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.

Posts about Vikings

Upcoming +50F Temp Swing Since AM Tuesday!

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 9, 2014 - 7:06 PM

Minnesota Heat Wave

By Todd Nelson

As we climb out of the depths of this latest Arctic blast, I am reminded by a scene in one of my favorite movies filmed in Minnesota; Grumpy Old Men. As the late and great Walter Matthau steps outside to get the mail, he starts singing "Heat Wave", which was performed by the one and only Marilyn Monroe. If you do enough searching, you can find a pretty good rendition by Miss Piggy too.

If you're keeping track, the official low at the MSP Airport on Tuesday morning was -23F. The high today could be near the freezing mark (+32F). That's nearly a 50F temperature swing in nearly 4 days!

Ahh yes, freezing is going to feel amazing today... enjoy it!

I had a chance to talk to a good friend of mine yesterday, who now lives in Bullhead City, AZ and is a transplant from Duluth, MN. He mentioned that their overnight low was expected to dip into the 30s, which he now considers 'cold'. Snowbirds.

A quick moving system slides up from Kansas City, MO today with snow chances. It looks like nothing more than a light nuisance. Several weak clippers glide through the region into next week. Each one will spit at us and kick up some cool winds as they clip by. Hey, it's winter!

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THURSDAY NIGHT: More clouds. Not sub-zero! Low: 13. Winds: SE 10

FRIDAY: More clouds, light snow develops in far SE MN. High: 32. Winds: S 10

FRIDAY NIGHT: Light/nuisance snow continues. Low: 20

SATURDAY: Dripping icicles. Much better. High: 30

SUNDAY: Clouds thicken, light wintry mix possible. Wake-up: 16. High: 35.

MONDAY: Another clipper. breezy and cooler. Wake-up: 14. High: 22.

TUESDAY: More clouds, light snow possible. Wake-up: 18. High: 24.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny. Breezy again. Wake-up: 8. High: 23.

THURSDAY: Light snow, turning colder. Wake-up: 13. High: 18

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This Day in Weather History

January 10th

1990: January heat wave. Twin Cities warms to 49 degrees.

1975: "Blizzard of the Century" begins also called the "Superbowl Blizzard" One of the worst Blizzards ever. Stranded people watched the Vikings lose the Superbowl on the 12th. The pressure hit a low of 28.62. This was the record until 1998.

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Minnesota Heat Wave

Wow, it sure is nice to see 30s on forecast maps again isn't it? Looking out into next week, low temps don't appear to be too Arcitc. Stay tuned for more...

Winter Weather Advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the extreme southeastern MN and for most of central Wisconsin until 6am Saturday.

Snow Potential

There appears to be a fairly narrow swath of some shovelable snow across parts of extreme SE Minnesota and central Wisconsin through AM Saturday.

Feet of Lake Effect Snow?

Unreal! This is a picture from Rodman, NY where the snow tally from the latest lake effect snow event came in at 60"!!

Watertown, NY even got walloped with nearly 2ft.!

Impressive Snowfall Tallies

Thanks to the National Weather Service for the map below, which shows the snow accumulations over a 72 hour period from earlier this week. The numbers below suggests the highest tallies I could find from within the general area.

Snowfall Tallies

Lake Effect Snow From Space

A NOAA satellite captured the latest event from space. You can actually see the intense lake effect snow bands across the entire lake. Typically, the longer the fetch or stretch across the lake, the more intense the lake effect snow band(s) can be. There were even reports of thundersnow with this latest event!

Average Annual Snowfall

Here are some of the highest average annual snowfall tallies that I could find. According to NWS climate data, Marquette sees more than 200" of snow per year, while Watertown, NY sees nearly 80".

Average Annual Snowfall Tallies

The numbers above are based on individual sites over a 30 year period ending in 2010. The map below from the National Weather Service actually shows that some areas in the Eastern Great Lakes Region see nearly 300"!

An Icy Chicago River

If you look close enough, you can actually see ice chunks on the Chicago River from the picture below. Interestingly, Chicago is going from sub-zero weather to rain by Friday! Chicago, officially spent 37 hours below 0F earlier this week too!

Two Harbors, MN

Nice shot here from the Split Rock Lighthouse Facebook page, where temperatures earlier this week were dangerously cold. Lake Superior was a constant fountain of steam over the past few days, which can be seen a little bit in the picture below.

Major Burns in the Cold Weather

With the recent blast of Arctic air, many tried to 'enjoy' the cold by trying different cold weather experiments. One of the more popular ones was throwing boiling water into the air, but it caused some issues as several folks got some major burns.

"Over Monday and Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times counted at least 50 people on social media who reported burning themselves or their friends after trying to turn boiling water into snow. There were also several reports of people going to the hospital to receive treatment for burns."

Read more from the LATimes HERE:
 

Warming Trend Continues...

From AM Tuesday temps to high temperatures on Friday, some across parts of the nation could see a 50F+ temperature swing.

High Temps Friday

Highs From Normal Friday

Sunday Highs

Sunday Highs From Normal

Northern Lights Potential

Earlier this week, a solar storm erupted and sent an X1-Flare towards Earth, meaning northern lights may be visible for some in the higher latitudes.

Northern Lights Forecast

According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the northern lights forecast still remains HIGH into Friday.

Aurora OVATION

Here's a cool test product from NOAA, which shows the potential viewing area.

Click HERE to see the current view

Idaho Snow Dog

Thanks to Duane Goudge for this picture out of Idaho Falls. Enjoy!

U.S. Snow Depth

According to NOAA, the U.S. snow cover as of Thursday, January 9th showed that nearly 50% of the nation was covered in snow.

More Snow on the Way

Here's a look at the snow potential over the next few days. Note the heavy snow potential across the western mountains, while a heavier band of snow can't be ruled out over parts of central Wisconsin.

Wetter & Warmer Into the Weekend

Several rounds of heavy precipitation will whip the Pacific Northwest over the coming days. Heavy rain and snow will be possible through early next week. One of these pieces of energy will slide through the middle part of the country on Friday with heavy rain, some icing and snow. By Saturday, that system will kick out a strong to severe thunderstorm threat in the Southeastern part of the country.

Tracking the Low

After Friday's system blows through the middle part of the country, the storm will move into Canada on Saturday. After that, we'll see a pretty constant flow from the Pacific with clipper systems and several chances of precipitation across the international border, the first of which can be see in southern Canada thru AM Sunday.

Precipitation Next 3 Days

According to NOAA HPC 3 day precipitation forecast, there appears to be widespread heavy moisture in the Pacific Northwest. There will also be decent amounts of moisture across the middle and eastern part of the country through the end of the weekend as a cold front sweeps across the country.

Saturday Severe Threat

As the said storm cross through the eastern part of the country on Saturday, strong to severe thunderstorms can't be ruled out. The Storm Prediction Center has already issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather from areas across eastern North Carolina to extreme northeastern Florida.

Thanks for checking in, have a great weekend ahead. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

First Thaw In Over 2 Weeks (big temperature swings; weekend snowstorm for Chicago)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 17, 2013 - 11:02 PM

Happy Drips

For the first time in over 2 weeks the mercury will rise above freezing today. Prepare to be serenaded by the soothing sounds of dripping icicles and gurgling drain-spouts. Happy noises.

NOAA reports the first half of December saw the 4th coldest daytime highs and 21st coldest nighttime lows in the Twin Cities since 1873. Nothing like easing into winter.

A puff of Pacific air treats us to mid-30s today. More waves of Canadian air slosh south, chilling us back down through the weekend - but not as Nanook as the first week of December.

As long as steering winds are howling from the west-northwest Minnesota's weather will be dominated by a family of Alberta Clippers; each one preceded by a brief warm-up, followed by cold winds and flurries. These fickle low pressure swirls moving in from Edmonton move quickly; starved for moisture, unable to tap a deep, rich layer of water vapor in the Gulf of Mexico.

One such storm may dump significant snow this weekend from Kansas City to Chicago. On the warm side of the storm highs surge into the 70s on the east coast - 60s into Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Talk about weather-whiplash!

The January Thaw may come early this year.


More Whiplash - Outrageous Swings In Temperature Into Christmas. A storm pushing into California will drop significant snow across the Midwest and Great Lakes this weekend, complicating travel and shopping plans. Out ahead of the storm thoughts may turn (prematurely) to spring, with 60s as far north as Washington D.C. and Baltimore by Sunday. In today's edition of Climate Matters we take a look at unusually big swings in temperature looking out the next week: "WeathernationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at another case of "weather whiplash" going from slush to almost 70°F in some areas. Just how warm can we expect it to be as we do some last minute holiday shopping?"


Fleeting Thaw, Then Colder. Temperatures rise into the 30s today, before the next clipper (preceded by a streak of light snow during the PM hours Thursday) drops temperatures into single digits by Friday morning. 84-hour 2 meter NAM temperature forecast courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.


Big Swings. It'll be nice to be "above average" today. Only in Minnesota do the locals sigh with contentment when temperatures surge into the 30s. After cooling down over the weekend another upward blip is forecast by ECMWF model guidance for Christmas Eve, then turning sharply colder Christmas Day. Graphic: Weatherspark.


Weekend Storm Midwest And Great Lakes. California is experiencing its driest year on record; the storm pushing ashore won't spark much rain. It will tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and fling it at the Midwest and Great Lakes, in the form of accumulating snow Saturday and Sunday. GFS model guidance above shows 10-meter wind speeds and surface pressures, courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.


84 Hour Snowfall. The map above shows predicted snowfall amounts into early Saturday morning; significant amounts for the central and northern Rockies and downwind of the Great Lakes, the snow just starting up from near Tulsa and Wichita to Kansas City and Moline. NAM guidance: Ham Weather.


Weekend Snow Event. GFS guidance into midday Sunday shows a stripe of 6"+ amounts from north of Kansas City to the Quad Cities, Rockford and possibly the suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee.


Cold, But Not Nanook. Long-range GFS guidance has been all over the map with predicted temperatures, so confidence levels are low. Right now the last few days of December and first few days of 2014 look cold; highs in the teens and 20s with a few subzero nights, but not as brisk as early December. The GFS has been consistently over-doing the cold. Let's hope that's the case here as well.


Care For A Dip? Gulf stream waters are still unusually mild for mid-December; 70s off the coast of Florida, 60s are far north as the Outer Banks of North Carolina. At some point this stain of warm water may set the stage for a series of very intense Nor'easters. Stay tuned. Graphic: Wilmington, NC office of the National Weather Service.


2014 Super Bowl: Let It Snow - Just Not Too Much. We can only hope and pray for a blizzard at The Meadowlands. Because with snow on the field it's an entirely different game.  I enjoyed Sam Farmer's take on Super Bowl 2014 weather at The Los Angeles Times; here's an excerpt: "A snowbound Super Bowl? Yes, please. If last weekend's NFL games reminded us of anything, it's that snow makes everything interesting. It turns the nation's No. 1 sport into a goofy game show, with contestants struggling to perform impossible tasks, such as snapping the football or finding the line of scrimmage. Detroit fumbled seven times in a Philadelphia blizzard..."

Photo credit above: "The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions play on a snow-covered Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. Will this season's Super Bowl at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey play out a similar scene?" (David Maialetti / Associated Press / December 8, 2013)


The 10 Worst Weather Places In The World? No, Minnesota did not make the list, not even a runner-up. Weatherwise Magazine has the award nobody really wants - here's the introduction: "...Possibly due to an enduring “grass is always greener” fixation—and a craving to seek out and experience these supposed lusher pastures—many of us have a perennial fascination with “best places” lists: best places to live, work, and vacation; best places to slice into a porterhouse or dine on lobster. Often lavishly illustrated, publications of all flavors showcase the purported top beaches or resorts in a particular country or even throughout the world. In virtually all of these analyses (studies impossible to design and conduct truly objectively, of course), weather and climate play at least a salient, if not a pivotal, role. Year-round clement conditions make a good beach into a heavenly one and an otherwise unremarkable city a “quality lifestyle destination.” But what about places characterized by skyward conditions on the opposite end of the weather-comfort spectrum? What are the “worst weather places” in the world?..." (Images: Wikipedia).

Tornadoes May Be Getting Stronger - Or Not. When in doubt, obfuscate. How will a warmer, wetter, potentially more bouyant atmosphere impact the dynamics that drive tornado formation? The jury is still out, but at least one researcher believes there's a strong chance of larger tornadoes. Here's an excerpt from Scientific American: "Sometimes scientists can’t help themselves from showing dramatic curves, even though they have so many caveats that no firm conclusions can be made from the data. James Elsner at Florida State University has a killer curve, and lots of caveats. The curve indicates that tornadoes in the U.S. may be getting stronger. The caveats indicate they may not be. “If I were a betting man I’d say tornadoes are getting stronger,” he noted on Tuesday during a lecture at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco. But when asked directly at a press conference whether that is the case, he would not commit..."


Unraveling The Mysterious Impacts Of Lightning On The Human Body. Remind me not to get struck anytime soon. Here's a clip from National Geographic: "...Randolph-Quinney hopes the emerging research will help forensics investigators pinpoint cause of death from lightning. That's currently a challenge, he said, because there are 17,000 unclaimed bodies in Johannesburg-area morgues each year. When it comes to lightning injuries, there has also been little research on the mechanisms of what exactly happens to the human body when struck, other than well-established complications that can arise, such as memory loss, insomnia, and depression, said Wits electrical engineering graduate student Harry Lee...." (Photo: AP).


Does Travel Insurance Cover Weather Problems. Ed Perkins has an interesting story at The Chicago Tribune; here's the introduction: "The several big recent storms -- and the many airline cancellations that resulted -- raise the question of the extent to which travel insurance can help to recoup your travel investment. The short answer is that at least some of it does, at least sometimes. But you find lots of variation: Policies vary substantially in what they specify as "covered reasons" to provide payment. So you have to take a close look at the fine print, as well as the price, before you buy. Three different coverages apply. Trip cancellation/interruption (TCI). TCI covers whatever expenses, caused by delay or cancellation, that you can't recover from your airline or hotel..."


Moving Out Of Harm's Way. We have to worry about many forms of annoying and, at times, dangerous weather here in Minnesota. At least we don't have to worry about rising sea levels. Millions of Americans will be impacted by rising seas, as outlined in this story from The Center for American Progress. Here's a clip: "...So what are the consequences of having more ocean at our back doors? According to Princeton University earth scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who was interviewed in October by the Associated Press, 50,000 people experienced flooding from Superstorm Sandy who would have otherwise been spared in the absence of global warming. By the time the storm dissipated, it had exacted an economic cost of more than $68 billion, resulted in the deaths of 117 Americans, and taken the lives of 69 more people throughout the Caribbean and Canada. Blunting the intensity and reducing the rise in frequency of storms like Sandy is one of the most pressing reasons to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. According to a September 2013 report from the American Meteorological Society, global-warming-caused sea-level rise is significantly reducing the time between major coastal flood events..."

Photo credit above: AP/Richard Drew. "Cars are submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in New York's Financial District in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, October 30, 2012."


How To Get The Flood Coverage You Need. Here's a snippet of a timely article at Money Magazine and CNN: "To ensure you're adequately protected against the flood damage a storm like Sandy can render, follow these tips.

Don't skimp. About 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk areas. If you live near any body of water, consider buying a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (few private carriers offer policies). Even melted snow can cause flooding.

Brace for price shock. FEMA is phasing out subsidies for pre-1970s homes, raising rates roughly 25% a year..."

Photo credit: Christopher Sturman. "Staten Islanders Michael Motherway and Jennifer Schanker point out how high the storm waters from Superstorm Sandy rose."


Fukushima's Worst-Case Scenario. Much Of What You've Heard About The Nuclear Accident Is Wrong. A nuclear meltdown capable of evacuating Tokyo and much of Japan? Not so much. The nuclear accident, although dangerous, never posed a significant threat to Tokyo, or U.S. forces stationed in Japan, contrary to popular media reports at the time. Kudos to Slate for some excellent original reporting on what really happened; here's an excerpt: "...Key details of this episode are revealed here for the first time, based in part on U.S. government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. These revelations, together with additional new information, debunk some powerful myths about Fukushima and have weighty implications for the debate about nuclear power that has raged in the accident's aftermath. (The revelations are unrelated to the plant’s current water-leakage problem, which by some reckonings is less severe and more solvable than recent headlines suggest.) What was Fukushima's worst-case scenario? That question consumed the thoughts of millions of people in March 2011, and it remains highly relevant today..."

File photo above: AP Photo/Japan Pool.


Wind Power Rivals Coal With $1 Billion Order From Buffett. Bloomberg has the story; here's the introduction: "The decision by Warren Buffett’s utility company to order about $1 billion of wind turbines for projects in Iowa shows how a drop in equipment costs is making renewable energy more competitive with power from fossil fuels. Turbine prices have fallen 26 percent worldwide since the first half of 2009, bringing wind power within 5.5 percent of the cost of electricity from coal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., yesterday announced an order for 1,050 megawatts of Siemens AG wind turbines in the industry’s largest order to date for land-based gear. Wind is the cheapest source of power in Iowa, and the deal indicates that turbines are becoming profitable without subsidies, according to Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association trade group..."

Photo credit above: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg. "The silhouettes of Vestas Wind Systems turbines are seen in this photograph taken with a tilt-shift lens at a wind farm in Lowville, New York. The market value of Vestas, Europe’s biggest turbine supplier, increased 86 percent in the second half through yesterday and it’s expected to report net income in the current quarter for the first time since since mid-2011."


Analysis: Clouds Over Hawaii's Rooftop Solar Growth Hint At U.S. Battle. Talk about disruptive trends; here's a good summary of how people installing solar panels on their homes (expecting a rebate or discount) are running afoul of local regulations and power utilities. Here's an excerpt from Reuters: "...What's happening in Hawaii is a sign of battles to come in the rest of the United States, solar industry and electric utility executives said. The conflict is the latest variation on what was a controversial issue this year in top solar markets California and Arizona. It was a hot topic at a solar industry conference last week: how to foster the growth of rooftop solar power while easing the concerns of regulated utilities that see its rise as a threat. The Oahu rule created a dispute between the island's solar power companies and Hawaiian Electric..."

Photo credit above: "A view of houses with solar panels in the Mililani neighbourhood on the island of Oahu in Mililani, Hawaii, December 15, 2013." Credit: Reuters/Hugh Gentry.


Having A Dog Protects Against Asthma And Infection, Study Says. I've heard this before, and the data seems to suggest that there may, in fact, be a link. Here's an excerpt from a story at The PBS NewsHour: "....Dog owners already know their four-legged friend is good for their health, but they have more proof thanks to a recent study from scientists at the University of California San Francisco and University of Michigan. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a child's risk of developing asthma and allergies is reduced if the child is exposed to a dog in a household during infancy. While the results of the study come from mice, researchers believe the results explain the reduced allergy risk of children who were raised in homes with dogs from birth...."


5 Surprising Things That Will Happen In The Next 5 Years. Local retail will beat online shopping? And I won't have to try and remember 52 different passwords? That's one of 5 counterintuitive forecasts from IBM, highlighted in a Gizmodo story; here's a clip: "IBM Research's 5 in 5 list—five things that will happen in the next five years—is here. Some are quite surprising and awesome. The bad news: no flying cars and/or realistic sex robots yet. The good news: doctors routinely using your DNA information to heal you effectively. But even while that may seem kind of surprising, given the current state of things, their futurists are always pretty accurate—perhaps because they're scientists who base their estimates on actual data rather than dumb planet alignments and tea leaves. So, without further ado, here are five things that, according to them, you will see as normal by 2018..."


Artificial Sweeteners Found In River Water And Drinking Supplies. This story may illicit One Giant Yuck, something to keep in mind the next time you take a dip in your favorite lake or river. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "...The research, detailed in a paper published Dec. 11 in the online journal PLOS ONE, adds to a growing body of evidence that people are spiking waterways and their drinking supplies with an array of compounds that pass through not just them, but even advanced treatment systems. Antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids and fragrances are among the products that have been detected in surface waters. Some of the contaminants have been found in fish tissue. Some compounds not only get through sewage plants, they also survive purification of drinking supplies and have been measured in trace amounts in municipal tap water..."


Your Wireless Router Could Be Murdering Your Houseplants. And here I thought it was just neglect and incompetence. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at The Daily Dot: "Are you slowly killing your houseplants? Probably! But there might be a reason (other than neglect) why they’re all yellow and wilty: your Wi-Fi router. An experiment by a handful of high school students in Denmark has sparked some serious international interest in the scientific community..."


Vikings Concussions in 2013. PBS Frontline has a web site called Concussion Watch, with a running list of all NFL teams, and the players who have reported concussions in 2013. Here is the list for the Vikings.


What Did The World Search For In 2013? Don't Ask. But if you absolutely must know Google has kept a record of the people and events that topped their lists this year.


In Denial That You've Reached Middle Age? A Survey Identifies Some Telltale Signs. Here's a clip from a (sobering) article at The Washington Post: "...So beyond comfort shoes and ear hair, what are some signs that you’re no longer young? Here’s the full list offered up by respondents to the survey. Some are particularly British (e.g., joining the National Trust, taking a flask of tea on a day out). But you’ll get the point.

●Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and TVs

●Finding you have no idea what “young people” are talking about

●Feeling stiff

●Needing an afternoon nap..."


33 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

26 F. average high on December 17

25 F. high on December 17, 2012.

Trace of snow fell yesterday.

Minnesota Weather History on December 17. Data source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1922: Heat wave across southern Minnesota. Temperatures rose into the 60's at New Ulm and St. Peter.

1917: Milaca had its fifty-ninth consecutive day with no precipitation.


TODAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: SW 10. High: 35

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and colder. Low: 14

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, inch or so of snow Thursday night? High: 19

FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, colder. Wake-up: 10. High: 15

SATURDAY: Sunny peeks, plenty cold. Wake-up: 3. High: 18

SUNDAY: Potential snowstorm Chicago. Dry & cold here. Wake-up: -1. High: 9

MONDAY: Bright sun, less wind. Wake-up: -4. High: 9

CHRISTMAS EVE: Milder for Santa's arrival. Wake-up: 7. High: near 30


Climate Stories...

6 Ways Climate Change Is Waging War On Christmas. I found this article curious and timely, from tracking the odds of a white Christmas to reindeer to cocoa and your favorite local Christmas tree, changes in the Arctic are having an impact. Here's an excerpt from Surprising Science at smithsonian.com: "...If Santa really lived at the North Pole, he would have drowned long ago. But any fantasies we have about him making a home on floating sea ice will surely die within the century. The extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking, and it could be gone entirely within decades. The U.S. Navy predicts an ice-free summer Arctic as early as 2016. “We really are heading towards an ice-free Arctic in the summer,” Andreas Münchow, an Arctic scientist at the University of Delaware, told the Guardian. “It just takes a freak event eventually, in the next five or 10 or even 20 years…. The long-term trend is that the ice is disappearing in the summer in the Arctic...”

Photo credit above: "Santa could make his home on floating sea ice, but the Arctic may be ice free as early as 2016, according to the U.S. Navy." Image via NOAA.


Why Our Turbulent Weather Is Getting Even Harder To Predict. This article at The Guardian is from April, but it seems more relevant and timely than ever, one (of many) possible explanations for some of the additional volatility we're seeing in weather patterns over the Northern Hemisphere, especially for weather systems to become amplified (and stuck), resulting in disastrous flooding - or drought. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...The trouble is that the gradient between the atmosphere in the lower latitudes and in the Arctic is being disrupted by global warming," said Francis. "As the Arctic heats up disproportionately, so does the atmosphere at the north pole and as it warms up, it rises. The net effect has been to erode the gradient between the top of the atmosphere over the tropics and the top of the atmosphere over the Arctic. Less air pours down towards the north pole and less air is whipped up by Earth's rotation to form the jet stream. It is becoming less of a stream and is behaving more like a sluggish estuary that is meandering across the upper atmosphere at middle latitudes." The effects of this meandering are now being felt. As the jet stream slows, weather patterns tend to stick where they are for longer. In addition, the modest waves in the stream have increased in amplitude so that they curve north and south more frequently, bringing more weather systems northwards and southwards..."

Graphic credit: Met Office. Graphic: Giulio Frigieri, Pete Guest.


Global Warming Explained, In About A Minute. Here's an excerpt of a very good explanation at NPR: "...Michael Ranney, the lead author on the , offers this 35-word explanation:

Earth transforms sunlight's visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowlyraising Earth's temperature.

In a second study reported in the same , Ranney and his colleagues presented college students with a somewhat longer version of this explanation (a full 400 words), and found that doing so not only increased students' understanding of global warming, but also their acceptance that it's actually occurring..."


Obama And Climate Change: The Real Story. Are actions on the ground matching the rhetoric? Bill McKibbon has the article at Rolling Stone; here's an excerpt: "...If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine. You could argue that private industry, not the White House, has driven that boom, and in part you'd be right. But that's not what Obama himself would say..." (Photo: AP).


Global Warming: New Maps Show Temperature And Precipitation Projections Down To The County Level. Here's a clip from the Summit County Citizens Voice: "...The jury may still be out on exactly how hot the Earth will be by the end of the century, but as climate models improve, scientists are narrowing the range. In a recent effort to show changes on a regional scale, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and Oregon State University created a set of maps and summaries of historical and projected temperature and precipitation changes for the 21st century, down to a county level. Find your local global warming forecast here. The maps and summaries are based on NASA downscaling of the 33 climate models used in the fifth annual Climate Model Intercomparison Project and the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. The resulting NASA dataset is on an 800-meter grid with national coverage..."


Arctic Sea Ice - Methane Release - Planetary Emergency? Alarmist hype? I sure hope so. Could continued melting of the Arctic trigger a significant methane release? There are a number of scientists concerned about this. Again, it's the "unknown unknowns", the tipping points in the climate system we're not aware of (yet) that keep a lot of researchers up at night. Here's an excerpt from The Arctic Methane Emergency Group: "...Research from US scientist, Jennifer Francis, suggests that the retreat of sea ice is causing a disruption of jet stream behaviour, producing weather extremes.  Evidence was given to the UK government last year that the weather extremes being experienced in the UK and elsewhere could be due to this disruption of weather systems as the Arctic warms relative to the tropics.  This evidence was reported by Robin McKie in the Observer, on 7th April in an article entitled: “Why our turbulent weather is getting harder to predict”. The weather extremes from last year are causing real problems for farmers, not only in the UK, but in US and many grain-producing countries.  World food production can be expected to decline, with mass starvation inevitable.  The price of food will rise inexorably, producing global unrest and making food security even more of an issue..."


Snow On Italian Alps Melting At "Unprecedented Rate", Ohio State University Study Finds. Here's an excerpt of an update from International Business Times: "...A six-nation team of glaciologists, led by Ohio State University, drilled a set of ice cores above the Alto dell’Ortles glacier in northern Italy and found that, for the first time in thousands of years, the glacier had shifted from a state of constantly below-freezing to one where its upper layers were at -- note below -- a melting point. “Our first results indicate that the current atmospheric warming at high elevation in the Alps is outside the normal cold range held for millennia,” Paolo Gabrielli, research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State said. “This is consistent with the rapid, ongoing shrinking of glaciers at high elevation in this area...” (Image: NASA).


Reddit's Science Forum Banned Climate Deniers. Why Don't All Newspapers Do The Same? Here's a clip from Grist: "...Instead of the reasoned and civil conversations that arise in most threads, when it came to climate change the comment sections became a battleground. Rather than making thoughtful arguments based on peer-reviewed science to refute man-made climate change, contrarians immediately resorted to aggressive behaviors. On one side, deniers accused any of the hard-working scientists whose research supported and furthered our understanding of man-made climate change of being bought by “Big Green.” On the other side, deniers were frequently insulted and accused of being paid to comment on reddit by “Big Oil.” After some time interacting with the regular denier posters, it became clear that they could not or would not improve their demeanor. These problematic users were not the common “internet trolls” looking to have a little fun upsetting people..."

Photo credit above: Shutterstock/alphaspirit


Water Scarcity Seen Worsening As Climate Changes, Study Shows. Here is one of many implications and complications of a warming, more volatile climate - as described in this story at Bloomberg BusinessWeek; here's an excerpt: "Climate change will increase the number of people at risk of absolute water scarcity by 40 percent this century, according to a German institute. Ten in 100 will have less than 500 cubic meters (132,000 gallons) of water available a year, up from 1-2 today, should Earth warm by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and populations grow, according to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The global average is about 1,200 cubic meters, and much greater in industrialized nations, PIK said, citing its and other analysts. “Water scarcity is a major threat for human development as for instance food security in many regions depends on irrigation,” said Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who co-wrote the study. “Agriculture is the main water user worldwide...”


The Global Temperature Jigsaw. More on the alleged temperature "pause" from RealClimate: "...First an important point: the global temperature trend over only 15 years is neither robust nor predictive of longer-term climate trends. I’ve repeated this now for six years in various articles, as this is often misunderstood. The IPCC has again made this clear (Summary for Policy Makers p. 3):

Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.

You can see this for yourself by comparing the trend from mid-1997 to the trend from 1999 : the latter is more than twice as large: 0.07 instead of 0.03 degrees per decade (HadCRUT4 data)..."

Graphic credit above: "The global near-surface temperatures (annual values at the top, decadal means at the bottom) in the three standard data sets HadCRUT4 (black), NOAA (orange) and NASA GISS (light blue). Graph: IPCC 2013."


Are Hurricanes Getting Stronger? Science May Finally Be Approaching An Answer. Mother Jones has a very interesting article that caught my eye - here's an excerpt: "...The result? The scientists found that globally, hurricane wind speeds are increasing at a rate of a little more than two miles per hour per decade, or just faster than six miles per hour over the entire period. There are some key caveats, though, the biggest being that the trend they found was not statistically significant at usually accepted levels. (For nerds: the p value was 0.1). But there were strong and significant trends in some hurricane basins of the world, especially the North Atlantic (the region encompassing the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and open Atlantic north of the equator), where storms have been strengthening at the rate of nearly nine miles per hour per decade (see chart above). But other basins offset that, including the western North Pacific, which showed a negative trend..."


Faux Pause 2: Warmest November On Record, Reports NASA, As New Studies Confirm Warming Trend. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation from ThinkProgress: "

A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared.

“There are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest,” as New Scientist explained five years ago. “The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations...”

Graphic credit above: "The corrected data (bold lines) are shown compared to the uncorrected ones (thin lines)." Via RealClimate.


New Climate Records Focus On Earth's Sensitivity. Here's a clip from a story at Climate New Network and Climate Central: "...The Geological Society of London (GSL) says the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to CO2 could be double earlier estimates. The Society has published an addition to a report by a GSL working party in 2010, which was entitled Climate Change: Evidence from teh Geological Record. The addition says many climate models typically look at short term, rapid factors when calculating the Earth’s climate sensitivity, which is defined as the average global temperature increase brought about by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere..."

Photo credit above: "Evidence from studies of past climate change suggest if longer-term factors are taken into account, the Earth's sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 could also be double than predicted." Credit: world.edu.

More Cold Canadian Spam (will December be the coldest month of winter?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 10, 2013 - 9:29 AM

Southern Daydreams

Canada is spamming us with more arctic air, and it's getting harder to mock the snowbirds who flee south every winter. I get regular calls & e-mails from Florida friends, sharing the predicted high temperature for the day. Very thoughtful. I return the favor by sharing coordinates of major hurricanes during the summer months.

With a son in the Navy near Pensacola we've had a chance to explore the Sunshine State, and I'm going to let you in on a secret. If you're tired of the congestion & traffic gridlock consider 30-A, South Walton County, on the Panhandle. Not as warm in January. Not as crazed either.

Sometimes the thought of a sunny, southern vacation is almost as good as the getaway itself. Right now I'd settle for Dubuque.

A family of clippers drags more bitter air south of the border into midweek; 20 (above) feels like sweet relief by late week.

Models show a subzero swipe early next week, followed by a Pacific reprieve next week as steering winds turn more westerly. That should mean 30s within 8-9 days. NOAA's 45-day CFS model hints at a mild bias returning much of January.

Perhaps that's wishful thinking. At least we'll have a (very) white Christmas this year.


66.9% of USA Has Snow On The Ground. That compares to 26% of the USA last year at this time. Yes, a fast-forward winter this year - maybe it won't extend into May, like it did this year. Map: NOAA.


A December To Remember - Or Forget. Arctic chill lingers into midweek, with some slight temperature recovery by late week. Sad when 20F constitutes "recovery". Another arctic relapse is expected early next week, followed by more of a Pacific influence in a little over a week; maybe a few 30s by the middle of next week? Wouldn't that be nice. Graph: Weatherspark.


The Big Leak. Harsh air of Siberian origin continues to lap south of the border in waves, skirting the northern USA in the coming days. The solid green line shows the 0F isotherm; unusually chilly weather impacting the entire USA (even Florida) by midweek. Hard Freeze Warnings are posted as far south and west as Las Vegas and Phoenix. NAM 2 meter temperature guidance courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.


Ill-Timed Snow Burst Out East. Today's clipper sparks a stripe of accumulating snow from Iowa into Illinois, and a second, stronger wave of low pressure rippling along the leading edge of bitter air drops 3-6" of snow from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia and Wilmington. Not a good day to be traveling out east. 4 km. NAM Future Radar product courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.


45 Day Wish-Cast. I'm keeping an eye on NOAA's 45 day (CFS, for Climate Forecast System) model trend, which has actually been showing more skill than I thought it would. It shows a slight warming trend thru December 20, then much colder weather returning for Christmas, a potential for a mild bias by the middle of January. Don't hold your breath. Data: NOAA and Ham Weather.


45-Day Snow Cover. Odds still favor a white Christmas this year - we may lose a little of our snowcover by December 24 (down to 2-3" according to the CFS model), which predicts 5" around New Year's Eve and a whopping 12" by the middle of January. A good winter to invest in cross country skis or a sturdy snowmobile. Graph: Ham Weather.


Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Monday evening, December 9, 2013.

* Another significant burst of snow is likely Tuesday for major urban centers from Washington D.C. and Baltimore to Philadelphia and New York, slightly lesser amounts across southern New England and metro Boston.

* Band of 3-6" likely D.C. to Philadelphia with locally heavier 6"+ amounts possible; best chance of snow morning and midday hours. I expect 2-4" in metro New York City. Expect significant air delays and cancellations from Dulles and Reagan National in D.C. to La Guardia, Newark and JFK in New York City Tuesday.

* Impacts to air/land travel likely - I envision extremely slow commutes - and facilities within 100 miles of the I-95 corridor will see snowy impacts from this system. Little or no ice expected; the atmosphere should be cold enough for all-snow.


Brewing Tuesday Travel Headaches. Major interstates are in fairly good shape this evening, but this will change, dramatically, within 12-15 hours as another surge of snow pushes across the Mid Atlantic Region into southern New England. Click here for real-time traffic reports, courtesy of Google.


Narrow Band Of Significant Snow. Our internal models show as much as 6-8" for the wester and southwestern suburbs of Washington D.C., a band of plowable snow from Charlottesville and D.C. to Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, much of New Jersey and metro New York City. Map: Ham Weather.


Heaviest Snow Band. Other models show similar solutions, the axis of heaviest snow from near Washington D.C. to Harrisburg and Philadelphia, but a broad area of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast picking up at least 2-3". With temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s even interstates will become snow-covered and slippery. Map: WSI.


Blizzard Potential Index. Alerts Broadcaster's internal BPI model shows a 6-8 hour burst of near-blizzard conditions spreading northeastward Tuesday from D.C. to south Jersey and Long Island; visibilities may drop below 1/2 mile in moderate snow, winds of 20-25 mph. It won't be the classic definition of a blizzard, but travel conditions will range from poor to treacherous by morning and midday from D.C. to Philadelphia, pushing into New York City during the midday and afternoon hours. Map: Ham Weather.


Select City Amounts. Models print out as much as 6" for Washington D.C., 5" for Baltimore and 4-5" for Philadelphia, with 3-4" possible for New York City and suburbs during the day Tuesday.


Advisories and Warnings. NOAA has issued Winter Storm Warnings for the Delaware Valley, which may have to be extended into Baltimore and Washington D.C. Winter Weather Advisories are in effect from the Virginia and Maryland into eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City. Map: Ham Weather.


A Nagging Frontal Zone. Winter Weather Advisories extend from southeast Arkansas and northern Mississippi into eastern Kentucky and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, calling for a couple of inches of additional snow and ice.

Summary: A few weeks ago we warned of an active and wintry pattern for much of the East Coast, and that forecast seems to be verifying as a series of storms ripple along the leading edge of Arctic air. One such ripple of low pressure will squeeze out plowable amounts of snow from northern Virginia to New York City, with lesser amounts for Providence, Hartford and Boston. I'm especially concerned about Washington D.C. and suburbs, where mere flurries can wreak havoc. Tuesday will be a very forgettable travel day in the nation's capital, with considerable impacts into Philadelphia and even metro New York City.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster


Federal Flood Maps Left New York Unprepared For Sandy - And FEMA Knew It. Here's a remarkably damning story from ProPublica - it turns out budget cuts can have a significant impact, even on something as mundane (yet critically important) as FEMA flood maps. Here's a clip: "...But the maps drawn up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency were wrong. And government officials knew it. According to documents and interviews, state, local and federal officials had been aware for years that the crucial maps of flood risks were inaccurate; some feared they understated the dangers in New York City’s low-lying areas. The flaws in the maps had significant impact. Developers relied on FEMA’s assessment of risks when they built new homes near the water. And homeowners and businesses made crucial decisions about where to buy or lease property on the assurance that they were outside of the high-risk zones..."


Critical Weather Forecasting Bill Moves One Step Closer. Some encouraging news from Climate Central; here's an excerpt: "...The bill, known as the “Weather Forecasting Improvement Act,” now heads to the full House for consideration. If it passes, and there are no guarantees given the small window left in the legislative calendar, it would be the first broadly focused weather bill to be enacted by Congress since the mid-1990s. The bill would establish a research program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to extend the lead time for tornado warnings beyond 1 hour, and contains provisions aimed at closing the performance gaps between the agency’s weather forecasting computer models and those of other nations..."

Graphic credit above: "High-resolution radar imagery from the OU RaxPol mobile research radar showing different aspects of the El Reno, Okla., tornado. In the top-left image the main vortex is located in the center of the larger donut hole. Advanced technologies such as this radar may help forecasters extent tornado warning lead times." Credit: Twitter via @WunderAngela.


October: 7th Warmest On Record Worldwide. Data courtesy of NOAA NCDC.


Smog? It Bolsters Military Defense, Says Chinese Nationalist Newspaper. This is one of the greatest samples of spin and rationalization I've ever encountered. Smog is GOOD for you! Uh huh. Here's an excerpt from The South China Morning Post: "A nationalist newspaper has tried to put a positive spin on China’s smog, claiming it is conducive to the country's military defence strategy. Smog, it argued, could thwart missile attacks and hamper hostile reconnaissance. “Smog may affect people’s health and daily lives … but on the battlefield, it can serve as a defensive advantage in military operations,” said an article on the website of Global Times, a nationalist newspaper affiliated to the Communist Party’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily. Missile guidance that relies on human sight, infrared rays and lasers could be affected by smog in varing degrees, the article said. It explained that tiny particles in the air contributing to air pollution could hinder missile guidance systems..."

Photo credit above: "The skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District with the high-rise buildings is covered with heavy smog in Pudong in Shanghai." Photo: AP.


Top 10 Predictions For Technology In 2014. Here's a snippet of a thought-provoking article at The Daily Beast: "Microsoft may get its mojo back, smartphones will get cheap, and we’re about to enter the Year of Encryption. A look at what to expect in telecom and computing for the coming year. How might 2014 play out in tech? Silicon Valley may again need to watch out for Microsoft, cheap smartphones will hit markets, and the Edward Snowden revelations will launch the Year of Encryption. Those are a few predictions from Mark Anderson, founder and publisher of the Strategic News Service newsletter, long a must-read for industry leaders and venture capitalists, and host of Future in Review, an annual gathering for tech leaders, investors, and policymakers The Economist called “the best technology conference in the world...”

Photo credit above: Noor Khamis / Reuters.


The 45 Most Powerful Photos Of 2013. Some of these are truly amazing, courtesy of Buzzfeed. Here's the caption for the photo above: "A couple pauses between salvaging through the remains of a family member’s home one day after a tornado devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma." ADREES LATIF / Reuters.


Disgusting Christmas "Tinner" Offers A Time-Saving Alternative To Gamers. This sets a new bar for a whole new level of pathetic. Apparently it's a new product offering, for gamers who can't be bothered with the prospect of a "real meal". Check out the details from Yahoo Games; here's a clip: "For gamers who want to enjoy all the traditional components of a Christmas dinner and don't mind doing so in the most disgusting, least appetizing way possible, we present...Christmas Tinner, the Christmas dinner in a can. Those with sensitive tummies should stop reading now, because this one will haunt your nightmares. There's just no other way to describe a tin can that comes with nine layers of food, one on top of the other. Pop open the can, and you're greeted with a top layer of scrambled eggs and bacon. But wait, there's more! Below that resides some fruity mincemeat. Still with us? Good, because it's time for the main course: turkey and potatoes, plus carrots and other side dishes, including gravy, cranberry sauce, and Brussels sprouts or broccoli, depending on your preference..."

Photo credit: "Christmas in a can". Courtesy of GAME.


Ron Burgandy And Dodge Laugh All The Way To The Bank. Advertising Age has the details; here's an excerpt: "Chrysler's risky move to turn over creative control of its Dodge Durango campaign to fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy is paying off–in real-world SUV sales. Comedian Will Ferrell's campaign co-promoting the 2014 Durango and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" drove a 36% boost in November sales over the previous year, according to Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer of Chrysler Group. Automotive News figures show that follows a 59% jump in October..."


Football - Winter Rules. Did you see any of the Eagles-Lions NFL game on Sunday? The Vikings game in Baltimore was bad enough, but conditions were even worse in Philadelphia. Watching these guys trying to play with white-out conditions and 5" of snow on the field was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. At one point they brought a snowblower onto the field to be able to see the goal line. Never seen THAT before. they don't make football cleats that offer any level of traction in these conditions. I saved the frame grabs above on my smart phone, courtesy of FOX and (sorry Oprah), one of PD's favorite things, DirecTV's Sunday Ticket.



12 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

29 F. average high on December 9.

32 F. high on December 9, 2012.

1/10th of an inch of snow fell yesterday at MSP International Airport.

6.3" snow in the Twin Cities during the first 9 days of December.

3.7" average snowfall from December 1-9.

11.3" snow last December as of the 9th.

Minnesota Weather History on December 9. Data courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1992: By this time there is partial ice cover in the Duluth harbor.

1979: Heat wave across Minnesota. High of 54 at Twin Cities and 57 at Winona.

1978: Alexandria ends it fourteen day stretch of low temperatures at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

1889: Late season thunderstorm observed at Maple Plain.


TODAY: Windchill Advisory. Cold sun, temperatures drop again. Windchill: -15 to -20. High: 9

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and Nanook. Low: -10

WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, still numb. High: 1

THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, not quite as harsh. Wake-up: -12. High: 17

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, still dry. Wake-up: 12. High: 23

SATURDAY: Flurries or very light snow. Wake-up: 15. High: 18

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, turning colder again. Wake-up: 3. High: 9

MONDAY: Light PM snow, coating possible. Wake-up: -5. High: 12

* 30s are possible by the middle of next week.


Climate Stories....

Extreme Summer Weather In Northern Mid-Latitudes Linked To A Vanishing Cryosphere. It turns out all that melting ice in the arctic may, in fact, be having a domino effect at our latitude. Here's an excerpt of a technical, but fascinating paper at Nature: "The past decade has seen an exceptional number of unprecedented summer extreme weather events in northern mid-latitudes, along with record declines in both summer Arctic sea ice and snow cover on high-latitude land. The underlying mechanisms that link the shrinking cryosphere with summer extreme weather, however, remain unclear. Here, we combine satellite observations of early summer snow cover and summer sea-ice extent with atmospheric reanalysis data to demonstrate associations between summer weather patterns in mid-latitudes and losses of snow and sea ice. Results suggest that the atmospheric circulation responds differently to changes in the ice and snow extents, with a stronger response to sea-ice loss, even though its reduction is half as large as that for the snow cover..."


Arctic Ice Melt Tied To Heat Waves And Downpours In U.S., Europe And Elsewhere, Study Suggests. Following up on the new research findings above here's an excerpt of a good summary at Reuters: "A thaw of Arctic ice and snow is linked to worsening summer heatwaves and downpours thousands of miles south in Europe, the United States and other areas, underlying the scale of the threat posed by global warming, scientists said on Sunday. Their report, which was dismissed as inconclusive by some other experts, warned of increasingly extreme weather across "much of North America and Eurasia where billions of people will be affected". The study is part of a drive to work out how climate change affects the frequency of extreme weather, from droughts to floods. Governments want to know the trends to plan everything from water supplies to what crops to plant. But the science of a warming Arctic is far from settled..."


Solar Would Be Cheaper: U.S. Pentagon Has Spent $8 Trillion To Guard Gulf Oil. Here's an eye-popping number. Trillions of dollars and the lives of too many members of our armed services. Here's an excerpt from Informed Consent: "...It has cost the United States $8 trillion to provide military security in the Gulf since 1976. According to Roger Stern, a Princeton economist, the US has spent as much on Gulf security as it spent on the entire Cold War with the Soviet Union! In recent years through 2010 it has been $400 billion a year, though the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 and the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan this year and next presumably means that the figure is substantially reduced. Still, we have bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, and a Naval HQ in Bahrain, none of which is cheap. If it were $200 billion a year, that is a fair chunk of the budget deficit the Republican Party keeps complaining about. And if we could get that $8 trillion back, it would pay down half of the national debt..." (Photo: Wikipedia).


Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities, According To U.S. Utilities. Here's an excerpt of an April post from Grist, which is just as relevant as ever: "Solar power and other distributed renewable energy technologies could lay waste to U.S. power utilities and burn the utility business model, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century, to the ground. That is not wild-eyed hippie talk. It is the assessment of the utilities themselves. Back in January, the Edison Electric Institute — the (typically stodgy and backward-looking) trade group of U.S. investor-owned utilities — released a report [PDF] that, as far as I can tell, went almost entirely without notice in the press..." (Image; clickgreen.org).


What We Owe Our Kids On Climate. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has the Op-Ed at CNN; here's an excerpt: "...Carbon emissions will decline only if the price of fossil fuels begins to include their costs to society: their effects on human health and climate. Economic analysis shows that a rising carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies would swiftly drive market innovations and investments in clean energy. (Indeed, many companies are preparing for such a fee.) Courts cannot tell the government how to reduce emissions. But they can require that the government provide a plan: How will emissions be reduced to assure that the rights of young people are protected?..."

Some Of The Best Weather in America Next 7-14 Days (cool, dry bias lingers - Tropical Storm Flossie to hit Hawaii)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 29, 2013 - 12:13 AM

 

 

Dog Day Siesta

 

I really enjoy our Minnesota summers. Both weeks. "Have you ever seen it this chilly in July?" my oldest son asked me yesterday. No, but El Nino destroyed my long-term memory, so I can't be sure of anything.

I was helping him move all his...stuff. Oh, to be 25 and living in Uptown. And a perfect day for a move, more late September than late July. At least we salvaged one nice day.

And no, this early (or late?) outbreak of sweatshirts doesn't mean an early winter, or a particularly pernicious winter is ordained. It may be my imagination but weather patterns & jet stream configurations are very odd for mid-summer. A few notable scientists suspect a link to rapid warming at far northern latitudes. The maps I'm staring at aren't even close to being "normal" - for any season.

Our weather trends cooler, drier & sunnier than average the next 10 days as Canadian air leaks south in dribs and drabs. T-storms arrive Wednesday, then a couple of cooler puffs: Wednesday, again next weekend.

Today will be much too nice to work hard. Leave early to enjoy 50-degree dew points & a few decorative cumulus clouds. September is a spectacular month.

Maybe we'll see 3 Septembers in a row in 2013?

 

Sunday Records. Both St. Cloud and Rochester set record lows Sunday morning. 43 F. in St. Cloud? I can't recall seeing temperatures this cool over central Minnesota in July. It's still July right? Map: WeatherNation TV.

 

Saved By Stratus. Low clouds lingered much of Saturday night, diminishing radiative cooling, preventing a rash of record lows. Officially the Twin Cities missed a record by 2 degrees Sunday morning (52 F). There were plenty of 40s, well away from the urban heat island. Map: MesoWest.

 

Monday Departures From Average. Most people I've talked to don't miss the sauna-like heat or humidity, but a real cool front in late July was a bit jarring for many of us. Highs today run 5-10 F. cooler than average from the Twin Cities and Des Moines to Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

 

Cool Bias. 250 mb. winds midday Friday show northwest winds over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and New England, swamp-like heat confined to the Central and Southern Plains. Northwesterly winds aloft may spill over into the first, even the second week of August, limiting just how hot it can get looking out 10-14 days. Map: Weather Bell.

 

A Fine Week Of Weather. Today will be that day you were daydreaming about back in early May (or Saturday for that matter). A few showers and T-storms arrive late Tuesday into Wednesday, followed by a series of cooler fronts: one arriving Friday, another over the weekend. An isolated T-shower can't be ruled out Sunday. Temperatures run about 2-4 degrees F. cooler than average into early next week.

 

Soggy Central Plains To Outer Banks. NOAA HPC's 5-day rainfall forecast calls for some 3-4" amounts near Wichita and Kansas City; potentially heavy showers and T-storms from the Mid Atlantic region to Florida.

 

Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Sunday night, July 28, 2013.

Here's what we're monitoring:

* Flossie is forecast to strike the Hawaiian Island Chain late Monday into Tuesday as a tropical storm, capable of flooding rains, 7-12 foot seas, a 2-4 foot storm surge for Honolulu and Waikiki, and sporadic power outages.

* Dorian has weakened into a tropical wave, but many of the computer models show a moderate potential for strengthening; there is a 50% probability that Dorian will become a tropical storm (again), taking a westward path which will push the storm into Cuba, possibly the Gulf of Mexico within a week.

 

Tropical Storm Flossie. Packing 60 mph sustained winds late Sunday, Flossie is heading due west, on a course that will take the center of the storm over the Big Island and south of Oahu by Monday night and Tuesday. Some slight weakening is expected, but Flossie will hit Hawaii has a moderate tropical storm. The greatest potential for minor wind damage, flooding and power outages will come on the northern (windward) side of the Big Island Monday night. A storm surge of 2-4 feet may trigger lowland inundation and urban flooding in Honolulu and Waikiki late Monday into Tuesday morning. Details from NOAA NHC:

WIND

Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the Big Island late tonight, Maui county Monday morning and Oahu Monday night. Tropical storm conditions are possible on Kauai and Niihau Monday night, lasting into Tuesday.

RAINFALL

Heavy rainfall is expected to begin as early as Monday morning over Hawaii county and Monday afternoon over Maui county, with heavy rain spreading to Oahu by Monday night. Flossie is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 10 inches over the Big Island and Maui county, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible, mainly windward. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches are possible over Oahu, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible, mainly windward. This rainfall could cause life- threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in the mountains.

SURF

Dangerously large surf will begin to impact east facing shores of the islands as early as tonight with the largest surf expected on Monday into Tuesday. Be aware that large surf can cause coastal road closures, even before the storm arrives. Please consult the latest hurricane local statement for information specific to your area.

 

Timing Flossie. Winds and surf will gradually build during the day today, peaking Monday night and Tuesday as the center of a slowly weakening Tropical Storm Flossie passes over Hawaii. The most pervasive problem from Flossie will be torrential 4-8"+ rains, capable of significant flash flooding, especially windward side of the islands and higher terrain. Map: NHC.

 

Tropical Storm Warning - Flash Flood Watch. Most of the Hawaiian Islands are under a Tropical Storm Warning, meaning 39-60 mph winds are imminent. Even higher gusts are possible over mountainous and volcanic terrain. Travel will become increasingly difficult by the PM hours Monday; the height of the storm comes Tuesday morning and midday. More details from Honolulu's National Weather Service office here.

 

Down, But Not Out. Dorian has faded from public view for the last 36 hours, downgraded to a tropical wave as it encountered drier air and increased wind shear, literally shredding the storm's circulation. But as it moves over warmer water with (less) shear aloft conditions may favor additional intensification. Most models take the storm north of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, impacting Cuba with potential flooding by late week or next weekend. There is a small (but not insignificant) risk that a strengthened Dorian may push into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by early next week. We have to continue to monitor the storm. Map: UCAR.

 

Why We Continue To Monitor Dorian. NHC places the odds of Dorian strengthening into a tropical storm again at 50% - which sounds vague, but it's a fairly strong indicator that conditions may once again favor intensification. Sure enough many of the models we study show Dorian regaining tropical storm strength within 36 hours, a few strengthen Dorian to Category 1 hurricane status within 4-5 days.

Summary: Hawaii will receive a direct strike from a moderate tropical storm later Monday into Tuesday. Facilities should be on full alert for lowland inundation from storm surge flooding. In addition 4-10" rains may trigger considerable flash flooding; winds gusting from 40-65 mph from Hilo to Honolulu by Tuesday morning. Meanwhile Dorian shows signs of regenerating into a tropical storm, with at least a 10-20% risk of reaching hurricane intensity by late week or next weekend, posing a small risk to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. We'll continue to monitor both storms and provide additional briefings, as warranted.

 

High Amplitude Pattern - 3 Sigma Deviation From Normal. The north-south sweeps of the jet stream are highly unusual for late July, over North America and Europe. According to Steve Scolnik at CapitalClimate: "What is unusual for this time year is the huge amplitude of the upper-level flow; over 3 sigma deviation from normal over North America."

European Heat Wave. Highs are forecast to soar to record levels again toda from Italy and Austria into Germany and Poland, some mid to upper 90s possible as a huge ridge of high pressure expands northward. The same high-amplitude pattern affecting the USA and Canada is also showing up on the other side of the pond. Map: meteocentre.com.

 

Weather Service Models Running On New, Vastly More Powerful Supercomputers. Meteorologist Jason Samenow at the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has more information on the supercomputer upgrade; here's an excerpt: "The nation’s major weather forecasting models are now working their magic on a new supercomputing powerhouse. On Thursday, the National Weather Service (NWS) shifted its operational models onto a supercomputer more than double the power of its predecessor, capable of performing 213 trillion calculations per second....The NWS has entered into a bit of an arms race with the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), which currently runs the more powerful and, overall, more accurate global forecasting model. Following news of NWS’ planned computing upgrades in May, the ECMWF entered into a contract with supercomputer builder Cray to buy two new machines..."

 

Autumn Outlook. The map above shows predicted temperature anomalies for the globe between August and October, courtesy of EarthNow and the University of Wisconsin: "The data for the global temperature and precipitation outlooks are provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). The IRI was established as a cooperative agreement between NOAA’s Climate Program Office and Columbia University. It is part of The Earth Institute, Columbia University. The data for these maps are constructed primarily from several climate models, with some minor tweaks by climatologists."

 

20 Gripping Photos Of Extreme Weather. Mashable has the story (and remarkable photos). Here's the intro: "Although her forces are still unmatched be even the most intelligent of man, we've at least been able to document her mood swings. And, perhaps, we even learn a thing or two about how to better understand her next time. We pored over thousands of extreme weather images to find out what Mother Nature had to say..."

Photo credit above: "Aurora Over Alaska: The digitally enhanced photograph taken in January 2005 shows a spectacular aurora borealis above the frozen landscape of Bear Lake, Alaska. The image was voted Wikipedia Commons Picture of the Year for 2006." Image: Joshua Strang, USAF, Wikipedia, caption via NASA.

 

The Nicest City In America. That was the pronouncement in the WSJ over the weekend. Yes, Minneapolis was featured in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, a suggested 4-day itinerary, hitting some of the most unique restaurants, bars, culture and entertainment options. Not sure why they didn't spend any time in St. Paul, but the story in the "Off Duty" section of the WSJ was very complimentary. But we knew that already, right? Here's an excerpt (subscription may be necessary to read the full text): "This Midwestern city may bring to mind parkas before parks, and Vikings before biking, but Minneapolis is as sweet in summer as it is frigid in winter. The town is bisected by the Mississippi River and studded with lakes, ponds and parks. If basking in the outdoors isn't your thing, there is more than enough culture to fill a long weekend to overflowing: daring architecture, a vital art scene anchored by the contemporary-focused Walker Art Center and restaurants that deftly combine modern technique with heartland comfort. (Here even the chicest boîte is still sure to dish up some "Minnesota nice.") So whatever your sensibility—Prince or prints, lamb tartare or lutefisk—a packed few days in Minneapolis is bound to satisfy, you betcha..."

Photo credit above: Ackerman + Gruber for The Wall Street Journal "WATER VIEW // Explore Lake Harriet at sunset."

 

53 F. low Sunday morning in the Twin Cities.

75 F. afternoon high at MSP.

83 F. average high on July 28.

83 F. high on July 28, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: Plenty of sun, very pleasant. Dew point: 55. Winds: S 10. High: 77

 

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 61

 

TUESDAY: More clouds & humidity. Dew point: 60. High: 81

 

WEDNESDAY: Showers & T-storms likely. Wake-up: 65. High: 79

 

THURSDAY: Sunny, less humid. Dew point: 57. Wake-up: 60. High: 81

 

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, probably dry. Wake-up: 63. High: 80

 

SATURDAY: Blue sky, comfortable. Dew point: 53. Wake-up: 61. High: 79

 

SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, lukewarm. Wake-up: 60. High: near 80

 

 

Climate Stories...

 

June 2013 Is Best Month Yet For Electric Car Sales. Details from EVWORLD.com: "Almost 9,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the U.S. during June of this year, bringing the total in the last 30 months to 110,000 plug-in electric cars. If you think you've been seeing more Teslas and Nissan Leafs on the streets, it's not your imagination -- there really are more of them on our roads. Just in the month of June of this year, almost 9,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the U.S. This adds to more than 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles that have been sold in this country in the last two and a half years, the Electrification Coalition reports. The Electrification Coalition is a nonprofit group composed of business leaders and industries, from battery manufacturers to automakers, and promotes the use of electric vehicles on a mass scale..."

 

Carbon Dioxide Power Plants: Could The Greenhouse Gas Be Used To Generate Electricity? Mother Nature Network and Huffington Post have the story; here's an excerpt: "Here's an interesting idea: What if the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power plants while they generate electricity could be converted into a source of additional electricity? That's the idea behind a new paper published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Written by a team of researchers in the Netherlands, the paper describes how CO2 could be mixed with a fluid electrolyte, generating electrical energy in the process. A press release from the American Chemical Society, which publishes the journal, calls this a "trash-to-treasure" story, saying it could help produce billions of kilowatts of energy every year while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere..."

 

Internal EPA Report Highlights Disputes Over Fracking And Well Water. The Los Angeles Times reports on internal conflicts and disagreements at the EPA over the fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and water safety; here's the intro: "One year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finished testing drinking water in Dimock, Pa., after years of complaints by residents who suspected that nearby natural gas production had fouled their wells. The EPA said that for nearly all the 64 homes whose wells it sampled, the water was safe to drink. Yet as the regulator moved to close its investigation, the staff at the mid-Atlantic EPA office in Philadelphia, which had been sampling the Dimock water, argued for continuing the assessment. In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production..."

Photo credit above: "A natural gas fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. The EPA says water from most wells in the area is still safe to drink, but critics and an internal EPA report suggest that the drilling method is causing methane contamination." (Caroline Cole / Los Angeles Tiems / December 27, 2011).

 

Potential Well Water Contaminents Highest Near Natural Gas Drilling, UT Arlington Study Says. Esciencenews.com has the story; here's the intro: "A new study of 100 private water wells in and near the Barnett Shale showed elevated levels of potential contaminants such as arsenic and selenium closest to natural gas extraction sites, according to a team of researchers that was led by UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Kevin Schug. The results of the North Texas well study were published online by the journal Environmental Science & Technology Thursday. The peer-reviewed paper focuses on the presence of metals such as arsenic, barium, selenium and strontium in water samples. Many of these heavy metals occur naturally at low levels in groundwater, but disturbances from natural gas extraction activities could cause them to occur at elevated levels..."

 

Gangplank To A Warm Future. Here's a snippet from a New York Times Op-Ed: "As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments. Methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it doesn’t last nearly as long in the atmosphere. Still, over a 20-year period, one pound of it traps as much heat as at least 72 pounds of carbon dioxide. Its potency declines, but even after a century, it is at least 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. When burned, natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, but methane leakage eviscerates this advantage because of its heat-trapping power..."

 

North Pole Lake Found By Environmental Observatory, May Be Evidence Of Global Warming (Photo). International Business Times has the story; here's the intro: "The freezing tundra that was the North Pole is now home to a lake. A picture, obtained by the North Pole Environmental Observatory this week, shows a shocking wide-angled photograph of the location’s newest lake, possible evidence of global warming. According to experts, this isn’t the first or the most severe water mass to appear in the northern hemisphere. “I have seen much more extensive ponding,” principal investigator for the North Pole Environmental Observatory, James Morison, told The Atlantic Wednesday, who said the image is misleading. “Because we use wide-angle lenses, the melt pond looks much bigger than it is,” he said. The lake, which was photographed by the observatory’s weather buoy-attached camera Monday, is reportedly a result of the longtime decline of sea ice in the region due to global warming and the more recent increase in land temperature..."

Photo credit above: " A newly discovered lake in the North Pole was photographed by the North Pole Environmental Observatory Monday."  Facebook

 

The Truth Behind That $60 Trillion Climate Change Price Tag. A staggering number indeed - alarmist hype, or within the realm of scientific possibilty? Here's a clip from takepart.com: "This week, news broke that if all the methane off the East Siberian seafloor was released, the fallout would cost $60 trillion—a huge, staggering number. For comparison’s sake, the world’s GDP is $70 trillion. The findings assume that 50 gigatons of methane would be released over the course of 10-to-20 years in a warming pulse....Very large numbers make us sit up and take notice, but they’re also hard to grasp. What is climate change currently costing even without that warming pulse? A NRDC report estimates that American taxpayers, through the federal government, paid $100 billion in 2012—more than the cost of education or transportation. (And that doesn’t include what state and local governments, insurers, or private citizens paid.) Mann estimates the global cost at $1.4 trillion per year in coastal damage, droughts, fires, floods and hurricanes..."

Photo credit above: "An iceberg carved from a glacier floats in the Jacobshavn fjord in south-west Greenland." (Photo: Konrad Steffen / Reuters).

 

Adapt, Move Or Die: The Pressures Of Global Warming. Here's the intro to a story at Australia's The Conversation: "We all know that weather is not the same as climate, but it is surprising how our perceptions of global warming vary according to what we see outside our window. In the UK for example, last year’s washed-out summer took the focus off global climate warming in many people’s minds – maybe the current heatwave will change that. But regardless of what may be happening in our back yards, the long term trend is one of warming – which it has done globally by an average of 0.74C˚ over the past century. As the climate warms up, animals and plants have three main alternatives: they can either move to track the temperature, stay put and adapt to the warming, or die. Responding to variation in climate is not a new phenomenon for species – after all, many species responded to climate warming after the last ice ages..."

Photo credit above: "Don’t want to move home?" MissTessmacher.

 

Global Warming And The Future Of Storms. The Guardian has the story, co-authored by St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham. Here's an excerpt: "...I asked Dr. Emanuel to summarize the present understanding of hurricanes, and he responded with the following insights:

• The incidence of high-intensity tropical cyclones (Safir-Simpson categories 3-5) should increase, and the amount of rainfall in these storms should increase, upping the potential for freshwater flooding. These changes will not necessarily occur where tropical cyclones develop and thrive today. "Indeed," wrote Emanuel, "it is likely that there will be decreasing activity in some places, and increasing activity in others; models do not agree on such regional changes."

• Though experts disagree on this point, Emanuel's work suggests that weak events (tropical storms and Cat 1-2 storms) will become more frequent.

• "Very little work has been done on the problem of storm size," wrote Emanuel, "what little research has been done suggests that storm diameters may increase with global temperature. This can have a profound influence on storm surges, which are the biggest killers in tropical cyclone disasters..."

Photo credit: Dr. Kerry Emanuel, MIT.

Most Comfortable Week of January (coldest air of winter within 10 days?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 5, 2013 - 9:10 PM

 

The Cruelest Month

 

No, January in Minnesota is not for the timid. But we're enjoying half a winter: plenty of cold, but legitimate snow storms have become as rare as a Congressional compromise.

Remember when it would snow, fairly reliably, every 2-4 days? Back when weather was leading the local news every other day? 3 inches on the ground; 16.8 inches for the winter - almost 7 inches below average, to date.

Commutes have been easier, with 3 days of an inch or more of snow (including that big dump of 10.5 inches on December 9). By now we should have picked up 6 days with an inch or more of snowy goodness.

Droughts are stubborn things. We may be days away from barge traffic grinding to a halt on the Mississippi. I keep waiting for the pattern to change; for southern moisture to reach our lofty latitude. I'll send up a flare when that glorious day arrives.

In the meantime Sunday shivers give way to a symphony of gurgling drain spouts and drippy icicles this week; 3 or 4 days near 32 F.

A sloppy southern storm brushes us with a little rain and drizzle late Thursday - a push of cold air next week sweeping any moisture into the Great Lakes; a few subzero nights expected the third week of January.

Good sleeping weather.

 

Midwinter Drizzle. NOAA data shows a high of 34 F. on Thursday, temperatures in the lowest mile of the atmosphere above freezing, meaning light rain or drizzle.

 

January Thaw. The models are in good agreement - you will regain some feeling in your fingers and toes next week, with as many as 4-5 days at or just above freezing. As we lose what little snow we have on the ground temperatures stand a better chance of reaching mid-30s by Wednesday and Thursday.

 

 

European Guidance. ECMWF data shows highs near freezing by tomorrow afternoon, possibly mid 30s Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the moisture stays east (again) on Thursday, a chance of a little light rain and drizzle. Colder air arrives next weekend, shoving the storm track farther east, away from Minnesota.

 

More Data On The January Thaw. Dr. Mark Seeley has some insight into the (almost) annual upward blip in temperatures in his weekly WeatherTalk Newsletter: "...Most residents of the Twin Cities area consider the January thaw to be a given each year. They know it will come, just not precisely when. This time around it looks like next Monday through Thursday (Jan 7-10) may bring a thaw period. Indeed for many central and southern Minnesota locations a January thaw is quite common. The definition of a January thaw is variable. Some consider it to be any single day with a temperature above 32 degrees F. But consequences associated with a January thaw, like loss of snow cover, melting and drying of street surfaces and sidewalks, softening of lake ice, etc are generally not realized unless temperatures rise above the freezing mark for two or more days. Using this as a sorting criteria we can look at the historical frequency of such temperatures for various locations in Minnesota. These frequencies of January thaws (listed below) indeed show great reliability in most of southern Minnesota, and even parts of central Minnesota, but more like a 50/50 probability in the northern sections of the state..."

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Warm Enough For Rain/Drizzle. European model guidance valid Thursday evening shows a little light rain and drizzle into southeastern and east central Minnesota, heavier rain from St. Louis it Chicago. Yes, it should be warm enough for rain on January 10. Map courtesy of WSI.

 

Another Close Encounter Early Next Week? The push of cold air behind Thursday's light rain/drizzle event may be strong enough to set up a storm track late Sunday and Monday - one that's just 100-200 miles too far east for significant snow in the Twin Cities. So close, and yet so far...

 

Coldest Air Of Winter? The models are trending colder again for the third week of January; the latest GFS run hinting at 3-6 subzero nights, maybe even a subzero daytime high or two, with the very coldest weather predicted between January 16-19. Still time to troll your favorite web site for a discount fare to somewhere toasty.

 

An Icy Landscape. NASA's 250 meter resolution MODIS imagery shows the dark gray smudge of the Twin Cities metro. Flat, undeveloped farmland shows up as bright white, as does Lake Minnetonka and the Inner Lakes south of Minneapolis.

 

"Surreal Warmth" in 2012. Here's another 2:30 minute video recap on YouTube, looking back at the extraordinary warmth of 2012, courtesy of WeatherNation TV.

 

Warm Year: 2012. Here's an excerpt of a great overview of record warmth across the great state of Minnesota last year - courtesy of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group: "2012 will finish in a tie with 1931 as the warmest year on record in the Twin Cities and will range from the warmest to third warmest on record depending on the location around the region. For so long, it appeared like 2012 would be the warmest year on record for the Twin Cities, but then winter decided to arrive as if on cue on December 21 and since then temperatures have been mostly below normal. As a result, the average temperature for the Twin Cities for 2012 will wind up to be 50.8 degrees, the same as the 50.8 degrees recorded in 1931. The 1981-2010 average temperature for the year is 46.3 degrees so 2012 will finish 4.5 degrees above normal. Every month of 2012 was above normal except October which finished 1.4 degrees below normal. March 2012 was 15.5 degrees above normal and greatly assisted in lifting the average temperature for 2012. The hottest day of 2012 in the Twin Cities was 102 degrees on July 6 and the coldest temperature of the year was -11 on January 19."

Twin Cities (1873-2012)

Rank Year Average
-----------------
1.   1931   50.8
     2012   50.8
3.   1987   49.7
4.   2006   49.3
5.   1998   48.8

 

How Long Will Minnesota's Drought Linger? State Climatologist Greg Spoden adds some personal thoughts to his monthly HydroClim summary: "It is reasonable to assume that the present drought status will remain relatively unchanged for the remainder of the winter. The historical average precipitation over the next two months is less than two inches and the topsoil is sealed by frost. Therefore, Minnesota will be highly dependent on spring rains to ease the situation. Without abundant spring rains, a number of critical drought issues involving public water supply, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, and others will rapidly surface early in the growing season." (the latest Minnesota Drought Monitor information is here).

 

Preliminary Data. NOAA NCDC data shows that January - November was the warmest on record for a big chunk of the USA. Every region in bright red experienced the warmest year in 118 years of record-keeping.

 

Region Chops Sandy Debris Down To Size. Here's an eye-opening clip from an article at The Wall Street Journal: "The immense task of leveling the mountains of debris left behind by Sandy is coming into focus two months after the historic superstorm ravaged the East Coast. In the end, the federal government estimates that 16 million cubic yards of debris piled up around New York and New Jersey—enough to fill the Empire State Building 16 times over—though more than half has yet to arrive at landfills..."

Photo credit above: "A aerial view of the damage in Mantoloking, N.J., caused by Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 31, 2012. President Barack Obama toured New Jersey's ravaged coastline with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a display of big-government muscle and bipartisan harmony." (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

 

Earth At Night. National Geographic has a very nice view showing the proliferation of light pollution across the planet. Getting a clear look at astronomical targets has never been more challenging: "Luminous patches glow on a map of nighttime Earth created from satellite and ground data on scattered light as of 1996-97. The situation is even worse today. Based on calculations, two-thirds of humanity lives under skies polluted with light, and one-fifth can no longer see the Milky Way. Least affected? The Central African Republic."

Favorite pics....

 

Sun Pillar. Laura Everly Daugherty snapped this photo at Beaver Dam, Kentucky Saturday morning, ice crystals sparking a faintly visible column of light above the rising sun. Photo courtesy of WeatherNation TV.

 

Riding The Rails. Mike Hall captured this pic at Lewistown, Kentucky yesterday. Very nice.

 

Funnels Over Miami. @ComplexJesse snapped this photo of a developing funnel cloud over Miami International Airport Friday afternoon; courtesy of WeatherNation TV.

 

26 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

24 F. average high on January 5.

45 F. high on January 5, 2011.

 

Fresh Air. Highs were a couple degrees above average for early January, mostly 20s. St. Cloud, with 6" snow on the ground, woke up to -1, with a high of 20. Afternoon maximum temperatures ranged from 17 at Alexandria to 27 at St. Paul.

 

Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Bright sun, still brisk. Winds: W 5-10. High: near 20

 

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 14

 

MONDAY: Fading sun. January Thaw! High: 32

 

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds & sun, quiet. Low: 19. High: near 30

 

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, relatively mild. Low: 20. High: 34

 

THURSDAY: Light rain. Icy patches up north? Low: 24. High: 33

 

FRIDAY: Mild start, then cooling off. Late flurries. Low: 27. High: 32

 

SATURDAY: Partly sunny with a cold wind. Low: 11. High: 19

 

Climate Stories...

 

Climate Change Won't Wait. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Bill McKibbon in the Los Angeles Times: "...If he were serious, Obama would be doing more than just the obvious and easy. God knows he had his chances in 2012: the hottest year in the history of the continental United States, the deepest drought of his lifetime, and a melt of the Arctic so severe that the federal government's premier climate scientist declared it a "planetary emergency." In fact, he didn't even appear to notice those phenomena, even as people in the crowds greeting him along the campaign trail were fainting from the heat. Throughout campaign 2012, he kept declaring his love for an "all of the above" energy policy where, apparently, oil and natural gas were exactly as virtuous as sun and wind. Only at the very end of the campaign, when Superstorm Sandy seemed to present a political opening, did he even hint at seizing it. His people let reporters know on background that climate change would now be one of his three priorities for a second term (or maybe, post-Newtown, four). That's a start, I suppose, but it's a long way from concrete action..."

 

Full Page Ad To Appear in Hawaiian Newspaper Pressuring Obama On Climate Change. USnews.com has the story; here's the introduction: "As President Barack Obama wraps up his vacation to Hawaii, he'll be greeted with a full-page ad Saturday urging him to take action on climate change. The ad, appearing in Hawaii's main paper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, appeals to Obama's origins and legacy. "The 'aina is part of our legacy, Mr. President, and yours," the ad reads, using the Hawaiian word for "earth." "If we fail to act, rising sea levels, super storms, and droughts will forever change these islands, our nation and the world."

 

Ending The Silence On Climate Change. Check out the video at billmoyers.com: "Climate change communication expert Anthony Leiserowitz explains why climate change gets the silent treatment, and what we should do about it."

 

Facebook And The Rest Of Silicon Valley Could Be Wiped Out In 40 Years. Hype, or a real concern with rising sea levels? Here's an excerpt from a story at Business Insider: "While much of California's coastline is at risk of rising sea levels, things look particularly bad for the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is already 3-10 feet below sea level, and scientists say that seawater will rise 16 inches by 2050. By 2100, that number is supposed to jump to 65 inches, and the entire area will experience more frequent, hard-hitting storms. If the levees in place are destroyed or overwhelmed by a storm surge, one hard blow could put the 3 million people who live in Silicon Valley in a grisly Waterworld. "It's imminent," Mruz says. "There's no question in my mind; we're going to have to do something, at every spot around the Bay." Also at risk: Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle. "Silicon Valley basically backs right up to the bay," Mruz told CW. "You have all of them, Yahoo, Google, all right there. Without some type of flood protection potentially in front of that, you could flood that whole area. You're talking billions of dollars..."

 

Scientists Link Global Warming To England's Rainiest Year On Record. This article at euractiv.com caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Senior climate scientists are linking global warming to the UK Met Office's announcement yesterday (3 January) that 2012 was England’s rainiest year since records began. The weather service's numbers showed that due to slightly more seasonal figures in Wales and Scotland, the UK as a whole experienced its second wettest summer recorded. But four of the UK’s Top Five wettest years have now occurred since 2000, a statistic in line with the expectations of climatologists who model the effects of a warming world. “It is not just Britain but many other parts of northern Europe and north America that are getting wetter and there is a climate change component to it,” Kevin Trenberth told EurActiv over a phone line from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado..."

 

Climate Change: What's Faith Got To Do With It? Here is an excerpt of an article that resonated with me, from California's Whittier Daily News: "Throughout all of California and the rest of the country, the faith community has been working for many years to preach the gospel of good stewardship of our shared environment. Amid theological differences, we have fostered a shared sense of purpose and urgency that unites us in solidarity with our local and global communities, especially those most vulnerable to climate change. The action that results from this shared sense of purpose goes far beyond a congregation's four walls. People of faith bring shared principles - such as working for the common good, caring for our neighbors, and working for economic justice - into the public policy arena..."

 

Global Warming And Drought In The Midwest: Expect More Of The Same? Here's a snippet of a story at chicagomag.com: "The Midwest drought of 2012 has been one of the most expensive natural disasters of recent decades, with Mississippi River barge traffic on the verge of shutting down, and the Army Corps of Engineers blowing up underwater limestone to keep traffic moving:

‘If we were in the same conditions now, 30 years ago, we`d be running into problems much, much, sooner,’ Col. Hall said. The rock removal does stop traffic for 16 hours every day.  But the Coast Guard, the river`s `traffic cop`, unclogs the jam overnight. ‘During the time that the Army Corps contractors are removing rock, which is roughly 6:00am – 10:00pm at night, we gather up all the vessels that are waiting north and south,’ Capt. Teschenford said. ‘They actually do a quick survey of the area where rocks were removed and we open it up. ‘

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