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.

Accumulating Snow Tonight - Frozen Jingle Bells by New Year's Eve

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 26, 2014 - 8:23 AM

An Oddly Cool Year

While the vast majority of the planet, land and oceans, is in the midst of the warmest year on record, Minnesota is experiencing the coolest year since 1996. That's one of a handful of 2014 weather headlines posted at the Minnesota DNR. Other oddities this year: only 23 Minnesota tornadoes, well below average - the wettest June, statewide, in Minnesota history - the deepest snow depth since 1982 (24 inches on February 21, 2014) - and a polar winter to remember with 53 subzero nights in the Twin Cities; the 5th most ever recorded. Feeling sorry for yourself? International Falls had 92 subzero nights, tying 1977-78 for the most ever.

The cool, wet bias may not spill over into 2015 with an El Nino warming of the Pacific expected to linger much of next year.

And our premature January Thaw will give way to a rude reality check next week. The approach of colder air squeezes out a few inches of snow tonight and early Saturday; by Tuesday and Wednesday morning temperatures may flirt with zero in the suburbs.

So please avoid the suburbs.

My strong hunch: the next few months will in no way resemble last winter. I see more Pacific, less polar. Real storms with heavy snow may be fairly rare.

Place your bets.


December Shocker: Snow. There's a good chance we'll wind up wiith a couple inches of snow tonight and early Saturday as a weak storm ripples along an advancing cold front; the best chance of 3" south and east of the Twin Cities. We've only picked up 1.4" snow so far in December, so it's possible tonight's snowfall may qualify as the "biggest snowfall of December". Kind of pathetic. 4 km. accumulated snow map: NOAA NAM and HAMweather.


Winter Weather Advisory Tonight. A white Saturday-After-Christmas? Not quite the same thing, but at this point we'll take whatever snow we can muster. NOAA has much of southern and east central Minnesota and a big chunk of Wisconsin under an advisory. Details:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM
THIS EVENING TO 9 AM CST SATURDAY.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL RAPIDLY SPREAD ACROSS THE AREA BETWEEN 6PM AND
  9PM TONIGHT AND TAPER OFF EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.

* MAIN IMPACT...3 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER
  AMOUNTS NEAR 6 INCHES POSSIBLE.

* OTHER IMPACTS...DRIVING CONDITIONS WILL BECOME DIFFICULT AS
  ROADS BECOME SNOW COVERED.

Double Dip. The rumors are true: we are about to cool off; a few days in the teens next week, with the best chance of negative numbers next Wednesday morning, again Sunday, January 4. Canadian air surges south like waves breaking on the beach. The beach. What a wonderful idea.


Numb, But Not Persistently Polar. GFS guidance shows a subzero spell around January 5-7, with temperatures warming back into the 20s for much of the second week of January. We'll see, but I see no evidence of the Polar Express, a persistent blocking pattern of Arctic air flowing steadily south, similar to what we endured last winter.


Over The Horizon. Long-range predicted jet stream winds (GFS) show a west/northwest flow aloft; cold, but not exactly polar by the second week of January. Persistent low pressure troughs pushing into the western USA prevent the ridiculously resilient ridge from reestablishing over the western USA, keeping our flow more zonal, more west to east, than Arctic. Credit: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Top Minnesota Weather Headlines of 2014. Pete Boulay and the folks at the Minnesota DNR have done an admirable job highlighting the top weather stories of this year. I too would put the "pioneer winter" at number 1, followed closely by the wettest June, statewide, in Minnesota history. It was the wettest month period. Here's an excerpt of a very good post:

#2 Record Wet June

June 2014 was the wettest June and the wettest month of the modern record for Minnesota. The state-averaged monthly rainfall total for June was 8.03 inches. Redwood Falls and Glencoe had 14.24 inches. The Twin Cities saw 11.36 inches, which fell just short of the June record of 11.67 inches from 1874. The impacts were flooded roads, farm fields, soggy basements and construction delays. One side benefit to the wet June was once the summer began to turn dry, plants were able to tap deep soil moisture from the June rains.

#1 The Cold Winter of 2013-14

There were many note-worthy parts of the winter of 2013-14. There were 53 nights of at or below zero temperatures in the Twin Cities. This tied for 5th place for the number of times the mercury dipped at r below zero in the Twin Cities for winters going back to 1872-73. International Falls had 92 at or below zero readings, tied 1977-78 as the most ever. Another measure was the extremely cold wind chill temperatures. The coldest wind chill temperature was -48 at the Twin Cities on January 6th and for the state it was -63 degrees at the Grand Marais Airport. The winter of 2013-14 will be one to compare to for many years to come.


Snows of Christmas Past. NOAA's Climate.gov has an interesting article that claims an increase in Christmas snow cover during Christmas week in recent weeks, based on data from Rutger's Snow Lab. Here's an excerpt: "...The map (above) shows the change in the average number of snow-covered days between the 1990-2013 decades and the 1966-1989 decades for the week of Christmas —in other words, the most recent two decades of the time series minus the first two.  Places where the ground was snow-covered up to 25% more frequently in recent decades are colored in shades of blue, and places that were snow-covered up to 25% less frequently are colored shades of brown. According to the Rutgers’ folks, there seems to have been a modest increase in snow extent during the holiday week today compared to the past for the country as a whole, although it clearly varies a lot from place to place..."


Dreaming Of A White Christmas? Check Out This Map. Dream on, we'll probably get socked with snow next year, but this year it looks like more of a Memphis Christmas out there. Here's a clip from Climate Central: "...But don’t mistake this map for a weather forecast. It’s simply a look at the historical probability of snow on the ground using NOAA’s 1981-2010 climate normals. So while the data show that Duluth, Minn., has a 92 percent chance of having at least 1 inch of snow, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen this year. In fact, this year an unusually low portion of the U.S. will be snow covered. The Capital Weather Gang reports that the U.S. has its smallest snow extent in a decade for this time of year..."


Sun Sizzles in High-Energy X-Rays. NASA has a story about a new look at the sun; here's an excerpt: "...With NuSTAR's high-energy views, it has the potential to capture hypothesized nanoflares -- smaller versions of the sun's giant flares that erupt with charged particles and high-energy radiation. Nanoflares, should they exist, may explain why the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, is sizzling hot, a mystery called the "coronal heating problem." The corona is, on average, 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius), while the surface of the sun is relatively cooler at 10,800 Fahrenheit (6,000 degrees Celsius). It is like a flame coming out of an ice cube. Nanoflares, in combination with flares, may be sources of the intense heat..."

Image credit above: "X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)." Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC.


Kudos To Google and YouTube for the Christmas Gift of Free Speech. Yes, the movie is stupid, but it's American-stupid, and we have the right to waste our money on stupidity. My respect for Google went up a few big notches as they make "The Interview", the movie with perhaps the most amazing marketing campaign of any movie in the history of film, available at Google Play and YouTube Movies. You can rent the movie for $5.99.



35 F. high in the Twin Cities Christmas Day.

25 F. average high on December 25.

28 F. high on December 25, 2013.

1990: Much of central Minnesota set record low temperatures near 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, while others had lows in the teens below zero. Cambridge had the coldest temperature with 31 below. Mora was close behind, with a low of 30 below. Other notably cold lows were at St. Cloud, with 29 below, and Melrose and Menomonie, WI with 27 below.


TODAY: Shocker: cloudy and drab. North 10. High: 33

FRIDAY NIGHT: Winter Weather Advisory. Accumulating snow; 1-3", more south/east of MSP. Low: 25

SATURDAY: Snow tapers to flurries Slick roads possible. High: 27

SUNDAY: Cold and gray. Good travel weather. Wake-up: 18. High: 25

MONDAY: Peeks of sun, colder wind. Wake-up: 14. High: 17

TUESDAY: Winter relapse. Lot's of clouds. Wake-up: -3. High: 11

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, feels like -10. Wake-up: -1. High: 16

THURSDAY: White New Year? Light accumulation of snow? Wake-up: 8. High: 21


Climate Stories...

4 Signs The Arctic Is Getting Baked By Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from a post at Mother Jones and billmoyers.com: "...The 2014 summer sea ice minimum — a snapshot taken when sea ice is at its lowest — was 23 percent below the 1981-2010 average, a loss of ice 2.6 times greater than the total area of California. In the map below, the minimum (which happened in September) is on the right; the pink outline shows the average. The winter maximum, on the left, was also below average, by about 5 percent..."

Graphic credit above: "Arctic sea ice extent in the winter maximum (left) and summer minimum (right) were both below average (pink line) in 2014." (Graphic: NOAA)


Canada's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks' Days Are Numbered Thanks to Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Smithsonian: "...These dire findings specifically relate to the the Rideau Canal, which runs through Ottawa and each year becomes the largest ice skating rink in the world. Researchers from McGill University found that, with each passing decade since 1972, the canal has been skate-able for five fewer days, Conservation Magazine reports. The average skating season during those years was 58 days, but by 2040, it's predicted to drop to 50 days or less. By 2090, however, it will last just 28 or 29 days if global warming continues unchecked..."

Map above: rinkwatch.org.

These U.S. Cities Have Already Passed a Climate Change "Tipping Point". Tipping point is defined as at least 30 days a year of "nuisance flooding" or worse. Here's an excerpt from Vice News: "...Wilmington, North Carolina; Annapolis, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. have already passed their tipping points. From 2006 through 2010, for example, Annapolis experienced an average of 34.4 nuisance days a year, compared to an average 2.8 such days from 1956 through 1960. Of the 23 other cities surveyed, 17 are expected to pass their tipping points by 2050...."


The Fossil Fuel Industry Spent More Than $721 Million During 2014's Midterm Elections. Think Progress has the story; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...The 2014 midterm elections saw a wave of Republican candidates elected and re-elected to federal office, many of whom are now rearing to make the environment their first casualty of the 114th Congress. As it turns out, the fossil fuel industry may have had something to do with that. Taking into account direct contributions to individuals and groups, spending on television ads and lobbying, the energy industry spent more than $721 million during the 2014 election cycle, according to an analysis released Monday by the Center for American Progress..."


2015: The Year Businesses Recognize That Climate Change is Real. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: "...But front and center in my universe as a close – and often vocal – observer and practitioner of corporate social responsibility and sustainability was climate: call it the “water-energy nexus,” the “resources dilemma,” or another variant. But in 2014, every sector of our industrial economy felt the weight of climate change. More significantly, many more people began to interweave the repercussions of a changing climate with issues – like poverty, urbanization, lifestyles, economic standards and community development – that had previously appeared as separate prongs on any impact chart..."

Christmas Coating. Cold Slap for New Year's Eve

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: December 25, 2014 - 1:19 PM

Some Assembly Required

The 3 most terrifying words a parent can read Christmas morning. My day will be spent with a power drill, Phillips-head screwdriver and wobbly ladder, installing my new RadioShack Doppler up on the roof. Good luck with your post-Christmas assembly challenges.

I can usually gauge the severity of a winter by how much grit, sand and goop has accumulated in our garage, undershirt consumption and the urge to flick on the space heater each night. By those metrics it hasn't been that bad, overall and nothing like last winter, to date.

December 2013 was 7.3F colder than average with 8 subzero nights as of Christmas. December 2014: 6F warmer than average and only 1 subzero night.

This is what an El Nino winter looks like. JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, has made it official; I expect NOAA to confirm it soon.

2014 was cooler than average east of the Mississippi but still on track to be the warmest year, worldwide, ever recorded. So much for the temperature pause.

A weak disturbance brushes us with a coating of light snow and flurries today, but overall Old Man Winter will pull his punch into early January; single digit highs New Year's Eve the exception, not the rule looking out 2 weeks.

A little snow is possible early Saturday, again Monday. A white New Year's Day?


White Christmas for 29% of USA. 29.2% of the Lower 48, to be exact, according to NOAA. That's lower than average for December 25, and major population centers from Chicago and St. Louis to Pittsburgh, New York and Washington D.C. will see a green/brown Christmas this year.


Christmas 2013. A year ago today about 44.4% of the USA had snow on the ground; far more significant snow cover from the Rockies and Plains acors the Midwest into northern New England.


Temperature Correction Next Week. It still looks like a cold New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with highs in the teens and lows near or just below 0F. A coating of snow is possible late Friday into early Saturday, another light accumulation Monday as colder air approaches. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Early January: Seasonably Cold, Not Polar. After a numbing New Year temperatures recover into the 20s for highs much of the first week of January, close to average. GFS guidance is hinting at a few inches January 2-3 but I'm not convinced it's real, not yet.


Jet Stream Winds: January 8. A zonal, west to east wind flow aloft means some moderation as we move into early January. I see no sign of the massive ridge reestablishing itself out west, which would result in consistently colder weather again east of the Rockies in a pattern similar to last winter. This winter I expect more variability in the jet stream, alternating between Arctic and Pacific; lower odds of a persistent polar block capable of the kind of ridiculous cold we experienced last winter. Map: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Snows of Christmas Past. NOAA's Climate.gov has an interesting article that claims an increase in Christmas snow cover during Christmas week in recent weeks, based on data from Rutger's Snow Lab. Here's an excerpt: "...The map (above) shows the change in the average number of snow-covered days between the 1990-2013 decades and the 1966-1989 decades for the week of Christmas —in other words, the most recent two decades of the time series minus the first two.  Places where the ground was snow-covered up to 25% more frequently in recent decades are colored in shades of blue, and places that were snow-covered up to 25% less frequently are colored shades of brown. According to the Rutgers’ folks, there seems to have been a modest increase in snow extent during the holiday week today compared to the past for the country as a whole, although it clearly varies a lot from place to place..."


Dreaming Of A White Christmas? Check Out This Map. Dream on, we'll probably get socked with snow next year, but this year it looks like more of a Memphis Christmas out there. Here's a clip from Climate Central: "...But don’t mistake this map for a weather forecast. It’s simply a look at the historical probability of snow on the ground using NOAA’s 1981-2010 climate normals. So while the data show that Duluth, Minn., has a 92 percent chance of having at least 1 inch of snow, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen this year. In fact, this year an unusually low portion of the U.S. will be snow covered. The Capital Weather Gang reports that the U.S. has its smallest snow extent in a decade for this time of year..."


Christmas Weather Facts in the Twin Cities. Media Logic Group meteorologist D.J. Kayser has some great information about Christmas weather on his informative blog - here's an excerpt: "...We have seen at least a trace of snow on Christmas 83 times since 1884, the most recent being last year when 0.2″ of snow fell. The most snow on Christmas was back in 1945 when 9.6″ fell. Remember that this only takes into account snow that fell on Christmas day..."


Sun Sizzles in High-Energy X-Rays. NASA has a story about a new look at the sun; here's an excerpt: "...With NuSTAR's high-energy views, it has the potential to capture hypothesized nanoflares -- smaller versions of the sun's giant flares that erupt with charged particles and high-energy radiation. Nanoflares, should they exist, may explain why the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, is sizzling hot, a mystery called the "coronal heating problem." The corona is, on average, 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius), while the surface of the sun is relatively cooler at 10,800 Fahrenheit (6,000 degrees Celsius). It is like a flame coming out of an ice cube. Nanoflares, in combination with flares, may be sources of the intense heat..."

Image credit above: "X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)." Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC.


Polar Stratospheric Clouds. Here's an excerpt about some remarkable clouds showing up high in the skies above Scandinavia, courtesy of spaceweather.com: "...A possible outbreak of polar stratospheric clouds (PMCs) is underway around the Arctic Circle. Unlike normal grey-white clouds, which hug Earth's surface at altitudes of only 5 to 10 km, PMCs float through the stratosphere (25 km) and they are fantastically colorful. Ivar Marthinusen sends this picture of the phenonenon from Skedsmokorset, Norway..."


The World Is Not Falling Apart. Slate reminds us that, in spite of ominous headlines, things have been (much) worse in the past. Here's an excerpt: "...As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy..."


The Coolest Water Toys of 2014. Gizmag has their list, which they've checked twice. Sorry, I enjoy daydreaming about water toys on the 24th day fo December. One of many character flaws: "We looked at 2014's coolest land toys earlier this month; now we leave the shore in our wake and head out to sea. The year in water toys kicked off in a big way at Boot Düsseldorf 2014 in January and it ran strong the year through. In fact, we'd say the past year saw reveals and market launches of some of the coolest water toys in recent history ... everything from transforming boats, to seven-figure personal submarines to underwater jet packs..."


25 Things You Might Not Know About "It's a Wonderful Life". Mental Floss has a few interesting nuggets; here's an excerpt: "...Though Reed sadly passed away in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s most dedicated historians, regularly introducing screenings of the ultimate holiday classic, including during its annual run at New York City’s IFC Center (now in its ninth year). She shared some of her mom’s memories with us to help reveal 25 things you might not know about It’s a Wonderful Life..."


Kudos To Google and YouTube for the Christmas Gift of Free Speech. Yes, the movie is stupid, but it's American-stupid, and we have the right to waste our money on stupidity. My respect for Google went up a few big notches as they make "The Interview", the movie with perhaps the most amazing marketing campaign of any movie in the history of film, available at Google Play and YouTube Movies. You can rent the movie for $5.99.



36 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

25 F. average high on December 24.

11 F. high on December 24, 2013.

-13 F. morning low on December 24, 2013.

Minnesota Weather History on December 24. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1999: Strong winds resulted in a one hundred thirty foot radio tower to collapse in Milaca. No wind measurements were available in the city of Milaca. However, Princeton airport (Mille Lacs county), had a gust to 45 mph at 10:35 pm CST. St. Cloud airport (Stearns County), had a gust to 44 mph at 8:52 pm CST. Mora (Kanabec county) had a gust to 55 mph at 9:35 pm CST, and a gust to 47 mph at 10:35 pm CST.

1996: A strong low pressure system which deposited heavy snow over much of Minnesota on the 23rd, pulled extremely cold Canadian air southward over Minnesota. The cold remained entrenched through the 26th. Temperatures fell to 15 to 35 degrees below zero Christmas Day morning. The Twin Cities and St. Cloud set new record low temperatures both days. In addition, the high temperature on Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was only 9 degrees below zero. Combined with the record low temperature that morning of 22 below, the mean temperature for Christmas Day was 16 degrees below zero. This Christmas Day set a new record for being the coldest day on record for the Twin Cities metro area, going back to the year 1890 when modern day records began.

1922: People were golfing in the Twin Cities as temperatures reached the 50's.


CHRISTMAS DAY: A period of light snow and flurries - coating possible. Winds: S 8. High: 35

THURSDAY NIGHT: Lingering clouds, still above average. Low: 29

FRIDAY: Bright gray, cooling off a bit. High: 31

SATURDAY: Snowy coating early? Drying out. Wake-up: 24. High: 28

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, seasonably chilly. Wake-up: 17. High: 23

MONDAY: Cloudy, a little light snow late? Wake-up: 15. High: 29

TUESDAY: Risk of sunshine, colder. Wind chill: -5. Wake-up: 8. High: 13

NEW YEAR's EVE: Numb New Year. Peeks of sun, dry. Wake-up: 0. High: 9


Climate Stories...

Canada's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks' Days Are Numbered Thanks to Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Smithsonian: "...These dire findings specifically relate to the the Rideau Canal, which runs through Ottawa and each year becomes the largest ice skating rink in the world. Researchers from McGill University found that, with each passing decade since 1972, the canal has been skate-able for five fewer days, Conservation Magazine reports. The average skating season during those years was 58 days, but by 2040, it's predicted to drop to 50 days or less. By 2090, however, it will last just 28 or 29 days if global warming continues unchecked..."

Map above: rinkwatch.org.

These U.S. Cities Have Already Passed a Climate Change "Tipping Point". Tipping point is defined as at least 30 days a year of "nuisance flooding" or worse. Here's an excerpt from Vice News: "...Wilmington, North Carolina; Annapolis, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. have already passed their tipping points. From 2006 through 2010, for example, Annapolis experienced an average of 34.4 nuisance days a year, compared to an average 2.8 such days from 1956 through 1960. Of the 23 other cities surveyed, 17 are expected to pass their tipping points by 2050...."


Let's Pause And Consider What Jesus Would Say About Climate Change. Here's the intro to an Op-Ed at Huffington Post: "Tis the season when the Christian world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. That child born in Bethlehem so long ago grew up to become one of mankind's greatest moralists, teaching messages of love, sharing and compassion. As the cloud of climate change hovering over us grows ever more ominous, huge moral issues swirl about both the causes and the solutions. I can't help but wonder: if Jesus were here today, what would He say? For example, is it okay for one generation to consume resources disproportionately to the detriment of subsequent generations?..."


The Fossil Fuel Industry Spent More Than $721 Million During 2014's Midterm Elections. Think Progress has the story; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...The 2014 midterm elections saw a wave of Republican candidates elected and re-elected to federal office, many of whom are now rearing to make the environment their first casualty of the 114th Congress. As it turns out, the fossil fuel industry may have had something to do with that. Taking into account direct contributions to individuals and groups, spending on television ads and lobbying, the energy industry spent more than $721 million during the 2014 election cycle, according to an analysis released Monday by the Center for American Progress..."


2015: The Year Businesses Recognize That Climate Change is Real. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: "...But front and center in my universe as a close – and often vocal – observer and practitioner of corporate social responsibility and sustainability was climate: call it the “water-energy nexus,” the “resources dilemma,” or another variant. But in 2014, every sector of our industrial economy felt the weight of climate change. More significantly, many more people began to interweave the repercussions of a changing climate with issues – like poverty, urbanization, lifestyles, economic standards and community development – that had previously appeared as separate prongs on any impact chart..."


2014: An Epic Year For Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic's CityLab: "...The thermostat could've seemed low in your neck of the woods—meaning America's East Coast and Midwest and the Falkland Islands—but temperatures were sweltering in the rest of the planet. Take a look at these abnormally high and record-hot readings, which represent a 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit deviation above the historical average. Notes the National Climatic Data Center: "This was the warmest January-November in the 1880-2014 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.02°F...." (Graphic: NOAA NCDC).


Climate Change By The Numbers: The Cold Data That Drove a Record-Hot Year. Salon does a good job breaking out some important numbers; here's an excerpt: "...What follows is a by no means comprehensive look back at some of the big (and small) numbers driving those discussions. As we move forward to an international climate treaty at the end of 2015 — and onward, from there, to a world irreversibly transformed by the decisions we make in the near future — the fact remains that it’s only going to get hotter from here.

1.22: The deviation, in degrees Fahrenheit, of average global temperatures for the first 11 months of 2014 above the 20th century average, according to the NOAA.

142: Percentage by which atmospheric CO2 levels soared above the pre-Industrial Revolution average in 2013, the WMO announced in September, representing a record rate of growth..."


Climate Change Could Cost U.S. Coasts $1 Trillion by 2100. The concern: enhanced damage triggered by more frequent storm surges as tides continue to rise, threatening more coastal property. Here's an excerpt from Science Magazine: "Climate change will cost U.S. coastal areas twice what analysts had predicted, according to a new study. Researchers had estimated that preparing coastal cities, repairing property damages, and relocating inhabitants for future sea level rise could have a roughly $500 billion price tag by 2100. But storm surge from tropical cyclones can cause additional local rises in sea level rise; that figure hits about $1 trillion, researchers report this month in Climatic Change..."


"Atmospheric Rivers" To Soak California As Climate Warms. The jury is still out on what impact a warming atmosphere will have on California and water supplies in the western USA. Will a perpetual ridge of hot high pressure spark pervasive drought, interrupted by flooding sparked by increasingly frequent El Nino episodes? Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "...Under current climate scenarios, such drought-busting "atmospheric rivers" will hit Northern California twice as often by 2100 as they do now, said U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Mike Dettinger. "When the atmosphere is warmer, it holds more water vapor, so there is a huge increase in the number of these atmospheric rivers," Dettinger said here Wednesday (Dec. 17) at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting..."


At Hanukkah Israel's Colors Are Blue, White...And Green. Here's a snippet of an interesting article at jns.org: "...Hanukkah is known as the Jewish festival of lights, commemorating the miracle of a Jewish rebel army’s oil burning for eight days when it should have only burned for one. Today, the real miracle of lights is that a country like Israel, which is roughly the size of New Jersey and is constantly under attack both from its neighbors and from terrorists within its own borders, has the foresight and initiative to champion the environmental movement. From Israel’s drip irrigation systems that dramatically decrease the amount of water needed to grow crops, to its hydrogen-fueled cars, the country practices what it preaches, showing the world that economic and environmental prosperity can go hand-in-hand..."

Photo credit above: "A photovoltaic array at Israel's National Solar Energy Center in the Negev desert." Credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.


Miami's Climate Catch-22. Building Waterfront Condos To Pay For Protection Against The Rising Seas. Here's an excerpt from an article at The Washington Post: "...But Miami Beach needs this penthouse — and many more like it. The more developers build here, the more taxes and fees the city collects to fund a $300-million storm water project to defend the shore against the rising sea. Approval of these luxury homes on what environmentalists warn is global warming quicksand amounts to a high-stakes bet that Miami Beach can, essentially, out-build climate change and protect its $27 billion worth of real estate..."

A Memphis Christmas: Mostly Green/Brown and 30s. Subzero New Year's Eve?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 24, 2014 - 8:19 AM

Christmas Harmony

Sorry Elvis, no blue Christmas this year. I’m looking forward to a silent night in the weather center as we all step into Christmas, celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, with or without snow. I’ll be home for Christmas - because where else would I be.

Do you hear what I hear? That’s Santa baby; he’s on his way - jingle bells reflected by a crescent moon as Rudolph the red-nose reindeer leads the way south.

Frosty the snowman has definitely seen better days, but don’t write winter cold and snow off just yet. Yes, you may freeze your jingle bells on New Year's Eve as the mercury dips below zero. Cue chestnuts roasting on an open fire (minus the chestnuts).

A warming trend returns after the New Year, a reminder that daylight is increasing. So is El Nino. A Pacific flow keeps us storm-free the next 2 weeks.

In the meantime come all ye faithful to deck the halls with some badly-needed joy to the world. And to family and friends: you’re all I want for Christmas this year. Let it snow (somewhere - please) but here's my hunch: Feliz Navidad doesn't require a white Christmas. Snow is nice, but optional. It's bigger than that.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.


Who Will See A White Christmas This Year? Wednesday morning's estimated snowfall map from NOAA shows more snow over southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa; a white Christmas assured for much of Wisconsin and the Minnesota Arrowhead. But for much of Minnesota Christmas will be more green/brown than white this year, the first for the Twin Cities since 2011.


Christmas Weather Facts in the Twin Cities. Media Logic Group meteorologist D.J. Kayser has some great information about Christmas weather on his informative blog - here's an excerpt: "...We have seen at least a trace of snow on Christmas 83 times since 1884, the most recent being last year when 0.2″ of snow fell. The most snow on Christmas was back in 1945 when 9.6″ fell. Remember that this only takes into account snow that fell on Christmas day..."


Christmas Snowfall. A stripe of heavy snow accumulates over Lower Michigan with significant snowfall from Boise and Great Falls to Park City and Salt Lake City. Out east the biggest concern will be heavy rain and high winds. 60-hour snowfall accumulation: NOAA NAM and HAMweather.


Dreaming of a Soggy Christmas? You're in luck if you live out east. The same storm that whipped up tornadoes that left 4 people dead in Mississippi will push a smear of 1-3" rains into the eastern seaboard, capable of urban flooding and travel slow-downs.


Slow-Motion Temperature Slide. Highs top freezing today, Thursday and Friday before cooling off into next week. Right now New Year's Eve appears to be the coldest day with single-digit highs and lows dipping just below zero. GFS data shows 20s, even a shot at 30F returning to MSP between January 4-7.


All About The Christmas Bird Count in Minnesota. The Star Tribune has more details on the CBC, which is quite a holiday tradition in Minnesota and much of North America; here's a clip: "...Dubbed the world’s longest-running “citizen science” survey, the 115th annual CBC will lure more than 70,000 volunteer birders afield in roughly 2,400 locations across the United States, Canada and parts of Latin America. This year’s CBC runs from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5. “The Christmas Bird Count has been happening in Minnesota for more than 100 years,” said Mark Martell, director of bird conservation for Audubon Minnesota in St. Paul, the state office of the National Audubon Society. “The counts help accumulate an enormous amount of data about bird populations across a very wide geographic range. There’s really nothing like it in the world...” (File photo: Star Tribune).


Hopeful Holiday Skiers Pray For Snow As Alps Resorts Feel The Effects of Warmer Weather. It has been unusually mild, almost springlike, across much of Europe in December and snow is at a premium. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...Head high or stay at home and, if you go, definitely wear a helmet. That is the message for skiers looking to hit the slopes this week after one of the worst starts to a season in living memory. As many of Europe’s leading ski resorts scramble to lure in skiers over the all-important Christmas period, there are fears some operators could be in grave financial difficulties if, as meteorologists suggest, the current lack of snow persists..." (Image: http://earth.nullschool.net).


Polar Stratospheric Clouds. Here's an excerpt about some remarkable clouds showing up high in the skies above Scandinavia, courtesy of spaceweather.com: "...A possible outbreak of polar stratospheric clouds (PMCs) is underway around the Arctic Circle. Unlike normal grey-white clouds, which hug Earth's surface at altitudes of only 5 to 10 km, PMCs float through the stratosphere (25 km) and they are fantastically colorful. Ivar Marthinusen sends this picture of the phenonenon from Skedsmokorset, Norway..."


The Ominous Lesson From The Sony Pictures Hack. The Washington Post reminds us all that, juicy Sony e-mails aside, we're missing the forest through the trees with the hack, which is a new form of cyber-terrorism. Here's a clip: "...The hacking of Sony Pictures also alerts us to the ultimate cybersecurity horror: the breakdown of vital electronic systems — power plants, financial networks, water supplies — that creates anarchy. Imagine a major city without power for an extended period. We don’t know the odds of this, but they are far greater than zero because so much of daily life depends on vulnerable digital networks..."


I Work At Sony Pictures. This Is What It Was Like After We Got Hacked. Fortune has the first-person account of what really happened during the worst case of corporate cyber-hacking on record; here's the intro: "An employee* in the Los Angeles office of Sony Pictures Entertainment SNE 0.78% opened up to Fortune about the personal ordeal they went through following revelations of North Korea’s alleged cyber attack on the company. What follows is their words, condensed and edited for clarity..."


The World Is Not Falling Apart. Slate reminds us that, in spite of ominous headlines, things have been (much) worse in the past. Here's an excerpt: "...As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy..."


The Coolest Water Toys of 2014. Gizmag has their list, which they've checked twice. Sorry, I enjoy daydreaming about water toys on the 24th day fo December. One of many character flaws: "We looked at 2014's coolest land toys earlier this month; now we leave the shore in our wake and head out to sea. The year in water toys kicked off in a big way at Boot Düsseldorf 2014 in January and it ran strong the year through. In fact, we'd say the past year saw reveals and market launches of some of the coolest water toys in recent history ... everything from transforming boats, to seven-figure personal submarines to underwater jet packs..."


25 Things You Might Not Know About "It's a Wonderful Life". Mental Floss has a few interesting nuggets; here's an excerpt: "...Though Reed sadly passed away in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s most dedicated historians, regularly introducing screenings of the ultimate holiday classic, including during its annual run at New York City’s IFC Center (now in its ninth year). She shared some of her mom’s memories with us to help reveal 25 things you might not know about It’s a Wonderful Life..."


36 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

25 F. average high on December 23.

5 F. high on December 23, 2013.

0" snow on the ground at KMSP.

December 23, 1996: Strong winds of 20 to 30 mph, combined with over a foot of new snowfall, resulted in restricted visibilities from blowing snow. As a result, several highways closed, including highway 19 west of Redwood Falls, highways 7 and 40 at Madison, and highways 67 and 23 out of Granite Falls.

December 23, 1982: Heavy rain over the state with slushy snow over southwest Minnesota. Twin Cities gets 2.61 inches of precipitation through Christmas. Some lightning and thunder with the heavy rain on Christmas Eve.


CHRISTMAS EVE: Mostly cloudy. Good travel conditions. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 35

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, Santa sightings. Low: 27

CHRISTMAS DAY: Lingering clouds, above-average temperatures. High: 34

FRIDAY: Coating of light snow? Wake-up: 26. High: 33

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, chilly. Wake-up: 13. High: 19

SUNDAY: Gray, no big travel headaches. Wake-up: 14. High: 21

MONDAY: Burst of flurries, turning colder. Wake-up: 17. High: 19

TUESDAY: Some sun. Won't help much. Wake-up: 3. High: 11


Climate Stories...

2014: An Epic Year For Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic's CityLab: "...The thermostat could've seemed low in your neck of the woods—meaning America's East Coast and Midwest and the Falkland Islands—but temperatures were sweltering in the rest of the planet. Take a look at these abnormally high and record-hot readings, which represent a 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit deviation above the historical average. Notes the National Climatic Data Center: "This was the warmest January-November in the 1880-2014 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.02°F...." (Graphic: NOAA NCDC).


Climate Change By The Numbers: The Cold Data That Drove a Record-Hot Year. Salon does a good job breaking out some important numbers; here's an excerpt: "...What follows is a by no means comprehensive look back at some of the big (and small) numbers driving those discussions. As we move forward to an international climate treaty at the end of 2015 — and onward, from there, to a world irreversibly transformed by the decisions we make in the near future — the fact remains that it’s only going to get hotter from here.

1.22: The deviation, in degrees Fahrenheit, of average global temperatures for the first 11 months of 2014 above the 20th century average, according to the NOAA.

142: Percentage by which atmospheric CO2 levels soared above the pre-Industrial Revolution average in 2013, the WMO announced in September, representing a record rate of growth..."


Climate Change Could Cost U.S. Coasts $1 Trillion by 2100. The concern: enhanced damage triggered by more frequent storm surges as tides continue to rise, threatening more coastal property. Here's an excerpt from Science Magazine: "Climate change will cost U.S. coastal areas twice what analysts had predicted, according to a new study. Researchers had estimated that preparing coastal cities, repairing property damages, and relocating inhabitants for future sea level rise could have a roughly $500 billion price tag by 2100. But storm surge from tropical cyclones can cause additional local rises in sea level rise; that figure hits about $1 trillion, researchers report this month in Climatic Change..."


"Atmospheric Rivers" To Soak California As Climate Warms. The jury is still out on what impact a warming atmosphere will have on California and water supplies in the western USA. Will a perpetual ridge of hot high pressure spark pervasive drought, interrupted by flooding sparked by increasingly frequent El Nino episodes? Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "...Under current climate scenarios, such drought-busting "atmospheric rivers" will hit Northern California twice as often by 2100 as they do now, said U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Mike Dettinger. "When the atmosphere is warmer, it holds more water vapor, so there is a huge increase in the number of these atmospheric rivers," Dettinger said here Wednesday (Dec. 17) at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting..."


At Hanukkah Israel's Colors Are Blue, White...And Green. Here's a snippet of an interesting article at jns.org: "...Hanukkah is known as the Jewish festival of lights, commemorating the miracle of a Jewish rebel army’s oil burning for eight days when it should have only burned for one. Today, the real miracle of lights is that a country like Israel, which is roughly the size of New Jersey and is constantly under attack both from its neighbors and from terrorists within its own borders, has the foresight and initiative to champion the environmental movement. From Israel’s drip irrigation systems that dramatically decrease the amount of water needed to grow crops, to its hydrogen-fueled cars, the country practices what it preaches, showing the world that economic and environmental prosperity can go hand-in-hand..."

Photo credit above: "A photovoltaic array at Israel's National Solar Energy Center in the Negev desert." Credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.


Miami's Climate Catch-22. Building Waterfront Condos To Pay For Protection Against The Rising Seas. Here's an excerpt from an article at The Washington Post: "...But Miami Beach needs this penthouse — and many more like it. The more developers build here, the more taxes and fees the city collects to fund a $300-million storm water project to defend the shore against the rising sea. Approval of these luxury homes on what environmentalists warn is global warming quicksand amounts to a high-stakes bet that Miami Beach can, essentially, out-build climate change and protect its $27 billion worth of real estate..."

* With 2014 coming to a close, weather organizations and independent researchers have crunched the numbers and found that 2014 will almost certainly go down in history as the hottest year on record. Global land and sea surface temperatures for the year-to-date have already broken records, and December is seeing above-average temperatures as well.

* 2014 marks only the latest in a string of years with record-breaking heat, however. It has been 358 months since we had a cooler-than-average month, and the fifteen hottest years on record have all come since 1997.

* Assuming current trends hold throughout the last week of this month, 2014 has set a new global temperature record despite the fact that it is also an El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral year.

- bullet points above courtesy of Climate Nexus.


D.C. Has Passed Sea Level Rise "Tipping Point", More Cities to Follow: Study. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman has the story at Mashable; here's an excerpt: "...Sweet and co-author Joseph Park, also of NOAA, used tide-gauge data and mainstream sea-level-rise projections, to show that, in many places, the frequency of coastal flooding events is rising far faster than the mean sea level is. To date, the mean sea level rise is what has captured the most attention. “It’s not so much the mean that we are concerned about than it is the frequency of these lesser extremes,” Sweet said. In some cases, less than a foot of mean sea level rise may be all that is required to reach the threshold level of 30 days per year of nuisance-type flood events, he said. Such floods affect infrastructure that lies just 1 to 2 feet above sea level, which in many cases, includes critical shoreline roads, military bases, airports and water-treatment facilities..."

Photo credit above: "Sveinn Storm, owner of Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, surveys flood water outside his store in Annapolis, Md., on Oct. 30, 2012, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy." Image: Susan Walsh/Associated Press.


Warming World's Rising Seas Wash Away Some of South Florida's Glitz. The Sydney Morning Herald takes a look at what rising sea levels are already doing in Miami; here's an excerpt: "...While much of the nation argues about whether or not California's once-in-a-thousand-year drought or the $US71 billion devastation of Hurricane Sandy might have been caused or exacerbated by climate change – or indeed whether or not the phenomenon even exists – in Southern Florida today you wander about in the water and see what it looks like when rising seas hit a modern western city. As with every other serious issue facing the United States, the acceptance of climate science has fallen down along partisan lines..."

Photo credit above: "Rising concern: Geologist Harold Wanless takes a stroll through flooded Miami streets."

Rapid warming across Finland means that even Santa’s hopes for a white Christmas are shrinking.

The average temperature in the Arctic country has risen by more than 2C since 1847, twice as fast as the global average.

Warming is most extreme during the festive month, which is now 4.8C hotter than it was before the industrial era, Finland’s top scientists have found.

“In future, if the temperature rises, we will not have snow cover in December,” researcher Santtu Mikkonen told RTCC.

- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/12/22/fast-finland-warming-means-blue-christmas-for-santa/#sthash.h3Gk1l2O.dpuf

Major Coral Bleaching In Pacific May Become Worst Die-Off in 20 Years, Say Experts. The Guardian has the story; here's the introduction: "Warm sea temperatures are causing massive coral reef die-off across the Northern Pacific in what could be the start of an historic bleaching event around the world. Scientists warn extreme sea temperatures could cause a “historic” coral reef die-off around the world over the coming months, following a massive coral bleaching already underway in the North Pacific. Experts said the coral die-off could be the worst in nearly two decades. Reports of severe bleaching have been accumulating in the inbox of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch programme since July..."

Photo credit above: "The destruction of coral reefs will make these vital barriers for the land less effective against the effects of climate change - such as sea level rise and storms." Location: Arno atoll, Marshall Island. Photograph: Remi Chauvin.


12 Ways To Deal With A Climate Change Denier At The Holidays. Or any day for that matter. Here's an excerpt from Australia's The Conversation: "...While there is likely to be some wiggle room in the exact percentage, it’s fair to say that consensus is very high. And if 97 (or even nine) doctors told you that you had life-threatening but treatable cancer, would you act? Or would you keep looking until you found one doctor who told you not to worry about it, that the cancer isn’t serious, and that it’s all just a medical conspiracy to sell you chemotherapy?..." (Illustration: Skeptical Science).

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