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.

Perfect September Day - Odile Threatens Arizona With Severe Flooding - Winter Preview: Lower Risk of Extended Polar Vortex

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 16, 2014 - 10:59 PM

Rainbows & Unicorns

"Give me silver, blue and gold - The color of the sky I'm told - My rainbow is overdue" sang Bad Company back in 1976. No rainbow without the rain, no gain without the pain. Struggle and adversity plant the seeds for eventual success.

None of my 4 Minnesota weather-tech companies ever quite turned out the way I thought they would. You write a business plan and then get blasted by forces you can't predict in advance. If you have a great team and you're flexible, able to turn on a dime, you have a prayer.

The other lesson I've learned: never take investment dollars from your Mother in Law.

Starting a company is an exercise in confidence, hubris and madness - like attempting to predict the weather. Tuesday was as close as I'll ever come to taking the day off. A perfect September sky lingers into Thursday as temperatures mellow into the 70s; T-storms rumble in on Friday.

Latest models show a clearing trend Saturday; lake-worthy highs near 80F before cooling off again early next week. The risk of frost early next week has diminished.

Fresh air, fewer bugs, crisp humidity and unlimited visibility - September brings some of the finest weather of the year.

Exhibit A: today.

* photo credit above: David Grimes, Crater Lake National Park.


A Fine Spell of Weather. After stops and starts we're finally enjoying classic September weather, with low humidity, bright sun and good visibility. Today looks like the best day of the week with a shot at 70F and bright sun; clouds and winds increase tomorrow with a few T-storms on Friday. In spite of a cool frontal passage highs may approach 80F Saturday before cooling down again early next week.


Serious Flash Flood Potential for Tucson? Model guidance shows the plume of tropical moisture leftover from Hurricane Odile aimed at southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico, where some 4-8"+ rainfall amounts may spark extreme flooding over the next 48 hours. Phoenix may be brushed by serious flooding as well, but the thrust of the moisture appears to be south and east of PHX. 60-hour rainfall forecast: NOAA and HAMweather.

Tracking Odile's Soggy Remains. Odile struck the southern tip of Baja Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane, creating significant damage in Cabo San Lucas. Moisture leftover from the storm pushes into Arizona and New Mexico today and Thursday, sparking widespread flooding. Meanwhile a Pacific storm pushes rain into northern California, but little relief is likely in the short term across central and southern California. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: NOAA NAM and HAMweather.

Oh No, This Is Exactly How Last Winter Started. Early season snows from Rapid City to Denver; does this mean another winter tracking the dreaded Polar Vortex? Not necessarily, as meteorologist Eric Holthaus explains in this excellent overview at Slate; here's an excerpt: "...So, sticking to the science, what can we actually expect for the coming winter? Using the Climate Prediction Center’s freshly updated long-range model suite, now’s as good a time as any to take a first guess. These models take into account semi-stable patterns of ocean temperatures to predict areas of relative drought and excess rain and warmth and frigidity over the next few months, and their historical accuracy is better than a random guess..."

Image credit above: NOAA CPC NMME. "Breathe easy: This winter is looking warmer than average for most of North America."


NASA Ranks This August As Warmest On Record. Climate Central has more details; here's an excerpt: "While this summer may have felt like fall across much of the eastern half of the U.S., worldwide the overall picture was a warm one. This August was the warmest August on record globally, according to newly released NASA temperature data, while the summer tied for the fourth warmest. Central Europe, northern Africa, parts of South America, and the western portions of North America (including Alaska) were just some of the spots on the globe that saw much higher than normal temperatures for the month. Large parts of the oceans were also running unusually warm..."

Image credit above: "Temperature anomalies (in degrees Celsius) of various regions around the world in August 2014." Credit: NASA


How America Forecasts The Weather. Here's an excerpt of an interesting interview with National Weather Service Dr. Louis Uccellini at Piqued: "...We are actually showing more success with [predicting] extreme events now than ever before and are now able to forecast the likelihood of an extreme weather event 4 to 8 days in advance.  However, [forecasting] the magnitude of the event still remains a challenge. We have seen some notable precipitation events in the past year such as the ones in Florida and in Georgia where heavy rainfall was predicted, but not the 20 inches that actually occurred. The same thing happened in Colorado last year, and it was a very tough forecast in that the atmosphere was not in one of its more predictable states..."


New Way to Predict Hurricane Strength, Destruction. Factoring in IKE seems like a big step forward. As Sandy demonstrated, even a marginal Category 1 hurricane can be catastrophic. The current system doesn't take into account size and ultimate strength. Here's an excerpt from ScienceDaily: "...The model predicts the amount of integrated kinetic energy within Atlantic tropical cyclones. This kinetic energy metric is related to the overall size and strength of a storm, not just the maximum wind speed. Predictions of this metric complement existing forecasting tools, potentially allowing forecasters to better assess the risk of hurricanes that make landfall. "We don't perceive this to be an alternative to how storms are explained to the public, but a complement," Misra said. Hurricane forecasts have traditionally focused on wind speeds as measured through the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale..."


Tornadoes Occurring Earlier in Tornado Alley. Another symptom of warming or a statistical fluke? Here's a snippet of some interesting new research highlighted at phys.org: "Peak tornado activity in the central and southern Great Plains of the United States is occurring up to two weeks earlier than it did half a century ago, according to a new study whose findings could help states in "Tornado Alley" better prepare for these violent storms. Tornado records from Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and northern Texas - an area of high tornado activity dubbed "Tornado Alley" - show that peak tornado activity is starting and ending earlier than it did 60 years ago..."

Photo credit above: "A supercell storm, known to produce violent tornadoes, forms in Courtney, Oklahoma in April 2014. A new study shows that peak tornado activity is occurring nearly two weeks earlier in Oklahoma, Kansas and northern Texas, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters." Credit: Kelly DeLay/Flickr.


Why Weather Matters When You're Depressed. Here's a clip from a story at Everyday Health that got my attention: "New research suggests that exposure to sunshine affects suicide rates, regardless of what time of year it is. Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the study looked at the relationship between daily suicide rates – 69,462 over 40 years – and hours of daily sunshine independent of season. The study linked higher rates of suicide with shorter durations of sunny weather – 10 days of fewer – regardless of season, says Norman Sussman, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Treatment Resistant Depression Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, who was not involved in the study..."

How a Simple Blood Test Can Now Help Diagnose Depression. Fast Company has the story.

A supercell storm, known to produce violent tornadoes, forms in Courtney, Oklahoma in April 2014. A new study shows that peak tornado activity is occurring nearly two weeks earlier in Oklahoma, Kansas, and northern Texas, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. Credit: Kelly DeLay/Flickr

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-tornadoes-earlier-tornado-alley.html#jCp
Peak tornado activity in the central and southern Great Plains of the United States is occurring up to two weeks earlier than it did half a century ago, according to a new study whose findings could help states in "Tornado Alley" better prepare for these violent storms.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-tornadoes-earlier-tornado-alley.html#jCp
Peak tornado activity in the central and southern Great Plains of the United States is occurring up to two weeks earlier than it did half a century ago, according to a new study whose findings could help states in "Tornado Alley" better prepare for these violent storms.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-tornadoes-earlier-tornado-alley.html#jCpWhy Weather Matters When You're Depressed. Here's a clip from a story at Everyday Health that got my attention: "New research suggests that exposure to sunshine affects suicide rates, regardless of what time of year it is. Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the study looked at the relationship between daily suicide rates – 69,462 over 40 years – and hours of daily sunshine independent of season. The study linked higher rates of suicide with shorter durations of sunny weather – 10 days of fewer – regardless of season, says Norman Sussman, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Treatment Resistant Depression Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, who was not involved in the study..."How a Simple Blood Test Can Now Help Diagnose Depression. Fast Company has the story.

Study Links Increased Drilling With Earthquakes. Wait, injecting water and chemicals deep underground might have a downside? Imagine that. Here's a clip from a Wall Street Journal story: "A magnitude 5.3 earthquake that hit Colorado in 2011 was likely caused by the injection of wastewater into the ground, a process used in natural-gas drilling, according to new research to be released Tuesday. The new study, published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, adds more detail to a growing body of work seeking to establish and explain the connection between human activity and seismic events, known as induced quakes..."

Photo credit above: "The aftermath of an earthquake in Segundo, Colo., in 2011. Scientists have linked the magnitude-5.3 quake with nearby wastewater injection, a process used in drilling." Associated Press.


Electric Cars Are Getting Even Cleaner, New Analysis Finds. Here's an excerpt from The Union of Concerned Scientists: "Sixty percent of Americans now live in regions where electric vehicles (EVs) produce fewer heat-trapping global warming emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrids, according to an updated analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In 2012, that number was just 45 percent. “Electric vehicles are doing more and more to fulfill their technological promise,” said Don Anair, research director for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. “If we want to reduce transportation pollution and oil use, a big part of the answer is to be like Bob Dylan and go electric...”


Uh, Here's an Interesting Bit of Useless Trivia. Do you say um or uh? If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin you may be predisposed to mumble uh vs. um. I know, fascinating. Here's more...uh...detail from Quartz: "...Every language has filler words that speakers use in nervous moments or to buy time while thinking. Two of the most common of these in English are “uh” and “um.” They might seem interchangeable, but data show that their usage break down across surprising geographic lines. Hmm. The map above shows a preliminary attempt to use the tremendous amount of linguistic data being produced on the web to understand how language works..."

Map credit: Quartz, Twitter, analysis by Dr. Jack Grieve.


Egypt's New Stamp Mixes Up Suez and Panama Canals. Someone's not getting a promotion. France 24 has the head-scratching details: "To celebrate the planned extension of the Suez Canal, Egypt decided to commission a line of stamps showing off the multi-billion dollar project. The only problem is that the designers seem to have confused their canals. Some of the stamps show the Panama Canal, located in Central America. Embarrassed authorities announced Sunday that they were halting the stamps’ production. .."

Image credit above: "On the left, Egypt's stamp of the "Suez Canal", on the right, a photograph of the Panama Canal."


68 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

72 F. average high on September 16.

67 F. high on September 16, 2013.

September 16, 1955: A late-season tornado hits Koochiching County. Most damage was confined to trees.

September 16, 1911: Pipestone is hit with baseball-sized hail that smashes numerous windows at the Calumet Hotel and high school. The local observer measured hail three inches deep. People got their photos taken in automobiles surrounded by the icy white ground.


TODAY: Atmospheric Perfection. Mild sun with light winds. Winds: NE 5. High: near 70

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 48

THURSDAY: Partly sunny and breezy. High: 73

FRIDAY: Sticky and unsettled. Heavy T-storms in the area. Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 55. High: 76

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, still balmy. NW 10. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80

SUNDAY: Mostly sunny, low humidity. Dew point: 41. Wake-up: 55. High: 73

MONDAY: Blue sky - few complaints. Wake-up: 49. High: 69

TUESDAY: Still sunny and refreshing. Wake-up: 46. High: 66


Climate Stories...

2014: Warmest Summer, Worldwide, Since 1891. This, according to JMA, The Japan Meteorological Agency, which adds: "The seasonal anomaly of the global average surface temperature in Summer (June to August) 2014 (i.e. the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.31°C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.65°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.66°C per century.."


Polar Vortex Excursions Linked to Global Warming. This is precisely what I've been seeing on the maps, especially since 2010: a slower-moving, higher-amplitude pattern over North America with weather becoming increasingly "stuck", stalled for extended periods of time, magnifying both flood, drought, heat and cold. Here's an excerpt from Slate: "Over the past year or so, I’ve written a few times on how the “polar vortex”—actually, deep meanders or excursions in the usually stable west-to-east direction of the polar cyclonic air stream—may be tied to global warming, but there hadn’t been enough research done yet to be sure. Well, here we go: A team of Korean and American scientists has made the connection. Warmer waters lead to more melting of Arctic ice, which destabilizes the polar jet stream. My Slate colleague Eric Holthaus has an excellent write-up of it, and I wanted to give him a signal boost here. Go read it..."


China, The Climate, and The Fate of the Planet. China is now the largest source of greenhouse gases, and Rolling Stone takes a look at how the zeal for economic growth, at any cost, may impact CO2 levels and the ability to contain worldwide warming within a level in which the world can still adapt. Here's an excerpt: "...The blunt truth is that what China decides to do in the next decade will likely determine whether or not mankind can halt – or at least ameliorate – global warming. The view among a number of prominent climate scientists is that if China's emissions peak around 2025, we may – just barely – have a shot at stabilizing the climate before all hell breaks loose. But the Chinese have resisted international pressure to curb their emissions. For years, they have used the argument that they are poor, the West is rich, and that the high levels of carbon in the atmosphere were caused by America's and Europe's 200-year-long fossil­fuel binge. Climate change is your problem, they argued – you deal with it. But that logic doesn't hold anymore..."

Photo credit above: "A red-alert smog day in China last year. Pollution has become a public-health hazard." Reuters/Landov.


Climate Expert: "Washington D.C. Faces Significant Risk of Record High Floods." Maybe this will wake up the politicians who refuse to believe the science and mounting evidence. Here's a video and story excerpt from The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "A rise in local tidal waters – fueled by global warming – virtually guarantees record flooding in Washington, D.C. over the next century, concludes a new analysis on sea level rise and flood risk. The analysis from Climate Central – a non-profit science communication organization based in Princeton, N.J. — finds that the cumulative risk of a record-setting flood grows by the decade as sea levels rise. “I would say the headline is that Washington, D.C. faces significant risk of record high floods within the coming few decades,” says Ben Strauss, Climate Central’s vice president for climate impacts..."


Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says. Overly optimistic? Or will the move toward zero-carbon invigorate global economies? Here's an excerpt of a New York Times story from Justin Gillis: "...A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure. When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money, according to the findings of the group, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate..."


Jellyfish: It's What's For Dinner. Mmmm. Please pass the "jellyballs" please. I pray that never comes out of my mouth, but it turns out there is a large and growing appetite for jellyfish, as Modern Farmer explains. Here's a clip: "...At the Golden Island plant, the jellies are dried and shipped to China and Japan, where they are cut into long, thin strips and served in salads with cabbage and teriyaki sauce. If prepared right, the jellyfish are crunchy, like a carrot. Jellyfish are popular in China, along with other sea creatures like geoducks (those gigantic phallic clams from the Pacific Northwest) for similar textural reasons. But these sorts of foods are being embraced well beyond Asia. And as climate change and the global industrial agriculture system continue on what many view as a doomed course, we may have no choice but to eat foods that make sense ecologically — or can at least thrive in a changed environment..."


Major Food Companies Warn Climate Change Threatens Business. From first-hand meetings and observations I can tell you that Minnesota's largest food companies are paying close attention to climate change and increasingly erratic weather patterns, worldwide. There is very little science denial within these corporations. They can see the impact in their fields, and in the data. Here's an excerpt from Think Progress: "...While politicians continue to bicker over whether or not climate change exists, companies now have no choice in the matter — they must acknowledge the science and the risk and disclose the reality of that risk to their investors’ pocketbooks. Whether that risk actually manifests itself is another matter, but the fact that companies are increasingly putting climate change on their threat lists speaks volumes to the severity of the problem. Here are seven other big food companies that disclose to investors that climate change poses a threat to their products and bottom lines..."
 
Photo credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar.

No Rain for Decades: Stand By For The "Megadroughts", Scientists Warn. The Independent has the story; here's an excerpt: "...Experts warn the droughts could be even more severe than the prolonged water shortage currently afflicting California, where residents have resorted to stealing from fire hydrants  amid mass crop failures and regular wildfires. Megadroughts – which are generally defined as lasting 35 years or more – will become considerably more frequent as global warming increases temperatures and reduces rainfall in regions already susceptible, warns Cornell University’s Dr Toby Ault, the author of the new report..."


The Perfect Storm of Climate Denial. I happen to agree with most of the comments in this article at The Globe and Mail. Increasing climate and weather volatility just isn't front of mind, it's not even close to being a priority, until the symptoms show up close to home. Here's an excerpt: "...The answer, as he discovers through talking to neuroscientists, psychologists, climate deniers and cultural theorists, is that in terms of existential threats, climate change is a bit of a perfect storm. (That bad pun was required for levity.) It’s a noise we hear far off in the dark, not an immediate danger, and as a species we’re wired to respond to threats that leap at us with teeth and claws. As Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman tells Mr. Marshall, “A distant, abstract and disputed threat just doesn’t have the necessary characteristics for seriously mobilizing public opinion.” Prof. Kahneman apologizes as he eats a bowl of tomato soup: “I really see no path to success on climate change...”


Jindal: Climate Change a "Trojan Horse" For The Left. I run into this mindset often, the notion that addressing greenhouse gases will automatically mean more government, more regulation, more red tape, less freedom! Here's a clip from a story at The Hill: "Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday bashed liberals who he says are using climate change to further their own agenda. “For some on the left, climate change is simply a Trojan horse. It’s a way for them to come in and make changes to our economy that they would otherwise want to make,” he said during a speech hosted by the Heritage Foundation. "It’s an excuse for the government to come in and try to tell us what kind of homes we live in, what kind of cars we drive, what kind of lifestyles we can enjoy. It’s an excuse for some who never liked free-market economies and never liked rapid economic growth..."


Climate Change is a People's Shock. Author and activist Naomi Klein argues that mitigating climate change may require a new way of looking at business, consumption and how we elect our political representatives. Sustainable capitalism, what a concept. Any real, positive change will come from the bottom up, a grass-roots effort. Here's an excerpt from The Nation: "...The research I’ve done over the past five years has convinced me that climate change represents a historic opening for progressive transformation. As part of the project of getting our emissions down to the levels so many climate scientists recommend, we have the chance to advance policies that dramatically improve lives, close the gap between rich and poor, create huge numbers of good jobs, and reinvigorate democracy from the ground up. Rather than the ultimate expression of the shock doctrine I wrote about in my last book—a frenzy of new resource grabs and repression by the 1 percent—climate change can be a “People’s Shock,” a blow from below..."

Photo credit above: "A garbage dumpsite in Paranaque city, Manila." (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco).

A Fickle September: 70s - Frost Risk - Repeat

Posted by: Paul Douglas under On the road Updated: September 15, 2014 - 11:14 PM

Power of Perception

Every day I fall out of bed, rub my eyes, and gaze out the Amish Doppler (window) to get the most accurate, real-time weather report available. The Earth appears flat, but NASA scientists are convinced that we live on a big, lush, spinning sphere. I'm inclined to believe them.

With record rains in June, freak cold fronts in July and an early frost for much of Minnesota last Saturday the perception is that we just muddled through a very chilly summer. But National Weather Service data begs to differ. Cooling degree day data for MSP shows temperatures have been running close to average, yet significantly cooler than 2013.

Perception becomes reality, right? Some days it's hard keeping the big picture. My window keeps getting in the way.

More evidence of a high-amplitude pattern aloft with big swings in temperature: after nudging 80F late this week with sticky dew points in the 60s we cool off again Sunday; another early frost can't be ruled out Tuesday morning. Followed by 70s, even a crack at 80F late next week. You'll need shorts and jackets.

Hurricane Odile just whacked Cabo San Lucas, the strongest hurricane ever to hit Baja Mexico. Moisture from Odile may spark severe flash flooding over Arizona in the coming days.


Warming Trend - Frost Risk Early Next Week? Long-range guidance shows 70+ temperatures as early as Wednesday; 80F not out of the question by Friday and Saturday with a few scattered T-storms as dew points surge into the upper 60s. A strong cool front arrives Saturday PM hours; you start to feel the cool breeze Sunday with a big drop in humidity; as winds ease Monday night we can't rule out a frost Tuesday morning, especially outside the immediate Twin Cities. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Growing Flash Flood Potential Desert Southwest. Moisture from Hurricane Odile will spread up Baja Mexico, fueling intense and persistent monsoonal thunderstorms from near Phoenix and Tucson to Albuquerque in the coming days. I could see some 5"+ amounts capable of severe flash flooding. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: NOAA's 4 KM NAM model and HAMweather.


Odile Ravages Cabo San Lucas, Strongest Known Hurricane To Hit Baja Mexico. Here's an excerpt of a good recap from the always-interesting Capital Weather Gang: "...It’s very rare to get a major hurricane [ category 3 or higher] to reach the Baja Peninsula,” said Brian McNoldy, Capital Weather Gang’s tropical weather expert.  “I found just two previous storms in the records to make landfall as major hurricanes: Kiko (1989) and Olivia (1967).” McNoldy said Odile’s intensity exceeded Kiko’s and matched Olivia’s.  “Specifically in Cabo San Lucas, it was the most intense landfall,” McNoldy added..." (credit: CIMSS).

* The Wall Street Journal has raw footage of Cabo San Lucas before Odile struck.


The Impact of Solar Flares On The Human Mood and Psyche. Could CME's have an impact on the human mind or is this all a scientific stretch, the stuff of urban legend? Here's an excerpt of a post at Communities Digital News that got my attention: "...From 1948 to 1997, the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia found that geomagnetic activity showed three seasonal peaks each of those years (March to May, in July, and in October). Every peak matched an increased incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide in the city Kirovsk. One explanation for the correlation is that solar storms desynchronize our circadian rhythm (biological clock). The pineal gland in our brain is affected by the electromagnetic activity..."


California Just Banned Free Plastic Bags. Hold the Rejoicing. Mother Jones has a vivid reminder of why you want to use paper, not plastic - here's a clip: "...No one is sure how long a plastic bag takes to decompose, but estimates range from 500 to 1,000 years. Even then, they never fully biodegrade; they just break down into ever-tinier plastic pellets. Each year, tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, and turtles die after getting entangled with bags or mistaking them for food. In 2010, a gray whale that was beached and died in Seattle was found to have more than 20 plastic bags in its stomach..."

Photo credit above: "Washed-up plastic bags along the Los Angeles River." .


Tsunami Survival Capsule Could Help Save Lives. If you live near sea level and an active earthquake fault this might look pretty good under the tree come Christmas morning. Ubergizmo has an interesting story and video clip; here's an excerpt: "Tsunamis do show how the forces of nature are not meant to be trifled with. In fact, after three years have passed where the earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan, resulting in close to 20,000 deaths in the Land of the Rising Sun, work is being done with a U.S. company to deliver a ‘tsunami survival capsule’ which has the potential to save lives in the event of a future tsunami..."


Is Google's Self-Driving Car Ready For Prime Time? I'm holding off on placing my order after reading this article at IEEE Spectrum; here's an excerpt: "...IEEE Spectrum has now obtained the driving log of this test, and e-mails referring to it, under Freedom of Information legislation. Some of this information is not new. For example, Nevada officials shared that the Google’s autonomous Toyota Prius passed the test almost immediately. What has not been revealed until now, however, is that Google chose the test route and set limits on the road and weather conditions that the vehicle could encounter, and that its engineers had to take control of the car twice during the drive..." (Photo credit: Google).


Made in Chicago: World's First 3-D Printed Electric Car. Will there come a day when you can use a home 3-D printer to manufacture your next vehicle, to your specs? It sounds like science fiction, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out, either. WGNtv.com has the video and story excerpt: "In a matter of two days, history was made at Chicago’s McCormick Place, as the world’s first 3D printed electric car—named Strati, Italian for “layers”– took its first test drive. “Less than 50 parts are in this car,” said Jay Rogers from Local Motors. Roger’s company is part of the team that developed the engineering process to manufacture an entire car with carbon fiber plastic and print it with a large 3D printer set up at McCormick Place by Cincinnati Incorporated..."


On Death and iPods: a Requiem. WIRED has an interesting essay about what our music (and devices) say about us. No more iPods and more than a few music lovers are in iDenial. Here's an excerpt: "...In all likelihood we’re not just seeing the death of the iPod Classic, but the death of the dedicated portable music player. Now it’s all phones and apps. Everything is a camera. The single-use device is gone—and with it, the very notion of cool that it once carried. The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore. Soon there will be no such thing as your music library. There will be no such thing as your music. We had it all wrong! Information doesn’t want to be free, it wants to be a commodity. It wants to be packaged into apps that differ only in terms of interface and pricing models. It wants to be rented..." (Photo credit: Jim Merithew/WIRED).


Smartphones Ruin More Than Your Sleep - They May Also Be Destroying Your Vision. Here's an excerpt of a story at Business Insider that made me do a double-take: "f you are buying a new iPhone, don't use it in bed — and not just because nighttime smartphone use messes up your sleep cycle. The blue light from personal electronic devices has also been linked to serious physical and mental health problems. Blue light is part of the full light spectrum, which means we're exposed to it by the sun every day. However, nighttime exposure to that light, which is emitted at high levels by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other LED screens, may be damaging your vision. It also suppresses production of the hormone melatonin, which throws off your body's natural sleep cues..."

Photo credit: m01229/flickr


Is TV Stuck in the 70s? We have more channels than I recall in the 70s (when there were 4, give or take), but I still find it difficult to watch everything I'm paying for in the satellite/cable world. Here's a Charlie Rose video interview and story excerpt from Fortune: "...The reality is that cord cutting is happening whether or not these companies do anything or not,” says Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG. “Multi-channel TV is in secular decline. It’s not rapid. It’s a slow melting. The question is what do you do to address it.” Ultimately, it’s not just recalcitrant content owners that are holding back the dream of a Web-like TV world. It’s also economics. Buying channels individually may not prove any cheaper for consumers—not after they spend ever-larger sums for broadband service that is sold by the same companies brought them the cable bundle..."


40 of the Healthiest Packaged Foods You Can Buy At The Supermarket. Like so many others I'm trying to make smarter decisions when it comes to food. Here's an excerpt of a story at Buzzfeed that caught my eye: "...To that end, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) publishes newsletters naming the healthiest brand-name foods you can find at the supermarket. To make their selections, CSPI, which is an independent organization that doesn’t take money from the government or the food industry, crunched data on calories, saturated fat, sodium, and other nutritional information, depending on the category. CSPI says the selections below, handpicked by its nutritionists just for BuzzFeed, taste good, too..."


62 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

72 F. average high on September 15.

67 F. high on September 15, 2013.

.06" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

September 15 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

2006: A rapidly forming tornado hits Rogers just before 10pm, killing a 10 year old girl.

1992: New Market received nearly a foot of rain. A bridge collapsed from floodwater in northern Le Sueur County.

1955: An F1 tornado touched down in Mille Lacs and Kanabec Counties causing 1 fatality and $500,000 in damages.


TODAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: SW 10. High: 66

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and not as cool. Low: 50

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, milder. Dew point: 50. High: near 70

THURSDAY: Fading sun, more wind. Wake-up: 51. High: 71

FRIDAY: Humid, growing thunder risk, especially Friday night. Dew point: 62. Wake-up: 58. High: 78

SATURDAY: Wet start, gradual clearing. Warm breeze. Wake-up: 63. High: 79

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 58. High: 68

MONDAY: Hints of October. Spotty frost late. Wake-up: 44. High: 57


Climate Stories...


Warmest August, Worldwide, Since 1888. We're on track for the 4th warmest year on record, globally, factoring land and ocean temperatures. The graphic above is courtesy of NASA GISS.


Climate Change: A Hole Too Big To Ignore. Why should we care about these strange holes appearing in Siberian permafrost? Canary in the coal mine? We'll see. Here's a clip from a story at The Jewish Daily Forward: "...Why should we care? The problem is that decaying organic matter releases high levels of methane, a carbon-based greenhouse gas that’s about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Tests of the air at the bottom of the first crater found methane content of 9.6%. That’s roughly 54,000 times higher than normal air (normal is 0.000179% methane). Three holes in Siberia aren’t the end of the world, of course. Not by themselves. But they’re part of an alarming pattern of methane leaks discovered recently that look like products of climate change..."

Image credit above: Wikipedia. "Bottomless: One of the giant craters that appeared in Northern Siberia this summer, a result of global warming."


Climate Activism's New Frontier is Targeting Fossil Fuel Investors. Churches are getting involved in the fossil fuel divestment movement, selling their investments in carbon-producing firms. Here's an excerpt from The Sydney Morning Herald: "...The report, funded by World Wildlife Fund UK, said the movement's real power lies in its ability to stigmatise the industry. "In almost every divestment campaign we reviewed, from Darfur to adult services, from tobacco to South Africa, divestment campaigns were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation affecting stigmatised firms." It identified three stages of divestment, beginning with churches or bodies such as public health associations – who are motivated by ethical priorities – then moving to universities  or cities, and finally, investors such as banks and pension funds. The fossil fuels divestment campaign had moved rapidly to the second stage, the report said..."

Back to the 70s - Temperatures Mellow into Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 14, 2014 - 10:54 PM

Relatively Safe

The most boring city in America to be a meteorologist? Probably San Diego, which has the distinction of having America's best climate. "Forecasting the marine layer and what time fog will burn off is my biggest daily challenge" a friend who works in TV out there volunteered. That, and what SPF sunscreen to apply, I guess.

But according to CoreLogic, California is the 4th riskiest state in the USA, behind Florida, Rhode Island & Louisiana. They factored all natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes & earthquakes.

For the record: Minnesota came in 40 out of 49 states in overall risk. The safest state? Michigan. I'm feeling better about the cold fronts to come.

A reinforcing cool front sparks a morning shower or sprinkle; skies clear this afternoon as winds begin to ease. A dry sky lingers into Friday, when a warm frontal passage may spark a few T-showers (and complaints about the dew point).

Expect 70s next weekend with less humidity - I wouldn't be surprised to see 80F warmth Friday, again a few days next week.

Nature rarely moves in a straight line. Saturday's premature frost was a jolt to the system, but don't pack away the shorts & t-shirts just yet.


We are # 40! Out of 49 states analyzed by CoreLogic, so this is actually a positive development for Minnesota. Note how the risk drops off as you head into far northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, where (large) tornadoes are relatively rare, at least for now. The map above shows risk from (all) natural hazards; here's an excerpt from a recent CoreLogic report: "...For every geocoded location across the U.S, the CoreLogic HRS is compiled using data representing nine natural hazards: flood, wildfire, tornado, storm surge, earthquake, straight-line wind, hurricane wind, hail and sinkhole. Locations with higher risk levels are exposed to multiple hazard risks and will, therefore, receive higher scores when the risk analysis is aggregated. Subsequently, locations with minimal risk levels have lower exposure and receive lower scores. Geocoded locations are generated at the property-address level using latitude and longitude coordinates and include both residential and commercial properties..."


Cold Rain Southern Minnesota. The best chance of morning showers comes over the southern suburbs, a period of heavier, steadier rain closer to Mankato, Rochester and Winona. Skies should begin to clear by afternoon as a drying northwest wind kicks in behind this disturbance. 60-hour rainfall prediction: NOAA and HAMweather.


Mellowing Trend. This is about as cool as it's going to be over the next 7-10 days. Temperatures struggle to near 60F today, but 70s are likely from Wednesday into much of next week. I wouldn't be surprised to see temperatures near 80F Friday, again a day or two next week. We certainly haven't seen the last of lukewarm weather. After morning showers the next chance of rain comes Friday in the form of a few T-showers. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.


Steve Jobs Was A Low-Tech Parent. All-you-can-eat tech is good for you? Maybe not. Moderation is key, according to a surprising story at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends. I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night. Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t..."



65 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

73 F. average high on September 14.

73 F. high on September 14, 2013.

September 14, 1939: The high for Minneapolis was 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

September 14, 1916: St. Paul's earliest snow ever.


TODAY: Early showers (southern MN), then slow clearing. Winds: NW 10+ High: 61

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear skies, cooling off. Low: 43

TUESDAY: Plenty of lukewarm sun. Dew point: 43. High: 69

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, balmy. Wake-up: 49. High: 71

THURSDAY: More wind - clouds increase. Wake-up: 51. High: 73

FRIDAY: Sticky, passing T-storm. Dew point: 67. Wake-up: 57. High: 78

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. DP: 56. Wake-up: 63. High: 77

SUNDAY: Sunny & spectacular. Light winds. Wake-up: 57. High: 72


Climate Stories...

In A Warming World We Can't Keep Depending On The Same Few Crops. Monoculture depends heavily on (fossil fueled) herbicides and pesticides; leaving agriculture more vulnerable to pests and more extreme swings in temperature and moisture. Here's an excerpt from Live Science: "...The recent IPCC (2014) report predicts that, without adaptation, temperature increases of above about 1 C from pre-industrial levels will negatively affect yields on the major crops in both tropical and temperate regions for the rest of the century. These impacts need to be seen in the context of crop demand, which is predicted to increase by about 14% per decade until 2050. In a recent study in Nature, an international team of scientists found that iron and zinc concentrations were substantially reduced in wheat, rice, soybean and pea crops grown under the CO2 levels expected by 2050. In other words, climate change will reduce both the yield and the nutritional content of the world’s major crops – leaving many hungry and malnourished..." (Photo credit: Tim McCabe, USDA).


Russia's Militarization of the North Pole Has U.S. Lawmakers On Edge. With rapid warming and melting of the polar ice cap we can expect more jostling over mineral and shipping rights at the top of the world. Here's an excerpt from National Journal: "...A break in cooperation has not slowed Russia's pursuit of national interests inside the Arctic Circle, however. Russia already has the biggest military footprint there of any Arctic nation, and it's beefing it up at a much faster rate than the U.S. and Canada. The country's Northern Fleet is getting new nuclear attack submarines. Restoration of Soviet-era defense infrastructure is underway. And this week, Russia announced it has begun building a complex of military bases in the region, The Moscow Times reports, the first new facilities in the area since Soviet posts were abandoned at the end of the Cold War..."


A Climate Movement That Can't Be Ignored. Huffington Post has the story - here's the introduction: "The New York state elections just concluded, and the national midterms are still weeks away, but there is a campaign office in downtown Manhattan that has just gone into overdrive. Volunteers there are hard at work on another deadline: September 21. That's the day of the People's Climate March, what promises to be the largest demonstration for action on climate change in world history. The march has brought together over 1,100 organizations at last count, from the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance to the Georgia Climate Change Coalition. A coalition that's both staggering in size and diversity..."


Evangelical Christian Tells Bill Moyers Not All Christians are Climate Change Deniers. Here's a video and excerpt from EcoWatch: "...Hayhoe is the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she teaches. She’s been attacked by Rush Limbaugh and gotten floods of hate mail and even threats after a right-wing blogger publisher her email address. But she says, “Caring about climate is entirely consistent with who we are as Christians. We have increasingly begun to confound our politics with our faith. To the point where instead of our faith dictating our attitudes on political and social issues, we are instead allowing our political party to dictate our attitude on issues that are clearly consistent with who we are...”


Too Much Carbon, Not Enough Time. Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at The Baltimore Sun: "...The latest numbers are a reminder that it's time to stop listening to the climate change deniers and accept that rising levels of greenhouse gases are a serious, man-made threat that must be addressed for the sake of humanity. The cost of delaying action to stem climate change is high — potentially four percentage points in gross domestic product worldwide by 2030, according to a UN report issued earlier this year. That's not alarmist, it's a matter of being prudent. Considering the other positive effects of embracing renewable energy, conservation and other remedies from cleaner air and water to new jobs in the "green energy" economy, the U.S. should be moving farther and faster. According to the WMO, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now 142 percent higher than they were before the Industrial Revolution while methane is up more than 250 percent. There's just so much abuse a planet can take before the consequences are disastrous and potentially irreversible."


The Good and Bad Climate News from Permafrost Melt. Climate Central has an update; here's the introduction: "Earth’s subterranean carbon blisters are starting to pop. Carbon inside now-melting permafrost is oozing out, leaving scientists scrambling to figure out just how much of it is ending up in the atmosphere. Whether recent findings from research that attempted to help answer this question are good or bad climate news might depend on whether you see an Arctic river basin as half full of mud — or half empty. Frozen soils known as permafrosts can be found across the planet, and they’re concentrated heavily in the Arctic, which has been warming since the 1980s at twice the global rate. Taken together, permafrosts contain more carbon than is already in the atmosphere..."

Photo credit above: "Coastal permafrost eroding in Alaska." Credit: USGS


Naomi Klein: The Hypocrisy Behind The Big Business Climate Change Battle. Here's an excerpt of a Guardian book review that resonated: "...A great many of us engage in this kind of denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or maybe we do really look, but then we forget. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right. If we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas; our children will spend much of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. Yet we continue all the same..."