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

Posts about Vikings

Cool Canopy of Crud Today - Timing Holiday Weekend T-storms - El Nino: Is 2014 The New 1997?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: May 21, 2014 - 9:07 AM

Imagine if the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild lost EVERY game, and you were the poor schlub-of-a-sportscaster who has to report on what happened & why. Over time this perpetual losing streak would begin to eat away at your soul.

As meteorologists we're trained to take an objective look at the data; take emotion out of the equation. Just issue the best forecast you can. That looks good on paper, but when the weather is foul for extended periods of time - and nearly everyone you talk to is ranting about "this crummy pattern!" - it wears on you.

A foul forecast fatigue sets in.

So I'm as happy as the next guy to see Mother Nature turning the page. May is finally popping up on the maps and 80F should feel like a revelation by the weekend.

Lingering fog and low-level crud kept us a bit cooler than predicted yesterday, but a puff of drier, slightly cooler Canadian air treats us to sunshine the rest of the week. No frost this time around.

A return southerly flow of humid air sparks T-storms Sunday and Memorial Day. If the sun peeks out for even an hour or two (likely) we'll see highs at or just above 80F. In fact we may see 80s much of next week with sporadic outbreaks of T-storms, some capable of minor flash flooding as a warm front stalls nearby.

In the blog below: lousy weather is good for job productivity and globally, April tied 2010 for the warmest on record.

Canopy of Crud. Cool exhaust on the backside of last night's frontal passage, coupled with chilly air aloft and lingering moisture will keep us mostly cloudy today; highs in the 50s north to low and mid 60s south, with a stiff northwest breeze at 10-20 mph. Not a picture-postcard-perfect day on the lake by any stretch.

Gradual Warming Trend. Memorial Day weekend doesn't look quite as warm as it did yesterday, but I still see upper 70s to near 80F from Saturday into Memorial Day. T-storms may keep us a bit cooler, especially Sunday, which appears to be the wettest day right now with the most widespread T-storm outbreak. ECMWF data suggests a streak of 80s next week. You remember 80s, right?

84 Hour Future Radar. HAMweather visualization of NOAA's NAM data shows showers and T-storms, some severe, popping up across the Ohio Valley today, pushing into the Mid Atlantic. A plume of moisture pushing out of the Gulf of Mexico may drop significant rains on drought-plagued regions of Texas and Oklahoma; T-storms reaching the Upper Midwest again by late Saturday and Sunday.

Slight Risk. NOAA SPC shows a slight threat of severe storms today from Denver east to St. Louis, Louisville, Columbus and Washington D.C. - storms firing along an active frontal boundary by mid and late afternoon.

April 2014 Ties 2010 For Warmest On Record, Worldwide. And the first 4 months of 2014 were the 6th warmest on record. A strong El Nino forecast for the latter half of 2014 may cause global temperatures to spike even more. Here are more details from NOAA NCDC:

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2014 tied with 2010 as the highest on record for the month, at 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5°F), marking the third warmest April on record. For the ocean, the April global sea surface temperature was 0.55°C (0.99°F) above the 20th century average of 16.0°C (60.9°F), also the third highest for April on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–April period (year-to-date) was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 12.6°C (54.8°F), the sixth warmest such period on record.

Are We Overdue For A Major Hurricane? The short answer is yes. It's been 9 years since a Category 3 or stronger hurricane hit the U.S. coastline (Wilma in 2005). Among other fears: complacency. It's been so quiet, maybe we let our guard down a little. In today's Climate Matters, new features and capabilities from NHC in 2014, who remind us all that "it only takes one storm": "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the unusually quiet past few years for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Statistically we are vastly overdue for another major hurricane. Why has the Atlantic been so quiet?"

New Hurricane Tools and Capabilities in 2014. NHC will be issuing operational storm surge forecasts if and when a tropical system approaches the coast, but I found a few other interesting nuggets here.

Sample NOAA NHC Storm Surge Forecast. No, residents of Tampa don't need to be concerned, at least not yet. Keep in mind most of the structural damage from hurricanes doesn't come from high winds, but from the "storm surge", a rapid rise in water levels triggered by sustained winds and low pressure, pushing water well inland. This year NHC will begin issuing surge predictions based on a storm's track, intensity, natural tides and bathymetric data (slope of terrain just offshore).

How Might El Nino Affect Hurricane Season? In clip #2 of Climate Matters: statistically El Nino summers and falls tend to increase wind shear over the tropics, resulting in fewer tropical storms and hurricanes. But that's no reason for complacency - we've had a nearly 9 year lull in hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but at some point America's luck will run out. Will 2014 be the year? "The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Wilma in 2005. Since then the tropics have been *relatively* quiet, and that is leading some meteorologists to worry. WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over just why we shouldn't let our guard down."

Massive Wildfires Cause For Concern In Oklahoma. Here's an excerpt from The Daily Ardmoreite in Ardmore, Oklahoma: "Wildfires in Oklahoma so far this month have burned more than 60 times the average acreage, according to data from the Oklahoma Forestry Services. Since 2005, the state has averaged 454 acres burned from May wildfires. So far this month, more than 30,000 acres have burned, The Oklahoman reported Sunday. Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow says that if things don't change, fire crews will be in for a long summer. "We shouldn't have this fire behavior the first week of May," he said...."

File Photo credit above: "Firefighters work to extinguish a flare up on Monday, May 5, 2014, in Guthrie, Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state emergency across Oklahoma after several wildfires broke out across the state, including a blaze north of Oklahoma City that destroyed at least a half dozen homes and left one man dead." (AP Photo/Nick Oxford).

Forest Services Expands Fire-Fighting Tanker Fleet. Under the extenuating conditions (historic drought from California to Texas and Oklahoma) this strikes me as a prudent move. Here's an excerpt from AP and ABC News: "As the Obama administration pushes Congress to ensure that enough money is available to fight destructive wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday it was adding four aircraft to its firefighting fleet ahead of what's expected to be another hot, dry summer in the West. In a statement, the service said it will have a second DC10 and three smaller planes in service in the coming weeks to support over 10,000 firefighters "in the face of what is shaping up to be a catastrophic fire season in the southwest..."

Monitoring The State of Global Rainfall and Drought. redOrbit has an interesting story about pushing the science to be able to accurately predict drought, months in advance. Here's an excerpt: "...A team of researchers from UC Santa Barbara and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a new dataset that can be used for environmental and drought earl warning. The dataset is called CHIRPS, or Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations, and it is the result of a collaboration between UCSB's Climate Hazards Group and USGS's Earth Resources Observations and Science (EROS). CHIRPS combines space observed rainfall data with more than three decades of ground station data collected worldwide..."

Image Credit:

Can Poor Air Quality Lead To Pregnancy and Birth Complications? Here's an excerpt of a (sponsored) story at The Salt Lake Tribune: "...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers similar advice and has also researched the health effects of bad air on pregnant women and newborns. In a report titled "Promoting Good Prenatal Health: Air Pollution and Pregnancy," the EPA warns that prenatal exposure to pollutants increases risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight — factors that can compound to other problems for babies, including developmental disabilities later on..."

El Nino: Is 2014 The New 1997? NASA Science has an update on what may turn into a significant warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean water; here's a video and story excerpt: "Every ten days, the NASA/French Space Agency Jason-2 satellite maps all the world's oceans, monitoring changes in sea surface height, a measure of heat in the upper layers of the water.   Because our planet is more than 70% ocean, this information is crucial to global forecasts of weather and climate. Lately, Jason-2 has seen something brewing in the Pacific—and it looks a lot like 1997. "A pattern of sea surface heights and temperatures has formed that reminds me of the way the Pacific looked in the spring of 1997," says Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "That turned out to be the precursor of a big El Niño..."

A team of researchers from UC Santa Barbara and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a new dataset that can be used for environmental monitoring and drought early warning. The dataset is called CHIRPS, or Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations, and it is the result of a collaboration between UCSB’s Climate Hazards Group and USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). CHIRPS combines space observed rainfall data with more than three decades of ground station data collected worldwide.
Read more at Poor Air Quality Lead To Pregnancy and Birth Complications? Here's an excerpt of a (sponsored) story at The Salt Lake Tribune: "...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers similar advice and has also researched the health effects of bad air on pregnant women and newborns. In a report titled "Promoting Good Prenatal Health: Air Pollution and Pregnancy," the EPA warns that prenatal exposure to pollutants increases risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight — factors that can compound to other problems for babies, including developmental disabilities later on..."

Strongest El Nino in 17 Years Brewing: Oregon Weather Watch. has more data from NASA on a pending El Nino event, which may be the most significant since 1997-98. Here's an excerpt: "NASA satellites and ocean sensors are showing that sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean this May look similar to the conditions in May 1997 that resulted in one of the strongest El Niño events of the last century during the fall and winter of 1997-98..."

How El Nino Might Alter The Political Climate. Here's a snippet from The Upshot at The New York Times: "...But El Niño has the potential to do more than offer a one-time jolt to climate activists. It could unleash a new wave of warming that could shape the debate for a decade, or longer. In this chain of events, a strong El Niño causes a shift in a longer cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which favors more frequent and intense El Niños during its “warm” or “positive” phase. The oscillation has been “negative” or “cool” since the historic El Niño of 1998..."

This Is What's Actually Making Your Horribly Unproductive. Confirming our suspicions that spring fever can distract us from the task at hand; here's a clip from a story at "...If you think gloomy weather saps your motivation, you’re not alone; more than 80% of people surveyed by researchers thought so. But the authors of this new study found out the opposite is actually true: Good weather makes us want to go do fun things, and thinking about what we’d rather be doing distracts us from what we should be doing. Career and workplace experts have some suggestions for how to keep “spring fever” from infecting your job performance on nice days..."

UW-Madison Captures Video of "Fire Rainbow". I found this interesting - "fire rainbows" are only visible close to the summer solstice. Here's an explanation and video clip from in La Crosse: "...This week UW-Madison shared a video and photo of what experts are calling a rare rainbow imposter showing up in the sky on Thursday. UW meteorologists say a 'fire rainbow' is an atmospheric phenomenon known as a circumhorizontal arc, often mistaken for a rainbow because of its colors. "They're not all that common but they're not completely rare, either," says Steve Ackerman, director of the UW-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. "I've only seen a half-dozen in my lifetime here in Madison..."

The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York's Hottest Tourist Attraction. The author of this story at Buzzfeed lost his sister in the 9/11 terrorist attack of The World Trade Towers. Here is an excerpt of the article he wrote after entering the 9/11 Memorial Museum for the first time: "... I am allowed to enter the 9/11 Museum a few days before this week’s grand opening for the general public, but why would I want that? Why would I accept an invitation to a roughly $350 million, 110,000-square-foot refutation of everything we tried to practice, a gleaming monument to What Happened, not What Happened to Us? Something snapped while reading about the gift shop — I didn’t want to duck and hide, I wanted to run straight into the absurdity and horror and feel every bit of the righteous indignation and come out the other side raw..."

How Far Your Paycheck Goes in 356 U.S. Cities. Planet Money at NPR has an interesting story about just how far your paycheck really goes - the amount you make vs. cost of living factors. Here's an excerpt: "...So what you really want to know is this: How much do workers make in different cities? And how far does that money go in each city? The that lets us dive into these questions. In the graph below, the left-hand side shows the annual income for typical, full-time workers in different metro areas. The right-hand side adjusts that figure for the cost of living in each metro area..."

New "Dual Carbon" Battery Charges 20 Times Faster Than Li-ion. Will new innovations and technological breakthroughs continue to make renewable power cheaper and accelerate adoption? Right now I wouldn't bet against the trends, as Moore's Law applies to solar, wind and other (clean) forms of energy. An even bigger question is whether most of these breakthroughs will originate in the USA or elsewhere? Here's a clip from an article at Gizmag: "Japanese company Power Japan Plus has announced the development and planned mass-production of "Ryden," a disruptive carbon battery that can be charged 20 times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell. The battery, which is cheap to manufacture, safe, and environmentally friendly, could be ideal to improve the range and charging times of electric cars..."

This Will Make You Never, Ever Want To Get In A Hot Tub Again. Just wake me up when it's safe to come out of my bunker. Huffington Post has a story that was not sponsored by America's hot tub manufacturers. Here's an excerpt: "...While hot tub rash typically clears up on its own without treatment, another more serious condition to be aware of is the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by a germ called Legionella, which is found in water (especially warm water) and can be breathed in from the steam or mist surrounding a contaminated hot tub -- people older than age 50, smokers and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible..."

Netflix's Vision For 2025: 48 Million Channels. And still nothing worthwhile to watch? We'll see. has the story and interview; here's an excerpt: "...According to Hunt, this will change with internet TV. He said Netflix is now working to perfect its personalization technology to the point where users will no longer have to choose what they want to watch from a grid of shows and movies. Instead, the recommendation engine will be so finely tuned that it will show users “one or two suggestions that perfectly fit what they want to watch now.” “I think this vision is possible,” Hunt said. “We’ve come a long way towards it, and we have a ways to go still.”

Sorry, But There's No Such Thing As A "Healthy" Sugar. But wait, I read just the opposite on the Internet. Sugar is GOOD for me, in large doses, preferably in processed food and Halloween candy. This article at Huffington Post will most certainly add to the confusion; here's the introduction: "We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but we feel the need to clarify a common misconception: There's no such thing as a "healthy" sugar. Or even a "less bad" sugar. Your body doesn't care if it's "organic" or "unrefined" or "all-natural," and it certainly doesn't care if Gwyneth Paltrow deems it suitable for her children's consumption. Done hyperventilating? Now let's delve into the nutritional science behind this..."

78 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday. Had fog burned off faster we would have hit 80 F or warmer.

71 F. average high on May 20.

72 F. high on May 20, 2013.

TODAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15. High: 63

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 48

THURSDAY: Blue sky, less wind. High: 69

FRIDAY: Plenty of sun. Leave work early. Wake-up: 51. High: 75

SATURDAY: Some sun, best day for the lake? Wake-up: 54. High: 79

SUNDAY: Few heavy T-storms likely. Sticky. Wake-up: 60. High: 77

MEMORIAL DAY: Peeks of sun, still very humid. More PM T-storms. Wake-up: 62. High: 81

TUESDAY: More storms. Flash flood risk? Wake-up: 63. High: 79

Climate Stories...

* thanks to science writer Greg Laden for passing this one along. I'm no rocket scientist, but even I can solve this one, Pat.

Weathercasters Grapple With Climate Change. No kidding. You have 3 minutes to discuss the (increasingly toxic) weather, and, oh, by the way, can you squeeze a little climate science in? Mission impossible, at least the way a typical local TV newscast is structured today. Here's an excerpt from a story at TVNewsCheck: "...But whether the administration reached out to the right people to cover the highly charged issue depends on whom you ask.  Even the weathercasters who went to the White House are not sure covering climate change should be part of their jobs. “I wish climatologists were doing this and not me. They know their stuff,” says Bill Martin, chief meteorologist at KTVU, the Cox-owned Fox affiliate in San Francisco (DMA 6). “I am not super comfortable talking about climate change. I am super comfortable talking weather,” says Martin, who was caught so off-guard by the administration’s invite that he didn’t even bother returning the initial calls, figuring they were pranks..."

Climate Change, Forest Fires Drove Widespread Surface Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet. Other factors come into play, beyond warming temperatures, according to this post at; here's a clip: "Rising temperatures and ash from Northen Hemisphere forest fires combined to cause large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, contradicting conventional thinking that the melt events were driven by warming along, a Dartmouth College-led study finds. The findings suggest that continued climate change will result in nearly annual widespread melting of the ice sheet's surface by the year 2100, and that a positive feedback mechanism may be set in motion..."

Photo credit above: "This image shows Kaitlin Keegan, the study's lead author and a Dartmouth doctoral student, examining the melt layers of the Greenland ice sheet at the summit." Credit: Kaitlin Keegan.

Rising temperatures and ash from Northern Hemisphere forest fires combined to cause large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, contradicting conventional thinking that the melt events were driven by warming alone, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.

Read more at:

ESA's CryoSat Data: Antarctica's Ice Sheet Shrinking Faster Than Ever. Here's an excerpt from a good explainer at "...The UK-based Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling analyzed data collected over three years (by nearly continuous surveillance) from CryoSat, to create the world's first comprehensive assessment of elevation change in the Antarctic ice sheets. Results of the analysis found that ice loss in the polar region was 31 percent greater than that of the previous period of observation (from 2005-2011), with substantial thinning of the ice in the Amundsen Sea area of West Antarctica..."

Graphic credit above: "Recent observations of Antarctica suggest as much as 159 billion tonnes of ice is lost each year." (Image: CPOM/Leeds/ESA).

Evangelicals in Florida Turn To Climate Change And Call on Gov. Scott To Act. Full disclosure: I'm on the board of EEN, the Evangelical Environmental Network. It's President, Rev. Mitch Hescox, was recently quoted in the Tampa Bay Times; here's an excerpt of what he had to say: "...Among the panelists is the Rev. Mich Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, who wrote a letter to Rubio about his widely publicized comments doubting man’s contribution to climate change. Hescox is also gathering signatures for a petition aimed at Scott. “As Christians, we believe that God's grace empowers us to honestly confront the challenges we face and change for the better,” it reads. “We are failing to keep our air and water clean for our children, contributing to a changing climate that most hurts the world's poor, and putting Floridians at risk as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise. To meet these challenges, we need leaders who understand our duty to God’s creation and future generations..."

National Landmarks Threatened By Climate Change. USA TODAY has the article; here's an excerpt: "...The report, which was not a peer-reviewed study, includes 30 at-risk locations, including places where the "first Americans" lived, the Spaniards ruled, English colonists landed, slavery rose and fell, and gold prospectors struck it rich. Locations include the Statue of Liberty; Jamestown, Va.; the Cape Hatteras (N.C.) Lighthouse; and the Kennedy Space Center. "You can almost trace the history of the United States through these sites," says Adam Markham, director of climate impacts at UCS and report co-author..."

Graphic credit above: Union of Concerned Scientists; Note: NM = National Monument. Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY.

Pat Sajak's Tweet, and subsequent comments on Twitter are here.

A Response. Climate scientist Michael Mann's Twitter comments are here.

European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 Satellite: Antarctica Shedding 160 Billion Tons of Ice A Year. Here's a clip from Daily Kos that I wasn't aware of: "...Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice. The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete..."

The Melting Isn't Glacial. Are we at a tipping point - or is the news coming out of West Antarctica and Greenland more "alarmist hype"? Are you willing to roll the dice? Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...The ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland together possess about 100 times as much ice as all of the mountain glaciers combined, but contribute only slightly more to the sea level rise: 310 billion tons a year, Dr. Scambos said. That is because most of the mountain glaciers lie in areas where temperatures are closer to the melting point than they are in Greenland or Antarctica, and so slight warming tips them to melting. Greenland, with 10 percent of the world’s ice, has enough to raise sea level by 23 feet. “I still think Greenland is the most important thing to watch for this century,” Dr. Scambos said..."

Photo credits above: "Muir Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska is among the many worldwide that are disappearing. Muir, left, as seen in August 1941, and photographed in August 2004." Credit W. Field; B. Molnia/U.S.G.S. via Glacier Photograph Collection.

Climate Change: Get Ready or Get Sued. What are the liability implications of climate change, specifically the trend toward heavier summer downpours and more extreme flooding east of the Mississippi? The insurance industry and lawyers far and wide will be keeping a close eye on this case in Chicago's suburbs. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Washington Post: "...This is a new kind of storm associated with climate change,” Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, told Medill Reports on day two of the April flood. Extreme flooding is part of a pattern that has emerged in the last two decades, according to Illinois State climatologist Jim Angel. Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming..."

YouTube video credit above: "Flooding of the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines , IL. the weather overcast and severe thunder storms. Over 5 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. Temps in the 60s." Filmed by Ed Pilar for

The People of Miami Know About Climate Change. We're Living It. You no longer need a hurricane or even a coastal storm or thunderstorm downpours to get flooding in Miami. Now it often floods at high tide, a rising tide at that. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: "...People in Miami Beach are living climate change," said David Nolan, a meteorology and physical oceanography professor at the University of Miami. "They're on the frontline." The people of Miami Beach didn't need the National Climate Assessment to tell them low-lying south Florida is "exceptionally vulnerable to sea level rise". The city is already spending $206m to overhaul its drainage system. The day after the White House released its climate change report, Miami-Dade County's commission passed a 6 May resolution that calls on planners to account for sea level rise. Local officials across the four counties of south Florida are making similar moves. Almost anyone who lives in south Florida has a nagging fear about climate change. It's both abstract and, at times, very real..."

Photo credit above: "Bozon Jeremie, a tourist from France, crosses a flooded intersection during high tide in Miami Beach, Fla., Nov. 6, 2013. A new scientific report on global warming released in 2014 by the National Climate Assessment named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to severe damage as a result of rising sea levels." (Angel Valentin/The New York Times).

Global Warming Responsible for Increased Wildfires in California? If this is, in fact, a "natural cycle" it's one heck of a coincidence. Here's an excerpt from a story at Headline & Global News: "...Global warming also contributes largely to mega-fires, which occur when multiple wildfires combine together to form a larger, deadlier blaze, and the size of these fires makes it difficult for containment.  In the last decade, the occurrence of such fires has increased in frequency. According to Global Change, about 6.4 million acres have been burned per year on an average since 2010, amounting to a 3.5 million acres increase since the 1980s. Many studies have also highlighted that global warming also increases wildfires indirectly. This climate change leads to other factors that promote wildfires, such as drought and insect outbreaks..."

File Photo credit: "Smoke plumes rise behind the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton entrance Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton." (AP Photo/Gregory Bull).

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!


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


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.


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.


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 "...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:

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;

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:


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.


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.


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:


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 "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. 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 "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.