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.

Fog Gives Way to AAA+++ Weekend; Risk of 80 Degrees in Late September

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 25, 2014 - 12:15 AM

Peak Fog Season

There are high clouds (cirrus), mid-level clouds (altocumulus) and low clouds (stratus). And then there are lazy clouds, stratus that forms at ground level, which we refer to as fog.

September is prime time for fog; the combination of lingering summer moisture and longer nights, which allows the temperature to fall to the dew point, allows invisible water vapor to condense out into visible cloud droplets.

Some of our most vexing challenges: predicting hurricane intensity, forecasting flash floods more than 3 hours in advance, pinpointing where tornadoes will touch down more than 30 minutes into the future, and how thick and stubborn a fog layer will be.

If fog lifts into stratus and doesn't burn off temperatures can be 10-15F cooler than they would be with the sun peeking out.

Any fog this morning should give way to a few "bright intervals" (as meteorologists at the BBC might say). Expect warm sun Friday into Monday with temperatures 10F degrees above average. 80F is not out of the question this weekend. Tuesday thunder ushers cooler air into Minnesota, with highs dipping into the 50s by late week.

Take nothing for granted, especially late September warm fronts.


Colors Close To Peak Up North. This may be THE weekend to take a drive along Lake Superior's North Shore, if you're so inclined. The latest Minnesota DNR fall color map shows colors peaking near Lutsen and Grand Marais, as well as near Alexandria, Wadena and the Moorhead area - lot's of color from Lake Mille Lacs into the Brainerd Lakes area and much of northern Minnesota. Peak color in the MSP metro area is probably 7-10 days away.


Evening Weather Map. The predicted map this evening, courtesy of UCAR, shows soaking rains from New York City to Norfolk and portions of Florida, with gusty rains pushing into the Pacific Northwest, greatly reducing the fire risk. A stiff south wind boosts temperatures 10-15F warmer than average for the Plains and Upper Midwest.


Fine Weather Into Early Next Week. A temporarily stalled bubble of high pressure keeps us relatively balmy from Friday into Tuesday of next week as highs reach the upper 70s to near 80F. Not too shabby considering the average high now is in the upper 60s, with a sun angle as high as it was back in the third week of March. Thunder is possible Tuesday, more showers Wednesday before a cooler front has us considering jackets and sweatshirts by the end of next week; European guidance suggests highs in the 50s one week from today. Source: Weatherspark.


Nervous Their Airline Hubs Will Fly Away, Cities Race to Flood-Proof Their Airports. Because the reality is this: many big-city airports were built within a few feet of sea level. Here's an excerpt from Next City: "...As extreme weather events become more frequent, the airports of the world — often built on flat, low-lying land that was easy and inexpensive for municipalities to purchase or reclaim — are suffering the perils of their geography. “First and foremost, the history of trade put most major cities on the water,” says Richard Barone, director of transportation programs at New York City’s Regional Plan Association, which has done considerable research on the area’s aviation infrastructure. “And before the jet-age, planes often landed on the water, so as airports expanded, they did so on fill and reclaimed land...”

Photo credit above: "A plane on the tarmac of Bangkok’s flooded airport in 2011." (Photo by AP / Aaron Favila).


Can Flood-Monitoring Be Crowd-Sourced? Yes, there's an app for that too, according to an article at Emergency Management; here's a clip: "...Jeff Stern, state coordinator of VDEM, said in a statement that the map shows only the "worst-case scenario" of a particular storm. "It's not a real-time map," Stern cautioned, "so people still need to listen carefully for local evacuation instructions during an actual storm."
 The map can be found at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. There, users can click on the "storm surge tool," type in an address and see the projected impact for that location. Storm surge is the damaging coastal water that's pushed ashore by the strong winds of a hurricane or tropical storm, over and above the tide
..."

Photo credit above: "Damage caused by the September 2011 heavy rains and flooding in Fairfax County." Flickr/Virginia Department of Transportation.


NFL Tried Too Hard To Control Message. Oh to be the poor PR guy or gal at the NFL. I wonder if they've outsourced this thankless job to India. Here's an excerpt of a story at ESPN: "...Some people don't like the outsize role football plays in American politics and urban development. Some think a violent game should not be the United States' national sport. Some think football has become the eggplant that eats the budget of big public universities or is accorded too much importance at high schools. Some people are angry with how the super-rich owners of the NFL wallow in subsides while restricting health care assistance to former players and are happy to have cheerleaders dance half-naked but refuse to pay them minimum wage, let alone treat them fairly..."


Brave New Phone Call. The the plain (and slightly sad) voice call be resurrected and made interesting again? If you have an answer please call me on my rotary phone landline. "Talko" has people talking, at least about the app, but will it get you talking on your smartphone again? Here's an excerpt from Medium: "...Gaps like this mean opportunity, and Ozzie’s solution is Talko, his ploy to restore the human voice to primacy in the digital age. The app’s key innovations allow people to build conversations as if they were collaborative documents — adding to these artifacts both in real time and asynchronously. (The most striking aspect of Talko is how seamlessly it mixes live interactions and monologues into a single stream.) And in another paradigm shift, everything is archived by default, allowing people the same persistent access to their meetings and conversations that they now have with email and documents..."


New Mushroom Species Discovered In London Grocery Store. You can't make this stuff up. Here's the intro to a story at CBC News: "What's a good place to look for undiscovered species? Remote rainforests? The deep ocean? What about your local grocery store? That's where Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz, mycologists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, recently discovered three new kinds of mushroom. They were found in a package of dried porcini mushrooms from a grocery store in "southwest greater London" that the scientists tested using a technique called DNA barcoding. Dentinger had previously used the technique while researching mushrooms at the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto..."

Image credit above: "Samples of the new mushroom species are shown in the original packet, purchased at a grocery store in southwest greater London." (Bryn Dentinger/Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew).



65 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

68 F. average high on September 24.

76 F. high on September 24, 2013.

.04" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

.4" of snow fell at MSP International Airport on September 24, 1985. Ouch.

September 24, 1998: A wind gust to 78 mph was reported at Staples Municipal Airport, just to the north of Staples in Wadena County. In Todd county, trees were blown down in the city of Staples. Buildings were damaged at a farmstead on the northwest edge of the city. A roof was torn off of Stern Rubber Company. Rooftop heating and cooling units were ripped off McKechnie Tool and Engineering. In Mille Lacs County, 3 inch hail was reported, damaging many automobiles.

September 24, 1929: Willmar experiences a deluge that dropped 5.22 inches in 24 hours.


TODAY: Fog and low clouds. Some sun later. Winds: S 8. High: 72

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, more patchy fog possible. Low: 60

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and balmy. High: 78

SATURDAY: Warm sun, feels like August. Wake-up: 60. High: 79

SUNDAY: One last cruise on the lake? Hazy blue sky. Wake-up: 59. High: 78

MONDAY: Partly sunny, too nice to work. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, late thunder. Wake-up: 60. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: A bit cooler, leftover showers. Wake-up: 61. High: 75

* image credit: funcram.com.


Climate Stories...

Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country. Which country has the most long-term risk from rising seas? China might have some issues in the years ahead, according to an article at The New York Times; here's the introduction: "More than a quarter of Vietnam’s residents live in areas likely to be subject to regular floods by the end of the century. Four percent of China’s residents — 50 million people — live in the same kind of areas. Across the globe, about one person in 40 lives in a place likely to be exposed to such flooding by the end of the century, absent significant changes. These figures are the result of a new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world, conducted by Climate Central and based on more detailed sea-level data than has previously been available..."


Humans Don't Do "Future" Well, And That Could Doom Us If We're Not Careful. We're all hard-wired to focus on the present, but peering out over the horizon and taking steps to avoid headaches down the road? We have insurance policies for our homes, cars and earthly treasures, but what about Earth itself? Here's a clip from Reuters: "...One problem is that, as a species, we do not do “future” well. “We are very concrete people,” Weber explained, “who have been wired to live for the here and now, which was a good idea in distant evolutionary times when our ancestors had to respond to immediate threats.” The biological instincts that we needed to survive when a raiding party attacked, for example, don’t translate well to abstract dangers that won’t fully materialize for decades. Especially if the future threat is as complex and uncertain as that posed by climate change. But the problem is also the approach. “Everything is messaged negatively,” Weber said. “It’s always gloom-and-doom scenarios...”


Watch Arctic Sea Ice Retreat To One Of It's Lowest Levels in Years. At last count it looks like the 6th lowest extent of summer sea ice at the top of the world. Here's a clip from National Journal: "The amount of ice at the poles is always in flux. In the summer, the ice recedes. In the winter, it grows. So just as the Antarctic ice sheet has grown to its largest size ever (winter is just ending in the Southern Hemisphere), the Arctic ice sheet has receded to its sixth-smallest level since 1978.   "The Arctic has lost about 11,100 square miles of ice per day so far this September, nearly the twice the average 1981-2010 rate," The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang reports. While it isn't known why the Antarctic sheet has grown so much this year, it doesn't mean the continent is safe from the effects of global warming..."


James Cameron On Getting Over Dread, Despair and Yourself Long Enough to Believe in Climate Change. I'm not a fan of the word "believe". I think acknowleging the science is possibly a better way to frame this. Esquire has the interview; here's a snippet: "... Look, you’ve always got your denier community pundits, that’s gonna be a given any time somebody sticks their head up and talks about the climate crisis. All the deniers line up and try to poke holes in your science with their ridiculous arguments. They’re like a Pez dispenser, I can predict exactly what they’re going to say, and it’s all wrong. But people do listen to it, unfortunately. Anybody should have a healthy skepticism when a celebrity opens their mouth on an issue. How well schooled are they on that issue? What the star power brought us was reach and interest on the part of an audience. We’re trying to go to the grass roots, and we’re trying to talk to people with this show who wouldn’t normally watch something on the environment..." (Image: National Science Foundation).


Vatican to U.N. Summit: Climate Change is Man-Made and Man's Responsibility. We talk so much about rights in this country, what about responsibility, to ourselves and future generations? Vatican Radio has an audio excerpt; here's an excerpt of their story: "The Holy See has called for “an authentic cultural change” to combat climate change which is man-made and therefore man’s responsibility. That was the focus of an address delivered Tuesday evening to the UN Climate Change Summit in New York by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin..."


For Obama, Cheerleading on Climate Change Is Easier Than Leading. The New Republic has the story; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...But Obama had to make a big deal about what the U.S. has done already because he couldn't make such a big deal about what the U.S. will do in the future. His administration is now putting in place major new regulations on power plantsa critical move that will make a significant reduction in U.S. emissions and allow it to hit targets that Obama set years ago, during negotiations in Copenhagen. But simply hitting those targets isn't enough. To avoid the most catastrophic scenarios of climate change, the nations of the world must do more to reduce emissions that continue to rise every year..."

Hints of August Return

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 23, 2014 - 8:53 PM

Hints of August Return
By Todd Nelson

"Inquiring minds want to know."

My 5 year old asked me the other day why leaves change color. At the end of every pause I had, he asked "why" again and again and again. So without trying to be too sciencey, I did the best I could to explain the photoperiod, cold temperatures, carotenoids, anthocyanins and chlorophyll... at one point, during my rambling, I thought I heard him say: "Chlorophyll? More like Borophyll."

Sure, to young kinds, the science behind why leaves change color may not be as interesting as why we can't eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they're noticing the changes too!

It's hard not to notice the beauty of nature sometimes. Take a little time to enjoy that one tree in your neighborhood this fall that turns firey red or golden yellow. Before you know it, we'll all be staring at bare trees for the next 6 months... UGH!

A weak impluse of energy will responsible for a few remnants showers today. Most of us will stay dry, but lingering clouds will have temps struggling to get to 70s in most spots. However, hints of August return later this week/weekend with temps nearing 80F and more sun. Might be a good weekend to do a little leaf peeping.

==============

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a few showers possible. Low: 58. Winds: SSE5-10

WEDNESDAY: More clouds, few showers. High: 70. Winds: SSE10

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: A few lingering showers early. Low: 58

THURSDAY: Patchy fog, then mild sunshine. High: 77

FRIDAY: Warm sun, clock out early. Wake-up: 59. High: 80

SATURDAY: Blue sky, low humidity, few bugs. Wake-up: 60. High: 81

SUNDAY: Postcard-worthy. Warm sun. Few late day T-Showers possible.Dew point: 58. Wake-up: 60. High: 78

MONDAY: More sun, still quite enjoyable. Dew point: 54. Wake-up: 57. High: 75

TUESDAY: Stray PM T-shower possible. Wake-up: 56. High: 74.

=================

This Day in Weather History
Septem
ber 24th

1985: 0.4 inches of snow fell in the Minneapolis area.

1982: Tropical air over the state. The Twin Cities has a low of 71.

1869: Heavy rain dumps nearly 10 inches on the White Earth Reservation.

==================

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
September 24th

Average High: 68F (Record 89F set in 1935)
Average Low: 49F (Record 30 set in 1942)

===================

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
September 24th

Sunrise: 7:02am
Sunset: 7:06pm

===================

Moon Phase for September 24th
New Moon at 1:14am (Falling Leaves - Ojibwe)

===================

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

Early Fall perfection continues through the last full week/weekend of September with temperatures warming into the 70s/near 80F. ENJOY! Extended model runs are suggesting a bigger drop in the temperature department by early October. Temperatures then could be running well below average, so get outside and remember what 80F weather feels like now before it's too late!

===========================

Wednesday Weather Conditions

A weak impulse of energy will push through the Upper Mississippi Valley through midweek. A few spotty showers will be possible through Wednesday, but not much rainfall is expected. Temperatures will be held into the 60s across parts of the state due to additional cloud cover, but where clouds begin to break up, readings make spike into the mid 70s by the afternoon.

Simulated Radar

The simulated radar through AM Thursday suggests a batch of light/moderate rainfall moving through the region from PM Tuesday into Wednesday. Most of the precipitation will have wrapped up by AM Thursday.

Simulated Rainfall

According to the simulated rainfall accumulation loop below, it doesn't appear that much rain will be falling across the state. Most of the accumulations will be found across the southern part of the state through AM Thursday.

MN Fall Color Update

According to the MN DNR, much of northern Minnesota is 25 - 50% of peak color with a pocket of 50 - 75% of peak color across the north-central part of the state. Looking at the weather conditions for the upcoming weekend, this might be a great weekend to do a little fall color peeping up north!

Wisconsin Fall Color Update

Thanks to my good friend Melissa Ganje Kramolis for the picture below who snapped this from the St. Peter's Dome State Natural Area in northern Wisconsin. Fall colors seem to be showing up nicely there too!

Wisconsin Fall Color Update

According to TravelWisconsin.com - much of Wisconsin is already 50% of peak color with a peak pockets of near peak color already showing up in the north-central part of the state. Yes, this weekend may be a great weekend to do a little leaf peeping in Wisconsin too!

Whistlestop Marathon in Ashland, WI

My running/marathon days have taken a bit of an extended sabbatical over the past few years, but when my wife and I were running on a more regular basis, one of our favorite marathons/half marathons at this time of the year was the WhistleStop Marathon in Ashland, WI. On a beautiful October day, you can't beat the run and the views! If you're a runner and are looking for another run yet this year, check it out! Fall colors tend to peak around the time of the run in early October too, so it makes it even better. This year the race is the weekend of October 10th & 11th

See more information from the WhistleStop Marathon HERE:

(photo courtesty: WhistleStop Marathon)

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

Of course, who could forget about the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon! The marathon this year is only 2.5 weeks away (Sunday, October 5th)!! This is also another beautiful run that takes runners through the some great spots in Minneapolis. Let's hope the weather cooperates this year!

More information about the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon HERE:

(photo courtesty: Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon)

Upper Level Winds

The image below shows the upper level wind pattern (white line) by late this week. Note that the white line is well north of Minnesota, which will allow above average temperatures to settle in for a several day period.

An extended weather forecast into early October suggests a change in the upper level wind pattern. This (potential) trough of low pressure could mean cooler than normal conditions returning to the Upper Midwest by early October... stay tuned.

Severe Storm Reports This Year

According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY storm reports so far in 2014 include 390 total reports (hail, high wind and tornadoes). So far there have been 27 tornado reports across the state. According to NOAA's NCDC the (1991-2010) annual average number of tornadoes in Minnesota is 45. Interestingly, the (1991-2010) average for October tornadoes in Minnesota is 1. Despite that, the peak of tornado season is over (Peak: June averages 18) and we will likely finish below average tornadoes in Minnesota this year barring any major severe weather outbreaks this Fall.

National (1991-2010) Average Annual Tornadoes

According to NOAA's NCDC, the average annual tornadoes across the country is 1,253 with 155 of those in Texas! Interestingly, this has been a fairly quiet year for tornadoes across the country too!

2014 Preliminary Tornadoes vs. Average

Here's an interesting view from NOAA's SPC regarding this year's tornado reports and how it compares to average and years past. This graphic suggests that there has been 924 preliminary tornado reports across the nation through September 21st, which is well below the (2005-2013) average of 1,245 through that date. The only other year that saw as few tornadoes as this year (since 2005) was last years 739 through September 21st.

2014 Running Cooler Than Average

Here's an interesting graphic from WeatherBell that suggests a large chunk of North America has been below average temperatures so far this year. This cooler than average weather may be partly responsible for our below average severe weather/tornado reports so far this year...

6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 6 to 10 day temperature outlook suggests a good chance of above normal temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the nation from late Sept. - early Oct., while the western third of the country has a good chance of cooler than normal temps.

6 to 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, there is a good chance that the western U.S. will see above normal precipitation from late Sept. - early October.

Pacific Storm

A fairly powerful storm system (non-tropical) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is slowly working east and will bring some much needed precipitation to the West Coast. The 'comma' shape to the counter-clockwise area of rotation suggets that the storm is a mature low pressure system

Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's HPC, the 7 day precipitation outlook shows abundant moisture possible from the Gulf Coast to Florida to the East Coast, while a decent amount of moisture will begin to roll into the Rockies/West Coast. The only spot in the Western U.S. that isn't expected to see any rainfall is southern California.

6th Lowest Arctic Sea Ice in Satellite History

"Arctic sea ice has started to reform after reaching what appears to be an annual minimum that was the sixth-lowest on satellite record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Monday.

Sea-ice coverage fell to 5.016 million square kilometers(1.94 million square miles) Wednesday, slightly below the minimum reached last year and well below the average recorded from 1981 to 2010, according to the NSIDC. This year’s ice minimum was well above the record minimum of 3.41 million square kilometers in 2012, according to NSIDC data."

See Ice Animation from NASA.gov HERE:

Dust Storm Over Sahara Desert

"More dust blows out of the Sahara Desert and into the atmosphere than from any other desert in the world, and more than half of the dust deposited in the ocean lifts off from these arid North African lands. Saharan dust influences the fertility of Atlantic waters and soils in the Americas. It blocks or reflects sunlight and affects the formation of clouds. By way of the dry Saharan air layer, dust either promotes or suppresses the development of Atlantic hurricanes, an enigma that scientists are trying to sort out.

In early September 2014, it looked like this sandy landscape had changed places with the sky. The photograph above was taken by astronaut Alex Gerst on September 8, 2014, from the International Space Station. The ISS was over Libya at the time, and Gerst was looking south-southwest over a storm that stretched hundreds of kilometers across the sand seas of the Sahara."

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

Summer Flashback Weekend Outlook: More August than September

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 22, 2014 - 10:14 PM

Relative Risk

Yes, there is a risk of relatives. On paper today is the first full day of autumn, but "meteorological fall", marking the end of the 90 warmest days of the year, on average, really began September 1.

Autumn tends to bring the lowest risk of severe weather here in Minnesota; far fewer floods, tornadoes and lightning deaths. Hurricane risk peaks in September as ocean water temperatures peak, but it's been supernaturally quiet in the Atlantic.

Which got me thinking about risk, something we all live with daily. Using seat belts is a no-brainer - so is booking a hotel room below the 9th floor (so fire equipment can reach you in an emergency).

I keep encouraging my youngest son, flying helicopters for the Navy, not to push the weather. With Doppler radar seemingly everywhere now you can SEE what's coming and take evasive action.

Radar may be speckled with a few blobs tonight & Wednesday as a weak trough of low pressure arrives; the atmosphere too cool & dry for anything severe. Expect a minor meteorological miracle Thursday into Sunday as a bloated ridge of high pressure expands into town: highs well into the 70s to near 80F.

Don't pack away the shorts (or boats) just yet.


Shades of Late August. Umbrellas are optional again today as sunshine gives way to increasing clouds, showers spreading into far western Minnesota by late afternoon and evening. A few spotty T-showers are possible tonight and Wednesday, followed by lukewarm sun Thursday into early next week. Weekend temperatures may brush 80F. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Warm High Pressure Bubble. The expansive ridge of high pressure that stalled over the west coast of the USA for much of 2014, amplifying a 3-year drought, shows signs of drifting east, resulting in a spell of August-like weather for the central USA from late week into the weekend. A weak ripple of cold air aloft sparks a few spotty showers from the Dakotas into Minnesota Tuesday night into Wednesday, but the forecast looks dry and unusually warm from Thursday into at least Sunday. 500 mb winds above courtesy of UCAR.

Zero Percent Water. In the midst of what may be one of the worst droughts in 800+ years many farmers in California's Central Valley are facing ruin. Medium takes a look at the politics and realities of managing rapidly dwindling water supplies in the west; here's a clip: "...We meet in a little café and the two of them offer me a crash course in California Water 101. Even in non-drought years the logistics are complex. Snowpack runoff is captured in reservoirs. Rivers and lakes are dammed. Canals snake across the state. Some water is managed at the federal level, some at the state. There are 500 public water districts, each with local ordinances. There are senior water rights, junior rights, riparian rights. As difficult as it is to understand water collection and distribution, Russ and Jim simplify the crisis by reiterating what I heard the night before: Radical environmentalists have effectively lobbied to have water diverted away from the Central valley..."



Hurricane Hugo Highlighted Challenges in Warning Public. WSFA.com has a video and article focused on how NOAA's strategies have changed with the advent of social media, but convincing people in the path of danger remains a constant challenge; here's an excerpt: "...Getting your citizens to evacuate is difficult because people don't want to leave," said Riley. "You have to thread the needle between panic and fear." The speed of information and the demand for knowledge have affected everything, including weather forecasting and alerts. Now there is virtually no excuse for a breakdown in communication on the part of officials or residents. But for as many problems as experts solve, they acknowledge problems will always exist. "A lot of that stuff has changed in the last 25 years," said National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Bright. "We're being more proactive, and hopefully, that sends a message to the public to be more proactive as well..."


Out of Date. NOAA's hurricane-planning software uses 2000 census data. The Post and Courier asks if that's good enough; here's an excerpt: "A Federal Emergency Management Agency computer model that's used nationwide for disaster planning is supposed to estimate how many homes would be destroyed and how many people would need shelter if a major hurricane or earthquake were to strike. But there's a problem. The software, called Hazus, can't truly calculate the disaster impact on people and property because it doesn't know how many homes and residents areas have today. The FEMA program is still loaded with 14-year-old data from the 2000 census..."

Image credit: File/Wade Spees/Staff.


High Above The Earth, Hoping for Turbulence. Flying into a thunderstorm is one thing, but clear air turbulence is much (much) harder to predict with any accuracy or reliability. The New York Times has an article on new technology being perfected by Honeywell; here's an excerpt: "...Honeywell’s IntuVue radar provides far greater detail and frees pilots from much of the distracting labor-intensive work in operating older systems. It is being marketed partly as a better way for pilots to assess direct localized weather threats and help spare passengers from sudden turbulence. A Honeywell competitor, Rockwell Collins, in February introduced a similar radar system, MultiScan ThreatTrack, which American Airlines has been installing in its new 737s..."

Image credit above: "Honeywell’s new radar system helps pilots track bad weather."


Researchers Study Ways to Protect Power Grid from Solar Storms. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Emergency Management have the article; here's a clip: "...The biggest eruptions can happen anytime during the solar cycle, said Bob Rutledge, who leads the federal Space Weather Forecast Office in Boulder, Colo. He said scholars predict a 6 percent to 12 percent chance of a Carrington-level disruption in the next 10 years. During the 1859 event, named for British astronomer Richard Carrington, who documented it, the northern lights dazzled observers as far south as the Caribbean Islands, and telegraph systems picked up so much energy from the solar storm that handsets began sparking and setting nearby papers on fire..."

Image credit: "This ultraviolet photograph of a massive solar flare, spanning a third of a million miles into space, was taken on Dec. 19, 1973." Flickr/NASA.


The Fragile Dominance of the NFL. The Atlantic delves into why football is so important, not only to the NFL, but to pay television in general; without live sports, especially football, the business model quickly unravels. Here's an excerpt: "...As viewers have learned to time-shift their favorite shows, where they can skip over ads, the value of a live event has soared. The cost of securing exclusive rights to live sports events have gone up for just about every athletic activity under the sun. But whereas ratings for baseball and other sports have stagnated, the NFL's ratings have grown. Indeed, they could be the keystone holding together the wobbly arch of pay-TV. Years into the recovery, young people are still resisting the pull of television. TV viewership among every age demographic under 55 is down between 12 and 16 percent since 2009, according to analysis from MoffettNathanson. Without the allure of live sports, the cable bundle might unravel..."


Almost 1 in 4 Americans Support Idea of Splitting From The Union. Voters in Scotland just voted, by a fairly narrow margin, to remain within the UK. For many Americans the idea isn't as far-fetched as it might sound. Here's a clip from Slate: "...But it turns out that wanting to break away from the union is not as much of a fringe idea as some might think. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, almost one-quarter of Americans said they either strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their states leaving the union. As could be expected, the feeling is hardly overwhelming. After all, more than half—53.3 percent—directly opposed the notion or tended to oppose the very idea..."


Bored? This site promises hours of mind-numbing fun. It's addicting and disturbing. You've been warned. "The Useless Web... because some websites, we just couldn't do without."


This Week's Most Amazing News Headline. Here's an excerpt from the story at Time: "...The crocodile had launched at him, latched onto his right arm and tried to pull him underwater,” duty superintendent Louise Jorgensen told the Advertiser. “Like a true Territorian he wrestled the crocodile and was able to shake it off finally by poking its eyes.” When he got back to an outpost station to meet with clinic workers and police, authorities found him noticeably intoxicated and reported that he had decided to treat the pain with Australian lager Carlton Dry..."


72 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

69 F. average high on September 22.

74 F. high on September 22, 2013.

September 22 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1995: 0.2 inches of snow fell in the St. Cloud area.

1985: Early snow over portions of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Just under a half inch (.4) recorded at the Twin City Airport. Most of it fell during the afternoon.

1937: From summer to winter. The temperature was 101 at Wheaton. Then a cold front came through causing the mercury to tumble below freezing.


TODAY: Sunny start, clouds increase later. Winds: S 10-15. High: 73

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a few showers possible. Low: 58

WEDNESDAY: Unsettled, a few showers, stray T-shower. High: 70

THURSDAY: Patchy fog, then mild sunshine. Wake-up: 57. High: 75

FRIDAY: Warm sun, clock out early. Wake-up: 60. High: 78

SATURDAY: Blue sky, low humidity, few bugs. Wake-up: 58. High: 79

SUNDAY: Postcard-worthy. Warm sun. Dew point: 58. Wake-up: 59. High: 80

MONDAY: Fading sun, more humid. Dew point: 62. Wake-up: 61. High: 76


Climate Stories...

The World Spewed More Carbon Pollution Into The Air Last Year Than Ever Before. Here's the intro to a story from AP and Huffington Post: "Spurred chiefly by China, the United States and India, the world spewed far more carbon pollution into the air last year than ever before, scientists announced Sunday as world leaders gather to discuss how to reduce heat-trapping gases. The world pumped an estimated 39.8 billion tons (36.1 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air last year by burning coal, oil and gas. That is 778 million tons (706 metric tons) or 2.3 percent more than the previous year..."


Testing Future Conditions for The Food Chain. Will more CO2 and warmer temperatures be a boon for crops, or complicate farming even more? Here's an excerpt from a Justin Gillis story at The New York Times: "...The tests so far have confirmed the beneficial “CO2 fertilization effect,” as it is known. But in field conditions, the boon to the crops was not as great as in earlier greenhouse experiments, and probably not enough to offset the heat and other stresses of a warmer planet. “It’s there, it’s real, but the question is, how much is it going to help?” Dr. Leakey said. Other research in recent years suggested that rising temperatures in some of the world’s most important growing regions were already cutting into potential grain production, compared with what the yields would likely be in the absence of global warming...."

Photo credit above: "Andrew Leakey is studying the effects of future climate change on crops by exposing test plants to conditions like elevated carbon dioxide levels on a farm outside Champaign, Ill." Credit Beth Rooney for The New York Times.


Ask Paul. Weather and climate-related questions, comments and threats:

"You said in your Star Tribune column that you would (read things that challenge you), so here is a challenge. The link is to a popular article but there are a series of scientific articles that I am trying to find the best articles digitally available.  I did find a few summaries. Warming or cooling is related to solar activity, but NOT as you would intuitively conclude. With decreased solar activity and decreased cosmic ray output, the Maunder Minimum, there is less cloud formation and temperatures go up. With increased solar activity, the nucleus for droplets forms clouds which cools the earth. You have a chance to swim against the currant and call all the “certainty”-about-global-warming-due-to-CO2 into question."

http://creation.com/the-great-global-warming-swindle-debate

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/17/new-study-links-cosmic-rays-to-aerosolscloud-formation-via-solar-magnetic-activity-modulation/

http://science.jrank.org/pages/4184/Maunder-Minimum.html 

Ross S. Olson MD

Ross, I appreciate the note and question/comment. I continue to keep an open mind and I hope you do as well. I would also encourage you to visit scientific web sites from NOAA, NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, NSF, the American Meteorological Society and links to other peer-reviewed scientific studies in the public domain vs. conspiracy theory sites. In my opinion this is not a conspiracy or cover-up, it's basic science. Scientists are always testing new theories and possible feedback effects, from not only solar activity but cloud formation and aerosols. However, the body of evidence linking CO2 and other greenhouse gases to observed changes, including arctic melting, the warming of the atmosphere and ocean warming/acidity and sea level rise is robust and growing daily. I shared your question with a few local scientists I know and trust. Here was their response to the issues/links/theories you raised:

1). “It has been postulated that cosmic rays can affect clouds which can, in turn, impact the Earth’s climate. This thesis is extremely hypothetical and has not been shown to occur in the real world. In fact, there has been no correlation with cosmic rays and global temperatures. So, we are left with the obvious.  Human-emitted greenhouse gases are the main influence on climate, we simply cannot explain our observations any other way.”  - Dr. John Abraham, University of St. Thomas.

2). "Sloan and Wolfendale tested this hypothesis. Basically, more cosmic rays make it to the relevant part of the atmosphere at the higher lattitudes, but there is no link between latitude, cosmic rays, and cloud formation.  It might have been a good idea worth testing but it does not work out." - Greg Laden.

The Sloan/Wolfendale paper summarizes: "A decrease in the globally averaged low level cloud cover, deduced from the ISCCP infra red data, as the cosmic ray intensity decreased during the solar cycle 22 was observed by two groups. The groups went on to hypothesise that the decrease in ionization due to cosmic rays causes the decrease in cloud cover, thereby explaining a large part of the presently observed global warming. We have examined this hypothesis to look for evidence to corroborate it. None has been found and so our conclusions are to doubt it. From the absence of corroborative evidence, we estimate that less than 23%, at the 95% confidence level, of the 11-year cycle changes in the globally averaged cloud cover observed in solar cycle 22 is due to the change in the rate of ionization from the solar modulation of cosmic rays."

More details from Skeptical Science: www.skepticalscience.com/Do-cosmic-rays-cause-clouds.html


Portland Will Still Be Cool, But Anchorage May Be The Place To Be. Will our grandkids be packing their swim trunks for visits to Anchorage? It seems like an outlandish proposition today, but The New York Times takes a look at which cities may be safest in an overheated planet; here's a clip: "...Under any model of climate change, scientists say, most of the country will look and feel drastically different in 2050, 2100 and beyond, even as cities and states try to adapt and plan ahead. The northern Great Plains states may well be pleasant (if muggy) for future generations, as may many neighboring states. Although few people today are moving long distances to strategize for climate change, some are at least pondering the question of where they would go. “The answer is the Pacific Northwest, and probably especially west of the Cascades,” said Ben Strauss, vice president for climate impacts and director of the program on sea level rise at Climate Central, a research collaboration of scientists and journalists..." (image: SeaWiFS)


The People's Climate March: An Interview with Bill McKibbon. The New Yorker has an interview with the founder of 350.org - which may have to change it's name considering we're now at 400 ppm; here's a snippet: "...As individuals, there’s not much we can do. We can change our light bulbs—and we should—but doing so won’t change global warming. It’s a structural, systemic problem that needs to be addressed structurally and systemically. The most important rule for an individual in this fight is to figure out how not to remain an individual, how to join a movement big enough to change the politics. There’s no guarantee that we’re going to win, because it’s a timed test. In this case, if we don’t win pretty soon, it’s going to be a moot point..."


See The Effects of Climate Change in Side-by-Side Images. Mashable has the before and after photos which tell the tale; here's an excerpt: "...Climate change is real. And while you may hear the statistics and see some effects of climate change in your own backyard, sometimes pictures really are worth a thousand words. The photos below show places on earth that have taken a beating because of climate change. The images compare these locations to other points throughout history — sometimes more than 100 years prior, and sometimes just a few years prior..."

Image credit above: "The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville in 2011 (left) and 2014 (right) in Oroville, California, which is experiencing "exceptional" drought."


Climate Warning to World Leaders: Stick to 2C Limit or Face "Mayhem". The Guardian has the article; here's a clip: "...Scientists say that humans have now poured around 1,950bn tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – by burning fossil fuels – over the last 200 years. If that total reaches 3,670bn tonnes, they add, it will be hard to avoid a 2C rise in global temperatures and that would trigger a host of devastating changes to the climate. These would include major rises in sea levels, the melting of ice-caps, droughts in Africa, America and Asia, storms and ocean acidification. The trouble is that, at present rates of fossil fuel consumption, that 3,670bn-tonne limit will be reached in less than three decades..." (Image credit: NASA).


Climate Realities. Robert Stavins at Harvard's Kennedy School does a good job summarizing what makes climate change action so difficult, yet essential; here's an excerpt at The New York Times: "...Rather than rewarding today’s voters with benefits financed by future generations, as Congress typically does, solving the climate problem will require costly actions now to protect those who will follow us. Making matters more difficult, climate change is essentially unobservable by the public. On a daily basis, we observe the weather, not the climate. This makes it less likely that public opinion will force action the way it did 50 years ago when black smoke rose from industrial smokestacks, and chemicals and raw sewage were dumped untreated into rivers, famously causing one to catch fire..."

Just About Perfect - Hints of Late August into Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 21, 2014 - 9:50 PM

The Problem with Bubbles

It's probably human nature to fall into a nice, predictable rut. We find what works and stick to it: news bubbles that echo what we want to hear, comfortable friendships, work habits that get the job done. We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us.

Maybe it's a late-blooming midlife crisis, but I'm trying to shake things up a little. Take a different route to work, sample foods that scare me, read articles that challenge me, call an old friend that rubbed me the wrong way 10 years ago.

I don't pretend to have the answer key, but I suspect doing the same old thing, expecting a different result, truly is the definition of insanity.

We live in our weather bubbles too, fixating on the sky within a 10 mile radius. With smartphone apps we're at the center of the universe. One size fits all weather is suddenly very 1985.

Finally, a shift in the pattern: a cold trough of low pressure brings rain to California, pushing a bloated ridge of warm high pressure into the Plains. That means a warm bias for Minnesota into early October.

This week looks memorable with a run of 70s. With the exception of a lonely shower Wednesday mellow weather prevails the next 8 days. My kind of bubble.

* image credit above: gulfnews.com.


Ridge Migrates East. The stubborn heat-pump high pressure bubble that has remained perpetually stalled for much of 2014 is finally showing signs of pushing east into the Great Plains, keeping our temperatures above average into much of next week, through at least the first week of October. After that all bets are off - although I still detect a mild bias into much of October. 500 mb forecast winds aloft courtesy of NOAA.

Steering Winds September 27 - October 1. Prevailing winds aloft blow from the southwest from later this week into at least the middle of next week as a long-wave trough sets up from the Gulf of Alaska southward to California, meaning a better chance of rain and cool weather for the western USA, with mild, relatively dry weather expanding into the central USA. Map: NOAA.

Shifting Gears. A cooler, wetter pattern out west may help firefighters in California's Sierra Nevada gain some measure of control over the King Fire, which continues to blaze out of control. Meanwhile tropical rains soak Florida, Savannah, Charleston and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with several inches of rain. The tropics remain almost supernaturally quiet. Map: NOAA.


Out of Date. NOAA's hurricane-planning software uses 2000 census data. The Post and Courier asks if that's good enough; here's an excerpt: "A Federal Emergency Management Agency computer model that's used nationwide for disaster planning is supposed to estimate how many homes would be destroyed and how many people would need shelter if a major hurricane or earthquake were to strike. But there's a problem. The software, called Hazus, can't truly calculate the disaster impact on people and property because it doesn't know how many homes and residents areas have today. The FEMA program is still loaded with 14-year-old data from the 2000 census..."

Image credit: File/Wade Spees/Staff.


College Football: The Multi-Billion Dollar Business Where The Labor Is Free. Quartz has another interesting article, this time looking at why so many of us are rabid college football fans, and how the economics of football, the huge dollars involved, are changing not only the game, but how colleges operate. Here's an excerpt: "...And today, as economists debate rising inequality and low minimum wages, college football debates whether student athletes—who aren’t paid, but get scholarships—should be compensated more. Michael Weinreb, the author of the new book Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games, explains that the fervent support for college football stems from one of the most powerful marketing tools there is: nostalgia. “It appeals to people’s nostalgia, because they either went to school there or they grew up there, and they think they can get back to that place,” he tells Quartz..."

Photo credit: "Kind-of a big deal in Alabama." Reuters/ RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports.



67 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

70 F. average high on September 21.

64 F. high on September 21, 2013.

September 21, 1996: A brief cold air funnel touchdown resulted in roof damage in Washington County.

September 21, 1936: Summer-like heat continues with 101 at Ada, Beardsley and Moorhead.


TODAY: Mild sun, close to perfect. Winds: West 8. High: 71

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortably cool. Low: 50

TUESDAY: Fading sun, still pleasant. Dew point: 50. High: 73

WEDNESDAY: More clouds, stray shower. Wake-up: 57. High: 72

THURSDAY: Lukewarm sun. Distractingly nice. Wake-up: 58. High: 76

FRIDAY: Take a comp day. Hazy blue sky. Wake-up: 59. High: 78

SATURDAY: Sunny, leaves starting to peak up north. Wake-up: 58. High: 79

SUNDAY: Stalled high pressure ridge. Sunny. Wake-up: 57. High: 78


Climate Stories...

The People's Climate March: An Interview with Bill McKibbon. The New Yorker has an interview with the founder of 350.org - which may have to change it's name considering we're now at 400 ppm; here's a snippet: "...As individuals, there’s not much we can do. We can change our light bulbs—and we should—but doing so won’t change global warming. It’s a structural, systemic problem that needs to be addressed structurally and systemically. The most important rule for an individual in this fight is to figure out how not to remain an individual, how to join a movement big enough to change the politics. There’s no guarantee that we’re going to win, because it’s a timed test. In this case, if we don’t win pretty soon, it’s going to be a moot point..."


See The Effects of Climate Change in Side-by-Side Images. Mashable has the before and after photos which tell the tale; here's an excerpt: "...Climate change is real. And while you may hear the statistics and see some effects of climate change in your own backyard, sometimes pictures really are worth a thousand words. The photos below show places on earth that have taken a beating because of climate change. The images compare these locations to other points throughout history — sometimes more than 100 years prior, and sometimes just a few years prior..."

Image credit above: "The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville in 2011 (left) and 2014 (right) in Oroville, California, which is experiencing "exceptional" drought."


Climate Warning to World Leaders: Stick to 2C Limit or Face "Mayhem". The Guardian has the article; here's a clip: "...Scientists say that humans have now poured around 1,950bn tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – by burning fossil fuels – over the last 200 years. If that total reaches 3,670bn tonnes, they add, it will be hard to avoid a 2C rise in global temperatures and that would trigger a host of devastating changes to the climate. These would include major rises in sea levels, the melting of ice-caps, droughts in Africa, America and Asia, storms and ocean acidification. The trouble is that, at present rates of fossil fuel consumption, that 3,670bn-tonne limit will be reached in less than three decades..." (Image credit: NASA).


Climate Realities. Robert Stavins at Harvard's Kennedy School does a good job summarizing what makes climate change action so difficult, yet essential; here's an excerpt at The New York Times: "...Rather than rewarding today’s voters with benefits financed by future generations, as Congress typically does, solving the climate problem will require costly actions now to protect those who will follow us. Making matters more difficult, climate change is essentially unobservable by the public. On a daily basis, we observe the weather, not the climate. This makes it less likely that public opinion will force action the way it did 50 years ago when black smoke rose from industrial smokestacks, and chemicals and raw sewage were dumped untreated into rivers, famously causing one to catch fire..."


Push For New Pact on Climate Change is Plagued by Old Divide of Wealth. Here's an excerpt of a New York Times story: "...If history is any guide, the rich countries of the world will say how concerned they are about the damage their emissions of heat-trapping gases are causing. The poor countries — whose people have done little to contribute to global warming but stand to suffer the most from it because of their vulnerability to rising seas and weather extremes — will point out that this professed concern never seems to translate into sufficient action..."


Heirs To An Oil Fortune Join the Divestment Movement. The New York Times reports on a growing trend among money managers concerned about the long-term environmental implications of their investments; here's a clip: "John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels. The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses. The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative..."

Photo credit above: "Stephen Heintz, left, with Valerie Rockefeller Wayne and Steven Rockefeller on Tuesday." Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times.


My Climate Change. We all start from a point of skepticism. But if you do more than mouth cable TV talking points and really take time to drill down into the data, you're left with the knowledge that something really is happening, and odds are it isn't natural or benign. Here's an excerpt of Weather Channel Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro's story, how he came to acknowledge the science, at Weather Underground: "..Did I suddenly switch from conservative to liberal? No, in fact I consider myself politically independent. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. (I've either now assuaged everyone's concerns or irritated everyone, or both!) Did The Weather Channel pressure me to change my point of view on global warming or what I communicate about it? Nobody at The Weather Channel, its owners or its advertisers has ever done that. I come to my own objective conclusions, and that will never change. Skepticism is a fundamental part of the scientific process, and healthy when in that vein. I continue to look at data with a skeptical eye. However, skepticism is not constructive when it becomes overwhelming and results in being closed-minded and only seeing what you want to see. So, what convinced me?..."


Obama Budget Chief: "Climate Denial" Will Cost the U.S. Billions. Here's an excerpt from The Hill: "...President Obama's budget director on Friday said "denial" of climate change will eventually cost the United States "billions of dollars." Shaun Donovan, delivering his first speech as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), put the focus on an issue not normally associated with the dollars and cents of the federal budget. "Climate action is tremendously important to me," Donovan said..."