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.

Welcome Canadian Breeze - Tornado Touchdowns near Gilman Sunday

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: August 25, 2014 - 12:02 AM

Big 3-0

"I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life" said comedian Rita Rudner.

What's it like being married to a weatherman? "Mostly sunny with occasional storms" my wife sighed. "I prefer sunshine". Laurie and I are heading to Dublin, Ireland to celebrate our 30th anniversary, watch some college football and enjoy occasional showers of Guinness. Volcano-permitting, that is.

I'm tracking the grumbling Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland, which may blow its top at any moment. A major Icelandic eruption in 2010 grounded millions of air travelers over 8 days, costing airlines nearly $2 billion. Dubuque is looking better & better. Cheaper too.

Yesterday's thundery frontal zone is pushing east; Canadian exhaust dropping humidity levels back down to tolerable levels. Dew points tumble into the 40s by midweek, meaning HALF as much water floating overhead. It now looks like showers stay south of Minnesota until Thursday & Friday, with a holiday weekend clearing trend and highs near 80F. A few storms may pop (right on schedule) on Labor Day.

What can possibly go wrong?

I can almost promise a lack of flurries.

Or volcanoes.


Sunday Severe Weather Reports. Funnel clouds were spotted near Rice, with tornado touchdowns at Granite Ledge (Benton County) and damage in the Gilman area. Elsewhere large hail was spotted just east of Brainerd, flash flooding near Fergus Falls and reports of storm-related wind damage east of Alexandria. A trained spotter reported 2.2" diameter hail 7.5 miles south of Hillman, in Morrison County, around 6 PM. The Twin Cities National Weather Service has an interactive map. Additional storm reports are here.


Late August Supercells. Sunday's late afternoon visible cloud loop shows the squall line that sprouted over central Minnesota, the most severe cells from near Brainerd to just north of St. Cloud. By late August the atmosphere is usually more stable (cooling near the surface, still warm aloft), so tornadic storms are unusual, but certainly not unprecedented. Imagery: NOAA and HAMweather.


Cristobal Stalks the Bahamas - Heavy Storms Push into the Great Lakes. The 60-hour accumulated rainfall map shows some heavy 2-4" amounts from near Wausau to near Madison and Chicago as slightly cooler air pushes east. This weak frontal zone stalls, sparking more heavy rain across Iowa by Tuesday and Wednesday. 4 KM NAM data: NOAA and HAMweather.


Trending Comfortable. Sick of dreadful dew points hovering near 70F? You're in luck. Canadian air drops moisture levels significantly, less than half as much water in the air by this time Tuesday. Dry weather should prevail today into Wednesday, the next surge of warm air sparking a few showers and T-showers Thursday and Friday. Long-range guidance shows some weekend clearing, with the best chance of rain (and storms) on Labor Day. With any luck the forecast will change as new data comes in.


Alerts Broadcaster Update. Here's an excerpt of a briefing that went out Sunday:

* Tropical Storm Cristobal intensifying - will impact Bahamas with tropical storm force conditions over the next 24 hours.

* All models show a track that keeps the core of Cristobal's strongest winds and storm surge at sea this week.

* Dangerous rip tides and some minor coastal flooding can't be ruled out across the Carolina coast Wednesday and Thursday of this week, especially close to high tide.


Better Organized. Satellite imagery shows a more symmetric storm circulation, less wind shear will favor additional strengthening in the coming days; Cristobal expected to become a Category 1 hurricane well east of the Carolinas late Wednesday night or Thursday morning.


Projected Track. NOAA's National Hurricane Center shows a track to the north/northwest into Wednesday, followed by a northeastward turn which should keep the brunt of Cristobal out at sea; but uncomfortably close for North Carolina's Outer Banks.


Rapid Intensification by Thursday. Warm Atlantic ocean water will fuel further intensification, and the ECMWF (European) model shows a potential for a Category 1-2 hurricane the latter half of this week with additional strengthening as Cristobal veers out to sea. Map: WSI.


General Model Agreement. Although far from perfect, models are all displaying a version of the solution, keeping Cristobal's core out to sea with a turn to the northeast after 96-120 hours. No models (we trust) are bringing Cristobal toward a U.S. landfall at this time.

Summary: We've been watching the evolution of Cristobal, and expect minor to moderate impact over the Bahamas today, especially Great Abaco and Grand Bahama (including the city of Freeport). Flash flooding is expected with winds in the 35-50 mph range in squalls over the next 24 to 36 hours. All computer solutions keep Cristobal's core of strongest winds, heaviest rains and highest storm surge east of the U.S. mainland, but minor lowland flooding is still possible along the Carolina coast by midweek - especially at local high tide. We'll keep an eye on Cristobal and keep you posted should there be a material change to our predictions.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster


Hurricane Marie Now a Category 5 Off The Mexican Coast. Mercifully it is not expected to make landfall. More details at Gawker's The Vane: "Hurricane Marie is now a powerful Category 5 hurricane as it churns off the Mexican coast this evening, packing sustained winds of around 160 MPH. The eastern Pacific hurricane rapidly strengthened from a Category 1 to a Category 5 in just 24 hours. The intense storm is the fifth major hurricane to form in the basin so far this year, and Marie is the eastern Pacific's first hurricane to reach Category 5 intensity in more than four years. Thankfully, the hurricane will weaken as it continues to move northwest away from land..."


Farmer's Almanac Predicts "Super Cold" Winter, More Snow in Eastern U.S. I'm always shocked when Minnesota doesn't experience a super-cold winter. Take any long range forecast with a massive grain of salt, but I am going on record stating the odds of something similar to last winter's polar vortex are slim to nil. Cold with significant snow? Absolutely, but not the extreme levels of cold we endured last winter. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "The Old Farmer's Almanac, the familiar, 223-year-old chronicler of climate, folksy advice and fun facts, is predicting a colder winter and warmer summer for much of the nation. Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a "super-cold" winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal..."


Researchers Dig Deeper Into Tornado Winds, Building Damage. Here's a clip from an interesting line of research described at The Ames Tribune: "...By measuring on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, which evaluates storm damage to measure the strength of tornadoes, around 90 percent of all tornadoes are an EF3 or less. Sarkar, who has been at ISU for 14 years, believes the strength of tornado winds is debateable. The scale of a tornado is only determined after the damage has been examined. There are also many other factors that can throw off an examination such as the building's age, the material strength, construction quality and prior weaknesses caused by debris..."

By measuring on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, which evaluates storm damage to measure the strength of tornadoes, around 90 percent of all tornadoes are an EF3 or less.

Sarkar, who has been at ISU for 14 years, believes the strength of tornado winds is debateable. The scale of a tornado is only determined after the damage has been examined. There are also many other factors that can throw off an examination such as the a building’s age, the material strength, construction quality and prior weaknesses caused by debris.

- See more at: http://amestrib.com/news/researchers-dig-deeper-tornado-winds-building-damage#sthash.uQtrvLaL.dpuf

Photo credit above: "A laboratory-simulated tornado at the ISU Tornado Simulator translates over a scaled model of buildings. Model tornadoes like this one will be used to further study near-ground wind and their loading effects on civil structures such as buildings to reduce tornado hazard." Photo: Bob Elbert/Iowa State University.


Iceland Volcano Experts: No Eruption Yet. As they say, the "situation is fluid". As in magma-fluid, and at some point that lava may reach the surface, like an enormous, angry pimple. The impact to trans-Atlantic flights is still unclear, but if history is a guide there could be serious implications in the coming weeks. Here's an excerpt of an update from a good source of local information, RUV: "...The most likely scenario is that an eruption has not begun. This morning we saw a large increase in seismic activity and tremors, so it was perfectly rational to assume that an eruption had begun. A subglacial eruption melts the ice and causes floods. We surveyed the glacier for three hours today. I can of course not assert that nothing has happened, but it is clear that there are no signs of abnormal melting or other signs that normally appear during a subglacial eruption..."

* The Icelandic Civil Protection Agency has continuous updates in a live-blogging format here.


What It Feels Like To Be The Last Generation To Remember Life Before The Internet. Are you old enough to remember a time before Netscape Mozilla's crude web browser and AOL "You've Got Mail"? Me too. I miss those simpler days when people used rotary phones and there was a place where you could gather to talk to your friends. It was called a "bar". That's why this story at Quartz caught my eye; here's a clip: "Technology has a lot to answer for: killing old businesses, destroying the middle class, Buzzfeed. Technology in the form of the internet is especially villainous, having been accused of everything from making us dumber (paywall) to aiding dictatorships. But Michael Harris, riffing on the observations of Melvin Kranzberg, argues that “technology is neither good nor evil. The most we can say about it is this: It has come...”

Photo credit above: "Michael Harris, the author of "The End of Absence." Hudson Hayden.


9 Things Good Listeners Do Differently. Part of the secret of business is knowing when to say no, and really listening to what clients and prospects are telling you. Less selling, more listening. Here's an excerpt from a story at Huffington Post that caught my eye (and ear): "...Part of effective listening is the effort to empathize with the person you're speaking with. Whether or not you're able to fully relate, your compassion won't go unnoticed. "Spend a moment putting yourself in their position, what's going through their head and what it must be like for them," Sacco says. "Understanding what their experience is even before you talk to them [can help you connect with them]. And it sounds bad, but even if you blow it, you're still better off because the other person will see the attempt..."


Isolated Downpour/Hailstorm. I took up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Sunday, before the real hail storms arrived. It wasn't pretty. Belinda Jensen at KARE, and Kristin Clark at Media Logic Group - it's your turn!



89 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

79 F. average high on August 24.

90 F. high on August 24, 2013.

.14" rain fell at MSP International Airport as of 7 PM yesterday.


TODAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 58. Winds: W 10. High: 82

MONDAY NIGHT: Clearing and comfortable. Low: 59

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, no drama. Dew point: 48. High: 73

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, still pleasant. Wake-up: 55. High: 76

THURSDAY: Cloudy. Showers develop, coolest day. Wake-up: 59. High: 69

FRIDAY: Leftover shower or T-shower. Wake-up: 60. High: 72

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, lukewarm. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 61. High: 76

SUNDAY: Peeks of sun, probably dry. Wake-up: 62. High: near 80


“Flatter me and I might not believe you.

Criticize and I might not like you

Ignore me and I might not forgive you

Encourage me and I will not forget you.” – William Arthur Ward


Climate Stories...

"Incredible" Rate of Polar Ice Loss Alarms Scientists. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "The planet's two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the discovery made by scientists using data from CryoSat-2, the European probe that has been measuring the thickness of Earth's ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched by the European Space Agency in 2010. Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact that climate change is beginning to have on our world..."

Photo credit above: "An artist’s impression of CryoSat-2, the European satellite which has revealed dramatic ice loss." Photograph: ESA.


What Iceland's Volcanoes Can Teach Us About Climate. Here's a brief excerpt from an interesting story at Climate Central: "...Glacial volcano research also helps improve climate change modeling by preserving a record of ice sheets that melted long ago. Think of the ice as a sort of cast for a lava sculpture. “When a volcano erupts, it copies the ice in a sense,” says Smellie. “The ice tells the volcano how to erupt, when it can erupt, and what kind of lava forms...”

Photo credit above: "Local flooding could be particularly severe in the case of an eruption, which would melt significant chunks of the Vatnajokull glacier." Credit: Gunnlaugur bor Briem/flickr.


Methane Is Discovered Seeping From Seafloor Off East Coast, Scientists Say. The New York Times has the latest; here's a snippet: "...In a paper published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists, including Adam Skarke of Mississippi State University and Carolyn Ruppel of the United States Geological Survey, reported evidence that the seepage had been going on for at least 1,000 years. They said the depths of the seeps suggested that in most cases the gas did not reach the atmosphere but rather dissolved in the ocean, where it could affect the acidity of the water, at least locally..." (Image: NOAA)


Climate Change and Drought Are Forcing Us to Upgrade our Water Systems. Public Radio International has an interesting article and interview, talking about the need to upgrade from Water 1.0 to Water 4.0. Here's a clip: "...Throughout history, he says, each time we have encountered seemingly intractable problems with water supply, we have found solutions. We create and adapt to new technologies and we “become comfortable with water that’s treated, or sewage that’s treated, or water that’s imported.” We're already familiar with one of the tenets of Water 4.0 — conservation. “Quietly, over the last 10 or 20 years, we’ve seen indoor plumbing change as people are, for example, switching out their top-loading washing machines for front-loading washing machines,” Sedlak points out. “We’ve saved a lot of water that way. [But] we can do better and we will do better...”

Photo credit above: "Wastewater treatment plant." Hasan Zulic; Creative Commons.


The Climate Swerve. The New York Times had an Op-Ed comparing the specter of climate change and impacts on future generations to nuclear proliferation and the prospect of nuclear war in the 1980s. Here's a clip: "...The experiential part has to do with a drumbeat of climate-related disasters around the world, all actively reported by the news media: hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and wildfires, extreme heat waves and equally extreme cold, rising sea levels and floods. Even when people have doubts about the causal relationship of global warming to these episodes, they cannot help being psychologically affected. Of great importance is the growing recognition that the danger encompasses the entire earth and its inhabitants. We are all vulnerable..."


Climate Change and Implications for National Security. Here's an excerpt of a story at International Policy Digest: "...Over the 250 years carbon fuels have enabled tremendous technological advances including a population growth from about 800 million then to 7.5 billion today and the consequent demand to extract even more carbon. This has occurred during a handful of generations, which is hardly noticeable on our imaginary one-year calendar. The release of this carbon – however – is changing our climate at such a rapid rate that it threatens our survival and presence on earth. It defies imagination that so much damage has been done in such a relatively short time. The implications of climate change are the single most significant threat to life on earth and, put simply, we are not doing enough to rectify the damage..."

Photo credit above: Department of Defense photo. “If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen…” – General Gordon R. Sullivan, Retired, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff.


Kansas' Climate Change Debate Settled in Europe. While Americans debate the science much of Europe is moving forward with plans to scale back the use of fossil fuels. What's missing here? Environmentally-minded Americans who care about this issue have yet to band together and exert political pressure. That will change in the years ahead (with our kids and grandkids out in front). Here's an excerpt from CJOnline.com: "...One of the key differences, King said, is the influence of Green parties within European nations. To get action on climate change, he said, environmentally-minded Americans must increase their influence in the political sphere. In Germany, the Greens hold about 10 percent of the seats in a 631-member parliament made up of five parties. Oliver Krischer, vice chairman of the German Green Party’s parliamentary group, said he hasn’t heard members of other parties say they believe human-caused climate change is a myth. “There might be some colleagues in the Bundestag that think so,” Krischer said. “You cannot look in their heads. But there is at least nobody that says climate change is an invention of some scientists...”

Photo credit above: Andy Marso, The Capital-Journal. "Jon Möller, a researcher with the Stockholm city government's climate and energy division, shows a map that includes the city's Royal Seaport, which citizens intend to make free of fossil fuels by 2030."


Portraits of Scared Scientists Seek to Drive Home the Critical State of Climate Change. The most frightening thing about climate change is that we continue to ignore it. Here's a clip from a story at PetaPixel: "Photographer Nick Bowers, Art Director Celine Faledam and Copy Writer Rachel Guest have teamed up to bring attention to the issue of climate change in a completely novel and frankly terrifying way with their portrait/interview project Scared Scientists. The title, in a way, says it all. Rather than bombarding you with obscure facts and figures or showing you photographs of receding glaciers, they focus on the scientists themselves..."


Dangerous Climate Change: Myths and Reality. Predicting the future is tenuous. Are we underestimating or overestimating the impacts of AGW? One thing is certain: the last time there was this much carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases floating overhead humans weren't on the planet. Here's an excerpt of an article at Climate Code Red focused on the myth (?) that climate change is "not yet dangerous": "...From this perspective, tipping points have already been passed, at less than 1°C of warming, for:

  • The loss of the Amundsen Sea West Antarctic glaciers, and 1–4 metres of sea level rise (Rignot, Mouginot et al., 2014; Joughin, Smith et al., 2014). Dr Malte Meinshausen, advisor to the German government and one of the architects of the IPCC's Representative Concentration Pathways, calls the evidence published this year of "unstoppable" (Rignot, 2014) deglaciation in West Antarctica "a game changer", and a "tipping point that none of us thought would pass so quickly", noting now we are "committed already to a change in coastlines that is unprecedented for us humans" (Breakthrough, 2014). 
  • The loss of Arctic sea-ice in summer (Duarte, Lenton et al., 2012; Maslowski, Kinney et al., 2012), which will hasten regional warming, the mobilization of frozen carbon stores, and the deglaciation of Greenland..."

Photo credit above: Jenna Dorsey.

Tornado watch in effect for Twin Cities, north-central Minnesota

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 24, 2014 - 4:07 PM

Tornado Watch until 11 PM. Many of the ingredients necessary for supercell thunderstorms are converging on central and eastern Minnesota. Bemidji, Brainerd, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities are all in the watch area, along with much of the St. Croix River Valley. Stay alert this evening - most of us will just see a heavy thunderstorm, possibly some small hail, but large hail, damaging straight-line winds and a few isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out. More details on the watch from NOAA SPC:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
   TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 475
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   345 PM CDT SUN AUG 24 2014

   THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

   * TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF 
     NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA
     NORTHWEST WISCONSIN

   * EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 345 PM UNTIL
     1100 PM CDT.

   * PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
     A FEW TORNADOES POSSIBLE
     ISOLATED VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
     ISOLATED DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

   THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 60 STATUTE
   MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 75 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF
   BEMIDJI MINNESOTA TO 20 MILES SOUTH OF MINNEAPOLIS MINNESOTA. 
   FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
   OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU5).

   PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

   REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
   TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
   AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
   THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
   AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

   DISCUSSION...THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE IN COVERAGE AND
   INTENSITY LATE THIS AFTERNOON INTO EVENING AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT
   MOVING EAST ACROSS THE WATCH AREA. THE COMBINATION OF MODERATE TO
   STRONG INSTABILITY AND A VERTICALLY VEERING WIND PROFILE WITH
   MODERATE AMOUNTS OF LOW-LEVEL AND DEEP-LAYER SHEAR WILL BE
   SUPPORTIVE OF SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF A FEW TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL AND
   DAMAGING WINDS.

   AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
   SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
   WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
   550. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 24025.

Tornado Watch until 11 PM - Includes Twin Cities Metro

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 24, 2014 - 3:50 PM

Tornado Watch until 11 PM. The new watch includes Brainerd, St. Cloud, Duluth and the Twin Cities. More details to come...


Slight Risk. NOAA SPC has much of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Brainerd and Duluth in a slight risk area, meaning a high probability of storms capable of large (1"+) hail and damaging straight-line winds.


Latest Mesoscale Discussion. There's enough instability, low level moisture and wind shear for a squall line of severe storms to get going over the next few hours. Here's more detail from SPC:

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...80 PERCENT

   SUMMARY...THE INITIATION OF ISOLATED TO WIDELY SCATTERED SUPERCELLS
   APPEARS INCREASINGLY LIKELY ACROSS WESTERN INTO CENTRAL MINNESOTA
   DURING THE 20-22Z TIME FRAME...WITH ACTIVITY DEVELOPING
   NORTHEASTWARD AND EASTWARD THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE AFTERNOON. 
   THIS WILL INCLUDE THE RISK FOR TORNADOES...PARTICULARLY NEAR/NORTH
   AND EAST OF THE BRAINERD AND ST. CLOUD AREAS LATE THIS AFTERNOON.

   DISCUSSION...BENEATH A POCKET OF MODESTLY STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE
   RATES...CAPE FOR MOIST BOUNDARY PARCELS /WITH SURFACE DEW POINTS
   AROUND 70F/ APPEARS TO BE INCREASING IN EXCESS OF 2000 J/KG ACROSS
   WESTERN ...CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.  WITH ADDITIONAL SURFACE
   HEATING...LARGE-SCALE ASCENT...DOWNSTREAM OF THE CLOSED LOW SLOWLY
   MIGRATING EAST NORTHEASTWARD INTO THE WESTERN DAKOTAS...IS EXPECTED
   TO CONTINUE TO ERODE LINGERING CONVECTIVE INHIBITION.  AND THE
   LATEST RAPID REFRESH/HIGH RESOLUTION RAPID REFRESH OUTPUT ARE
   INCREASINGLY SUGGESTIVE THAT THIS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE INITIATION
   OF ISOLATED TO WIDELY SCATTERED STORM DEVELOPMENT AS EARLY AS THE
   20-22Z TIME FRAME ACROSS WESTERN INTO CENTRAL MINNESOTA.

   AS INCREASINGLY CYCLONIC...SOUTHWESTERLY LOWER/MID TROPOSPHERIC FLOW
   STRENGTHENS TO 40-50 KTS...DEEP LAYER VERTICAL SHEAR SHOULD BE MORE
   THAN SUFFICIENT FOR SUPERCELLS...WHICH WILL TEND TO DEVELOP
   NORTHEAST/EASTWARD THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE AFTERNOON.  ALTHOUGH
   SOUTHERLY 850 MB FLOW IS SOMEWHAT MODEST IN STRENGTH /25-35
   KT/...AND MAY CONTINUE TO SLOWLY WEAKEN AND VEER WITH TIME...A
   BAROCLINIC ZONE ON THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF COOLER...BUT
   MODIFYING...AIR /INFLUENCED BY LAKE SUPERIOR/ MAY CONTRIBUTE TO THE
   RISK FOR TORNADOES AS STORMS CROSS IT.  THIS THREAT SEEMS MOST
   LIKELY TO BECOME FOCUSED NEAR/NORTH AND EAST OF THE BRAINERD AND ST.
   CLOUD AREAS LATE THIS AFTERNOON.

Visible Cloud Loop. High-res 1 KM imagery as of 2:43 PM shows thunderstorms breaking through the cap; conditions ripe for a few lines of strong to severe storms into the evening hours. Stay alert and stay tuned for updates. Loop: HAMweather.

Sunday Heat Spike - Midweek Sweatshirts - Risk of a Volcanic Eruption

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 23, 2014 - 10:45 PM

Fair Factoids

As bad as you think it is, it can always be worse. You think today will be hot? Not even close to what visitors to the Minnesota State Fair endured on September 10, 1931, when the mercury hit a blistering 104F. 2013 was the third hottest fair on record; 6 days above 90F. A few T-storms sprout later today, but it won't rain nearly as hard as it did in 1977, when 9.5 inches soaked the fair.

According to the Minnesota DNR there have been chilly spells too. On September 13, 1890 the mercury dipped to a brisk 33F.

Big extremes, which makes sense. The State Fair captures the essence of Minnesota, including it's head-shaking weather.

Avoid dressing in layers today: highs surge into the low 90s - the heat index later today may approach 100F. Strong storms mushroom by the dinner hour, marking the leading edge of cool, Canadian relief. But this fresh front stalls just to our south, sparking waves of showers Tuesday into Thursday. Highs may hold in the 60s and low 70s by midweek.

No worries. 80s return by next Sunday - a warmer than average September is expected.<p>Summer came late, so will autumn.

And today a hot, vinyl car seat warning and small cooler advisory remains in effect.


Minnesota State Fair Weather. I thought this was an interesting overview of not only weather at the fair, but reasons why the Minnesota State Fair has been canceled in years gone by. Good reasons. Here's an excerpt from the Minnesota DNR: "...The Minnesota State Fair has been held at its current site since 1885. There were some years when the fair was not held because of war, disease or logistical reasons. These years are: 1861 (Civil War) 1862 (Civil and Indian War) 1893 (Columbian Exposition) 1945 (fuel shortage because of WWII) and the last time the fair was not held was in 1946 due to an outbreak of Polio. Beginning in 1975, the fair has a 12 day run each year ending with Labor Day. Thus since 1975, the fair begins on a Thursday in August. Before 1975 the fair was held for shorter durations (eleven days from 1972 to 1974, ten days from 1939 to 1971, eight days from 1919 to 1938 and six days from 1885 to 1918)..."

Photo credit above: "A Minnesota State Fair Scene around 1900." Courtesy: Minnesota Historical Society.


Grounded. My wife is a Navy Blue Angels groupie (with a son who flies helicopters in the Navy I could see this coming). So yesterday we schlepped up to Duluth, enjoying the free MnDOT road repair entertainment (one guy with a shovel - creating a 5 mile back-up on I-35). Thank you! We got to Duluth late for the Air Show, only to discover fog, mist, drizzle and a cloud deck 400 feet above the airport. To fly safely a 1,000 foot cloud ceiling was required, and that just didn't happen. We snapped a few photos, checked out the planes and exhibits, geeked out on Cirrus's upcoming new personal jet aircraft (Vision SF50), and had a lovely steak sandwich. Note to self: as much as I love Duluth, it's proximity next to a vast, chilled, fog-generating lake makes it a less than ideal venue for an air show. Just saying.


Hurricane Cristobal? Models are fairly consistent now spinning up a depression over the Caribbean into a tropical storm over the Bahamas, reaching Category 1 hurricane strength off the North Carolina coast late Wednesday and Thursday. Right now models (including the ECMWF/European above) keep the center of the storm out to sea; no landfall predicted - but serious rip currents and some beach erosion can't be ruled out, especially Charleston and Wilmington to the Outer Banks. Forecast valid midday Thursday: WSI.


4 PM Today. Stratus clouds have been very persistent in recent days, the sun not high enough in the sky any longer to burn away the fog and low cloud cover, keeping temperatures 5-15F cooler than they would be otherwise. I expect a stiff south wind and T-storms sweeping across central and northern Minnesota to increase the potential for sunshine today, luring the mercury near or even above 90 from the Twin Cities on south by late afternoon. 4 KM NAM model guidance above: NOAA and HAMweather.


Will Storms Skip Over MSP? Future radar and derived accumulated rainfall tallies show heavy storms pushing across western and central Minnesota early today, another, second squall line developing this evening south and east of the Twin Cities. I wouldn't bet the farm on this actually verifying. Stay tuned. 60-hour accumulated rainfall amounts: NOAA and HAMweather.


European Guidance. After sweating it out today models continue to show an influx of Canadian air much of this week, highs in the 70s and lows dipping into the 50s by midweek. Right now Thursday looks like the coolest, wettest day of the week; heaviest rains staying over far southern Minnesota and Iowa Tuesday into Thursday. Temperatures mellow into the 80s again next weekend, models hinting at mid-80s and sunshine on Labor Day. Feeling lucky? Me neither. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.


Iceland Volcano Experts: No Eruption Yet. As they say, the "situation is fluid". As in magma-fluid, and at some point that lava may reach the surface, like an enormous, angry pimple. The impact to trans-Atlantic flights is still unclear, but if history is a guide there could be serious implications in the coming weeks. Here's an excerpt of an update from a good source of local information, RUV: "...The most likely scenario is that an eruption has not begun. This morning we saw a large increase in seismic activity and tremors, so it was perfectly rational to assume that an eruption had begun. A subglacial eruption melts the ice and causes floods. We surveyed the glacier for three hours today. I can of course not assert that nothing has happened, but it is clear that there are no signs of abnormal melting or other signs that normally appear during a subglacial eruption..."

* The Icelandic Civil Protection Agency has continuous updates in a live-blogging format here.


Spotty, Fickle Rains So Far in August. Dr. Mark Seeley has another good weather and climate-related time capsule and summary, proving perspective to our ongoing pattern. Here's an excerpt of this week's edition of WeatherTalk: "...As opposed to the widespread wetter than normal pattern that prevailed across the state during the first half of summer, August rainfall has been very spotty. The US Drought Monitor expanded the geographic designation for an abnormally dry landscape in Minnesota. Last week the designated area was Freeborn and Faribault Counties and this week the Drought Monitor designation for abnormally dry includes portions of Winona, Fillmore, Mower, Blue Earth, Waseca, and Le Sueur Counties. Heavier than normal rainfall for much of Minnesota is in the outlook for the remainder of August, so most areas should see some significant rainfall amounts before the end of the month..."

Image credit above: International Space Station, NASA.


Hurricane Season Peaks, Guard Against Complacency. Hurricane season actually peaks September 10, the day hurricanes are most likely to strike the USA. Here's an interesting nugget about tornado formation and fatalities triggered by tropical cyclones, courtesy of The Marine Corp Logistic Base in Albany, Georgia: "...Another hazard associated with tropical cyclones is straight-line winds and tornadoes. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 produced 127 tornadoes with 25 touching down in Georgia. Hurricane Beulah in 1967 spawned 115 tornadoes while Hurricane Frances in 2004 spawned 106 tornadoes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southeast Louisiana, 280 miles from Georgia, it spawned 20 tornadoes in the state, which is the highest recorded number in history for the month of August, according to the National Weather Service. The National Hurricane Center also reported about 10 percent of the tropical cyclone-related fatalities are caused by tornadoes..."

Image credit: Hurricane Ivan in 2004, courtesy of NASA.


Meghalaya: The Wettest Place on Earth. The Atlantic takes us to a place with perpetual monsoons. Somehow locals have found a way to adapt, even thrive. Here's an excerpt: "Photographer Amos Chapple returns to our site once once again, bringing amazing images from the state of Meghalaya, India, reportedly the rainiest spot on Earth. The village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya receives 467 inches of rain per year. Laborers who work outdoors often wear full-body umbrellas made from bamboo and banana leaf. One of the most fascinating and beautiful features in the region are the "living bridges" spanning rain-soaked valleys. For centuries, locals have been training the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges, far outlasting man-made wooden structures that rot in just a few years..." (Photo: Wikipedia).


What It Feels Like To Be The Last Generation To Remember Life Before The Internet. Are you old enough to remember a time before Netscape Mozilla's crude web browser and AOL "You've Got Mail"? Me too. I miss those simpler days when people used rotary phones and there was a place where you could gather to talk to your friends. It was called a "bar". That's why this story at Quartz caught my eye; here's a clip: "Technology has a lot to answer for: killing old businesses, destroying the middle class, Buzzfeed. Technology in the form of the internet is especially villainous, having been accused of everything from making us dumber (paywall) to aiding dictatorships. But Michael Harris, riffing on the observations of Melvin Kranzberg, argues that “technology is neither good nor evil. The most we can say about it is this: It has come...”

Photo credit above: "Michael Harris, the author of "The End of Absence." Hudson Hayden.


What Does Depression Physically Feel Like? Here's a snippet of a story from Huffington Post that caught my eye: "For people with depression, it can be a truly difficult task to explain their condition. Because it is a disease that is more commonly associated with mental symptoms -- not outward, physical ones --those on the outside are often curious about what depression feels like. And it certainly feels like something: "In general, the worse the painful physical symptoms, the more severe the depression," researchers wrote in an overview of depression and physical symptoms in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. "Symptoms have been found to increase the duration of depressed mood..."


The 25 Most Popular Mobile Apps in America. No games in the Top 25? I guess that's progress. Or is it? Playing Tetris is probably safer than updating my Faceplant account; here's an excerpt from Quartz: "In its latest mobile app report, comScore tracks the 25 most popular apps in the US. This is an interesting slice of the App Store, as it highlights active usage, not just one-time downloads or recent popularity..."

Graphic credit: Quartz and comScore.


Russia Wants Bulgaria to Stop Vandalizing Sovient Monuments. It sounds like a bad joke, until you consider that maybe Russia is looking for another pretext to interfere in a former Soviet-block nation. Here's a clip from The Moscow Times: "Russia is demanding that Bulgaria try harder to prevent vandalism of Soviet monuments, after yet another monument to Soviet troops in Sofia was spray-painted, ITAR-Tass reported. The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia's Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take "exhaustive measures" to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday..."

Photo credit above: Ignat Ignev / Wikicommons. "Figures of Soviet soldiers at the base of a Soviet Army monument were previously transformed into superheroes in Sofia, Bulgaria."



77 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

80 F. average high on August 23.

88 F. high on August 23, 2013.

Trace of drizzle yesterday at MSP International Airport.

August 23 in Minnesota Weather History:

2006: Tornadoes and large hail strike southern Minnesota. One person died and 37 were injured when a strong tornado began 4 miles west-southwest of Nicollet in Nicollet County and move almost due east for 33 miles to near Waterville in Le Sueur County. Many storm chasers captured the tornado on video. The largest hail reported was grapefruit-sized at New Prague in Scott County.

1934: Early arctic blast across Minnesota. Rochester and Fairmont have lows of 34 degrees.


TODAY: Sizzling sun, high humidity. T-storms late. Dew point: 71 Winds: S 15. High: 91

SUNDAY NIGHT: More numerous T-storms, some heavy. Low: 63

MONDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 53. High: 80

TUESDAY: Cooler with showers likely. Wake-up: 61. High: 69

WEDNESDAY: Instant autumn. More showery rain. Wake-up: 58. High: near 70

THURSDAY: Showers, few T-storms. Wake-up: 60. High: 68

FRIDAY: Damp start, then peeks of sun. Wake-up: 61. High: 73

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, milder. DP: 60. Wake-up: 60. High: 76


Climate Stories...

Climate Change and Implications for National Security. Here's an excerpt of a story at International Policy Digest: "...Over the 250 years carbon fuels have enabled tremendous technological advances including a population growth from about 800 million then to 7.5 billion today and the consequent demand to extract even more carbon. This has occurred during a handful of generations, which is hardly noticeable on our imaginary one-year calendar. The release of this carbon – however – is changing our climate at such a rapid rate that it threatens our survival and presence on earth. It defies imagination that so much damage has been done in such a relatively short time. The implications of climate change are the single most significant threat to life on earth and, put simply, we are not doing enough to rectify the damage..."

Photo credit above: Department of Defense photo. “If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen…” – General Gordon R. Sullivan, Retired, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff.


Kansas' Climate Change Debate Settled in Europe. While Americans debate the science much of Europe is moving forward with plans to scale back the use of fossil fuels. What's missing here? Environmentally-minded Americans who care about this issue have yet to band together and exert political pressure. That will change in the years ahead (with our kids and grandkids out in front). Here's an excerpt from CJOnline.com: "...One of the key differences, King said, is the influence of Green parties within European nations. To get action on climate change, he said, environmentally-minded Americans must increase their influence in the political sphere. In Germany, the Greens hold about 10 percent of the seats in a 631-member parliament made up of five parties. Oliver Krischer, vice chairman of the German Green Party’s parliamentary group, said he hasn’t heard members of other parties say they believe human-caused climate change is a myth. “There might be some colleagues in the Bundestag that think so,” Krischer said. “You cannot look in their heads. But there is at least nobody that says climate change is an invention of some scientists...”

Photo credit above: Andy Marso, The Capital-Journal. "Jon Möller, a researcher with the Stockholm city government's climate and energy division, shows a map that includes the city's Royal Seaport, which citizens intend to make free of fossil fuels by 2030."


Portraits of Scared Scientists Seek to Drive Home the Critical State of Climate Change. The most frightening thing about climate change is that we continue to ignore it. Here's a clip from a story at PetaPixel: "Photographer Nick Bowers, Art Director Celine Faledam and Copy Writer Rachel Guest have teamed up to bring attention to the issue of climate change in a completely novel and frankly terrifying way with their portrait/interview project Scared Scientists. The title, in a way, says it all. Rather than bombarding you with obscure facts and figures or showing you photographs of receding glaciers, they focus on the scientists themselves..."


Dangerous Climate Change: Myths and Reality. Predicting the future is tenuous. Are we underestimating or overestimating the impacts of AGW? One thing is certain: the last time there was this much carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases floating overhead humans weren't on the planet. Here's an excerpt of an article at Climate Code Red focused on the myth (?) that climate change is "not yet dangerous": "...From this perspective, tipping points have already been passed, at less than 1°C of warming, for:

  • The loss of the Amundsen Sea West Antarctic glaciers, and 1–4 metres of sea level rise (Rignot, Mouginot et al., 2014; Joughin, Smith et al., 2014). Dr Malte Meinshausen, advisor to the German government and one of the architects of the IPCC's Representative Concentration Pathways, calls the evidence published this year of "unstoppable" (Rignot, 2014) deglaciation in West Antarctica "a game changer", and a "tipping point that none of us thought would pass so quickly", noting now we are "committed already to a change in coastlines that is unprecedented for us humans" (Breakthrough, 2014). 
  • The loss of Arctic sea-ice in summer (Duarte, Lenton et al., 2012; Maslowski, Kinney et al., 2012), which will hasten regional warming, the mobilization of frozen carbon stores, and the deglaciation of Greenland..."

Photo credit above: Jenna Dorsey.


World's Largest Ice Sheets Melting At Fastest Rate Ever Recorded. Huffington Post confirms what climate scientists have known for some time: the melting is happening even faster than most climate models predicted. Here's a clip from Huffington Post: "...Using the European Space Agency's CryoSat 2 satellite, the Alfred Wegener Institute from Germany has found that western Antarctica and Greenland are losing massive amounts of ice. "Combined, the two ice sheets are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres per year," said glaciologist Dr. Angelika Humbert, one of the authors of the AWI study, in a press release. "That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago..."


Greenland Ice Melt: 2014. Here's an excerpt of an update on the extent of ice melt in Greenland (more than 2 standard deviations for much of June and July) from the National Snow and Ice Data Center: "Melting on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet in June and July 2014 has been well above the 1981 to 2010 average in most areas, but after a fast start in May, the southern region and the southeastern coast have seen lower-than-average melt. Mid-summer surface melting did not reach higher elevations (above 2000 meters) as often as in the reference period 1981 to 2010. Short bursts of extensive melting were related to periods of high air pressure over the ice sheet favoring sunny conditions, and promoting increased melting in darker areas of the ice sheet (wet snow, bare ice, or dirty snow)..."

Saturday Severe Risk - Sunday Hot Front - Relief Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 22, 2014 - 11:45 PM

Sweet Indulgence

I ate so much at the Minnesota State Fair I suspect I'm showing up on Doppler radar. Yes, I'm the yellow blob. Some of the deep-fried, butter-infused, bacon-wrapped treats should come with a heart surgeon, but I remember what my late mother told me. "Live a life of quiet moderation, but it's OK to indulge every now and then." Define "every now and then". This is one of those moments.

My favorites? Walleye Mac 'n Cheese, chocolate salami (no meat, just nuts & dark chocolate) and beer gelato. It has a 1 percent alcohol content so they'll check to make sure you're 21. And yes, it tastes better than it sounds.

Clouds were slow to burn off Friday, keeping things more comfortable in spite of high humidity. Today will be the more reasonable day to graze the fairgrounds: peeks of murky sun with mid-80s and a drippy dew point near 67F.

Expect low 90s Sunday; probably one of the 3 hottest days of summer - a summer that hasn't been all that hot, come to think of it. Factoring in a dew point above 70F it may fee like upper 90s by late afternoon. Pace yourself, stay hydrated, and try the beer gelato.

Next week? Far more comfortable for stumbling around the fair, as dew points drop sharply.

Canada-on-a-stick.


Weekend Storms Most Likely Western and Central Minnesota. NOAA's 4 KM NAM model shows a potential for 2-4" rains from late Saturday night into Sunday from west central Minnesota into portions of central and northern Minnesota, roughly Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls to Wadena, Bemidji and International Falls. I wouldn't be surprised to hear reports of flash flooding in this area. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: HAMweather.


Saturday Severe Storm Risk. NOAA SPC has a slight risk of severe storms (hail and straight-line winds) from the eastern Dakotas into parts of western and central Minnesota. Be alert for possible watches and warnings later today and tonight.


Sunday Sizzle. NOAA data is hinting at mid to upper 90s close to the metro Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure it'll get quite that hot, but if the sun stays out most of the day with a stiff south wind I could see some mid-90s in and around the Twin Cities metro area. Heat spikes and peaks Sunday, followed by a cooling trend next week. 5 PM Sunday temperature forecast: NOAA and HAMweather.


Old Fasioned A/C Next Week. After sweating it out today and tomorrow the dreaded dew point takes a big tumble Sunday night, dropping from low 70s into upper 40s by Monday and Tuesday. The next disturbance may brush southern Minnesota Tuesday; nights cool and comfortable by midweek. A dry sky is likely Wednesday into next weekend with temperatures melling through the 70s into the 80s.


Spotty, Fickle Rains So Far in August. Dr. Mark Seeley has another good weather and climate-related time capsule and summary, proving perspective to our ongoing pattern. Here's an excerpt of this week's edition of WeatherTalk: "...As opposed to the widespread wetter than normal pattern that prevailed across the state during the first half of summer, August rainfall has been very spotty. The US Drought Monitor expanded the geographic designation for an abnormally dry landscape in Minnesota. Last week the designated area was Freeborn and Faribault Counties and this week the Drought Monitor designation for abnormally dry includes portions of Winona, Fillmore, Mower, Blue Earth, Waseca, and Le Sueur Counties. Heavier than normal rainfall for much of Minnesota is in the outlook for the remainder of August, so most areas should see some significant rainfall amounts before the end of the month..."

Image credit above: International Space Station, NASA.


El Nino: Down, But Not Out. Here's an excerpt of an in-depth look at ENSO and what will probably still be a mild to moderate El Nino event later in 2014 and early 2015, courtesy of International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University: "...Most of the set of dynamical and statistical model predictions issued during late July and early August 2014 predict a transition from neutral ENSO conditions to weak El Nino conditions during northern early fall 2014 with some further warming predicted into late fall and winter 2014-15. Development of El Nino conditions appears approximately 50% likely for the Aug-Oct or Sep-Nov seasons of 2014, and rises to 70-75% by Nov-Jan and Dec-Feb 2014-15..."


63 Trillion Gallons of Groundwater Lost in Drought, Study Finds. This story at The Los Angeles Times provides perspective, and a few staggering statistics; here's a clip: "The ongoing drought in the western United States has caused so much loss of groundwater that the Earth, on average, has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months, according to a new study. The situation was even worse in the snow-starved mountains of California, where the Earth rose up to 0.6 inches. Researchers from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the groundwater loss from the start of 2013 to be 63 trillion gallons — the equivalent of flooding four inches of water across the United States west of the Rocky Mountains..." (Latest U.S. Drought Monitor data is here).


Meghalaya: The Wettest Place on Earth. The Atlantic takes us to a place with perpetual monsoons. Somehow locals have found a way to adapt, even thrive. Here's an excerpt: "Photographer Amos Chapple returns to our site once once again, bringing amazing images from the state of Meghalaya, India, reportedly the rainiest spot on Earth. The village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya receives 467 inches of rain per year. Laborers who work outdoors often wear full-body umbrellas made from bamboo and banana leaf. One of the most fascinating and beautiful features in the region are the "living bridges" spanning rain-soaked valleys. For centuries, locals have been training the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges, far outlasting man-made wooden structures that rot in just a few years..." (Photo: Wikipedia).


Hurricane Hype Is Here To Stay - Forecasters Must Adapt. Because now everyone is an armchair meteorologist, and can tweet information that is dubious or outright malicious. I echo many of meteorologist Jason Samenow's concerns over at Capital Weather Gang; here's an excerpt of what he had to say about recent hurricane-hype: "...Many weather communicators want the public to understand the full range of possibilities.  We want the public to appreciate that model simulations for storms more than five days into the future aren’t realistic.  We lament that armchair meteorologists (amateurs, students, novices, etc.) post unreliable model simulations on social media – without any context - of a storm obliterating a coastal city. We cringe when these suspect forecasts are shared thousands of times, misleading an unknowing public. While some us are secretly envious of the attention, we ultimately worry about a loss of public trust in weather forecasting when they are wrong (most of the time)..."


New Study Reveals The Lingering Economic Devastation Left by Hurricanes. The negative impact from hurricanes can linger not only years, but decades after a major strike. Here's an excerpt of a story that caught my eye, courtesy of Business Insider Malaysia: "... A full fifteen years after a hurricane or typhoon strikes a country, that country’s per capita GDP will be lower by 0.38% for each meter per second of top wind speed than it would have been without the cyclone. So, a storm whose top wind speed was 10 m/s, or about 22 miles per hour, would have its per capita GDP lowered by about 3.8% fifteen years later, compared to a stormless baseline. The authors also note that cyclones have a much more severe effect on countries with multiple storms. Because each hurricane or typhoon negatively affects GDP in the long term, multiple storms over a period of time can have effects that add up..."

Graphic credit above: Hsiang and Jina, July 2014


How The "Year of Four Hurricanes" Changed Florida's Readiness. New communications tools exist that weren't around 10 years ago, but amazing platforms like cell phone texts, Twitter and Facebook can transmit not only essential, accurate information and warnings, but also rumor, inuendo and misinformation. Here's an excerpt of what's changed (for the better) from Emergency Management: "...Communications: When the 2004 storms struck, Twitter did not exist. Neither did the iPhone. A new website called TheFacebook had just been created in a Harvard dorm room. When it came to hurricanes, the latest news arrived via television, the Web and radio. Today, when a storm gets close, text alerts will go out to anyone within range of South Florida cellphone antennas, even if their phone has a Cleveland or New York City area code. Emergency managers also plan to rely heavily on social media to get the word out. At the Broward County Emergency Operations Center, about 40 volunteers have been trained to monitor Facebook and Twitter for information on people trapped, in need of food or dealing with other emergency situations, said emergency manager Miguel Ascarrunz..."

Photo credit above: "Charley was the first of four hurricanes to strike Florida in 2004." (Andrea Booher/FEMA).


Sea Plankton Have Been Found on the International Space Station - But How Did They Get There? Good question. The Guardian has some potential explanations; here's an excerpt: "Sea plankton have been found on the outside of the International Space Station, a Russian news agency reports. Itar-Tass says scientists on the space station, whose first component was launched into orbit in 1998, found the plankton – a source of food to many sea creatures – when taking samples from the windows (or “illuminators”)..." (Photo credit: AP Photo/NASA).


Seeds of Doubt. The New Yorker takes a look at a controversial crusade against genetically modified crops; here's a clip: "...The fight has not been easy. Few technologies, not the car, the phone, or even the computer, have been adopted as rapidly and as widely as the products of agricultural biotechnology. Between 1996, when genetically engineered crops were first planted, and last year, the area they cover has increased a hundredfold—from 1.7 million hectares to a hundred and seventy million. Nearly half of the world’s soybeans and a third of its corn are products of biotechnology. Cotton that has been engineered to repel the devastating bollworm dominates the Indian market, as it does almost everywhere it has been introduced..."


What Does Depression Physically Feel Like? Here's a snippet of a story from Huffington Post that caught my eye: "For people with depression, it can be a truly difficult task to explain their condition. Because it is a disease that is more commonly associated with mental symptoms -- not outward, physical ones --those on the outside are often curious about what depression feels like. And it certainly feels like something: "In general, the worse the painful physical symptoms, the more severe the depression," researchers wrote in an overview of depression and physical symptoms in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. "Symptoms have been found to increase the duration of depressed mood..."


The 25 Most Popular Mobile Apps in America. No games in the Top 25? I guess that's progress. Or is it? Playing Tetris is probably safer than updating my Faceplant account; here's an excerpt from Quartz: "In its latest mobile app report, comScore tracks the 25 most popular apps in the US. This is an interesting slice of the App Store, as it highlights active usage, not just one-time downloads or recent popularity..."

Graphic credit: Quartz and comScore.


Russia Wants Bulgaria to Stop Vandalizing Sovient Monuments. It sounds like a bad joke, until you consider that maybe Russia is looking for another pretext to interfere in a former Soviet-block nation. Here's a clip from The Moscow Times: "Russia is demanding that Bulgaria try harder to prevent vandalism of Soviet monuments, after yet another monument to Soviet troops in Sofia was spray-painted, ITAR-Tass reported. The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia's Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take "exhaustive measures" to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday..."

Photo credit above: Ignat Ignev / Wikicommons. "Figures of Soviet soldiers at the base of a Soviet Army monument were previously transformed into superheroes in Sofia, Bulgaria."


You Can't Make This Stuff Up - Or Can You? There's some debate online about whether this video clip of a guy in Australia stalking a dust devil is real. I've looked at it pretty carefully, and I don't think this was done with special effects. Impressive, but can he get life insurance? Check it out here.



79 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

80 F. average high on August 22.

87 F. high on August 22, 2013.

August 22, 1955: Hail in Houston County, with piles to a foot deep at Rushmore.


TODAY: Hazy sun. Dog Days. Dew point: 67. Winds: East 8. High: 86

SATURDAY NIGHT: T-storms western and northern Minnesota. Sultry in the metro. Low: 75 (80 downtown?)

SUNDAY: Heat spike with hot sun. T-storms late. Dew point: 71. High: 92

MONDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. DP: 53. Wake-up: 64. High: 78

TUESDAY: Showers likely. Risk of thunder. Wake-up: 60. High: near 70

WEDNESDAY: More sun. Showers linger far south. Wake-up: 59. High: 74

THURSDAY: Plenty of sun, milder. DP: 51. Wake-up: 54. High: 77

FRIDAY: Warm sun, very pleasant. DP: 57. Wake-up: 59. High: 78


Climate Stories...

World's Largest Ice Sheets Melting At Fastest Rate Ever Recorded. Huffington Post confirms what climate scientists have known for some time: the melting is happening even faster than most climate models predicted. Here's a clip from Huffington Post: "...Using the European Space Agency's CryoSat 2 satellite, the Alfred Wegener Institute from Germany has found that western Antarctica and Greenland are losing massive amounts of ice. "Combined, the two ice sheets are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres per year," said glaciologist Dr. Angelika Humbert, one of the authors of the AWI study, in a press release. "That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago..."


Greenland Ice Melt: 2014. Here's an excerpt of an update on the extent of ice melt in Greenland (more than 2 standard deviations for much of June and July) from the National Snow and Ice Data Center: "Melting on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet in June and July 2014 has been well above the 1981 to 2010 average in most areas, but after a fast start in May, the southern region and the southeastern coast have seen lower-than-average melt. Mid-summer surface melting did not reach higher elevations (above 2000 meters) as often as in the reference period 1981 to 2010. Short bursts of extensive melting were related to periods of high air pressure over the ice sheet favoring sunny conditions, and promoting increased melting in darker areas of the ice sheet (wet snow, bare ice, or dirty snow)..."


Greenland's Late August Rain Over Melt Ponds Is A Glacial Outburst Flood Hazard. Robert Scribbler has an interesting post; here's an excerpt: "Glacial melt ponding on steep ice faces. Above freezing temperatures for an extended period. Storms delivering rainfall to the glacier surface. These three events are a bad combination and one that, until recently, we’ve never seen before for Greenland. It is a set of circumstances directly arising from a human-driven warming of the great ice sheet. And it is one that risks a highly violent and energetic event in which melt ponds over-top and glaciers are flushed and ripped apart by surges of water rushing for scores of miles over and through the ice sheet..."

Map credit above: "GFS temperature and rainfall analysis for Greenland on August 21, 2014. Note the above freezing temperatures and rainfall over the region of the Jacobshavn Glacier for today." Image source: University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.


How Climate Scientists Really Feel. Sure, they're supposed to be clinical, leave emotions out of their research. But these men and women are human too, and studying climate change is the environmental equivalent of being an oncologist. It wears on you over time. Here's a web site with a collection of thoughts from noted climate scientists around the world. Here's one entry: "How climate change makes me feel. I feel a maelstrom of emotions
I am exasperated. Exasperated no one is listening.
I am frustrated. Frustrated we are not solving the problem.
I am anxious. Anxious that we start acting now.
I am perplexed. Perplexed that the urgency is not appreciated.
I am dumbfounded. Dumbfounded by our inaction.
I am distressed. Distressed we are changing our planet.
I am upset. Upset for what our inaction will mean for all life.
I am annoyed. Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of the science.
I am angry. Angry that vested interests bias the debate.
I am infuriated. Infuriated we are destroying our planet.

But most of all I am apprehensive. Apprehensive about our children’s future
."

Associate Professor
Anthony J. Richardson
Climate Change Ecologist


Atlantic Slows Warming, Temperature Rises Seen Resuming from 2030. Reuters has the story; here's an excerpt: "...We're pointing to the Atlantic as the driver of the hiatus," Ka-Kit Tung, of the University of Washington in Seattle and a co-author of Thursday's study in the journal Science, told Reuters. The study said an Atlantic current carrying water north from the tropics sped up this century and sucked more warm surface waters down to 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), part of a natural shift for the ocean that typically lasts about three decades..." (Photo credit: NOAA).



Jet Stream Changes Driving Extreme Weather Linked Again to Global Warming, Arctic Ice Loss. Here's a story, video and links to research from ThinkProgress; an excerpt:

Weather extremes in the summer — such as the record heat wave in the United States that hit corn farmers and worsened wildfires in 2012 — have reached an exceptional number in the last ten years. Man-made global warming can explain a gradual increase in periods of severe heat, but the observed change in the magnitude and duration of some events is not so easily explained. It has been linked to a recently discovered mechanism: the trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere. A new data analysis now shows that such wave-trapping events are indeed on the rise.

A number of studies in recent years have linked this quantum jump in extreme weather to global warming and the warming-driven loss of Arctic ice (see here and here). Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences has been at the forefront of this research. She explains her findings in this video..."