Giving Thanks For Great Summer Weather

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself" said Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Where does wisdom come from? I wish knew. Maybe from listening, compromise and appreciating overlooked blessings?

2020 has been a dumpster fire, but the weather has been magical, almost miraculous. Less snow than normal, no severe river flooding, very little severe weather and damage, and a surplus of warm, sunny, low humidity, bug-optional days. Last year it wouldn't stop raining. This summer you'll need to reapply sunscreen and think cool thoughts.

Heat continues to build into mid-July. Although the epicenter of blastfurnace heat stays (just) south of Minnesota, NOAA's GFS model predicts 90-degree heat for the MSP metro 10 of the next 16 days.

Showers taper this morning, with partial clearing PM hours today. Saturday should be the sunnier, nicer day of the weekend for the lake. A few storms may pop by late Sunday, as tropical air approaches. Here comes prime-time summertime!

Weekend Lakes Outlook. Saturday looks like the sunnier, drier day, statewide. Sunday may start out sunny, but showers and T-storms are possible later in the day, especially south of Mille Lacs.

Getting Better. Showers and a few T-storms will be in the area this morning, but skies are forecast to clear this afternoon as winds swing around to the northwest, pumping drier, lower-humidity air into Minnesota. Late afternoon and evening activities should be fine. NAM Future Radar: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Satisfyingly Toasty. We spend nearly half the year shivering, so forgive me for getting excited about upper 80s and low 90s. The hottest days of summer may be shaping up from next week into mid-July. Right on schedule. Map sequence: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Early Dog Days. Both ECMWF (top) and NOAA's GFS model (bottom) predict temperatures 5-10F warmer than average into mid-July. In fact 10 of the next 16 days are forecast to bring 90-degree warmth to MSP, according to the GFS model. That may be a little aggressive, but there's little doubt of a sweaty stretch of weather ahead. MSP Meteograms: WeatherBell.

Heating Up. Each successive run of the GFS brings the epicenter of heat a little closer to Minnesota. The 500mb forecast for the evening of July 9 shows the center of a heat-pump high pressure ridge stretching from Iowa to Arizona. If this verifies much of the USA will be sizzling in the 90s with 100-degree heat for most of the southwestern USA.

Record Plume of Sahara Dust to Affect U.S. Mainland in Coming Days. Capital Weather Gang tracks this vast, dirty column of air: "A nearly 4,000-mile-long plume of thick dust from the Sahara Desert that arrived in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba is forecast to move into the Gulf of Mexico, inland from Texas to the lower Mississippi River Valley Thursday and Friday, before reaching Washington this weekend. The plume is part of a phenomena that develops every year off the coast of Africa, known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), but the current one is unusually intense and is setting records, scientists say. The SAL typically forms over the Sahara Desert from the late spring into the early fall, and it moves in pulses out into the tropical North Atlantic every few days..."
Image credit: "Close-up view of dust plume over Caribbean Tuesday morning." (NOAA)

Time to Rethink How Hurricane Strength is Calculated? A post at News4Jax in Jacksonville caught my eye; here's a clip: "...Most who live in the hurricane belt know the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale well. It is the current 1 to 5 rating system based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. The scale’s utility as a single number simplifies messaging but has some pitfalls in that it fails to include all threats completely. Much is missing from the formula, including winds surge, rain, and size, all of which can make a weaker storm much more dangerous. Hurricanes are complex and not all storms are the same, which is why Klotzbach proposes using minimum sea level pressure as a better predictor for hurricane damage. Take Hurricane Katrina in 2005..."

File image: NOAA.

Satellites Have Drastically Changed How We Forecast Hurricanes. NASA has details and a terrific video: "The powerful hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900, killing an estimated 8,000 people and destroying more than 3,600 buildings, took the coastal city by surprise. This video looks at advances in hurricane forecasting in the 120 years since, with a focus on the contributions from weather satellites. This satellite technology has allowed us to track hurricanes – their location, movement and intensity. “One of the dramatic impacts is that satellite data keeps an eye on the target," especially over unpopulated areas such as oceans, said JPSS Director Greg Mandt. “We’re sort of like your eyes in the sky to make sure that Mother Nature can never surprise you.” A fleet of Earth-observing satellites, including those from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series (GOES-R), provides remarkable advances in hurricane forecasting..."

Image credit: "This video looks at advances in hurricane forecasting, with a focus on the contributions from weather satellites." Credits: NASA/ Jefferson Beck.

Billion Dollar Disasters Since 1980. Notice any trends? Here's an excerpt from NOAA NCDC: "...The highest frequency of inland flood (i.e., non-tropical) events often occur in states adjacent to large rivers or the Gulf of Mexico, which is a warm source of moisture to fuel rainstorms. Drought impacts are most focused in the Southern and Plains states where crop and livestock assets are densely populated. Severe local storm events are common across the Plains, the Southeast and the Ohio River Valley states. Winter storm impacts are concentrated in the Northeastern states while tropical cyclone impacts range from Texas to New England but also impact many inland states. In total, the U.S. South, Central and Southeast regions experience a higher frequency of billion-dollar disaster events than any other region. It is clear that extreme weather and climate events affect all regions of the United States..."

Get a Comfortable Chair: Permanent Work from Home is Coming. Here's a clip from a story at NPR: "...Saving money is always an attractive proposition for businesses, especially these days. And that's likely to drive the shift to remote work, according to Kate Lister, who consults with companies on the future of work as president of Global Workplace Analytics. "Going into a recession, an economic downturn, those CEOs are laying awake at night thinking of all those buildings that they're heating ... productivity is continuing without being at the office. And saying, 'Wow, I think we could use for a change here.' " One potential change: Demand for commercial real estate falls due to the growth of remote work and the realities of a painful economic downturn..."

How the Virus Won. Amazing visuals - but depressing facts as the chronology of Covid-19 is traced across the U.S. Could-have, should-have, would-have. The New York Times (paywall) reports.

Does Air Conditioning Relief for Summer Heat Make Coronavirus Worse? Dr. Marshall Shepherd shares some new research at Forbes: "...The CDC website actually pointed me to a new study just published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (July 2020). The study documents a COVID-19 Outbreak that occurred in restaurant in Guangzhou, China. Scientists concluded in the study that the outbreak, which affected ten people from three families, was likely related to droplet transmission associated with air-conditioning within the space, particularly the airflow. The scholars recommended greater spacing between tables and better ventilation. Before I continue, my usual “soap box reminder” to be cautious of “1-study mania” in science. We see media and policymakers latch on to the results of a single study far too often..."

Photo credit: Pete Schenck.

FRIDAY: AM showers, T-storms. Slow PM clearing. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 84

SATURDAY: Plenty of sunshine, best weekend day. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

SUNDAY: Sunny start, few PM T-showers. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 67. High: 84

MONDAY: Still unsettled, few T-storms nearby. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 70. High: 87

TUESDAY: Windy and tropical. Late PM thunder. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 71. High: 88

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, pretty sticky out there. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: near 90

THURSDAY: Few T-storms, locally heavy rain? Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 71. High: 86

Climate Stories...

Why the Arctic is Warming so Fast, and Why That's So Alarming. connects the dots with some of the jaw-dropping events gripping Siberia: "On Saturday, the residents of Verkhoyansk, Russia, marked the first day of summer with 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Not that they could enjoy it, really, as Verkhoyansk is in Siberia, hundreds of miles from the nearest beach. That’s much, much hotter than towns inside the Arctic Circle usually get. That 100 degrees appears to be a record, well above the average June high temperature of 68 degrees. Yet it’s likely the people of Verkhoyansk will see that record broken again in their lifetimes: The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet—if not faster—creating ecological chaos for the plants and animals that populate the north. “The events over the weekend—in the last few weeks, really—with the heatwave in Siberia, all are unprecedented in terms of the magnitude of the extremes in temperature,” says Sophie Wilkinson, a wildfire scientist at McMaster University who studies northern peat fires, which themselves have grown unusually frequent in recent years as temperatures climb..."

Photo credit: "Rapidly thawing permafrost is opening up massive divots in the northern landscape." David Olefeldt, University of Alberta.

The Arctic is On Fire: Siberian Heat Wave Alarms Scientists. AP News has more perspective: "...The record warming in Siberia is a warning sign of major proportions,” Overpeck wrote. Much of Siberia had high temperatures this year that were beyond unseasonably warm. From January through May, the average temperature in north-central Siberia has been about 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, according to the climate science non-profit Berkeley Earth. “That’s much, much warmer than it’s ever been over that region in that period of time,” Berkeley Earth climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said..."

"Carbon Farming" Could Make US Agriculture Truly Green. Here's the intro to a post at (paywall): "On a farm in north-central Indiana, Brent Bible raises 5,000 acres of corn and soybeans that go into producing ethanol fuel, food additives, and seeds. In Napa Valley, California, Kristin Belair picks the best grapes from 50 acres of vineyards to create high-end cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc wines. Both are part of a growing number of “carbon farmers” who are reducing planet-warming greenhouse gases by taking better care of the soil that sustains their farms. That means making changes like plowing fields less often, covering soil with composted mulch and year-round cover crops, and turning drainage ditches into rows of trees. Now Congress is considering legislation that would make these green practices eligible for a growing international carbon-trading marketplace that would also reward farmers with cash..."

Minnesota Files Climate Change Lawsuit Against Oil Companies, Including Koch, Exxon Mobil. Star Tribune has details: "Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday sued ExxonMobil Corp., Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute, saying they have long deceived consumers over the effects of climate change. The lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, includes claims of multiple violations of Minnesota laws, including fraud, deceptive trade practices and false statements in advertising. “The defendants deceived, lied and misrepresented the effects of their product to the public,” Ellison said at a news conference. “For 30 years, [they] made misleading statements about climate change.” The lawsuit seeks restitution for the alleged harms Minnesotans have suffered and also asks the defendants to fund a public-education campaign on climate change..."

Photo credit: ALEX KORMANN/Star Tribune.

4 Lessons from Covid-19 to Help Fight Climate Change. A post at MIT's Sloan School of Management: "...Just as we need a vaccine for COVID-19,  climate change requires urgent solutions that can’t wait a generation. But people are moved to modify behavior based on emotion, not on research. “What the research shows is that just telling people [about] the science doesn’t work. And this has been a problem in the pandemic. You hear scientists telling you what you ought to do, [but] it doesn’t stop people from gathering without masks in close quarters because they don’t get the immediate consequences of that action,” Sterman said. There is similar amnesia regarding climate change. “The presumption . . .  is that the harms from burning carbon today will only show up and hurt our children and our grandchildren. That’s just no longer true,” Sterman said. “Today, we’ve already warmed our climate two degrees Fahrenheit approximately above preindustrial levels,” leading to extreme weather events such as droughts and flooding..."

Image credit: Laura Wentzel.

Seniors at Risk: Heat and Climate Change. Climate Central shared some data I was unaware of: "Heat is the top killer among all types of weather hazards, including hurricanes and tornadoes. But hospitals and health care providers do not always report heat-related illnesses or heat as an underlying cause of a death, making it hard to measure the actual impact of extreme heat on health. An estimated 12,000 Americans die of heat-related causes annually, according to research by scientists at Duke University, a number roughly comparable to annual deaths from gun homicides. The April 2020 study dramatically increased the estimates of current deaths and future deaths, surpassing the 2018 National Climate Assesment’s 2100 projection by a factor of 10. More than 80 percent of those dying from heat-related illnesses are over 60, researchers have found. The baby boomer generation (born between 1946-1964) will be among those immediately hardest hit by climate change, as their vulnerability to extreme heat coincides with rising temperatures..."

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