "Driven by high winds, ice from Lake Mille Lacs has gone on a rampage in recent days, bursting into homes, tearing up the shoreline, blocking roads and forming massive mounds in yards. The problems are mostly in the Garrison, Minn., area on the western shore of the lake, which has taken the brunt of the east winds accompanying recent rains. Last year, it was the southeast corner of the lake, near Isle and Wahkon..."

Photo credit above: "Ice swept and damaged Randy Dykhoff's property along the shore north of Garrison, MN Thursday, May 1, 2014. Dykhoff, of Mound, was notified by the Sheriff's office of the damage that had occurred last Sunday. He said he carried several wheel barrow loads of ice through his kitchen. He has owned the property since 1997 and It was the first time he has experienced this." Photo: Elizabeth Flores.

 


Winter Won't Let Go: Great Lakes Still On Ice. The most April ice since 1973? Climate Central has an update; here's an excerpt: "April has come and gone but a record amount of ice still remains on the Great Lakes. This April was the lakes’ iciest on record after a near-record winter, and the season has been notable for how early ice formed and how long it’s lingered. At the close of April, nearly a quarter of the five Great Lakes — the largest group of lakes on Earth — still have ice on them and ice is likely to linger for weeks to come according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. That makes the month far and away the iciest April since recordkeeping began in 1973..."

Image credit: Climate Central and Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.


Alabama Tornado Outbreak 2014 By The Numbers: 20 Tornadoes, 153 Miles of Damage. Meteorologist Paul Gattis has a good update on the extent of damage at al.com; here's a clip: "It wasn’t the tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011. In fact, it wasn’t even close. But the storms that swept across Alabama on Monday and into early Tuesday morning was the most significant outbreak since that historic day three years ago. According to storm surveys from the National Weather Service, 20 tornadoes touched down across central and northern Alabama – including two that touched down just north of the Alabama-Tennessee state line in Lincoln County, Tenn..."

Image credit above: "Sky View HSV used a quadcopter to capture footage from storm-ravaged areas in the Bay Hill Marina, Coxey community and along 7 Mile Post Road in Limestone County Wednesday, April 30, 2014." (Contributed by Sky View HSV).


Tornadoes Carve Scars Into The Earth That Are Visible From Space. The EF-4 that hit Vilonia and Mayflower was a monster; winds may have peaked close to 200 mph. The length, width and ferocity of the tornado becomes apparent when you can see the debris field from space. The Vane and Newsweek report; here's an excerpt: "Almost three dozen people were killed in the latest tornado outbreak that tore through the Deep South this week. The outbreak included several "long-track" tornadoes, which can drag across the landscape for tens and sometimes hundreds of miles, leaving behind scars on the earth's surface that can be seen from space. Gawker's The Vane blog created gifs out of satellite images that clearly show the scars, eerie reminders of the scale of the havok the tornadoes wreaked. These scars tend to dissapear in several months as vegetation regrows, though they linger for longer in more populated regions, according to The Vane..."

 

 

Image above: The Vane.

 



Mamma Mia! Another Tornado Video from Italy. More tornadoes in unlikely places. Mike Smith Enterprises Blog has the video clip.

 


 

Tornadoes Most Likely To Occur During Multi-Day Spans. That was certainly the case this past week, and it's something I see all the time. Red Orbit has an interesting article; here's a clip: "...In a report published by the journal Monthly Weather Review - Jeff Trapp, a planetary sciences professor at Purdue, said a bout of 20 or greater reported tornadoes had a 74 percent chance of occurring throughout a period of tornado activity sustained for three or more days. Throughout those exact same periods, a tornado with an intensity that scored 3 or higher out of 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent chance of hitting, the report added..."


In a report published by the journal Monthly Weather ReviewJeff Trapp, a planetary sciences professor at Purdue, said a bout of 20 or greater reported tornadoes had a 74 percent chance of occurring throughout a period of tornado activity sustained for three or more days. Throughout those exact same periods, a tornado with an intensity that scored 3 or higher out of 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent chance of hitting, the report added.

“Two extreme tornado events last year led to 32 deaths, injured more than 377 and cost $2 billion in damage and inspired this study,” Trapp said in recent statement. “Unfortunately, the devastating tornadoes these past few days, tragically, seem to be bearing out the results.”


Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113135713/tornado-activity-over-multiple-days-050114/#cTMX1CYYq7iuhWJC.99

No Drought Relief In Sight For Desiccated West. Climate Central has more on a deepening drought that's spreading from California into the Plains; here's an excerpt: "...The driest places today are the places that have been dry for 2 or 3 years or longer: California, northwest Nevada and the southern Great Plains of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, northeast New Mexico and along the Colorado-Kansas border. In other words, drought is bringing the dust back to the Dust Bowl territory of the 1930s..."

Image credit above: U.S. Drought Portal.


What Parts Of The Country Get The Worst Weather Predictions? One year probably doesn't "prove" anything, statistically, but every meteorologist truly does believe that their market, their city, is the hardest to predict the weather for. A friend forwarded this story along to me, courtesy of ForecastAdvisor, The Vane at Gawker. Here's a clip: "...The easiest variable to predict was precipitation, with an average of 82.1 percent accuracy. This is largely because precipitation is simplified to a "yes/no" proposition—predicting clear skies every day would net you 70 percent accuracy in many parts of the country—but also because rain and snow are also fairly predictable across large swathes of the U.S. It rarely rains in the southwest, and the outlets had the most difficulty along the Gulf Coast (where intense thunderstorms are hit-or-miss most of the year) and especially around the eastern Great Lakes, where a large portion of the yearly precipitation falls in the form of lake-effect snow..."

A Time-Lapse Of All The Earthquakes From This Record-Breaking April. I'm not a seismologist, and I don't play one on TV, but I seem to recall that tremors often come in waves, in swarms. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at Gizmodo: "...According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) which issues alerts for tsunamis, April was a very busy month for the earth's crust. Of course there are earthquakes every hour of every day, but the world usually only seens one or two earthquakes per month that are 6.5 magnitude or higher. This April there were 13, including five that were higher than 7.8, prompting tsunami warnings. "Easily a record for this institution," reports PTWC..."


Sooo...Our Nuclear Missiles Are Run By Computers That Still Use 8-Inch Floppy Disks? This story gave me a warm and fuzzy. But are we communicating between silos with CB radio? CBS News and Huffington Post Tech have the video and story; here's an excerpt: "Contrary to what cartoons may have you believe, there’s no giant red button that detonates America’s land-based nuclear missiles. They’re actually operated by -- wait for it -- old-school computers that run 8-inch floppy disks. On a recent tour of one of the nation’s Air Force nuclear missile facilities in Wyoming, Leslie Stahl of CBS' "60 Minutes" made the surprising discovery about the archaic state of technology inside the facilities. Dana Meyers, a 23-year-old missileer working at the facility, told Stahl of the floppy disks: "I had never seen one of these until I got down in missiles..."


Twitter Is Not Dying. As a retort to a recent article at The Atlantic, Slate makes the case that Twitter is a different creature altogether, and should be judged accordingly. Here's an excerpt: "...But Wall Street—along with everyone else who’s down on Twitter because it has “a growth problem”—is making a mistake by comparing it to Facebook. Twitter is not a social network. Not primarily, anyway. It’s better described as a social media platform, with the emphasis on “media platform.” And media platforms should not be judged by the same metrics as social networks..."

 

 

Tweet above: @TheEllenShow.

 


Former FCC Head Michael Power Talks Future Of Cable. Listen to an interesting perspective on bundling, ala carte options and network neutrality at marketplace.org; here's a clip: "Big cable companies continue to just get bigger. In response to Comcast and Time Warner's merger earlier this year, AT&T and DirecTV are thinking of doing the same. Which got former FCC chairman Michael Powell thinking: Why are all these mergers happening? "One of the things I think is a serious issue is that the economy has been strained," he said. "I think the model has to find a way to find more affordable, more accessible packages, given the strains of the economy..."


New Smart Bike Offers Turn By Turn Navigation. Soon your bicycle will be smarter than you are. Sorry, that sounded harsh, but amazing new tech is showing up (everywhere). Gizmag reports: "...Vanhawks is hoping to get enough Valours on the road to form a mesh network of users. Through this online community, users will be able to tap into data on potholes, closed roads, blocked lanes collected by other Valours to choose safer and smarter routes. In addition, if one's Valour is stolen and another user happens to pass it by, a notification is sent via the application to alert the original owner of its whereabouts...."

 


Teenager Takes His Great-Grandmother To The Prom. Here's an excerpt of a heart-warming story, courtesy of FOX News: "A few months back, Delores received a telephone call from her great-grandson. Austin is 19-years-old, a senior at Parkway High School in Rockford, Ohio. And he had a very important question for his “Granny DD.” “I asked her if she would be my prom date,” Austin told me. “How cool would it be to take my great-grandmother to prom?


Lost In Translation: A "Poo Poo Smoothie"? It's not as bad as it sounds at first blush, reports The Wall Street Journal; here's a clip: "It takes a taste test to know that Burger King’s latest drink is nothing like what it sounds like. Recently, the global food chain (motto: Taste is King) began marketing a new drink to Chinese consumers called the “PooPoo Smoothie.” The name is meant to be playful, as the smoothie is actually mango-flavored. When the Wall Street Journal went to try the drink at a branch on Shanghai’s Yuyuan Road, a server behind the counter explained that the drink’s name sounds phonetically similar to the Mandarin term for bubbles, or paopao..."

Photo credit above: Laurie Burkitt/The Wall Street Journal.


59 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

65 F. average high on May 2.

48 F. high on May 2, 2013.

Trace of rain fell yesterday.


TODAY: Partly sunny, stiff breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 58

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cool. Low: 42

SUNDAY: Sunny intervals. Showers far southern Minnesota. High: 57

MONDAY: Early shower, then partial clearing. Wake-up: 43. High: 57

TUESDAY: Breezy, turning milder with some sun. Wake-up: 41. High: 63

WEDNESDAY: Warmer with T-storms, some strong/severe? Wake-up: 54. High: 74

THURSDAY: Periods of rain, possibly heavy. Wake-up: 51. High: 63

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, drying out. Wake-up: 48. High: 65


Climate Stories....

High Carbon Dioxide Levels Set a Record. SFGate has an update; here's a clip: "...The instruments that have been measuring carbon dioxide for more than 50 years showed that for the entire month of April, levels of the gas exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time, said Pieter Tans, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency who monitors the instrument record. The precise average for the entire month was 401.25 parts per million as of Tuesday, he said, and that level had only reached the crucial 400 threshold for the first time during a single day a year ago before dipping slightly..."


Feds: Wildfire Season Is Expected To Go Way Over Budget, And Climate Change Is To Blame. It's going to be a long, potentially record-setting fire season for much of the western USA, especially California. Here's an excerpt of a story at Salon: "...With climate change contributing to longer and more intense wildfire seasons, the dangers and costs of fighting those fires increase substantially,” Rhea said. The report notes that fire seasons have gotten 60-80 days longer over the last three decades, and that annual acreages burned have more than doubled. One way or another, the fires are going to be fought — it’s not really a problem anyone’s able to ignore. But the agencies are pushing for a change to the way we fund their efforts: bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Congress, and backed by Obama, would treat the worst wildfires as natural disasters, like hurricanes, qualifying them for special relief funds not subject to budget caps."

Photo credit above: "This Aug. 16, 2013 file photo shows helicopters battling the 64,000 acre Beaver Creek Fire north of Hailey, Idaho." (AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith, File).


This Year's Wildfires Could Incinerate The Nation's Fire Budget. Here's a clip from The Center for Investigative Reporting: "...The upcoming wildfire season could cost $400 million more to fight than the Forest Service and Interior Department have in their available budgets, according to a report those agencies released today. The forecast estimates that the Forest Service and Interior will need to spend a combined total of about $1.8 billion fighting wildfires this year (though the actual amount could be significantly higher or lower), while only $1.4 billion is available for that activity..." (File image: EPA).


As Wildfire Fear Rises, U.S. Tanker Fleet Incomplete. The Washington Post reports.


How To Convince Conservative Christians That Global Warming Is Real. Mother Jones has the story of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a conservative, right-leaning, Evangelical Christian. Who also happens to be one of the world's leading climate scientists. Here's an excerpt: "...Why is Hayhoe in the spotlight? Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average. And if anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience, Hayhoe does. "I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to," explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. "We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it's entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values..."

Image credit: Katharine Hayhoe.


Why Doesn't Anyone Know How To Talk About Global Warming? Smithsonian Magazine poses the question; here's the introduction to their story: "When Vox.com launched last month, the site's editor-in-chief, Ezra Klein, had a sobering message for us all: more information doesn't lead to better understanding. Looking at research conducted by a Yale law professor, Klein argued that when we believe in something, we filter information in a way that affirms our already-held beliefs. "More information...doesn't help skeptics discover the best evidence," he wrote. "Instead, it sends them searching for evidence that seems to prove them right..." (Image above: NASA).


Solar Comes of Age. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Mark Andrew at The Star Tribune: "...Solar energy enjoyed a surge last year never before seen. 2013 global installations was over a third of all solar installed before it; in the U.S. new solar spiked to 10 gigawatts, an increase of over one-third in a single year. That translates to something like 1.6 million American households being powered by solar today. I was astonished to learn that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently granted approval of 150MW of new electrical capacity by choosing a solar project over natural gas based largely on economics. "This is the first time solar has competed favorably with coal or natural gas in a head-to-head economic competition and won", said Michael Krause, a national authority on clean energy and green roofs and Founder of the Minneapolis-based Green Institute. "Solar is coming into its own as a key source of our state's energy portfolio"... (File image above: Wikipedia).

hen Vox.com launched last month, the site's editor-in-chief, Ezra Klein, had a sobering message for us all: more information doesn't lead to better understanding. Looking at research conducted by a Yale law professor, Klein argued that when we believe in something, we filter information in a way that affirms our already-held beliefs. "More information...doesn’t help skeptics discover the best evidence," he wrote. "Instead, it sends them searching for evidence that seems to prove them right."

 

It's disheartening news in many ways—for one, as Klein points out, it cuts against the hopeful hypothesis set out in the Constitution and political speeches that any disagreement is merely a misunderstanding, an accidental debate caused by misinformation. Applied to our highly polarized political landscape, the study's results make the prospect of change seem incredibly difficult




Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/talking-about-climate-change-how-weve-failed-and-how-we-can-fix-it-180951070/#FaJ5MTAugXFyECYE.99
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Solar Comes of Age. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Mark Andrew at The Star Tribune: "...Solar energy enjoyed a surge last year never before seen. 2013 global installations was over a third of all solar installed before it; in the U.S. new solar spiked to 10 gigawatts, an increase of over one-third in a single year. That translates to something like 1.6 million American households being powered by solar today. I was astonished to learn that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently granted approval of 150MW of new electrical capacity by choosing a solar project over natural gas based largely on economics. "This is the first time solar has competed favorably with coal or natural gas in a head-to-head economic competition and won", said Michael Krause, a national authority on clean energy and green roofs and Founder of the Minneapolis-based Green Institute. "Solar is coming into its own as a key source of our state's energy portfolio"... (File image above: Wikipedia).

Cooler, Cloudier Today - Monday Heat Spike (8" rainfall deficit for parts of Minnesota since late June)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 8, 2013 - 12:26 PM

A Baffling Pattern

 

My official winter prediction is out: "colder with some snow." 100% confidence - take it to the bank.

Note to self: when in doubt be vague.

We're in an ENSO-neutral state in the Pacific, but I'm seeing a slight trend toward a mild El Nino warming phase, which may favor a (slightly) warmer winter for the Upper Midwest. The 6-month outlook is a curiosity - just tell me it's going to rain, Paul.

T-storms may brush much of Minnesota Monday as overheated air pushes north, but it won't be the sustained soaking we need. If the sun is out for a few hours we may see mid-90s tomorrow, with a dew point near 70F. Another "heat day" for area schools?

Extreme heat in recent weeks has accelerated evaporation of water from lakes & fields, accelerating drought. The 3rd week of September brings a better chance of rain. Fingers crossed.

Only 725 tornadoes have touched down on the USA in 2013; 9 in Minnesota (all EF-0). Only 17 years since 1953 have seen fewer tornadoes thru August. We may set a new record for the latest (first) hurricane on record in the Atlantic.

It's too early for complacency. In 2001 the first hurricane formed on Sept. 10. There were 9 hurricanes later that season.

 

* 500 mb forecast winds aloft, valid 12z this morning, courtesy of UCAR.

 

 

50 Shades Of Gray. Showers and T-storms should stay north of MSP today, but clouds will linger much of Sunday; temperatures 10-15F cooler than Saturday. Flood Watches are in effect for much of North Dakota and eastern Montana. Map: Ham Weather.

 

Cooler Sunday - Monday Heat Spike. NAM guidance shows temperatures at least 10F cooler today than Saturday, in fact highs hold in the 70s up north. By Monday a storm tracking over northern Minnesota will yank super-heated air north - a possibility of mid-90s by late Monday afternoon, even some upper 90s south/west of MSP. Model data above: Ham Weather.

 

Tropical Monday, Then A Taste Of September. ECMWF forecast highs (top trend line) and dew points (bottom trend line) above, courtesy of Weatherspark, shows a high of 99F Monday. I doubt it will get that hot, but mid-90s seem likely if there's any sun Monday afternoon. The best chance of a Monday shower or T-shower? Morning hours, with the best chance of convection over northern MInnesota. We cool off into the low 70s by Thursday, with cool temperatures and 40-degree dew points spilling over into Saturday.

 

Rainfall Departure From Normal: June 26 - September 3. The greatest rainfall deficit is showing up over far southeastern Minnesota, over 8" below normal from near Lake City to Winona. Much of southwest and central Minnesota is running a 6-7" rainfall shortage since late June, only far northern counties above average in the rainfall department. Source: MN DNR and the Minnesota Climatology Working Group.

 

Summer Hangs Tough. Dry, desert air is pushing across the Plains into the Upper Midwest by Monday, sparking a few showers and T-storms from the Dakotas into the Great Lakes. Monsoon T-storms flare up over the southwestern USA, while another cool front pushes into New England - fairly dry weather over much of the South. 84-hour NAM: NOAA.

 

September Starts Cool And Dry. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley's latest edition of WeatherTalk: "...Rainfall deficits continue to mount in many parts of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor now shows that over 53 percent of the state landscape is in moderate to severe drought. Severe drought is now designated for parts of Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Wright, Meeker, and Kandiyohi Counties in central Minnesota. These counties and others had been drought-free since mid-May. Volume flow on many Minnesota watersheds is down as well, in some cases well below average for this time of year. Unfortunately the outlook favors warm and dry weather through the third week of September for most of the state...."

 

Warm Weather Keeps Pools Open Longer, But Hits Farms With Extreme Drought. Here's a clip from a story at The Star Tribune: ...“It’s a bit disconcerting,” said University of Minnesota Extension climatologist Mark Seeley. “That’s pushing them right back into the predicament they were in last year." In fact, last year’s drought that hit Minnesota from midsummer into early winter was among the worst in state history. In April 2012, nearly 98 percent of the state was in some kind of drought condition A wet later part of winter and spring alleviated that, but now drought has returned after a streak of little rainfall and lingering heat. Since July, Seeley said, rainfall for central Minnesota is 5 to 7 inches short of average, stressing crops. “They’ve been sucking the water out of soil,” he said..."

 

"Ask Paul". Weather-related questions, comments (and threats):

Hi Paul,

"Is it a fact or a myth that a tornado will skip over a body of water? Someone told me that they were out in a boat and weren't worried about a tornado warning because they'd be safe on water. I'm not sure that's a good idea! Thank you!"

Nancy Hartman, Burnsville

Nancy - your gut is correct. A lake, river (or valley) won't deter a tornado, especially a large tornado. A tornado is a process, not an object; the larger dynamics and wind inflow into a severe thunderstorm drive the intensification or weakening of a funnel, not the surface the vortex passes over. I've seen numerous instances of a tornado passing over water, transitioning to a waterspout, then back to tornado as it passes over land again. Another important point: severe thunderstorms capable of tornadoes usually produce intense lightning; another reason you don't want to be on a lake (or beach). Thanks for a great question/observation.

"Is there a weather club/group in the Twin Cities? I did a Google search and couldn't find one. This would allow my friend and family a reprieve as well as enabling me to chat with other weather geeks. Thanks so much!

Kae Evensen

Kae- A good place to start is the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, which has frequent meetings with interesting topics/guest speakers and a chance to network with local weather enthusiasts and meteorologists. Good luck!

 

Extreme Weather Snoozer: No Hurricanes, And Low Tornado Numbers In 2013. Here's an excerpt of a good overview of the (miraculously quiet) tornado and hurricane season of 2013 from Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Jason Samenow: "...Going back further, a small group of years have been quieter. “There have been 17 years since 1953 with fewer tornadoes through August than what we’ve seen reported in 2013,” SPC’s warning coordination meteorologist Greg Carbin says. “I think it is fair to say that 2013 is in the least active 25% of all years in the last 62 years.” Of course, the year is far from over..."

Image credit above: "Black line is 2013 tornado report tally year to date. Other lines represent other years and 2005-2012 average." (NOAA SPC)

 

Nearing Record For Latest (First) Hurricane In The Atlantic. Yes, this season may wind up being a dud for hurricanes, but I'm not sure I'd take that bet, not yet. In today's Climate Matters we look at previous quiet starts to a handful of hurricane seasons that wound up being VERY active: "Since record keeping began, the latest the first hurricane has formed in the Atlantic is September 11th. We're only a few days away from breaking that record. But just because we haven't seen a hurricane yet, doesn't mean you should let your guard down. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas shows us how the seasons with late hurricane starts panned out."

 

Long Overdue For A (Major) Hurricane. It's been 8 years since America has been struck by a Category 3 or stronger hurricane (Wilma in 2005). If we go 4 more days without a hurricane we'll set a new record (for latest-first hurricane in the Atlantic basin). But it's still early to call the hurricane season a bust. Gustav formed on September 11, 2002, followed by 3 more hurricanes. Erin didn't form until September 9, 2001. It was one of 9 hurricanes that year, 4 of them major Category 3 storms. Graphics: WeatherNation TV.

 

 
1984. Diana didn't become a hurricane (first of the season) until September 10th. That season tropical storms were observed in the Atlantic basin as late as Christmas Eve. Source: NHC and WeatherNation TV.

 

 
2001. Hurricane Erin didn't form until September 9, 2001. That season went on to produce 9 hurricanes in the Atlantic, including 4 Category 3+ storms.

 

 
2002. The first hurricane of the season in 2002 was "Gustav" on September 11. A total of 8 tropical storms and hurricanes formed between September 11 - 30, 2002. Like flipping on a switch. My point? It's still a bit early to let our guard down - premature for complacency in Hurricane Alley.

 

Lackluster Hurricane Season Could Still Rev Up. Yes, it's amazingly quiet in the tropics, but history teaches us that it would probably be premature to let our guard down just yet. Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "...The lack of hurricanes can be blamed on westerly winds, Weber said. So far this summer, there have been strong winds blowing from west to east across the Atlantic, which have systematically destroyed developing storms and prevented them from strengthening and growing into well-organized hurricanes, Weber said. Hurricanes are fueled by the transfer of heat from the ocean to the upper atmosphere, but they depend on a relatively symmetrical, rotating system to get going. They form best in calm conditions, with warm surface temperatures, Weber added. A second, lesser factor: Dry air and dust have also been blowing westward from North Africa's Sahel region, hampering development of early season hurricanes that often form near the Cape Verde Islands in the eastern Atlantic, Weber said..." (File photo of "Katia" courtesy of NASA).

 

Shelf Cloud. Thanks to Dixie Imholt for passing this one along: "This was taken from the South Shore of Madeline Island overlooking Long Island, where we have a summer home. I grew up in southern Florida and so have seen lots of spectacular cloud formations, but this was very unique. It was like a giant claw that just moved across the lake. The storm approaching us was not nearly as bad on our side of the island (as foreboding as it looked) but we are on the lee side of the island. The north side of theisland folks said it was like a hurricane."

 

Yosemite Fire, Now California's 3rd Largest, To Intensify - Officials. Here's an update on the Yosemite Rim Fire from Reuters: "A wildfire that has consumed parts of Yosemite National Park and charred an area greater than the city of Dallas, Texas, is expected to intensify on Friday and is now California's third largest wildfire on record, fire managers said. The 20-day Rim Fire, named for the popular Rim of the World looking, is expected to burn another two weeks, they added. The blaze has blackened about 246,350 acres (99,694 hectares), or 385 square miles, of timber and chaparral in the rugged northern California forests since it broke out on Aug. 17. Fanned by wind in hot and dry weather, the fire has grown by almost 10,000 acres since Thursday, although it has stayed mostly within containment lines that firefighters have drawn around 80 percent of the blaze's permimeter..."

Photo credit above: "In this photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Crews clear California Highway 120 of debris, as crews continue to fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. The massive wildfire is now 80 percent contained according to a state fire spokesman. The Rim Fire’s southeast flank in Yosemite National Park is expected to remain active where unburned fuels remain between containment lines and the fire." (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan).

 

Cardiovascular Risk Factors Predominant During Cold Winter Months. Maybe I should have saved this for January, but maybe there's still time for you to shack up with your good buddy down in Scottsdale or Sarasota for a few well-timed months. Here's an excerpt from redOrbit: "A new multinational study has linked cardiovascular risk factors to cold weather. Based on cross-sectional data from 10 studies over seven countries, researchers found such risk factors occur more in the winter than in the summer. “Deaths from cardiovascular disease are higher in winter and lower in summer. We decided to conduct a large scale study to see whether cardiovascular risk factors have a seasonal pattern which could explain the seasonality in deaths,” said Dr. Pedro Marques-Vidal of Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Lausanne (IUMSP)..."

 

9 Questions About Syria You Were Too Embarrassed To Ask. A bleak topic? Absolutely, but I think I have a better understanding of just how hopeless the situation really is after reading this Max Fisher article at The Washington Post.

 

USAA Admits That Some "Totaled" Cars Were Sold. So that's why I got such a deal on my newest purchase! I was told the car was "extra-clean", but little did I know... Here's more from mysanantonio.com: "USAA officials now admit that some vehicles it branded as total losses after being damaged by Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters later were resold and put back on the road. The San Antonio-based insurer totaled some 4,000 customer vehicles damaged during last year's storm in the Northeast. USAA earmarked 174 of those vehicles to be sold for parts only because they had no titles. But USAA later found some buyers who bought them at auto auctions fraudulently obtained clean titles with the intention of putting them on the road again...."

Photo credit above: AP. "This file photo shows thousands of cars that were damaged in Superstorm Sandy and stored on the runways at Calverton Executive Airpark in Calverton, N.Y. USAA totaled some 4,000 customer vehicles that had been damaged, but officials for the San Antonio-based insurer now admit that some vehicles that had been totaled instead were resold and put back on the road. USAA had earmarked 174 vehicles to be sold for parts only, but has found that some were fraudulently given clean titles."

 

The 147 Companies That Control Everything. Here's an excerpt from a story at Forbes: "Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power. They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle. Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network..."

Graphic credit above: "Visualizing the "super entity." Courtesy: New Scientist.

 

Visual Mental Health Break. Check out this remarkable video from Gizmodo: "When was the last time you spent your afternoon in a field watching the clouds pass? Your answer is about to be, "why just now, thank you" after viewing Suishu Ikeda's mesmerizing time-lapses of Japan's summer skies."

 

These Really Exist: Giant Concrete Arrows That Point Your Way Across America. My father forwarded this to me, a fascinating tale from Conde Nast Travelers; here's a snippet: "...On August 20, 1920, the United States opened its first coast-to-coast airmail delivery route, just 60 years after the Pony Express closed up shop. There were no good aviation charts in those days, so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks. This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult, and night flying was just about impossible. The Postal Service solved the problem with the world’s first ground-based civilian navigation system: a series of lit beacons that would extend from New York to San Francisco. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a bright yellow concrete arrow..."

 

Why Do Our Best Ideas Come To Us In The Shower? Hmmm. Bathroom shower? Rain shower? Bridal shower? I'm so confused, but Mental Floss takes us the heart of the matter: "...Research shows you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous, like fishing, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot. This frees up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind goes wandering, leaving your brain to quietly play a no-holds-barred game of free association. This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and behavior. It also switches on the rest of your brain’s “default mode network” (DMN) clearing the pathways that connect different regions of your noggin. With your cortex loosened up and your DMN switched on, you can make new, creative connections that your conscious mind would have dismissed...

 

Betty White, "Breaking Bad" Earn Guiness World Records Titles. Here's an excerpt from NBC's The Today Show: "Betty White has had a career for the record books, and finally, it’s getting officially acknowledged: The 2014 edition of the "Guinness World Records" book will now list the 91-year-old comedian and actress as the record-holder for Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)....White was in good company among other record holders from the world of pop culture this year; AMC's "Breaking Bad" will be listed in the new "Guinness" as the Highest-Rated TV Series, thanks to a metascore of 99 out of 100 on MetaCritic.com..."

 

94 F. high Saturday in the Twin Cities.

75 F. average high on September 7.

72 F. high on September 7, 2012.

18 days at or above 90 F. this year in the Twin Cities. Average is 14.

 

 

TODAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler with a few showers (heavier showers/T-storms central and northern MN). Dew point: 57 Winds: E 10-15. High: 77

 

SUNDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, humid. Low: 65

 

MONDAY: Heat spike. AM shower or T-storm possible. Hazy sun, very hot winds. Dew point: 68. High: 96

 

TUESDAY: Early shower, then partial clearing. Wake-up: 68. High: 83

 

WEDNESDAY: Warm sun, less humidity. Dew point: 55. Wake-up: 63. High: 84

 

THURSDAY: Sunny & pleasant. Dew point: 43. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

 

FRIDAY: Blue sky, feels like September. Wake-up: 50. High: 73

 

SATURDAY: Showers developing, possible thunder. Wake-up: 48. High: 77

 

* Photo above courtesy of Gary Teske.

 

Climate Stories...

 

"I fear that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." - Albert Einstein

 

Most Island Nations Have Yet To Come To Grips With The Possibilities Of Relocation. Greenwire has the story at eenews.net; here's an excerpt: "....Climate change and the response to climate change is not something that you do this and not the other," Tong said this week. "We in Kiribati are acknowledging the reality that our land area will be reduced. ... The question is, then, what do we do? Do we hang onto it? It is our national strategy to consider both." Grappling with the possibility that rising sea levels might force island dwellers off their land is one of the biggest and most existential threats Pacific countries face from climate change. Yet leaders meeting here for the 44th Pacific Island Forum say the topic remains so uncomfortable that finding a common message about climate-induced migration is nearly impossible..."

 

Global Warming Has Increased Risk Of Record Heat, Scientists Say. Phys.org has the story - here's a clip: "...In the north central and northeastern United States, extreme weather is more than 4 times as likely to occur than it was in the pre-industrial era, according to a new study by Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford associate professor of Environmental Earth System Science, and Martin Scherer, a research assistant in the department....

* USA Today takes a look at how frequency of extreme heat and coastal flooding have changed in recent decades.

 

Global Warming Update: Record Heat Is 4 Times More Likely Now Than In Pre-Industrial Times. A slightly different angle on the same story from Popular Science: "Here's your latest global warming update: It's still happening. Intense heat is now four times more likely to strike in the U.S. than it was in pre-industrial times, according to a new study from Stanford University researchers. July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the lower 48 states, and the summer brought the "most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years," according to the USDA. And it seems summers like last year's are going to become more commonplace, with 2012-esque temps becoming more likely, specifically in the north-central and northeastern United States. This study follows on the heels of a recently leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report, which noted that scientists believe we are experiencing more heat waves because of climate change--which yes, we're still sure humans are causing...." (File photo: NOAA).

 

Ice Melting Faster In Greenland, Antarctica In U.N. Leak. The IPCC is about to release another climate update; Bloomberg Businessweek is running a story with an alleged leak from this upcoming report; here's a clip: "Ice in Antarctica and Greenland is disappearing faster and may drive sea levels higher than predicted this century, according to leaked United Nations documents. Greenland’s ice added six times more to sea levels in the decade through 2011 than in the previous 10 years, according to a draft of the UN’s most comprehensive study on climate change. Antarctica had a fivefold increase, and the UN is raising its forecast for how much the two ice sheets will add to Earth’s oceans by 2100. The changes in the planet’s coldest areas are a “very good indicator” of a warming planet, according to Walt Meier, a research scientist with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration..."

More July Than September (heat advisories by Monday - too early for hurricane complacency)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 6, 2013 - 11:55 PM

Hot Enough

 

"The only predictable thing about the weather is that it will remain largely unpredictable." And yet we keep on trying. Most days we come pretty close, but no matter how good the technology, there will be days when we shake our heads and shrug in unison.

Weather often comes in cycles; ie. a 4-day and 7-day cycle. Patterns repeat, yes, but the weather machine is inherently chaotic - it never moves in a straight-line. Temperature contrasts build and then the jet stream suddenly buckles, throwing the atmosphere into a new state.

Computer models often pick up on these dramatic shifts but not always. The larger the north-south temperature extreme the greater the potential for storm development and rain. The fact that we'll go from low 90s today to mid/upper 90s Monday (ECMWF model) to 70s late next week suggests some potential for welcome rains, especially Monday and Tuesday. But there's precious little water in topsoil to evaporate into PM storms, and I still don't see the 2-3 day soaking we need. Most farms & lawns need 3 to 6" rain to pull out of our drought. That won't happen overnight.

Take a dip in the lake today. Monday may be beastly-hot but relief is brewing late next week. It'll be nice to be "average" again.

 

Gradual Weekend Cool-Down. 12km NAM guidance (courtesy of Ham Weather) shows highs near 90F in the Twin Cities today, 80s for the Alexandria and Brainerd Lakes area, with 70s up north. A puff of cooler, Canadian air pushes south tomorrow, keeping highs in the 70s over much of Minnesota, even some 60s over far northern counties.

 

Monday Heat Spike? Maybe it's my imagination, but we're seeing more of these sudden northward surges of hot weather from time to time. We had one back in May (72 F high on May 13, then a whopping 98F high a day later, on May 14), and computer guidance is hinting at a comfortable Sunday giving way to a very hot Monday, with the possibility of mid-90s pushing into the Twin Cities metro area. A large north-south temperature gradient may set the stage for T-storms, especially northern Minnesota. Right now I don't see any sustained soakings for the southern half of the state. Map above: Ham Weather.

 

Last Gasp Of Summer? Don't Count On It. Highs top 90F today, and after cooling off to near 80F Sunday we all get to enjoy one more heat spike on Monday, when highs may surge into the mid-90s. The only caveat: if we see T-storms Monday it may not get as hot - but dew points would be higher, so it's probably a wash. More comfortable, September-like weather returns after Tuesday of next week.

 

ECMWF Guidance. Dew points reach the 60s today, and after a brief dip Sunday return to the 60s to near 70F Monday. Then comes a significant cool front; dew points drop into the 40s the latter half of next week. The pattern isn't ripe for widespread/significant rains looking out about 1 week. Map: weatherspark.

 

Monday Thunder? T-storms may flare up north of the Twin Cities Monday, along the leading edge of super-heated air. HIghs may reach the mid to upper 90s over southern Minnesota, while holding in the 70s up north - sparking strong storms, especially central and northern MInnesota.

 

Easing Into September. The transition from summer heat to autumn cool should trigger a series of storms and frontal passages capable of more significant rains in the weeks ahead, especially the third week of September. Our best (and probably only) chance of showers and T-storms comes Monday. Meanwhile, cool, sunny weather lingers over the Northeast; a relatively dry forecast for the South, monsoon PM T-storms over the Southwest. 84-hour NAM: NOAA.

 

September Starts Cool And Dry. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley's latest edition of WeatherTalk: "...Rainfall deficits continue to mount in many parts of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor now shows that over 53 percent of the state landscape is in moderate to severe drought. Severe drought is now designated for parts of Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Wright, Meeker, and Kandiyohi Counties in central Minnesota. These counties and others had been drought-free since mid-May. Volume flow on many Minnesota watersheds is down as well, in some cases well below average for this time of year. Unfortunately the outlook favors warm and dry weather through the third week of September for most of the state...."

 

Warm Weather Keeps Pools Open Longer, But Hits Farms With Extreme Drought. Here's a clip from a story at The Star Tribune: ...“It’s a bit disconcerting,” said University of Minnesota Extension climatologist Mark Seeley. “That’s pushing them right back into the predicament they were in last year." In fact, last year’s drought that hit Minnesota from midsummer into early winter was among the worst in state history. In April 2012, nearly 98 percent of the state was in some kind of drought condition A wet later part of winter and spring alleviated that, but now drought has returned after a streak of little rainfall and lingering heat. Since July, Seeley said, rainfall for central Minnesota is 5 to 7 inches short of average, stressing crops. “They’ve been sucking the water out of soil,” he said..."

 

Sign Of The Times. Here's the first fall color update from the Minnesota DNR. No color yet, in fact dry conditions coupled with unusual late-season warmth may delay peak color by a week or two this year.

 

Severe Drought Returns To Central Minnesota. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 53% of Minnesota in a moderate drought, 4% in severe drought, centered on the St. Cloud area, Willmar and Hutchinson. The speed at which drought is returning and deepening is troubling - only 2 weeks ago 10% of Minnesota was in a moderate drought. Nearly 80% of the state is described as "abnormally dry".

 

Rainfall Needed To End Drought. Much of Minnesota needs 3-6" of rain to eliminate the deepening drought. Possible, but not likely anytime soon. Long-range guidance is hinting at a wetter pattern next week into the third week of September. Rain may come too late to help with this year's crop, but a couple of soakings would be very welcome, recharging soil moisture heading into the winter months. Map: Ham Weather.

 

September 2013 "Hydroclim" Update. Here are highlights of a statewide summary from Minnesota State Climatologist Greg Spoden: 

- August rainfall totals were below historical averages in most MInnesota counties. In many communities, especially in east central Minnesota counties, August precipitation totals fell short of long-term averages by two or more inches.

- Across much of the southern three-quarters of Minnesota, July-plus-August rainfall totals were 4-6" below normal. Rainfall deficits, along with very hot late-August temperatures, led to a rapidly developing drought situation across much of the Midwest.

- The U.S. Drought Monitor places an area of central MInnesota in the "Severe Drought" category. Large sections of the rest of MInnesota are rated n the "Moderate Drought" category.

- Ample autumn rains will be required to refill the soil moisture profile and to recharge groundwater and surface water systems.

Flash Drought. Summer came late this year to much of the northern USA. June was abnormally wet, followed by a heat spike the first half of July, then came unusually cool weather from late July into the first half of August, a stubborn northwest wind flow aloft keeping showers and T-storms away from the Upper Midwest. And then came the heat; the hottest week of summer arrived during the last week of August, but T-storms tracked over northern Minnesota - no help to farms, gardens and lawns over central and southern Minnesota. In this 6-week animation from the U.S. Drought Monitor you can see the rate at which drought has returned to the Upper Midwest.

 

Frosty Lows Friday Morning, courtesy of Mark Hoekzema at Earth Networks: 

CNAAN – Canaan, VT – 30 degrees

KSLK – Saranac Lake – Gabriels, NY – 28 degrees

KBML – Berlin, NH – 33 degrees

ROMPA – Rome, PA – 33 degrees

ULYSS – Ulysses, PA – 34 degrees

HNCDL – Hinsdale, NY – 34 degrees

 

Nearing Record For Latest (First) Hurricane In The Atlantic. Yes, this season may wind up being a dud for hurricanes, but I'm not sure I'd take that bet, not yet. In today's Climate Matters we look at previous quiet starts to a handful of hurricane seasons that wound up being VERY active: "Since record keeping began, the latest the first hurricane has formed in the Atlantic is September 11th. We're only a few days away from breaking that record. But just because we haven't seen a hurricane yet, doesn't mean you should let your guard down. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas shows us how the seasons with late hurricane starts panned out."

 

 

 

Long Overdue For A (Major) Hurricane. It's been 8 years since America has been struck by a Category 3 or stronger hurricane (Wilma in 2005). If we go 4 more days without a hurricane we'll set a new record (for latest-first hurricane in the Atlantic basin). But it's still early to call the hurricane season a bust. Gustav formed on September 11, 2002, followed by 3 more hurricanes. Erin didn't form until September 9, 2001. It was one of 9 hurricanes that year, 4 of them major Category 3 storms. Graphics: WeatherNation TV.

 

Tropical Storm Gabrielle Fizzles: Why Has Hurricane Season Been So Calm? It's supernaturally calm in the tropics right now. This is prime-time for tropical storm and hurricane development, but we're approaching a record for the latest (first) hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin. Here's a clip from a story at The Christian Science Monitor: "...On average, however, the season should have seen its first hurricane by now, and none has emerged. Indeed, the first major hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 111 miles an hour or more, typically appears around Sept. 4, notes Dennis Feltgen, spokesmen for the National Hurricane Center. If the first hurricane fails to appear until after 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Sept. 15, this will be the most hurricane-free first half of a season since satellites began tracking the storms in 1967, he notes in an e-mail. One measure of a season's oomph is known as the Accumulated Cyclone Energy – a gauge of the energy tropical cyclones expend one by one and accumulated over a season. Through Sept. 5, this ACE index has reached only 25 percent of the 1981-2010 average, according to the NHC data..."

Image credit above: "This satellite image of shows tropical storm Gabrielle moving east toward the Dominican Republic Wednesday. The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical depression." NASA GOES Project/Reuters.

 

USAA Admits That Some "Totaled" Cars Were Sold. So that's why I got such a deal on my newest purchase! I was told the car was "extra-clean", but little did I know... Here's more from mysanantonio.com: "USAA officials now admit that some vehicles it branded as total losses after being damaged by Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters later were resold and put back on the road. The San Antonio-based insurer totaled some 4,000 customer vehicles damaged during last year's storm in the Northeast. USAA earmarked 174 of those vehicles to be sold for parts only because they had no titles. But USAA later found some buyers who bought them at auto auctions fraudulently obtained clean titles with the intention of putting them on the road again...."

Photo credit above: AP. "This file photo shows thousands of cars that were damaged in Superstorm Sandy and stored on the runways at Calverton Executive Airpark in Calverton, N.Y. USAA totaled some 4,000 customer vehicles that had been damaged, but officials for the San Antonio-based insurer now admit that some vehicles that had been totaled instead were resold and put back on the road. USAA had earmarked 174 vehicles to be sold for parts only, but has found that some were fraudulently given clean titles."

 

Lackluster Hurricane Season Could Still Rev Up. Yes, it's amazingly quiet in the tropics, but history teaches us that it would probably be premature to let our guard down just yet. Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "...The lack of hurricanes can be blamed on westerly winds, Weber said. So far this summer, there have been strong winds blowing from west to east across the Atlantic, which have systematically destroyed developing storms and prevented them from strengthening and growing into well-organized hurricanes, Weber said. Hurricanes are fueled by the transfer of heat from the ocean to the upper atmosphere, but they depend on a relatively symmetrical, rotating system to get going. They form best in calm conditions, with warm surface temperatures, Weber added. A second, lesser factor: Dry air and dust have also been blowing westward from North Africa's Sahel region, hampering development of early season hurricanes that often form near the Cape Verde Islands in the eastern Atlantic, Weber said..." (File photo of "Katia" courtesy of NASA).

 

Latest First Hurricane On Record? Will we go another 4 days without a hurricane in the Atlantic basin? If so we'd set a new record. The latest (first) Atlantic hurricane on record, to date, is Gustav, back on September 11, 2002. Graphic courtesy of Tri-State Weather.

 

Aon Benfield: August Brings Multiple Billion Dollar Floods Worldwide. Here's an excerpt from a press release at The Wall Street Journal: "...The report reveals that billion-dollar flood losses were recorded in China, Russia, Philippines, and Pakistan during August, causing an initial combined estimate of USD10 billion in economic losses. Persistent rainfall caused flooding across much of China during the month of August, with Heilongjiang Province sustaining much of the damage. According to available data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), nationwide totals during August showed that more than 260 people died, at least 306,000 homes and structures were damaged, and the aggregate economic loss was at least CNY32 billion (USD5.3 billion). Across China's northeast border, torrential rains led to the worst flooding in at least 120 years in Russia's Far East. The Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that a combined 6,964 homes and 3,762 summer cottages were damaged. More than 627,000 hectares (1.55 million acres) of agricultural land was also submerged. Total economic losses were estimated by the government at RUB30 billion (USD1.0 billion)..."

* the August 2013 Global Catastrophe Recap PDF from Aon Benfield is here.

 

Why Do Our Best Ideas Come To Us In The Shower? Hmmm. Bathroom shower? Rain shower? Bridal shower? I'm so confused, but Mental Floss takes us the heart of the matter: "...Research shows you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous, like fishing, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot. This frees up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind goes wandering, leaving your brain to quietly play a no-holds-barred game of free association. This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and behavior. It also switches on the rest of your brain’s “default mode network” (DMN) clearing the pathways that connect different regions of your noggin. With your cortex loosened up and your DMN switched on, you can make new, creative connections that your conscious mind would have dismissed...

 

Betty White, "Breaking Bad" Earn Guiness World Records Titles. Here's an excerpt from NBC's The Today Show: "Betty White has had a career for the record books, and finally, it’s getting officially acknowledged: The 2014 edition of the "Guinness World Records" book will now list the 91-year-old comedian and actress as the record-holder for Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)....White was in good company among other record holders from the world of pop culture this year; AMC's "Breaking Bad" will be listed in the new "Guinness" as the Highest-Rated TV Series, thanks to a metascore of 99 out of 100 on MetaCritic.com..."


 

The United States of Football. Map and commentary courtesy of America's Finest News Source: The Onion.

 

92 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

76 F. average high on September 6.

81 F. high on September 6, 2012.

Trace of rain yesterday from early morning showers.

 

 

TODAY: Hot sun - best lake/pool day. Dew point: 65. Northeast 10. High: 91

 

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, turning a bit cooler. Low: 63

 

SUNDAY: Blue sky, noticeably cooler and less humid. Dew point: 55. East 10+ High: 80 (metro; 70s central and northern MN).

 

MONDAY: Very hot. T-storms possible, best chance central/northern MN. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 66. High: 95

 

TUESDAY: More clouds, lingering shower, cooler. DP: 57. Wake-up: 68. High: 83

 

WEDNESDAY: Cool sun, breathing easier. DP: 47. Wake-up: 62. High: near 80

 

THURSDAY: Blue sky, comfortable. Wake-up: 58. High: 78

 

FRIDAY: Mild sunshine - feels like September again. Wishing for rain. Wake-up: 55. High: 77

 

 

Climate Stories...

Global Warming Has Increased Risk Of Record Heat, Scientists Say. Phys.org has the story - here's a clip: "...In the north central and northeastern United States, extreme weather is more than 4 times as likely to occur than it was in the pre-industrial era, according to a new study by Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford associate professor of Environmental Earth System Science, and Martin Scherer, a research assistant in the department....

* USA Today takes a look at how frequency of extreme heat and coastal flooding have changed in recent decades.

 

Global Warming Update: Record Heat Is 4 Times More Likely Now Than In Pre-Industrial Times. A slightly different angle on the same story from Popular Science: "Here's your latest global warming update: It's still happening. Intense heat is now four times more likely to strike in the U.S. than it was in pre-industrial times, according to a new study from Stanford University researchers. July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the lower 48 states, and the summer brought the "most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years," according to the USDA. And it seems summers like last year's are going to become more commonplace, with 2012-esque temps becoming more likely, specifically in the north-central and northeastern United States. This study follows on the heels of a recently leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report, which noted that scientists believe we are experiencing more heat waves because of climate change--which yes, we're still sure humans are causing...." (File photo: NOAA).

 

Ice Melting Faster In Greenland, Antarctica In U.N. Leak. The IPCC is about to release another climate update; Bloomberg Businessweek is running a story with an alleged leak from this upcoming report; here's a clip: "Ice in Antarctica and Greenland is disappearing faster and may drive sea levels higher than predicted this century, according to leaked United Nations documents. Greenland’s ice added six times more to sea levels in the decade through 2011 than in the previous 10 years, according to a draft of the UN’s most comprehensive study on climate change. Antarctica had a fivefold increase, and the UN is raising its forecast for how much the two ice sheets will add to Earth’s oceans by 2100. The changes in the planet’s coldest areas are a “very good indicator” of a warming planet, according to Walt Meier, a research scientist with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration..."

 

Anglers Feel The Burn Of Global Warming. Michigan's The Times Herald has a story on the impact to the local fishing industry - here's an excerpt: "...The effects of heating the Great Lakes go beyond making some fish winners and some losers. Lisa Borre, writing for National Geographic, says that climate change is the main reason the lake’s water levels are so low. Erosion in the St. Clair River gets some of the blame, but most of the water that leaves the Great Lakes basin just evaporates. Lake Superior alone loses 29 billion gallons of water every day from evaporation. Warming not only means that more evaporates in the summer, but also means that the evaporation losses don’t stop in the winter because ice cover doesn’t form..."

In the north-central and northeastern United States, extreme weather is more than four times as likely to occur than it was in the pre-industrial era, according to a new study by Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford associate professor of environmental Earth system science, and Martin Scherer, a research assistant in the department.

Diffenbaugh and Scherer found strong evidence that the high levels of now in the atmosphere have increased the likelihood of severe heat such as occurred in the United States in 2012.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-global-scientists.html#jCp

 

Why Trust Climate Models? It's A Matter of Simple Science. Climate models are far from perfect, but they've done a pretty good job, overall, predicting some of the changes we would see, decades in advance. If anything these models were too conservative with melting ice over Greenland and the Arctic. Here's an excerpt from Ars Technica: "Talk to someone who rejects the conclusions of climate science and you’ll likely hear some variation of the following: “That’s all based on models, and you can make a model say anything you want.” Often, they'll suggest the models don't even have a solid foundation of data to work with—garbage in, garbage out, as the old programming adage goes. But how many of us (anywhere on the opinion spectrum) really know enough about what goes into a climate model to judge what comes out? Climate models are used to generate projections showing the consequences of various courses of action, so they are relevant to discussions about public policy. Of course, being relevant to public policy also makes a thing vulnerable to the indiscriminate cannons on the foul battlefield of politics. Skepticism is certainly not an unreasonable response when first exposed to the concept of a climate model. But skepticism means examining the evidence before making up one’s mind. If anyone has scrutinized the workings of climate models, it’s climate scientists—and they are confident that, just as in other fields, their models are useful scientific tools..."

 

Global Warming In One Unmistakably Compelling Chart. Here's an excerpt from a story by meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "Produced by NASA, the chart illustrates how temperatures have compared to “normal” (or the 1951-1980 average) from 1880 to present, from pole to pole (-90 latitude to 90 latitude). From the 1880 to the 1920s, blue and green shades dominate the chart, signaling cooler than normal temperatures in that era.  Then, from the 1930s to the 1970s, warmer yellow, oranges, and reds shades ooze in, balancing the cooler shades. But since the 1970s, the blue and green shades rapidly erode and oranges and reds take over, dramatically. The rapid warming at the northern high latitudes especially jumps out in recent decades, reflecting “Arctic amplification” or more intense warming in the Arctic..." (Graphic above: NASA).

 

NOAA: Warming-Driven Sea Level Rise To Make Sandy-Type Storm Surges The Norm On East Coast. Here's an excerpt of a story at Think Progress: "A new study by NOAA researchers finds future Hurricane Sandy level inundation will become commonplace in the future under business-as-usual sea level rise projections. NOAA’s news release for the report “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective” summarizes the key finding:

The record-setting impacts of Sandy were largely attributable to the massive storm surge and resulting inundation from the onshore-directed storm path coincident with high tide. However, climate-change related increases in sea level have nearly doubled today’s annual probability of a Sandy-level flood recurrence as compared to 1950. Ongoing natural and human-induced forcing of sea level ensures that Sandy-level inundation events will occur more frequently in the future from storms with less intensity and lower storm surge than Sandy..."

 

* Climate Central has more on the doubling risk of Sandy-scope storm surges.

 

This September Ask A NASA Climate Scientist. Good for NASA, being more proactive and soliciting questions. Here's more information on the NASA initiative and a video clip explaining the program: "The topic of climate change inspires a lot of debate. At NASA, it has also inspired a lot of science. NASA scientists examine the Earth's climate and how it is changing – gaining knowledge through decades of satellite observations, powerful computer models and expert scientific analysis. Over the course of this month, these NASA climate experts will answer selected questions through the agency's social media channels – primarily on YouTube, Twitter and Google+. But first – we need your questions. Have a question that's always confounded you about Earth's climate? Wonder why it matters that the climate is changing now if it has changed before? Or how scientists know changes seen in recent decades are the result of human activities, not natural causes?..."

 

Climate Change Is Cleaving The GOP In Two. Is there a theoretical revenue-neutral tax on carbon that conservatives might eventually accept, if not embrace? Here's a clip from a story at The Tyee and  Salon: "...A price on America’s carbon emissions will surely remain theoretical for some time. No Republican in Congress publicly supports it. Nor does President Barack Obama. “We would never propose a carbon tax,” the White House has promised. Yet the Globe Theatre debate may signal emerging Republican fissures on global warming. “There is a divide within the party,” one conservative scholar recently told the National Journal. “The position that climate change is a hoax is untenable...”

Photo credit above: AP/Ian Joughin.

 

Study Proves That Politics And Math Are Incompatible. Really? Salon sums up the challenge of separating out ideology from science and math in this piece - here's an excerpt: "It’s hard to look at climate change deniers as being anything other than willfully ignorant. The numbers are right there: As surely as greenhouse gas emissions are rising, so are global temperatures. To discount all that is to choose to be stupid. But according to Yale law professor Dan Kahan, it’s easier than we think for reasonable people to trick themselves into reaching unreasonable conclusions. Kahan and his team found that, when it comes to controversial issues, people’s ability to do math is impacted by their political beliefs..."

Graphic credit: "Global temperature by decade." (Credit: World Meteorological Association)

 

Explaining Extreme Events Of 2012. Here's an excerpt from a summary report by NOAA NCDC: "...The report shows that the effects of natural weather and climate fluctuations played a key role in the intensity and evolution of many of the 2012 extreme events. However, in several events, the analyses revealed compelling evidence that human-caused climate change was a secondary factor contributing to the extreme event. “This report adds to a growing ability of climate science to untangle the complexities of understanding natural and human-induced factors contributing to specific extreme weather and climate events,” said Thomas R. Karl, LHD, director of NCDC. “Nonetheless, determining the causes of extreme events remains challenging.” In addition to investigating the causes of these extreme events, the multiple analyses of four of the events—the warm temperatures in the United States, the record-low levels of Arctic sea ice, and the heavy rain in both northern Europe and eastern Australia—allowed the scientists to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of their various methods of analysis. Despite their different strategies, there was considerable agreement between the assessments of the same events.

* the full report, all 104 pages (PDF) of the report referenced above is here, courtesy of the AMS, the American Meteorological Society.

An Extended Summer (Heat Advisory today; - severe risk today south/east of MSP - 90s into first week of September?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 21, 2013 - 9:07 AM

 

Super-Sized Summer

 

It all makes sense, in a baffling, passive-aggressive way. There was grumbling over snow in early May, muttering about an "abbreviated summer", one notable heat spike in early July, then 4 weeks of September-like chill into August, a rare mid-summer frost up in Embarrass.

Many people had mentally turned the page, convinced we were sliding inexorably into autumn. "The antithesis of 2012" a friend sighed.

Now that neon-yellow school buses are showing up on Doppler and mom's shopping for winter clothing bargains, now it decides to heat up. Now we get the weather we should have seen in July.

More evidence that a manic Mother Nature needs to be medicated - we just keep flailing from one crazy extreme to the next.

The bloated heat bubble that has left much of the western USA drought-stricken and combustible will expand east, pulses of extreme heat lapping into Minnesota over the next 2 weeks, in fact some models show 90s spilling over into the first week of September.

100F next week? We can't rule it out, mainly over southwest Minnesota.

A brief surge of comfortable air may set off a few strong/severe storms by evening but today's weather mantra is easy to remember.

Stinking.

Hot.

 

* photo above from yesterday's sunset, a hazy/milky sky and cherry-red sign tip-offs of smoke from Canadian forest fires sweeping south into Minnesota.

 

Slight Severe Storm Risk. The approach of cooler, much less humid air may destabilize the atmosphere enough for a squall line to form by afternoon, an outside chance of a few severe storms, especially south/east of MSP after 2 PM. Map: NOAA SPC.

 

One Wild Meteorological Ride. Dew points are forecast (by ECMWF guidance) to drop into the 40s Thursday, less than half as much water in the air as this morning. And then dew points return to near 70 by early next week as another pulse of heat surges north. Guidance shows mid-90s Sunday and Monday, a high of 98F on Tuesday? We'll see, but the model trends are pretty apparent at this point. Graph: Weatherspark.com.

 

Dog Days of Early September. GFS guidance shows more 90-degree days from late next week into the first few days of September. Yes, it may be a sizzling Labor Day holiday weekend.

 

Temporary Relief Northern USA - Hurricane Potential For Cabo? The NAM model shows a line of strong/severe storms popping over Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota later today, cooler air pushing into New England by Thursday. The tropics remain quiet, except for coastal Mexico - a potential for a tropical storm or hurricane approaching Cabo San Lucas by Friday.

 

July: 6th Warmest On Record Worldwide. Here's an excerpt from a full report on July 2013 from NOAA NCDC: "According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for July 2013 was the sixth highest July since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive July and 341st consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a globally averaged temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average July temperature was July 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985. Many areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including northern South America, the western and northeastern United States, much of Africa, western and central Europe, parts of southern Asia, and most of Australia. Parts of the central and southeastern United States, small regions across northern Canada, eastern Greenland, and parts of Mongolia and eastern Siberia were cooler than average. Far northwestern Canada and part of the eastern United States were much cooler than their long-term averages..."

 

Quiet In The Atlantic, But For How Long? We've had 5 puny, fizzling tropical storms. The knee-jerk reaction might be to dismiss the rest of hurricane season, to lower your guard, but that would probably be premature. The peak of hurricane season is September 10, the date when a hurricane landfall is most likely on the U.S. coast, coinciding with peak water temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean. In today's edition of Climate Matters we examine why we have yet to see a hurricane in the Atlantic, and what may be in store the rest of 2013: "We have already had 5 named storms in the Atlantic, but zero hurricanes. How does this compare to years past? And could predictions for a busy tropical season still pan out?  WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the factors that have contributed to a quiet season so far and what could be in store as we approach the typical season peak."

 

Uh Oh. Is The Hurricane Season Forecast A Bust? Here are some good points from Eric Berger at The Houston Chronicle: "As you may recall, back in June, nearly every seasonal hurricane forecaster under the sun predicted a busy season. NOAA even predicted a possibly “hyper-active” season. Since we’re now approaching the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and such hyperactivity has yet to materialize, a number of readers have asked whether such seasonal forecasts might be considered a bust. My answer: Not yet. Herein I explain why.

ACTIVITY TO DATE

So far there have been five named storms in the Atlantic basin this season, which is in fact ahead of what we normally would expect. During a typical Atlantic season the fifth named storm doesn’t form until Aug. 31. This would suggest prognostications of a busy season have come to pass...."

Graphic credit above: "The traditional peak of hurricane season is still three weeks away." (NOAA)

 

NOAA: "70% Chance Of Above-Normal Hurricane Season". Here's an excerpt from a post at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: "NOAA's updated 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook continues to call for an above-normal season, with the possibility that the season could be very active. The outlook indicates a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance for a below-normal season....Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity for the entire 2013 Atlantic hurricane season:

* 13-19 Named Storms.

* 6-9 Hurricanes

* 3-5 Major Hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger)

* Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 120% - 190% of the median...."

File Photo above: Mike Theiss, National Geographic.

 

Hurricane Season: Forecasters Predict Rise In Activity. Here's a clip from delmarvanow.com: "With the peak of the mid-Atlantic hurricane season underway, forecasters at the National Climate Prediction Center said we can expect an active hurricane season over the next few months, although slightly less intense than initially expected. The revised estimate calls for 13 to 19 named storms, which is down from the 13 to 20 storms forecast in May by the center. The bad news for the Mid-Atlantic: two of four named storms that have formed this season did so in the warm, open waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa – the region that produces some of the worst August and September storms for our region..."

 

Wildfire Clears Sun Valley Resort Region During Peak Tourist Season. Here's an update on the massive blaze in Idaho from Skift: "A wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes in central Idaho roared largely unchecked into a 12th day on Monday near the ski resort of Sun Valley, even though fire crews launched a big offensive against the blaze at the weekend. Firefighters took advantage of calmer winds and higher humidity levels on Sunday to attack the flames aggressively, but still ended the day with containment lines carved around less than 10 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, fire officials said. The lightning-sparked fire has been raging since August 7 near Sun Valley and the adjacent tourist towns of Ketchum and Hailey. It has charred some 101,000 acres of parched sagebrush, grasslands and pine forests in the Sawtooth National Forest..."

Photo credit above: "A map of the fire outside Hailey, Idaho." Jim Urquhart / Reuters.

 

Floods Recede In Philippine Capital As Thousands Evacuate. Ironically Typhoon "Trami" passed well to the north of the island of Luzon, yet it moved slowly, fueling heavy rain squalls and T-storms that stalled out over Manila, dropping nearly a month's worth of rain on Sunday (23"). The result: widespread flooding and chaos, as reported by CBC News: "Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains that submerged more than half the capital began receding Tuesday even as authorities evacuated thousands of residents along Manila's overflowing rivers and braced for more chaos in outlying provinces. At least eight people have died, including four who drowned north of Manila. The dead included a five-year-old boy whose house was hit by a concrete wall that collapsed, and a three-year-old boy who fell into a swollen river in Mariveles town in Bataan province. Four people are missing. Throughout the sprawling, low-lying capital region of 12 million people, offices, banks and schools were closed and most roads were impassable. People stumbled through waist- or neck-deep waters, holding on to ropes strung from flooded houses..."

Photo credit above: "Office workers cross a flooded street using makeshift floats during heavy rain at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record submerged more than half the capital Tuesday, turning roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response for a second day." (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

 

Think You Work Too Much? Be Glad You Don't Live In Singapore. Here's a clip from a fascinating article at Business Insider. I'm starting to feel better about the number of hours I clock in every week: "How much work does the average American do each year compared to workers elsewhere in the world? The economics website FRED just added a bunch of new economic data which makes this question very easy to examine. As you can see, the average full-time American employee works right around 1,700 hours per year..."

 
 
The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want To Live Forever. If you could live indefinitely, would you? I'd consider it if it included free cable TV (and no bills after the age of 150). Here's a clip from a fascinating story at The Daily Beast: "Of all the things money can’t buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan. In the past decade, longevity research has become a legitimate academic pursuit for molecular biologists. Scientists are trying to untangle the basic mechanisms that underlie aging, and the idea is catching on that growing old isn’t just a fact of life but rather a disease that can be cured through medical interventions. Some of the biggest proponents of radical life extension also happen to be billionaires. There’s something about amassing more money than you can ever possibly use that naturally makes you hunger for ways to stay alive longer—if not forever..." (image above: discovery.com).
 
 
CBS, Time Warner Cable, And The Disruption Of TV. With online access and multiple new sources of content, television is going through a disruptive phase - it's anyone's guess what comes out the other end. Here's a clip from a very good Ken Auletta article at The New Yorker: "...What we’re witnessing are not the deliberate, calculated moves of two skilled chess players but, rather, two aging players who fear that their game is being disrupted. Thirty years ago, the traditional TV world was blindsided by cable; today, cable operators and traditional TV are both being blindsided by a new crop of technologies. The list of these technologies is long. You can subscribe to one of two direct-broadcast satellite systems, DirecTV or Dish Network. You can get TV along with a speedy Internet connection through Verizon’s FiOS. A.T. & T. also buys some programming. You can download or stream many television programs and movies via Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Apple, or Amazon. You can stream shows onto a video-game console. You can hook up to Google’s Chromecast, a small device that lets you beam content to your TV screen from other devices..."

 

Tesla's Model S Electric Car Nabs Top U.S. Safety Rating. More from The Verge: "Tesla is announcing that its Model S scored top marks for safety according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not only scoring a perfect five stars in every category, but setting a new record for the combined Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) — a total that can be higher than the five-star scores for top, side, and rear impact. The Model S scored 5.4, beating out previous record holders and for the first time making an electric vehicle the safest car on the road..."

 

Beers Implicated In Emergency Room Visits. Want to stay out of the ER? Cut down on your beer intake. Here's a clip from an eye-opening article at The New York Times: "Nationwide, roughly a third of all visits to emergency rooms for injuries are alcohol related. Now a new study suggests that certain beverages may be more likely to be involved than others. The study, carried out over the course of a year at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, found that five beer brands were consumed most often by people who ended up in the emergency room. They were Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light...."

Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times.

 

A $620,000 "Stealth" Snowmobile? All electric - able to silently evade the bad guys? The Canadian government is looking into just such a sled, as reported by CBC: "The Canadian military has been secretly test-driving a $620,000 stealth snowmobile in its quest to quietly whisk troops on clandestine operations in the Arctic. The Canadian Press has learned that soldiers have taken the new hybrid-electric snowmobile prototype on trial runs to evaluate features such as speed, noise level, battery endurance and acceleration. The Department of National Defence even has a nickname for its cutting-edge, covert tool: "Loki," after the "mythological Norse shape-shifting god."

 

90 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

80 F. average high on August 20.

79 F. high on August 20, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: Heat Advisory. Hot sun AM hours, PM storms, a few may be strong to severe? Dew point: 70. High: 92

 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Breezy, turning less humid. Low: 64

 

THURSDAY: Blue sky, much less humid. Dew point: 45. High: 82

 

FRIDAY: Sunny, still pleasant. DP: 52. Wake-up: 61. High: 84

 

SATURDAY: AM storms (best chance central and north). Sticky PM sun. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

 

SUNDAY: Steamy sun. Late-day T-storms. Wake-up: 72. High: 94

 

MONDAY: Some sun, still steamy. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 71. High: 92

 

TUESDAY: Hot and sweaty. More like mid-July. Wake-up: 73. High: 94

 

 

Climate Stories....

 

Climate Leaks Are "Misleading" Says IPCC Ahead Of Major Report. Here's an excerpt from a story at the BBC: "This massive tome will be published in four stages over the next year - the first part, the physical science behind climate change, will be presented in Stockholm on 26 September. The process of compiling this report, with several hundred scientists, 195 governments and over 100 non-governmental organisations involved has been particularly leaky, with at least three confidential drafts being made public in the last year. We've had 1,800 comments on that 15 page document” Jonathan Lynn IPCC. According to the latest scoop, the scientists are set to say they are more convinced than ever that global warming is caused by humans. They will say they are 95% certain that our use of fossil fuels is the main reason behind the global rise in temperatures since the 1950s..."

 

Scientists Turn To Melted Ice To Make Climate Change Case. Bloomberg has an update on the forthcoming IPCC report - here's a snippet: "A report from an international scientific team due next month will probably focus on a range of evidence that the Earth is warming rather than just changes in air temperature, according to a climate scientist who has seen drafts of parts of the study. The rate of polar ice melting, warming of oceans and the steady rise of sea levels all point to a planet heating up, said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He’s a reviewer for the forthcoming United Nations climate report. Some skeptics of man’s contribution to global warming have pointed to lapses in the rise of average temperatures as proof that the phenomenon isn’t taking place. Previous studies focused on changes in air temperature, according to Trenberth, who was the lead author of the 2001 and 2007 UN assessments..." (File photo: World Bulletin).

 

Update On Arctic Sea Ice. Although not as severe as 2012 (which set an all-time record), the decline in Arctic sea ice in 2013 is still significant. Here's an update from NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center: "The sea ice retreat rate averaged from August 1 to 18 was near average at approximately 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) per day. However, satellite data show extensive low-concentration areas within the ice cover, which appear to have developed in response to the frequent passage of storm systems. These weather patterns also result in lower-than-average air temperatures over the Arctic. Temperatures in the central Arctic at the 925 hPa level have been 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average since late July."

Graphic credit above: "The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 18, 2013, along with daily ice extent data for five previous years. 2013 is shown in blue, 2012 in green, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, and 2008 in purple. The 1981 to 2010 average is in dark gray. Sea Ice Index data." Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

 

5 Terrifying Statements In The Leaked Climate Report. Here's a clip from a story at Mother Jones: "...In particular, here are five "holy crap" statements from the new draft report:

We're on course to change the planet in a way "unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years." This is a general statement in the draft report about the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions "at or above current rates." Unprecedented changes will sweep across planetary systems, ranging from sea level to the acidification of the ocean.

Ocean acidification is "virtually certain" to increase. Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world's oceans will increase—the draft report calls this outcome "virtually certain." As we have previously reported, more acidity "threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon..."

Photo credit above: "In the long run, global sea level rise could easily exceed 5 meters."

 

Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods. When it comes to the rate of sea level increase we are (literally) in uncharted waters, as pointed out in this article at Time. Here's a clip: "...For coastal cities like New York, Hurricane Sandy was a coming attraction for what is likely to be a very wet and destructive future. According to leaked drafts of the forthcoming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists believe that sea level could rise by more than three feet by the end of the century is carbon emissions keep growing at a runaway pace. And a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change laid out the enormous flood losses that major coastal cities could face in the future. Average global flood losses could rise from approximately $6 billion per year in 2005 to $60 to $63 billion per year by 2050, thanks to population and economic growth along the coasts and the multiplying effect of climate change-driven sea level rise. As Robert Nicholls, a professor of coastal engineering at the University of Southampton in Britain and a co-author of the study, put it in a statement: “There is a pressing need to start planning how to manage flood risk now....”

 

Gorgeous Glimpses Of Calamity. Here's a snippet from a well-written story about Earth observations from space - we can now track, in real-time, the impacts we're having on our planet. Details at The New York Times: "...President Obama should invite world leaders to an emergency conclave in Washington as early as possible and challenge China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and other major greenhouse-gas emitters to equal or exceed the percentage reductions he seeks for the United States. He should also try to rally the nation and globe in support of an international Manhattan Project, in which the best scientific minds would devise carbon-sequestration technologies that could clean the air of the heating elements we’ve put there — rather than simply seeking to limit the damage. Having constructed a civilization capable of observing our still paradisiacal world from objectivity-inducing distances, we need to set aside our squabbles, recognize that we face a species-wide threat, and use our scientific-technical genius to protect the only known home of life in the universe."

Photo credit above: July 17 and Aug. 3, 2012: "Ice and snow melted with extraordinary speed in the Northwest Passage in Canada’s Parry Channel, a link in the long-sought northern route for ship traffic between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Twice in the last decade, the entire route has become clear of ice. These images were taken with NASA’s Terra satellite." Jesse Allen, Lance system/NASA Earth Observatory.

 

Arctic Warming And Our Extreme Weather: No Clear Link New Study Finds. Most of the changes we've witnessed (in extremes) have been in the last 3-5 years - it's largely anecdotal and far from conclusive, but I still suspect rapid warming in the Arctic is having a domino effect at mid latitudes. Time will tell if science can prove this possible link. Here's an update on a new research paper from The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "Is the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice, spurred by manmade global warming, making the  weather where we live more extreme?  Several recent studies have made this claim. But a new study finds little evidence to support the idea that the plummeting Arctic sea ice has meaningfully changed our weather patterns.  The research, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, says links between declining Arctic sea ice and extreme weather are “an artifact of the methodology” and not real. Earlier work, suggesting a connection between the disintegrating Arctic ice and weather mania in the mid-latitudes, is intriguing.  It is based on the idea that the jet stream – the river of high altitude winds that steers our storms and positions cold snaps and heat waves – is slowing down and weakening due to a pronounced warming in the Arctic compared to other places, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Rather than zipping right along a straight path, a more listless jet stream is now prone to straying so the theory goes..."

Graphic credit above: "Arctic sea ice minimum 1980 vs. 2012." (NASA).