Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Gentle January Continues

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 24, 2015 - 9:10 PM

Saturday Sunrise

Any chance you got to see the sunrise Saturday morning?? What a treat it was! If you missed the briefly stunning colors, here you go! By the way... the Minneapolis Airport climbed to 42F at 2pm Saturday. That was the warmest day since December 15th (51F) and the warmest January day since January 31st, 2012 (45F)!!

Gentle January
By Paul Douglas

"Where's the snow?" It was a baffling drive up to Pelican Lake Friday, staring out at brown fields and bare highways. It looked like something out of late March. To quote Todd Nelson it's been a gentle January, our snowiest month on average - on paper - reduced to dribs and drabs; a nondescript collection of sputtering clippers. 42F yesterday at MSP, warmest January temperature since 2012.

New York and Boston may see a 1-2 foot blizzard by Tuesday; more evidence of an El Nino capable of a warmer, wetter (earlier) spring than we've seen in recent years. That's NOAA's long-range outlook.

We awake to another Canadian Disappointment. Last night's clipper painted a snowy stripe south and west of the metro; we'll be lucky to pick up a coating. Did I mention Dalhart, Texas has seen more snow than the Twin Cities this winter? Something not right about that.

Highs may top 40F Monday into Wednesday, followed by a late week tumble. I expect a Superbowl Sunday wind chill dipping to -15F. Yep, get ready for F-F-February.

Rice Park ice carvings drip for about 72 hours, but in the end a defiant King Boreas gets the last laugh at St. Paul's Winter Carnival. Somehow that seems fitting.

================

SATURDAY NIGHT: Snow developing, light coating. Low: 21. Winds: Turning NE 5-10.

SUNDAY: Snow tapers early. More sun later. High: 29. Winds: NNE 5-10

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken again, light snow chance late. Low: 19. Winds: NNE 5-10.

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, mild again. High: 40.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, feels like March. Wake-up: 28. High: 42

WEDNESDAY: What January? Mild spike. Late day rain shower possible Wake-up: 27. High: 44

THURSDAY: Passing flurries, turning colder. Wake-up: 26. High: 31

FRIDAY: Fading sun, closer to average. Wake-up: 22. High: 29

SATURDAY: Arctic winds, sharply colder! Wake-up: 13. High: 15.

================

This Day in Weather History
January 25th

1964: A record high temperature of 64 is set at Redwood Falls.

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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 25th

Average High: 24F (Record: 58F set in 1944)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -31F set in 1904)

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 25th

Sunrise: 7:40am
Sunset: 5:11pm

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Moon Phase for January 25th at Midnight
0.9 Days Before First Quarter

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Minneapolis Temperature Trend

Our gentle January continues with high temperatures well above average through much of the rest of the month. Highs by Wednesday could be approaching the low/mid 40s even in the Twin Cities!! However, we are getting indications that the bottom may fall out as we head into the early part of February. Take a look at the big dip in the graphic below by the first couple of days of the month... YIKES!!!

======================

Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

Thanks to my good friend Tina Tamura for the picture below who spent her Saturday on a frozen lake Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN at the Jaycee Ice Fishing Extravaganza! I definitely need to find a way to get to this next year!!!

Clipped by a Clipper

It certainly looked more promising earlier this week that folks across central Minnesota would have had some shoveling duties over the weekend, Mother Nature had other plans... When dealing with these finicky clipper systems (fast moving, moisture starved) a 100 mile shift east, west, north or south can make a HUGE difference on your eventual snow total. At one point earlier this week, the clipper looked like it was going to bring northeastern MN a plowable snow event, while at times is looked like central Minnesota would see some shoveling potential. The end result was a clipper that brought snow to mainly the Dakotas and southwestern MN... go figure! However, it appears that we'll be dealing with another clipper system late weekend/early next week. At this point, it looks like the main (light) snow belt will be across northeastern MN... stay tuned!

Sunday Weather Outlook

Temperatures on Sunday will be a little cooler post clipper. Despite the cool down, actual air temperatures will still be close to average in the mid 20s in the Twin Cities. The coolest readings will be across northeastern MN with highs in the teens. A light NNE breeze will make it feel more like the teens, but still not too bad for late January!

Sunday Weather Oultook

Our clipper system will quickly find itselt in the Ohio Valley by Sunday afternoon, so expect some sunshine in the afternoon as weather conditions improve. There may still be a little light lake effect snow on the western side of Lake Superior, but much of the region will be cooler and quieter on Sunday.

A Snowy Friday in Franklin County, Kentucky

Thanks to @Peachbug for the picture below out of Franklin County, Kentucky were nearly 5" of snow fell late Friday!

A Snowy Saturday in Boston

This was the view from St. Mary's Hall at Boston College on Saturday morning during times of moderate to heavy snow. See the latest views from Boston College HERE:

24 Hour Snowfall Analysis (7am Friday - 7am Saturday)

Friday and Saturday's snowfall event fell in a fairly narrow band from the Ohio/Tennessee Valley to the Northern New England States. There were reports of 6" to nearly 12" along this path! 

National Weather Outlook

Looking at the weather loop below, much of the nation will stay quiet through early next week with the exception of the northeastern quadrant of the country. A storm system departing the northeast late Saturday/early Sunday will give way to a fast moving clipper moving in from the Midwest. The fast moving clipper could may things quite interesting by Monday/Tuesday of next week as it intensifies along the East Coast. Heavy snow and wind could become a major talker early next week for folks in the Northeast. This clipper will also be responsible for some shovelable snow for folks in the Ohio Valley Sunday/early Monday.

Nor'Easter Early Next Week?

Weather models are starting to come together for what could be a VERY interesting situation early next week in the Northeast. The clipper system that skimmed the Twin Cities over the weekend could become a fairly formidable storm in the Northeast early next week. The track of the storm and the temperature profile will be a HUGE factor to whether or not this storm pans out. The potential exists for significant wind and snow. Travel would become significantly impacted if this infact does pan out... Stay tuned for more!!

5 Day Precipitation Forecast

According to NOAA's HPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast looks fairly active from the Midwest to the Northeast. The Saturday/early Sunday system will wrap up, but there's another clipper that'll be heading in over the late weekend/early next week time frame with more snow potential! The other interesting thing to note about the graphic below is the moisture moving into the Southwestern U.S.!

National Snowfall Potential

Heavy snowfall potential continues! WOW! Look at what a few folks in the Northeast could be dealing with through early next week! Due to 2 separate systems, quite a few folks will be be adding shoveling/plowing duties to their agenda. Note that snowfall tallies in Minnesota look way less than areas even in the Ohio Valley! One other area of interest is parts of the Sierra Nevada Range in California! Moisture moving up from the Eastern Pacific could lead to some much needed high elevation snowfall!

The Arctic Oscillation Reveals Colder Weather Ahead

Take a look at the Arctic Oscillation forecast below... note how the forecast red lines dip below the '0' line... this entails that our Arctic Oscillation may be trending towards the negative phase, thus indicating the potential of colder weather ahead! While forecasting specifics for several weeks in advance can be quite difficult, forecasting 'trends' can be a little easier.

"NASA climatologist Dr. James E. Hansen explains the mechanism by which the AO affects weather at points so distant from the Arctic:"

"Positive and negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation"

"The degree to which Arctic air penetrates into middle latitudes is related to the AO index, which is defined by surface atmospheric pressure patterns. When the AO index is positive, surface pressure is low in the polar region. This helps the middle latitude jet stream to blow strongly and consistently from west to east, thus keeping cold Arctic air locked in the polar region. When the AO index is negative, there tends to be high pressure in the polar region, weaker zonal winds, and greater movement of frigid polar air into middle latitudes."

Read more about the AO HERE:

Temperature Outlook

While looking at the graphics below, note the AO Forecast (above). It is interesting to note that the positive AO corresponds with the warmer weather through the week ahead, while the negative AO corresponds to the potential cold snap during the early part of February!

Warm Wednesday: 850mb Temperatures

Here's a look at the 850mb temperature map for AM Wednesday. Note that a large part of the mid-section of the country looks quite mild at this time...

Wednesday Highs From Average

A quick look at the high temperatures from average on Wednesday suggests that a large chunk of the mid-section of the nation could be nearly 10° to 20° + degrees above average!

Frigid Start to February?

A look at the long range temperatures maps suggest a fairly good poke of Arctic air heading into the Lower 48 by early February. Again, note how the AO forecast (above) shows that during this time, we go into a negative AO phase!

Monarch Butterflies to be Added to Endangered Species List ??

Here's an interesting story from SmithsonianMag.com about how the loss of milkweed has contributed to the dwindling monarch butterfly population sine the mid 90s...

See more from SimthsonianMag.com HERE:

"The monarch butterfly, perhaps the most recognizable butterfly in North America, is in trouble: since the mid-1990s, their population has declined 90 percent from its 20-year average, and their wintering colonies in Mexico now occupy the smallest amount of land they have since 1993. Illegal logging around their wintering sites in Mexico, as well as the loss of milkweed in the midwestern United States, threatens their magnificent migrations from Canada to Mexico—one of the most spectacular annual occurrences in the insect world. Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would launch a year-long study into whether the monarch butterfly should be placed on the Endangered Species list, thus giving it federal protection."

(Photo Courtesy: Flickr user Andrea_44)

It's 3 Minutes to Midnight...

Here's another interesting story from abc.net.au about how we are all now a little closer to "Doomsday" due to the rising threat from climate change and nuclear arsenals...

Read more from abc.net.au HERE:

"Rising threats from climate change and nuclear arsenals prompted the scientists who maintain the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic countdown to global catastrophe, to move it two minutes closer to midnight on Thursday, its first shift in three years. The Doomsday Clock, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at three minutes to midnight, or doomsday. It has been adjusted 18 times since its creation in 1947. It has been set as close as two minutes to midnight, in 1953 when the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, and as far as 17 minutes from midnight, in 1991 as the Cold War expired."

(Scientists speak during a press conference after updating the Doomsday Clock in Washington from five minutes to midnight to three minutes to midnight. AFP: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your weekend! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

A Clipper Coating, Midweek 40s, Subzero Start to February - Risky Business: Risks Posed by a Rapidly Changing Midwestern Climate

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Super Bowl Updated: January 24, 2015 - 12:02 PM

Clipper Potential

I always wanted to open up a drive-thru barber shop for busy commuters - call it The Alberta Clipper. Sadly I now have hair where I just don't need it, like some Transylvania science experiment gone wrong. TMI. And not one of my better business ideas.

Fast-moving vortices of low pressure sailing out of Canada are notoriously fickle; snow amounts hard to predict. A jog of 50 miles in the storm track can make the difference between flurries - and 6 inches of flurries.

We study half a dozen models looking at the trends (north/south/wetter/drier) but in the end it comes down to a coin flip whether we'll be in the heaviest snow band. The humbling reality: every clipper is different and every weather map is maddeningly unique. The models help, but they're far from foolproof.

We may still wind up with a plowable snow early Sunday from Alexandria and St. Cloud to the Twin Cities, something in the 1 to 3 inch range. Snow lovers are increasingly desperate; we'll take what we can get

Expect 30s for highs thru Friday (mid-40s Wednesday!) but 6 subzero lows in a row arrive the first week of February.

I know it doesn't look like January out there but do NOT write winter off just yet.


Clippers and Nor'Easters. Tonight's clipper may drop 1-3" of snow from near Alexandria and Wadena to Little Falls, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, most of this snowy burst over by breakfast Sunday. Meanwhile a southern storm pushes up the east coast, dropping the heaviest snow from the suburbs of New York City to Boston.


Clipped Again. You can see the system pushing up the eastern seaboard into New England, a fast-moving clipper painting a narrow carpet of white from the Dakotas and Minnesota into the Ohio Valley by Sunday night. Source: NOAA.


Hints of March Into Next Friday, Then An Arctic Relapse. We've been spoiled, and the mild spell continues most of next week with a streak of days in the 30s, even low to mid 40s Wednesday. Tonight's clipper drops a couple inches of slushy snow; another snow event possible Friday as sharply colder air approaches. By Super Bowl Sunday there will be no doubt in your mind it's still the dead of winter.


F-F-February. The first week of February will bring back memories of mid-November and early January, as many as 5 or 6 nights in a row below zero possible in the metro area. Temperatures should rebound the second week of February - no substantial snow predicted between January 31 and February 8. GFS data courtesy of NOAA.


Cities That Have Seen More Snow This Winter Than The Twin Cities. Thanks to D.J. Kayser at Media Logic Group for passing this on. More snow in Dalhart, Texas than Minneapolis/St. Paul? That's just wrong. Check out the running snowfall totals, to date below:

 

Total (Oct 1-Jan 22)

 Average To Date

 Departure

Minneapolis

20.3

30.6

-10.3

Dalhart, TX

21

9.2

11.8

Scottsbluff, NE

34.3

19.8

14.5

Rapid City, SD

27

16.3

10.7

Colorado Springs, CO

25.2

17.4

7.8

Flagstaff, AZ

29.1

45.2

-16.1


Dribs And Drabs of Snow. Dr. Mark Seeley has more on Minnesota's growing snow drought at WeatherTalk: "...This week brought a light dusting of snow to many Minnesota communities.  Most received less than an inch, although a few observers reported 1-2 inches.  This trend is disconcerting for snow lovers as the seasonal snowfall totals continue to lag behind normal, and especially when compared to the numbers from the past two winters. So far this month only a few places have seen over 10 inches of snowfall, and when considering the seasonal snowfall totals going back to last November most places in the state have seen less than 25 inches..."


Climate Models: February into April. All but one of NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) models show a mild bias February into April. Global ocean temperatures are literally off the scale, and some of this warm water coupled with a persistently zonal west to east flow should keep us from experiencing a persistently bitter late winter similar to last winter. Famous last words.


The Economic Impact of 2014's Severe Weather Events. Here's a link to an interesting infographic, courtesy of Quartz.


MIT Study Finds Carbon Sequestration May Not Be As Effective As Expected. Pumping CO2 deep underground, where it will remain (forever)? Sounds like a tall order. Gizmag has the details of a new study; here's a clip: "Carbon sequestration may not, according to researchers at MIT, be the panacea that some had hoped. A recent study, partially funded by the United States Department of Energy, has found that far less carbon dioxide than the ideal prediction of 90 percent may be turned into rock when sequestered. This means much might eventually escape back into the atmosphere..."


Here Are The Most Expensive Countries In The World To Live In. Unless money is falling out of your pockets you might want to avoid relocating to Norway or Switzerland, according to Huffington Post: "You might think life here in America is expensive. But it turns out that when compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. doesn't even make the list of the 20 most expensive countries to live in. Thanks to a new infographic from Movehub, a site that provides information to those looking to move abroad, we can see clearly whose wallets have it worst off. The graphic includes a number of maps showing which nations have the highest cost of living, based on the average price of consumer goods in each country..."


Why You Feel There's Too Much TV To Watch, In One Graph. Vulture has a fascinating story, an explanation of why your DVR is smoking; here's a clip: "...Using Nielsen data, Landgraf’s research department at FX Networks determined that in 2014, at least 328 scripted first-run prime-time programs aired on ad-supported or subscription-based broadcast, cable, and streaming networks in the U.S. (PBS wasn’t included.) Broadcasters still churn out plenty of programming (124 scripted shows), while streaming players such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are now very much a factor (24 shows)..."


39 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday (3:40 pm).

24 F. average high on January 23.

2 F. high on January 23, 2014.

-17 F. morning low on January 23, 2014.

2" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.

January 23, 1968: A rare severe thunderstorm hits the Twin Cities and left a coating of ice an inch thick. 10 thousand homes were without power.

January 23, 1950: Ice storm over southwest Minnesota. Ice on telephone wires from 1/3 to 1.5 inches. Bismarck, North Dakota had 17 inches of snow. A Northern Pacific passenger train derailed at Detroit Lakes with no injuries.

January 23, 1925: Solar eclipse seen across northern Minnesota during the morning. The Duluth Herald reported that chickens were "puzzled by the dark morning" and didn't leave their roosts. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.


TODAY: Clouds increase, dry and mild during the day. Winds: West 5-10. High: 37

SATURDAY NIGHT: Light snow and flurries. Low: 26

SUNDAY: Snow tapers. Coating to 1" early with slippery travel. More snow over southwest MN. High: 30

MONDAY: Quick clipper, another inch? Wake-up: 19. High: 33

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, feels like March. Wake-up: 27. High: 37

WEDNESDAY: What January? Mild spike. Late day rain shower possible Wake-up: 29. High: 43

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, cooler. Wake-up: 28. High: 33

FRIDAY: Couple inches late. Sharply colder. Wake-up: 24. High: 31

* Waking up to temperatures near 0F one week from today.


Climate Stories...

Risky Business: Agriculture, Labor and Manufacturing Industries Face Economic Risk from Climate Change. I had a chance to attend yesterday's luncheon presentation at the Hilton with Greg Page and Hank Paulson (thanks to Department of Economics at the University of Minnesota). Former Treasury Secretary Paulson mentioned that climate change is usually discussed in the context of science and the environment, when it's also a significant business story, presenting new risks (and opportunities) for existing business models. The solution revolves around adaptation, resilience, encouraging local, homegrown solutions and not waiting for Congressional science Luddites in Washington D. C. (my words, not his) to take action. Here's an excerpt from Friday's press release: "...The Midwestern United States faces potential disruptions to its agricultural economy, and dangerous levels of heat in many of its largest cities, if climate change continues unabated, according to a new report released today by the Risky Business Project. Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest details how extreme heat - the signature impact of a changing climate - could transform the Midwest's economy. Absent significant adaptation, overall crop yields will likely decline, potentially shifting growing patterns for major commodity crops to the north and putting individual farming communities at risk. Left unchecked, a changing climate will also increase the incidence of extreme heat, particularly in the Midwest's southernmost cities like St. Louis, Des Moines and Indianapolis, leading to significant public health and safety risks..."


Study: Climate Change Could Hammer Iowa Ag, Manufacturing. Here's an excerpt of an important story at The Des Moines Register: "...Greg Page, chairman of Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc., and one of the business leaders on the Risky Business advisory committee, said Thursday the report is a "wake-up call to begin having a conversation" on the impact of climate change. "If we stand still, and fail to be thoughtful in building resilience, we could see a weather scenario that would produce an outcome that's dire," Page said. "But it's our job to make sure that isn't what happens." One thing the report doesn't reflect, he said, is changes farmers may make to offset changes to growing conditions — through seed genetics, irrigation and other approaches..."


Climate Change Impact on America's Heartland. Think farmers are nervous about the weather today? Give it a few more years. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Washington Post: "...Kate Gordon, lead author of the new Risky Business report, and head of the energy and climate change program at Next Generation, explains that if Midwestern agriculture sustains such losses, food production may move north. “But for those people, in those states, that’s their economy, it’s a pretty severe impact,” she says. The new report also says the Midwest could experience more heat deaths, costlier electricity, and a decline in overall workforce productivity..."


13 Of The 15 Hottest Years Have Happened Since 2000 - What Are The Odds Of That Happening Without Global Warming? Here's a Salon link to a Climate Central video and excerpt: "...So, the people at Climate Central made an animation in which they examine just how likely it is for us to have experienced so many record-breaking years in such a short period of time if human-influenced global warming isn’t to blame. The odds? 1-in-27 million. Here’s how they got to that number..."


Mitt Romney Has Been Talking A Lot About Climate Change Lately. I give him a lot of credit for looking at the data and making an informed decision, even if it means losing support of some on the right. Here's a clip from NationalJournal: "...The former Massachusetts governor affirmed his belief that man-made climate change is real in a series of public appearances this week and highlighted global warming as a key challenge that the next president will need to address. "I'm one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that," Romney said at an event on Wednesday in Salt Lake City. Romney added that "real leadership" is needed to rein in air pollution created from coal-fired power generation..." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File.)


Mitt Romney and Rand Paul Are Going To Make Climate Change a 2016 GOP Issue. Here's the intro to a story at The New Republic: "It took one day for the party of climate change denial to rediscover sciencea few of them, anyway. Mitt Romney, who is considering his third presidential run, told a Utah audience, “I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” arguing for “real leadership” to tackle rising carbon pollution. Then, 15 Republican senators voted in favor of a conservative climate amendment that said "human activity contributes to climate change." One of those senators was Rand Paul..."


Sea Level Rise Faster Than Feared, Say Scientists. Here's an excerpt from a story at RTCC: "...Earlier estimates put mean sea level rise in the 20th century at between 1.5 and 1.8 millimeters a year. Dr. Hay and her colleagues now think that, between 1901 and 1990, the true figure was probably closer to 1.2 mm a year. But since 1990, global sea level has risen by 3 mm a year on average. So, in fact, the acceleration since then has been faster than anybody expected - and this in turn could affect future projections..."

Earlier estimates put mean sea level rise in the 20th century at between 1.5 and 1.8 millimetres a year. Dr Hay and her colleagues now think that, between 1901 and 1990, the true figure was probably closer to 1.2mm a year.

But since 1990, global sea level has risen by 3mm a year on average. So, in fact, the acceleration since then has been faster than anybody expected – and this in turn could affect future projections.

- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/01/22/sea-level-rise-faster-than-feared-say-scientists/#sthash.LHpuhH1P.dpuf

The Oceans Are Warming So Fast, They Keep Breaking Scientists' Charts. Most of the excess heating is going into the world's oceans, and it's still unclear what the long term implications are of this. Dr. John Abraham at St. Thomas University has an article at The Guardian; here's a snippet that made me do a double-take: "...So what do the new data show? Well, it turns out that the energy stored within the ocean (which is 90% or more of the total “global warming” heat), increased significantly. A plot from NOAA is shown above. You can see that the last data point (the red curve), is, literally off the chart. The folks at NOAA do a great job updating this graph every three months or so. We can now say that the 2014 Earth had more heat (thermal energy) than any year ever recorded by humans..."

Image credit: "Ocean heat content data to a depth of 2,000 meters, from NOAA." Photograph: NOAA. You can find more data on ocean heating from NOAA here.


"Hottest Year" Story Obscures Bigger News: Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts. ThinkProgress has more perspective on the rapid warming of the world's oceans; here's a clip: "...Remember, more than 90 percent of human induced planetary warming goes into the oceans, while only 2 percent goes into the atmosphere, so small changes in ocean uptake can have huge impact on surface temperatures. That’s a key reason surface temperatures haven’t appeared to warm as fast as many had expected in the past ten years — although ocean warming has sped up, and sea level rise has accelerated more than we thought , and Arctic sea ice has melted much faster than the models expected, as have the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica..."


This Animation of Shrinking Sea Ice Is A Startling Illustration of Climate Change. The Washington Post has the story; here's a snippet: "More than any other region on Earth, you can see the effects of climate change in the Arctic, where the amount of perennial ice continues to decline. This new animation released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a startling illustration of the toll climate change is taking on our planet..."

Image credit above: "The animation above shows Arctic ice melt from 1987 to 1990, left, and 2010 to 2014, right."


We Need Sharper Questions For A Broken Climate Debate. Aaron Huertas has a story at The Union of Concerned Scientists; here's an excerpt: "...What may be surprising, however,  is that Republican citizens have diverse views on climate science and related policy. Further, Zack Colman at the Washington Examiner just broke a story about Congressional Republicans mulling ways to reformulate their approach to climate issues. Still, journalists have their work cut out for them when they interview politicians who reject mainstream climate science. Can they do more to move our political dialogue past scientifically inaccurate talking points? I think so..."


The Lesson Of The Hottest Year On Record: Climate Change Skeptics Will Never Believe The Science. The Week takes a look at something I'm encountering: a resistance to facts, data, trends and science in general. Thinking is hard, conspiracy theories are so much easier: "...Since last year was the hottest one ever recorded, and particularly given that it wasn’t even an El Nino year (as record-breakers usually are), then one might imagine this would be time for some soul-searching among the skeptics. Not remotely. If anything, the doubters are unusually worked up in their denunciations of climate hawks, climate scientists, and sympathetic media. It provides an interesting window into the reasoning process of such people. The pause has been memory hole’d for the moment, replaced with new arguments..."

Sunday Clipper - Subzero Groundhog Day - Mild Bias into April?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 22, 2015 - 11:28 PM

Bad Vacation

"There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is seed catalogs" wrote author and journalist Hal Borland. All I know is any day above zero - in late January - in Minnesota - is a gift from on high.

40 degrees? That's a bad vacation.

Take the good with the bad and make the most of today's drippy thaw, as a puff of Pacific air swirls across the state. Temperatures may shoot into the 40s next Wednesday before a sharp tumble late next week; models hinting at a few nights below zero from February 1-3, followed by a rapid rebound. No prolonged school-closing cold waves are brewing.

I'm still seeing evidence of a weak El Nino resetting the storm track from the Gulf of Mexico right up the East Coast, sparking a veritable parade of major snow and ice events out east. Closer to home Minnesota snow lovers will have to be content with dribs and drabs of snow. Par for the course.

NOAA models aren't very impressive, but the ECMWF prints out a couple inches of snow Sunday. By the end of next week there will be no doubt in your mind that it's January.

But seed catalogs and The Boat Show are reminders that spring isn't far off!


Southern Detour. I'm seeing evidence of a mild El Nino in the positioning of the prevailing storm track, pushing a series of sloppy southern storms across the Gulf Coast into the Eastern Seaboard, a significant percentage of these brewing low pressure systems morphing into full-blown nor'easters in the coming weeks. One such southern storm will soaks the south before pushing a shield of heavy rain, ice and snow into the Mid Atlantic and coastal New England. 60-hour NAM accumulated precipitation: NOAA and Aeris Weather.


Snowy Streak. The same NAM guidance shows a potential for accumulating snow from the hills of west Texas to Chattanooga, Baltimore, the Delaware Valley into the western suburbs of Boston, where some plowable amounts are possible.


Near-Miss? NAM guidance shows the next clipper pushing plowable amounts of snow across the Minnesota Arrowhead into central Wisconsin late Saturday night into midday Sunday, although ECMWF (European) guidance suggests this snowy stripe may set up closer to St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. Clippers are notoriously fickle; it's still premature to get specific with "how many inches?" but we could still wind up with some accumulating snow Sunday morning and midday.


January On Hold. Averaging highs and lows, compared with normal temperatures for late January, readings should run 10-20F warmer than average into the middle of next week. Sunday's clipper may ice up some roads late Saturday night into midday Sunday, although readings close to freezing may keep freeways more wet than snow-covered. By the end of next week temperatures drop off. Super Bowl Sunday will be Super Nippy with single digit highs, after waking up to zero.


Cold Spell. As we described yesterday the pattern is progressive, back and forth, no evidence of the jet stream buckling in a pattern that causes polar air to stall nearby for week after week, similar to last winter's infamous "polar vortex". I get a buck every time I say that, btw. Sorry. The GFS model shows subzero lows from January 31 into February 3, daytime highs may have trouble climbing above zero the first day or two of February.


Negative Phase of AO. The Arctic Oscillation is forecast to swing to a negative phase by the end of the month, meaning a more amplified north/south kink in the prevailing jet stream winds, helping to guide much colder air into the USA. Source: NOAA.


Climate Models: February into April. All but one of NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) models show a mild bias February into April. Global ocean temperatures are literally off the scale, and some of this warm water coupled with a persistently zonal west to east flow should keep us from experiencing a persistently bitter late winter similar to last winter. Famous last words.


The Economic Impact of 2014's Severe Weather Events. Here's a link to an interesting infographic, courtesy of Quartz.


Here Are The Most Expensive Countries In The World To Live In. Unless money is falling out of your pockets you might want to avoid relocating to Norway or Switzerland, according to Huffington Post: "You might think life here in America is expensive. But it turns out that when compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. doesn't even make the list of the 20 most expensive countries to live in. Thanks to a new infographic from Movehub, a site that provides information to those looking to move abroad, we can see clearly whose wallets have it worst off. The graphic includes a number of maps showing which nations have the highest cost of living, based on the average price of consumer goods in each country..."


Coffee May Cut Melanoma Risk. Who knew? The New York Times has more information; here's an excerpt: "Drinking coffee is associated with a slightly reduced risk for skin cancer, a new study has found. Researchers used health and dietary data on 447,357 non-Hispanic whites ages 50 to 71 who were cancer free at the start of the study and followed them for an average of 10 years. Over the course of the study, the researchers identified 2,904 cases of melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer..."


Microsoft HoloLens: A Sensational Vision of the PC's Future. How does the blue screen of death look in 3-D? All snark aside, I use PC's and Macs day to day, and I'm curious about what comes next. Here's a tantalizing glimpse from The New York Times: "...All those caveats aside, the HoloLens is wondrous. It blew me away. And it suggests that interacting with holograms could become an important part of how we use machines in the future. The HoloLens isn’t a gimmick. Microsoft has clearly put a great deal of engineering work into this project. When you put on the device, which looks a lot like ski goggles, you see three-dimensional digital controls — like buttons, lines and pictures — as well as the sheep from the video game Minecraft superimposed on the world around you..."

Image credit above: "In a handout image, a simulation of what a Microsoft HoloLens user might see using the new product, first unveiled to the public on Jan. 21, 2015. Microsoft has not yet announced a price or release date for the device, which can show crisp three-dimensional controls superimposed over the real world." (Microsoft via The New York Times).


28 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

24 F. average high on January 22.

8 F. high on January 22, 2014, after waking up to -8F.

January 22, 1963: A record low of -31 is set at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.


TODAY: Gray but mild. Touch of drizzle. Winds: SW 10+ High: near 40

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy, mild for late January. Low: 28

SATURDAY: Better travel day. Any sun gives way to increasing clouds. High: 36

SATURDAY NIGHT: Light snow develops late. Low: 27

SUNDAY: Fast-moving clipper. Coating to an inch or 2". Wake-up: 27. High: 32

MONDAY: Clouds and flurries. Wake-up: 20. High: 28

TUESDAY: Bright gray, but turning milder. Wake-up: 21. High: 35

WEDNESDAY: Early taste of March! Mild breeze. Wake-up: 28. High: 43

THURSDAY: Sunny peeks, last "mild" day. Wake-up: 30. High: 36


Climate Stories...

The Senate Officially Believes Climate Change is Real. But is it man-made or a "natural cycle". We're not scientists, and we don't really trust the real scientists out there. Get back to us in 100 years ok? And God help the good people of Mississippi. The Atlantic has an update; here's the intro: "Let it be recorded for history that late in the afternoon of January 21, 2015, the United States Senate formally acknowledged that climate change is real. As to that other critical question of whether human beings are contributing to it? Well, the Senate is not so sure. In a series of largely symbolic votes Wednesday afternoon, newly-disempowered Democrats tried to force Republicans to stake out a firm position on climate change after years of party leaders trying to dodge the question by saying they're "not scientists..."


The Oceans Are Warming So Fast, They Keep Breaking Scientists' Charts. Most of the excess heating is going into the world's oceans, and it's still unclear what the long term implications are of this. Dr. John Abraham at St. Thomas University has an article at The Guardian; here's a snippet that made me do a double-take: "...So what do the new data show? Well, it turns out that the energy stored within the ocean (which is 90% or more of the total “global warming” heat), increased significantly. A plot from NOAA is shown above. You can see that the last data point (the red curve), is, literally off the chart. The folks at NOAA do a great job updating this graph every three months or so. We can now say that the 2014 Earth had more heat (thermal energy) than any year ever recorded by humans..."

Image credit: "Ocean heat content data to a depth of 2,000 meters, from NOAA." Photograph: NOAA. You can find more data on ocean heating from NOAA here.


"Hottest Year" Story Obscures Bigger News: Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts. ThinkProgress has more perspective on the rapid warming of the world's oceans; here's a clip: "...Remember, more than 90 percent of human induced planetary warming goes into the oceans, while only 2 percent goes into the atmosphere, so small changes in ocean uptake can have huge impact on surface temperatures. That’s a key reason surface temperatures haven’t appeared to warm as fast as many had expected in the past ten years — although ocean warming has sped up, and sea level rise has accelerated more than we thought , and Arctic sea ice has melted much faster than the models expected, as have the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica..."


This Animation of Shrinking Sea Ice Is A Startling Illustration of Climate Change. The Washington Post has the story; here's a snippet: "More than any other region on Earth, you can see the effects of climate change in the Arctic, where the amount of perennial ice continues to decline. This new animation released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a startling illustration of the toll climate change is taking on our planet..."

Image credit above: "The animation above shows Arctic ice melt from 1987 to 1990, left, and 2010 to 2014, right."


We Need Sharper Questions For A Broken Climate Debate. Aaron Huertas has a story at The Union of Concerned Scientists; here's an excerpt: "...What may be surprising, however,  is that Republican citizens have diverse views on climate science and related policy. Further, Zack Colman at the Washington Examiner just broke a story about Congressional Republicans mulling ways to reformulate their approach to climate issues. Still, journalists have their work cut out for them when they interview politicians who reject mainstream climate science. Can they do more to move our political dialogue past scientifically inaccurate talking points? I think so..."


The Lesson Of The Hottest Year On Record: Climate Change Skeptics Will Never Believe The Science. The Week takes a look at something I'm encountering: a resistance to facts, data, trends and science in general. Thinking is hard, conspiracy theories are so much easier: "...Since last year was the hottest one ever recorded, and particularly given that it wasn’t even an El Nino year (as record-breakers usually are), then one might imagine this would be time for some soul-searching among the skeptics. Not remotely. If anything, the doubters are unusually worked up in their denunciations of climate hawks, climate scientists, and sympathetic media. It provides an interesting window into the reasoning process of such people. The pause has been memory hole’d for the moment, replaced with new arguments..."


"It's Totally Unacceptable For Society Not To Act." Scientific American has an interview with Nobel laureate Mario Molina; here are 2 excepts that caught my eye: "...There has been a very well financed public relations campaign by some interest groups to question climate change science. And they have succeeded quite well—in response to these efforts the media very often still communicates the idea that there are two sides to this question...You wear seatbelts in your car not because you’re certain that you’re going to have a crash but because there’s a possibility. You build houses likely to withstand an earthquake not because you’re certain that there will be an earthquake but because there might be one. These examples involve probabilities that are much smaller than the probabilities that climate change will have very serious impacts. So it’s totally unacceptable for society not to act..."


Oregon Teens Sue State: Can Local Government Be Held Accountable For Climate Change? Here's a clip from a story at The Christian Science Monitor: "...This could be a landmark decision on the question: Does government, as trustee over our essential natural resources, have to protect [the atmosphere] from carbon pollution and the impacts of climate disruption?" said Julia Olson, executive director of the nonprofit Our Children's Trust, and originator of the youth-led lawsuit..."

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