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

Somewhat Soggy Weekend Ahead

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: April 17, 2015 - 8:28 PM

Duluth: Friday Sunrise

Friday was stunning from start to finish across the state. This was the view from Duluth, MN early Friday as the sun was rising over the western tip of Lake Superior.

(Image courtesy: Lake Superior Marine Museum)

Lake Superior

This was the view of Lake Superior on Wednesday, April 15th. Note that much of the lake is ice free except the eastern part of the lake and some the bays to the north. Also note the white coloring along the south shore of Lake Superior, that's a little snow still on the ground.

Lake Superior Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, 26.8% of Lake Superior was still considered to be ice covered as of April 17th.

Ice Coverage Early April

This was the high resolution satellite image from Sunday, April 5th when nearly 51% of Lake Superior was still ice covered.

Lake Superior Ice Halting Shipping Traffic

Check out this Startribune story from Wednesday, April 8th... The ice was so thick earlier this morning that about a dozen ships got stuck in the eastern part of the lake!

"SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — U.S. and Canadian crews are working to clear a path through ice on eastern Lake Superior that's left freighters unable to move, including one that had a hole punched in its hull. The Canadian Coast Guard says that by Wednesday afternoon, six vessels heading toward the lower lakes and 12 vessels heading toward upper Lake Superior were waiting to move. It says that two of the outbound vessels have cleared the ice field with help from the Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley."

See the full story from StarTribune HERE:

See the video HERE:

(Image courtesy: John L. Russell, Associated Press)

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


May Tease 
By Todd Nelson

WOW! What a Friday it was... A mild breeze, birds chirping and uninterrupted sunshine. I made every attempt to enhance my Minnesota winter skin, although my cheeks are a little rosy today.

Yesterday's brief encounter with May had many green-thumbers daydreaming about sticking their nose in the garden. A few cold weather crops can go in now, but the bulk of your veggies and flowers should hold off until around/after Mother's Day in mid May.

A slow moving storm system has been stuck over the Central Rockies over the past few days, kicking out nearly 2ft to 4ft of snow in the mountains. Denver, CO saw a high temperature of 75° on Tuesday and woke up to 4" of snow on Friday!

This storm will finally make a move east; showers and rumbles of thunder will begin to move into southern Minnesota by the afternoon and spread through northern part of the state through the evening. Some models are suggesting nearly 1" rain through the end of the weekend, which will help moderate drought that now encompasses nearly 92% of the state.

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

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Low: 49. Winds: NW 5.

SATURDAY: Dry start. Clouds increase with showers/rumbles of thunder later, especially south/west of the metro. High: 66. Winds: ESE 10-15

SATURDAY NIGHT: Rain/rumbles of thunder likely. Low: 49

SUNDAY: Wet start. Rain tapers by PM. High: 58. Winds: SE turning NW 10.

MONDAY: Breezy & cooler with a rain/snow mix up north. Wake-up: 40. High: 50

TUESDAY: A few AM flakes. Still breezy and cool. Wake-up: 33. High: 48

WEDNESDAY: More sun, a little warmer. Wake-up: 33. High: 51

THURSDAY: Breezy with sunshine. Wake-up: 35. High: 54

FRIDAY: Breezy. Bright sunshine. Wake-up: 35 High: 54

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

This Day in Weather History
April 18th

1965: The Mississippi River crested at St. Paul 4 feet above the previous record. High water records were set all the way down to Missouri in later days. There was little loss of life due to early warnings.

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

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 18th

Average High: 59F (Record: 89 set in 1895)
Average Low: 38F (Record: 21 set in 1953)

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

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 18th

Sunrise: 6:23am
Sunset: 8:03pm

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

Moon Phase for April 18th
New Moon 1:57pm (Ojibwe Maple Sugar)

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

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

After an incredibly mild Friday, temperatures will take a slide through the weekend/early next week into more March-like weather. Extended forecasts suggest slightly cooler than average temperatures continuing through much of the rest of the month...

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

Saturday Weather Outlook

Weather conditions on Saturday will sour through the day. High temperatures will fall from the 70s on Friday to the 60s on Saturday. Winds will also increase out of the E/SE 10-20mph.

Saturday Weather Outlook

The slow moving storm system that has been impacting the Plains over the past few days will begin moving into our region over the weekend. Rain will start moving into the southern part of Minnesota around midday and spread through the rest of the region through the evening. Sunday looks a bit soggy too.

Rainfall Potential

The rainfall potential through 7pm Sunday suggests a fairly widespread 0.50" to 1.00" swath across the state. Some of the heaviest appears to be across the southern part of the state.

Minnesota Drought

As of this week, the U.S. Drought Monitor had nearly 92% of the state under MODERATE DROUGHT


 


 

Heavy Snow in April

Take a look at the image below from the Wyoming Highway Patrol Facebook page... Heavy snow and high speeds led to this near 50-car pile up along highway I-80 on Thursday.

*Update for I 80 multi-vehicle crash between Cheyenne and Laramie*
33 commercial vehicles and 12 passenger vehicles is the latest estimate that were involved in one of the three crash sequences along with multiple other vehicles that were not part of an actual crash, but became stranded in the event due to road blockage. 16 motorists were transported by ambulance and 11 motorists were transported by a Laramie County School District bus to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Six of those injured were critical to serious leg or spine injuries. No fatalities were reported from this event.
Speeds too fast for the blizzard conditions and loss of control are being investigated as contributing factors in the crashes that caused a "domino" style chain reaction after the first couple of vehicles lost control.
Agencies that responded were the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Laramie County Sheriff's Office, Albany County Sheriff's Office, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, Laramie County Fire Districts 1, 2, and 10, AMR Ambulance, F.E. Warren First Responders, Wyoming National Guard First Responders, City of Laramie Fire Department, WYDOT and multiple tow companies from Cheyenne and Laramie. Joint training between all of these agencies and their dispatchers was credited for the rapid response, extrication, treatment and transport of those injured in the event.
Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie is expected to remain closed into tonight and possibly through the early morning hours of tomorrow (April 17th) as the investigation and cleanup continues through the evening. Weather will hold a strong determining factor for the investigators and cleanup crews as to when I 80 will be ready to reopen. Again, we ask motorists at the road closed gates in Cheyenne and Laramie to please be patient and check for updates at www.wyoroad.info or by calling 1-888-WYO-ROAD (1-888-996-7623)

Heavy Snow Reports...

Here are some of the heaviest snowfall reports I could find from earlier this week. These reports came in from the National Weather Service out of Salt Lake City, UT - note the 45" amount from Snowbird in the Wasatch Mountains!!

Active Thursday Weather

From heavy snow in the Mountains to severe weather and tornadoes in the Central U.S.; it was a very active Thursday. In all, there were nearly 150 reports of severe weather (hail, damaging winds and tornadoes), 10 of which were tornado reports.

2015 Tornado Reports

According to NOAA's SPC (thru April 15th), the PRELIMINARY tornado count was 107. Until recently, 2015 was off to an incredibly slow start to the severe weather season. We are currently on pace with 2014, which was a pretty quiet year. The 2005-2014 tornado average through April 15th is 348.

National Weather Outlook

Our slow moving storm system will continue to pump out snow across the Intermountain-west with heavy rain and strong to severe thunderstorms across the Plains into the weekend. Snow will begin to taper by late weekend, while heavy rain and strong to severe storms begin to shift a little farther east on Sunday.

Severe Threat Saturday

...SUMMARY...
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH WIND DAMAGE AND HAIL ARE POSSIBLE SATURDAY
ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN TEXAS EASTWARD INTO LOUISIANA.
THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL AND A FEW STRONG WIND GUSTS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE FROM OKLAHOMA NORTHWESTWARD ACROSS KANSAS INTO NORTHEASTERN
COLORADO.

...SOUTH AND CNTRL TX/SW LA...
AN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH IS FORECAST TO MOVE INTO THE SRN HIGH PLAINS
ON SATURDAY AS A SFC TROUGH DEVELOPS ACROSS WCNTRL TX EXTENDING SWD
INTO THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY. A LOW-LEVEL JET IS FORECAST AT THE START
OF THE PERIOD OVER LA WHERE WIDESPREAD THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT MAY
BE ONGOING. THIS ACTIVITY COULD HAVE A MARGINAL SEVERE THREAT DURING
THE DAY. FURTHER TO THE WEST...THE MODELS SUGGEST A CORRIDOR OF
MODERATE INSTABILITY WILL BE IN PLACE BY AFTERNOON ACROSS SRN AND
CNTRL TX. ALTHOUGH CONVECTIVE COVERAGE IS UNCERTAIN...THE GFS AND
ECWMF SOLUTIONS DEVELOP CONVECTION FROM THE TX HILL COUNTRY SEWD TO
THE TX COAST SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

GFS FORECAST SOUNDINGS AT 21Z/SATURDAY AT CORPUS CHRISTI SHOW MLCAPE
AROUND 1500 J/KG WITH SFC DEWPOINTS IN THE LOWER 60S F AND STEEP LOW
TO MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES. IN ADDITION...0-6 KM SHEAR IS 45 TO 50 KT
WITH SOME DIRECTIONAL SHEAR BELOW 850 MB. THIS SHOULD SUPPORT
SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT WITH LARGE HAIL AND WIND DAMAGE POSSIBLE. IF
THE MORE AGGRESSIVE GFS SOLUTION IS CLOSER TO VERIFYING...THEN AN
ENHANCED SEVERE THREAT MAY DEVELOP ACROSS PARTS OF SRN AND CNTRL TX
SATURDAY AFTERNOON. FURTHER TO THE NORTH ACROSS NCNTRL TX...ENOUGH
INSTABILITY IS FORECAST FOR A SEVERE THREAT. HOWEVER...DEEP-LAYER
SHEAR SHOULD BE WEAKER HELPING TO KEEP THE POTENTIAL FOR HAIL AND
WIND GUSTS MORE ISOLATED.

...SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS...
AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE EWD INTO THE CNTRL HIGH
PLAINS ON SATURDAY AS A SFC LOW DEEPENS ACROSS THE TX PANHANDLE. A
NARROW CORRIDOR OF INSTABILITY IS FORECAST FROM WRN OK NWWD INTO
WCNTRL KS AND INTO NERN CO. THE AIRMASS SHOULD BECOME UNCAPPED BY
AFTERNOON WITH SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOPING ALONG THIS
CORRIDOR. A FEW CLUSTERS OF THUNDERSTORMS MAY ORGANIZE AND PERSIST
FROM LATE AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING.

GFS FORECAST SOUNDINGS AT 00Z/SUNDAY IN NW OK AND SRN KS SHOW SFC
DEWPOINTS NEAR 60 F WITH MLCAPE OF 1000 TO 1500 J/KG. IN
ADDITION...0-6 KM SHEAR IS FORECAST TO BE NEAR 40 KT WITH STEEP
MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES. THIS SHOULD SUPPORT SEVERE STORMS WITH HAIL
AND STRONG WIND GUSTS POSSIBLE. CELLS THAT CAN DEVELOP IN AREAS
WHERE INSTABILITY IS MAXIMIZED...MAY BE ABLE TO ROTATE AND PRODUCE
LARGER HAILSTONES. FURTHER TO THE NORTHWEST INTO NW KS...SRN NEB AND
NE CO...INSTABILITY IS FORECAST TO BE WEAKER THAN IN THE SRN PLAINS.
HOWEVER...COLD AIR ALOFT AND STEEP LAPSE RATES BENEATH THE
UPPER-LEVEL LOW MAY BE ENOUGH FOR STORMS THAT PRODUCE HAIL.

Severe Threat Sunday

...SUMMARY...
THUNDERSTORMS WITH WIND DAMAGE AND SEVERE HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE FROM
EASTERN PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS EASTWARD TO THE CENTRAL GULF
COAST STATES ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THUNDERSTORMS WITH WIND DAMAGE
POTENTIAL WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE MID MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
SUNDAY.

...ARKLATEX/LOWER TO MID MS VALLEY...
A BROAD UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH IS FORECAST TO MOVE EWD ACROSS THE SRN
AND CNTRL PLAINS ON SUNDAY AS A COLD FRONT ADVANCES QUICKLY EWD INTO
THE ARKLATEX AND OZARK MOUNTAINS. AHEAD OF THE FRONT...A BROAD WARM
SECTOR IS FORECAST FROM EAST TX EWD INTO THE CNTRL GULF COAST STATES
WHERE MODERATE INSTABILITY SHOULD BE IN PLACE BY AFTERNOON. MODEL
FORECASTS ARE IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT...DEVELOPING CONVECTION ALONG
A PRE-FRONTAL TROUGH JUST AHEAD THE FRONT AND MOVING THE CONVECTION
EWD ACROSS THE ARKLATEX AND MID MS VALLEY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. NAM
FORECAST SOUNDINGS ALONG THE INSTABILITY AXIS AT 21Z ON SUNDAY FOR
LITTLE ROCK AR AND SHREVEPORT LA SHOW AN IMPRESSIVE THERMODYNAMIC
ENVIRONMENT WITH MLCAPE FORECAST TO BE IN THE 3000 TO 4000 J/KG
RANGE. THIS COMBINED WITH 0-6 KM SHEAR OF 30 TO 40 KT WITH STEEP
LAPSE RATES SHOULD BE FAVORABLE FOR STRONG UPDRAFTS. SUPERCELLS
SHOULD BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE HAIL AND WIND DAMAGE. AS STORM
COVERAGE INCREASES DURING THE AFTERNOON...LINEAR DEVELOPMENT MAY
ALSO OCCUR. VEERED WINDS JUST AHEAD OF THE FRONT WITH UNIDIRECTIONAL
WIND PROFILES ABOVE 850 MB COULD BE FAVORABLE FOR AN ENHANCED
WIND-DAMAGE THREAT ESPECIALLY IF A COLD POOL CAN ORGANIZE ACROSS THE
REGION.

FURTHER SOUTH ACROSS THE CNTRL GULF COAST AND LOWER MS
VALLEY...THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE SUNDAY
AFTERNOON. HOWEVER...LARGE-SCALE ASCENT SHOULD BE LIMITED KEEPING
ANY CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT ISOLATED IN NATURE AND CONCENTRATED ALONG
OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES OR ZONES OF LOW-LEVEL CONVERGENCE.
STILL...DEEP-LAYER SHEAR MAY BE STRONG ENOUGH WHICH COMBINED WITH
MODERATE INSTABILITY COULD SUPPORT MARGINALLY SEVERE WIND GUSTS
ACROSS THE REGION.

Heavy Rainfall/Flooding Potential

According to NOAA's HPC, the 3 day precipitation forecast suggests pockets of heavy rainfall across parts of the Plains and the Gulf Coast States. Through AM Monday, some spots could see 1" to 3" with isolated higher amounts in heavier thunderstorms, especially across the Gulf Coast States.

Cooler Weather Ahead...

It's not too bad now; in fact, it's quite mild across much of the nation. Here's a look at the temperature profile a few thousand feet off the ground PM Friday - note that much of the nation looks fairly mild.

Highs Friday/Highs From Average

High temperatures on Friday look mild/above average for much of the nation with the only exception being the Rockies/4 Corners Region thanks to that stubborn, slow moving upper level low.

Cooler Next Week

As that slow moving low pressure system slides east, it will draw cooler temperatures south of the border into next week. By Wednesday, temperatures in the eastern half of the U.S. will be cooler than average, while folks in the western half of the country look to once again be above average!

Highs Wednesday/Highs From Average

Temperatures will fall back to near March levels in a few spots across the Upper Midwest, dropping -10F to -15F below average! A little lingering precipitation across these areas could actually mix in with a little wet snow next week!

Extended Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook (April 24th-30th) suggests cooler than average conditions continuing across the Eastern U.S. through the end of the month. Meanwhile, folks across far southern Florida, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska look to be warmer than average.

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

Todd Outside

Fantastic Friday; Somewhat Soggy Weekend

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: April 16, 2015 - 7:02 PM

Minnesota Lakes Ice Outs

According to the MN DNR, Lake Mille Lacs was ice out as of Monday, April 13th; (Average ice out: April 25th). Take a look at the satellite images below from April 11th to April 15th, note that difference in color on Mille Lacs from when there was still ice on the lakes vs. ice out.

Current Minnesota Lakes With Ice Out

According to the MN DNR, here are all the Minnesota lakes that have reported "Ice Out" as of April 15th. Note that a few lakes across the far north have already reported ice out; keep in mind that most of the northern-most lakes see average ice out in late April/early May.

See more ice out information from the MN DNR HERE:

Average Ice Out Dates

Tall Tornado Tales
By Paul Douglas

"If a dog bites a man that's not news. If a man bites a dog, that's news!" the old saying goes. Crime stories are on the front page of the paper, and some of us perceive threats around every corner. A major tornado outbreak leads the TV newscast and paranoia peaks; suddenly every cloud looks like a twister. Perception becomes reality.

My favorite tornado myths? Southwest corner of a basement is safest? Not true. Under the stairs, under a heavy table lowers the risk of being crushed by debris. Open a window to relieve air pressure? Wrong. It won't save your house, and it's time you should be spending taking cover. Greenish/yellowish sky before a tornado? Sometimes, due to white sunlight shining through suspended hailstones. Remember, 1 in 100 thunderstorms will ever spin up a tornado. But like a good Boy Scout we should all be prepared. Enjoy 70s Friday because a soaking rain pushes into Minnesota Saturday and lingers Sunday. Up to an inch of badly-needed rain may fall. Another million-dollar rain is possible late next week.

We'll be on the chilly, northern side of the storm track. No wild thunderstorms into late April. May and June are peak months for violent storms here.

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

TONIGHT: Partly to mostly cloudy and quiet. Low: 45

FRIDAY: More sun, still lukewarm and pleasant. High: 72. Winds: WNW 5-10

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Low: 49. Winds: Turning NE 5

SATURDAY: Clouds increase - showers late, especially south/west of the metro. High: 64

SUNDAY: Soaking rain, up to 1" possible. Wake-up: 52. High: 56

MONDAY: Showers taper, clouds linger. Wake-up: 41. High: 48

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, light jacket weather. Wake-up: 37. High: 45

WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun, cool. Wake-up: 34. High: 46

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, greening up fast! Wake-up: 32. High: 50

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

This Day in Weather History
April 17th

1965: The Mississippi River crested at St. Paul 4 feet above the previous record. High water records were set all the way down to Missouri in later days. There was little loss of life due to early warnings.

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

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 17th

Average High: 59F (Record: 85F set in 1985)
Average Low: 10F (Record: 10F set in 1875)

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

Sunrise/Sunset for Minneapolis
April 17th

Sunrise: 6:24am
Sunset: 8:01pm

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

Moon Phase for April 17th at Midnight
0.5 Days Before New Moon

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

Minneapolis Temperature Outlook

As of April 15th, Minneapolis was running 4.4° above average with temperatures hitting 70° or better 4 times already this month. The warmest day was the record setting 84° on April 1st! We stay mild through the early part of the weekend, but note the cooldown as we head into next week. Temperatures look to be a little below average through much of the 2nd half of the month!

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

Friday Weather Outlook

Our mostly dry and mild week continues on Friday with temperatures warming into the low/mid 70s across the southern half of the state. The northern part of the state may hold in the 60s, but a fairly light breeze and mostly sunny skies will make for an extremely nice mid April day in Minnesota. Enjoy!!

Friday Weather Continued...

Look for mostly sunny skies on Friday with a few more afternoon clouds across the southwestern part of the state. Any rain chances should stay across the Central Plains until later Saturday when moisture begins to funnel north into the state.

Weather Outlook

The loop below shows fairly quiet weather conditions on Friday and early Saturday, but a slow moving storm system sitting over the Central Rockies will eventually begin to push moisture in our directions later Saturday through Sunday. The second half of the weekend looks soggy...


Rainfall Potential Through 7pm Saturday

Weather conditions sour as we head into the afternoon/evening hour Saturday. Note that the bulk of the precipitation shows up over the Central Plains through 7pm Saturday. 

Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's HPC, the precipitation forecast through AM Tuesday suggests nearly 1"+ rainfall across parts of Minnesota! As of April 15th, Minneapolis was nearly 1.5" below average precipitation since January 1st.

Spring Along the Front Range

Take a look at the snowy webcam from Denver, CO from early Thursday morning. It's amazing how quickly the weather can change along the Front Range in the Spring months... Denver was 75° on Tuesday and is expecting a few inches of slush through the end of the week.

See the latest Denver, CO webcam from the Department of Public Health & Environment HERE:

Snowfall Potential Through Saturday

Snowfall forecasts through Saturday suggest nearly 1ft. to 2ft.+ possible in the high elevations across parts of the Central Rockies. Interestingly, some of the lighter/slushier accumulations will be possible in the lower elevations as well!

National Weather Outlook

The same storm bringing snow to parts of the Rockies will also be responsible for several days of shower/thunderstorm activity across the Plains and central U.S.. Thunderstorm chances will remain high over the next several days on the eastern/warmer/more unstable side of the slow moving storm system as it tiptoes eastward.

Severe Threat Friday

...SUMMARY...
   SCATTERED SEVERE STORMS WITH DAMAGING WIND AND HAIL ARE EXPECTED
   OVER SOUTHERN TEXAS FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING WITH MORE ISOLATED
   ACTIVITY EXTENDING INTO LOUISIANA. SEVERE HAIL/WIND AND PERHAPS A
   BRIEF TORNADO ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL KANSAS INTO
   NORTHWEST OKLAHOMA AND PORTIONS OF SURROUNDING STATES DURING THE
   AFTERNOON.

   ...SYNOPSIS...
   A LARGE CUT-OFF UPPER LOW OVER THE SRN ROCKIES IS PROGGED TO DRIFT
   SLOWLY NEWD ACROSS CO FRI...AND THIS LOW/TROUGH WILL REMAIN THE
   PRIMARY LARGE-SCALE FEATURE ALOFT WITH RESPECT TO THE CONVECTIVE
   FORECAST THIS PERIOD.

   AT THE SURFACE...LEE-SIDE LOW PRESSURE/TROUGHING WILL REMAIN OVER
   THE CENTRAL/SRN HIGH PLAINS VICINITY...WITH THE TROUGH/DRYLINE
   MIXING EWD ACROSS WRN KS AND THE TX/OK PANHANDLES AND TX SOUTH
   PLAINS DURING THE AFTERNOON.  ELSEWHERE...A GENERALLY WEAK/FAIRLY
   NONDESCRIPT SURFACE PRESSURE PATTERN WILL PREVAIL.

   ...CENTRAL AND SRN HIGH PLAINS AREA...
   GRADUAL NEWD ADVANCE OF THE UPPER LOW AND SHARPENING OF THE
   HIGH-PLAINS DRYLINE NEAR AND S OF AN ERN CO SURFACE LOW WILL PERMIT
   AFTERNOON INITIATION OF ISOLATED TO SCATTERED STORMS...WITHIN A
   DESTABILIZING AIRMASS FEATURING 500 TO 1000 J/KG MIXED-LAYER CAPE.
   WITH LOW-LEVEL SELY FLOW E/NE OF THE LOW EXTENDING AS FAR WWD AS
   NERN CO BENEATH ENHANCED MID-LEVEL SSWLYS...SHEAR SUPPORTIVE OF
   SUPERCELLS WILL EXIST.  THUS -- DEVELOPING STORMS SHOULD QUICKLY
   ACQUIRE UPDRAFT ROTATION...AND ASSOCIATED POTENTIAL FOR THE
   PRODUCTION OF LARGE HAIL AND LOCALLY DAMAGING WINDS.  WHILE MODEST
   BOUNDARY-LAYER MOISTURE SHOULD LIMIT TORNADO RISK...A TORNADO OR TWO
   CANNOT BE RULED OUT -- PARTICULARLY WHERE LOW-LEVEL FLOW BACKS TO
   NEAR ELY N/NE OF THE SURFACE LOW.  OVERNIGHT...STORMS SHOULD SPREAD
   NEWD ACROSS NWRN OK/KS AND ACROSS SRN NEB...WHILE SEVERE RISK
   GRADUALLY DIMINISHES THROUGH THE END OF THE PERIOD.

   ...PARTS OF CENTRAL AND SRN TX...
   FAIRLY WIDESPREAD/PRIOR CONVECTION ACROSS CENTRAL AND S TX IS
   EXPECTED LEADING UP TO THE START OF THE DAY 2 PERIOD...THUS
   INFLUENCING THE THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT -- AND IN TURN DETAILS
   REGARDING TIMING/LOCATION/DEGREE OF SEVERE RISK WHICH IS EXPECTED TO
   EVOLVE ACROSS THE AREA FRI AFTN/EVE.

WITH THAT SAID...MODELS CONTINUE TO PROJECT THAT A SRN-STREAM SPEED
   MAX AND ASSOCIATED/ELONGATED AREA OF CYCLONIC VORTICITY NOW WELL OFF
   THE BAJA COAST WILL ADVANCE EWD/ENEWD ACROSS NRN MEXICO TOWARD TX BY
   AFTERNOON...WITHIN BROAD CYCLONIC FLOW FIELD SURROUNDING THE SRN
   ROCKIES LOW.  AS AFTERNOON DESTABILIZATION OCCURS -- PARTICULARLY
   S/W OF ANY REMNANT CONVECTIVE BOUNDARY...EXPECT STORMS TO REDEVELOP
   ACROSS CENTRAL/S TX AND THE ADJACENT HIGHER TERRAIN OF NERN MEXICO.
   DEGREE OF ASCENT AND A VERY MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER SUGGESTS POTENTIAL
   FOR RAPID UPSCALE GROWTH OF CONVECTION INTO LINES/CLUSTERS.
   HOWEVER...WITH LOW-LEVEL ELY/SELY FLOW VEERING/INCREASING WITH
   HEIGHT TO WWSWLY...SHEAR WILL SUPPORT UPDRAFT ROTATION WITHIN ANY
   DEVELOPING STORM.  THUS...EXPECT A MIX OF POSSIBLE SEVERE WEATHER
   HAZARDS...INCLUDING HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS...AND POSSIBLY A TORNADO
   OR TWO IF LOW-LEVEL SHEAR CAN BE MAXIMIZED LOCALLY INVOF ANY REMNANT
   SURFACE BOUNDARIES.  OVERNIGHT...EXPECT ONE OR MORE ONGOING STORM
   CLUSTERS /AND POSSIBLE ONGOING SEVERE RISK/ TO PROGRESS EWD ACROSS
   ERN TX...POSSIBLY REACHING SWRN LA LATE.

Severe Threat Saturday

...SYNOPSIS... A WEAKENING UPPER LOW IS FORECAST TO DRIFT ACROSS THE CNTRL PLAINS ON SATURDAY WITH SURFACE LOW OVER WRN KS AND DRYLINE ARCING SEWD ROUGHLY ALONG I-35 IN OK AND TX. THE COOL AIR ALOFT ATOP A MOIST LOW-LEVEL AIR MASS WILL RESULT IN AREAS OF STRONG INSTABILITY WITH ISOLATED SEVERE STORMS LIKELY. MEANWHILE...THE SRN STREAM JET WILL REMAIN ACTIVE WITH THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN EARLY DAY/ONGOING AREA OF STRONG STORMS ACROSS ERN TX AND LA. ...ERN TX INTO THE CNTRL GULF COAST... MODELS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT DEPICTING AN ONGOING MCS NEAR THE SABINE RIVER SAT MORNING...CONTINUING EWD ACROSS LA...MS DURING THE DAY. THIS POTENTIAL MCS WILL BE SUPPORTED BY A VERY MOIST AIR MASS...AND ENHANCED BY THE SRN-STREAM SHORTWAVE TROUGH. DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE POSSIBLE...BUT VEERING WINDS WITH HEIGHT AND THE MOIST AIR MASS FURTHER SUGGEST A TORNADO CANNOT BE RULED OUT. HOWEVER...ALL THIS IS CONDITIONAL ON HOW THE MCS EVOLVES. ...NRN INTO CNTRL TX LATE AFTERNOON... STRONG HEATING WILL OCCUR NEAR THE DRYLINE BUT WITH WEAK CONVERGENCE. STILL...MODERATE INSTABILITY WILL DEVELOP DUE TO COOL PROFILES ALOFT. HAIL STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE DESPITE MARGINAL SHEAR PROFILES FOR SUPERCELLS BY THIS TIME DUE TO WEAK LOW-LEVEL WINDS. ...KS INTO OK... WHILE MODEL DIFFERENCES EXIST...THERE LOOKS TO BE A HIGH THREAT OF HAIL ACROSS KS AND OK DURING SAT AFTERNOON DUE TO VERY COLD TEMPERATURES ALOFT COMBINED WITH SURFACE DEWPOINTS STILL IN THE MID TO UPPER 50S F. WEAK CONVERGENCE AND STRONG HEATING NEAR THE DRYLINE WILL RESULT IN AT LEAST ISOLATED STORMS...ALMOST CERTAINLY PRODUCING LARGE HAIL. DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH MOISTURE IS AVAILABLE AND CHARACTER OF THE SHEAR PROFILES...SIGNIFICANT HAIL COULD OCCUR...BUT PREDICTABILITY IS TOO LOW FOR THAT AT THIS TIME AND THE NAM IS LIKELY DEPICTING DEWPOINTS TOO HIGH.

Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's HPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast shows heavy moisture across parts of the Central Plains and across the Gulf Coast States thanks to several round of convective activity. Areas of flooding can't be ruled out in a few of these areas (especially across the Gulf Coast States). Meanwhile, the western third of the nation looks to remain mostly dry through early next week.

Cooler End of April?

According to NOAA's HPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook (April 23rd - April 29th) suggests a fairly chilly end of April across the eastern U.S. - interestingly, this pattern resembles much of what we've been dealing with over the past several months. Cooler/wetter in the Eastern U.S. and warmer/drier in the Western U.S.

"Scientists Pore Over Warm West, Cold East Divide"

"The curiosity of a growing group of researchers has been piqued by the tenacious temperature divide that has separated East from West over the past two winters as a wild zigzag of the jet stream has brought repeated bouts of Arctic air and snow to the East and kept the drought-plagued West baking under a record-breaking dome of heat."

"That persistent "warm west, cold east” winter pattern has set off a flurry of research aimed at uncovering why those regions of the U.S. spent winter locked in polar opposite situations, with plenty of questions remaining — including how global warming might be influencing whatever set the atmospheric pattern in motion.

The climate shifts of the Pacific Ocean have been considered a primary suspect in driving the seemingly unbreakable divide, in part because many of these have a clear influence on U.S. weather. But two recent studies have pushed past these well-known climate cycles and brought attention to some other, perhaps underappreciated players, in both the Pacific and the Arctic.

In one study, Dennis Hartmann, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, pinpointed a climate cycle that seems to be linked to the most well-known of such phenomena, El Niño. This “new” cycle — which Hartmann calls the North Pacific Mode (NPM) — has been hinted at before, but hasn’t received as much scientific attention as its cousin."

Read more from Climate Central HERE:

"Senate to hold hearing on improving weather forecast communication"

"Extreme weather is costly. From 2008 to 2013, alone, the price tag of extreme weather events in the U.S. was $309 billion. These costs are soaring even as forecasts improve. But an excellent weather forecast, if not properly communicated and acted upon, is of practically no value.

We can point to numerous recent events in which there were good forecasts but bad, costly decisions, including the so-called “Commutageddon” snowstorm in Washington, D.C. in January 2011 and the crippling snow event in Atlanta in 2014, both of which stranded motorists for hours.

Policymakers are increasingly recognizing the importance of an effective and seamless forecast-decisionmaking continuum. To inform future legislative efforts pertaining to improving weather forecasts and their communication, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is convening a hearing next Wednesday entitled, “Weathering the Storm: How Can We Better Communicate Weather to Enhance Commerce and Safety?”"

See more from WashingtonPost.com HERE:

(Image courtesy: AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution,Ben Gray)

"Ticks Are Now Carrying a Virus Worse Than Lyme Disease"

"The Powassan virus is emerging in the Northeast and the Midwest."

"As the weather warms up, it's tempting to grab the family and the dogs and head out for a hike. But if you live in a few key areas, you might be putting yourself at risk of a scary disease.

According to CBS News, ticks in the Northeast and the Great Lakes area have been found to be carrying the Powassan virus. It's a rare condition that produces symptoms similar to Lyme disease, but more severe, and there's no cure.

The disease can lead to encephalitis and meningitis, and give you permanent neurological issues afterward. And it can act much more quickly than Lyme disease, giving you symptoms within hours of being bitten by a tick, according toFox News. About 10% of cases that lead to encephalitis are fatal.

Powassan is extremely rare, having affected only 50 people in the U.S. over the past decade. In contrast, 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year (though the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States is estimated to be around 300,000). People who work outdoors or go camping in affected areas are at a higher risk of infection."

Read the full story HERE:

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

What Stands in a Storm - Tornado Siren Test Today - Springy into Saturday

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: April 16, 2015 - 7:41 AM

Tornado Helmets

I can't remember ever weeping my way through a book but "What Stands in a Storm" is profoundly troubling - and moving. Kim Cross's dark masterpiece documents the record 2011 super-outbreak: 358 tornadoes over 3 days - 348 people deaths, most of them in Alabama.

In a day and age when media focuses on statistics, Doppler radar and the visceral, adrenaline thrill of tornado chasing, this book reminded me of the real toll: 348 individual tornado tragedies that sent shockwaves through thousands of communities, and how shared pain and trauma ultimately binds a community together and makes it stronger. Why does it take something unimaginably evil to unite us and bring out the best in our souls? I wish I had the answer - I'm just a bewildered spectator.

Now comes new research showing that helmets (hockey, football, cycling) lower the risk of injury in a tornado from flying debris and blunt head trauma. It may look a bit goofy, but then again it could save your life. Trust me, appearances don't matter when a tornado is raging overhead with 150 mph winds.

A test of the emergency sirens is scheduled for 1:45 PM and 6:55 PM today. But please don't rely on the sirens as a primary source of information. Sirens were designed for outdoor use only. If you wait for the siren to sound before heading to shelter you're setting yourself up for trouble.

Nothing severe brewing anytime soon, but latest model guidance shows a growing chance of showers late Saturday with a soaking rain chance on Sunday. The ECMWF prints out 1 inch of rain before we cool down into the 40s and 50s next week.

7 inches of snow delighted Twin Cities residents in April of 2014. So far this month: .3 inches. I think snow season is over now. No guarantees. Then again there never are.


University of Alabama (Birmingham) Researchers Say Add A Helmet To Your Tornado Preparation Kit. Here's an excerpt of a 2012 press release from the University of Alabama: "...Previous research has shown that most tornado-associated injuries and deaths result when people or solid objects become airborne,” said Russ Fine, Ph.D., director of the UAB ICRC. “Most victims suffer multiple traumatic injuries, including injuries to the head and neck. And head injuries have a statistically higher case-fatality rate of 23 percent versus the 3 percent case-fatality rate of all other injuries combined.” In the commentary, the researchers recommend “the use of any helmet, or head covering made of a hard material and worn to protect the head from injury, stored in an easily and readily accessible location in the home, workplace or vehicle for which one of its purposes is to be worn in the event of or threat of tornadic activity...”


Tornado Safety Tips. Here is an excerpt from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tackling what to do and what not to do if a tornadic thunderstorm is approaching your home:

In a House With a Basement

Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.

In a House With No Basement 

Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.


3 More Days of Spring Fever - Sunday Soaking? ECMWF guidance prints out just over 1" of rain on Sunday. That may be a little on the high side, but there's little question that Sunday will be the wettest day of the next 8-9 days. Lukewarm 60s to near 70F for highs give way to 40s and 50s next week as a northwest wind flow kicks in with a series of (weak) Alberta Clippers.


Evidence of El Nino. The Pacific ocean continues to warm, and there's a strong correlation between El Nino warming events and a stronger southern branch of the jet stream .Exhibit A is the 7-Day rainfall prediction from NOAA, showing some 4-7" amounts from Houston to New Orleans and Mobile.


Late Season Snow Potential. Be glad you don't live in northwest Ontario, where the GFS is printing out 12-16" of snow by next Thursday at 1 PM. Significant snow is possible over the central Rockies, with a couple inches of slush next week for far northern Minnesota. Sorry. Just the messenger - although I don't see any accumulating snow here in the metro area. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Warming Up Again Late April. 500 mb forecast winds aloft, courtesy of NOAA's GFS model, show a warm ridge expanding northward across the Plains by April 29, with temperatures probably returning to the 60s, maybe some low 70s, as we sail into May. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Flooding vs. Flash Flooding. When I think of flooding it usually implies a long-duration rain event capable of flooding streams and rivers. Flash flooding usually applies to extremes amounts of rain in summer thunderstorms, especially storms that stall or "train" (new storms popping up along a line, replacing the old storms, resulting in 6"+ rainfall amounts). Here's an excerpt from a good primer on flooding from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:

* Nationally, floods claim nearly 200 lives each year, force 300,000 persons from their homes and result in property damage in excess of $2 billion. In Minnesota, floods kill more people than any other weather event; 15 people have died in floods since 1993.

* About 75 percent of flash-flood deaths occur at night. Half of the victims die in automobiles or other vehicles. Many deaths occur when people drive around road barricades that clearly indicate that the road is washed out ahead.

* In 2007, a deadly flood occurred August 18-19 in southeast Minnesota, killing seven people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. A state record for rainfall was set at Hokah — 15.1 inches in 24 hours — while several other areas received more than eight inches of rain. (File photo: Reuters).

Here's An In-Depth Look At The Tornado That Destroyed Fairdale, Illinois. Dennis Mersereau does a terrific job summarizing the ingredients that went into the exceptionally powerful storms that blew up west of Chicago last week; here's an excerpt at Gawker's The Vane: "...The tornado that destroyed Fairdale is notable because it was towards the top of the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is pretty rare when you take into account all of the tornadoes that develop around the country. We hear about these monsters more than the thousands of other tornadoes that have developed simply because of their intensity. High levels of media coverage create the illusion of a plague of violent tornadoes, when the odds that you'll ever see or take a direct hit from one of these storms are minuscule..."
 
* Photo of Fairdale Tornado Victim Found 35 Miles Away in Harvard. This gives you some idea of the power of an EF-4 tornado. CBS Chicago has the details.

The Science Behind Midwest's Killer Tornadoes. National Geographic has a good primer on the state of tornado research, overall statistics and an explainer on how supercell (mesocyclones) harness wind shear and explosive instability to brew up nature's strongest wind. Here's a clip: "...Large tornadoes usually last longer—around 30 minutes. The most powerful twisters have wind speeds of more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) per hour, which can rip buildings off their foundations. They can be more than two miles (3.2 kilometers) wide, and can spin across the ground for dozens of miles. Tornadoes kill an average of 60 people a year in the U.S., mostly from flying or falling debris, reports NOAA..."
 
Photo credit above: "The remains of Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle's home is seen in Rochelle, Ill. on Friday, April 10, 2015, a day after the communities of Rochelle, Ill. and Fairdale, Ill. were impacted by tornado damage." (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Laura Stoecker).

Pacific Winds Tied To Warming Slowdown - Dry West. Climate Central attempts to connect the dots; here's an excerpt: "To understand why the West has been so dry since the turn of the century, cast your eye further west — to the natural waxing and waning of Pacific Ocean winds. Strong trade winds have been forcing heat into ocean depths, contributing to a temporary slowdown in land surface warming over the past 15 to 20 years that some have called a warming hiatus, pause or false pause. New research published in the Journal of Climate has gone further — implicating those winds in stubborn droughts afflicting Western states..."
 
Image credit above: "Trade winds along the equatorial Pacific are in part responsible for a warming slowdown and western U.S. drought says new research." Credit: Earth Wind Map

Fossil Fuels Just Lost The Race Against Renewables. Bloomberg Business has the article - here are two excerpts that caught my eye: "...The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there's no going back....The price of wind and solar power continues to plummet, and is now on par or cheaper than grid electricity in many areas of the world. Solar, the newest major source of energy in the mix, makes up less than 1 percent of the electricity market today but will be the world’s biggest single source by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency. The question is no longer if the world will transition to cleaner energy, but how long it will take..."

No Helmets or Seat Belts? Baby Boomers Lived Dangerously By Today's Standards. Some complain about the "nanny state", too many rules and regulations designed to keep us safer. But would we really go back in time to a far more reckless childhood? It's a wonder any of the boomers are still around, according to Jeff Strickler at The Star Tribune; here's an excerpt: "By today’s safety standards, every baby boomer should have been dead by the time we were 12. We defied danger on a daily basis. We never knew that we were doing risky things, of course; we just thought that we were having fun. Nonetheless, we spent our days immersed in activities that we’d never for a second allow our children or grandchildren to do. Or even think about doing..."


The Virtue Of Being Short. The Atlantic reminds me why I should be thrilled to be 5 feet, 10 inches tall (on a good day). Here's an excerpt: "If you've ever had a tall man stand in front of you at a concert, blocking your view, and wished that he would have a heart attack, the odds were against you. Tall men are less likely to develop heart disease than are short men, according to research published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine. In a study of more than 200,000 people, every 2.5 inches of height meant a 13.5 percent lower likelihood of coronary artery disease..."


70 F. high temperature in Minneapolis - St. Paul Wednesday.

58 F. average high on April 15.

36 F. high on April 15, 2014.

April 15, 2002: Early heat-wave over Minnesota. Faribault hit 93 degrees while the Twin Cities had its earliest 90 degree temperature with a high of 91.


TODAY: Siren test. Morning sprinkles. Some sun through high clouds. Winds: S 8. High 66

TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Low: 45

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, still lukewarm and pleasant. High: near 70

SATURDAY: Clouds increase - showers late, especially south/west of the metro. Wake-up: 50. High: 67

SUNDAY: Soaking rain, up to 1" possible. Wake-up: 49. High: 53

MONDAY: Showers taper, clouds linger. Wake-up: 42. High: 49

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cool breeze. Wake-up: 33. High: 48

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, cooler than average. Wake-up: 32. High: 50


Climate Stories...

The Pacific Ocean Has Been Slowing Global Warming Down. That May Be About To Change. Chris Mooney takes a look at the "temperature pause", the PDO and how natural variability in the Pacific ocean may have been masking some of the (atmospheric) warming the last 15 years. Here's a snippet from The Washington Post: "...At the end of the day, the planet’s temperature is the result of both anthropogenic factors like humanity’s carbon emissions, but also modes of natural variability like swings in the Pacific and changes in the output sun. You can’t understand the climate system if you don’t take both into account — and you definitely can’t adequately predict its behavior without including both elements. Thus, in the end, it may well be that the so-called global warming “slowdown” or “pause” — used to so sharply challenge climate scientists — may lead to their ultimate vindication."


Broadcast Meteorologists Increasingly Convinced Manmade Climate Change is Happening. Is it unanimous? Hardly, but the sheer weight of mounting data and overwhelming evidence is having an effect. Here's a clip from Jason Samenow at The Capital Weather Gang: "TV weathercasters are more convinced than ever climate change is happening and that human activities are a major contributor suggest the results of a new report. More than 90 percent of 464 broadcast meteorologists who responded to a 2015 survey agree climate change is happening and, of those, 74 percent believe human activity is at least half responsible, states “A National Survey of Broadcast Meteorologists About Climate Change: Initial Findings”, from the George Mason University (GMU) Center for Climate Change Communication...."


Farming Moves North Because of Global Warming-Induced Changes. Here's a clip from a post at Myrtle Beach Online: "...but rising temperatures are breathing new life into northern agriculture. Farm economists say that the net result will be a vast expansion in America's food growing capability. A century ago, corn was not a viable crop above North Dakota's southern third. But an average temperature rise of 2.7 degrees over that period has let North Dakota farmers grow feed corn up to the Canadian border. The growing season there is three weeks longer. In farming, that's huge..."


Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/opinion/op-ed/article18504026.html#storylink=cpy

New Video: The Trouble at Totten Glacier. What's really happening in Antarctica, and why should all of us, especially those of us living on the coasts, pay attention? Here's a link, excerpt and video from Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "...He added, “Meanwhile, 2015 could be the year of the double whammy — when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again.” The decades-long unfolding of this story – that vast areas of ice once thought to be invulnerable on time scales meaningful to humans, may in fact already be in the process of disintegration – is one that that the vast majority of humanity still does not understand, and that the media has been unwilling to track.  It’s a realization that, one top expert told us, even seasoned ice sheet veterans find “shattering”...."


Open Data. New Tech. Better Climate Solutions. Here's an excerpt of a story at TheHill that resonated: "..."The climate gap” means that the poor, the sick, the elderly, and people of color—the same communities that are already disproportionately impacted by disease, illness, and injury—are again disproportionately harmed by the impacts of climate change.  People with chronic illness are more susceptible to rising ozone levels. Those who live in tree-poor urban heat islands--or who work outdoors in construction or agriculture-- are at higher risk of heat illness.  People living in poverty are less able to cope with rising food prices, or to rebuild their lives after a Katrina or a Sandy..."


Climate Change Denial 101. onEarth has a story about an online course that teaches students how to debate climate change deniers - and win. Here's a clip: "...For this reason and others, climate change denial has become its own field of academic study, separate from the science of climate change itself. And, like any legitimate field of study, climate change denial has its own massive open online course, or MOOC. John Cook, a climate communication fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia and the creator of the excellent website Skeptical Science, is coordinating the course. It will feature climatologists, modelers, chemists, computer scientists, meteorologists, and glaciologists—real scientists talking about science, rather than economists, politicians, and media personalities all shouting at the same time. What a crazy idea..."


The U.S. Will Soon No Longer Be The Leading Cause of Modern Global Warming. ThinkProgress has the story - here's the introduction: "China is set to overtake the United States as the leading cause of modern global warming at some point within the next two years, a dangerous benchmark for a country that’s also aiming to curb its dependence on coal. China is already the top emitter of greenhouse gases, having surpassed the United States in 2006, but two separate estimates now indicate that its cumulative emissions since 1990 are on pace to exceed those of the United States, which would make China the largest contributor to modern climate change..."


Demanding Divestment of Fossil Fuel Investments, Protesters Block Harvard President's Office. Here's an excerpt from WGBH News in Boston: "Students and climate change activists will gather in Harvard Yard in Cambridge all this week, demanding that nation's oldest -- and the world's wealthiest -- university drop its stocks in fossil fuel companies. Hundreds of alumni and dozens of students say they're willing to be arrested. Beginning Sunday night, the student-led group Divest Harvard is planning to block Massachusetts Hall, preventing President Drew Faust from entering her office. Organizers say they won't move until Faust commits to divest the university's $36-billion-dollar endowment from top fossil fuel companies, such as Exxon Mobil, and Chevron..."

Photo credit above: "Students protest outside the president's office Sunday night at Harvard University." Kirk Carapezza WGBH News.


Have We Passed The Point Of No Return on Climate Change? Here's an excerpt of an answer at Scientific American: "...Most climatologists agree that, while the warming to date is already causing environmental problems, another 0.4 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature, representing a global average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) of 450 parts per million (ppm), could set in motion unprecedented changes in global climate and a significant increase in the severity of natural disasters—and as such could represent the dreaded point of no return..."


Climate Change Has Made A Sailboat Race Through The Arctic Possible. Quartz reports; here's the intro: "A sailing race across the icebound Northwest Passage is being planned for 2017, through a route the organizers say has been made possible by climate change. The Sail the Arctic Race will involve teams setting sail from New York for a 7,700-mile journey to Victoria, British Columbia. They will race for six legs with stopovers in cities in the US, Canada, and Greenland. The route used to be unnavigable because of pack ice, which may well still be problematic for the race participants. But in the years since 1998 there has been less ice, with more below-average than above-average years, and more open water, Environment Canada told CBC News..."

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