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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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."

 

 

Quiet & Comfortable (more on a 1-in-100 year flood for Duluth and The Northland)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: June 21, 2012 - 11:51 AM

Sweet Relief. Puddle-free, siren-free - fresh, Canadian air is pushing south of the border, dew points dropping into the 50s, meaning almost half as much water in the air than earlier this week. A few instability clouds/showers are popping over the Minnesota Arrowhead; but no more monsoon rains are in sight. 11:30 am visible loop courtesy of WeatherTap.

 

83 F. high in the Twin Cities yesterday at 12:50 am (afternoon temperatures fell through the 70s).

80 F. average high for June 20.

77 F. high temperature on June 20, 2011.

.07" rain fell at KMSP Wednesday.

0" predicted rain through Saturday night (00z NAM model).

 

98 F. high at New York and Newark, New Jersey Wednesday - new records for June 20.

95 F. high at Burlington, Vermont, another record high.

9.93" rain reported at Two Harbors yesterday.

2/3rds of the Duluth Zoo was underwater for a time yesterday.

 

Climate change. Did a warmer, wetter atmosphere contribute to record flooding in Duluth? 3"+ downpours have doubled since 1961 - details below. Photo: Duluth News Tribune.

"A threshold may already have been crossed, so that major floods in the Midwest perhaps now should no longer be considered purely natural disasters but instead mixed natural/unnatural disasters." - details below.

"Our new reality: a warmer, wetter atmosphere is flavoring all weather now, a faint hum of atmospheric-muzak that makes droughts longer, heat waves more intense, and rainfall more extreme than it was for your parents and grandparents."

 

Historic Duluth And Northland Flooding: June 19-20, 2012. The Duluth office of The National Weather Service has a good meteorological explanation of what happened leading up to what may go down in the record books as the worst flash flooding in Duluth history; here's an excerpt:

"Three day rainfall amounts of 8 to 10 inches were common across the Minnesota Arrowhead and northwestern Wisconsin from June 17th through June 19th. The heavy rain took its toll on the road infrastructure and caused rivers and streams to flood.

A cold front approached Minnesota from the High Plains on Sunday, June 17th and this front set off numerous thunderstorms through the evening. Duluth NWS received nearly an inch of rain (0.71”). The rains that fell on Sunday had indundated the soil, and created more saturated conditions than normal, which primed the Duluth area for runoff in the extreme rain event that we received. On Tuesday, June 19th another front slowly approached northeastern Minnesota. This front continually formed thunderstorms that developed over east central Minnesota and tracked northeast into the Duluth area, the north shore of Lake Superior and into northwestern Wisconsin. The official rainfall in Duluth on the 19th was 4.14 inches up until 1 am. The thunderstorms finally ended when a strong cold front moved through Wednesday afternoon. The rainfall on the 20th was 3.10”. Total rainfall for the large rainfall event was 7.24”.

Numerous roads were washed out from the deluge of rain from Carlton County through the Duluth metro area and into Douglas County and Bayfield County in Wisconsin.

A state of emergency was declared in Duluth, Hermantown and Superior, WI."

 

How Much Rain Fell. Thanks to the Duluth office of the NWS for posting this map, available here.

 

Staggering Amounts Of Water. Two Harbors picked up nearly 10" of rain, 8.38" in downtown Duluth. Graphic courtesy of the DLH National Weather Service.

 

Road Closures. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has real-time information about flood-related road closures. Getting around The Northland is not going to be easy anytime soon - many roads require significant repair to support traffic.

 

Flash Flood Warning. Even though the rain is over, the flood threat is not. Warnings remain in effect for the Duluth area; here's the latest from The National Weather Service:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
1026 AM CDT WED JUN 20 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DULUTH MN HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
  NORTHEASTERN CARLTON COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA...
  NORTHWESTERN DOUGLAS COUNTY IN NORTHWEST WISCONSIN...
  SOUTH CENTRAL ST. LOUIS COUNTY IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA...

* UNTIL 1030 PM CDT WEDNESDAY

* AT 1026 AM CDT...LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS REPORTED FLASH    
  FLOODING ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. THERE HAVE BEEN EVACUATIONS IN    
  THE FOND DU LAC AND THOMPSON NEIGHBORHOODS...AS WELL AS SPAFFORD   
  TRAILER PARK IN CLOQUET.

* SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...CARLTON...
  CLOQUET...ESKO...FOND DU LAC...NEW DULUTH...OLIVER...PROCTOR...
  SCANLON AND THOMSON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE
WARNED AREA.

FLOOD WATERS ARE MOVING DOWN THE FROM THE HEADWATERS OF THE CLOQUET
RIVER DUE TO EXCESSIVE RAINFALL FLOWING THROUGH THE ISLAND LAKE
RESERVOIR. THAT FLOW WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANT RISES DOWNSTREAM ALONG
THE SAINT LOUIS RIVER...AND WILL LIKELY CAUSE FLOODING FOR ADJACENT
AREAS ALONG THE SAINT LOUIS RIVER...INCLUDING CLOQUET...AS WELL AS
THE THOMPSON AND FOND DU LAC NEIGHBORHOODS.

 

Flooding Drowns Zoo Animals In Duluth, Minnesota. Here's an excerpt of a story at msnbc.com: "Several animals at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minn., drowned overnight when torrential rain caused flooding across the city, swamping roads and sending sewage spilling outside overflow tanks. "We have 11 confirmed dead animals, most of them barnyard animals," zoo marketing director Holly Henry told msnbc.com. "Two thirds of the zoo is under water." All but one of the zoo's barnyard animals died, zoo spokeswoman Keely Johnson said in a statement earlier. That included the zoo's donkey, goats and sheep."

Photo credit above: Andrew Krueger  /  The Duluth News-Tribune via AP. "A car is stuck in a sinkhole as floodwaters rush down a street in Duluth, Minn., early Wednesday."

* more on the sad story from the Duluth Zoo from dl-online.com.

 

What The...? Duluth motorists were met with some surreal sights at the height of flash flooding Wednesday morning. Feisty The Seal was just fine, but other zoo animals didn't fare nearly as well. Photo credit here.

Duluth Zoo's Barnyard Ravaged; Escaped Seal Captured. The Star Tribune has more information about a heroic effort to rescue as many zoo animals as possible.

 

Dual-Pol Doppler. The Duluth office of the NWS just turned on the new hardware/software upgrade to their Doppler - the Dual Polarization Doppler can do an even better job refining raindrop sizes, increasing our ability to estimate rainfall amounts. The rainfall estimates (above) show a wide swath of 8-10" radar estimates.

 

Doppler Radar Rainfall Estimates. This is data from the Duluth National Weather Service Doppler, showing a huge area of 4-6" rainfall amounts from near Brainerd and Crosslake to Grand Rapids, Duluth and the Iron Range - nearly 3 month's worth of rain falling in less than 24 hours.

 

Was Climate Change A Factor? Probably. No, you can't prove that any one storm or extreme event was triggered by climate change, but the question is somewhat academic. You may not like it, but the atmosphere floating overhead is warmer than it was 40 years ago. We can debate how much is a "natural cycle" vs. how much is the result of greenhouse gases, but there's no denying that it's getting warmer out there. Basic physics: a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. Our new reality: a warmer, wetter atmosphere is flavoring all weather now, a faint hum of atmospheric-muzak that makes droughts longer, heat waves more intense, and rainfall more extreme than it was for your parents and grandparents. Alarmist? We'll see. Just connecting the dots. 3"+ downpours have doubled since 1961 over the Upper Midwest. Here's an excerpt of the full story from planetark.org: "...He pointed to global studies projecting more extreme precipitation and floods as a result of climate change, which is a product of increased emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is emitted by natural and human sources, notably the burning of fossil fuels. "A threshold may already have been crossed, so that major floods in the Midwest perhaps now should no longer be considered purely natural disasters but instead mixed natural/unnatural disasters," Saunders said. "And if emissions keep going up, the forecast is for more extreme storms in the region."

 

Photo Of The Day: Lightning At Lake Winnebago (Neenah, Wisconsin). Thanks to Brad Birkholz for an amazing photo of the storm moving in.

 

Like Something Out Of The Book Of Revelations. Check out this time lapse (I hope) photo taken in Minneapolis on June 19, courtesy of Eric Jaakkola. Amazing.

 

Record Heat On First Day Of Summer. Here is a short list of some of the scores of record highs set on Wednesday, courtesy of NOAA. "Here is a list of the record highs set or tied today. There will likely be even more tomorrow. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid prolonged work in the sun or poorly ventilated areas."

 

New England Heat Wave. The National Weather Service has posted a graphic, showing the last time the mercury surged past 95 F. in Boston, Providence, Windsor Locks and Worcester. Source: NOAA/Facebook.

 

 

Heat: America's #1 Weather Killer. It may be counterintuitive, but extreme heat/humidity claims more lives, on average, than tornadoes, hurricanes, even floods. Map above courtesy of NOAA.

 

Tropical Depression. Could this swirl of clouds entering the Gulf of Mexico become "Debby". According to NHC there is now a 30% probability of strengthening into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours - up from a 10% probability Tuesday evening. In spite of considerable wind shear, water temperatures in the Gulf are trending warmer than average, so further strengthening is a distinct possibility. More from NHC:

A SHARP TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO
IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF CLOUDINESS...SHOWERS...AND
THUNDERSTORMS THAT EXTEND FROM THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA
ACROSS CUBA TO THE BAHAMAS AND FLORIDA.  STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE EXPECTED TO GRADUALLY DIMINISH...AND
SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT IS POSSIBLE AS THE DISTURBANCE MOVES SLOWLY
NORTHWESTWARD TOWARD THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO OVER THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS.  THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.  HEAVY RAINS
AND LOCALIZED FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS WESTERN CUBA...SOUTHERN
FLORIDA...THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS...AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA THROUGH
FRIDAY.

 

5-Day Rainfall Prediction. NOAA HPC's 5-day prediction calls for 8-10" rains near Naples and Ft. Myers (from a tropical depression that may strengthen into Tropical Storm Debby in the coming days). The Pacific Northwest will pick up over 1" of rain, so will major northeastern cities, breaking the heat wave by the weekend.

 

Weather Hazards. NOAA is predicting excessive heat for much of America's heartland, an "enhanced" risk of wildfires from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, flooding rains for much of Florida.

 

"driSuit" Case Keeps Your iPhone "dri" Under Water. Hey, I don't write these headlines, but this one did catch my eye, because I absolutely need to be checking my latest FB posts when I'm swimming in the lake. Details from gizmag.com: "People just love their iPhones ... sometimes to the point where they don’t want to stop using them when they enter the water. That’s why the driSuit Endurance was invented. It’s a water- and shockproof case for the iPhone 4 and 4S, that allows users to still take advantage of all of the phone’s touchscreen controls – even when underwater."

 

App Of The Day. Here is a free app, called "State of the Air", available on iTunes, that measures current air quality, and the forecast for ozone, particulant pollution and other things you probably don't want to be breathing into your lungs, courtesy of the American Lung Association.

 

Apple TV: To Infinity And Beyond. Yes, we're still dealing with rumors, but something (big) is cooking out in Cupertino. Can Apple can do for television what it did for music and cell phones? Stay tuned. Here's a portion of an article at Seeking Alpha: "Rumors have been swirling about a much anticipated Apple TV (AAPL) for several months, recently being semi-confirmed by Foxconn's investment in Sharp. If the Apple TV turns out to be anything close to what the experts are predicting, it has the potential to permanently change the TV industry. Here's a look at both the positive and negative aspects of a potential Apple TV, and what could make the it such a disruptive product:

Pros

Possibility Of A La Carte Content

This is exactly what the cable industry is most afraid of. Current leaders of the TV industry such as Comcast (CMSCA) and Dish Network (DISH) provide channel packages with a very standardized form, leaving very little room for individual preference or customization. The possibility of Apple being able to provide channels in an a la carte manner would be far more cost efficient for consumers, who could only choose to subscribe to the channels they prefer."

* image above courtesy of smokingapples.com, which has another article about a potential Apple iTV.

 

Leaked: XBox 720 Slated For 2013 Release. Gamers may have a passing interest in this gizmag.com post; here's an excerpt: "Rumors about a possible next-gen Xbox have been swirling for quite awhile now, dropping minor details like Blu-Ray support and major details like software that prevents used games from playing. But those were tiny pebbles compared to the avalanche of possible features that were recently revealed when a 56-page document purportedly leaked from Microsoft showed up online."

 

Graphic above courtesy of GraphJam.

 

Mom Really Shouldn't Use A Digital Camera.

 

Wednesday Numbers. A threatening sky hovered overhead much of the day, but the heaviest T-storms swept across central and northern Minnesota, the cool front weakening as it drifted across the metro area. Highs ranged from 70 at Alexandria to 76 St. Cloud, 83 in the Twin Cities (shortly after midnight). Over 1" of rain soaked Eau Claire and Alexandria.

 

"We are consumed by that we are nourished by." - William Shakespeare

 

Double Rainbow. Thanks to WeatherNation TV meteorologist Bryan Karrick for sharing this photo from Cologne.

 

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


TODAY. Sweet relief. Partly sunny, breezy and pleasant. Dew point: 56. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 77

 

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 60

 

FRIDAY: More sun, still comfortable. Winds:NW 10-15. High: 81

 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, slight chance of thunder by daybreak. Low: 62

 

SATURDAY: More clouds. Isolated T-shower possible. Dew point: 63. Winds: S 10-15. High: near 80

 

SUNDAY: Sunnier, nicer day of the weekend. Dew point: 58. Winds: NE 10+. Low: 64. High: 83

 

MONDAY: Sunny and beautiful (naturally). Low: 63. High: 81

 

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, lukewarm. Low: 62. High: 82

 

WEDNESDAY: Hazy sun, warming up again. Low: 66. High: 86

 

 

An Unholy Weather Lotto

Why are we so mesmerized by the weather? The technology? The uncertainty? Weather is democratic; we're all at the mercy of the elements. Almost every day brings news of another weather disaster. Will my neighborhood be next?

"We never see tornadoes or floods!"

Until you do.

Residents of Duluth are mopping up from what may have been a 1-in-100 year flood. 8-10" rain in the North Woods? Sinkholes, mudslides, roads washed away? Wednesday's flood may exceed the previous high-water mark set in 1972.

This is why climate science matters. A warmer, wetter sky is stacking the deck in favor of more extreme rainfall events. Research shows 3" downpours across the Upper Midwest have doubled since 1961. Weather on steroids.

What happened? A "train-echo" effect set up. Much like the cars in a train pass over the same section of track, T-storms kept redeveloping over the same counties, unleashing a summer's worth of rain in 24 hours. Tropical floods in Duluth - who's next? I wish I knew. Every day Mother Nature spins the wheel - all you can do is hope and pray your number doesn't come up. Melodramatic? Tell that to folks up in Duluth, still wondering what just happened.

Canadian air arrives today - we catch a break. A fine Friday leads to T-showers Saturday - Sunday still looks like the sunnier, drier day.

Sunny & quiet next week? Yes. Siren-free. Life vests and hip boots optional.

 

Climate Stories...

 

The Battle Over Climate Science. I know Michael Mann. He's a fellow Penn State graduate, and one of the world's leading climate scientists. I've gotten my fair share of insults, flame-mail and angry e-mails by just reporting the state of climate science - but nothing like what Micheal Mann has endured; nothing short of a global campaign of harrassment and intimidation. He's a scientist - he didn't sign up for this, but in spite of death threats and unimaginable, vitriolic attacks Mann continues to publish and speak out on what he believes will be one of the most important stories of our age. Popular Science has an impressive article that summarizes what the most ardent climate denialists will do to try and shut up the most prolific researchers in this field. Sad that it's gotten to this point. Here's an excerpt: "....“Weird” is perhaps the mildest way to describe the growing number of threats and acts of intimidation that climate scientists face. A climate modeler at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory answered a late-night knock to find a dead rat on his doorstep and a yellow Hummer speeding away. An MIT hurricane researcher found his inbox flooded daily for two weeks last January with hate mail and threats directed at him and his wife. And in Australia last year, officials relocated several climatologists to a secure facility after climate-change skeptics unleashed a barrage of vandalism, noose brandishing and threats of sexual attacks on the scientists’ children. Those crude acts of harassment often come alongside more-sophisticated legal and political attacks. Organizations routinely file nuisance lawsuits and onerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to disrupt the work of climate scientists."

Photo credit above: "Heating Up." Daniel Schumpert and Jason Briney

 

Connecting The Dots: How Climate Change Is Fueling Western Wildfires. It's not your imagination - western fires are increasing in frequency and intensity over time, and a warming (drying) climate, warmer winters, and more pests are all conspiring to increase the odds of massive fires. Think Progress has a story, originally run at The National Wildlife Federation; here's an excerpt: "Western wildfires are dominating headlines in June – but the media coverage focuses only on effects while ignoring a major cause. We hear about an increase in the number and intensity of wildfires. And separately, we hear about ongoing global warming, like how May was the 2nd-hottest on record globally behind only May 2010. Why aren’t those dots being connected? There’s compelling evidence that talking about western wildfires without mentioning climate change is like talking about lung cancer without mentioning cigarettes. I want to walk you through what’s happening out west right now, what the latest science tells us about why it’s happening, how it’s affecting people and wildlife in the region, and what we can do about it."

 

On Eve Of Rio Summit, Americans See Environment Deteriorating. The story from The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "On the eve of a major gathering to discuss the state of the planet, a Washington Post poll shows that most Americans think the world’s natural environment has deteriorated over the past decade, and more than six in 10 say humans are making the problem worse. Leaders from more than 130 nations will meet in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday for the high-level session of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The meeting, which happens once a decade, aims to identify how to achieve economic growth without depleting the planet’s natural resources."

Photo credit above: "Agentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, second from left, gestures after arriving late to Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, second right, during the group photo at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Bottom row from left: Benin's President Boni Yayi, Agentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, France's President Francois Hollande, Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the Rio+20, and UN General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)."

 

How Cities Are Leading The Way In Climate Change Fight. The story is in greenbiz.com; here's an excerpt: "When it comes to solving climate change challenges, city mayors aren't waiting around. On the eve of this week's Rio+20 event, a group of mayors around the globe announced they have taken steps to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 248 million metric tons in 2020, and by more than 1 billion tons by 2030. The C40 Leadership Group, which includes 59 cities producing about 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, have undertaken nearly 5,000 climate-related actions since the network first formed in 2005."

 

What Does Climate Change Mean For Water In The Colorado River Basin? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at National Geographic. Clean water, not oil will quickly become the most precious natural resource on the planet. Here's an excerpt: "Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently celebrated the work of an Israeli scientist whose innovations in water conservation have been applied throughout the Middle East, noting “the importance of getting the most out of every drop of water. In many regions of the world, water is either too scarce or too unpredictable to sustain an American style of agriculture.” But it’s not clear that the American Southwest can sustain an American style of agriculture, or for that matter an American style of lawn. Nearly every climate change model puts a red bulls-eye on the Colorado River Basin, suggesting profound temperature increases over the coming decades."

Photo credit above: "Sunset over the Rockies, which are soon to get hotter and drier." Credit: Rocket Scientist X, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Kaiser Permanente Links Climate Change To Health Care. Here's a snippet of a story at Huffington Post: "Kaiser Permanente (KP), one of the largest health care providers in America, has a clear mission: improve health. In a surprising and welcome twist, KP is publicly recognizing that climate change threatens that mission. This health care leader is showing how an authentic, mission-driven connection to global issues can drive change. The topic of climate change has become so politicized, it's rare to hear company representatives and CEOs admit that they're taking a course of action specifically in response to a climate-related threat. But that's starting to change, even in sectors you might not think have a direct stake in climate change."

 

A Good Summary of "Global Weirdness" From Climate Central. The meteorologists and climate scientists at Climate Central have just published their first book, and it's worth a look. It summarizes some of the jaw-dropping things I've been seeing on the weather map in recent years. No,  you're not imagining it - our weather is morphing into Weather 2.0: warmer, stormier, more extreme rainfall events, intense heat, drier droughts, more wildfires, increasing stress on water resources - the list goes on. More from Climate Central: "There’s always a sense of uncertainty in publishing a book. You think you did a good job, and your editor presumably does, too — but that doesn’t always guarantee that the rest of the world will end up agreeing. We’re about to find out: Climate Central’s first book project officially hits the stores on July 24. It’s titled Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future, published by Pantheon, and it’s an attempt answer the challenge Thomas Friedman issued in the New York Times back in 2010: “In my view,” he wrote, “the climate-science community should convene its top experts — from places like NASA, America’s national laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology and the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre — and produce a simple 50-page report. They could call it “What We Know,” summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth-grader could understand, with unimpeachable peer-reviewed footnotes.”

Flash Flood Warning Far South Metro (6" Doppler rainfall estimates...roads "impassable" near Northfield)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: June 14, 2012 - 6:36 PM

Flood Warning Far South Metro. NWS Doppler at 6:24 pm shows the strongest storms south of MSP, from near St. Peter and Gaylord to Northfield, Hastings and Red Wing. Torrential rain and 1/2 to 1" diameter hail are possible - along with an isolated tornado. A Severe Storm Watch is in effect until 10 pm. Latest NWS Flash Flood Warning:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
557 PM CDT THU JUN 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE TWIN CITIES HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
  GOODHUE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...
  NORTHERN RICE COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA...
  SOUTHERN DAKOTA COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA...

* UNTIL 1000 PM CDT

* AT 555 PM CDT...LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS REPORTED SLOW
  MOVING THUNDERSTORMS WITH VERY HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS THE WARNED    
  AREA. 3 TO 4 INCHES OF RAIN HAVE FALLEN SINCE THIS MORNING...AND    
  ADDITIONAL 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE.

* RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO
  OCCUR. SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...RED
  WING...BOMBAY...CANNON FALLS...DENNISON...DUNDAS...GOODHUE...
  HADER...LONSDALE...MIESVILLE...NERSTRAND...NORTHFIELD...RANDOLPH...
  STANTON...VESELI...WANAMINGO...WASTEDO...WEBSTER...WELCH AND
  ZUMBROTA.

LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS REPORTED THAT SOME ROADS ARE IMPASSIBLE BETWEEN
NORTHFIELD AND NERSTRAND.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY.
RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE
PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS
SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY
AUTOMOBILE.

TO REPORT FLOODING...HAVE THE NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY RELAY
YOUR REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN THE
TWIN CITIES.

 

 

 

Doppler Radar Rainfall Estimates. I'm seeing some amazing rainfall amounts over the far south metro - as much as 6" near Northfield and Nerstrand, where some roads are said to be "impassable". A wide band of 3-5" of rain, a month's worth, has fallen just today from Glencoe east to Red Wing. Data courtesy of KMPX Doppler and NOAA.

 

Severe Storm Watch. SPC has issused a watch for southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities and southwestern Wisconsin, until 10 pm. The greatest risk: hail and damaging straight-line winds, but a few isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out in this (sheared) environment.

 

Train-Echo Effect. Here is the 6 pm visible satellite loop from WeatherTap (subscription required). A stalled frontal boundary over southern MN is igniting more strong/severe T-storms. Some sun is likely into the evening hours over western  and central Minnesota, but it now looks like drier air will not reach the MSP metro until Friday.

 

76 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

78 F. average high on June 13.

77 F. high on June 13, 2011.

Trace of rain reported at KMSP (Twin Cities International Airport) yesterday.

Friday, Sunday: two days with the best chance of seeing the sun in the coming days.

 

Slight severe storm risk today for the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, and much of central/southern Minnesota. Source: SPC.

.50" rain predicted for the Twin Cities today (00z NAM model).

 

Watering Optional. OK. I've been ranting and raving about the European (ECMWF) model for weeks now, ad nauseum. It has done a better job, overall, than the (U.S.) GFS model looking out beyond 3-4 days. The ECMWF is hinting at Friday and Sunday as the sunniest, driest days in sight, but some very significant rain, coming every other day. Here are the predictions (converted from metric - millimeters - to inches):

1.5" Today

.17" Saturday

2.4" Monday

 

Weekend Details. Here is the detailed break-out of the weekend forecast, data provided by the ECMWF. Showers are likely Saturday (although not the soaking I feared a few days ago). A wind shift brings slightly drier air into Minnesota Saturday night and Sunday, highs on Fathers Day in the upper 70s and low 80s.

 

Severe Risk Today. (Updated at 9 am Thursday) SPC has expanded the slight risk today, now extending from Duluth and the Twin Cities to Omaha, on south to the Panhandle of Texas - expect watches and warnings in the slight risk area.

 

Latest Storm Reports. Here's a nice tool from NOAA, latest storm reports on an interactive Google map - in this case showing large hail that fell west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Wednesday evening. Bookmark-worthy.

 

UV Alerts. NOAA has a new experimental product that highlights regions of the USA where UV (ultraviolet) radiation may reach dangerous levels. Keep in mind the sun overhead is as high in the sky as it ever gets over the Northern Hemisphere. The potential to tan (or burn) has nothing to do with air temperature, and everything to do with the date, the sun angle. Here's more information on UV Alerts from NOAA: "The UV Alert product is a joint venture between the NWS and the EPA to provide guidance for areas around the contiguous 48 states that are expected to experience well above normal UV radiation levels during the midday period. If you are within a UV Alert region extra precautions should be taken to protect oneself from the sun's UV radiation. Areas of above normal UV conditions are shaded (yellow), and areas expected to be "well above normal" conditions (red)."

 

Risk Of An Aurora. With the sun heading into a more active phase (scheduled to peak in 2013) the odds of witnessing the Northern Lights (one of the more magical things you can see in the North Woods of Minnesota) may increase in the months to come. If you're looking for a good link showing real-time aurora potential, click here to see the latest Ovation Outlook, courtesy of NOAA (still an experimental product): "OVATION: An empirical model of the intensity of the aurora. The model uses solar wind conditions and the IMF at the L1 point as inputs. The Display: Shows the intensity and location of the aurora as expected for the time shown at the bottom of the map. This forecast is based on current solar wind conditions and the average time for the solar wind to propagate from the ACE satellite at L1 to Earth. The model produces an estimate of the intensity of the aurora. In this product a linear relationship between intensity and viewing probability is assumed. This relationship was validated by comparison with data from the UVI instrument on the NASA POLAR Satellite ."

 

Bigger Puddles Up North. Here is the latest (NAM) rainfall prediction looking out 84 hours, over 1" for the metro (wetter north metro), with some 1.5 to 2.5" rainfall amounts possible from Alexandria to Brainerd and Duluth.

 

5-Day Rainfall Outlook. The heaviest rains looking out through Monday are forecast to fall over the Upper Midwest, Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The west stays dry, so does much of the east, only scattered T-storms from Florida into the Lower Mississippi Valley.

 

Tornado Tears Through Venice, Italy (Videos). Meteorologist Jason Samenow from The Washington Post has more details on the freakish tornado that swept through Venice on Tuesday; here's an excerpt: "The twister terrified Venetians at an open market in Lido says the Italian news organization ATI: People were frightened, with scenes of panic, broken branches and strong wind, but there were no injuries. . . The Italy Chronicles writes about twisters of the past in Venice: Venice is no stranger to such events, the most damaging of which occurred in 1970. Another tornado blew through Venice in 2008."

 

 
 

Florida Atlantic University Hurricane Expert Weighs In On Predictions. The South Florida Sun Sentinel has an interesting Q&A with a local hurricane authority; here's an excerpt: "For credentials, Hanson is a Ph.D. meteorologist whose specialty is research on atmosphere-ocean interaction with the behavior of low clouds and their role in the climate. His official title is scientific director of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University. With his hands full at the center he doesn't teach, but this Boca Del Mar resident advises graduate students as a professor of geosciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at FAU.

Q: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called NOAA, predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season with a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms with top winds of 39 mph or higher. Four to eight storms will strengthen to hurricanes. Of those, one to three will become major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking category 3, 4 or 5. Do you agree?"

 

3 Ways To Protect Financial Records During A Hurricane. There is some very good advice here, courtesy of The Sun Sentinel: "A new hurricane season has started and South Floridians need to plan how to safeguard their valuables, including financial documents and tax records. Mike Dobzinski, the Plantation spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, gives three ways to protect yourself if a hurricane blows away — or destroys — years of records.

Backup records electronically. Dobzinski recommends keeping a set of backup records, including birth certificates, passport, tax returns and insurance policies, in a safe place away from the original set. "Even if the original record is only available on paper, it can be scanned into an electronic format," Dobzinski said. "With documents in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a portable backup storage device such as an external hard drive, CD or DVD."

 

High Park Blaze From Space. Here's the latest from NASA's Earth Observatory: "The High Park Fire, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Fort Collins, Colorado, was discovered just before 6:00 a.m. on June 9, 2012. Started by a lightning strike, the fire quickly grew, fueled by high winds and dry vegetation. By the morning of June 12, the fire had burned more than 43,000 acres (17,000 hectares), making it the third-largest fire in Colorado history. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured these images on June 9 (top) and June 10, 2012 (bottom). Red outlines show the approximate boundaries of actively burning fires. Thick smoke was carried eastward on both days."

 

Temporary Housing. Hundreds of firefighters are fighting the blazes in New Mexico; here is a photo of the temporary housing, via Facebook: "Firefighter Housing at White Mountain Complex in Ruidoso, looking NW  — with Brenda Dunn at White Mountain Recreational Complex.:

 

Massive Dust Storm. NASA MODIS has the details: "On June 2, 2012, a dust storm struck southeastern Iraq. Winds blew fine sediments toward the southeast, over the Persian Gulf, and into northeastern Saudi Arabia. Winds also kicked up streamers of dust in Qatar. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image the same day."

 

Are Women Greener Than Men? The answer appears to be yes. That "nurturing gene" is in their DNA, whether it comes to child-rearing, or caring for Mother Earth. I found this Op-Ed from the L.A. Times particularly fascinating - here's an excerpt: "When it comes to caring for the environment, is there a gender difference between men and women? A growing body of social science research suggests yes. Women consistently rank values strongly linked to environmental concern — things such as altruism, personal responsibility and empathy — as more important than men do. They also say they see environmentalism as important to protecting themselves and their families. The Institute for Women's Policy Research found women are less likely than men to support environmental spending cuts and are less sympathetic to business when it comes to environmental regulation. They also have more positive feelings about environmental activists and are concerned about environmental risks to health, especially locally."

Photo credit above: "Wendy Bryan, a West L.A. graphic designer, says using reusable bags has paid off at her local Trader Joe's. Women in industrialized countries are more likely to buy ecologically friendly and organic foods, more likely to recycle and more interested in efficient energy use, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development." (Los Angeles Times / May 6, 2007)

 

America's Love Affair With The Motor Car Is Running On Empty. Another interesting article from The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "America's love of driving is iconic. The open road is a central manifestation of America the free. During the 20th century, the total movement of cars and trucks on our national roads and highways grew as fast as our economy, or faster. Movement – measured by total vehicle miles travelled (VMT) – was considered an unqualified blessing. In the 1960s each American drove about 5,000 miles a year in a car, van, or truck. By 2000 that number was 10,000 miles. Which means we are twice as well off – right? Wrong. In the early years of the 21st century, something very interesting happened. Individual vehicle travel in America lost its glamour – and its connection to economic growth. In 2003 when VMT was 2.9 trillion miles, US gross domestic product was just under $11tr. In 2011 GDP passed $15tr while total vehicle travel was still about 2.9 trillion miles."

 

Apple's Siri To Ride Shotgun In Cars From Nine Major Auto Manufacturers. Now that same lovely Siri-voice can serenade you in your car or truck. Progress? Gizmag.com has the details: "As part of its keynote speech on the opening day of this year's WWDC, Apple mentioned that Siri will be featured in vehicles from no less than nine major global automakers. Not only will Siri be making her much anticipated iPad debut, but she'll also be joining you on your daily commute. Apple calls it the "Eyes Free" system. Apple said that Siri will be seamlessly integrated into vehicles from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota. With the push of a button, you'll be able to stop fiddling around with your phone or infotainment system, focus on the road and let Siri handle the other work."

 

No Caption Necessary. Thanks to funtoosh.com for passing this one along. What I'd give for a sugar donut right now.

 

Unsettled Wednesday. A band of light showers drifted across Minnesota yesterday as warmer, stickier air pushed north. Clouds kept temperatures cooler; afternoon highs ranging from 60 at Grand Marais to 73 St. Cloud, 76 in the Twin Cities, and 78 at International Falls and Redwood Falls.

 

On This Date In History (courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service):

1981: Tornado hits Roseville, destroying homes and damages Har Mar Mall.

1956: 8 inches of rain fell in the Ivanhoe area in 3 and a half hours. 100 thousand dollars in damage to crops.

1943: Torrential downpours cause flooding in the Twin Cities and east central Minnesota. 2.5 inches of rain fell in St. Paul in two hours. In addition, four streetcars were hit by lightning.

 

 

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


TODAY: More humid. Unsettled with a few more showers and T-storms, some heavy to severe. Dew point: 65. Winds: S 15+. High: 79

 

THURSDAY NIGHT: Sticky, a few more T-storms possible. Low: 67

 

FRIDAY: Sunnier, isolated T-storm. Dew point: 60. Winds: SW 5. High: 89

 

SATURDAY: Wetter day of the weekend. A few showers, possible thunder. Dew point: 66. Winds: S 10-20. Low: 66. High: 79

 

FATHER'S DAY: More sun, probably the nicer day of the weekend. Dew point: 60. Winds: W/NW 8-13. Low: 61. High: 82

 

MONDAY: Another round of storms, possibly severe? Low: 69. High: 85

 

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, slight drop in humidity. Low: 68. High: 84

 

WEDNESDAY: Muggy again, more T-storms - some heavy. Low: 65. High: 82

 

* Long range mode guidance shows a significant drop in temperature and humidity by Thursday and Friday of next week.

 

 

Grad-Party-Paranoia

"Paul, I'm expecting hundreds of people in my yard for a big grad party from 1 to 4 pm Saturday. Will it rain, and what time?" If I could answer that question (now) I'd be semi-retired, hanging out with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

We can tell when the atmosphere is ripe for T-storms, but timing these brief, tiny, fickle storms - 10 miles wide at times - is an exercise in futility. Computer models can't reliably predict rain down to a city block, 48 hours in advance. They never will.

My oldest son, Walt, suggested an honest response. "Dad, tell her there will be some sun... in between tornadoes."

Right.

Mother Nature has a twisted, sadistic sense of humor. Have a Plan B.

T-storms later today may turn severe as another hot front pushes north - stay alert. An isolated storm may pop tomorrow, but most of Friday looks dry, highs near 90. Saturday looks like the wetter day of the weekend; a few hours of showers and possible thunder (but the latest computer run doesn't look quiet as wet. It should cool off a bit over the weekend, readings may hold in the 70s Saturday, but the sun should be out most of Father's Day; the nicer day of the weekend - highs topping 80 across much of Minnesota.

A stalled front keeps us warm, muggy & thundery from Monday into Wednesday, but cool, clean Canadian relief arrives by Thursday.

My closing words of grad party advice: RENT THE TENT!

 

* image above courtesy of someecards.com.

 

Climate Stories...

 

Mitt Romney Worked To Combat Climate Change As Governor. The L.A. Times has the details; here's an excerpt: "During his first 18 months as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney spent considerable time hammering out a sweeping climate change plan to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions. As staff briefed him on possible measures and environmentalists pressed him to act, Romney frequently repeated a central thought, people at those meetings said: That climate change is occurring, that the United States has the resources to handle its vast impact but that low-lying poor countries like Bangladesh would suffer greatly. "It was like a mantra with him," said a person who attended those meetings who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic. "His Cabinet members would look at him like, 'What?' He was the radical in the room." Photo above:

Photo credit above: AP /Evan Vucci.

 

Wisconsin's Hot, Climate Study Shows. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "A new analysis of climate data shows that Wisconsin is among a group of states that have warmed faster than other parts of the country over the past four decades. Wisconsin ranked fourth in the biggest temperature change by decade since 1970. Arizona ranked the highest. Still, many of the states with bigger jumps are in the northern tier of the country. Here’s the ranking, based on temperature increase in Fahrenheit per decade since 1970:"

1. Arizona, 0.639
2. Michigan, 0.622
3. Minnesota, 0.620
4. Wisconsin, 0.616
5. Vermont, 0.607
6. New Mexico, 0.603
7. Utah, 0.588
8. Maine, 0.587
9. Texas, 0.575
10. Massachusetts, 0.568

 

Global Warming: Yes, It Is The Greenhouse Gases. Here's an excerpt of a story from the Summit County Citizens Voice: "A detailed new modeling study of ocean temperatures reinforces the conclusion that observed warming is due to the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, together with international collaborators, said their results show that observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. “By using a “multi-model ensemble,” we were better able to characterize decadal-scale natural climate variability, which is a critical aspect of the detection and attribution of a human-caused climate change signal,” said Livermore Lab researcher Peter Gleckler, lead author of the new study that appears in the June 10 edition of the journal, Nature Climate Change."

 

Stalking The Elusive Congressman. Here's a snippet of a story from Bill McKibbon at Huffington Post: "...A coalition of environmental and good-government groups have come together to demand an end to fossil fuel subsidies -- Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison, both of them bold exceptions to the drab rule -- have introduced a bill that would remove $113 billion in gifts to the coal, oil and gas industries over the next decade. Not surprisingly, it has wide support: polling shows that around 70 percent of Republicans, independents, and Democrats think it's a poor idea to give tax dollars to the richest industry on earth. But guess who likes the subsidies? And guess who hands out huge chunks of campaign cash? That dilemma explains why, for many years, Congress has hidden the payoffs to industry in arcane corners of the tax code. Now we're trying to flush them out. We have a new tool -- a remarkable electronic scoreboard at EndFossilFuelSubsidies.org."

 

Coal's Resurgence Undermines Fight Against Global Warming. The Guardian has the story; here's an excerpt: "Coal has carved itself a 30% share of the global energy market - its highest level in over 40 years - undermining attempts by governments to reduce their carbon emissions, new figures show. China and India both increased their use of carbon-heavy coal by over 9% but Europe, where political consensus against global warming is strongest, also saw a 4% increase, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Christof Ruhl, BP's chief economist presenting the figures in London on Wednesday said industrialisation of developing countries and cheap prices were driving coal demand which had "profound implications" for CO2 output."

Photo credit above: "Coal-burning power station in Beijing, China. Coal's shares of the energy market is at a 40-year high." Photograph: David Gray/REUTERS

 

China Could Be Hiding A Japan's Worth Of Carbon Emissions. No transparency in China....really? Here's an excerpt of a story from The Washington Post: "Let’s go ahead and state the obvious: It will be impossible to hash out any sort of global agreement on climate change if we can’t even agree on how much carbon-dioxide different countries are actually putting into the air. Yet the data on this can be surprisingly unreliable — particularly in the case of the world’s biggest carbon emitter, China. A new paper in Nature Climate Change finds that there’s a real mystery as to how much carbon China is actually emitting. The national-level statistics say one thing. The provincial-level statistics say another. And the gap between the two numbers came to about 1.4 gigatons in 2010 — a staggering amount, equivalent to all the carbon-dioxide that Japan put into the air that year."

 

Obama's Hope....And Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op Ed from investors.com: "Election '12: President Obama plans to make climate change his top priority for his second term. No, that's not from The Onion, a humor publication, but the left-leaning New Yorker. What planet does this president live on? 'Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda," wrote Ryan Lizza in this week's New Yorker. "The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change," supposedly to "improve the world." So forget about the abysmal jobless numbers above 8% for over three years, or the $15 trillion deficit that threatens to turn the U.S. into Greece. No, amid those very real calamities, climate change is more important."

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