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...."

Coldest Air in 4 Years On The Way Early Next Week (48-72 hours below 0 F.)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 15, 2013 - 11:07 PM

 

Outlook: a Little Pain

Is this your first Minnesota winter? You arrived with a light jacket and a confident smirk? "How bad can it be - bring it on!"

(Insert sinister laughter-track here.)

Old Man Winter is about to rock your world; 2-3 days worth of world-rocking, to be precise. A burst of Siberian air will keep daytime "highs" below zero next Monday & Tuesday. Lows may reach -15 F. in the metro, maybe -35F up north.

Why the big difference from last winter? A year ago jet stream winds blew from the Pacific, consistently, keeping the coldest air of winter bottled up over northern Canada. This year winds aloft are light & erratic, allowing polar air to surge south. A lack of significant snow on the ground will temper the chill (slightly), but by Monday there will be NO doubt in your mind that you live in one of the coldest major metro areas on Earth.

The atmosphere is warming worldwide, but every now and then our weather will take a turn for the Nanook. In fact last year's record melting of Arctic ice may be influencing the configuration of the jet stream, something called "polar amplification", nudging bitter air farther south.

A thaw is expected today & Friday, maybe 1-2 inches of snow Sunday as brutal air arrives.

BTW, we haven't seen a subzero high at MSP in 1,462 days.

 

Arctic Smack. Nothing subtle about the cold front shaping up for Sunday, marking the leading edge of what will probably be the coldest air of winter. With an air temperature from 0 to 6 F. Sunday snow ratios may be close to 40 to 1, meaning that 2.9 mm. of forecast precipitation may equate into 2-4" of very light, fluffy, powdery snow - capable of blowing and drifting. Roads may be VERY icy Sunday as the coldest air drills south. ECMWF data predicts a high of -4 F. on Monday, -6 F. on Tuesday - some recovery in temperature likely by the latter half of next week. Yes, this too shall pass.

 

Ouch. The NOAA map above shows the predicted wind chill at 7 am next Monday, ranging from -25 F. in the Twin Cities to -38 F. at Windom, -34 F. at Duluth and -40 F. Seriously cold. This looks like the Mother Lode of cold air, in all probability the coldest air of the winter. I pray.

 

Two words: "character-building". We've been let off pretty easy in recent winters, too easy for traditional snow and cold weather lovers. We get a taste of the good 'ol (cold) days early next week as Arctic air bubbles south of the border. Temperatures may stay below zero from Sunday evening into midday Wednesday, even in the metro area. Wind chills dip to -25 F. Monday, but the coldest air temperature may come Tuesday morning, with lows bottoming out around -15 F. in the Twin Cities. Something to look forward to. Some moderation in temperature is likely the latter half of next week, and although we may dip below zero (briefly) again in late January, my strong hunch is that early next week will bring the coldest readings of winter. Excuse me while I check my frequent flier mileage balance on delta.com.

 

The Temperature Cliff. After moderate temperatures today, again Friday and the first half of Saturday, temperature drop like a (Siberian) rock Saturday afternoon and night, holding in single digits Sunday (with some snow) before dipping below zero from Sunday evening into midday Wednesday. This should be the coldest outbreak in 4 years. Graph: Iowa State.

 

Number Of Metro Subzero Lows Each Winter. The Twin Cities NWS has more on the 4 year streak between subzero highs at MSP, and the dwindling number of subzero lows in recent winters. By the way, the 30 year rolling average for the number of subzero lows every winter is 22.5, down from closer to 30/winter during the 1971-2000 average record.

 

Family Of (Increasingly Cold) Alberta Clippers. A coating of light snow is possible today (best chance early this morning). The best chance of accumulating snow: Sunday, as the leading edge of subzero air cascades south. Duluth may pick up as much as 6" of snow; the GFS model above is only printing out an inch Sunday in the metro area, but I suspect amounts may be considerably higher: a light, fluffy, powdery snow, maybe enough to shovel Sunday.

 

Last Subzero Highs In The Twin Cities? You have to go back to January 15, 2009, to enjoy (?) a subzero daytime high in the metro area (-6F, after waking up to -21F). That's 1,462 days ago. My hunch: we'll see 2, possibly 3 days below zero early next week, rivaling the cold spell of January, 2009. Map above courtesy of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group.

 

Citrus-Killing Freeze. Meteorologist Chad Merrill from WeatherBug sent me this nugget on the unusual cold that's gripped the southwestern USA in recent days: "Ice covers an orange at an orange grove in Redlands, California, Tuesday, January 15, 2013. A cold snap that has California farmers struggling to protect a $1.5 billion citrus crop has slowly started to ease, though frigid temperatures were still the norm Tuesday morning throughout the state and across other parts of the west." (AP Photo: Jae C. Hong).

 

Cold Truth About Hats, Body Heat. We've all be taught to wear our hats during the coldest days of winter, that most of our body heat escapes thru the top of our heads. Does this stand up scientifically? Here's an excerpt of a very interesting story at The Star Tribune: "As the mercury plunged toward zero this weekend, Minnesotans once again pulled on their wool, fleece and fur hats. Why? "I heard you lose a percentage of your heat through your head," James Rotman said as he donned a stocking cap while waiting for the light-rail train downtown Monday. Well, hold onto that hat. A college professor with a quirky YouTube video is out to bust the hat myth. "Anyone who's lived in the cold ... has been told to wear a hat before you go out because 70 percent of your heat leaves your head. I've even told my own kids this," said Andrew Maynard, University of Michigan professor of environmental health sciences and director of the its Risk Science Center. "But when you look into the science, it doesn't make sense..."

Photo credit above: "Anthony (in blue), Damarionna (pink) and Anthony Brown all wait for the bus to go home. All wore hats because it was only 12 degrees above zero in Minneapolis, MN on January 14, 2013." Source: Star Tribune.

 

Worldwide: 2012 Was 10th Warmest Year On Record. Here's the latest installment of my daily 2:30 Climate Segment, trying to provide a little perspective and context - attempting to look at the trends and connect the dots: "2012 is officially the 10th warmest year since records began in 1880. Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at some of the other significant weather events around the globe in 2012."

 

Global Warming Shown In NASA Computer Model. ABC News has a good time-lapse animation showing warming since the late 1800s; according to NASA 2012 was the 9th warmest year, worldwide. Yes, there is a slight discrepency with NOAA, which has 2012 as the 10th warmest.

 

U.S. Smashes Previous Lower-48 Heat Record In 2012. Here's an excerpt of a story from Bloomberg Businessweek: “...The heat we saw in the U.S. is consistent with what we expect in a warming world,” Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at the center, said on a conference call. “It’s a huge exclamation point on the end of several decades.” The 2012 heat surpassed 1998’s record by 1 degree, a significant amount considering that only 4.2 degrees separate 1998 from the coldest year on record, 1917, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the center in Asheville, North Carolina. The warmth is a reflection of natural variability as well as the impact of climate change, he said. “I’m afraid it’s just the new normal,” said Robert Marshall, founder of Earth Networks in Germantown, Maryland. “At the end of the day, the trend is pretty clear...”

Photo credit above: "Dried corn plants in Idaville, Indiana." Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

 

Drought-Tolerant Corn Advances Beginning To Show. With the specter of drought lingering into 2013 the timing couldn't be better; here's an excerpt of a story at The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal: "There's nothing like a couple years of drought to help determine the advances being made in drought-tolerant corn. And Qingwu Xue, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, says there are some significant differences starting to show up. Xue, AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist in Amarillo, said drought and water issues have been very relevant in the last two years, especially the historic drought for Texas in 2011 and for the Corn Belt in 2012. Some of the drought-tolerant corn hybrids introduced since 2011 include: AquaMax by Pioneer, AgriSure Artesian by Syngenta and DroughtGard by Monsanto. "The question is, how have these drought-tolerant hybrids performed in our environment in the Texas Panhandle?" Xue said..." (Photo: madison.com).

 

Getting Caught In The Deadly Philippines Typhoon. Here is a first-person account of what it was like to be at ground zero when Typhoon Pablo hit the Philippine island of Mindanao in early December, a Category 5 hurricane, the most intense in Philippine history - as recounted to the New Zealand Scoop: "...At around 4am I was woken up by the sound of heavy rain and fast winds. One of the organisers, who had accompanied me to Osmeña from Davao, informed me I needed to join the rest of the family and other visitors on the porch because a coconut tree was swinging violently above the part of the house I was sleeping. On the porch we sheltered under a table as coconuts and trees crashed to the ground. The corrugated iron roof started to tear off in the wind. The house was next to a stream that had become a raging torrent. Fallen trees and other debris sped downstream. The waters were starting to flood onto the porch so we had to leave to find higher ground. I followed my friends over broken trees and debris. They ran ahead and I lost them. I tried calling out but my voice was drained out by the wind...."

 

Asteroid To Miss Earth By Less Than 20,000 Miles Next Month. Is it me or are these asteroid-encounters getting progressively closer over time? Don't sweat the wind chill ok? Gizmag.com has the details: "Asteroid 2012 DA14 is about 40 meters (131 ft) in size, has a mass of 130,000 tons, is traveling relative to the Earth at a speed of some 6.3 km/s (14,100 mph) ... and will miss us by less than 32,000 km (20,000 miles) on February 15. If it did hit the Earth, the result would be a huge explosion yielding about 2.5 megatons, but Asteroid 2012 DA14 will not hit our planet in 2013, and probably never will. Despite the lack of a sensational scenario, this close call still warrants our attention – it will allow astronomers to learn a good deal about asteroids, and represents one of the few chances for ordinary folks to see a asteroid pass really close to Earth..."

Image credit above: "An asteroid passing close to Earth next month will provide stargazers with a rare viewing opportunity." (Image: Shutterstock)

 

Video: Jimmy Kimmel Pokes Fun At L.A. Stations Reacting To Recent Cold Spell. I wonder what Los Angeles residents would make of what we will endure here early next week. They would run (screaming) for MSP International. Here's a funny video from TVSpy: "Late night talk show host and funnyman, Jimmy Kimmel called out the local Los Angeles TV stations for their near ‘breaking news’ style while covering the recent dip in temperatures in the area. “It’s so cold,” said Kimmel. “I had to wear two tank tops to work today,” noting that the day this was broadcast the high temperature was a frosty 51 degrees."

 

Sony: World's First 56" OLED, 4K TV. If you're an early (early) adopter and need a TV that will absolutely be the envy of your friends, a TV with 4 times the resolution of HDTV, check out this article at gizmag.com: "When Sony showed up to CES 2012 with a Crystal LED prototype TV rather than an OLED TV like its rivals Samsung and LG, it prompted reports that the company was abandoning OLED TVs aimed at the consumer market. Sony might finally have put paid to these reports by displaying a prototype OLED TV at this year’s CES. And in the spirit of one-upsmanship, Sony is touting the prototype TV as the “world’s first and largest 56-inch 4K OLED TV....”

Image credit above: "Sony's prototype 56-inch OLED TV boasts 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution."

 

 

30 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

23 F. average high on January 15.

40 F. high on January 15, 2012.

1" snow so far in January in the Twin Cities.

 

Grilling Weather. I hope you enjoy the current warm front, because 30s will seem unimaginable by early next week. Tuesday highs ranged from 21 at International Falls (10" snow on the ground) to 23 St. Coud (4" of snow) to 24 at Duluth (only 3" snow on the ground) to 30 in the Twin Cities, Rochester and Grand Marais.

 

 

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


TODAY: Alberta Clipper: coating - 1/2" snow possible. Mainly wet roads. Winds: W 10-15. High: 32

 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Flurries taper, turning windy and colder. Low: 4

 

THURSDAY: At least the sun's out. Colder. High: 19

 

FRIDAY: Patchy clouds, welcome thaw. Wake-up temperature: 14. High: 34

 

SATURDAY: Turning windy & colder. Wake-up temperature: 13. High: 22 (falling by afternoon).

 

SUNDAY: Snowy clipper. Bitter winds. Couple inches of powdery snow? Wake-up temperature: 2. High: 7 (windchill dipping to -15)

 

MONDAY: Sunny and Arctic. Coldest in 4 years. Feels like -25F Low: -9. High: -4

 

TUESDAY: Yukon breeze, probably the coldest day of winter. Still bitter. Fading sun. Wake-up temperature: -14. High: -5

 

Climate Stories...


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

- Upton Sinclair

 

"...The draft Third National Climate Assessment, issued every four years, delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox. "Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the report says. "Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer." - from a draft of the Third National Climate Assessment, as reported in the L.A. Times. (Photo: David Fine, FEMA).

 

NASA Finds 2012 Sustained Long-Term Climate Warming Trend. NASA has a video and more details: "NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis Tuesday that compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago..."

Graphic credit above: "NASA's analysis of Earth's surface temperature found that 2012 ranked as the ninth-warmest year since 1880. NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) compare the average global temperature each year to the average from 1951 to 1980. This 30-year period provides a baseline from which to measure the warming Earth has experienced due to increasing atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. While 2012 was the ninth-warmest year on record, all 10 of the warmest years in the GISS analysis have occurred since 1998, continuing a trend of temperatures well above the mid-20th century average. The record dates back to 1880 because that is when there were enough meteorological stations around the world to provide global temperature data."


Data source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Visualization credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
Download this video and related materials in HD formats

 

Big Chill Vs. Global Warming: What's Going On? If the atmosphere is warming, worldwide, how can it still be getting cold? It's a legitimate question, one many Minnesotans will be asking next week. Ironically, record melting of Arctic ice last year may be a factor, increasing "polar amplification", slowing jet stream winds slightly, allowing more dips and bulges in the pattern capable of pulling bitter air southward into the USA. Live Science looks for answers; here's an excerpt: "...Amidst the chilly headlines, however, Earth continues to break heat records left and right. "It's easy to cherry pick and find places that might be unusually cold at any given time, for example Southern California right now," Mann told LiveScience in an email. "But meanwhile, daffodils are coming up in Cincinnati. "Over the past decade, we have seen daily records for all-time warmth broken twice as often as daily records for all-time cold," Mann wrote. "The year 2012 had the highest ratio we have ever recorded, more than four to one. That's like 'sixes' coming up four times as often as 'ones.'

 

Federal Forecast For Climate Change: It's Getting Hot In Here. Time Magazine takes a look at the latest National Climate Assessment, and how we've gone from climate change theory to reality. Americans are seeing the consequences of a warming atmosphere. Here's an excerpt: "...But the warming and weather disruption we’ve seen so far will just be the beginning. Late last week a team of more than 300 federal scientists released a draft of the National Climate Assessment, which gathers the latest research on how climate change is likely to affect the U.S. The semi-regular report — the third such published — is a product of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which required a national climate assessment to be conducted every four years. This is the point at which you’re probably wondering why, if a 1990 law mandated that a national climate assessment be produced every four years, we’re only getting around to releasing the third one in 2013, or 23 years after the original legislation was passed. That’s in part because of the usual slow workings of the federal bureaucracy — complicated by the fact that the report is complied by an inter-governmental body involving 13 separate federal agencies and departments — but also because conservatives have repeatedly attacked the assessment for supposedly exaggerating the effects of climate change..."

 

An Alarm In The Offing On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story from Justin Gillis at The New York Times: "The natural conservatism of science has often led climatologists to be cautious in their pronouncements about global warming. Indeed, more than once they have drawn criticism for burying their fundamental message – that society is running some huge risks — in caveats and cavils. To judge from the draft of a new report issued by a federal advisory committee, that hesitation may soon fall by the wayside. The draft, just unveiled for public comment before it becomes final, is the latest iteration of a major series of reports requested by Congress on the effects of climate change in the United States..."

Image credit above: "Left, the projected change in annual average temperatures in 2071 to 2099 (compared with 1971 to 2000) if rapid reductions in emissions are achieved; right, the projected change if increases in emissions continue."

 

The Hottest Year: Time To End Climate Denial. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Salt Lake Tribune: "...The look back at 2012 shows, in so many ways, not only that our climate is changing, but that the effects of only small differences in average temperatures can have devastating effects on the world. A killer drought in America’s corn belt. Declining water levels in the Great Lakes and other significant bodies of fresh water. Superstorm systems that move west to east, shattering cities and crops across the Plains, and east to west, bringing catastrophic rains, waves and power outages to New York and New Jersey. So what should have been a marathon approach to our energy needs, developing over time the technologies, policies and laws that would shift from a carbon-based economy to a renewable one, is about to become, in historic terms, a sprint..."

 

Obama Faces Dilemma On "Mother Of All" Climate Change Regulations. Will President Obama make good on a pledge to finally get serious about climate change, or will he kick the can down the road? Having the EPA shut down the dirtiest greenhouse gas sources (coal-fired power plants, older oil refineries) would be a good start, but there is huge political calculus involved. Here's an excerpt of a thought-provoking story from The National Journal: "On the night he won reelection, President Obama told a cheering crowd, “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t … threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” He has since said that climate change will be one of the top three priorities of his second term. This week, Obama heard a wailing siren warning him to stick to his pledge: On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2012 was by far the hottest year on record in the contiguous U.S. It was also the nation’s second-most-extreme year for destructive weather events, with 11 disasters sustaining $1 billion each in economic losses. On Friday, a new draft report by 13 U.S. federal agencies concluded that rising temperatures caused by fossil fuel emissions have directly contributed to increased wildfires, the spread of insect-transmitted disease, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and decreasing water supply across the U.S. Scientists said the evidence is unequivocal that the heat and catastrophic weather are linked to climate change caused by fossil-fuel pollution—and that without governmental action to stop that pollution, worse destruction is on the way..."

 

Manmade Global Warming Has Increased Heat Records By A Factor Of Five; Much Worse To Come. Here's a snippet of a story from The Potsdam Institute for Climate Research and Think Progress: "On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming, shows a study now published in Climatic Change. In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of ten [full graphic in the study]. 80 percent of observed monthly records would not have occurred without human influence on climate, concludes the authors-team of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Complutense University of Madrid..."

Calm Before the Cold (subzero stretch likely early next week)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 14, 2013 - 10:29 PM
 

I'm "Dancing"

Here's how my Monday started; a tweet from the city of Shorewood: "We need snow! You are letting us down for our Arctic Fever Festival this weekend in Shorewood, Tonka Bay & Excelsior. Don't you have a special dance you can do?" I wish it was that simple. And you've never seen me dance.

Picture a guy having convulsions while snapping his fingers.

If I could dance, or kick the Doppler, push a button to end our drought, I would in a heartbeat.

We're at the mercy of larger patterns. Until Pacific storms carve out a persistent trough of low pressure over the Rockies, and steering winds howl from New Mexico and Texas, it's going to be tough getting significant moisture in here.

At least we've picked up 16.9 inches this winter at KMSP. Chicago has seen just over 1 inch. The drought signal is still holding strong.

A dusting of flurries is possible Wednesday as temperatures try to thaw; more 30s possible Friday. A couple inches of dry, fluffy, powdery snow may fall Monday as the coldest air of winter cascades south. Highs may hold below 0 over much of Minnesota next Monday & Tuesday. Temperatures rebound nicely by late January.

Next week we'll all be dancing (and snapping our fingers?) just to stay warm.

 

Fun With Negative Numbers. Enjoying the warm front? A week from today there may be some serious gripes: cars that won't start, minor cases of frostbite down at the bus stop. ECMWF model guidance shows a warming trend, a shot at 30-32 F. by Wednesday, maybe low 30s Friday. An Alberta Clipper brushes MSP with a coating to an inch or so of snow Saturday, followed by single digits Sunday and Monday. The core of the coldest air arrives next Tuesday, with a "high" of -9, and wind chills dipping to -20. Lovely. Time to cash in those frequent flier miles.

 

Predicted Snowfall By Midday Saturday. NAM guidance shows the impact of a series of clippers, as much as half a foot of new snow for far northern Minnesota, maybe 3-4" for Duluth and Grand Rapids (for Saturday's Mega-Hockey Festivities), possibly an inch or two for the Twin Cities metro by Saturday afternoon.

 

A Real January. Last year was a gift, at least for Minnesotans who love snow and cold. This year? Not so much. I still don't see significant snow, but numbing air will surge south in a couple of "waves", one arriving early next week, another the last few days of January, if GFS model data can be believed. My confidence level is fairly high we'll see a few subzero nights (and days) early next week; a lower confidence level about another outbreak at the very end of the month. No sign of spring fever.

 

3.7" snow so far this season at Kansas City.

1.3" snow so far this winter in Chicago.

 

35 F. low at LAX International Airport in Los Angeles Monday morning, the coldest in 23 years - tying the old record low set in 1990. The all-time record low for L.A.? 28, most recently set in 1949. NBC Southern California has details.

 

January Weather Flip-Flops. In Monday's edition of WeatherNationTV's Climate Matters I take a look at some of the wild extremes, here in the USA and worldwide: "One side of the country is experiencing record heat. The other side record cold. Who would ever guess the low temperature this morning was warmer 16 degrees warmer in Boston than Los Angeles? For more on the wacky January weather flip flop here's Meteorologist Paul Douglas."

* here's a chronological look at all the climate segments I've prepared, available on YouTube (latest clips at screen bottom).

 

A Very Close Encounter. Although the extended "NAEFS" temperature outlook from NOAA (above) from January 22-28 keeps the core of the most bitter air a few hundred miles to our north, I expect subzero air to brush Minnesota early next week, possibly the coldest outbreak of the winter. Another (brief) subzero encounter is possible by late January, but the core of the very coldest air may pass just north/east of MSP.

 

Alaska Forecast To Cool Down Again. Alaska has been unusually mild (near 40 in Anchorage over the weekend) with rain penetrating into the interior. But models show Alaska chilling down again in the coming week. When Alaska is mild Minnesota is (often) bitterly cold, and vice versa. I sense our coldest weather of winter will come early next week, followed by slight moderation by the end of January. Details from the Anchorage office of the NWS: "Mild air continues to melt southcentral Alaska’s snow and ice this afternoon. Short, warm spells such as this during Winter
are not unusual for the area. The primary cause for the warmup is the configuration of the Jet Stream, the fast-moving river of air that circles the Earth and drives the weather below.
"

 

I Feel Your Pain. Not only is the lack of snow bad for snow lovers and winter events around the state, it doesn't bode well for our ongoing, 6-month old drought. According to local climate experts what will make all the difference is whether we see heavy wet snow and/or significant rain in late winter and early spring, once the ground has a chance to thaw out, and moisture can absorb into topsoil. If we don't see significant moisture with a shift in the pattern, the current (severe) drought in the metro could eventually rival what we experienced back in 1988. Let's hope that doesn't come to pass. I'll kick the Doppler (again) and see if Old Man Winter is in the mood for snow. Don't hold your breath.

 

Ask Paul. Weather-related Q&A:

Hi Paul,

"I begin my morning with your column (wanting to know when I get to use my snowmachine!).  Do you have powers to make that happen?

Quick question on the precipitation per 24 hours.  It is written as mm/24 hours but for instance on Sunday you are predicting the possibility of a couple of inches yet the 3.5mm/24 hours only amounts .14inches.  Is there something I am missing here in terms of precipitation and snowfall amounts?"

Thank You,

Levi Kraft

Hi Levi - I appreciate you being a loyal reader; and wish I could hit a button and make it snow. Next company? The lawyers would have a field-day with that. Your question is a good one, and here is why (IF) it snows Sunday amounts could be more than .14" liquid would imply. When it's bitterly cold (single digits or teens) snowfall ratios can be close to 30 to 1; 30" of snow for every inch of liquid precipitation. Around 30 F. that ratio is closer to 10 to 1. So assuming we do see a vigorous clipper out ahead of what may be the coldest front of winter, that .14" could wind up being 2 or even 3" of light, fluffy, powdery snow. The colder the temperature, the more air between the flakes - like a featherbed the snow gets pumped up. Nothing definite yet. That old adage "when in a drought don't forecast rain...or snow" is ringing in my ears. Stay tuned.

 

Serious Extremes. Welcome to the "dead of winter" over the Northern Hemisphere. Historically, this is the week where temperatures bottom out, and the next 1-2 weeks promise to be the coldest of the winter for Canada and the northern tier of the USA, as well as Scandanavia and much of Russia/Siberia. Meanwhile 100-degree heat is baking Argentina, central Africa and much of Australia. 72 hour GFS-based extreme forecast courtesy of Ham Weather.

 

Thursday Evening's Balloon Launch Sets New Record. The weather balloon launched by the Twin Cities NWS last Thursday evening set a record for the most moisture ever encountered above the Twin Cities during the month of January. Warmer air can hold more water vapor (this is a simplification, but true) and last week's balloon launch was historic. Details from the KMPX NWS: "The balloon launched at 6 pm on Januar 10th, 2013 (midnight GMT January 11th) set a record for the most moisture ever recorded by a weather balloon in the month of January since balloons began to be released regularly twice a day at St. Cloud in 1948 (moved to Chanhassen in 1995)...."

 

Almost Half Of The World's Food Thrown Away, Report Finds. That's a sobering statistic; The Guardian has the story - here's an excerpt: "As much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2bn tonnes – ends up as waste every year, engineers warned in a report published on Thursday. The UK's Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) blames the "staggering" new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with "poor engineering and agricultural practices", inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities. In the face of United Nations predictions that there could be about an extra 3 billion people to feed by the end of the century and growing pressure on the resources needed to produce food, including land, water and energy, the IMechE is calling for urgent action to tackle this waste..."

Photo credit above: "Between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate." Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

 

"iPotty: Toilet Training, Now With Added iPad. Is it wrong to want an adult version of this? It is? O.K. Never mind. Gizmag.com has more details if you have a toddler who loves to multitask: "It's an unspoken truth of gadgets that some people use their smartphone or even tablet computer while in the bathroom. Now even toddlers who are yet to master the toilet can get in on the action with iPotty – a child's toilet training potty with a built-in iPad stand..."

 

The Perils Of Auto-Correct. Why does my smartphone hate me? The examples above were part of a very funny (and raunchy) post of the 25 Funniest AutoCorrects of 2012 from Buzzfeed. OMG.

 

Weather Forecast Calls For Heavy Rainfall, 50% Chance Of Batman. WeatherNation TV is making news, in rather unusual ways. Here's an excerpt of a post at io9.com: "Over at Newton Blog, Ross Pomeroy serves up a great example of misperceived random stimuli in the form of a 3-day rainfall forecast. The screenshot, he says, was captured by a friend working at Weather Nation, and comes from the Rapid Precision Mesoscale weather forecasting model. Tempting though it may be to take the model as a sign of Batman's return, Pomeroy rightly chalks its resemblance up to pareidolia..."

 

5 F. low in the metro area Monday morning.

14 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

23 F. average high on January 14.

21 F. high on January 14, 2012.

Trace of snow reported at MSP International Monday evening.

 

Mondays are Tough Enough. At least the sun was out (as it is on most of our coldest days). After a morning low of -6 Alexandria only struggled to 7 for a high. Statewide  highs ranged from 10 at St. Cloud to 14 in the Twin Cities and Eau Claire. MSP is reporting only a trace of snow, 4" up at St. Cloud.

 

 

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


TODAY: Partly sunny, not as harsh. Temperatures close to normal. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 23

 

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clouds, flurries possible - rising temperatures overnight. Low: 20

 

WEDNESDAY: Next clipper. Clouds and flurries. Coating? High: 30

 

THURSDAY: Thinking warm thoughts. Cold sun. Wake-up: 5. High: 19

 

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, thawing out! Wake-up: 22. High: 34

 

SATURDAY: Snow possible (heaviest northern MN). Turning windy and colder later in the day. Wake-up: 20. High: 23, then falling sharply by Saturday night.

 

SUNDAY: Sunny and numbing, feels like -15. Wake-up: 0. High: 3

 

MONDAY: Coldest air of winter? Snow tapers (light, fluffy accumulation possible). Wake-up: -5. High: 2

 

TUESDAY: Bitterly cold with blue sky - dangerous wind chills. Possibly the coldest day of winter. Low: -12. High: -6

 

Climate Stories...

 

Debunking The Denial: "16 Years Of No Global Warming". Here's an excerpt from Slate: "The difficulties in debunking blatant antireality are legion. You can make up any old nonsense and state it in a few seconds, but it takes much longer to show why it’s wrong and how things really are. This is coupled with how sticky bunk can be. Once uttered, it’s out there, bootstrapping its own reality, getting repeated by the usual suspects. Case in point: The claim that there’s been no global warming for the past 16 years. This is blatantly untrue, a ridiculous and obviously false statement. But I see it over and again online, in Op Eds, and in comments to climate change posts..."

 

More Detail On "No Warming In 16 Years Meme". The key is to look at the true global temperature trend, subtracting out other forcings like volcanic eruptions, solar variations and La Nina and El Nino. John Cook at Skeptical Science has a great YouTube clip that explains this in detail.

 

Federal Climate Report Predicts Spike In Hot Days For Washington D.C. By Mid-Century. Our nation's capital, which is already "stinking-hot" most summers, may become even more inflamed by the middle of the 21st century. The Capital Gang's Jason Samenow reports: "Washington, D.C. just experienced its warmest year on record, and its three hottest summers in as many years. The message from the draft of a newly released federal report? Get used to it. The draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) posted Friday afternoon says the punishing, record-setting streak of 11 straight days above 95 D.C. experienced last summer is exactly the kind of event that may occur with increasing regularity in the future..."

Map credit above: "Increase in number of days above 95 degrees by mid-century (2041-2070 compared to 1971-2000) under high emissions scenario." (NCA)

 

Clearing The Air On Oilsands Emissions. What to believe about the proposed Keystone Pipeline and it's impact on greenhouse gas emissions? Here's an excerpt of a good overview from The Pembina Institute: "This backgrounder provides an overview of how oilsands production and expansion contributes to greenhouse gas pollution and climate change, focusing on six key issues:

  • Average oilsands production is significantly more greenhouse gas-intensive than conventional oil production.
  • Oilsands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
  • Alberta’s greenhouse gas regulations do not result in meaningful reductions in emissions from oilsands operations.
  • Large-scale carbon capture and storage for oilsands emissions is unlikely due to high capital cost and lack of regulatory driver..."

Photo credit above: "In this Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 file photo, miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Ripley, Okla. The controversy over the pipeline in the hub of Oklahoma's oil activity, was voted the number nine story of the state for 2012." (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) Geology.com has another good primer on oil sands here.

 

Climate Change Measures: Report Praises Politicians. This may be so in other countries around the planet, but here in the USA? You'd be hard-pressed to find many politicians to praise on this topic these days. The BBC reports: "Politicians are doing more to combat climate change than they are given credit for, according to a report. It says 32 out of 33 countries surveyed have introduced, or are producing, significant climate-related laws. Out of these, 18 nations are making "significant" progress, with some emerging economies taking a lead. The Globe group of parliamentarians, which published the report, admits that emissions are still growing at a dangerous level. But Globe president John Gummer, the former Environment Secretary, says progress on a national level gives some cause for optimism. "The tide is beginning to turn decisively on tackling climate change, the defining material challenge of this century," he said..."

 

Extreme Weather Map 2011. A friend forwarded me this link and timelapse animation from NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council - looking back at 2011, possibly the most extreme year for U.S. weather since the early 1800's. Here's an excerpt: "Climate change increases the risk of record-breaking extreme weather events that threaten communities across the country. In 2011, there were 3,251 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck communities in the US. Check out the interactive map below to find out what events hit your area."

Minnesota experienced in 2011:

  • Record-breaking heat in 13 counties and a total of 16 broken heat records
  • Record-breaking rainfall in 21 counties and a total of 34 broken rainfall records
  • Record-breaking snow in 16 counties and a total of 21 broken snowfall records
  • Extreme flooding

 

Climate Change Fuels Wildfires Around The World. Deutsche Welle has a story focused on the link between climate extremes (hot, dry areas becoming even hotter and drier) and the potential for major wildfires; here's an excerpt: "Every year, large areas of the Earth's surface burn, and the number of fires is increasing. Is climate change fanning the flames? Or are the fires making climate change worse? The climate is complex. It is so complex that it's difficult for researchers to give accurate climate forecasts because it is so heavily influenced by external factors – solar radiation, greenhouse gasses and oceans. Another factor, which has been largely ignored until now, is fire. Only recently have experts realized that large forest and bush fires are noticeably changing the climate while being affected by it. "Every year, more than 400 million acres (160 million hectares) are burnt. That's an area bigger than the size of India," says Silvia Kloster from the Max Plank Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg..." (Image credit: Minnesota DNR).

 

Climate Change Study: Emission Limits Could Avoid Damage By Two-Thirds. Here's the intro to a story from Reuters and Huffington Post: "The world could avoid much of the damaging effects of climate change this century if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed more sharply, research showed on Sunday. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first comprehensive assessment of the benefits of cutting emissions to keep the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, a level which scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change. It found 20 to 65 percent of the adverse impacts by the end of this century could be avoided. "Our research clearly identifies the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions - less severe impacts on flooding and crops are two areas of particular benefit," said Nigel Arnell, director of the University of Reading's Walker Institute, which led the study..."

"Freeze-Dried" (midweek thaw; coldest air of winter next week - how climate change is already impacting USA)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: January 13, 2013 - 9:40 AM
 

 

Freeze Dried

We can't seem to beg, borrow or buy a snowstorm, but can I interest you in some ice? I have plenty in my yard; the once-snowy lake nearby now a pale-blue super-sized frozen Slushie. Last week added insult to injury for snow lovers: the thaw coupled with 30s & 40s brought our official snow cover down to an inch. Snowfall for the winter season is nearly 10 inches below average, to date. That snow drought I talked about weeks ago is hanging tough. Nothing resembling a "storm" is showing up on the maps looking out 2 weeks.

And this might be a good time to cash in some frequent flier miles.

Imagine bitter air approaching from Canada as a small inland ocean of subzero air. It won't all sweep south at once - waves or "pulses" of numbing air expanding and contracting, like the sea at high tide. This week will be cold enough, but we thaw out (briefly) Wednesday, again Saturday.<p>Models seem to be crystallizing, with the coldest air of winter grazing Minnesota next week. In fact a week from today highs may struggle to reach zero.

Freeze dried indeed.

Look at the bright side (literally): 20 minutes of additional daylight since Dec. 21. In 2 weeks average temperatures rise again!

 

 

The First Wave. No, this isn't the real cold front. Not yet. Think of this as the Opening Act. The Main Event comes next week - probably the coldest week of winter. All the models warm us up a little by midweek; 30s by Wednesday will feel oh so good.

 

Not For The Meteorologically Timid. ECMWF (European) model guidance confirms a midweek thaw (40 not out of the question) then colder by late week before another, smaller upward blip in temperatures by Saturday. The Mother Lode of cold air may brush Minnesota early next week, in fact the predicted high a week from tomorrow is -4 F. We don't have much snow on the ground, which will moderate the bitter air a bit, but there's little doubt that next week will be very good for travel agents.

 

 

Coldest Cold Front of Winter? I may be jumping the gun. It's entirely possible the core of the coldest air won't drain south until the very end of January or even the first week of February, but my gut (nausea?) is telling me that next week may be the worst of it. Any time 850 mb temperatures are forecast to dip to -25 C or colder you know you're in for a spell of negative numbers.

 

 

 

Spring Fever Out East. 60s into Baltimore, D.C. even Philadelphia, with 70s from the Virginias into the Carolinas? Not bad for mid-January. Tell your friends and family out east to soak up the warmth today - a reality check is on tap for the end of this week as numbing air spreads east. Map: Ham Weather.

 

125 Years Ago Deadly "Children's Blizzard" Blasted Minnesota. It wasn't Minnesota's worst blizzard, but it was our deadliest, for a variety of reasons documented in this excellent article at MinnPost.com. Here's an excerpt: "...Climate historians are quick to note that the “Children’s Blizzard” — so named because many of the victims were schoolkids trying to make it home — was not the most extreme blizzard ever to strike Minnesota. But 125 years later, it remains the most deadly, due to a tragic swirl of circumstances. The storm’s ambush approach in the middle of an afternoon, the lack of warning from the Army Signal Corps, and the mild, January thaw-like morning were all factors that conspired to kill with maximum efficiency. Minnesota, too, was populated like never before, but many of her new homes and schoolhouses were hastily built affairs at best, with gap-holed walls and tar paper roofs, thrown up in the break-neck excitement of westward settlement. The storm happened at the tail-end of a six-year run of extreme weather called the “Little Ice Age.”...

Photo credit above: "Nobles County native Morton Bassett: "It was a beautiful day for mid-winter and no one even thought of what a change an hour's time could bring." Courtesy: Minnesota Historical Society.

 

Tracking The Trends. No, it's not getting as cold as it did 30-50 years ago. Yesterday's blog had details of a consistent warming trend (the map above showing the coldest nighttime lows at MSP every winter as tracked by investment banker and rose enthusiast Jack Falker in Edina). Today I expand on this, including looking at heating degree day data from the NWS - via YouTube.

 

Experts Divided On Weather And Flu Link. Here's a story that made me do a triple-take: could unusually dry weather help to trigger (or amplify) the flu? The Capital Weather Gang takes a look - here's an excerpt: "...Rather than cold weather, it may be dry weather which can help predict flu outbreaks. In 2010, Jeffrey Shaman and colleagues published research showing flu outbreaks often occurred immediately following a dry spell. “This dry period is not a requirement for triggering an influenza outbreak, but it was present in 55 to 60 percent of the outbreaks we analyzed so it appears to increase the likelihood of an outbreak,” Shaman told Health magazine. “The virus response is almost immediate; transmission and survival rates increase and about 10 days later, the observed influenza mortality rates follow....”

 

Flu Myths: 7 Common Beliefs, Busted. Here's an interesting angle on the flu (epidemic) from Huffington Post: "As we face one of the earliest -- and most deadly -- flu outbreak in years, many are flooding emergency rooms and scrambling to get vaccinated. (Speaking of which, it's not too late! Vaccinating in the fall, before flu season really kicks off, is most effective, but experts still recommend getting the vaccine now.) A crucial part of staying healthy -- this flu season and beyond -- is staying informed. Click through the slideshow below to get the truth behind some of the most common myths about the flu..."

 

Heat, Flood Or Icy Cold. Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide. Here's an excerpt of a New York Times story: "Brush fires are raging across Australia, fueled by a record-shattering heat wave. Pakistan was inundated by unexpected flooding in September. A vicious storm bringing rain, snow and floods just struck the Middle East. And in the United States, scientists confirmed this week what people could have figured out simply by going outside: last year was the hottest since records began. “Each year we have extreme weather, but it’s unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once,” said Omar Baddour, chief of the data management applications division at the World Meteorological Organization, in Geneva. “The heat wave in Australia; the flooding in the U.K., and most recently the flooding and extensive snowstorm in the Middle East — it’s already a big year in terms of extreme weather calamity.”

Global temperature extreme map above courtesy of Ham Weather.

 

USDA Declares 597 U.S. Counties Drought Disaster Areas. Here's the introduction to a story from The Guardian Express: "U. S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack indicated that the United States Department of Agriculture has designated 597 counties in the United States as primary natural disaster areas due to extended drought and heat. This designation makes all qualified farm operators in these areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. This is just the 1st round of disaster designations made by the US Department of Agriculture in 2013. “As drought persists, the USDA will continue to partner with producers to see them through longer-term recovery, while taking this with actions needed to help farmers and ranchers prepare their land and operations for the upcoming planting season,” said Sec. Vilsack...."

* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.

 

USDA's Final Crop Report For 2012 Shows Farmers Lost About Quarter Of Corn To Ongoing Drought. The Star Tribune has details - here's an excerpt: "The federal government released its final crop report for 2012 on Friday, detailing heavy losses caused by the worst drought the U.S. has experienced since the 1950s. Much of the attention focused on corn, which is widely used as an ingredient in many foods and as feed for livestock. Farmers produced less than three-fourths of the corn the U.S. Department of Agriculture anticipated when planting was done in the spring. The year-end report shows a harvest of 10.78 billion bushels, 27 percent less than the agency's initial estimate of 14.8 billion bushels. The harvest, however, was still one of the largest in U.S. history. Farmers say better crop technology that improved the ability of corn to withstand drought saved them from more devastating losses, and production was helped by the large number of acres planted this year..."

 

Parts Of Twin Cities Metro In USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog (courtesy of Jack Falker in Edina) our warming climate means that things are growing here that weren't growing here a generation ago. Click here to see the latest USA map, courtesy of thebiopod.com.

 

Crazy Weather Down Under. Check out the "haboob" images from Australia - and harrowing stories of entire families leaping into nearby lakes to escape flames and "fire tornadoes". These are a few of the symptoms of the worst heat on record for Australia and Tasmania - details via YouTube.

 

 

Technicolor Sunset. Thanks to Timothy Butz, who snapped this photo near his home in Ellicott City, Maryland, where temperatures may reach the 60s and 70s tomorrow. By the end of next week the wind chill may approach zero in this area. Enjoy the (fleeting) thaw!

 

The McMansion Of Tablets. I'm feeling a little insecure about my tablet right now, after getting a glimpse of this one, courtesy of gizmag.com: "Panasonic might be getting outshined a little at CES 2013 as competitors like LG and Samsung show off their unique takes on 4K-resolution TVs, but that doesn't mean it didn't find its own creative use for 4K technology. On the show floor, the company demoed a new 20-inch tablet that runs Windows 8 on a 4K resolution ISP-alpha display..."

 

40 F. high on Saturday (shortly after midnight - a bit misleading).

14 F. afternoon "high" yesterday at KMSP.

23 F. average high for January 12.

14 F. high on January 12, 2012.

Trace of snow flurries yesterday.

16.8" snow so far this winter in the metro. That's 9.8" less than average, to date.

0" snow on the ground in the Twin Cities.

 

Goosebumps (and goosebulges). What a mixed up Saturday; the high coming around midnight, and then temperatures fell like a rock behind a vigorous cold front - falling thru the teens by afternoon statewide. International Falls picked up nearly 2" of new snow (11" on the ground). Duluth and St. Cloud report 4" of (gently used) snow on the ground.

 

 

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


TODAY: More clouds than sun with a few flurries in the air. Wind chill: -10. Winds: NW 10+ High: 11

 

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 5

 

MONDAY: Bright sun, brisk. Light winds. High: 15

 

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, not as cold. Low: 10. High: 26

 

WEDNESDAY: Early thaw, then turning colder. Low: 18. High: 33

 

THURSDAY: Bright sun, numbing again. Low: 5. High: 12

 

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, flurries north. Low: 7. High: 17

 

SATURDAY: Brief reprieve, colder PM wind. Low: 10. High: 31

 

Climate Stories...

 

"Average U.S. temperatures have risen roughly 1.5 degrees F since 1895, and more than 80 percent of that increase has occurred since 1980, the report concludes." - excerpt of a story at The Hill

.

Impact Of Climate Change Hitting Home, U.S. Report Finds. Climate scientists have been saying this for 10-15 years or longer, and now it's dawning on most Americans that, yes, maybe something has changed. Here's an excerpt from Reuters: "The consequences of climate change are now hitting the United States on several fronts, including health, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture and especially more frequent severe weather, a congressionally mandated study has concluded. A draft of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on Friday, said observable change to the climate in the past half-century "is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuel," and that no areas of the United States were immune to change. "Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont have observed changes in their local climate that are outside of their experience," the report said..."

 

Climate Change Set To Make America Hotter, Drier And More Disaster-Prone. More details on the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment from the U.K. Guardian: "Future generations of Americans can expect to spend 25 days a year sweltering in temperatures above 100F (38C), with climate change on course to turn the country into a hotter, drier, and more disaster-prone place. The National Climate Assessment, released in draft form on Friday , provided the fullest picture to date of the real-time effects of climate change on US life, and the most likely consequences for the future. The 1,000-page report, the work of the more than 300 government scientists and outside experts, was unequivocal on the human causes of climate change, and on the links between climate change and extreme weather. "Climate change is already affecting the American people," the draft report said..."

Photo credit above: "The report says steps taken by Obama to reduce emissions are 'not close to sufficient' to prevent the most severe consequences of climate change." Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP

 

Reports Says Warming Is Changing U.S. Daily Life. Here's more on the 1,146 page draft climate assessment report in an excerpt from Huffington Post Tech: "..."Human-induced climate change means much more than just hotter weather," the report says, listing rising-seas, downpours, melting glaciers and permafrost, and worsening storms. "These changes and other climatic changes have affected and will continue to affect human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, and many other aspects of society." The report uses the word "threat" or variations of it 198 times and versions of the word "disrupt" another 120 times. If someone were to list every aspect of life changed or likely to be altered from global warming, it would easily be more than 100, said two of the report's authors..."

 

Dear Mr. President: Time To Deal With Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an article at MIT Technology Review; a direct appeal from the editors of this leading publication to President Obama: "...Renewable energy sources, like solar and advanced biofuels, are simply not yet ready to compete with fossil fuels. Solar power, for example, still generates less than 1 percent of our nation’s electricity and, under most circumstances, remains much more expensive than electricity generated from fossil fuels. We need new and far more advanced technologies. Creating cleaner ways to produce energy will require inventions in physics and chemistry labs and innovations in how we scale up and test those inventions. And it will require market incentives, such as a tax or some other price on carbon dioxide emissions, to encourage consumers and industry to use clean energy..." (Photo credit: Think Progress).

 

National Climate Assessment Details Stronger Evidence Of Global Warming And Its Impacts. Huffington Post provides more perspective on changes that are already showing up. We've gone from theory to reality: "...Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between. Other changes are even more dramatic. Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the year, last later into the fall, threaten more homes, cause more evacuations, and burn more acreage...."

 

Global Warming Skeptics: What Do They Have To Fear? Here's an excerpt of a story at Christian Science Monitor that caught my eye: "For one, climate skeptics fear that people who are not qualified to opine on the complex topic of energy production may cripple economies with assorted misguided energy related boondoggles. Is that a realistic concern? What are the odds? I’m going to argue here that the odds are not zero. I offer as anecdotal evidence, the above video Debating The New Environmentalism hosted by Bryan Walsh, which I will eventually parse below. Interestingly enough, all three participants are wearing nearly identical shirts. Only Bill McKibben thought to wear his red power tie..."

Climate Change May Have Confused, Trapped Killer Whales. You may have heard about this story on Hudson Bay, which froze up unusually late this year. Voice of America reports: "A pod of killer whales trapped in the ice of Canada’s Hudson Bay successfully has left the small opening where they were gasping for breath, but marine specialists say global warming could cause more incidents like this. Lyne Morissette, a marine researcher with the St. Lawrence Global Observatory in Quebec, said the 12 orcas may simply have gotten lost while hunting for seals and other food, but it’s more likely they got stuck in the ice because of climate change. “They tend to base their migration on temperature, but based on the fact that temperature is changing in the Arctic, and the water is warmer, maybe they didn’t get the signal,” she said..."

 

Your Weatherman Probably Denies Global Warming. Yes, I know a few deniers in town, but this particular weatherman does not deny the science. Who else in town has been talking about this, publically, for over 15 years? Here's an excerpt from salon.com: "...For instance, when it comes to weather forecasters, a recent Rolling Stone magazine assessment of the local news scene found that “there’s a shockingly high chance that your friendly TV weatherman is a full-blown climate denier.” The report cited a 2010 survey finding that in the vast wasteland of Ron Burgundys, only half of all local weather forecasters believe climate change is even happening, and fewer than a third acknowledge the scientific evidence proving that it is “caused mostly by human activities.” Not surprisingly, their forecasts often omit any discussion of climate change’s effect on the weather systems, thus forfeiting a chance to properly contextualize severe weather events..."

 

Effects Of Climate Change Will Be Felt More Deeply In Decades Ahead, Draft Report Says. The Washington Post has some breaking (climate) news; here's an excerpt: "...The report’s executive summary states that not only have extreme weather and climate events become more frequent in recent years, “there is new and stronger evidence that many of these increases are related to human activities.” The report adds that these changes are exacting an economic toll on infrastructure across the country; it also identifies specific vulnerabilities in the Washington region, such as the Chesapeake Bay, which it said was threatened by changing land use patterns and the changing climate. Virginia Beach ranks among the nation’s “most vulnerable port cities,” according to the assessment, after Miami, the New York City area, New Orleans and Tampa-St. Petersburg...."

 

Photo credit: Washington Post. You can access the Draft Climate Assessment Report here (series of large PDF files).

 

Report: Climate Change Triggers Extreme Weather Events. Politico has the story; here's the introduction: "Human activities play a primary role in causing climate change, and evidence is mounting that those changes will lead to more frequent extreme weather events, according to a major draft report that will be released later Friday. The draft of the third National Climate Assessment comes as the Northeast continues to recover from devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and just days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States. The draft report, which runs more than 1,000 pages and was approved for release Friday by a federal advisory committee, warns that “human induced climate change is projected to continue and accelerate significantly if emissions of heat trapping gases continue to increase...” (photo credit: AP).

 

Climate Change Doesn't Have To Mean The End Of The World. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Atlantic: "This week the National Climate Data Center confirmed what most had long believed: 2012 was the warmest year on record for the United States. Ever. And not just a bit warmer: a full Fahrenheit degree warmer than in 1998, the previous high. In the land of climatology statistics, that is immense. In the understatement of one climate scientist, these findings are "a big deal." Almost every news story reporting on this juxtaposed the record with a series of disruptive climate events, ranging from the drought that covered much of the United States farmland and punctuated by Hurricane Sandy in its tens of billions of dollars of devastation. Many also pointed out that eight of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1990 (though it should be noted that official records only extend to 1895). Not surprisingly, these observations were almost always followed by warnings of more warming and substantially worse consequences to come..."

Photo credit above: Reuters.

 

NASA Proves Global Warming Changes From Above. Here's a clip from The Guardian Express: "Starting this month, NASA will send a remotely piloted research aircraft as high as 65,000 feet over the tropical Pacific Ocean to probe unexplored regions of the upper atmosphere for answers to how a warming climate is changing Earth. The first flights of the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), a multi-year airborne science campaign with a heavily instrumented Global Hawk aircraft, will take off from and be operated by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center atEdwards Air Force Base in California. The Global Hawk is able to make 30-hour flights. Water vapor and ozone in the stratosphere can have a large impact on Earth’s climate. The processes that drive the rise and fall of these compounds, especially water vapor, are not well understood..."

 

Hot Enough For You? Here's a portion of an Op-Ed from Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post: "...So we’re going to deal with climate change whether we like it or not. We’re going to spend many billions of dollars over the coming years providing disaster relief in the wake of hurricanes and other destructive weather events. If we’re a bit smarter, we’ll spend even more to protect our coastal cities from storm surges of the kind that devastated parts of New York. Investment in barriers and floodwalls will ultimately save both money and lives. But if we were really smart, we’d be talking about how to mitigate the ultimate damage by weaning ourselves from coal, oil and other energy sources that produce carbon emissions. We see what looks like disaster looming but don’t even talk about it, because the politics of climate change are inconvenient. Future generations will curse our silence."

 

How American Cities Are Adapting To Climate Change. Think Progress has a story about how cities are taking the lead on mitigating climate change - also hardening infrastructure to make the symptoms of a warmer atmosphere (more extreme heat and rainfall) less damaging: "A new report by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives highlights twenty local government across the country that are taking the initiative to combat global warming. The report follows up an earlier survey ICLEI did of 298 American cities, which found that 74 percent had perceived changes in the climate — including increased storm intensity, higher temperatures, and more precipitation. Almost two-thirds are pursuing adaptation planning for climate change, compared to 68 percent globally, and virtually all U.S. cities report difficulties acquiring funding for adaptation efforts. (Only Latin American cities reported similar levels of difficulty.) And over one-third of U.S. cities said the federal government does not understand the realities of climate change adaptation..."

 

Fox News Questions Whether Government Faked Hottest Year On Record. O.K. Time to put on your tin-foil hat and hold hands with some anti-science conspiracy theorists. These people need new hobbies. Here's an excerpt from Media Matters: "A Fox News.com article questioned whether 2012 was actually the hottest year on record, quoting "skeptics" who suggest a government office is manipulating data to fabricate proof of rising temperatures. In fact, statistical adjustments made by the agency are required, publicly-documented changes to correct for errors and known sources of bias in the raw data. In January, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous U.S. - an announcement that Fox News ignored until one of Fox News' few liberal commentators, Bob Beckel, tried to bring it up on The Five. Soon after, FoxNews.com reporter Maxim Lott solicited the views of a few professional climate "skeptics" to claim that scientists made unjustified data adjustments to exaggerate 2012's heat..."

 

Explained In 90 Seconds: What Is Climate Change Doing To El Nino? Here's a snippet of a very interesting story (and video clip) from Mother Jones: "...For the past seven years, Cobb and her lab team have been recontructing the history of El Niño events across several millenia by taking core samples from corals in the Pacific. That process has uncovered reams of fresh climate data. And it's within this new, longer baseline of temperatures from the tropical Pacific that Cobb spotted something surprising: "The 20th century is significantly, statistically stronger in its El Niño Southern Oscillation activity than this long, baseline average," Cobb says. El Niño events have gotten worse.That led Cobb to wonder: Is man-made climate change, and the level of carbon in the atmosphere, shifting in El Niño events along with it? Or should we chalk it up to coincidence?..."

Today: September Daydream (hot, muggy, thundery Father's Day weekend)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: June 11, 2012 - 11:32 PM

74 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

78 F. average high for June 11.

69 F. high temperature on June 11, 2011 at KMSP.

37 mph: peak wind gust in the metro area yesterday.

13.6 mph: average wind speed yesterday.

52 mph wind gust Sunday evening at 8:55 pm as severe storms moved through; 59 mph. gust at Olivia. The local NWS office has a complete list of peak wind gusts here.

 

.36" rain predicted for the Twin Cities by Friday morning at 7 am (00z NAM model).

70+ dew points possible by next weekend.

 

Fresh Air. For a high-resolution, short-term wind forecast for the USA click here. Enjoy the cool, comfortable breeze while you can - today easily the most comfortable day in sight (through September?) A rerun of heat and humidity is likely by Thursday.

Dew Point Prediction for MSP (00z NAM model output):

41 F. Today.

52 F. Wednesday.

65 F. Thursday.

 

Serious Case Of The Weekend Muggies? A few of the models are showing 70+ dew points next weekend, roughly two and a half times more water vapor floating overhead than today. Something to look forward to.

 

"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success". - Robert Orben. Image above: someecards.com.

 

"Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he." - Publilius Syrus

 

"The Arctic is the first place where we're starting to see the security impacts of climate change and the geopolitical tensions," said Heather Exner-Pirot, a researcher with the U of S International Centre for Northern Governance and Development." - from a story at Regina's Leader-Post; details below. Photo: Kathyrn Hansen, NASA.

2011: 35th year in a row in which global temperatures were above historical 20th century norms.

2010, 2005: virtual tie for warmest year on record, worldwide.

 

Tuesday Severe Risk. Storms from Cheyenne to Denver, on south to Midland and Dallas may exceed severe limits again today; a potential for damaging hail, even a few isolated tornadoes, according to SPC.

 

Heat: America's Number One Killer. Hurricanes, tornadoes and floods "make news" more than extreme heat, which usually claims a smaller number of lives, often in combination with another medical ailment, like heart or respiratory problems. Heat can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back, pushing many elderly people into cardiac arrest. Here's a good summary of the risk posed by heat from the Buffalo National Weather Service, via Facebook: "Did you know that “HEAT” is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives. Although “close” to record high temperatures across many locations today, you should still take precautions if you are going to be outside in the “HEAT”.

 

Not Quite As Hot. We may not hit 90 after all, although I suspect we'll come close to 90 Thursday, again Friday. Right now the wettest days (based on the ECMWF guidance above) appear to be Thursday, Sunday (sorry Dad) and Monday, when another cool front may spark the most widespread showers and T-storms. We are definitely in a wet pattern overall.

 

Best Chance Of Tripping Over Puddles? The arrival of warmer, stickier air sets off a few T-showers from Wednesday night into Thursday, another sloppy bullseye Saturday night into a portion of Sunday, based on the latest model ensemble.

 

5-Day Rainfall Projections. NOAA HPC's QPF (enough acronyms?) shows a 2-2.5" rainfall prediction over Minnesota and northern Florida; dry weather lingering for much of the west, making a bad fire scenario considerably worse.

 

Severe Flooding In Escambia County, Florida Forces Evacuations In Florida's Panhandle. As much as 22" of rain has soaked the Pensacola area, prompting evacuations, washing out roads and bridges. Huffington Post has more information: "Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday. A tornado connected with the storm system also uprooted trees and destroyed chicken houses Sunday in southeastern Alabama, where an emergency official said a few homes were damaged but no injuries were reported. "I actually saw it myself coming out of our church door – my first tornado I have ever witnessed," said Margaret Mixon, emergency management director for rural Geneva County."

Photo credit above: "Forest Creek apartment resident Calvin Grace checks on the flooding conditions at his unit Sunday, June 10, 2012, after receiving nearly two feet of water on Saturday, in Pensacola, Fla. Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday." (AP Photo/The Pensacola News Journal, Tony Giberson)

 

Car Sinks In Floodwaters During Live (Jacksonville) TV Segment. Here is more detail (and video) from TVSpy.com: "A car sank in a flooded creek behind WTEV-WAWS during the stations’ severe weather coverage, making for a tense moment of live TV (video above). It turned out that a teenager, along with a friend, was driving the car and, confused by the rising waters, took a wrong turn into a creek. Both young men escaped to safety, but the car was ruined. Following the incident, the joint Jacksonville stations orchestrated some more live TV drama when a local car dealership surprised the kid with a new car. Video inside…"

 

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due. Here is NOAA HPC's 5-Day Precipitation Outlook issued last Thursday. Notice the 10" bullseye over the Florida Panhandle. Yes, that forecast verified alright - as much as 22" of rain for portions of Escambia County, in the Pensacola area, since last Friday. That's 2 hurricane's worth of rain!

 

Fire Season 2012: "We're Just Getting Started". AccuWeather meteorologist Ken Reeves has a good summary of the fire season, compared with last year, to date: "Here are some statistics to show why I have said that this has been a rather slow start to the season.

So far in 2012, there has been 22,976 fires burning 838,853 acres.

In 2011 to date, there was 29,857 fires burning a much larger 3,450,882 acres.

The 10-year average to date is 32,576 fires burning 1,422,752 acres.

Therefore, 2012 has been well below the 10-year average for the number of fires and acres burned and far below the number of acres burned to date last year. Though interesting, we are in the infancy of the meat of the fire season. A lot can change over the next several month before the fire season peaks late summer and early fall."

Photo credit above: "Donna Dundon, left, and Arianna Roupinian, of Fort Collins, Colo., watch a fire burning in a mountainous area about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, on Sunday, June 10, 2012. Firefighters on Sunday were fighting wildfires that have spread quickly in parched forests in Colorado and New Mexico, forcing hundreds of people from their homes and the evacuation of wolves from a sanctuary. The Colorado fire grew to 22 square miles within about a day of being reported and has destroyed or damaged 18 structures." (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson)

 

"Pyrocumulus". Here is an amazing example of pyrocumulus, clouds formed by hot updrafts generated by the Little Bear Fire in New Mexico. Details and more photos from Expose-Sure 101 in Alto, New Mexico: "As of 6 a.m. this morning the Little Bear Fire is 26,000 acres, current cost $1.2 million, zero percent contained. Transferred to Type 1 incident command this morning at the White Mountain Elementary School Cmplex. No new evacuations. No evacuees will be allowed back to their homes. Highway closures remain in effect. Two Heavy helicopter, 2 Blackhawk helicopters, 2 medium helicopters, two light helicopters, 3 large air tankers and two light tankers in addition to at least 300 more firefighters The "heel of the fire line on ski run road is being held. Neighborhoods at the intersections of HWY 48 and airport road and in Sonterra have been "compromised". The Rio Bontio valley and Angus church /lower copper canyon have also been "compromised". Several structures are destroyed and hundreds remain threatened."

 

Floods And Misery In Southern England As A Month's Worth of Rain Falls In A Few Hours. Some amazing details from the U.K. Independent: "Forecasters warned there was little prospect of summer as once again more than a month’s worth of rain fell in just a few hours today bringing flooding and misery to parts of southern England. Storm conditions are set to return later in the week, the Met Office said, as homes were evacuated along the south coast while a hospital in Worthing was forced to divert emergency admissions after wards were inundated with water. The Environment Agency issued more than 40 flood warnings and alerts on rivers across Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire which were lashed with torrential downpours. Worst affected were the rivers Mole and Barnham."

Photo credit above: "The scene at Riverside Caravan Park in Llandre, Wales after swollen waters breached the banks of the River Lery and flooded the caravan park Saturday June 9, 2012. Around 150 people had to be rescued from homes and caravans after severe floods hit west Wales. Holidaymakers and residents were helped to safety in a large-scale rescue operation mounted by fire crews, coastguard lifeboats and military helicopters when water swept through caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth in Wales." (AP Photo/PA Wire)

 

New Hurricane Center Head Turned Fear Into Career. AP and Timesunion.com has the story; here's an excerpt: "MIAMI (AP) — When the National Hurricane Center's new director was growing up on the Florida and Texas coasts, tropical storms frightened him. Decades later, Rick Knabb understands storms better, but he still doesn't like them. "I'm still very scared of hurricanes," says Knabb, who left The Weather Channel to become chief of the U.S. government's hurricane forecasting hub in Miami on June 1. "I have a very healthy respect for what they can do and I try to channel that fear into preparedness and action." As hurricane center director, Knabb will spend a lot of time urging coastal residents to prepare for a major hurricane by securing their homes. He will tell them to create evacuation plans and stock enough supplies to last several days without power."

Photo credit above: "In this June 5, 2012 photo, Rick Knabb discusses his role as the new Director of the National Hurricane Center in MIami. He might better understand the tropical storm systems that frightened him as a child growing up on the hurricane-prone coasts of Florida and Texas, but that doesn’t mean he’s learned to like their howling winds. “I’m still very scared of hurricanes,” says Knabb, who left The Weather Channel to become chief of the U.S. government’s hurricane forecasting hub in Miami. “I have a very healthy respect for what they can do and I try to channel that fear into preparedness and action.” (AP)

 
 
"Shelf Cloud." Thanks to StormchaseKY, who snapped this ominous pic in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

 

"Sun Dog". Here is an explanation of this optical illusion, courtesy of the Seattle office of The National Weather Service, via Facebook: "This is an image of a mock sun or sundog captured this afternoon. The scientific name for this phenomenon is ‘parhelion,’ which is Greek and means, ‘besides the sun.’ It occurs when sunlight passes through ice crystals, which refract or bend the light horizontally (acting as prisms)."

 

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

Paul,

"Three weeks ago, on Saturday morning, our moving vehicle, at 50 mph, was struck by a bolt of lightning. What are the odds on that??"

Ed Bohl III

Managing Director, Schawk!

 

Ed - glad you're OK. A vehicle is a fairly safe place to ride out an electrical storm. It is a crude (rolling) "Faraday Cage", which Wikipedia explains: "A Faraday cage's operation depends on the fact that an external static electrical field will cause the electric charges within the cage's conducting material to redistribute themselves so as to cancel the field's effects in the cage's interior. This phenomenon is used, for example, to protect electronic equipment from lightning strikes and electrostatic discharges."

The National Lightning Safety Institute has calculated the odds of any one person being struck by lightning in a given year:

USA population = 280,000,000

1000 lightning victims/year/average

Odds = 1 : 280,000 of being struck by lightning

 

Hello again Paul -

"Hope you're well. Thought of you when I saw this. Not a brilliant shot (because it was taken from our moving car) but it was looking southwest over Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport site and the harbor - as this strange shaft of orange light appeared in the clouds."

Joe Kainz

Thanks Joe - great pic. It may have been caused by a narrow break in a line of showers and T-storms that allowed the setting sun to shine on mid-level clouds over the harbor.

 

Best Not To Complain About The Rain. Why? Because it's been snowing over northern Manitoba. Eden Prairie consulting meteorologist Dean DeHarpporte writes:

"Paul, maybe you have noticed but it has been snowing all morning in Thompson, Manitoba, which is about 530 miles north of the US border, and Gillam Manitoba, which is about 100 miles east northeast of Thompson. Hudson Bay is 100-150 miles to the northeast of both towns.Thompson, population 13,000, is a stop on the railway that goes up from Winnipeg to Churchill where I once went (in January).

The precip was rain overnight but there has apparently been enough upward motion in the cyclone over Hudson Bay to cause enough cooling to make the change to snow, which has been classified as heavy at times. I just noticed it on the surface map reports so I dont know if there has been accumulation. My very subjective impression is that heavy snow this late in the season is rare that far south of Hudson Bay. Surprisingly (to me) Thompson is classified as subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc), but now I see why."

* map above courtesy of Unisys.

 

"Reaction System" Promises Versatile, Cost-Effective Emergency Housing. Here's an interesting concept for getting temporary housing to the scene of hurricane, flood or earthquake survivors who need temporary homes, as outlined at gizmag.com: "In a world where millions of people are forced from their houses every year because of natural disasters, there is an ongoing need for huge numbers of decent mid- to long-term temporary housing units that can be swiftly delivered to the affected area. The Reaction Housing System has been developed to make the wait as short as possible."

 

Apple Has Its Own Killer Maps With Turn-By-Turn Navigation, 3-D, and Tons More. More details on Monday's announcements from Apple courtesy of gizmodo.com; here's an excerpt: "As expected, Apple just announced its own in-house mapping platform at WWDC. Apple is doing all of the cartography itself, instead of Using Google Maps, or pulling from an open source format like OpenStreetMap. One big addition is turn-by-turn navigation in iOS 6, which has been a big feature that Apple fans have been begging for for years. It'll be narrated by Siri, of course. It will also be fully integrated with Yelp, and offer traffic updates, suggesting new routes if traffic is bad where you're heading. Another cool thing to do is that if you've got to take two turns back to back, it will show you both of the signs, so you know what to do."

 

World's Longest Kayak? O.K. It's modular, but I still haven't seen anything quite like this; gizmag.com has the story: "After touring the United States in a bespoke boot-mobile earlier this year, L.L. Bean has turned its attention to the water in its continuing centenary celebration. The 100-year-old outfitter has built what it believes to be the world's largest modular kayak. The bespoke vessel is a 500-foot-long (152 m) version of Point65's collapsible kayak. In its production form the Point65 Tequila! modular kayak breaks down into three segments, allowing for easier transport. In order to build it out to L.L. Bean's 500-foot specification, Point65 adds 98 additional middle sections - because you really wouldn't want to put a boat that size on your roof rack or trailer."

 

Cooling Off. What a difference - 93 Sunday, almost 20 degrees cooler Monday with HALF as much water in the air, the result of gusty west/northwest winds pumping Canadian air south of the border. While we enjoyed a fresh breeze and plenty of sun it rained up north (.66" at Hibbing and .48" International Falls). Highs ranged from 67 at Alexandria to 72 St. Cloud, 74 in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

 

"Ah summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." - Russel Baker

 

 

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


TODAY: Fresh air. Perfect, with a hint of mid-September. Dew point: 39. Winds: NW 10-20. High: near 70

 

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear, to partly cloudy, still comfortable. Low: 52

 

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, probably dry (T-storms stay west). High: 76

 

THURSDAY: Sticky, few T-storms likely. Dew point: 65. Low: 62. High: 86

 

FRIDAY: Hot and steamy, T-storms north/west. Dew point: 69. Low: 68. High: 92

 

SATURDAY: Tropical, more T-storms. Dew point: 70. Winds: S/SE 10-15. Low: 69. High: 88

 

FATHER'S DAY: Sunburnt dads. More storms, some strong. Dew point: 70. Low: 70. High: 91

 

MONDAY: Heavy T-storms, downpours. Low: 69. High: 87

 

 

Tornado Tales

Raging wildfires burn out of control out west, while waterlogged residents of Pensacola, Florida mop up from 21 inches of rain; two hurricane's worth of moisture. Welcome to 2012, "The Year of All or Nothing".

I'm always looking for interesting articles for the weather blog. Todd Krause at the local National Weather Service office sent me a link that made me do a double-take. New studies show that if you have a vehicle with multiple airbags you may be safer staying in your car or truck than diving into the nearest ditch. It's still somewhat controversial - because a major (EF-3 or higher) tornado could toss your vehicle hundreds of feet into the air (with a very rough landing). Your best bet is to find a nearby building, store or rest stop.

New (connected) vehicles will include Doppler radar, so you know what you're driving into.

Today brings a welcome hint of September, dew points in the 30s, meaning a third as much water in the air as Sunday. Soak it up, because highs may brush 90 by late week.

A front stalled just to our west ignites rounds of T-storms Thursday into Sunday; no all-weekend-washouts but a sticky, tropical, thundery pattern sets up for Father's Day weekend.

 

"The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack". - Robinson Jeffers

 

Climate Stories...


National Academies of Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Society, Geological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Science Academies of the G8+5 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Australian Institute of Physics, and International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.

- Scientific societies that acknowledge the reality and danger of human-caused climate change. Source here.

 

China Emissions Study Suggests Climate Change Could Be Faster Than Thought. Reuters and The Chicago Tribune have the story; here's an excerpt: "SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 percent higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed on Sunday, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted. China has already overtaken the United States as the world's top greenhouse gas polluter, producing about a quarter of mankind's carbon pollution that scientists say is heating up the planet and triggering more extreme weather."

 

Research Shows Humans Main Cause Of Global Warming. Radio Australia has more details: "Scientists say this is the most comprehensive study to date on global ocean warming. The research has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The team looked at rising ocean temperatures over the past 50 years, and a dozen models projecting climate change patterns. Australian based co-author, Dr John Church from Australia's island state of Tasmania says there's no way all of the world's oceans could've warmed by one tenth of a degree Celsius without human impact. He says nature only accounts for 10 per cent of the increase."

Photo credit above: "The coastline of Funafuti Atoll, in Tuvalu. Tuvaluans fear global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with king tides and cyclones, will render their nation uninhabitable." [AFP]

 

Greenhouse Gases Largely To Blame For Warming Oceans: Scientists. Australia's ABC Network has the story; here's an excerpt: "Researchers from America, India, Japan and Australia say the study is the most comprehensive look at how the oceans have warmed. The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, examined a dozen different models used to project climate change, and compared them with observations of ocean warming over the past 50 years. It found natural variations accounted for about 10 per cent of rising temperatures, but man-made greenhouse gases were the major cause."

Photo credit above: "The study says greenhouse gases are largely to blame for ocean warming." David Loh: Reuters.

 

"Man-Handled". A Decade Ago Conservatives Attacked A Scientist - And Created A Leader. Here's an excerpt from a story written by Chris Mooney for desmogblog.com: "I first became familiar with the name Michael Mann in the year 2003. I was working on what would become my book The Republican War on Science, and had learned of two related events: The controversy over the Soon and Baliunas paper in Climate Research, purporting to refute Mann and his colleagues’ famous 1998 “hockey stick” study; and a congressional hearing convened by Senator James Inhofe, at which Mann testified. Inhofe tried to wheel out the Soon and Baliunas work as if they’d dealt some sort of killer blow against climate science. In fact, just before the hearing, several editors of Climate Research had resigned over the paper. I went on to stand up for Mann, and his work, in Republican War. Little did I know, at the time, that he himself would become the leading defender of his scientific field against political attacks."


 

 

Global Warming Threat Seen In Fertile Soil Of Northeastern U.S. Forests. Science Daily has the story; here's an excerpt: "Vast stores of carbon in U.S. forest soils could be released by rising global temperatures, according to a study by UC Irvine and other researchers in a recent online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists found that heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees increased the release of carbon dioxide by up to eight times. They showed for the first time that most carbon in topsoil is vulnerable to this warming effect. "We found that decades-old carbon in surface soils is released to the atmosphere faster when temperatures become warmer," said lead author Francesca Hopkins, a doctoral researcher in UCI's Earth system science department."

Photo credit above: "UCI doctoral student Francesca Hopkins tested soil in northeastern forests and found that warming releases carbon locked in the forest floor into the atmosphere."  (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Irvine)

 

Virginia Republican Forces Scientists To Stop Using "Climate Change" Terminology. OK. Let's call it "environmental discomfort" from now on. Better yet, let's ignore the science and just throw caution to the wind. Future generations won't mind. We did what was in our best interest at the time - we just thought about ourselves! Sounds like a viable path forward to me. Amazing details from The Virginian-Pilot and rawstory.com: "Virginia House Delegate Christopher Stolle (R) might be on the right-wing fringe when it comes to climate science, but at least he’s helping fellow lawmakers temper the tea party’s reaction to costly government studies on the matter. In a legislative dust-up earlier this year, according to reporter Scott Harper, writing for The Virginian-Pilot, Stolle told Virginia State Senator Ralph Northam (D) that the terms “climate change” and “sea-level rise” are “liberal code words” that must be excised from a study request, or risk having that request shelved. Shockingly enough: Even though Republicans control the state’s general assembly and hold the tie-breaking vote in the Virginia Senate, they voted to approve $138,000 to fund the study after Northam allowed the term “sea-level rise” to be swapped out for “recurrent flooding.”

Photo credit: rawstory.com.

 

Virginia Says "Sea Level Rise" Is Liberal Propaganda. We should force this guy to live on the Virginia coast (Norfolk or Newport News area?) - see if he changes his tune in the years to come. We're really having an argument about semantics? Think Progress has more details: "Virginia’s legislature commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. To greenlight the project, they omitted words like “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the study’s description itself. According to the House of Delegates sponsor of the study, these are “liberal code words,” even though they are noncontroversial in the climate science community. Instead of using climate change, sea level rise, and global warming, the study uses terms like “coastal resiliency” and “recurrent flooding.” Republican State Delegate Chris Stolle, who steered the legislation, cut “sea level rise” from the draft. Stolle has also said the “jury’s still out” on humans’ impact on global warming."

 

Climate Change Could Chill International Relations In Arctic. Regina's Leader-Post has the story; here's an excerpt: "A new cold war is on the horizon in international politics, warns a report co-authored by a University of Saskatchewan researcher. This cold war is a fight over commercial opportunities in the Arctic, an increasingly important issue in international relations as climate change thaws out frozen transportation routes, says the report, Climate Change and International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether. "The Arctic is the first place where we're starting to see the security impacts of climate change and the geopolitical tensions," said Heather Exner-Pirot, a researcher with the U of S International Centre for Northern Governance and Development. "It's about oil and gas. These weren't accessible before. This would never have been profitable if the Arctic was still frozen. Now you can go in there with ships."

 

China Launches Climate Change Think Tank. Chinadaily.com has the story - here's a snippet: "China's newly established national think tank for climate change has put the "top level design" of China's carbon trading system top of its agenda agenda. The country officially launched its first national climate change think tank on Monday — the National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation Center — to further strengthen the nation's research capabilities in addressing climate change. The center will provide policy decision-making support for climate change negotiations, advise on low-carbon economic development and cooperate internationally in this area."

 

Canada May Warm 2 C by 2020 and 4 C by 2050. A certain amount of warming is already in the pipeline, even if we could magically cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero. Northumberlandview.ca has the story; here's an excerpt: "TORONTO, June 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Intact Financial Corporation and the University of Waterloo, along with more than 80 experts from across the country, today released the Climate Change Adaptation Project report, which provides a roadmap for adaptation in Canada. It projects rising temperatures across the country and substantial fluctuations in precipitation levels, all of which will leave a range of sectors, cities and rural regions in Canada vulnerable. City infrastructure, biodiversity, freshwater resources, Aboriginal communities and agriculture were targeted as the most vulnerable areas where adaptive solutions to address climate change are most urgently required. The report outlines 20 practical and cost-effective recommendations that can be implemented on a priority basis in the short term.To guide the project, climate projections for Canada were developed. The results are striking."