Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

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An Extended Summer (Heat Advisory today; - severe risk today south/east of MSP - 90s into first week of September?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 21, 2013 - 9:07 AM

 

Super-Sized Summer

 

It all makes sense, in a baffling, passive-aggressive way. There was grumbling over snow in early May, muttering about an "abbreviated summer", one notable heat spike in early July, then 4 weeks of September-like chill into August, a rare mid-summer frost up in Embarrass.

Many people had mentally turned the page, convinced we were sliding inexorably into autumn. "The antithesis of 2012" a friend sighed.

Now that neon-yellow school buses are showing up on Doppler and mom's shopping for winter clothing bargains, now it decides to heat up. Now we get the weather we should have seen in July.

More evidence that a manic Mother Nature needs to be medicated - we just keep flailing from one crazy extreme to the next.

The bloated heat bubble that has left much of the western USA drought-stricken and combustible will expand east, pulses of extreme heat lapping into Minnesota over the next 2 weeks, in fact some models show 90s spilling over into the first week of September.

100F next week? We can't rule it out, mainly over southwest Minnesota.

A brief surge of comfortable air may set off a few strong/severe storms by evening but today's weather mantra is easy to remember.

Stinking.

Hot.

 

* photo above from yesterday's sunset, a hazy/milky sky and cherry-red sign tip-offs of smoke from Canadian forest fires sweeping south into Minnesota.

 

Slight Severe Storm Risk. The approach of cooler, much less humid air may destabilize the atmosphere enough for a squall line to form by afternoon, an outside chance of a few severe storms, especially south/east of MSP after 2 PM. Map: NOAA SPC.

 

One Wild Meteorological Ride. Dew points are forecast (by ECMWF guidance) to drop into the 40s Thursday, less than half as much water in the air as this morning. And then dew points return to near 70 by early next week as another pulse of heat surges north. Guidance shows mid-90s Sunday and Monday, a high of 98F on Tuesday? We'll see, but the model trends are pretty apparent at this point. Graph: Weatherspark.com.

 

Dog Days of Early September. GFS guidance shows more 90-degree days from late next week into the first few days of September. Yes, it may be a sizzling Labor Day holiday weekend.

 

Temporary Relief Northern USA - Hurricane Potential For Cabo? The NAM model shows a line of strong/severe storms popping over Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota later today, cooler air pushing into New England by Thursday. The tropics remain quiet, except for coastal Mexico - a potential for a tropical storm or hurricane approaching Cabo San Lucas by Friday.

 

July: 6th Warmest On Record Worldwide. Here's an excerpt from a full report on July 2013 from NOAA NCDC: "According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for July 2013 was the sixth highest July since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive July and 341st consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a globally averaged temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average July temperature was July 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985. Many areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including northern South America, the western and northeastern United States, much of Africa, western and central Europe, parts of southern Asia, and most of Australia. Parts of the central and southeastern United States, small regions across northern Canada, eastern Greenland, and parts of Mongolia and eastern Siberia were cooler than average. Far northwestern Canada and part of the eastern United States were much cooler than their long-term averages..."

 

Quiet In The Atlantic, But For How Long? We've had 5 puny, fizzling tropical storms. The knee-jerk reaction might be to dismiss the rest of hurricane season, to lower your guard, but that would probably be premature. The peak of hurricane season is September 10, the date when a hurricane landfall is most likely on the U.S. coast, coinciding with peak water temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean. In today's edition of Climate Matters we examine why we have yet to see a hurricane in the Atlantic, and what may be in store the rest of 2013: "We have already had 5 named storms in the Atlantic, but zero hurricanes. How does this compare to years past? And could predictions for a busy tropical season still pan out?  WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the factors that have contributed to a quiet season so far and what could be in store as we approach the typical season peak."

 

Uh Oh. Is The Hurricane Season Forecast A Bust? Here are some good points from Eric Berger at The Houston Chronicle: "As you may recall, back in June, nearly every seasonal hurricane forecaster under the sun predicted a busy season. NOAA even predicted a possibly “hyper-active” season. Since we’re now approaching the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and such hyperactivity has yet to materialize, a number of readers have asked whether such seasonal forecasts might be considered a bust. My answer: Not yet. Herein I explain why.

ACTIVITY TO DATE

So far there have been five named storms in the Atlantic basin this season, which is in fact ahead of what we normally would expect. During a typical Atlantic season the fifth named storm doesn’t form until Aug. 31. This would suggest prognostications of a busy season have come to pass...."

Graphic credit above: "The traditional peak of hurricane season is still three weeks away." (NOAA)

 

NOAA: "70% Chance Of Above-Normal Hurricane Season". Here's an excerpt from a post at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: "NOAA's updated 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook continues to call for an above-normal season, with the possibility that the season could be very active. The outlook indicates a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance for a below-normal season....Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity for the entire 2013 Atlantic hurricane season:

* 13-19 Named Storms.

* 6-9 Hurricanes

* 3-5 Major Hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger)

* Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 120% - 190% of the median...."

File Photo above: Mike Theiss, National Geographic.

 

Hurricane Season: Forecasters Predict Rise In Activity. Here's a clip from delmarvanow.com: "With the peak of the mid-Atlantic hurricane season underway, forecasters at the National Climate Prediction Center said we can expect an active hurricane season over the next few months, although slightly less intense than initially expected. The revised estimate calls for 13 to 19 named storms, which is down from the 13 to 20 storms forecast in May by the center. The bad news for the Mid-Atlantic: two of four named storms that have formed this season did so in the warm, open waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa – the region that produces some of the worst August and September storms for our region..."

 

Wildfire Clears Sun Valley Resort Region During Peak Tourist Season. Here's an update on the massive blaze in Idaho from Skift: "A wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes in central Idaho roared largely unchecked into a 12th day on Monday near the ski resort of Sun Valley, even though fire crews launched a big offensive against the blaze at the weekend. Firefighters took advantage of calmer winds and higher humidity levels on Sunday to attack the flames aggressively, but still ended the day with containment lines carved around less than 10 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, fire officials said. The lightning-sparked fire has been raging since August 7 near Sun Valley and the adjacent tourist towns of Ketchum and Hailey. It has charred some 101,000 acres of parched sagebrush, grasslands and pine forests in the Sawtooth National Forest..."

Photo credit above: "A map of the fire outside Hailey, Idaho." Jim Urquhart / Reuters.

 

Floods Recede In Philippine Capital As Thousands Evacuate. Ironically Typhoon "Trami" passed well to the north of the island of Luzon, yet it moved slowly, fueling heavy rain squalls and T-storms that stalled out over Manila, dropping nearly a month's worth of rain on Sunday (23"). The result: widespread flooding and chaos, as reported by CBC News: "Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains that submerged more than half the capital began receding Tuesday even as authorities evacuated thousands of residents along Manila's overflowing rivers and braced for more chaos in outlying provinces. At least eight people have died, including four who drowned north of Manila. The dead included a five-year-old boy whose house was hit by a concrete wall that collapsed, and a three-year-old boy who fell into a swollen river in Mariveles town in Bataan province. Four people are missing. Throughout the sprawling, low-lying capital region of 12 million people, offices, banks and schools were closed and most roads were impassable. People stumbled through waist- or neck-deep waters, holding on to ropes strung from flooded houses..."

Photo credit above: "Office workers cross a flooded street using makeshift floats during heavy rain at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record submerged more than half the capital Tuesday, turning roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response for a second day." (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

 

Think You Work Too Much? Be Glad You Don't Live In Singapore. Here's a clip from a fascinating article at Business Insider. I'm starting to feel better about the number of hours I clock in every week: "How much work does the average American do each year compared to workers elsewhere in the world? The economics website FRED just added a bunch of new economic data which makes this question very easy to examine. As you can see, the average full-time American employee works right around 1,700 hours per year..."

 
 
The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want To Live Forever. If you could live indefinitely, would you? I'd consider it if it included free cable TV (and no bills after the age of 150). Here's a clip from a fascinating story at The Daily Beast: "Of all the things money can’t buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan. In the past decade, longevity research has become a legitimate academic pursuit for molecular biologists. Scientists are trying to untangle the basic mechanisms that underlie aging, and the idea is catching on that growing old isn’t just a fact of life but rather a disease that can be cured through medical interventions. Some of the biggest proponents of radical life extension also happen to be billionaires. There’s something about amassing more money than you can ever possibly use that naturally makes you hunger for ways to stay alive longer—if not forever..." (image above: discovery.com).
 
 
CBS, Time Warner Cable, And The Disruption Of TV. With online access and multiple new sources of content, television is going through a disruptive phase - it's anyone's guess what comes out the other end. Here's a clip from a very good Ken Auletta article at The New Yorker: "...What we’re witnessing are not the deliberate, calculated moves of two skilled chess players but, rather, two aging players who fear that their game is being disrupted. Thirty years ago, the traditional TV world was blindsided by cable; today, cable operators and traditional TV are both being blindsided by a new crop of technologies. The list of these technologies is long. You can subscribe to one of two direct-broadcast satellite systems, DirecTV or Dish Network. You can get TV along with a speedy Internet connection through Verizon’s FiOS. A.T. & T. also buys some programming. You can download or stream many television programs and movies via Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Apple, or Amazon. You can stream shows onto a video-game console. You can hook up to Google’s Chromecast, a small device that lets you beam content to your TV screen from other devices..."

 

Tesla's Model S Electric Car Nabs Top U.S. Safety Rating. More from The Verge: "Tesla is announcing that its Model S scored top marks for safety according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not only scoring a perfect five stars in every category, but setting a new record for the combined Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) — a total that can be higher than the five-star scores for top, side, and rear impact. The Model S scored 5.4, beating out previous record holders and for the first time making an electric vehicle the safest car on the road..."

 

Beers Implicated In Emergency Room Visits. Want to stay out of the ER? Cut down on your beer intake. Here's a clip from an eye-opening article at The New York Times: "Nationwide, roughly a third of all visits to emergency rooms for injuries are alcohol related. Now a new study suggests that certain beverages may be more likely to be involved than others. The study, carried out over the course of a year at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, found that five beer brands were consumed most often by people who ended up in the emergency room. They were Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light...."

Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times.

 

A $620,000 "Stealth" Snowmobile? All electric - able to silently evade the bad guys? The Canadian government is looking into just such a sled, as reported by CBC: "The Canadian military has been secretly test-driving a $620,000 stealth snowmobile in its quest to quietly whisk troops on clandestine operations in the Arctic. The Canadian Press has learned that soldiers have taken the new hybrid-electric snowmobile prototype on trial runs to evaluate features such as speed, noise level, battery endurance and acceleration. The Department of National Defence even has a nickname for its cutting-edge, covert tool: "Loki," after the "mythological Norse shape-shifting god."

 

90 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

80 F. average high on August 20.

79 F. high on August 20, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: Heat Advisory. Hot sun AM hours, PM storms, a few may be strong to severe? Dew point: 70. High: 92

 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Breezy, turning less humid. Low: 64

 

THURSDAY: Blue sky, much less humid. Dew point: 45. High: 82

 

FRIDAY: Sunny, still pleasant. DP: 52. Wake-up: 61. High: 84

 

SATURDAY: AM storms (best chance central and north). Sticky PM sun. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

 

SUNDAY: Steamy sun. Late-day T-storms. Wake-up: 72. High: 94

 

MONDAY: Some sun, still steamy. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 71. High: 92

 

TUESDAY: Hot and sweaty. More like mid-July. Wake-up: 73. High: 94

 

 

Climate Stories....

 

Climate Leaks Are "Misleading" Says IPCC Ahead Of Major Report. Here's an excerpt from a story at the BBC: "This massive tome will be published in four stages over the next year - the first part, the physical science behind climate change, will be presented in Stockholm on 26 September. The process of compiling this report, with several hundred scientists, 195 governments and over 100 non-governmental organisations involved has been particularly leaky, with at least three confidential drafts being made public in the last year. We've had 1,800 comments on that 15 page document” Jonathan Lynn IPCC. According to the latest scoop, the scientists are set to say they are more convinced than ever that global warming is caused by humans. They will say they are 95% certain that our use of fossil fuels is the main reason behind the global rise in temperatures since the 1950s..."

 

Scientists Turn To Melted Ice To Make Climate Change Case. Bloomberg has an update on the forthcoming IPCC report - here's a snippet: "A report from an international scientific team due next month will probably focus on a range of evidence that the Earth is warming rather than just changes in air temperature, according to a climate scientist who has seen drafts of parts of the study. The rate of polar ice melting, warming of oceans and the steady rise of sea levels all point to a planet heating up, said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He’s a reviewer for the forthcoming United Nations climate report. Some skeptics of man’s contribution to global warming have pointed to lapses in the rise of average temperatures as proof that the phenomenon isn’t taking place. Previous studies focused on changes in air temperature, according to Trenberth, who was the lead author of the 2001 and 2007 UN assessments..." (File photo: World Bulletin).

 

Update On Arctic Sea Ice. Although not as severe as 2012 (which set an all-time record), the decline in Arctic sea ice in 2013 is still significant. Here's an update from NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center: "The sea ice retreat rate averaged from August 1 to 18 was near average at approximately 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) per day. However, satellite data show extensive low-concentration areas within the ice cover, which appear to have developed in response to the frequent passage of storm systems. These weather patterns also result in lower-than-average air temperatures over the Arctic. Temperatures in the central Arctic at the 925 hPa level have been 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average since late July."

Graphic credit above: "The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 18, 2013, along with daily ice extent data for five previous years. 2013 is shown in blue, 2012 in green, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, and 2008 in purple. The 1981 to 2010 average is in dark gray. Sea Ice Index data." Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

 

5 Terrifying Statements In The Leaked Climate Report. Here's a clip from a story at Mother Jones: "...In particular, here are five "holy crap" statements from the new draft report:

We're on course to change the planet in a way "unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years." This is a general statement in the draft report about the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions "at or above current rates." Unprecedented changes will sweep across planetary systems, ranging from sea level to the acidification of the ocean.

Ocean acidification is "virtually certain" to increase. Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world's oceans will increase—the draft report calls this outcome "virtually certain." As we have previously reported, more acidity "threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon..."

Photo credit above: "In the long run, global sea level rise could easily exceed 5 meters."

 

Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods. When it comes to the rate of sea level increase we are (literally) in uncharted waters, as pointed out in this article at Time. Here's a clip: "...For coastal cities like New York, Hurricane Sandy was a coming attraction for what is likely to be a very wet and destructive future. According to leaked drafts of the forthcoming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists believe that sea level could rise by more than three feet by the end of the century is carbon emissions keep growing at a runaway pace. And a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change laid out the enormous flood losses that major coastal cities could face in the future. Average global flood losses could rise from approximately $6 billion per year in 2005 to $60 to $63 billion per year by 2050, thanks to population and economic growth along the coasts and the multiplying effect of climate change-driven sea level rise. As Robert Nicholls, a professor of coastal engineering at the University of Southampton in Britain and a co-author of the study, put it in a statement: “There is a pressing need to start planning how to manage flood risk now....”

 

Gorgeous Glimpses Of Calamity. Here's a snippet from a well-written story about Earth observations from space - we can now track, in real-time, the impacts we're having on our planet. Details at The New York Times: "...President Obama should invite world leaders to an emergency conclave in Washington as early as possible and challenge China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and other major greenhouse-gas emitters to equal or exceed the percentage reductions he seeks for the United States. He should also try to rally the nation and globe in support of an international Manhattan Project, in which the best scientific minds would devise carbon-sequestration technologies that could clean the air of the heating elements we’ve put there — rather than simply seeking to limit the damage. Having constructed a civilization capable of observing our still paradisiacal world from objectivity-inducing distances, we need to set aside our squabbles, recognize that we face a species-wide threat, and use our scientific-technical genius to protect the only known home of life in the universe."

Photo credit above: July 17 and Aug. 3, 2012: "Ice and snow melted with extraordinary speed in the Northwest Passage in Canada’s Parry Channel, a link in the long-sought northern route for ship traffic between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Twice in the last decade, the entire route has become clear of ice. These images were taken with NASA’s Terra satellite." Jesse Allen, Lance system/NASA Earth Observatory.

 

Arctic Warming And Our Extreme Weather: No Clear Link New Study Finds. Most of the changes we've witnessed (in extremes) have been in the last 3-5 years - it's largely anecdotal and far from conclusive, but I still suspect rapid warming in the Arctic is having a domino effect at mid latitudes. Time will tell if science can prove this possible link. Here's an update on a new research paper from The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "Is the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice, spurred by manmade global warming, making the  weather where we live more extreme?  Several recent studies have made this claim. But a new study finds little evidence to support the idea that the plummeting Arctic sea ice has meaningfully changed our weather patterns.  The research, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, says links between declining Arctic sea ice and extreme weather are “an artifact of the methodology” and not real. Earlier work, suggesting a connection between the disintegrating Arctic ice and weather mania in the mid-latitudes, is intriguing.  It is based on the idea that the jet stream – the river of high altitude winds that steers our storms and positions cold snaps and heat waves – is slowing down and weakening due to a pronounced warming in the Arctic compared to other places, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Rather than zipping right along a straight path, a more listless jet stream is now prone to straying so the theory goes..."

Graphic credit above: "Arctic sea ice minimum 1980 vs. 2012." (NASA).

Rain Tapers - Parade of Cooler Fronts (summer heat returning third week of August?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 5, 2013 - 8:26 AM

 

.92" rain predicted for the Twin Cities by late Tuesday night (NAM model). Much of that will fall this morning.

 

 

To Know The Future

 

“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand" wrote Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men in a Boat.

News anchors and sportscasters tell you what already happened. Meteorologists are the only ones foolish enough to predict what tomorrow may bring.

But technology and experience only go so far. Roughly 13 percent of 24-hour forecasts are "busts", and that number hasn't improved, in spite of Doppler, amazing satellites & better weather models. Yet we keep tuning in.

In a chaotic world, where little is predictable, having any insight on expected weather gives us a hint of reassurance. It gives us the illusion of a little control over our otherwise (unpredictable) lives, right?

The 7-Day? Let's not go there.

The approach of tropical air ignites a spirited round of T-storms; a few downpours are expected this morning with drippy dew points approaching 70F - skies brightening this afternoon. Another vigorous cool front approaches midweek, sparking more T-storms late Tuesday and a cooler breeze by Wednesday.

We're stuck in a stubbornly persistent blocking pattern, with northwest winds aloft keeping us cooler than average the next 2 weeks.

A Year Without A (real) August? I think so.

 

 

 

Flash Flood Potential. Our guidance is showing as much as 2" from the Twin Cities to Rochester this morning. The 1-hour flash flood threshold for flooding is 1.8 to 1.9" (the amount of rain required to initiate significant flash flooding from MSP to RST). Bottom line: it may be a rough Monday, especially on the highways.

 

Short-Range Heavy Rain Potential. Our internal models at Alerts Broadcaster show a heightened risk of heavy rain from near St. Cloud and Willmar into the Twin Cities this morning, where some 1-2" rains may fall. The greatest potential for flash flooding: central Kansas into southern Missouri, with some 3-6" rainfall amounts.

 

Canadian Temperature Polarization. Normally weather moves from west to east. But a persistent blocking pattern has caused the jet stream to take far greater north-south swings, more evidence of "polar amplification", pulling record-setting heat into western Canada and Alaska, while Canadians in Quebec shiver in the 50s. Graphic: Ham Weather.

 

This Week's Weather Trends. I'm a fan of Weatherspark.com - great for climate information and, at a glance, you can get a pretty good idea of not only temperature trends, but cloud cover and the best times for rainfall. The data above is from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, which tends to do a better job than our GFS data (at least today).

 

Whispers of September. We should see 80s Tuesday afternoon, but that will be the exception to the rule, otherwise highs in the 70s most of the week, maybe some 60s up north by Saturday. Guidance above: ECMWF model.

 

Windows For Rain. The best chance of showers and T-storms comes this morning (warm frontal passage), again late Tuesday and Tuesday night (cool frontal passage) and again Thursday night (another push of slightly cooler air). Many towns may pick up .50 to 1" of rain this week, as an atmospheric tug-of-war plays out right over Minnesota.

 

A Parade Of (Premature) Cool Fronts. The maps still look like the first week or two of September. T-storms this morning weaken as they push into Wisconsin, another round late Tuesday ahead of a strong cool front that will whip up an autumnal breeze by midweek from the Upper Midwest to New England. Animation: NOAA.

 

Summer Heat Third Week of August? GFS data shows highs in the upper 80s with 850 mb temperatures above 20C by August 17-19. Yes, you may even be able to work up a sweat.

 

Warm Bookends. Since May 1 temperatures are running well above average across New England and the western third of the USA; cooler than normal from the Dakotas and Minnesota thru the Mississippi River Valley and much of the Southeast. Source: NOAA ESRL.

 

* The worst fire-season in a decade for Oregon? So says the Governor of Oregon, as reported by seattlepi.com.

Photo credit: "A photo released by the Oregon Department of Forestry shows a Redmond Hotshots crew on the Douglas Complex conducting a burnout operation in the last week of July to create a barrier to the wildfire’s advance by removing fuel in its path.. While southern Oregon was hardest hit by thunderstorm-caused fires last week, central Oregon picked up numerous lightning starts as well." (AP Photo/Oregon Department of Forestry).

 

Carfax Warns Of Flood-Damaged Hybrids. If you're shopping for a hybrid, you might want to ask a lot of questions and make sure you're not getting a "Sandy survivor". EV World.com has the story; here's the introduction: "Carfax research shows that more than 212,000 flood damaged cars, including sker Karma and Toyota Priuses, are on the road, primarily in ten states East Coast states. Last fall Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the New York City area, flooding the coastline in parts of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, and leaving us with indelible images of a flooded Manhattan. One of the flooded areas was an automobile processing facility in New Jersey that was flooded, destroying thousands of cars in the process of being imported, including several Fisker Karma's that caught fire. Floods occur nearly everywhere, however, and ideally flood damaged cars are never driven on the road again, but today Carfax issued a warning that scam artists are selling flood-damaged cars in other states..."

 

Colorado State Researchers Trim Atlantic Hurricane Outlook. I have little faith in these long-range hurricane forecasts, but in the spirit of full disclosure here's a clip from The Capital Weather Gang: "Expect an above average Atlantic hurricane season say leading hurricane researchers, but slightly less active than once thought. Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University cut back their prediction for the total number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) by one, compared to forecasts made in April and June. They are now forecasting 18 total named storms (including the four which have already formed), 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher), compared to 18, 9 and 4, respectively in earlier outlooks..." (File photo of Hurricane Irene from NASA).

 

Hurricane Hunters: Flying Two Storms Difficult, Three Storms Impossible. The "Hurricane Hunters" flying out of Biloxi are watching not only storms in the Atlantic, but their bottom line, as reported by wlox.com; here's an excerpt: "Hurricane Hunters are tracking Tropical Storm Dorian while also keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line. Military officials said with sequestration and furloughs, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is facing some tough choices as to which storms they fly into and how often. They said that means the forecast models we depend on to tell people to evacuate may not be as accurate. The mission of the Hurricane Hunters is to fly into the eye of the storm and gather information to help predict where that storm is likely to head next. However, the 403rd Wing Commander is wondering with sequestration and furloughs, how much hunting Hurricane Hunters will be able to do. "I'll be honest with you, it's a very significant cut in capability. It's a 20 percent cut," said Col Craig LaFave..."

 

Sunburned In Siberia: Heat Wave Leads To Wildfires. It's a strange weather map over the Northern Hemisphere - far northern latitudes are setting record highs, while mid latitudes are trending cooler than average, at least from the Upper Midwest to New England. Parts of Russia are overheating, as reported by Climate Central: "An intense heat wave in Siberia has contributed to an unusual flare up of wildfires across the fragile and carbon-rich landscape. Smoke from the fires is lofting high into the atmosphere, and is drifting toward the Arctic, where soot can hasten the melting of snow and sea ice. The Siberian city of Norilsk, the most northerly city in the world with a population greater than 100,000, recorded temperatures above 83°F over eight consecutive days starting on July 18, according to blogger Chris Burt of Weather Underground. During that timespan, Burt reported, the mercury hit 90°F, breaking the record for the hottest temperature recorded for the city. For comparison the average July high temperature in Norilsk is a comparatively chilly 61°F..."

Image credit above: "The map above shows land surface temperature anomalies for July 20–27, 2013, collected by the MODIS imager on NASA's Terra satellite." Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

 

Seeking Shelter. Even a family of racoons knows what to do when flood-waters swirl nearby. Image courtesy of KUSA-TV in Denver and WeatherNation TV.

 

An Early Snow. I thought you'd get a kick (ugh) out of this, a light snowfall on the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado Saturday, enough snow to excite die-hard skiers and snowboarders (but nobody else). Credit: WNTV.

 

Electrifying. Photo credit: "In case you missed it... Best strike ever over Miami Beach via Oliver Jay "

 

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan. This amazing (as well as sad and poignant) story caught my eye, one of Krulwich's Wonders at NPR: "This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air. This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?..."

Photo creditSgt. Mike MacLeod/U.S. Army.

 

76 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

82 F. average high for August 4.

48 F. record low at KMSP, 1978

102 F. record high for the Twin Cities, 1947

78 F. high on August 4, 2012.

 

 

TODAY: AM T-storms, brighter PM hours. Dew point: 67. High: near 80

 

MONDAY NIGHT: Mild and humid. Low: 65

 

TUESDAY: Sticky sun, T-storms late. Dew point: 68. High: 83

 

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, less humid. Dew point: 53. Wake-up: 62. High: 75

 

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, milder. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

 

FRIDAY: Some sun, isolated shower. Wake-up: 59. High: 79

 

SATURDAY: Patchy clouds, few showers - cool for mid-August. Wake-up: 57. High: 71

 

SUNDAY: More sun statewide, nicer day of the weekend. Wake-up: 58. High: 76

 

Climate Stories...

 

Global Warming Will Impact The Power Grid. Here's a clip from a story at sanluisobispo.com: "The power distribution grid is a remarkable machine that regulates and transports vast amounts of electrical energy that we use in our homes and businesses. It’s there out in the open for all of us to see; in fact, it’s so wide open, most of us don’t even notice the lines and poles any longer. It's only during a power outage when you actually think about it.  Unfortunately, a new report released by the Department of Energy in July, says that our electrical grid will be impacted due to the effects of global warming. Over the last century, air and ocean temperatures have continued to increase and droughts have become more prolonged. Both of these conditions have produced a seemingly never-ending fire season across the Western United States. July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the United States and 2012 was the warmest year overall..."

Photo credit above: "Transmission lines along Highway 41 near Morro Bay." JOHN LINDSEY.

 

"...Did you know air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year ?..." - from an Op-Ed at Huffington Post.

 

Permafrost Melting Faster Than Expected In Antarctica. StateImpact Texas from NPR has the story - here's the introduction: "New research shows melting at rates comparalbe to the Arctic. Unlike the Arctic Circle up north, where once-permanent sea ice began melting and miles of permafrost began thawing decades ago, the ground ice in Antarctica’s Garwood Valley was generally considered stable. In this remote polar region near the iceberg-encrusted Ross Sea, temperatures actually became colder from 1986 to 2000, then stabilized, while the climate in much of the rest of the world warmed during that same period. But now, the ice in Antarctica is melting as rapidly as in the Arctic..."

Photo credit above: Dr. Joseph Levy / The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. "Research team member Jim O'Connor of the USGS inspects a block of ice calved off the Garwood Valley ice cliff."

 

Small Businesses Face "Major Extreme Weather Challenges". Environmental Leader has the article; here's an excerpt: "US small businesses — which employ 60 million Americans, or about half of the workforce — are particularly at risk from extreme weather and climate change and must take steps to adapt, according to a report from Small Business Majority (SBM) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). Climate Change Preparedness and the Small Business Sector says the retail, tourism, landscape architecture, agriculture, roofing, and small-scale manufacturing sectors are more vulnerable to the financial implications of climate change than their larger corporate counterpart.

The report finds:

  • Lacking access to the capital and resources of large corporations, small businesses can suffer lasting economic damage as a result of a single extreme weather event. For example, of the 60,000 to 100,000 small businesses negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, up to 30 percent are estimated to have failed as a direct result of the storm..."
 

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/08/03/2615021/global-warming-will-impact-the.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/08/03/2615021/global-warming-will-impact-the.html#storylink=cpy

Grilling Weather: 30+ Temperatures Sunday into Tuesday (another arctic shot late next week)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 25, 2013 - 10:09 AM
 

Failure Encouraged

 

I just had an eye-opening series of talks at TIES, an education technology collaborative that serves St. Paul school districts. Did you know parents can now receive text alerts when their kids skip class? Or log in and see upcoming assignments, and whether their child had fruit or candy for lunch? Yes, there's an app for that.

I was happy to see innovation & experimentation on display. "Fail as fast as you can" is the new mantra. If you're not failing - it means you're not really trying. The one thing that can't be automated, computerized or outsourced? Creativity. Something Minnesotans do very well.

I'd love to find a creative way to make it snow. We need moisture. Up to 1 inch of snow is possible early today; welcome 30s return for a glorious few hours by Monday. The next storm detours to our east Tuesday; then we get to enjoy a few more subzero nights late next week.

The jet stream is temporarily locked, howling from the Yukon, meaning a parade of numbing fronts into early February. A real winter, without the snow. Odd.

Barb Hollister, Guest Services Coordinator at TIES told me how much she LOVES winter. "It's a time to work on projects, slow down, read books, relax, wear big sweatshirts and cozy sweaters" she sighed.

Less yard work too.

 

 

"Take a look at this chart (below) of Twin Cities high/low readings from December of 1983...my second Minnesota winter. Ten straight days of double-digit below zero nightly readings in the metro. Six of the overnights were below -22 F. Six of the daily "highs" were in the negative numbers. And all of this during the holiday shopping season.

If this were to happen today schools would close, sirens would sound, TV stations would run primetime specials.

We are out of practice." - Brendan Henehan, Executive Producer of TPT's "Almanac" show.

Date                                High       Low

Dec 16, 1983     3   -11

Dec 17, 1983    -4   -17

Dec 18, 1983   -11   -24

Dec 19, 1983   -11   -29

Dec 20, 1983     1   -22

Dec 21, 1983    11   -15

Dec 22, 1983   -12   -20

Dec 23, 1983   -17   -25

Dec 24, 1983   -10   -25

Dec 25, 1983     1   -11

 

 

This is getting old. We're just not accustomed to "arctic fronts". Last winter: 3 nights below zero. This winter? Probably closer to 10-13 nights of negative fun. So far we've experienced 6 nights below zero, compared with 3 subzero nights all last winter (average is 22.5). Sign me up for one of those .5 subzero nights please. The forecast calls for a family of clippers, a thaw early next week, a few more subzero nights late next week. Why so cold? Blame the Arctic Oscillation - a negative phase. That, and sudden stratospheric warming 2 weeks ago. Sounds like a painful medical ailment. Come to think of it - it is.

* photo: AP

 

Clipped Again. This morning's clipper may drop a coating to an inch of snow in the metro (when it's this cold the snowflakes puff up like feathers in a down comforter - and roads can be extra icy due to "wheel-track icing"....traffic compacting snow into a thin layer of ice). So AM Rush Hour may be extra-icy, an easier drive home later today. Some 2-4" amounts are possible closer to Crosby and Duluth.

 

News Of A Thaw. No, it can't come soon enough. I still think this will wind up being the coldest week of the entire winter, although a few more subzero nights are likely late next week. The ECMWF model shows highs near or just above 32 F. Sunday into Tuesday - the chance of a significant storm next week has evaporated. Big surprise.

 

Minnesota Drought: Status Quo. And frankly there won't be a potential for improvement until the ground starts to thaw in March, allowing any rain and melted snow to replenish topsoil. My hope is that we have some snow cover to melt and start to turn the corner on the drought. U.S. Drought Monitor map courtesy of NOAA.

 

Sudden Stratospheric Warming = Cold Intrusions Over Lower 48 States. Meteorologists look for cues. One big cue for subzero air is (paradoxically) sudden warming in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere, where temperatures warm with altitude. This happened a couple weeks ago, as described by climate scientist Gavin Schmidt: "Stratospheric sudden warnings happen when there is a large planetary wave - usually originating in the tropics - that propagates northward and upward and disrupts the normal polar vortex. Think of it as an ocean wave breaking on a tide pool. The temperatures in the stratosphere near the pole go up a lot because of anomalous downward movement. The connection between the SSW and the surface winds are a well known phenomena - see papers by Baldwin and dunkerton a decade or do ago. After an SSW you get (after about 5-10 days) a negative phase AO associated with very non-zonal jet streams, leading to large temperature excursions (both +ve and -ve)."  Image above courtesy of NOAA.

 

Arctic Oscillation Forecast. The AO reached a minimum earlier this week, coinciding with subzero air draining into the Lower 48 states of the USA. A more positive phase implies warming (nationwide) next week east of the Rockies. After February 1 it's anyone's guess - a wide divergence of solutions. I still suspect a very cold start to February, followed by moderation with 20s and 30s returning by the second week of February. Graphic above: NOAA.

 

Good Explanation Of Arctic Oscillation. Why should you care whether the phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is negative or positive? Because if you know which way the atmosphere is leaning, you can make a better long range forecast. "Unusually mild winter with a persistent Pacific breeze [positive phase like we had most of last winter] or outbreaks of bitter cold [negative phase, like we've seen since mid-January of this winter]". This may be more than you've ever wanted to know, but here's a good description from The National Snow and Ice Data Center: "The Arctic Oscillation refers to opposing atmospheric pressure patterns in northern middle and high latitudes. The oscillation exhibits a "negative phase" with relatively high pressure over the polar region and low pressure at midlatitudes (about 45 degrees North), and a "positive phase" in which the pattern is reversed. In the positive phase, higher pressure at midlatitudes drives ocean storms farther north, and changes in the circulation pattern bring wetter weather to Alaska, Scotland and Scandinavia, as well as drier conditions to the western United States and the Mediterranean. In the positive phase, frigid winter air does not extend as far into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase of the oscillation. This keeps much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains warmer than normal, but leaves Greenland and Newfoundland colder than usual. Weather patterns in the negative phase are in general "opposite" to those of the positive phase, as illustrated below. Over most of the past century, the Arctic Oscillation alternated between its positive and negative phases. Starting in the 1970s, however, the oscillation has tended to stay in the positive phase, causing lower than normal arctic air pressure and higher than normal temperatures in much of the United States and northern Eurasia."

Arctic Oscillation graphic above courtesy of J. Wallace, at the University of Washington.

 

ENSO Outlook for 2013. Here is a prediction of ENSO probability (El Nino, La Nina) from The International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Odds favor "ENSO-neutral", which might help our ability to pull out of a long-term drought over the Plains and Upper Midwest. The worst-case scenario would be a La Nina cooling phase, which correlates with drought and much drier than average weather during the summer, especially central and southern Plains. We'll see.

 

"Paul... Here's an iPhone picture of me on Monday walking 4 miles at Bredesen Park in Edina.  It was minus 7 at the time and the wind was blowing about 15 mph, so guess the wind chill was between minus 25 and 30.  It's a self-portrait because no one else (except the coyotes) was around.  My attire included, from the top, balaclava, neoprene mask, wool Navy watch cap, thinsulate-lined ski parka with hood, three layers, including heavy wool sweater, leather mittens with lining and skin-tight finger gloves inside, long johns, flannel-lined jeans, thermal socks and regular walking shoes.  Bottom line: Felt nice and warm all the way around.  Did it yesterday and today too."

* thanks to my rose-growing, investment-banking friend in Edina, Jack Falker, for sending this along.

 

"Ask Paul." Weather Related Q&A:

Hi Paul,

"Besides the lake levels and aquifers, the lack of snow is affecting winter sports too.  My skiis are collecting dust and my naturalist-led snowshoe outing at Westwood Hills Nature Center are in danger of being canceled for the second year in a row.  You know things are bad when you text friends in Iowa and beg them to send snow!"

Regards, 

John Porter, Minneapolis  

 

John - I'm starting to wonder if this winter will rival last winter's 22.3" of snow. We've picked up 16.6" snow so far - last year on this date we had seen only 11.4". Will we make up for this snowfall deficit in late February or March? Perhaps, but we need snow now (at least for outdoor enthusiasts). Snow on the ground in March is a different animal than snow in January. Believe me, I'll send up a flare when I see an actual storm.

 

Bright Brown Over Southern Minnesota. There's precious little snow south of the Twin Cities, from Mankato to Rochester and Red Wing, only a coating to an inch or so in the immediate metro, maybe 2" far north and west metro. Parts of central Minnesota have about 6-8" of crusty snow on the ground. All in all the map above looks like something out of mid or late November, not late January. Source: NOAA.

 

USA Snow Cover. At least report, snow was on the ground over 39.6% of the nation, compared with 45.8% of the USA back on December 24, 2012. Map courtesy of NOAA.

 

 

Top Ten Sky Sights for 2013 for Minnesota

January 21 – Very close pairing of Moon and Jupiter

February 12-20 – Best view of Mercury this year

March 10-24 – Best view of comet PANSTARRS (Astronomers are still not sure if this comet will be great or a dud. How will it pan out?)

May 21-30 – Conjunction of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter (The wackos may be out again for this one, you know, planets aligning, end of world, etc)

June 23 – Biggest full Moon (Will be hyped but hard to tell the difference between this and other full moons)

August 12 – Peak of Perseid meteor shower

October 18 – Penumbral lunar eclipse

Mid Nov thru Dec – Comet ISON (Not sure of this one yet either but it looks promising.)

December – Venus as a beautiful evening object

Dec 13-14 Geminid meteor shower (I threw this in to make ten but it will be hindered by nearly full moon this year)

* my thanks to Parke Kunkle, Faculty of Minneapolis CTC and a volunteer at the amazing Bell Museum. You can sign up for the Astronomer's Update through the Bell Museum. They run monthly updates that include where to look for these sights and others. If you love astronomy (one of the many benefits of living in Minnesota's Big Sky Country) you should absolutely do this. Aurora image above courtesy of NASA and the International Space Station.

 

First Sunrise In 65 Days. Is a lack of sunlight making you a little loopy? Just be glad you didn't settle in Barrow, Alaska. Details from the Alaska NWS: "Residents of Barrow, Alaska watched the sun climb above the horizon for the first time in 65 days, after it set on November 18, 2012. The sun skirted along the southern horizon for about 43 minutes today. Tomorrow it will remain above the horizon for 1 hour and 27 minutes. The amount of sunlight will rapidly increase in Barrow until May 10th, at which point the sun will remain above the horizon for 24 hours a day for nearly 3 months. It was clear in Barrow today and a FAA webcam captured the short but welcome return of sunshine. Watch the sun trace across the horizon in the video below."

 

"Snowpig". Golf Cart Gets Pimped Into An Electric Snow-Blower. Wow. I need one of these, for the next time it snows. It will snow again....right? Pretty impressive, and eco-friendly to boot. Details from gizmag.com: "Canadian eco-enthusiast Dan Baker is at it again, pimping a golf cart into an electric snow-blowing machine. Last year Baker home built the Firefly solar-powered boat from scratch and this winter he’s determined not to be snowed in. Dubbed “Snowpig,” Baker built the snow blower as an alternative to an ATV/utility vehicle, with the added bonus of it being emissions free. “As far as I know this is the only vehicle of its type,” Baker told Gizmag..."

 

Hot Tub Boat Combines Cruising And Soaking. Hey, I've found the perfect boat! I wonder if they'll have one of these at The Boat Show, which kicks off next Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Gizmag.com has the hot, soggy details: "Can’t decide between lounging in the hot tub or going boating? Well, why not do both? People in and around The Netherlands can already do so, in a HotTug. Now, North Americans can also get in on the action, with the Hot Tub Boat. Manufactured in Seattle, the 6-passenger 15-foot (4.6-meter) vessel features an 8-foot (2.4-meter) rectangular hot tub, heated up to 104ºF (40ºC) by a built-in diesel boiler. The boat itself is propelled by a 24-volt electric drive system, maintaining a cruising speed of 4 knots..."

 

-6 F. low Thursday morning in the Twin Cities.

9 F. high at KMSP yesterday.

24 F. average high on January 24. The average high rises to 25 F. by January 28, up from 23 F. in mid-January. Progress.

24 F. high on January 24, 2012.

6 subzero nights so far this winter in the Twin Cities.

3 subzero nights all of last winter in the metro area.

 
Why MSP WIll Never Have A Population Of 10 Million. Maybe I'm wrong. It's happened before. Perhaps in future decades we'll warm to the point where there is no more January Angst, and millions of Americans will flock to Minnesota. In the meantime all it takes is a January like this, every few years, to put the fear of God into mere mortals, people who can't imagine a "high" of 9 above. Actually, I thought it felt pretty good out there by late afternoon. Statewide highs ranged from 4 at Alexandria to 5 St. Cloud to 12 at Redwood Falls.

 

 

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


TODAY: Partly sunny and breezy. Winds: NW 15-20. High: 17

 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, windy and colder. Low: -2

 

SATURDAY: Cold start. Sun should be out. High: 14

 

SUNDAY: Dim sun, getting better out there. Wake-up: 8. High: 28-30 F.

 

MONDAY: Gray. Badly-needed thaw. Wake-up: 20. High: 33

 

TUESDAY: Gusty, colder, few flurries. Wake-up: 25. High: 27

 

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun. Brisk! Wake-up: 2. High: near 10

 

THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, mostly numb. Wake-up: -3. High: 12

 

* the morning low at Duluth early Thursday was -21 F, about 56 degrees warmer than the water temperature of Lake Superior at Duluth. Photo of "sea smoke" courtesy of Wanda Brandt.

 

Climate Stories...

 

Exclusive: Billionaires Secretly Fund Attacks On Climate Science. This probably doesn't come as a shock, but this article at The Independent does come as confirmation; here's an excerpt: "A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt. The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry..."

 

How Climate Change Could Wipe Out The Western Forests. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at The Atlantic: "...Like the hurricane season, statistics suggest the burn season is becoming longer and more severe. A recent study of fires on U.S. Forest Service land by Climate Central, a nonprofit research group that reports on the impacts of global warming, found "the first wildfires of the year are starting earlier and the last fires of the year are starting later, making typical fire years 75 days longer now than they were 40 years ago." Compared to the 1970s, the number of fires covering more than 10,000 acres has increased sevenfold. At the same time, a study published in the science journal Nature Climate Change in September predicted that by the 2050s, forests will experience the worst droughts in 1,000 years. The result will likely be more fires, but also more beetles, and more trees that just can't stand the heat. Soon, the landscape of the American West may be unrecognizable. In some cases, trees will regrow, although probably in sparser patches. Some may be replaced by different species. But especially in drier, hotter areas like New Mexico and Arizona, the forests are on course to disappear altogether..."

Photo credit above: "The Waldo Canyon Fire blazes through Colorado's Pike National Forest on June 26, 2012." (AP Photo/Gaylon Wampler)

 

Scientists Dismiss Geo-Engineering As Global Warming Quick Fix. As I keep telling people - there is no silver bullet, but there's plenty of silver buck-shot; thousands of ways we can reduce greenhouse gases and become more energy efficient (and independent). Here's an excerpt from a blog post at Smithsonian: "Installing a giant mirror in space to block sunlight, dispersing mass quantities of minerals into the oceans to suck carbon dioxide from the air and infusing the Earth’s upper atmosphere with sun-reflecting chemicals might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they’re actual techniques that have been contemplated by scientists as possible quick solutions to climate change. More specifically, they’re examples of geo-engineering, a hotly contested subset of climate science whereby the Earth’s environment is intentionally manipulated in order to mitigate the effects of global warming. Since cutting greenhouse gas emissions has been something of an exercise in futility, the idea behind geo-engineering is to put systems in place that manage the carbon dioxide that’s already emitted into the atmosphere. The two basic methods are solar radiation management—whereby a small amount of the sun’s heat and light is reflected back into space—and carbon dioxide removal, which involves the capture of CO2 or its uptake by the oceans..."

Photo credit above: "A new study shows that dispersing minerals into oceans to stem global warming would be an inefficient and impractical process." By Kent Smith

 

Climate Change Beliefs Of Independent Voters Shift With The Wind. Looking out the window for evidence of "global" warming? A bit simplistic. Keeping a global perspective on long-term climate trends is challenging, even for meteorologists. That's why we have climate scientists doing most of the important work. Here's an excerpt from Science Daily: "...New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that the climate change beliefs of independent voters are dramatically swayed by short-term weather conditions. The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and the New Hampshire state climatologist. "We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held -- literally blowing in the wind..."

Graphic credit above: "Predicted probability of “climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities” response as a function of temperature anomaly and political party." (Credit: Lawrence Hamilton and Mary Stampone/UNH)

 

 
Kerry Says Global Climate Change Is Threat To U.S. The Washington Post has a video; here's an excerpt of their story: "In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said that American foreign policy “is defined by life-threatening issues like climate change,” along with political unrest in Africa and human trafficking across the globe. Kerry, the panel’s outgoing chairman, has made the issue of global warming central to his career in public service. The Massachusetts Democrat has traveled repeatedly to international climate negotiations and pushed in the Senate — unsuccessfully — for a limit on national greenhouse gas emissions..."

 

Obama's Climate Challenge. Here's an excerpt of a long, but thorough Rolling Stone article: "...Now Obama gets another shot at it. "The politics of global warming are changing fast," says Kevin Knobloch, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thanks to a year of extreme weather and Hurricane Sandy, a large majority of Americans – nearly 90 percent – favor action on global warming, even if there are economic costs. The U.S. economy is on the road to recovery and no longer offers an excuse for inaction. Big Coal, traditionally the loudest voice against climate action, has been weakened by a glut of cheap natural gas and the economic viability of solar and wind power. China has new political leadership that appears open to discussing a global agreement to cut carbon. And Obama himself has nothing left to lose..."

Graphic Illustration by Victor Juhasz, Rolling Stone.

 

New Analysis Shows Simple Math: Keystone XL Pipeline = Tar Sands Expansion = Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from a blog post at The Natural Resources Defense Council: "New research confirms what we have heard time and again from the industry itself: the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be a direct cause of an increase in tar sands oil development. More tar sands oil taken out of the ground means more dangerous pollution that hurts our climate and health. And, this new research also shows that tar sands will cause even more climate pollution than we previously thought due to the impacts of the high carbon byproduct petroleum coke. This is especially important in a time where our communities are feeling the damage of climate change in violent storms, wildfires, droughts and floods. Just recently a federal advisory panel—established by Congress in 1990 to analyze climate research—released the draft of its third National Climatic Assessment. The report confirmed there is “unambiguous evidence” that the earth is warming...."

 

Two Hopeful Signs The Obama Administration Will Not Approve The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Joe Romm at Think Progress has the story; here's the intro: "50-50. Those were the odds you could get in DC for a bet on whether or not Obama would ultimately approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

But this week I think the odds turned against the pipeline, for two reasons:

  1. Obama devoted far more of his second inaugural address to climate change than anybody expected — and framed the issue in stark, moral terms.
  2. The State Department decision won’t come until after March, which means it will almost certainly be made by the new Secretary, climate hawk John Kerry...."

Record 60 on Thanksgiving (Today will feel 50 degrees colder)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: November 23, 2012 - 9:37 AM

 

My (Revised) Christmas List

Dear Santa - I just woke up from a Thanksgiving food coma. Yep, I've been good year.

Stop laughing.

No iGadgets, bad ties or cologne this year, please!

The only thing I want under the tree is a Guardian Series Generac emergency power generator, made in Waukesha, WI. For the next time winds gust over 40 mph and a toppling tree 30 miles away plunges my home back into the 19th century. Home generators are flying off the shelves in the wake of record summer derechos and Sandy.

Did we really see low 60s yesterday? The mercury soared to a record 60 in the Twin Cities, breaking the old record of 59 set in 1998. Not bad, considering 9 hours, 19 minutes of daylight - coming less than a month from the Winter Solstice.

Watch for ice out there early; wind chills today dip into single digits. It'll be cold enough for snow thru next weekend, but storms will shun Minnesota. A couple of of reinforcing clippers keep us in heavy jackets into next week, but long range models are hinting at 50-plus highs in early December. Really.

As my 10 year old niece explains "Paul, winter is getting squished!"

Yep.

Details below: anyone under the age of 27 has never experienced a colder-than-average month, worldwide. According to NOAA October was the 332nd month in a row warmer than the 20th century average.

 

If You're 27 Or Younger, You've Never Experienced A Colder-Than-Average Month. Well this statistic puts things into perspective. Grist.com has more details: "Nowhere on the surface of the planet have we seen any record cold temperatures over the course of the year so far. Every land surface in the world saw warmer-than-average temperatures except Alaska and the eastern tip of Russia. The continental United States has been blanketed with record warmth — and the seas just off the East Coast have been much warmer than average, for which Sandy sends her thanks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarizes October 2012:

The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature..."

 * map above courtesy of NOAA.

 

Slipping And Sliding. Wind Advisories are still posted, the local NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for portions of central Minnesota. If your Friday travels take you toward Rice, Lake, St. Cloud, Little Falls or the Lake Mille Lacs area you will run into some snowy, ice-covered roads. Details:

...FIRST WIDESPREAD ACCUMULATING SNOW EVENT THIS YEAR IS CREATING
TRAVEL PROBLEMS...

.LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW CONTINUES TO FALL GENERALLY ALONG AND
NORTH OF INTERSTATE 94. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS CENTRAL
MINNESOTA HAVE BEEN ABOUT AN INCH...WITH MORE SNOW EXPECTED TO
FALL TONIGHT. VERY SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN
REPORTED...RESULTING IN NUMEROUS ACCIDENTS IN THE ST CLOUD AREA.
AS TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO FALL INTO THE TEENS AND LOW 20S LATE
TONIGHT...ANY REMAINING MOISTURE ON THE ROAD WILL FREEZE...FURTHER
WORSENING TRAVEL CONDITIONS. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED
TO RANGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES.

 

72 Hour Snowfall Forecast. WSI's high-resolution 12 km. RPM model is printing out some 2"+ snowfall totals for portions of central and northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, closer to 4" from Bemidji to Hibbing. Lake effect snow squalls will kick in behind the storm, piling up some 8-16" amounts over far northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. Right about now anyone with a snowmobile has an itch that a scratch can't reach...

Parka Weather. I'll be shopping for a new heavy coat today. The combination of 20s, and winds gusting over 20-30 mph will make it feel like +5 to +15 F. Nothing we haven't experienced countless times over the years - but coming after a spell of early October-like warmth it'll feel like a slap across the face. NOAA forecast map above valid 1 pm today.

 

Frostbite Potential. We've been thru this drill before, hundreds of times. But coming after a run of near-record warmth I'm concerned that some power-shoppers won't take the cold front seriously. The combination of 20s and winds gusting to 30 mph will make it feel like +5 to +15 F. at times. If you're outside (with exposed skin) for 20-30 minutes you could become a candidate for a mild case of frostbite. Slap on a few extra layers before hitting the malls today.

 

Latest Drought Monitor. There hasn't been much change in the last week: severe drought reported across most of the Twin Cities metro - 25% of Minnesota in an extreme drought. The driest conditions can be found from St. Cloud and Willmar to Redwood Falls, Mankato and most of southwestern Minnesota. The latest Drought Monitor is here, courtesy of NOAA and USDA.

 

The Making Of The Hottest Year On Record: USA Temperature Update. Here's an update on 2012, which will most likely go down into the record books at the warmest year of the last 115 across the nation. In fact there is a 90% probability 2012 will set a new record for warmth. 10 of the 11 warmest years have been observed since 2000. NOAA's ClimateWatch has more: "...Now how does 2012 fit in? Well, 2012 has been warm, and the first driver of the extreme warmth was March. March was the warmest March on record by far, and this caused 2012 to leap out way ahead of the pack. We had the warmest spring on record, the warmest July on record, the third warmest summer on record. All of these together helped 2012 maintain a huge lead throughout the year. Average temperatures in October pulled 2012 back to the pack ever so slightly, but you can see that the year-to-date temperature not only remains well above average, it remains well above history. So we will most likely finish with the warmest year on record—and by a huge margin. Go to the CPC web page to see their outlook for yourself, and while you’re at it, check out all our climate records at the climate monitoring web site. Keeping the big picture in perspective is a big part of being “climate smart.”

Map above: NOAA NCDC. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas are among 21 states on track to experience the warmest year in the last 115 years of record-keeping. Every state, except for Washington, has had a warmer than average year.

332. October was the 332nd month in a row of global air temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. Source: NOAA NCDC.

 

Thanksgiving Warmth. Before the icy front arrived Thursday afternoon temperatures were unseasonably mild statewide. The mercury hit a record 60 in the Twin Cities around midday, breaking the old record of 59 set in 1998.

 

Cold And Dry. It was nice while it lasted, but the maps look more like classic late November - early December weathher looking out into the end of next week. West to northwest steering winds aloft will prevent Gulf moisture from reaching Minnesota, meaning a continuation of storm-free weather looking out 1-2 weeks. The drought signal is still very strong, and shows no immediate signs of fading. ECMWF forecast highs (red) above are in Celsius. No, it won't get quite THAT cold.

 

How Does The Jet Stream Work? The U.K. Met Office has an informative YouTube clip focused on explaining the how's and why's of the ubiquitous jet stream steering currents aloft: "What is the jet stream? How does the jet stream affect our weather in the UK? This animation explains how the jet stream works."

 

Canadian Surge. On the latest (NOAA) NAM model shows numbing air cascading across the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley, many locations will experience a 25-30 F. temperature drop in less than 24 hours as the front sails thru. Meanwhile the west stays dry, with the exception of more heavy rain in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Drought Conditions Threaten Mississippi River Transport. There just isn't enough water in the Mighty Mississippi, the result of one of the worst droughts since the 1930s. Details from The Epoch Times: "Persistent drought conditions in the upper Midwest are threatening the nation’s waterways, with the mighty Mississippi River so low that barge traffic has been affected and may be forced to halt. Over 90 barges have been either stranded or grounded due to low water in recent weeks, according to the Waterways Council Inc. (WCI), a public policy organization representing shippers and ports. Low water levels are also likely to increase due to continuing dry conditions, compounded by the actions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who have orders to reduce water flow from the Missouri River into the Mississippi..."

Photo credit above: "A Coast Guard boat patrols in the foreground as a barge makes its way down the Mississippi River Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. A top Corps of Engineers official has ordered the release of water from an upper Mississippi River reservoir in an effort to avoid closure of the river at St. Louis to barge traffic due to low water levels caused by drought." (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

 

Can We Engineer Storm-Proof Metropolitan Areas? Will we go the way of the Dutch, building huge seawalls, dikes and levees to keep the sea out? Huffington Post has a very interesting story focused on possible ways to mitigate the next (inevitable) storm surge; here's an excerpt: "...Next time the damage done in dollars and in lives could be far worse. At its peak, Sandy was only a Category 1 storm. Its winds never went above 90 miles per hour near New York. Were something like a Category 4 storm, with winds of 131 to 155 miles per hour, to make landfall near the city, the devastation would be awful. Many more would die. Houses would be toppled over by sheer windforce, subway tunnels could be flooded for months instead of a week, and the economic capital of the United States could be paralyzed. The city would incur $500 billion worth of damage, according to a 2006 analysis by the Department of Homeland Security. As the climate continues to change, the damage could be even worse. According to a 2007 report by Risk Management Solutions and the University of Southampton, by 2070 the New York area will have 2.9 million people and $2.1 trillion in assets exposed to coastal flooding..."

 

How To Build A More Resilient Power Grid. Here's another thought-provoking article from Scientific American: "In the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy's destructive march on the East Coast, utilities warned customers to prepare for widespread outages and potentially extensive power failure. The question was not if the grid would fail, but to what extent. The storm highlighted an already well-known problem: The U.S. power grid is vulnerable to extreme weather. As officials from New York to Venice, Italy, have acknowledged in recent weeks, climate change is likely to increase the prevalence of such weather. And according to analysts and outside groups working on the problem, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy that can insulate the ailing grid against an escalation of the elements..."

Photo credit above: "Technology such as smart meters and micro-grids can help the vulnerable U.S. electric grid weather extreme storms." Image: Flickr/Christopher Schoenbohm

 

Vetoing Business As Usual After The Storm. Rebuilding in high-risk coastal areas after each and every hurricane is not only futile, but expensive, considering (all) U.S. taxpayers are picking up the tab. Here's an excerpt of a story at The New York Times: "Not a month after Hurricane Sandy there’s a rough consensus about how to respond. America is already looking to places like London, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Tokyo, where sea walls, levees and wetlands, flood plains and floating city blocks have been conceived. New York clearly ought to have taken certain steps a while back, no-brainers after the fact. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority ought to have installed floodgates and louvers at vulnerable subway entrances and vents. Consolidated Edison should have gotten its transformers, and Verizon its switching stations, out of harm’s way, and Congress should have ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to study the impact of giant barriers to block parts of the city from the sea..."

Photo credit above: "One of the largest piles of storm debris at the Jersey shore is shown in this Nov. 15, 2012 photo in Long Branch N.J. Superstorm Sandy created tons of debris that towns in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to dispose of weeks later. Three weeks in, the round-the clock effort to remove storm rubble has strained the resources of sanitation departments and landfill operators, and caused heartaches and headaches for thousands of families." (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

 

Outsmarting The Surge. How do we build more surge-resilient communities along the coast? Is it even theoretically, and cost-effectively possible to do so? Here's an excerpt of a terrific article at Time Magazine: "After Hurricane Sandy hurled the Atlantic at the Northeast coast on Oct. 29 and 30, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo returned from touring a shell-shocked New York City to face reporters. The storm surge had inundated lower Manhattan, Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. It had obliterated the New Jersey shore. Across more than a dozen states, from North Carolina to Maine and as far west as Michigan, it left more than 50 people dead and more than 8 million without power, and it likely caused more than $20 billion in damage. Sandy, a seemingly minor Category 1 hurricane, was a major catastrophe..."

Photo credit above: Andrew Quilty / Oculi for Time.

 

Hurricanes And Climate Change. An estimated 90% of warming has gone into the world's oceans. Are those (increasingly warm) ocean waters helping to spike the hurricanes that do get going? Here's a clip from PBS NOVA: "When it engulfed swaths of coastal New York and New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy became an instant symbol of a new age of extreme weather fueled by climate change. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama to nudge him to address climate. Bloomberg Businessweek summed up this sentiment with its Sandy cover story, "It's Global Warming, Stupid." But is it, really? As one of the most extreme kinds of extreme weather, hurricanes already pose a mortal threat to anyone living along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and other tropical cyclone trouble spots. If we face the prospect of routine superstorms amped up by the extra heat and moisture from global warming—or, in the case of Sandy, merging with other systems into freakish weather hybrids—that's a truly apocalyptic threat...."


NOAA Scientist; 80% Percent Chance Recent Heat Records Due To Climate Change. Is it possible to connect the dots and link attribution to a warmer atmosphere? The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has the story - here's an excerpt: "Is climate change giving our weather just a little nudge to make setting heat records - like Washington, D.C. just experienced - vastly more likely? That’s the opinion of one NOAA scientist. Meet Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. I recently participated with him and several other climate scientists in a Google Hangout conversation. What Hoerling had to say about climate change and record-setting temperatures was fascinating. He makes a compelling case that human-caused climate change isn’t causing heat waves, but - in many instances - adding to their intensity. Consider these excerpts from his commentary, about 34-38 minutes into the 60 minute panel discussion. “....the globally averaged temperature of the planet has risen beyond any doubt beyond where you would expect ... with natural variability alone...”

 

"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A.

 

Hey Paul. Does it look like we will have more tornados (4) than inches of snow (trace) this month?

Kent from Eden Prairie

Kent - I think you're right. We've had a whopping 2/10ths of an inch of snow so far this month (last Monday), and the odds of accumulating snow between now and the end of November are small, and dwindling. Earlier models were hinting at a little snow next Tuesday, but now models suggest the next storm will (once again) sail off to our south and east. When in a drought don't predict rain...or snow. I suspect snow lovers will remain frustrated into at least the first half of December.

 

Hey Paul - What is the latest mosquitoes have been seen in Minneapolis?  I just killed an August size mosquitoe and it's Tuesday November 20, 2012! Mosquitoes thanksgiving warning.

Jim Reid

Jim - I included your note, because it made me laugh. Thank you for that. I have no clue what the latest mosquito sighting might be here in the metro area, but I suspect we're close to a record. Does anyone even keep that data? I predict a dire lack of mosquitoes by Friday as cold air comes rushing back into town.

 

Ok, I know this is a month or more away, but, already stressing about Christmas holiday. Any hints as to weather for Christmas?  (relatives coming!) Lots of snow, little snow? Mild temps or extremely cold??

Thanks!

Cheryl Brown

Cheryl - I feel your pain. Welcome to the joyously stressful holiday season. Did I buy enough gifts? Is the house ready? Is there enough food in the house? The stress of expectations and family togetherness is enough to push anyone over the edge. Add (foul) weather to the mix and it's enough to make you crack! The reality: a Christmas forecast isn't in the cards - it's still too far out to say with any level of confidence. NOAA is predicting a colder than average month (I agree). But droughts are stubborn, persistent things - they tend to take (many) months to correct, and my hunch, my gut, is that drier than average weather will linger into much of December. I think it will be cold enough for snow - but will we have any (southern) moisture to work with? My hunch: no mega-snow-storms thru the first half of December, but one of these arctic smacks may twist jet stream winds enough to bring some real moisture north. I certainly wouldn't rule out a white Christmas, but if we do pick up significant snow it may not be until the latter half of December. Stay tuned.

 

About Face: U.S. Tornado Activity Near Low Point In Modern Record. The always prolific, always-interesting Capital Weather Gang summarizes America's tornado situation for 2012. It turns out the drought and excessive heat had at least one silver lining: "After one of the busiest years for tornadoes in 2011, tornado numbers in 2012 have come crashing down to historic lows. In 2011, there were 1692 twisters - second most on record. This year, only 882 tornadoes have touched down. (Tornado records date back to 1950*). “[W]e are approaching a theoretical minimum in the annual tornado count for the modern era,” said Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Ok. What’s especially remarkable about the year’s depressed numbers is that tornado activity got off to a red-hot start. Through mid-April, tornado counts were highest on record. But then, an extended tornado drought struck and the count ranking plummeted..."

Graphic above courtesy of SPC, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

 

Weather Data From Nation's Largest Wind Farms Could Improve U.S. Models, Forecasts. Here's one way to initialize models with higher quality (real-time) weather data - tap the network for wind farms around the U.S. - a brilliant idea described in this phys.org article: "NOAA now has data sharing agreements with Iberdrola Renewables of Portland, Ore., and NextEra Energy Resources of June Beach, Fla. - the country's two largest generators of wind-generated electric power, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The companies will provide valuable weather observations from instrumented towers in their wind farms and wind speed data from instruments atop wind turbines. Since 2011, Excel Energy of Minneapolis, Minn. has provided similar observations to NOAA...."

 

5 Apps For Surviving Black Friday. Shopping fatigue? There's an app for that. Newmediarockstars.com has the details: "If you’re not willing to risk getting trampled for that $5 discount on the iPad or aren’t ready to fight to the death for the last Sesame Street doll, please don’t bother reading the next few paragraphs. But if you’re battle-ready for Black Friday, you’ll need to have some survival skills if you want to get the gifts you want at the lowest prices. Having these apps on your iPhone will help you be savvy when it comes to finding deals and the nearest toilet."

 

60 F. high in the Twin Cities, a new record for KMSP. Old record: 59 F. in 1998

37 F. average high on November 22.

38 F. high on November 22, 2011.

.01" rain fell yesterday.

Trace of snow as of 7 pm yesterday.

 

 

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

 

TODAY: Icy roads possible. Mostly cloudy, numbing winds. Wind chill: 5-10. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 28

 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing, still very cold. Low: 16

 

SATURDAY: More sun, less wind. A bit better to be outside. High: 33

 

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Still dry - good travel weather. Low: 22. High: 34

 

MONDAY: Next clipper. Chilled sunlight, colder. Low: 18. High: 29

 

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, quiet. Low: 16. High: 31

 

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, fleeting thaw. Low: 20. High: 34

 

THURSDAY: Canada's leaking again. Chilly with lot's of sun. Low: 15. High: 28

 

Climate Change...

 

 

 

Climate Change Causes Insurers To Rethink Price Of Risk After Hurricane Sandy. Private insurers won't touch coastal properties, because of rising seas and a trend toward more severe storms, hurricanes and Nor'easters. If it wasn't for federal property insurance coastal residents wouldn't be able to keep rebuilding, and that's the source of growing controversy. The PBS NewsHour examines the topic of risk in this interview; here's an excerpt: "Climate change is our new normal. We're seeing more increased storms everywhere, all across the country. It is costing us tens and tens of billions of dollars, $32 billion to the insurance sector last year. But last year, when we surveyed 88 insurance companies and asked them, do you have climate policies in place, are you acting on climate, 11 out of 88 companies had a plan to address climate risks to their bottom line.

PAUL SOLMAN: The rest didn't. So, what is the industry's comeback?

ROBERT HARTWIG: All insurance companies are paying very careful attention to the variability and the volatility in the climate.

You can have a big debate about what the cause of that is. But insurers use all the information at their disposal in order to ascertain the risk, measure that risk in a very scientific manner, and then assign a price to that risk..."

 

 

 

Climate Change Challenges Transportation System In The U.S. Our infrastructure is showing its age - the situation compounded by (increasingly) extreme storms, as reported by AP and Huffington Post: "Wild weather is taking a toll on roads, airports, railways and transit systems across the country. That's leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy that are straining the nation's transportation lifelines beyond what their builders imagined. Despite their concerns about intense rain, historic floods and record heat waves, some transportation planners find it too politically sensitive to say aloud a source of their weather worries: climate change. Political differences are on the minds of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, whose advice on the design and maintenance of roads and bridges is closely followed by states. The association recently changed the name of its Climate Change Steering Committee to the less controversial Sustainable Transportation, Energy Infrastructure and Climate Solutions Steering Committee..."

 

 

 

Our View: Climate Change And A New Momentum. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Yankton Press and Dakotan: "...The Iowa declaration, signed by 138 scientists and researchers from 27 different universities and colleges in the state, becomes the latest salvo in a war over climate change — a topic that has lately entered a new and dramatic chapter. There has been a long-running battle between the believers and deniers of what was once known as global warming. You know the routine: While a vast majority of scientists are convinced that climate change is happening and is being created, or at least expedited, by man, others either deny it’s happening or admit change is taking place but has very little to do with human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, we continue to witness extreme and destructive weather behaviors. In the Yankton area alone, we’ve seen the massive Christmas blizzard of 2009, the record-breaking floods of 2011 and now the drought of 2012. Taken individually, we’ve seen these things happen before. But taken as a connected cycle, well, it becomes a dizzying merry-go-round..."

 

 

 

* The Iowa Climate Statement, focused on the Drought of 2012, and how it is consistent with a warming climate, is here (pdf).

 

71,000 New Yorkers: "Rise Does Matter". You couldn't pay me to buy a home within 10 feet of sea level. The data is the data, the trends are the trends, and rising sea levels don't bode well for coastal residents. Sandy was a shot across the bow, a harbinger of future storm surges to come. Remember, it was a (huge) Category 1 storm with 90 mph sustainted winds near New York City. What happens when the inevitable Categor 3 storm takes a similar track? It'll make Sandy look like a walk in the park.

The map above is from Climate Central's interactive "Surging Seas" tool, which is worth a look. Experts calculate that warming (expanding) sea levels have risen roughly 8" in the New York City area in the last 100 years. Did this make Sandy's storm surge worse? Absolutely. And there's a way to calculate the incremental impact of sea level rise, as described at Global Warming: Man or Myth: "Superstorm Sandy produced record storm surge levels for locations in and around the NY City metropolitan region. One way that global warming made Sandy worse is because global warming is causing sea levels to rise. Sea levels have risen more than a foot in the New York City region since the Industrial Revolution. So what difference did this extra foot make for the citizens of New York City? Quite a lot. 6,000 more people impacted for each inch of rise!..."

70,929 more people and 30,551 more homes flooded.

 

A Failed Experiment. The hottest holiday gift this year out east? Emergency generators. Sandy left millions in the dark for days, even weeks. But a massive June derecho, a miniature "land hurricane", a supersized swirl of severe thunderstorms - the largest ever observed - left millions more in the dark from the Ohio Valley to Washington D.C. My relatives living outside Washington are still traumatized by the freak summer display of nature at its worst. The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof explains how we got here: "In upper-middle-class suburbs on the East Coast, the newest must-have isn’t a $7,500 Sub-Zero refrigerator. It’s a standby generator that automatically flips on backup power to an entire house when the electrical grid goes out. In part, that’s a legacy of Hurricane Sandy. Such a system can cost well over $10,000, but many families are fed up with losing power again and again. (A month ago, I would have written more snarkily about residential generators. But then we lost power for 12 days after Sandy — and that was our third extended power outage in four years. Now I’m feeling less snarky than jealous!)..."

 

New Model Says Science Underestimates Climate Change. Public Radio International (PRI) has the story and audio clip; here's an excerpt: "Scientists agree that the planet is warming, but there is a wide range of projections as to how hot it’s going to get. A new analysis from scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research finds that the more alarming estimates may be the most accurate. John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado responsible for the analysis, said scientists have projected a global increase in temperatures of between three and eight degrees. In short, he said, that's a question of whether New York City becomes more like Richmond, Va., or more like Atlanta, by 2100, or roughly 90 years from now. "There is the capacity for further warming after that, or if we take action to curb climate change, less warming eventually," he said. The biggest source of divergence, from three to eight degrees, Fasullo said, is how clouds will change from the increase in greenhouse gasses..."

Photo credit above: "John Fasullo, right, and colleague Kevin Trenberth work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorad." (Photo by John Fasullo.)

 

President Obama's False Choice: Global Warming Or The Economy? The story from Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "...The president is understandably concerned that the American public elected him with a mandate to focus on jobs, growth and the economy, and any deviation from this is, as he says, not something "I would stand for." However, the very jobs he hopes to create and the economic engine he hopes to stoke will be influenced by the impacts of climate change. According to a report in Time, the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy will cost from $30 billion to $60 billion. Clearly, the world cannot afford too many super-charged storms. Meanwhile, record heat plagued most states during the summer of 2012, leading to a drought that might be the most costly natural disaster in history. There are brand-new jobs to be had in new green energy technologies. Plus, according to the respectable Stern Review, spending just 1 to 2 percent of GDP today (about $900 per person per year, or the price of a cell phone plan) will take care of current emissions. Waiting a few decades means the cost goes up to a far more painful 20 percent. In simple terms, if we don't deal with the issue of climate change it will hurt jobs, growth and the economy, saddling not just our generation, but our children's generation as well, with debt and consequences..."

 

Warming Lakes: Climate Change And Variability Drive Low Water Levels On Great Lakes. Here's a snippet of an interesting blog post at National Geographic: "For people living around the Great Lakes, water levels this past month have appeared much lower than many will remember. The upper Great Lakes reached near-record low water levels in October. This was most evident on Lakes Michigan and Huron, where lake levels dropped to less than two inches (4 cm) above record lows and 28 inches (71 cm) below the long-term average. All five lakes, plus Lake St. Clair, remain below their long-term averages. Rock and sand recently exposed by low water levels made stretches of the northern Lake Michigan shoreline look like a moonscape. Recreational boaters had trouble navigating the shallow water this fall, and shipping companies lightened loads to compensate for low water. Lakes Michigan and Huron hovered just above a record low set nearly 50 years ago, and Lake Superior was within five inches (11 cm) of a record low set in 1925..."

Photo credit above: "Low water levels expose the sandy lake bottom on Lake Michigan." Photo by Jeff J. Cashman.

 

China Issues Report Addressing Climate Change. There is no more "debate" about climate science, in China or in Europe. The Chinese have been witnessing the implications of a warming climate, and they are moving forward with plans to mitigate and adapt - slowly moving away from coal-fired power generation. Here's an update from Xinhua: "China on Wednesday published a report detailing policies and efforts that have been made over the past year in facing up to the challenges of global climate change. The report, titled China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2012), was released before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar. The report outlines actions taken by the Chinese government to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It also documents measures to promote the building of low-carbon communities and advance international negotiation and cooperation. During the 2006-2010 period, the aggregate energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 19.1 percent from that of 2005, which is equivalent to a reduction of 1.46 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This means China has accomplished its energy conservation goals listed in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), said the report..."

 

Why The U.S. Can't Stop Climate Change Alone (In 2 Graphs). Speaking of China, here is why an international treaty is essential. Greenhouse gases don't respect borders - this is a global challenge and will require a global solution. I suspect this is another factor that makes some people uneasy, involving the U.N. - one more step toward a "One World Government", according to my conspiracy-theorist friends. I don't see a plot around every corner, but it makes sense, at least to me, that we need to get China and India (specifically) to agree to drastic cuts in the dirtiest of fuels, which includes coal. Here's more from The Atlantic: "President Obama's election night reference to global warming kindled a bit of hope among liberals that his administration might make a concerted effort to tackle the issue in its second term. And unless we all plan on getting used to an annual superstorm season, we should hope so. But here's a reminder, courtesy of a recent World Resources Institute report on coal consumption, that whatever the U.S. does to deal with climate change, our efforts will be for naught unless they're part of a global effort. Coal-fired power plants are the top contributor to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, and the future of coal will not be decided, by and large, in the United States, which consumed about 13 percent of the worldwide total in 2010. Instead, it's in the hands of China, which burned up 46 percent of it..."

 

History Repeats Itself. Here's an excerpt from a PBS companion piece to Ken Burn's excellent 2-part series, The Dust Bowl, which is must-see TV. See if this rings a bell with current concerns about what we're doing to our (global) environment? "...As historian Robert Worster wrote, “The ultimate meaning of the dust storms of the 1930s was that America as a whole, not just the plains, was badly out of balance with its natural environment. Unbounded optimism about the future, careless disregard of nature’s limits and uncertainties, uncritical faith in Providence, devotion to self-aggrandizement – all these were national as well as regional characteristics.”

 

Climate Change Made Sandy Worse. Period. Chris Mooney explains at Mother Jones; here's an excerpt: "Superstorm Sandy—and its revival of the issue of climate change, most prominently through Michael Bloomberg's sudden endorsement—probably aided President Obama's reelection victory last night. But at the same time, there has been a vast debate about the true nature of the storm's connections to global warming (as well as plenty of denialism regarding those connections). In fact, there has even been the suggestion, by cognitive linguist George Lakoff, that if we all stopped thinking about causation as something direct (I pushed him, he fell) and rather as something systemic (indirect, probabilistic), then we really could say with full accuracy that global warming caused Sandy. Systemically...."

Photo credit above: "Flooding in Breezy Point, Queens."

 

World Bank Climate Report Says "Turn Down The Heat" On Warming Planet. This report created quite a stir; here is the first of several reports from Reuters and Huffington Post: "All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but it is the world's poorest countries that will be hit hardest by food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank said in a report on climate change. Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development. "We will never end poverty if we don't tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today," Kim told reporters on a conference call on Friday. The report, called "Turn Down the Heat," highlights the devastating impact of a world hotter by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, a likely scenario under current policies, according to the report. Climate change is already having an effect: Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heat waves and drought in the last decade have hit places like the United States and Russia more often than would be expected from historical records, the report said..."

 

More Fallout From Urgent World Bank Climate Report. Live Science has an interesting quote from climate scientist Michael Mann: "..Climate deniers often claim that solutions to global warming are part of a "global socialist agenda," Mann told LiveScience. "The fact that the World Bank — an entity committed to free market capitalism — has weighed in on the threat of climate change and the urgency of acting to combat it, puts the nail in the coffin of that claim," he said.

A changing world

The report, issued by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics for the World Bank, urges nations to work to prevent the Earth from warming 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) past preindustrial averages. Already, global mean temperatures are running about 1.3 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) hotter than before the onset of the industrial revolution..."

Photo credit above: Huffington Post.

 

Global Warming Will Devastate The Poorest Countries, World Bank Study Finds. More details from Think Progress:

  • Extreme heat waves, that without global warming would be expected to occur once in several hundred years, will be experienced during almost all summer months in many regions. The effects would not be evenly distributed. The largest warming would be exptected to occur over land and range from 4° C to 10° C. Increases of 6° C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States.
  • Sea level-rise by 0.5 to 1 meter by 2100 is likely, with higher levels also possible. Some of the most highly vulnerable cities are located in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

 

Report. The World Bank report is here. Another perspective from The Hill.

 

Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Pie Chart. The full story from desmogblog.com.

 

How To Profit From Global Warming. If you don't factor water struggles, along with a morphing (stormier) climate into your portfolio you may be doing your investments a long-term disservice. As I've been saying for 20 years, climate change is a threat, and a massive opportunity. Here's a clip from Seeking Alpha: "Based on the global warming hype you would probably think that it's a diabolical thing to end all life and bring on the end of days. We constantly hear about all of the negative effects, but does anyone talk about the positive effects? Of course our masters in Washington, London, Brussels, and Beijing will never spoil a good narrative by giving any mention whatsoever to such needless complexities. But in fact it is a complex situation and if we think about it for a while we can find positive effects and even ways to profit from global warming..."

 

World's Largest Investors Call For Climate Change Action. When people start to notice their investments are being routinely, consistently impacted and battered by a changing climate, some of the deniers may eventually see the light. Some (proactive, enlightened) companies are already trying to get out ahead of the curve, as reported by Reuters and Huffington Post: "A coalition of the world's largest investors called on governments on Tuesday to ramp up action on climate change and boost clean-energy investment or risk trillions of dollars in investments and disruption to economies. In an open letter, the alliance of institutional investors, responsible for managing $22.5 trillion in assets, said rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions and more extreme weather were increasing investment risks globally. The group called for dialogue between investors and governments to overhaul climate and energy policies.
  The call comes less than a week before major U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar. Almost 200 nations will meet in Doha from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7 to try to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the existing plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations that runs to the end of 2012
..."

 

200 Investment Firms Issue A Warning On Climate Change. Business Insider has more details here.

Better Than Average Labor Day Weekend Weather (Isaac recap; 3rd hottest Minnesota summer on record)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 30, 2012 - 11:27 PM

92 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

78 F. average high for August 30.

71 F. high on August 30, 2011.

1.38" rain so far in August; 2.8" less than average, to date.

+.2 F. After a cool couple of weeks, recent warmth has pulled the average MSP temperature for August to two/tenths of a degree F. above average.

 

Earliest snow ever reported in Minnesota shocked Duluth residents on August 30, 1949. Good grief.

 

Summer Data Bank:

28 days at or above 90 so far this year. Average is 13.

3rd hottest summer since 1891. Only 1988 and 1934 were a fraction of 1 F. warmer.

44% Based on NWS cooling degree data we used 44% more electricity to cool our homes and offices this summer.

 

Summer Warmth, But A September Puff Is 1 Week Away. The ECMWF keeps temperatures about 5-10 degrees F. above average through the middle of next week, but highs may slip into the 60s and low 70s by the end of next week.

 

Unusually Nice (For A Holiday Weekend). The ECMWF model keeps MSP dry Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 80s and a light breeze. There's a slight risk of a shower Monday morning, but no all-day rains are expected. Pretty miraculous for Labor Day Weekend!

 

100% Probability of Great, Live, Local Music. The Lost Wheels is having a CD release party and concert in Minneapolis Saturday night. These guys are really good. Trust me. I'm a weatherman. Details below.

 

“The adverse impacts of climate change are happening right now. Climate change is not only ruining our summer, it is an indication of longer-term consequences,” the report said. “Heat waves, warming water, floods, droughts, wildfires and insect and pest infestations are the new reality of an ever-warming world.” - excerpt from a story at The Hill, details below.

 

Soggy Swirl. The soggy remains of "Isaac" are pushing north across the Mississippi River Valley, soaking Arkansas and southern Missouri. Thursday evening IR image courtesy of the Naval Research Lab.

 

Isaac: A Drought-Denting Extra-Tropical Rainstorm. The models are in pretty good agreement that what's left of Isaac will push toward Kansas City and St. Louis, then veer east into Peoria and Indianapolis, unleashing excessive rains on drought-parched counties across the Midwest and Ohio River Valley. Rain is coming too late to help farmers this year, but Isaac's soggy remnants may help to recharge soil moisture and underground aquifers.

 

Instant Deluge. When you move to St. Louis, Louisville or Cincinnati, the last thing you probably think about is a washed-up hurricane washing out your Labor Day plans. NOAA HPC is printing out some 4-8" rainfall amounts from Missouri to West Virginia from Saturday into Monday of next week.

 

Washout! Here's what a tropical storm can do, turning creeks into raging rivers, washing out highways from the sheer force of moving water. Photo courtesy of WKRG.

 

Not Recommended. This is how many people mee their maker, crossing flooded-out roads. All it takes is 2 feet of rapidly-moving water to turn your vehicle into a boat, with potentially tragic consequences. As the NWS likes to say, "turn around, don't drown!" Find a detour or stay put until waters recede. Thanks to Anna Mills and WeatherNation TV for passing on this pic taken near Mobile, Alabama.

 

Not Again. Although the new and improved ($14.5 billion) levee system protected metro New Orleans, the outlying parishes didn't fair nearly as well, in fact in some areas flooding rivaled Katrina, 7 years ago (almost to the day). Details: "Residents evacuate their flooded neighborhood, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in LaPlace, La. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge." (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Isaac Headlines:

* Flooding areas north and south of New Orleans, and officials had to scramble to evacuate and rescue people as waters quickly rose.

* Along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, officials sent scores of buses and dozens of high-water vehicles to help evacuate about 3,000 people as rising waters lapped against houses and left cars stranded

* Floodwaters rose waist-high in some neighborhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff’s deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes.

 

Severe Flooding. Details: "A submerged cow is stranded amid debris in floodwaters after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge." (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 

* The LouisianaNational Guard ceased rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish, saying it felt confident it had gotten everyone out. There were no serious injuries. National Guard spokesman Capt. Lance Cagnolatti said guardsmen would stay in the area over the coming days to help.

* To the east, evacuations were ordered in a sparsely-populated area as a lake dam threatened to break near the Mississippi-Louisianaborder. Officials in Tangipahoa Parish, La., feared the water it would pour into the already swollen river would flood low-lying areas downstream. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said officials there would release water at the dam.

* The hardest-hit area was Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, where floodwaters overtopped at least one levee on Wednesday and left many homes under about 12 feet of water.

 

Entire Louisiana Parishes Submerged. Details: "A car sits submerged after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge." (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 

* Parish President Billy Nungesser said U.S. Army National Guard troops and local sheriff’s office officials were going house to house through the area on Thursday to ensure that there were no deaths or injuries.

* Clearing weather permitted the use of military helicopters, mostly UH-60 Blackhawks, to aid in the operation.

* In St. John the Baptist Parish, northwest of the city, about 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes before dawn on Thursday due to storm surges from Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, authorities said.

* In Slidell, a town of about 27,000 people northeast of New Orleans, storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain left the Eden Isle community under about a foot of water.

* Emergency services rescued about 350 people from Slidell homes and neighboring communities hit by more severe flooding, local authorities said.

 

A Lonely Walk. Although downtown New Orleans dodged a bullet with Isaac, surrounding suburbs (not protected by the new levee) weren't nearly as lucky. Details: "A man walks through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Isaac in Jean Lafitte, La., Aug. 30, 2012. The storm's once fierce winds slowed to 45 miles per hour on Thursday as it moved out of southern Louisiana and headed north, continuing to bring heavy rains and flooding." (Michael Appleton/The New York Times)

 

* Nearly half of Louisianaelectrical customers lost power and another 150,000 were out in neighboring Mississippi. Louisiana’s Public Service Commission said 901,000 homes and businesses around the state — about 47 percent of all customers — were without power Thursday. Utility company Entergy said that included about 157,000 in New Orleans.

* New Orleans’ biggest problems seemed to be downed power lines, scattered tree limbs and minor flooding. One person was reported killed, compared with 1,800 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi.

* Multibillion-dollar defenses built to protect New Orleans itself, after it was ravaged by Katrina almost exactly seven years ago, passed their first major test, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Storm Surge Aftermath. Tides rose 8-12 feet across coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, and although water levels dropped slightly today as Isaac's winds diminished, coastal areas remained engulfed in water. Details: "Debris lines the parking lot of the Pass Christian Harbor on Thursday, August 30, 2012." (Amanda McCoy/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT)

 

* A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted a couple and their dogs early Thursday from a home in LaPlace, between the Mississippi Riverand Lake Ponchartrain, The couple was taken to New Orleans and reported in good condition.

* The oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico region has so far reported no major storm-related damage to infrastructure. Energy production was expected to start ramping up again, after nearly grinding to a halt as Isaac closed in on Louisiana on Tuesday.

* President Barack Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday, allowing federal aid to be freed up for affected areas.

 

Mystery Ship Near Fort Morgan. Look what washed up on the beach at Gulf Shores, Mississippi - whipped along by Isaac's storm surge, wreckage of an old shipwreck. Details from Meyer Vacation Rentals via Facebook: "Look what Isaac uncovered! The first recent appearance of this mystery ship, believed to have been a blockade runner during the Civil War, was during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In 2008, Hurricane Ike gave us a bigger glimpse. And now in 2012, Hurricane Isaac is giving us a nearly full view. Hmmm . . . 2004, 2008, 2012. All hurricanes with names beginning with I. All within a couple of weeks on the calendar. While we hope it's the end of the pattern, we must admit it sure is interesting to see it appear!"

 

Hurricane Leslie? Still a tropical storm, "Leslie" is forecast to become a hurricane, and then recurve to the north/northwest, posing some risk to Bermuda. The map above shows a strong Category 3 Hurricane Leslie next Friday, September 7. Odds are it will stay out to sea, but an approaching trough of low pressure may nudge Leslie farther to the northwest. New England will probably experience strong swells from this major hurricane; right now the odds of landfall over the USA are small, less than 1 in 10.

 

The Drought's Silver Lining: No Metro Tornadoes in 2012. All those red dots (34 in all) are confirmed tornado touchdowns this year, concentrated over western and southern Minnesota, but no touchdowns within 50 miles of the Twin Cities. Duluth saw a waterspout/tornado, only the second one on record for Duluth/Superior, and the first since the 1950s! Map above courtesy of NOAA SPC.

 

Hurricane Isaac Drives Up Gas Prices. Could That Affect The Election? The Washington Post has the story; here's an excerpt: "According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Isaac has forced 93 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to come to a halt. That’s a loss of 1.3 million barrels daily of crude, about 22 percent of all U.S. oil production. Five gasoline refineries in the Gulf and four crude pipelines have also closed temporarily. It’s not surprising, then, that gas prices are now jumping even higher, to about $3.80 per gallon. Gas prices had already risen 40 cents per gallon in the last two months after the United States tightened oil sanctions against Iran and a refinery exploded in Venezuela. Isaac is adding even new pressure. So, could these higher fuel prices sway the November election?"

 

Severe Weather Warnings: Twitter, Text or TV? Here's an interesting story from Information Week: "NOAA awarded four grants, worth a total of $879,000, in an attempt to understand and improve the use of various media in delivering timely information in a way that encourages people to take action to protect themselves.  The grants are in support of NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation initiative. Experts from the agency's Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, and weather and river forecast centers will work with the award recipients. Twitter, text, email, the Web, or traditional media--what's the best source of information in the face of life-threatening weather conditions like Hurricane Isaac? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded four research grants to find out. "

 

Advanced Tornado/Hurricane Shelter Panels From Recycled Materials. Here's an interesting post from Clean Technica: "Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have designed new storm shelter panels made from recycled materials that have passed the National Storm Shelter Association’s tornado threat test. The new panels are a part of a new high-tech shelter they are designing."
  

Sony's 84" 4K TV In Stores By The End Of The Year. HDTV is so 2005. According to Sony and other TV manufacturers it's almost obsolete, because now there's 4K TV! They have to come up with a better name though. Details from gizmag.com; here's an excerpt: "The biggest announcement from Sony’s IFA press conference, if you’re going purely by the size of the device, was the unveiling of its KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV. Packing an 84-inch LCD panel with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s a total of 8.29 megapixels), the KD-84X9005 is Sony’s first 4K television and outdoes Sharp’s AQUOS LC-90LE745U in resolution, although not in size. In another first, the edge-lit LED unit also features passive 3D instead of the active 3D seen in the company’s previous 3D models."

* if you really have your heart set on a monstrous 145" 4K TV, check this out. Only one small problem: there's no 4K content...yet.

 

Galactic Service: Virgin Airlines Offers One Frequent Flier A Trip To Space. It's pretty high up on my bucket list: seeing Earth (and weather) from 200 miles above the ground; at some point the prices will come down, right? No time soon, I fear. TechCrunch has the story; here's an excerpt: "Virgin America is one of my favorite airlines to fly on — it’s kind of like the airline of the future, with interactive displays in every headrest, cool lighting, an animated safety video, and there’s almost always WiFi on board. But Virgin is looking to be even more futuristic, promising the customer with the most miles at the end of the year a chance to upgrade to Galactic status. That’s right, the person who flew the most on Virgin Airlines will win a ride to space courtesy of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Starting now through August 7, 2013, the contest will allow the most frequent flier to take a trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a carbon composite commercial space craft."

 

Experimental Device May Keep Trucks From Jack-Knifing. Technology will save us! Maybe not, but I found this entry from gizmag.com interesting: "If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing."

 

Paul's Prediction: An Up and Coming Minnesota Band: "The Lost Wheels". O.K. I'm a little biased here, but I know great music (and lyrics) when I hear it. If you like rock and blues you'll really like these guys. They have a unique sound and an energy that you don't find very often. Here's the deal: they just released their first CD "Chipper" and they're having a CD Release Party & Concert Saturday evening. If you've had your fill of sugar-on-a-stick at the State Fair and looking for something a little different, come by, say hi, and support local Minnesota music in the process. There's a 94% probability you'll have a good time.

Where: 331 Club in NE Minneapolis, Saturday at 9 pm.

Who:

Band members:

Dan Warner - Lead Vocals and guitar

Walt Kruhoeffer - Lead guitar and Slide guitar

Brian Rubin - Drums

Evan Clark - Bass and Keyboards

Style of music: Blues / rock. With a little bit of funk and southern rock mixed in.

Name of the Album: "Chipper" (Our debut 6 song EP) 

Sites: www.thelostwheels.com - Main Site facebook.com/thelostwheels - Facebook @thelostwheels - Twitter

 

Day 28. Thursday was the 28th day this summer season at or above 90 F. in the Twin Cities. Yes, that's quite enough. I still think we may see 1-3 more before heavy-duty cold fronts start dive-bombing south of the border, but then again a). I kind of like the heat (even without A/C) and b). I'm a naive optimist and I want summer to hang on indefinitely. Under a partly sunny sky highs ranged from 82 at Alexandria to 85 St. Cloud, 92 in the Twin Cities and 97 at Eau Claire.

 

 

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


TODAY: Some relief. Sunny, cooler, and less humid. Dew point: 46. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 84

 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortable. Low: 67

 

SATURDAY: Partly sunny. The more comfortable day of the weekend. Dew point: 57. Winds: SE 15. High: 86

 

SUNDAY: Sticky, hotter with hazy sun. Dew point: 65. Winds: South 15+. Low: 66. High: near 90

 

SUNDAY NIGHT: More clouds, slight chance of a shower or T-shower. Low: 69

 

LABOR DAY: Isolated early shower, then clearing - less humid. Dew point: 61. High: 86

 

TUESDAY: Still muggy, late T-storms. Low: 68. High: 83

 

WEDNESDAY: Stormy start, slow clearing. Low: 62. High: near 80

 

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, late rain in the day. Low: 58. High: 75

 

3rd Hottest Summer

You just enjoyed/endured the 3rd hottest summer on record. Only 1988 and 1933 were a fraction of a degree hotter, according to Pete Boulay, at the climate office. 28 days of 90+. Average is 13. Two days of 100+, the most since 1988. Based on NWS cooling degree data we've used 45 percent more electricity to cool our homes. Ouch.

July was rough, but records show 177 hours of drippy, 70+ dew points. Average for the summer season is 180 hours.

A stubborn heat-pump high nudged the jet stream 500 miles farther north; severe storms detouring over Canada. No metro tornadoes in 2012, but Duluth saw the second (weak, EF-0) tornado in it's history! That, and a 1 in 500 year flood. Very odd.

Yes, it's been hot, and a brewing El Nino may tip the scales in favor of another milder winter. But snow lovers should keep the faith. 1988 was a scorcher, but MSP picked up 25 inches of snow between October and December of that year.

Here's some fun party trivia: the first flurries up north are about 30 days away, on average.

Warm sun prevails into Labor Day; a 1 in 3 chance of a brief Monday shower. Soak up the heat because jacket weather is brewing for late next week.

Summer's last hurrah?

 

Climate Stories....

 

A New Record Minimum Of The Arctic Sea Ice Extent. More details on the new record for ice loss at the top of the world, smashing the old record set in 2007. Here's an excerpt from JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency: "Melt season in the Arctic Ocean came in the summer of 2012. The Arctic sea ice is shrinking at an unprecedented rate this year and set a record minimum. A record minimum sea-ice coverage of 4.21 million sq km was observed by satellite on 24 August 2012, one month earlier than previous minimum record set on 24 September, 2007."

 

Arctic Collapse Dramatically Increases Global Warming. It's a feedback effect, less ice results in a darker albedo (ocean water absorbs more infrared radiation than ice), which causes more warming, which melts more ice, which causes more warming, etc. A domino effect. Here's an excerpt of an article at The University of Manchester: "Writing in Nature, the scientists, led by Stockholm University, discovered that much more greenhouse gas is being released into the atmosphere than previously calculated, from and ancient an large carbon pool held in a permafrost along the 7,000 km desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic – dramatically increasing global warming. As the temperature climbs carbon, stored in vast ice walls along this Arctic coast called Yedoma, covering about one million km2 (four times the area of the UK), is pouring into the Arctic Ocean in one of the world’s most remote and desolate regions.
 This region is experiencing twice the global average of climate warming. While satellite images reveal thousands of kilometers of milky-cloudy waters along the Arctic coast, suggesting a massive influx of material, the Yedoma has remained understudied largely due to the region’s inaccessibility. By studying the thaw-eroding slopes of a disappearing island, the team found that the tens-of-thousands year old coastal Yedoma carbon is rapidly converted to CO2 and methane, even before being washed into the sea
."

Graph above courtesy of the Arctic Sea-Ice Monitor.

 

Report: Climate Change Promises More Tough Summers. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Hill: "...While it is difficult to point to any one specific weather incident as the result of human activity, the report said the abundance of abnormal conditions indicate climate change is a reality. NWF said the nation must adopt more solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy to stunt climate change. “The adverse impacts of climate change are happening right now. Climate change is not only ruining our summer, it is an indication of longer-term consequences,” the report said. “Heat waves, warming water, floods, droughts, wildfires and insect and pest infestations are the new reality of an ever-warming world.” Despite record temperatures, crippling drought and raging wildfires this summer, President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have avoided talking about climate change on the campaign trail."

 

Antarctic Methane Could Worsen Global Warming: Scientists. Here's a snippet of a Reuters story: "Large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane could have been produced under the Antarctic Ice Sheet over millions of years, which could add to global warming if released into the atmosphere by a thaw, a study said on Wednesday.  Scientists from the universities of Bristol, Utrecht, California and Alberta simulated the accumulation of methane in Antarctic sedimentary basins using models and calculations. They found it was likely there were micro-organisms there that would have been able to convert the ice sheet's large deposits of organic carbon into the potent gas. If present, methane would most likely be trapped under the ice."

 

The Cultural Divide Over Climate Change. Once again Doug Craig at redding.com posted a thoughtful article that nails the problem: beyond using climate change as an ideological and political football, there is a problem related to science literacy in the USA; here's an excerpt: "Andrew Hoffman recently wrote a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review in which he argued that a scientific consensus on climate change is irrelevant if we cannot attain a social consensus on this critical concern. We are too divided culturally and politically to establish a common ground. One reason, Hoffman suggests for this sorry predicament is scientific illiteracy. "With upwards of two-thirds of Americans not clearly understanding science or the scientific process and fewer able to pass even a basic scientific literacy test, according to a 2009 California Academy of Sciences survey, we are left to wonder: How do people interpret and validate the opinions of the scientific community? The answers to this question can be found, not from the physical sciences, but from the social science disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and others."

 

Common Sense And Global Warming. Here's a portion of an Op-Ed at jacksonville.com: "...What do we do about it? The transition from coal to natural gas is a help. Nuclear power can provide a bridge, at the very least maintaining its share of the American power supply. A move to more efficient cars will help. Any changes must be phased in so that they do not hurt the economy. The best solutions would stimulate the economy and create jobs while combating global warming."