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.

Cooling Off - Late PM Thunder Risk. Why Upcoming Winter May Look Nothing Like Last Winter

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 19, 2014 - 11:08 PM

Pulled Punch?

I just sold my snowmobiles. Part of the reason: My kids are out of the house and I'm getting old - I don't want to injure myself in a freak ditch-riding melee. But I'm also starting to wonder if we'll see less snow than average next winter. Please, let me rationalize my decision.

Confidence levels are (very) low looking that far out, but Media Logic Group forensic meteorologist D.J. Kayser made a very interesting discovery: during mild El Nino winters, with a temperature anomaly of .5C warmer than average, MSP snowfall is nearly half of normal. That means 25 inches versus 55 inches. We still seem to be limping into a mild to moderate El Nino. We'll see.

Take it with a king-size grain of salt, but every one of NOAA's long-range climate models, with acronyms like NMME, IMME and CFS (Climate Forecast System), show Minnesota and most of North America trending slightly milder than average from December into February. So the odds of another winter tracking a stalled polar vortex are small. But not zero.

Morning sun gives way to instability showers this afternoon. Sunday looks like the sunnier, drier day with highs in the 60s.

More showers arrive next Wednesday, otherwise next week looks seasonably mild and mostly-dry. Models hint at highs near 80F late next week with a mild bias into early October.

Boating optional.


Ripe for Late PM Instability T-Showers. A few severe storms flared up over far northwestern Minnesota late Friday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some strong T-storms later today as cooler air pushes south, a pocket of cold air aloft setting the stage for enough instability to support thunder, lightning, even small hail. Much of the day will be dry with a stiff northwest wind - watch for showers and possible thunder after 5 PM; earlier up north. 4 KM NAM solution above: NOAA and HAMweather.


Mild Bias Next 7-10 Days. Long-range guidance shows a cool-down today into Monday, but temperatures rebound into the 70s much of next week; another crack at 80F the end of next week. The best chance of showers: Wednesday, again a week from tomorrow. I see relatively mild weather spilling over into the first few days of October.


2014 Was a Summer Sizzler: Earth's Hottest on Record. Here's more information on a record-setting summer, worldwide, from USA TODAY: "The planet just had its hottest summer on record, according to data released Thursday by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It's also well on its way to having its hottest year ever, beating 2010, said climate scientist Jake Crouch of the data center. The global temperature for summer was 1.28 degrees above the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees. Records go back to 1880. Climatologists define summer in the Northern Hemisphere as the months of June, July and August..."

Map credit above: "The parts of the world that were warmer-than-average this past summer are seen in red and pink on this map, while places that were cooler-than-average (such as the eastern U.S.) are seen in blue." (Photo: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center)


Hurricane Odile: From Paradise to Armageddon in 12 Hours. Here's a blog account of what really happened in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on the southern tip of Baja, when Category 3 Hurricane Odile arrived. The impact was even worse than I thought it would be. Here's an excerpt from a must-read account at wHaT iT iS: "I'm writing from the safety of my family's home in Mexico City after fleeing Cabo on a rescue plane yesterday morning. Words will never be enough to portray what I saw and experienced in Cabo during and after Hurricane Odile, but I want to write the most detailed account so people can get a sense of what the situation was really like as of Wednesday, Sept 17- as most media outlets are filtering things likely to protect tourism in the long run, as well as not to worry friends and relatives of those in Cabo during the storm. The easiest way to do this is as a "timeline"...

Family Describes "Nightmare Experience" in Cabo. Q13fox.com has the harrowing details.

Americans Trapped in Cabo Describe Desperation, Danger. NBC News has the story.


The Chemistry Behind The Different Colors of Autumn Leaves. Gizmodo and Compound Interest have a good explainer of what makes leaves change colors this time of year; here's an excerpt: "...Over at Compound Interest, Andy Brunning has made yet another infographic that gets into the geeky and fascinating details. Yes, the green of chlorophyll gives way to the yellow, orange, and red of carotenoids and flavonoids. But that deep purple and magenta you sometimes see? That's an entirely different class of compounds, called anthocyanins that plants only start making in the fall..."


San Diego Nearing 1,000 Days of Drought. KPBS has the grim update. Severe El Ninos often bring heavy winter rains to southern California, but it now appears the developing warm phase of the Pacific may only be mild to moderate. Here's an excerpt: "...The last significant rain accumulation in San Diego County occurred in December 2010 when a rare atmospheric river system brought wave after wave of storms, dumping five inches in downtown, Tardy said. Record warm temperatures continue to fuel the drought. Tardy said 2014 has been the hottest year in San Diego County since temperatures began being recorded 120 years ago. “All things that could aggravate the drought and make it worse pretty much came into align this year,” Tardy said..."

* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.


El Nino is Kinda Sorta Maybe Here. Climate Central takes a look at this year's slow-motion warming phase in the Pacific; here's a clip: "El Niño watchers, rejoice (maybe). A weak El Niño has formed (sorta).  On Tuesday, researchers at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society said a borderline El Niño is upon us, with the odds for further development increasing throughout the fall and winter. This El Niño has played a game of hide and seek since an El Niño Watch was declared way back in March. After picking up steam in the spring and early summer, El Niño conditions essentially disappeared in July and much of August..."

Image credit above: "Chart showing ocean temperatures in different regions of the Pacific used to gauge El Niño, including the recent rise in temperatures." Credit: IRI.


Looking Back to 1821, Insurers Foresee a $100 Billion Hurricane. No, Sandy was not a worst-case scenario for the northeastern USA. Here's an excerpt from an Andrew Revkin Dot Earth story at The New York Times: "...The result is, needless to say, deeply sobering, showing that the losses from Hurricane Sandy were, as many experts have warned, nowhere near a worst case. The study’s bottom line? If the 1821 Hurricane were to happen today, it would cause 50% more damage than Sandy and potentially cause more than $100 billion in property losses stemming from storm surge and wind damage..."

Image credit above: "Analysts at Swiss Re, the giant reinsurance company, have projected that a repeat of the great 1821 hurricane that struck New York City would flood a far greater area than Hurricane Sandy and could cause more than $100 billion in damage." Credit Swiss Re.


Report Warns That Superstorm Sandy Was Not "The Big One". Following up on the Swiss Re report Huffington Post has more perspective; here's an excerpt: "...When the 1821 storm passed through hubs like Washington, D.C. and New York City, those cities had much smaller populations -- only 136,000 people combined. Today, Washington alone has more than four times as many residents, and New York is home to more than 8 million people. Using meteorological models, geographic and infrastructure data and Swiss Re's underwriting tools, the report considers the impact an analogous storm would have today. It predicts a storm surge of up to 12 feet at the southern tip of Manhattan, and a surge of up to 25 feet in Atlantic City, New Jersey -- in part because the water is about a foot and a half higher now than it was in 1821, due to sea level rise..."


What Happens When We All Live To 100? Kiss social security goodbye, right? Here's a snippet of a fascinating article from The Atlantic: "...Since 1840, life expectancy at birth has risen about three months with each passing year. In 1840, life expectancy at birth in Sweden, a much-studied nation owing to its record-keeping, was 45 years for women; today it’s 83 years. The United States displays roughly the same trend. When the 20th century began, life expectancy at birth in America was 47 years; now newborns are expected to live 79 years. If about three months continue to be added with each passing year, by the middle of this century, American life expectancy at birth will be 88 years. By the end of the century, it will be 100 years..."


Pushing The Envelope: An Electric Wakeboard? It's in prototype form, but you can bet that someone will be trying this out on Minnetonka, Calhoun or Gull Lake in the not-too-distant future. Gizmag has details: "Wakeboarding sure looks like a lot of fun, but it does have at least one limiting factor – you need to find someone else to go out on the water with you, to pilot the boat. Swedish entrepreneurs Alexander Lind and Philip Werner decided to do something about that, and created the Radinn electric wakeboard. While it doesn't provide you with a wake on which to do tricks, it does let you go out when and wherever you want. Currently in working prototype form, the Radinn has a carbon fiber body, a salt water-resistant jet propulsion system, and is powered by a lithium battery pack..."


Dogs Can Be Pessimists Too. I had no idea - but it makes me appreciate my upbeat, perpetually happy spaniel even more; here's an excerpt from eurekalert.org: "Dogs generally seem to be cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters, so you might expect that most would have an optimistic outlook on life. In fact some dogs are distinctly more pessimistic than others, research from the University of Sydney shows. "This research is exciting because it measures positive and negative emotional states in dogs objectively and non-invasively. It offers researchers and dog owners an insight into the outlook of dogs and how that changes," said Dr Melissa Starling, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Her PhD research findings are published in PLOS today..."


More Cities Using Text-Based Alert System To Warn Americans If They Are In Range of NFL Players. Only The Onion could pull this off; here's the introduction: "In an effort to provide the general public with critical safety information in a timely manner, sources confirmed Wednesday that an increasing number of U.S. cities are now using a text-based alert system to warn Americans who are in the vicinity of an NFL player. “With this new protocol, residents will be advised via text message to take shelter, stay off roads, and exercise extreme caution if they are within close range of any professional football player,” said Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who praised the new SMS service for delivering prompt alerts to all cellular devices in a 10-mile radius of any linebacker, running back, wide receiver, or offensive lineman..."


81 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

70 F. average high on September 19.

78 F. high on September 19, 2013.

September 19, 2001: 3/4 to 1 3/4 inch hail fell in Freeborn and Faribault counties.

September 19, 1972: Downpour in Duluth, with 5 1/2 inches in ten hours.


TODAY: Sunny start, PM showers pop up,  possibly a T-storm. Gusty. Winds: NW 15+ High: 74

SATURDAY NIGHT: Evening showers, then slow clearing. Low: 52

SUNDAY: More sun, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15. High: 68

MONDAY: Lot's of sunshine, less wind. Wake-up: 46. High: 69

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, still pleasant. Wake-up: 48. High: 72

WEDNESDAY: Showers likely. Cool & damp. Wake-up: 58. High: 65

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, turning milder. Wake-up: 59. High: 74

FRIDAY: August rerun. Warm breeze. Wake-up: 62. High: 81


Climate Stories...

New Map of 15 Years of CO2 Emissions. EarthSky has an interesting story on carbon dioxide emission rates, worldwide. Here's the introduction: "Researchers have developed a new system – which they call the Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS) – to estimate CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. This new system has now been used to quantify 15 years of CO2 emissions, every hour, for the entire planet – down to the city scale. Researchers unveiled the new system in an article published September 10 in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The FFDAS uses information from satellite feeds, national fuel accounts and a new global database on power plants to create high-resolution planetary maps..

Map credit: Gurney Labs.


What A Biblical-Style Flood Could Mean for Washington D.C. When congressmen have to boat to the U.S. Capitol maybe they'll realize that something has changed. Here's a clip from a story at Citylab: "It's amazing that with a 97 percent scientific consensus on human-caused climate change we still have politicians talking smack about its importance. Will their tune change at all, one wonders, once the flood waters are lapping at the base of the federal government? This mapping tool can't answer that question, but it does give an indication of what a climate-enraged flood could mean for Washington, D.C. And to believe the folks at Climate Central, the independent group that created it with government data, such an epic dousing is nigh. They say the city will "likely see a record flood before mid-century," meaning one that would measure 8 feet above the high-tide level in the Tidal Basin..."


Global Investors Urge Leaders To Act On Carbon Pricing Ahead of UN Meeting. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "More than 340 institutional investors representing $24 trillion in assets on Thursday called on government leaders attending next week's United Nations climate summit to set carbon pricing policies that encourage the private sector to invest in cleaner technologies. Firms signing a joint letter include BlackRock, Calvert Investments, BNP Paribas Investment Partners and Standard Bank..."


Our Disappearing Snows: Climate Change and Water Resources. We're talking primarily about snow trends over the western USA and Rockies. Peter Gleick has the story at Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "...We're not ready. We still manage our water systems for the 20th century climate we use to have, not the 21st century climate we will have. We still act as though our water problems can be solved with traditional solutions despite the growing evidence of peak water limits in places like the western US. And we still assume that we can indefinitely overdraft our groundwater, suck our rivers dry, and expand our populations in arid regions. We cannot. The sooner we accept the new reality of climate change, the sooner we can have a real conversation about the most effective strategies for truly sustainable water management and use."

Map credit: National Geographic 2014. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west-snow-fail/


The Power of Religion and Prayer To Head Off Climate Disaster. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Guardian: "...Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and a Nobel peace laureate wrote: “Through greed, we have established an economy that destroys the web of life. We have changed our climate and drown in despair. Let oceans of justice flow. May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth. We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth, as they gather in New York City at the climate talks. May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness. May they act with compassion and courage, and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children...”

Photo credit above: "Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written a prayer asking that leaders act with compassion and courage on climate change." Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA .


Congressman: "Don't Trust Climate Scientists, They're In It For The Money". If they were in it for the money they'd be in the private sector, representing fossil fuel interests, where the big money resides. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "A very interesting exchange kicked off today’s House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on the Obama administration’s plan to fight climate change, between Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and White House Science Adviser John Holdren. In it, the Congressman not only sealed himself in the books as a climate denier, but also admitted that he doesn’t accept the scientific literature on climate change because the scientists who write it need global warming to exist in order to get paid..."

Photo credit: "House Speaker John Boehner, left, performs a mock swearing in for Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington." CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.


Dems Tie Climate Skeptics to Tobacco, Lead Backers. Here's an excerpt from TheHill: "What the denial apparatus would like is for the public simply to focus on their stable of well-trained scientists who can come out an offer counterpoint to the scientists who are honest and trained and know what they’re talking about and are sincere in what they do,” Whitehouse said at the Thursday event on Capitol Hill. “When you peel back the curtain and look at the machinery that produces that, and get a sense that it has produced it over and over again on different issues, from climate change to lead paint to tobacco, probably leading all the way back to putting seatbelts in cars,” he said..."

Unsettled Friday Ahead

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 18, 2014 - 9:24 PM

(Photo Courtesy: Susan Olin via MN DNR)

In Search of Average
By Paul Douglas

Open your mouth and there's a 90 percent probability you'll say something someone disagrees with. Such is the nature of public discourse. John Giudicessi questioned my use of cooling degree days to say summer temperatures were average.

So I asked Pete Boulay at the MN Climate Office for a reality check. "Believe it or not, the summer of 2014 (June-August) finished just slightly above normal in the Twin Cities (mean temperature 71.5 degrees or .2F degrees above normal) Boulay wrote. Daytime highs were slightly cooler, but nighttime lows were significantly milder, a trend we've seen in recent years. Summers are becoming more humid and moist air doesn't cool nearly as fast at night.

A freak early frost across much of Minnesota last Saturday has dredged up paranoia about the winter to come, but I see a mild bias into early October. Expect mid-70s today with a growing chance of thunder; highs brush 80F Saturday before cooling back down Sunday.

The average MSP high now is close to 70F. A building ridge of high pressure warms us well into the 70s next week; another shot at 80F in 1 week. Proving once again that nature never moves in a straight line. There is no such thing as average.

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

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, not as cool. Slight chance of an isolated shower/storm Low: 57.

FRIDAY: Unsettled, few T-showers expected. Dew point: 64 High: 75. Wind: S 15-25

FRIDAY NIGHT: Spotty showers and storms. Low: 63.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and mild. PM clouds, a few showers north of MSP. High: 79, falling during the PM hours

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler. Wake-up: 55. High: 69

MONDAY: Blue sky, hints of October. Wake-up: 46. High: 71

TUESDAY: Warming up to September. Wake-up: 50. High: near 75

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, a few showers late. Wake-up: 53. High: 74.

THURSDAY: Humid, showers arrive. Wake-up: 59. High: 69.

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

Today in Weather History
September 19th

1998: 1 to 1 3/4 inch hail fell in Meeker, Wright, Todd, and Wilkin Counties winds were also estimated over 50kts.

1980: Golfball to baseball sized hail hit St. Paul. One company had 75 to 95 percent of the glass in their greenhouses smashed.

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

Average High/Low for MSP
September 19th

Average High: 70F (Record 94F set in 1895)

Average Low: 51F (Record 33F set in 1991)

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

Sunrise/Sunset Times for MSP
Septmeber 19th

Sunrise: 6:56am
Sunset: 7:16pm

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

Moon Phase for Friday, September 19th at Midnight
4.2 Days After Last Quarter

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

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

A steady decline... probably not what you want to see in the temperature department if you're a fan of summer. Keep in mind that Monday is the Autumnal Equinox (first day of Fall) and September tends to be a month where we see a large drop in our average highs/lows. From the beginning to the end of the month, our average high at MSP goes from 77F to 65F and our average low goes from 65F to 46F. Despite the steady drop in temperatures over the next 15 days, weather conditions as of late have been quite impressive for September, let's hope we can keep that going!

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

Weather Outlook for Friday

Warmer, but unsettled. An approaching impulse of energy will keep weather conditions a little bit on the unsettled side Friday and Saturday, but we won't have any all day rains. Best chance of heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday appears to be across the northern part of the state. Daytime highs on Friday will range from the 50s & 60s across the northeastern part of the state, while 80F+ will be possible in the western part of the state.

Unsettled Weather Returns

Yes, it appears weather conditions will be a bit on the unsettled side heading into late week/early weekend, but it doesn't look like a washout. The best chance of scattered rain/thunder will be across the northern part of the state PM Friday/AM Saturday. There could be a few lingering showers/storms in central/southern MN AM Saturday, but it looks like we'll start clearing out through the rest of the weekend.

Rainfall Potential

Here's a look at the precipitation potential through Saturday. Again, note that the heaviest and most widespread moisture looks to be positioned across the northern part of the state.

Fall Colors Quickly Turning...

Thanks to my good friend and collegue, Susie Martin for the picture below out of Excelsior, MN where signs of fall are certainly underway. The maples and sumac are sensing a lack of sunlight and cooler weather ahead and have already started turning red.

MN DNR Fall Color Update

According to the MN DNR, parts of the state are already at 25%-50% color in western and northwestern MN. One thing that I've noticed over the years is that the fall color happens quick so don't blink! Unfortunately, we're not too far away from seeing trees without leaves until sometime in the Spring - UGH! The lack of green, to me, is one of the hardest things about living this far north...

See more from the MN DNR HERE:

Average Fall Color Peak

Like it or not, we're well underway with fall color across the state. The image below (from MN DNR) suggests the average peak color to help plan your trip to your favorite fall color spot.

My Favorite Fall Color Spots

I shouldn't be giving away my favorite fall color spots, but it's hard not share... Minnesota has so many wonderful spots to view fall colors, however if you're planning a trip to the North Shore anytime soon, here are a few of my favorite stops.

1.) Oberg Mountain Loop: On Hwy 61 between Tofte and Lutsen, there is a dirt road called Onion River Rd (FR 336) that takes you to this growing popular spot called Oberg Mountain Loop. It's about 2.25 miles round trip that takes a loop around the top of a mountain, which gives you views of not only Lake Superior, but also the incredible 'inland' colors. The views are breathtaking already, but add peak fall color and you'll be hooked!

2.) Lutsen Mountain: Another one of my favorite spots is at the Lutsen Mountain Ski Area. Not only can you enjoy the Alpine Slide, but take the Mountain Tram to the Summit Chalet ($12.50/rider)  and you'll fly through a sea of brilliant colors. At the Summit Chalet, you can have lunch and/or wander around the summit. There's actually a trail and a beautiful overlook on the other side of the summit (short walk), which overlooks more incredible views of the 'inland' maples!

3.) Honeymoon Trail: If you're up for a little drive, take the Honeymoon Trail! The best way I can describe it is imagine a hole cut through the woods with yellow, orange and red colors surrounding you. It's an amazing drive when the colors are peaking...

The picture below was taken a few years ago of my beautiful wife and me at one of the overlooks on the Oberg Mountain Loop during peak color! I WANT TO GO BACK!!!!

 

Global Highlights for August 2014

A recent report compiled and released by NOAA shows several global highlights for August.
Read more from NOAA HERE:

** The combined average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was record high for the month, at 0.75°C (1.35°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F), topping the previous record set in 1998.

** The global land surface temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the second highest on record for August, behind 1998.

** For the ocean, the August global sea surface temperature was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20thcentury average of 16.4°C (61.4°F). This record high departure from average not only beats the previous August record set in 2005 by 0.08°C (0.14°F), but also beats the previous all-time record set just two months ago in June 2014 by 0.03°C (0.05°F). 

** The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for the June–August period was also record high for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), beating the previous record set in 1998.

** The June–August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20thcentury average, the fifth highest on record for this period. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average, the highest on record for June–August. This beats the previous record set in 2009 by 0.04°C (0.07°F).

** The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–August (year-to-date) was 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.3°F), the third highest for this eight-month period on record.

3rd Warmest January - August on Record for Globe

Interestingly, within that report. NOAA suggests that the January - August period was the 3rd warmest on record for the globe with sea surface temperatures tied for the 2nd warmest on record during that same period! 

Here is more info from NOAA:

California Drought Continues

According to the recent U.S. Drought Monitor, Exceptional Drought continues for nearly 82% of California! 3 Months ago, nearly 77% of the state was considered to be in an Exceptional Drought, but only 1 year ago only 11% was in Exceptional Drought. With that said, drought conditions have been worsening extensively

Stunning Before and After Images of California Drought

SFGate.com has compiled several before and after photos of the drought, which are pretty amazing.
See more for yourself HERE:

New California Law to Limit Groundwater Pumping for First Time

Here's an interesting story from NationalGeographic.com about a new law that was signed on Tuesday to limit groundwater pumping.

"Despite California's reputation as an environmental policy leader, its regulation of groundwater extraction has long been among the weakest in the nation. That changed Tuesday, when California Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of three bills designed to regulate the pumping of water from underground aquifers.

While many observers say the rules are too little and too late to protect the state's rapidly depleting aquifers, the new laws are still a major shift in a long-deadlocked political battle.

"They don't solve all our problems, but they're a critical step in the right direction," says Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine."

Read more HERE:

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week/weekend ahead!

Mostly Mellow - Why Good Summer Weather is Depressing Corn Prices

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: September 17, 2014 - 9:53 PM

More Boom than Bust

Back in June, the wettest month on record for the state of Minnesota, who would have predicted that corn farmers would be faced with another record harvest, with results so amazing that prices have dropped below profitability? It's a testament to new seed varieties, precision farming, and a notable absence of drought and killing hail and wind storms.

"Another historically wet June has delayed corn and beans by 7-10 days" said Wayzata-based Al Kluis, who has been tracking Ag crop commodities for 40 years. But adequate soil moisture and growing degree days has left fields from the Dakotas to Ohio overflowing with corn, depressing prices.

How can good weather be bad for business? No, farming is not for the faint of heart.

Winds pick up today; the next frontal passage sparking T-showers late Friday. A wet start Saturday should give way to lukewarm sun with a shot at 80F before northwest winds cool us back down early next week. Temperatures may sink into the low 40s Tuesday morning, but Minnesota should avoid a frost. Long-range guidance shows 70s returning next week.

Nothing severe, no storms with names, no weather drama.

Plenty to like about September.


September Mellows. 70s are the rule into much of next week, even a few degrees above average, in spite of a cool-down early next week. Latest European guidance isn't nearly as chilly for Monday and Tuesday, as Minnesota experiences a glancing blow of Canadian air. The best chance of T-showers: late Friday and Friday night, but an instability shower may pop up Saturday afternoon, especially north of the Twin Cities. More showers and T-showers push in by Wednesday of next week. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

60-Hour Accumulated Rainfall Forecast. NOAA's 4 KM NAM model prints out some 6"+ amounts for southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico, with flash flooding possible as far east as Texas by Saturday morning. The remains of "Odile" are forecast to push east, possibly sparking flooding rains as far east as Wichita, Tulsa and Little Rock. Florida may also experience significant flooding in the coming days. Graphic: 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."


Long-Range Winter Guidance: Models Trending Milder than Average. Would I bet the farm based on a 3-6 month climate model trend? Absolutely not. But to counter the growing sense of paranoia out there ("Paul, are we going to suffer through another polar vortex - is the Farmer's Almanac right?") I wanted to include the latest December-January-February guidance from various NOAA models. Not one shows a persistently bitter solution for Minnesota or the Lower 48 states - in fact temperatures anomalies range from .5 to 2C warmer than average. Not exactly a heat wave, but I still believe the upcoming winter will be a bit easier to take than last year.


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


NASA Releases IRIS Footage of X-Class Flare. Here's the intro to a story and video link from Science Codex: "On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare – an example of one of the strongest solar flares -- on the sun. Combing observations from more than one telescope helps create a much more complete picture of such events on our closest star. Watch the movie to see how the flare appears different through the eyes of IRIS than it does through NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory..."

Image credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory.


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.


"Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index" Unveiled. We rate every other kind of natural disaster, why not the risk of wildfires? The Desert Sun has an interesting update; here's a clip: "A web-based weather monitoring system designed to “quantify” the risks of wildfires during Santa Ana windstorms will equip first responders and the public with the information they need to be prepared for an emergency, officials said Wednesday. U.S. Forest Service rangers, along with representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric and UCLA, jointly developed the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, which was unveiled during a briefing at the USFS's Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center in Riverside..."

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.


Together We Make Football. Grantland takes a look at the dark underbelly of America's favorite sport, the NFL and domestic violence; here's an excerpt: "...The video did something else. Its existence turned what had been a serious but abstract problem into a scandal. It brought greater awareness to the NFL’s long history of tolerating high rates of domestic violence, but it didn’t prompt most people to explore why. The story became a kind of conspiracy, talked about in excited tones. Had Goodell seen the tape? If he hadn’t, why hadn’t he? Was he incompetent? Who knew what, and when? Was there a conspiracy here? Who was lying? What else was the league hiding? Conveniently, these were questions with answers. This was a crime that could be solved. The problem had a clean solution: Get rid of Roger Goodell..."


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."



77 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

71 F. average high on September 17.

67 F. high on September 17, 2013.

September 17 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1997: An F3 Tornado destroyed several buildings and numerous others damaged. Hundreds of trees were knocked down. A number of cattle were also killed in a barn that collapsed. One man was injured when the tornado engulfed his car and threw it into a nearby woods. A second man was critically injured when his garage collapsed. He died several weeks later. The total path length of the tornado from 1 NE of Lastrup to Onamia was 17 miles. Total property damages were estimated at $1.7 Million. In total, 6 tornadoes touched down in Morrison, Mille Lacs, and Kanabec.

1991: Duluth got a 2.5 inch summer snowstorm. (Fall was still five days away)

1971: A brush fire at Lake Alexander in Morrison County started a 10-foot wide, 50-foot high "fire whirl." It moved out over the lake, overturned a 1,800 pound pontoon boat, and then dissipated as it moved back to shore.

1903: 3.75 inches of rain fell in the Minneapolis area.


TODAY: Partly sunny and breezy. Winds: SE 10+ High: near 70

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, not as cool. Low: 58

FRIDAY: Unsettled, few T-showers expected. Dew point: 62 High: 75

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and mild. PM clouds, a few showers north of MSP. Wake-up: 64. High: 78, falling during the PM hours

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler. Wake-up: 57. High: 68

MONDAY: Blue sky, hints of October. Wake-up: 49. High: 63

TUESDAY: Chilly start, bright sun. Dew point: 37. Wake-up: 43. High: near 71

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, a few showers late. Wake-up: 47. High: near 70

* photo credit above: Dan Durkin.


Climate Stories...

U.S. Moves to Reduce Global Warming Emissions. Coral Davenport at The New York Times has the story; here's the introduction: "The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a series of moves aimed at cutting emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The White House has secured voluntary agreements from some of the nation’s largest companies to scale down or phase out their use of HFCs, which are factory-made gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, Kroger, Honeywell and DuPont, the company that invented fluorinated refrigerants, have agreed to cut their use and replace them with climate-friendly alternatives..."


Natural Disasters Displaced More People Than War in 2013, Study Finds. Here's a clip from an article at The Guardian: "Natural disasters displaced three times as many people as war last year – even as 2013 was a horrific year for conflict – with 22 million people driven out of their homes by floods, hurricanes and other hazards, a new study has found. Twice as many people now lose their homes to disaster as in the 1970s, and more people move into harm’s way each year, the study by the Norwegian Refugee Council found. “Basically, the combination of mega natural disasters and hundreds of smaller natural disasters massively displaces people in many more countries than the countries that have war and conflict,” said Jan Egeland, the secretary of the Norwegian refugee council..."

* Catholic Online has another perspective here.


Antarctic Sea Ice Set for Record High as Arctic Heads for 6th Lowest Extent. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Figures released by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, show that the so-called Arctic sea ice minimum – the point where the extent of sea ice there is at its lowest after the summer, before it begins to refreeze for winter – is expected to be confirmed imminently and would be millions of square kilometres below the long-term average. At 5.09m sq km, the extent of Arctic sea ice this year would be the sixth lowest on record, slightly worse than last year, though not as extreme as the record set in 2012 when it plunged to less than 3.5 million square kilometres..." (Graphic: NSIDC).


Antarctic Peninsula Glacier Recession "Unprecedented". The BBC has the story - here's an excerpt: "Glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula are melting faster than ever despite more snowfall, say experts. Prof Neil Glasser, from Aberystwyth University, was part of a team who studied the ice-core data on a 4km long glacier on James Ross Island. He said over the next 200 years it "will become far smaller than at any point over the last 10,000 years." The research published in the journal Nature Climate Change says it will lead to an increase in sea level..."

Photo credit above: "The study looked at changes in glaciers over the last 10,000 years around the Antarctic Peninsula."


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..."

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).

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