Weather Communication Challenges
"You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life" said Doug Coupland. How true. The problem: we THINK we're in control. We make plans and the weather often gets in the way, so we take it personally.
The challenge of predicting the future is tough enough. Layer in a linguistics challenge as well; the words we choose to describe the upcoming weather. Was yesterday "partly sunny" or "mostly cloudy"? They mean one in the same. Partly cloudy assumes the day will be sunnier than partly sunny. Go figure.
Sunday's unexpected smear of clouds kept us a few degrees cooler than predicted. Expect more sunshine the next 3 days with a September-like breeze; 70F possibly tomorrow, likely Wednesday afternoon. I took my boat out 6 weeks too early. Ugh.
Soak up unseasonable late-season warmth because we chill into the 40s by late week. Models pull in showery rains Thursday; a bigger storm possible late next week.
One thing is fairly certain: our Jumbo Autumn will make the winter to come seem shorter. I predict less grumbling about the cold. No, wait. We'll find something else to grumble about.
Interpreting Weather Terminology. The art (wrong word) in weather prediction is trying to find the appropriate words to describe what you think the sky should look like in the coming days. The graphic above is courtesy of an informative article at mental_floss.
More Late September than Early November. Highs surge into the 60s today; a shot at 70F tomorrow, even low 70s Wednesday before cooling down the end of the week. Keep in mind the average high temperature at MSP now is 49F. Model ensemble: NOAA and Aeris Enterprise.
Winds Increase. Winds will be fairly light today, generally under 10 mph, but by Wednesday, with a tightening pressure gradient (sustained) winds will be in the 15-20 mph range with gusts as high as 25 mph.
10-Day Future Rainfall. Here is GFS data from NOAA, showing a streak of heavy rain impacting Atlanta and Charlotte; more heavy, windswept rains and snows buffeting the Pacific Northwest. Minnesota will be brushed by rain on Thursday. Source: AerisWeather.
7-Day QPF. Models show some 3-4"+ amounts for parts of the southeast over the next 35 hours, excessive amounts from Portland to Seattle, with a stripe of moderate rains between now and next Sunday from Omaha to Rochester and Rhinelander. Source: NOAA.
Residents Survey Damage after "Historic" Hits San Marcos for Third Time. Three "historic" floods in the span of 2 years? Here's a clip from a video and story at Time Warner Cable News in Austin, Texas: "The word "historic" is being used all too often to describe floods from Wimberley to San Marcos to Onion Creek. That was the case two years ago. So was the flood this past Memorial Day. Now that term is being used once again. Our Stef Manisero takes us to San Marcos as residents there weather yet another historic bout with Mother Nature. Families in San Marcos spent Saturday cleaning up their flood-damaged homes. Residents sifted through their belongings, determining which things could be saved, and which things were just too wet..."
Photo credit above: "Mike Stoner gets out of his flooded car, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 in San Marcos, Texas. A fast-moving storm packing heavy rain and destructive winds overwhelmed rivers and prompted evacuations Friday in the same area of Central Texas that saw devastating spring floods." (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP
November Temperature Anomalies. Here is the latest guidance from NOAA's CFS model showing average November temperatures as much as 2-3F warmer than average east of the Mississippi River.
Mild Bias Continues? El Nino may begin to weaken in early 2016, but a more persistent and powerful prevailing wind flow from the Pacific is forecast to keep much of North America milder than average; the only exception Texas as an energized southerly branch of the jet pulls a parade of storms across the Deep South. At least on paper, in theory. Results may vary. December - February outlook: NOAA NMME model.
Truly Frightening. 13 Photos That Perfectly Capture the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. Aaah, the memories. Check out a pictorial review that may send shivers up your spine, courtesy of The Star Tribune. Odds are we'll never see another storm of that magnitude so early in the season in our lifetime.
South Dakota Scientist Says USDA Censored Pesticide Research. Here's an excerpt from The Star Tribune: "A highly regarded federal scientist filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), charging that he was punished for publicizing research showing a link between pesticides and the decline in bees and other pollinators. Jonathan Lundgren, a USDA entomologist in Brookings, S.D., said in civil service documents that while the agency did not stop publication of the research, supervisors harassed him, tried to stop him from speaking out, and interfered with new projects..."
Image credit above: Michael Reilly, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP. "A highly regarded federal scientist filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), charging that he was punished for publicizing research showing a link between pesticides and the decline in bees."
How to Prepare for Cosmic Disaster? Finally, The U.S. Government Comes Up With a Plan. The first step is to make sure you have a plan, just in case the power is out for an extended period of time. Here's an excerpt from Christian Today: "...The White House Action Plan also tasked the Department of Energy to assess how vulnerable American infrastructure is to solar storms. At the same time, the agency was also instructed to develop a grid monitoring system that would "display the status of power generation, transmission, and distribution systems during geomagnetic storms" in real time. Likewise, the American government sought in its action plan better forecasting of solar storms, to be able to give agencies more lead-time before a cosmic disaster strikes..." (File image credit: NASA).
56 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
50 F. average high on November 1.
42 F. high on November 1, 2014.
November 2, 1938: Tornado at Nashwauk in Itasca County.
November 2, 1842: Warm spell at Ft. Snelling. Temperature was up to 60 degrees.
November 2: National Deviled Egg Day.
TODAY: Partly sunny and mild. Winds: SW 3-8. High: 66
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, nighttime lows milder than average highs in early November. Low: 50
TUESDAY: Lukewarm sun, no weather complaints. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 70
WEDNESDAY: Hello September! Warm sunshine. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 53. High: 72
THURSDAY: Showery rains develop, turning cooler. Wake-up: 52. High: 55
FRIDAY: So this is what November feels like? More clouds than sun. Wake-up: 38. High: 48
SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, brisk. Wake-up: 33. High: 48
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, milder than average. Wake-up: 31. High: 53
Climate Change and Creation Care. As I dig into how United States faith communities are responding to climate change I am noticing that there is a very concerted effort to care for creation and a focus specifically on climate change. An example of this is the United Methodist Women’s national office has made climate justice one of its four social justice priorities.
Would you like to explore where your faith intersections with weather and climate change? On Saturday, November 7th at 9a in Prior Lake, Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church is hosting a Creation Care event that will examine the intersection of faith, climate change and weather. The event is free. Childcare is provided for those that RSVP. Presenters include faith leaders from the Lutheran, Methodist, MCC and Catholic church, Dr. John Abraham (climate scientist from the University of St. Thomas) and me. RSVP at: http://www.sollc.org/creationcare.
Who Will Take the Lead on Climate Change? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Detroit Free Press: "...States will have to be going about implementing their plans to actually meet the regulations ... But those regulations only concern power plants and so gradually the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to look at other sectors of the economy and their carbon pollution ... We need to work in terms of a range of incentives to further efforts to move to renewable energy and energy efficiency. There are questions about energy supply, offshore drilling, drilling on federal lands, more questions on tar sands pipelines, whether to allow on royalty rates, things like that.” Goldston correctly points out that, for the most part, international businesses — traditional GOP constituents — don’t deny the existence or causes of climate change..."
The Countries Most Vulnerable to Climate Change Know The Least About How It Will Affect Them. Here's an excerpt from an article at Quartz: "...A new analysis of 15,000 papers published between 1999 and 2010 found that relatively little of the world’s climate research comes from, or focuses on, developing countries with warmer climates—and that scientists who do focus on those regions have fairly distinct networks from scientists in richer countries with cooler climates. The study, published in Global Environmental Change, suggests that this skewed focus limits the ability of the most vulnerable countries to prepare for the impact of climate change and adapt..."
Photo credit above: "Are they being heard?" (Associated Press/Jerome Delay)
These 4 Republican Senators are Forming at Group to Tackle Climate Change. I almost fell off my couch when I saw this story move on the wires; here's the intro from ThinkProgress: "The environment just got a boost from an unlikely source: Senate Republicans. Four senators — Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — formed a Senate Energy and Environment Working Group this week that, according to Ayotte’s office, will “focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.” The group will meet semi-regularly to discuss environmental issues and talk about potential legislative ways to address them..."
Drought Swaying Opinions on Global Warming. The Columbian has the story - here's an excerpt: "Severe drought affecting many parts of the nation is convincing skeptics of global warming to reconsider their position on the matter. For the first time since 2008, 7 out of 10 Americans indicate that there is solid evidence of global warming, according to a report from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment. This is a 10 percent increase from last fall and just behind the record 72 percent in 2008. More than 60 percent of those who believe global warming evidence cite severe drought as having a “very large effect” on their stance. Dr. Nancy Selover, the state climatologist for Arizona, said there is good science supporting the public’s belief in global warming..."