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Glancing Blows of Cold Air

"Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative" said Oscar Wilde. Hey, I resemble that remark! Weather is the pond in which we live - we can be forgiven for wondering (out loud) what's going on with the elements racing overhead.

Maybe it's a symptom of El Nino - or even a larger planetary warming trend. Whatever the cause, winter is in no great hurry this year. Models show a few lazy cold fronts into mid-November. Canada will stage a few half-hearted sneak attacks, but nothing polar anytime soon, nothing requiring a heavy coat, snow tires or heated seats.

Winds aloft, prevailing jet stream winds, howl from Seattle and Vancouver, not the Yukon.

GFS guidance hints at a (real) cold front after November 19 or so. At some point there will be payback. Until then we enjoy more 50s the first half of next week; temperatures drooping into the 40s by late week. A storm may brush southeastern Minnesota with a cold rain next Wednesday and Thursday, but no big storms are pending.

This is typical November weather - for Kansas City, Missouri. How 'bout those Royals!

* File photo above: city-data.com.

Warm Start to November. Yes, the first 5 days of November felt like September. Dr. Mark Seeley puts it all into perspective in this week's edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk; here's the intro: "Very warm conditions prevailed around the state over the first several days of November. At least 15 climate stations have reported a daytime high temperature this month of 70°F or higher, topped by 78°F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on the 3rd. The warmth reached as far north as Hibbing where it reached 64°F on the 3rd, while some western Minnesota observers (Canby, Appleton, and Madison) reported three consecutive afternoons with highs in the 70s F this first week of November which last happened in 1999 and 1975..."

Record Warmth from Tampa to Portland, Maine. Check out the 2 PM temperatures yesterday: 80s over the Gulf Goast, but 80F as far north as Washington D.C. with 70s into New England. Impressive, considering the sun is as high in the sky as it was on February 5. Source: Oklahoma Mesonet.

Friday's Record Highs. Thanks to Capital Climate for passing these along via Twitter.

Winds Increase as Temperatures Warm. The bigger the swing in temperature, the faster winds have to blow to keep the atmosphere in a state of equilibrium. Winds will be fairly light today, sustained under 12-14 mph, but those winds increase tomorrow: sustained at 20-25 with gusts to the 30, from the south. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Shot at 60F on Sunday. The GFS prints out a high of 59F Sunday around 3 PM. If you can get out of the stiff breeze it should feel pretty good out there (for mid-November).

Heaviest Rains Track South/East of Minnesota. Here is GFS guidance out 10 days, showing next Wednesday's rain event pushing from the Quad Cities to Chicago and Milwaukee; we may be brushed by light showers. The ECMWF is a bit wetter, so we'll see which solution verifies. Check out the 10"+ amounts near Seattle and Vancouver. Source: AerisWeather.

Unimpressive Rainfall Amounts. An El Nino tends to be drier across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, and you could make an argument that we're already seeing this signal showing up in the current pattern. The GFS prints out a whopping .12" next Wednesday.

Accumulated Snowfall. Minnesota's snow drought continues until further notice (although I have a gut feel something will spin up close to damage, when Mother Nature can wreak the most havoc with travel plans. Looking out 10 days (GFS guidance) a plowable accumulation is possible near Boise and Great Falls, Montana with a couple inches into the ski resorts of Colorado.

A Persistent Pattern - Modified Zonal Flow Looking Out 2 Weeks. Long-range guidance is notoriously fickle and unreliable, but I keep waiting for the current (zonal) pattern to shift. I don't see any evidence (yet) of a major variation in the predominately west-to-east flow aloft that is keeping much of the USA milder than average.

El Nino Hits Dinner Table as Food Costs Soar Most in 3 Years. Bloomberg Business connects the dots; here's a clip from a recent article: "The effects of El Nino are starting to reach the dinner table, with global food prices rising the most in three years on supply concerns for everything from New Zealand milk to sugar in Brazil and Southeast Asian palm oil. An index of 73 food prices increased 3.9 percent, the biggest jump since July 2012, to 162 in October, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization wrote in a report Thursday. The return of the El Nino weather phenomenon is changing weather conditions around the world, damaging crops with too much rain in some areas and not enough in others..."

Image credit here.

Onion Creek Residents Sue Austin Over Flood Response. The lawyers are happy - get ready for a flurry of lawsuits related to flooding and aging, in many cases, inadequate infrastructure and flood control systems around the USA, unable to cope with repeated 1 in 100 to 1 in 1,000 year floods. People living along Onion Creek have experienced 3 "historic" floods in the last 2 years. Here's the intro to a story at Austin American-Statesman: "Two survivors of the 2013 Onion Creek flooding are suing the city of Austin, contending they sustained life-altering injuries due to government negligence. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 30 in state court in Travis County, alleges that Austin failed to plan in 2013 for heavy flooding and failed to warn residents “of the propensity for flooding in their neighborhood.” It also alleges that Austin has failed to make meaningful improvements to the area’s early warning system since then, leaving residents in danger during the recent severe flooding..."

October 30, 2015 File photo credit: Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP.

Warming is Increasing Wildfire Risks in California. Climate Central has the update; here's an excerpt: "...California’s fire seasons are also influenced by winds, rain and snowfall and temperatures — weather phenomena that are being affected by global warming. By some metrics, California’s 2014 wildfire season was the most dangerous on record. By others, it was among the worst — it ranked sixth for acres burned, for example. The fires were fueled by drought, which left trees and plant matter tinder-dry. Drought, floods and varying temperatures occur naturally in California, where the weather is heavily influenced by Pacific Ocean cycles, but previous research has concluded that global warming has been exacerbating its drought..."

Graphic credit above: "The red line shows extreme fire risks rising inside a computer model as the climate changes. The blue line depicts a world in which humans have no effect on the climate. The black line indicates worsening drought." Credit: BAMS.

The Northern Hemisphere's Record-Shattering Tropical Cyclone Season, By The Numbers. A few eye-opening stats from Capital Weather Gang; here's an excerpt: "...Adding together the storms across all ocean basins, the number of intense tropical cyclones to form in the Northern Hemisphere in 2015 is unprecedented in modern records. 27 major tropical cyclones (winds greater than or equal to 111 mph) have occurred this year which is seven more than any other year. Year-to-date, Accumulated Cyclone Energy,  a metric that measures overall hurricane season levels through a combination of frequency, intensity and duration, is at record high levels..."

Image credit above: "Northern Hemisphere Cat. 3+ TCs by year since 1970.  There is the potential for significant underestimates in the data in the early portion of the record."

Half of Weather Disasters Linked to Climate Change. Researchers examined extreme weather events in 2014; here's an excerpt from National Geographic: "From a deadly snowstorm in Nepal to a heat wave in Argentina that crashed power supplies, at least 14 extreme weather events last year bore the fingerprints of human-induced climate change, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. Researchers examined 28 weather extremes on all seven continents to see if they were influenced by climate change or were just normal weather. Their conclusion: Half of them showed some role of climate change..."

Photo credit above: "Climate change plus local land use worsened prairie flooding in parts of Canada, according to a new scientific report.  In this July, 2014 photo, the swollen Assiniboine River covers farmland in Manitoba, Canada." Photograph by Tim Smith, The Canadian Press, AP.

Climate Change Influenced 14 Weather Events in 2014. The strongest attribution is heat and drought; USA TODAY provides more perspective - here's an excerpt: "...Not surprisingly, several intense heat waves were influenced in part by climate change, said Stephanie Herring, lead editor for the report and a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Human-caused climate change greatly increased the likelihood and intensity for extreme heat waves in 2014" in Korea, China, Argentina and in parts of Australia and Europe, according to the report, which appeared as a series of studies in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  This is the fourth year that a report linking weather events and climate change has been published by the group..."

* The report(s) from the American Meteorological Society are available here.

Warming's Fingerprints Are All Over Recent Extreme Weather, Research Shows. Climate attribution is emerging science, but researchers are using all resources available to see which events in 2014 can be linked to a warmer atmosphere and ocean. Here's an excerpt of a very good summary from Andrew Freedman at Mashable: "...Specifically, tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, deadly heat waves in Australia, Asia and South America, and a deadly snowstorm in the Himalayas, were each in part the result of human activities, the studies show. “For each of the past four years, this report has demonstrated that individual events, like temperature extremes, have often been shown to be linked to additional atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by human activities, while other extremes, such as those that are precipitation related, are less likely to be convincingly linked to human activities,” said Tom Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina..."

Storm Chaser Posts Video of a Category Five Hurricane Destroying His Hotel. Imagine living through an EF-4 tornado, only this one goes on for a few hours. That's the rough equivalent of what it was like with Category 5 Hurricane Patricia coming ashore over western Mexico. BGR.com has the story and a link to some of the most amazing hurricane video I've ever seen (anywhere); here's an excerpt: "Ever wondered what it’s like to sit inside a hotel as it’s being destroyed by a category five hurricane? The storm-chasing team at iCyclone recently went through this so you hopefully never have to and it’s even posted a video of the experience for you to watch from the safety of your computer or smartphone. The team was following Hurricane Patricia as it slammed right into the town of Emiliano Zapata in southern Mexico. They decided to hunker down in a local hotel just before the storm’s winds really started to pick up in the late afternoon at around 4:30 p.m..."

Image credit above: iCyclone / YouTube

U.S. Government Prepping Up For Solar Storm That Could Wipe Modern Civilization. Is the federal government, utilities and 9,000 power producers across the USA moving fast enough? Probably not - it will take a major disaster and crisis for the appropriate level of funding necessary to lower the risk - probably after the fact. Whether it's a hacker or foreign government bringing down the grid, or an X-class solar flare bringing down the grid, it's probably prudent to be mildly paranoid, and have a Plan B and Plan C, just in case. Here's an excerpt from Science Times: "...According to the 2008 National Academy of Sciences, in the United States alone, the cost would go as high as US$2.6 trillion. Furthermore, experts warned of electrical failure that could last for months if a severe solar storm hits the planet, and this can last longer if transformers are also destroyed. Scientists are estimating a 12 per cent chance that in 2022, a solar flare would hit Earth. The White House is now starting to create an emergency plan. In an interview with Gizmodo with John Kappenman, a space weather consultant, "Frankly, this could be one of the most severe natural disasters that the country, and major portions of the world, could face..." (File image: NASA).

Oil Slump Forces Deep Cuts by Service Providers. The Wall Street Journal reports; here's an excerpt: "...Such moves come amid upheaval in the oil-field services industry, which finds itself competing for a shrinking number of oil projects with crude now trading at less than $50 a barrel, half its price from the summer of 2014. There have been tens of thousands of layoffs this year and huge mergers, such as the $35 billion tie-up of American behemoths Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc..."

Image credit above: "A Halliburton worker at a fracking site in Colorado. Halliburton, whose tie-up with Baker Hughes could be completed in December, had a loss in its latest quarter." Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/Bloomberg News

Sugar Has Caused a Global Health Crisis, And Should Be Regulated Like Tobacco. Quartz has food for thought; here's an excerpt: "It seems as though no other substance occupies so much of the world’s land, for so little benefit to humanity, as sugar. According to the latest data, sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable crop after cereals and rice, and occupies 26,942,686 hectares (66576827 acres) of land across the globe. Its main output—apart from commercial profits—is a global public health crisis, which has been centuries in the making. The obesity epidemic—along with related diseases including cancer, dementia, heart disease and diabetes—has spread across every nation where sugar-based carbohydrates have come to dominate to the food economy..."

Photo credit above: "A big headache." (Elisa Azzali/Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0).

5 Year Old in Los Angeles Knows 7 Languages - May Have Telepathic Powers. Can we encourage this kid to run for Congress? Here's an excerpt from Daily Mail Online: "A five-year-old savant who is apparently displaying signs of telepathy is being studied by scientists after his mother posted videos online showing him reciting random numbers "written in secret". Ramses Sanguino - who is already learning seven languages and solving complex mathematical equations - was filmed seemingly demonstrating telepathy at his home in Los Angeles, California. In the footage, the youngster, who has a "high functioning" form of autism, correctly recounts the value and suits of playing cards, as well as numbers that were reportedly penned out of sight..."

One Way to Avoid The TSA. Dear Santa, now I know what I want under the tree for Christmas. A shiny new jetpack and an updated passport. No lines, no pat-downs at airport security. What's the range on these babies? This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen, definitely worth your time - a link to a remarkable video from Laughing Squid: "Jetman Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet from Jetman Dubai use their jet packs to fly in formation with an Emirates Airbus A380 over Dubai in a thrilling new video. A separate video details the thorough planning that had to go into the flight to make sure it was done safely for all those involved..."

47 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

47 F. average high on November 6.

44 F. high on November 6, 2014.

November 7, 1844: A large prairie fire at Fort Snelling occurs, followed by more fires later on in the week.

TODAY: Bright sunshine, breezy. Winds: W 10-15. High: 49

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear skies. Low: 35

SUNDAY: Sunny, windy and milder. Winds: S 15-25. High: 59

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, feels like mid-October. Wake-up: 39. High: 58

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, still mild. Wake-up: 42. High: 57

WEDNESDAY: Gray, chance of light rain. Wake-up: 44. High: 48

THURSDAY: Wet start, then partial clearing. Wake-up: 41. High: 47

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, chill in the air. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 37. Hiigh: 44

Climate Stories...

No to Keystone, Yes to the Planet. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the New York Times Editorial Board: "...The pipeline, when completed, would have carried about 800,000 barrels of oil a day from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast. In the grand scheme of things, this would add little to a global output that now exceeds 90 million barrels a day. But the cumulative impact could be huge: The tar sands contain 170 billion barrels of oil recoverable with today’s technology and perhaps 10 times that amount in potential resources. Because the proposed pipeline was seen as crucial to the exploitation of these resources, allowing it to go forward would have put the United States in the position of enabling a project that, over time, would add significantly to already dangerous levels of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide..." (File photo: NASA).

They're Not Scientists. Are cracks beginning to form in the "conservative wall of denial"? Here's an excerpt of a story at The New Republic: "...These denial devices have become so sophisticated and all-pervasive that a whole journalistic subgenre—a species of climate cryptology—has sprung up to ponder and interpret their inner workings. Lately, the cryptologists have been detecting subtle signs of a GOP evolution on climate. While it’s long been standard for Republican candidates to question, evade, or reject climate science, GOP candidates in last year’s midterm elections began routinely responding to climate questions by throwing up their hands and repeating some variation of, “I’m not a scientist.” More recently, some GOP officials and presidential candidates have taken to acknowledging global warming while insisting that the private sector—not Big Bad Government—must solve it. It’s a step forward, if only a baby step..."

Are Climate Scientists Fiddling With Temperature Data. Let the next wave of conspiracy theories begin. Here's an excerpt from Slate: "...But what’s really going on? How are scientists adjusting the data? Kevin Cowtan is a chemist at the University of York and is very interested in problems in climate science that are relevant to the public. He also knows quite a bit about the sorts of adjustments that need to be made in data in order to properly analyze them; some time ago I wrote about his work that shows, when the data are accurately homogenized, that the global “warming pause” doesn’t exist. Cowtan has put together a lovely series of pages showing just why scientists do this in the case of climate data, why it’s needed, how they do it, and what the results show..."

Graphic credit above: Kevin Cowtan.

Poll: Majority of World Population Concerned About Global Warming. Voice of America has the result of a recent Pew Research Center poll; here's the intro: "As world leaders get ready for a climate change conference in Paris, a new global survey says the majority of the Earth's population has some concern about a warming planet — more in developing nations than in richer countries. The survey by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center was carried out in 40 countries. Fifty-four percent said global warming was a "very serious problem," especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. But in the United States and China, the world's two biggest polluters, the concern was less urgent..."

The Year in Records: The Human Role in 2014's Wild Weather. The Conversation takes a look at record heat down under in Australia and how a warmer atmosphere increased the odds of last year's sizzling heat waves: "Australia has just had its hottest October, and we can already say that human-caused climate change made this new record at least ten times more likely than it would otherwise have been. But if we turn our eyes to the past, what role did climate change play in the broken records of 2014? Last year was the hottest on record worldwide, and came with its fair share of extremes. As part of the annual extreme weather issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society released today, five papers by Australian authors including us, investigate the role of climate change in extreme weather in 2014..."

Photo credit above: "Tennis fans at the 2014 Australian Open were treated to days of temperatures above 40C." AAP Image/Joe Castro.

Exxon Mobil Denies Lying About Global Warming. Here's the intro to a story at Scientific American: "Exxon Mobil Corp. insisted yesterday that it has not lied to its shareholders about the risks of climate change as it reacted to news that New York’s attorney general is investigating the company’s climate statements to investors. “Exxon Mobil recognizes that climate risks are real and responsible actions are warranted,” said Ken Cohen, the company’s vice president of public and government affairs, during a press call..."

More Oil Companies Could Join Exxon Mobile as Focus of Climate Investigations. More detail from The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "The opening of an investigation of Exxon Mobil by the New York attorney general’s office into the company’s record on climate change may well spur legal inquiries into other oil companies, according to legal and climate experts, although successful prosecutions are far from assured. Many oil companies have funded lobbying efforts and research on climate change, so prosecutors would most likely be able to search through vast amounts of material. The industry has also resisted pressure for years from environmental groups to warn investors of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions could have on their businesses, although that appears to be changing..."

Exxon Mobil Under Investigation in New York Over Climate Statements. Here's a late update from The New York Times: "The New York attorney general has begun a sweeping investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business. According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents. The focus includes the company’s activities dating to the late 1970s, including a period of at least a decade when Exxon Mobil funded groups that sought to undermine climate science..." (File photo: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar).

The Harm Exxon Mobil Has Done. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at TheHill: "It may be hard to accept, but a single company may have set back all of humanity. Had Exxon Mobil listened to its own scientists rather than spread disinformation on climate change, the world might not have wasted three crucial decades during which global warming went from a prediction to a fact. Rather than apologize, Exxon Mobil’s reaction to recent investigations that detail the corporation’s deception on climate science has been both profane and righteously indignant. Exxon Mobil is now denying it denied climate change. The corporation’s actions, however, demonstrate something else entirely: An extensive and expensive campaign to deny climate science, deceive the American people about the health and environmental ruin caused by global warming, and stop action by governments to address Earth’s rapidly accelerating climate crisis..."

U.S. Could Gain Trillions from Global Climate Action, Study Finds. Here's a snippet from Huffington Post: "The U.S. stands to gain up to $10 trillion by 2050 if other countries take action against climate change, a new report finds. The economic analysis, which was released Thursday by the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, argues that this financial benefit is reason enough for the U.S. to take the lead on securing ambitious carbon reduction pledges from countries like China and India. The U.S., the study explains, is "particularly vulnerable to effects that will spillover from other regions of the world" because it is the world's largest economy and a military superpower with widespread trade deals and investments across the globe..."

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Minor League Cold Front - 5th Warmest Start to November on Record at MSP

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Near 60F Today - Wednesday Soaker - Taste of Winter by Thanksgiving?