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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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).

Rain Tapers - Parade of Cooler Fronts (summer heat returning third week of August?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 5, 2013 - 8:26 AM

 

.92" rain predicted for the Twin Cities by late Tuesday night (NAM model). Much of that will fall this morning.

 

 

To Know The Future

 

“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand" wrote Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men in a Boat.

News anchors and sportscasters tell you what already happened. Meteorologists are the only ones foolish enough to predict what tomorrow may bring.

But technology and experience only go so far. Roughly 13 percent of 24-hour forecasts are "busts", and that number hasn't improved, in spite of Doppler, amazing satellites & better weather models. Yet we keep tuning in.

In a chaotic world, where little is predictable, having any insight on expected weather gives us a hint of reassurance. It gives us the illusion of a little control over our otherwise (unpredictable) lives, right?

The 7-Day? Let's not go there.

The approach of tropical air ignites a spirited round of T-storms; a few downpours are expected this morning with drippy dew points approaching 70F - skies brightening this afternoon. Another vigorous cool front approaches midweek, sparking more T-storms late Tuesday and a cooler breeze by Wednesday.

We're stuck in a stubbornly persistent blocking pattern, with northwest winds aloft keeping us cooler than average the next 2 weeks.

A Year Without A (real) August? I think so.

 

 

 

Flash Flood Potential. Our guidance is showing as much as 2" from the Twin Cities to Rochester this morning. The 1-hour flash flood threshold for flooding is 1.8 to 1.9" (the amount of rain required to initiate significant flash flooding from MSP to RST). Bottom line: it may be a rough Monday, especially on the highways.

 

Short-Range Heavy Rain Potential. Our internal models at Alerts Broadcaster show a heightened risk of heavy rain from near St. Cloud and Willmar into the Twin Cities this morning, where some 1-2" rains may fall. The greatest potential for flash flooding: central Kansas into southern Missouri, with some 3-6" rainfall amounts.

 

Canadian Temperature Polarization. Normally weather moves from west to east. But a persistent blocking pattern has caused the jet stream to take far greater north-south swings, more evidence of "polar amplification", pulling record-setting heat into western Canada and Alaska, while Canadians in Quebec shiver in the 50s. Graphic: Ham Weather.

 

This Week's Weather Trends. I'm a fan of Weatherspark.com - great for climate information and, at a glance, you can get a pretty good idea of not only temperature trends, but cloud cover and the best times for rainfall. The data above is from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which tends to do a better job than our GFS data (at least today).

 

Whispers of September. We should see 80s Tuesday afternoon, but that will be the exception to the rule, otherwise highs in the 70s most of the week, maybe some 60s up north by Saturday. Guidance above: ECMWF model.

 

Windows For Rain. The best chance of showers and T-storms comes this morning (warm frontal passage), again late Tuesday and Tuesday night (cool frontal passage) and again Thursday night (another push of slightly cooler air). Many towns may pick up .50 to 1" of rain this week, as an atmospheric tug-of-war plays out right over Minnesota.

 

A Parade Of (Premature) Cool Fronts. The maps still look like the first week or two of September. T-storms this morning weaken as they push into Wisconsin, another round late Tuesday ahead of a strong cool front that will whip up an autumnal breeze by midweek from the Upper Midwest to New England. Animation: NOAA.

 

Summer Heat Third Week of August? GFS data shows highs in the upper 80s with 850 mb temperatures above 20C by August 17-19. Yes, you may even be able to work up a sweat.

 

Warm Bookends. Since May 1 temperatures are running well above average across New England and the western third of the USA; cooler than normal from the Dakotas and Minnesota thru the Mississippi River Valley and much of the Southeast. Source: NOAA ESRL.

 

* The worst fire-season in a decade for Oregon? So says the Governor of Oregon, as reported by seattlepi.com.

Photo credit: "A photo released by the Oregon Department of Forestry shows a Redmond Hotshots crew on the Douglas Complex conducting a burnout operation in the last week of July to create a barrier to the wildfire’s advance by removing fuel in its path.. While southern Oregon was hardest hit by thunderstorm-caused fires last week, central Oregon picked up numerous lightning starts as well." (AP Photo/Oregon Department of Forestry).

 

Carfax Warns Of Flood-Damaged Hybrids. If you're shopping for a hybrid, you might want to ask a lot of questions and make sure you're not getting a "Sandy survivor". EV World.com has the story; here's the introduction: "Carfax research shows that more than 212,000 flood damaged cars, including sker Karma and Toyota Priuses, are on the road, primarily in ten states East Coast states. Last fall Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the New York City area, flooding the coastline in parts of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, and leaving us with indelible images of a flooded Manhattan. One of the flooded areas was an automobile processing facility in New Jersey that was flooded, destroying thousands of cars in the process of being imported, including several Fisker Karma's that caught fire. Floods occur nearly everywhere, however, and ideally flood damaged cars are never driven on the road again, but today Carfax issued a warning that scam artists are selling flood-damaged cars in other states..."

 

Colorado State Researchers Trim Atlantic Hurricane Outlook. I have little faith in these long-range hurricane forecasts, but in the spirit of full disclosure here's a clip from The Capital Weather Gang: "Expect an above average Atlantic hurricane season say leading hurricane researchers, but slightly less active than once thought. Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University cut back their prediction for the total number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) by one, compared to forecasts made in April and June. They are now forecasting 18 total named storms (including the four which have already formed), 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher), compared to 18, 9 and 4, respectively in earlier outlooks..." (File photo of Hurricane Irene from NASA).

 

Hurricane Hunters: Flying Two Storms Difficult, Three Storms Impossible. The "Hurricane Hunters" flying out of Biloxi are watching not only storms in the Atlantic, but their bottom line, as reported by wlox.com; here's an excerpt: "Hurricane Hunters are tracking Tropical Storm Dorian while also keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line. Military officials said with sequestration and furloughs, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is facing some tough choices as to which storms they fly into and how often. They said that means the forecast models we depend on to tell people to evacuate may not be as accurate. The mission of the Hurricane Hunters is to fly into the eye of the storm and gather information to help predict where that storm is likely to head next. However, the 403rd Wing Commander is wondering with sequestration and furloughs, how much hunting Hurricane Hunters will be able to do. "I'll be honest with you, it's a very significant cut in capability. It's a 20 percent cut," said Col Craig LaFave..."

 

Sunburned In Siberia: Heat Wave Leads To Wildfires. It's a strange weather map over the Northern Hemisphere - far northern latitudes are setting record highs, while mid latitudes are trending cooler than average, at least from the Upper Midwest to New England. Parts of Russia are overheating, as reported by Climate Central: "An intense heat wave in Siberia has contributed to an unusual flare up of wildfires across the fragile and carbon-rich landscape. Smoke from the fires is lofting high into the atmosphere, and is drifting toward the Arctic, where soot can hasten the melting of snow and sea ice. The Siberian city of Norilsk, the most northerly city in the world with a population greater than 100,000, recorded temperatures above 83°F over eight consecutive days starting on July 18, according to blogger Chris Burt of Weather Underground. During that timespan, Burt reported, the mercury hit 90°F, breaking the record for the hottest temperature recorded for the city. For comparison the average July high temperature in Norilsk is a comparatively chilly 61°F..."

Image credit above: "The map above shows land surface temperature anomalies for July 20–27, 2013, collected by the MODIS imager on NASA's Terra satellite." Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

 

Seeking Shelter. Even a family of racoons knows what to do when flood-waters swirl nearby. Image courtesy of KUSA-TV in Denver and WeatherNation TV.

 

An Early Snow. I thought you'd get a kick (ugh) out of this, a light snowfall on the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado Saturday, enough snow to excite die-hard skiers and snowboarders (but nobody else). Credit: WNTV.

 

Electrifying. Photo credit: "In case you missed it... Best strike ever over Miami Beach via Oliver Jay "

 

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan. This amazing (as well as sad and poignant) story caught my eye, one of Krulwich's Wonders at NPR: "This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air. This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?..."

Photo creditSgt. Mike MacLeod/U.S. Army.

 

76 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

82 F. average high for August 4.

48 F. record low at KMSP, 1978

102 F. record high for the Twin Cities, 1947

78 F. high on August 4, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: AM T-storms, brighter PM hours. Dew point: 67. High: near 80

 

MONDAY NIGHT: Mild and humid. Low: 65

 

TUESDAY: Sticky sun, T-storms late. Dew point: 68. High: 83

 

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, less humid. Dew point: 53. Wake-up: 62. High: 75

 

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, milder. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

 

FRIDAY: Some sun, isolated shower. Wake-up: 59. High: 79

 

SATURDAY: Patchy clouds, few showers - cool for mid-August. Wake-up: 57. High: 71

 

SUNDAY: More sun statewide, nicer day of the weekend. Wake-up: 58. High: 76

 

Climate Stories...

 

Global Warming Will Impact The Power Grid. Here's a clip from a story at sanluisobispo.com: "The power distribution grid is a remarkable machine that regulates and transports vast amounts of electrical energy that we use in our homes and businesses. It’s there out in the open for all of us to see; in fact, it’s so wide open, most of us don’t even notice the lines and poles any longer. It's only during a power outage when you actually think about it.  Unfortunately, a new report released by the Department of Energy in July, says that our electrical grid will be impacted due to the effects of global warming. Over the last century, air and ocean temperatures have continued to increase and droughts have become more prolonged. Both of these conditions have produced a seemingly never-ending fire season across the Western United States. July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the United States and 2012 was the warmest year overall..."

Photo credit above: "Transmission lines along Highway 41 near Morro Bay." JOHN LINDSEY.

 

"...Did you know air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year ?..." - from an Op-Ed at Huffington Post.

 

Permafrost Melting Faster Than Expected In Antarctica. StateImpact Texas from NPR has the story - here's the introduction: "New research shows melting at rates comparalbe to the Arctic. Unlike the Arctic Circle up north, where once-permanent sea ice began melting and miles of permafrost began thawing decades ago, the ground ice in Antarctica’s Garwood Valley was generally considered stable. In this remote polar region near the iceberg-encrusted Ross Sea, temperatures actually became colder from 1986 to 2000, then stabilized, while the climate in much of the rest of the world warmed during that same period. But now, the ice in Antarctica is melting as rapidly as in the Arctic..."

Photo credit above: Dr. Joseph Levy / The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. "Research team member Jim O'Connor of the USGS inspects a block of ice calved off the Garwood Valley ice cliff."

 

Small Businesses Face "Major Extreme Weather Challenges". Environmental Leader has the article; here's an excerpt: "US small businesses — which employ 60 million Americans, or about half of the workforce — are particularly at risk from extreme weather and climate change and must take steps to adapt, according to a report from Small Business Majority (SBM) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). Climate Change Preparedness and the Small Business Sector says the retail, tourism, landscape architecture, agriculture, roofing, and small-scale manufacturing sectors are more vulnerable to the financial implications of climate change than their larger corporate counterpart.

The report finds:

  • Lacking access to the capital and resources of large corporations, small businesses can suffer lasting economic damage as a result of a single extreme weather event. For example, of the 60,000 to 100,000 small businesses negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, up to 30 percent are estimated to have failed as a direct result of the storm..."
 

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/08/03/2615021/global-warming-will-impact-the.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/08/03/2615021/global-warming-will-impact-the.html#storylink=cpy

Grilling Weather: 30+ Temperatures Sunday into Tuesday (another arctic shot late next week)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 25, 2013 - 10:09 AM
 

Failure Encouraged

 

I just had an eye-opening series of talks at TIES, an education technology collaborative that serves St. Paul school districts. Did you know parents can now receive text alerts when their kids skip class? Or log in and see upcoming assignments, and whether their child had fruit or candy for lunch? Yes, there's an app for that.

I was happy to see innovation & experimentation on display. "Fail as fast as you can" is the new mantra. If you're not failing - it means you're not really trying. The one thing that can't be automated, computerized or outsourced? Creativity. Something Minnesotans do very well.

I'd love to find a creative way to make it snow. We need moisture. Up to 1 inch of snow is possible early today; welcome 30s return for a glorious few hours by Monday. The next storm detours to our east Tuesday; then we get to enjoy a few more subzero nights late next week.

The jet stream is temporarily locked, howling from the Yukon, meaning a parade of numbing fronts into early February. A real winter, without the snow. Odd.

Barb Hollister, Guest Services Coordinator at TIES told me how much she LOVES winter. "It's a time to work on projects, slow down, read books, relax, wear big sweatshirts and cozy sweaters" she sighed.

Less yard work too.

 

 

"Take a look at this chart (below) of Twin Cities high/low readings from December of 1983...my second Minnesota winter. Ten straight days of double-digit below zero nightly readings in the metro. Six of the overnights were below -22 F. Six of the daily "highs" were in the negative numbers. And all of this during the holiday shopping season.

If this were to happen today schools would close, sirens would sound, TV stations would run primetime specials.

We are out of practice." - Brendan Henehan, Executive Producer of TPT's "Almanac" show.

Date                                High       Low

Dec 16, 1983     3   -11

Dec 17, 1983    -4   -17

Dec 18, 1983   -11   -24

Dec 19, 1983   -11   -29

Dec 20, 1983     1   -22

Dec 21, 1983    11   -15

Dec 22, 1983   -12   -20

Dec 23, 1983   -17   -25

Dec 24, 1983   -10   -25

Dec 25, 1983     1   -11

 

 

This is getting old. We're just not accustomed to "arctic fronts". Last winter: 3 nights below zero. This winter? Probably closer to 10-13 nights of negative fun. So far we've experienced 6 nights below zero, compared with 3 subzero nights all last winter (average is 22.5). Sign me up for one of those .5 subzero nights please. The forecast calls for a family of clippers, a thaw early next week, a few more subzero nights late next week. Why so cold? Blame the Arctic Oscillation - a negative phase. That, and sudden stratospheric warming 2 weeks ago. Sounds like a painful medical ailment. Come to think of it - it is.

* photo: AP

 

Clipped Again. This morning's clipper may drop a coating to an inch of snow in the metro (when it's this cold the snowflakes puff up like feathers in a down comforter - and roads can be extra icy due to "wheel-track icing"....traffic compacting snow into a thin layer of ice). So AM Rush Hour may be extra-icy, an easier drive home later today. Some 2-4" amounts are possible closer to Crosby and Duluth.

 

News Of A Thaw. No, it can't come soon enough. I still think this will wind up being the coldest week of the entire winter, although a few more subzero nights are likely late next week. The ECMWF model shows highs near or just above 32 F. Sunday into Tuesday - the chance of a significant storm next week has evaporated. Big surprise.

 

Minnesota Drought: Status Quo. And frankly there won't be a potential for improvement until the ground starts to thaw in March, allowing any rain and melted snow to replenish topsoil. My hope is that we have some snow cover to melt and start to turn the corner on the drought. U.S. Drought Monitor map courtesy of NOAA.

 

Sudden Stratospheric Warming = Cold Intrusions Over Lower 48 States. Meteorologists look for cues. One big cue for subzero air is (paradoxically) sudden warming in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere, where temperatures warm with altitude. This happened a couple weeks ago, as described by climate scientist Gavin Schmidt: "Stratospheric sudden warnings happen when there is a large planetary wave - usually originating in the tropics - that propagates northward and upward and disrupts the normal polar vortex. Think of it as an ocean wave breaking on a tide pool. The temperatures in the stratosphere near the pole go up a lot because of anomalous downward movement. The connection between the SSW and the surface winds are a well known phenomena - see papers by Baldwin and dunkerton a decade or do ago. After an SSW you get (after about 5-10 days) a negative phase AO associated with very non-zonal jet streams, leading to large temperature excursions (both +ve and -ve)."  Image above courtesy of NOAA.

 

Arctic Oscillation Forecast. The AO reached a minimum earlier this week, coinciding with subzero air draining into the Lower 48 states of the USA. A more positive phase implies warming (nationwide) next week east of the Rockies. After February 1 it's anyone's guess - a wide divergence of solutions. I still suspect a very cold start to February, followed by moderation with 20s and 30s returning by the second week of February. Graphic above: NOAA.

 

Good Explanation Of Arctic Oscillation. Why should you care whether the phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is negative or positive? Because if you know which way the atmosphere is leaning, you can make a better long range forecast. "Unusually mild winter with a persistent Pacific breeze [positive phase like we had most of last winter] or outbreaks of bitter cold [negative phase, like we've seen since mid-January of this winter]". This may be more than you've ever wanted to know, but here's a good description from The National Snow and Ice Data Center: "The Arctic Oscillation refers to opposing atmospheric pressure patterns in northern middle and high latitudes. The oscillation exhibits a "negative phase" with relatively high pressure over the polar region and low pressure at midlatitudes (about 45 degrees North), and a "positive phase" in which the pattern is reversed. In the positive phase, higher pressure at midlatitudes drives ocean storms farther north, and changes in the circulation pattern bring wetter weather to Alaska, Scotland and Scandinavia, as well as drier conditions to the western United States and the Mediterranean. In the positive phase, frigid winter air does not extend as far into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase of the oscillation. This keeps much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains warmer than normal, but leaves Greenland and Newfoundland colder than usual. Weather patterns in the negative phase are in general "opposite" to those of the positive phase, as illustrated below. Over most of the past century, the Arctic Oscillation alternated between its positive and negative phases. Starting in the 1970s, however, the oscillation has tended to stay in the positive phase, causing lower than normal arctic air pressure and higher than normal temperatures in much of the United States and northern Eurasia."

Arctic Oscillation graphic above courtesy of J. Wallace, at the University of Washington.

 

ENSO Outlook for 2013. Here is a prediction of ENSO probability (El Nino, La Nina) from The International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Odds favor "ENSO-neutral", which might help our ability to pull out of a long-term drought over the Plains and Upper Midwest. The worst-case scenario would be a La Nina cooling phase, which correlates with drought and much drier than average weather during the summer, especially central and southern Plains. We'll see.

 

"Paul... Here's an iPhone picture of me on Monday walking 4 miles at Bredesen Park in Edina.  It was minus 7 at the time and the wind was blowing about 15 mph, so guess the wind chill was between minus 25 and 30.  It's a self-portrait because no one else (except the coyotes) was around.  My attire included, from the top, balaclava, neoprene mask, wool Navy watch cap, thinsulate-lined ski parka with hood, three layers, including heavy wool sweater, leather mittens with lining and skin-tight finger gloves inside, long johns, flannel-lined jeans, thermal socks and regular walking shoes.  Bottom line: Felt nice and warm all the way around.  Did it yesterday and today too."

* thanks to my rose-growing, investment-banking friend in Edina, Jack Falker, for sending this along.

 

"Ask Paul." Weather Related Q&A:

Hi Paul,

"Besides the lake levels and aquifers, the lack of snow is affecting winter sports too.  My skiis are collecting dust and my naturalist-led snowshoe outing at Westwood Hills Nature Center are in danger of being canceled for the second year in a row.  You know things are bad when you text friends in Iowa and beg them to send snow!"

Regards, 

John Porter, Minneapolis  

 

John - I'm starting to wonder if this winter will rival last winter's 22.3" of snow. We've picked up 16.6" snow so far - last year on this date we had seen only 11.4". Will we make up for this snowfall deficit in late February or March? Perhaps, but we need snow now (at least for outdoor enthusiasts). Snow on the ground in March is a different animal than snow in January. Believe me, I'll send up a flare when I see an actual storm.

 

Bright Brown Over Southern Minnesota. There's precious little snow south of the Twin Cities, from Mankato to Rochester and Red Wing, only a coating to an inch or so in the immediate metro, maybe 2" far north and west metro. Parts of central Minnesota have about 6-8" of crusty snow on the ground. All in all the map above looks like something out of mid or late November, not late January. Source: NOAA.

 

USA Snow Cover. At least report, snow was on the ground over 39.6% of the nation, compared with 45.8% of the USA back on December 24, 2012. Map courtesy of NOAA.

 

 

Top Ten Sky Sights for 2013 for Minnesota

January 21 – Very close pairing of Moon and Jupiter

February 12-20 – Best view of Mercury this year

March 10-24 – Best view of comet PANSTARRS (Astronomers are still not sure if this comet will be great or a dud. How will it pan out?)

May 21-30 – Conjunction of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter (The wackos may be out again for this one, you know, planets aligning, end of world, etc)

June 23 – Biggest full Moon (Will be hyped but hard to tell the difference between this and other full moons)

August 12 – Peak of Perseid meteor shower

October 18 – Penumbral lunar eclipse

Mid Nov thru Dec – Comet ISON (Not sure of this one yet either but it looks promising.)

December – Venus as a beautiful evening object

Dec 13-14 Geminid meteor shower (I threw this in to make ten but it will be hindered by nearly full moon this year)

* my thanks to Parke Kunkle, Faculty of Minneapolis CTC and a volunteer at the amazing Bell Museum. You can sign up for the Astronomer's Update through the Bell Museum. They run monthly updates that include where to look for these sights and others. If you love astronomy (one of the many benefits of living in Minnesota's Big Sky Country) you should absolutely do this. Aurora image above courtesy of NASA and the International Space Station.

 

First Sunrise In 65 Days. Is a lack of sunlight making you a little loopy? Just be glad you didn't settle in Barrow, Alaska. Details from the Alaska NWS: "Residents of Barrow, Alaska watched the sun climb above the horizon for the first time in 65 days, after it set on November 18, 2012. The sun skirted along the southern horizon for about 43 minutes today. Tomorrow it will remain above the horizon for 1 hour and 27 minutes. The amount of sunlight will rapidly increase in Barrow until May 10th, at which point the sun will remain above the horizon for 24 hours a day for nearly 3 months. It was clear in Barrow today and a FAA webcam captured the short but welcome return of sunshine. Watch the sun trace across the horizon in the video below."

 

"Snowpig". Golf Cart Gets Pimped Into An Electric Snow-Blower. Wow. I need one of these, for the next time it snows. It will snow again....right? Pretty impressive, and eco-friendly to boot. Details from gizmag.com: "Canadian eco-enthusiast Dan Baker is at it again, pimping a golf cart into an electric snow-blowing machine. Last year Baker home built the Firefly solar-powered boat from scratch and this winter he’s determined not to be snowed in. Dubbed “Snowpig,” Baker built the snow blower as an alternative to an ATV/utility vehicle, with the added bonus of it being emissions free. “As far as I know this is the only vehicle of its type,” Baker told Gizmag..."

 

Hot Tub Boat Combines Cruising And Soaking. Hey, I've found the perfect boat! I wonder if they'll have one of these at The Boat Show, which kicks off next Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Gizmag.com has the hot, soggy details: "Can’t decide between lounging in the hot tub or going boating? Well, why not do both? People in and around The Netherlands can already do so, in a HotTug. Now, North Americans can also get in on the action, with the Hot Tub Boat. Manufactured in Seattle, the 6-passenger 15-foot (4.6-meter) vessel features an 8-foot (2.4-meter) rectangular hot tub, heated up to 104ºF (40ºC) by a built-in diesel boiler. The boat itself is propelled by a 24-volt electric drive system, maintaining a cruising speed of 4 knots..."

 

-6 F. low Thursday morning in the Twin Cities.

9 F. high at KMSP yesterday.

24 F. average high on January 24. The average high rises to 25 F. by January 28, up from 23 F. in mid-January. Progress.

24 F. high on January 24, 2012.

6 subzero nights so far this winter in the Twin Cities.

3 subzero nights all of last winter in the metro area.

 
Why MSP WIll Never Have A Population Of 10 Million. Maybe I'm wrong. It's happened before. Perhaps in future decades we'll warm to the point where there is no more January Angst, and millions of Americans will flock to Minnesota. In the meantime all it takes is a January like this, every few years, to put the fear of God into mere mortals, people who can't imagine a "high" of 9 above. Actually, I thought it felt pretty good out there by late afternoon. Statewide highs ranged from 4 at Alexandria to 5 St. Cloud to 12 at Redwood Falls.

 

 

Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Partly sunny and breezy. Winds: NW 15-20. High: 17

 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, windy and colder. Low: -2

 

SATURDAY: Cold start. Sun should be out. High: 14

 

SUNDAY: Dim sun, getting better out there. Wake-up: 8. High: 28-30 F.

 

MONDAY: Gray. Badly-needed thaw. Wake-up: 20. High: 33

 

TUESDAY: Gusty, colder, few flurries. Wake-up: 25. High: 27

 

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun. Brisk! Wake-up: 2. High: near 10

 

THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, mostly numb. Wake-up: -3. High: 12

 

* the morning low at Duluth early Thursday was -21 F, about 56 degrees warmer than the water temperature of Lake Superior at Duluth. Photo of "sea smoke" courtesy of Wanda Brandt.

 

Climate Stories...

 

Exclusive: Billionaires Secretly Fund Attacks On Climate Science. This probably doesn't come as a shock, but this article at The Independent does come as confirmation; here's an excerpt: "A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt. The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry..."

 

How Climate Change Could Wipe Out The Western Forests. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at The Atlantic: "...Like the hurricane season, statistics suggest the burn season is becoming longer and more severe. A recent study of fires on U.S. Forest Service land by Climate Central, a nonprofit research group that reports on the impacts of global warming, found "the first wildfires of the year are starting earlier and the last fires of the year are starting later, making typical fire years 75 days longer now than they were 40 years ago." Compared to the 1970s, the number of fires covering more than 10,000 acres has increased sevenfold. At the same time, a study published in the science journal Nature Climate Change in September predicted that by the 2050s, forests will experience the worst droughts in 1,000 years. The result will likely be more fires, but also more beetles, and more trees that just can't stand the heat. Soon, the landscape of the American West may be unrecognizable. In some cases, trees will regrow, although probably in sparser patches. Some may be replaced by different species. But especially in drier, hotter areas like New Mexico and Arizona, the forests are on course to disappear altogether..."

Photo credit above: "The Waldo Canyon Fire blazes through Colorado's Pike National Forest on June 26, 2012." (AP Photo/Gaylon Wampler)

 

Scientists Dismiss Geo-Engineering As Global Warming Quick Fix. As I keep telling people - there is no silver bullet, but there's plenty of silver buck-shot; thousands of ways we can reduce greenhouse gases and become more energy efficient (and independent). Here's an excerpt from a blog post at Smithsonian: "Installing a giant mirror in space to block sunlight, dispersing mass quantities of minerals into the oceans to suck carbon dioxide from the air and infusing the Earth’s upper atmosphere with sun-reflecting chemicals might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they’re actual techniques that have been contemplated by scientists as possible quick solutions to climate change. More specifically, they’re examples of geo-engineering, a hotly contested subset of climate science whereby the Earth’s environment is intentionally manipulated in order to mitigate the effects of global warming. Since cutting greenhouse gas emissions has been something of an exercise in futility, the idea behind geo-engineering is to put systems in place that manage the carbon dioxide that’s already emitted into the atmosphere. The two basic methods are solar radiation management—whereby a small amount of the sun’s heat and light is reflected back into space—and carbon dioxide removal, which involves the capture of CO2 or its uptake by the oceans..."

Photo credit above: "A new study shows that dispersing minerals into oceans to stem global warming would be an inefficient and impractical process." By Kent Smith

 

Climate Change Beliefs Of Independent Voters Shift With The Wind. Looking out the window for evidence of "global" warming? A bit simplistic. Keeping a global perspective on long-term climate trends is challenging, even for meteorologists. That's why we have climate scientists doing most of the important work. Here's an excerpt from Science Daily: "...New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that the climate change beliefs of independent voters are dramatically swayed by short-term weather conditions. The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and the New Hampshire state climatologist. "We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held -- literally blowing in the wind..."

Graphic credit above: "Predicted probability of “climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities” response as a function of temperature anomaly and political party." (Credit: Lawrence Hamilton and Mary Stampone/UNH)

 

 
Kerry Says Global Climate Change Is Threat To U.S. The Washington Post has a video; here's an excerpt of their story: "In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said that American foreign policy “is defined by life-threatening issues like climate change,” along with political unrest in Africa and human trafficking across the globe. Kerry, the panel’s outgoing chairman, has made the issue of global warming central to his career in public service. The Massachusetts Democrat has traveled repeatedly to international climate negotiations and pushed in the Senate — unsuccessfully — for a limit on national greenhouse gas emissions..."

 

Obama's Climate Challenge. Here's an excerpt of a long, but thorough Rolling Stone article: "...Now Obama gets another shot at it. "The politics of global warming are changing fast," says Kevin Knobloch, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thanks to a year of extreme weather and Hurricane Sandy, a large majority of Americans – nearly 90 percent – favor action on global warming, even if there are economic costs. The U.S. economy is on the road to recovery and no longer offers an excuse for inaction. Big Coal, traditionally the loudest voice against climate action, has been weakened by a glut of cheap natural gas and the economic viability of solar and wind power. China has new political leadership that appears open to discussing a global agreement to cut carbon. And Obama himself has nothing left to lose..."

Graphic Illustration by Victor Juhasz, Rolling Stone.

 

New Analysis Shows Simple Math: Keystone XL Pipeline = Tar Sands Expansion = Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from a blog post at The Natural Resources Defense Council: "New research confirms what we have heard time and again from the industry itself: the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be a direct cause of an increase in tar sands oil development. More tar sands oil taken out of the ground means more dangerous pollution that hurts our climate and health. And, this new research also shows that tar sands will cause even more climate pollution than we previously thought due to the impacts of the high carbon byproduct petroleum coke. This is especially important in a time where our communities are feeling the damage of climate change in violent storms, wildfires, droughts and floods. Just recently a federal advisory panel—established by Congress in 1990 to analyze climate research—released the draft of its third National Climatic Assessment. The report confirmed there is “unambiguous evidence” that the earth is warming...."

 

Two Hopeful Signs The Obama Administration Will Not Approve The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Joe Romm at Think Progress has the story; here's the intro: "50-50. Those were the odds you could get in DC for a bet on whether or not Obama would ultimately approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

But this week I think the odds turned against the pipeline, for two reasons:

  1. Obama devoted far more of his second inaugural address to climate change than anybody expected — and framed the issue in stark, moral terms.
  2. The State Department decision won’t come until after March, which means it will almost certainly be made by the new Secretary, climate hawk John Kerry...."