Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maps Look Like October - 9 of 16 Extreme Weather Events in 2013 Linked to Climate Change

67 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
66 F. average high on September 29.
77 F. high on September 29, 2013.
.07" rain fell Monday at MSP International Airport.

September 30, 1995: Lightning started a house on fire in Washington County.
September 30, 1985: 4 inches of snow fell in Ely, with just a trace at the Twin Cities.

Perspective

It is our God-given right to complain about the weather. It may even be in the founding father's Bill of Rights, but my history is a bit hazy. Don't quote me.

Locals were complaining in 1961 when a coating of snow fell at MSP on September 30. A far cry from 1897, when the mercury soared to 87F on today's date.

Cathy Larson wrote me a note, asking me to start a campaign to stop readers from griping about the weather. She has a chronic illness and would gladly endure another Polar Vortex if she was healthy again. "Being aware of the weather is important, but people complaining that it's too hot or too cold - really??" she said.

Cathy has a very good point, and I'll be drafting a bill for the legislature, right after my rodeo career fades. Stop whining about the weather?

Not. Likely.

The approach of a reinforcing cool front sparks showers tonight & Wednesday; a rumble of thunder is possible with slower commute times tomorrow. By Friday it'll feel like early November: raw and windy with showers for evening football games. Take a heavy jacket.

We may avoid a frost next weekend; 40s to low 50s with ragged clouds for the Twin Cities Marathon.

A bit chilly, yes, but I'm not complaining.

Looks Like October. Enjoy low 60s, because by Friday it may feel more like early November than early October with temperatures stuck in the 40s, a raw wind and PM showers that will make evening football anything but pleasant. The best chance of rain comes tonight and Wednesday - long range guidance hinting at a few 60s returning next week. That may be it for the 80s, although I suspect a good chance of a few more days above 70F later in October. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Second Surge. A reinforcing cool frontal passage arrives with more showers from the Dakotas tonight and Wednesday; the atmosphere aloft marginally unstable enough for a few thunderclaps at no extra charge. We dry out Thursday before a stronger push of cold air arrives on Friday. By the end of the week there will be no doubt in your mind that it's October. 4 KM NAM accumulated rain map: NOAA and HAMweather.

Shifting Gears. With a sun angle as high in the sky as it was in mid-March coupled with longer nights brewing up colder air over Canada, it's little surprise that cold fronts are venturing farther south, whipping up a band of showers stretching from the Plains into the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes over the next 36 hours. The west coast stays mainly dry; storms capable of flash flooding for portions of the southeast.

Flash Flood Potential. Our in-house Alerts Broadcaster model guidance show a risk of some 5-6" rains from near Miami to Orlando, westward to Baton Rouge over the next 48 hours.

70 Years Ago Hurricane Hunters Got Their Start In The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. You have to wonder how that first conversation went. "Hey, we could FLY into hurricanes to learn more about them!" Was this guy promoted or institutionalized? Here's an excerpt of a good recap of how far we've come from Jack Williams at Capital Weather Gang: "Seventy years ago, four U.S. Army Air Forces crews made seven flights into the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, proving the value of direct reports from inside tropical cyclones for forecasting purposes. Since then, air crews who have flown into hurricanes continue to help the National Hurricane Center make better, life-saving forecasts. Even with our advanced satellites and computer models, National Hurricane Center forecasters consider the information collected by airplanes flying directly through hurricanes invaluable for predictions..."

Photo credit above: "The Air Force flies WC-130 planes to study active hurricanes." (NOAA)


Offshore Wind Turbines Could Tame Hurricanes. I'm a little skeptical about this idea, especially for larger hurricanes, since hurricanes get their strength from warm ocean water - not sure what a necklace of wind turbines will do to change that dynamic. Here's a clip from The Wall Street Journal: "Could an armada of giant windmills reduce damage from the next big hurricane? A study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of Delaware suggests that U.S. coastal cities could be spared by installing tens of thousands of gigantic wind turbines offshore in arrays up to 20 miles long. The scientists say the turbines, as high as a football field is long, would suck much of the energy out of storms and pay for themselves with the clean electrical power they produce..." (Hurricane Sandy file image: NASA).

MIT's New Cement Recipe Could Cut Carbon Emissions By More Than Half. Gizmag has the scoop - here's the introduction: "As one of our most relied upon construction materials, concrete makes a significant contribution to our overall carbon emissions. Calcium-based substances are heated at high temperatures to form the cement, a process that produces carbon dioxide. But by slightly altering the quantities of materials used, scientists from MIT have uncovered a new method of concrete mixing that could reduce these emissions by more than half..."

At CIA Starbucks Even The Baristas Are Covert. This one was just too good to pass up, courtesy of The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...The baristas go through rigorous interviews and background checks and need to be escorted by agency “minders” to leave their work area. There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents..."

Pepperoni Pizza Cake? It comes with a heart surgeon on the side. That said, maybe I need to sample it at least once, just to make sure I don't like it. Buzzfeed has the details.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Abbey Road". Ultimateclassicrock.com has the details, including how the title got its name because the Beatles were feeling lazy at the time; here's a clip: "...The album's working title was "Everest", an inside joke about the brand of cigarettes smoked by engineer Geoff Emerick. They had intended to shoot the cover photo at Mount Everest, but none of them wanted to make the long journey. Instead, McCartney suggested naming it after the street on which EMI Studios was located. That meant they could photograph themselves in the nearest crosswalk, which took about 30 minutes total..."
The album's working title was 'Everest,' an inside joke about the brand of cigarettes smoked by engineer Geoff Emerick. They had intended to shoot the cover photo at Mount Everest, but none of them wanted to make the long journey. Instead, McCartney suggested naming it after the street on which EMI Studios was located. That meant they could photograph themselves in the nearest crosswalk, which took about 30 minutes total.

Read More: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'Abbey Road' | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/abbey-road-facts/?trackback=fbshare&trackback=tsmclip

Band Names for Aging Rockers. Thanks to Dave Pell and Medium for brightening an otherwise blah day.


TODAY: Fading sun, late PM showers. Winds: E 10-15. High: 63
TUESDAY NIGHT: Showers likely. Low: 57
WEDNESDAY: Unsettled with showers, few T-showers. High: 62
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, drying out. Wake-up: 56. High: 67
FRIDAY: Windy & raw. PM showers likely. Wake-up: 47. High: 51 (chill factor dipping into the 30s)
SATURDAY: Slight frost risk early. Chilled sunshine. Wake-up: 38. High: 57
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and brisk. Wake-up: 45. High: 62
MONDAY: Plenty of sun, less wind. Wake-up: 43. High: 59


Climate Stories...

Scientists See Climate Change Behind Incidents of Wild Weather. Here's the introduction to a story from CBS News: "Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on more than half of them. Researchers found that climate change increased the odds of nine extremes: Heat waves in Australia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, intense rain in parts of the United States and India, and severe droughts in California and New Zealand. Scientists couldn't find a global warming link to an early South Dakota blizzard, freak storms in Germany and the Pyrenees, heavy rain in Colorado, southern and central Europe, and a cold British spring..."

Photo credit above: "The Hindu holy town of Kedarnath, India is seen from a helicopter after severe flooding in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013. Torrential monsoon rains caused havoc in northern India leading to flash floods and landslides." Source: AP.

Source Of The Sizzle: Climate Change Fueled Heat Waves. Following up on the NOAA report referenced above; here's an excerpt of a slightly different perspective from USA TODAY: "...Extreme events are often complex and influenced by multiple factors, said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and report co-author at a press briefing on Monday. Natural variability is always part of any weather and climate extreme, and pinpointing the human influence for an event is not always found in these studies, he said. "It's a granted that climate change is influencing all manner of weather," according to NOAA research meteorologist Martin Hoerling. "This report looks not if climate change influenced weather, but how it did – trying to quantify the influence," Hoerling said at the press briefing..."

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From A Climate Perspective. A recent NOAA NCDC report suggests that climate change acted as an accelerant, making some extreme events (that would have happened anyway) even more extreme, especially heat waves. Credit: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Global Warming: There's No "Planet B". Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Star Tribune Editorial Board: "...Already, the real momentum is coming from local political leaders, enlightened corporate executives and, frankly, people in the streets. Among the states, Minnesota has emerged as a leader thanks to the foresight of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others who, in 2007, committed the state to a timetable for reducing emissions. California and several northeastern states have gone further by forging cap-and-trade agreements that raise the cost of polluting. Meanwhile, the Rockefellers, a family that amassed a mega-fortune on oil, have joined a movement to disinvest in fossil fuels. And the Norwegian petroleum giant Statoil has courageously embraced the idea of a global carbon tax..."

Is Global Warming Really Paused? Here's a clip from a story at Decoded Science: "...Based on the most recent work, it appears that the oceans are a more likely explanation for the pause than aerosols, since the amount of missing heat is too large to be explained by a decrease in incoming solar radiation alone. It is more likely that the ocean is storing the bulk of the excess heat, since water has a much greater capacity to store heat than the air. Although there is agreement (for the most part) among atmospheric scientists that the ocean is responsible for the global warming pause, there is disagreement as to whether the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean plays a greater role. In early August, research was published that pointed to a trade wind anomaly in the Pacific Ocean as the cause of suppressed atmospheric warming..."

Image credit above: "Is global warming really paused?" Image courtesy of Lesserland, modified by Elizabeth Klusinske.

Floods, Forest Fires, Expanding Deserts: The Future Has Arrived. We've gone from theory to reality, according to this article at The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "...Perhaps most alarming of all the forecasts that concern the future warming of our planet is the work of Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii. His research – which involved using a range of climate models to predict temperatures on a grid that covered the globe – suggests that by 2047 the planet's climate systems will have changed to such an extent that the coldest years then will be warmer than even the hottest years that were experienced at any time in the 20th century. "Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced," Mora said in an interview with the New York Times recently. "What we are saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm..."

How Melty Was The Arctic Sea Ice This Year? It looks like the 6th greatest loss of polar ice. Science writer Greg Laden puts things into perspective at scienceblogs.com: "...Looking at JUST surface area, which is one indicator of how warm the Arctic has become with Global Warming, we can see (above) that this years march of melting has been extreme, hugging the two standard deviation limit for all of the data from 1979 to 2010 (almost the present). Here you can see that 2014 is distinctly different, with much more surface area loss, than the first ten years of this data set, from here..."

How Big Business Can Help Fight Climate Change. When going green puts more green back into consumer and company pockets - and we're pretty much there, as Bob McDonald at CBC News explains; here's an excerpt: "...For decades, the business community has known that going green usually makes money. It’s already been demonstrated at the simplest level, with examples such as hotels that have installed low-flush toilets and efficient shower heads, and then recouped those costs through savings in a very short time. The same is true for investments in better building design and more public transit. The changes were not just to save energy and reduce emissions; it was because it made good business sense..."

Climate Change Threat: As Global Leaders Stall, Cities Move To Cut Emissions, Boost Efficiency. Here's the intro to a story at International Business Times: "In the face of global and federal paralysis on climate-change policy, local officials in the U.S. are already moving to cut their cities’ emissions and make their infrastructures less vulnerable to environmental threats. In Dubuque, Iowa, municipal leaders are rolling out data technology to help residents use less water and electricity. In Philadelphia, city experts are restoring watersheds and planting gardens to soak up the residue of heavier rains and rising sea levels, both effects related to global warming. However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg..."

ADVERTISEMENT
However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.
Climate Change Linked To Spread of Lyme Disease. Here's an excerpt from EcoWatch: "As if we needed another reason to deplore the impacts of climate change, its warming effects are encouraging the northward spread of Lyme disease, carried by the black-legged tick which rides on deer, rodents and dogs, the Daily Climate reports. While common in the U.S., it was rare in Canada until recently. Because of that, Canadians eventually diagnosed with the disease were delayed in getting appropriate treatment..."

Image credit above: "The range of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is expanding north due to the warming effects of climate change." Photo credit: Shutterstock.

U.S. and Climate Change: Here Are The Top 10 Greenest Cities in America. No sign of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester or Duluth yet, at least according to this analysis from International Business Times; here's an excerpt: "... The number of so-called LEED-certified buildings (i.e., structures designed with minimal nonrenewable energy use and reduced water consumption) is also a good gauge of a city’s ecological consciousness. Cities with high proportions of green space also get two (green) thumbs up. Based on these and other criteria, below are the 10 greenest cities in the U.S., in no particular order:

1. San Francisco. The city’s curbside compost pickup program is just one of its many eco-friendly features. It was also the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags.
2. Chicago. Chicago has more green roofs (i.e., roofs partially or completely covered in vegetation) than does any other city in the U.S. Green roofs help cut the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool a building, while also improving air quality..."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An Inevitable Temperature Correction - Metro Frost Potential by Sunday Morning

82 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
66 F. average high on September 28.
72 F. high on September 28, 2013.

September 28, 1876: Cold day over the region with a high of 45 in the Twin Cities (normally the high should be 65 there this time of year).


Best Investment

“Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual” said Socrates. He was right.

I can't recall yesterday but I vividly remember a flight 30 years ago, sitting next to an investment banker. I asked the obvious inane question. "What's the best investment?" He thought about it and surprised me with his answer. "Go back to school. Get an advanced degree. The extra money you earn during your career will far eclipse any returns from stocks, bonds or real estate."

I've earned a crude MBA the hard way, by starting up 4 companies, but I wish I'd taken his advice. That said, there's only so much you can learn from a book or lecture. Memorization only goes so far. Trial and error is a much better teacher.

The bubble has burst on our late September weather-honeymoon. Keep in mind the sun is as high in the sky as it was in mid-March, longer nights emboldening cooler fronts to probe farther south.

A family of fronts spark sprinkles today; heavier showers late Tuesday & Wednesday. We slide into a cooler, wetter pattern as we sail into October; jackets by late week, a risk of frost in the immediate metro Sunday morning.

It looks like 40s and low 50s for the Twin Cities Marathon.

As Inevitable as Gravity. We knew 80s couldn't spill on indefinitely, but it sure was nice while it lasted. Temperatures drop through the 60s today; 50-degree highs predicted by the end of the week with a slight frost risk by Sunday morning. The best chance of rain comes late Tuesday into Wednesday, a few PM showers possible Friday afternoon before drying out next weekend.


Temperature Correction. From July to October in the span of 36 hours? High-resolution NAM guidance from NOAA shows chilly air pushing south, sparking clouds and a few sprinkles today as temperatures fall through the 60s. 2-meter 60-hour temperature animation: HAMweather.


Canadian Infiltration. As jet stream winds buckle much colder air will plow southward; the main thrust of chilliness coming behind a sloppy frontal passage on Wednesday. Time to migrate from shorts back to jackets, but I still think we'll see a few more 70s before the flakes start to fly.

60-Hour Accumulated Rainfall Potential. The approach of colder air sets off a smear of heavy rain over the Rockies; another bulls-eye of heavy rain from southern Georgia into the Florida Panhandle where 4-6" rains may spark flash flooding. 4 KM NAM guidance: NOAA and HAMweather.

Solar Energy: A Sunflower Solution to Electricity Shortage. An IBM innovation that not only taps the free power of the sun, but also desalinates water for drinking and sanitation? The Guardian has details; here's a clip: "Computer giant IBM last week revealed the prototype of its advanced solar electricity generators: a 30ft-high concrete “sunflower” fitted with wafer-thin aluminium mirrors and a maze of tiny tubes for carrying coolant through the heart of each device. The machines, which will be built in conjunction with the Swiss company Airlight Energy, can convert 80% of the sun’s radiation into electricity and hot water, it is claimed, with each generating 12 kilowatts of electricity and 20kW of heat on a sunny day, enough to supply several homes..."

Image credit above: ‘Game changer’: IBM and Airlight Energy’s 30ft concrete ‘sunflower’ was inspired by the branched blood supply of the human body."




MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler. Sprinkles. Winds: NE 10. High: 61
MONDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, chilly. Low: 48
TUESDAY: Fleeting sun. Late showers likely. High: 65
WEDNESDAY: Showers, stray T-storm or two. Wake-up: 59. High: 68
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like October. Wake-up: 56. High: 64
FRIDAY: Gray and raw. Few PM showers. Wake-up: 45. High: 52
SATURDAY: Partly sunny and jacket-worthy. Wake-up: 40. High: 50
SUNDAY: Early frost? Clouds, stray sprinkle. Wake-up: 35. High: 57


Climate Stories...

Floods, Forest Fires, Expanding Deserts: The Future Has Arrived. We've gone from theory to reality, according to this article at The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "...Perhaps most alarming of all the forecasts that concern the future warming of our planet is the work of Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii. His research – which involved using a range of climate models to predict temperatures on a grid that covered the globe – suggests that by 2047 the planet's climate systems will have changed to such an extent that the coldest years then will be warmer than even the hottest years that were experienced at any time in the 20th century. "Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced," Mora said in an interview with the New York Times recently. "What we are saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm..."

How Melty Was The Arctic Sea Ice This Year? It looks like the 6th greatest loss of polar ice. Science writer Greg Laden puts things into perspective at scienceblogs.com: "...Looking at JUST surface area, which is one indicator of how warm the Arctic has become with Global Warming, we can see (above) that this years march of melting has been extreme, hugging the two standard deviation limit for all of the data from 1979 to 2010 (almost the present). Here you can see that 2014 is distinctly different, with much more surface area loss, than the first ten years of this data set, from here..."

How Big Business Can Help Fight Climate Change. When going green puts more green back into consumer and company pockets - and we're pretty much there, as Bob McDonald at CBC News explains; here's an excerpt: "...For decades, the business community has known that going green usually makes money. It’s already been demonstrated at the simplest level, with examples such as hotels that have installed low-flush toilets and efficient shower heads, and then recouped those costs through savings in a very short time. The same is true for investments in better building design and more public transit. The changes were not just to save energy and reduce emissions; it was because it made good business sense..."

Climate Change Threat: As Global Leaders Stall, Cities Move To Cut Emissions, Boost Efficiency. Here's the intro to a story at International Business Times: "In the face of global and federal paralysis on climate-change policy, local officials in the U.S. are already moving to cut their cities’ emissions and make their infrastructures less vulnerable to environmental threats. In Dubuque, Iowa, municipal leaders are rolling out data technology to help residents use less water and electricity. In Philadelphia, city experts are restoring watersheds and planting gardens to soak up the residue of heavier rains and rising sea levels, both effects related to global warming. However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg..."

ADVERTISEMENT
However, few cities are doing more to confront climate change than New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio appears keen to build on the environmental agenda of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.
Climate Change Linked To Spread of Lyme Disease. Here's an excerpt from EcoWatch: "As if we needed another reason to deplore the impacts of climate change, its warming effects are encouraging the northward spread of Lyme disease, carried by the black-legged tick which rides on deer, rodents and dogs, the Daily Climate reports. While common in the U.S., it was rare in Canada until recently. Because of that, Canadians eventually diagnosed with the disease were delayed in getting appropriate treatment..."

Image credit above: "The range of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is expanding north due to the warming effects of climate change." Photo credit: Shutterstock.

U.S. and Climate Change: Here Are The Top 10 Greenest Cities in America. No sign of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester or Duluth yet, at least according to this analysis from International Business Times; here's an excerpt: "... The number of so-called LEED-certified buildings (i.e., structures designed with minimal nonrenewable energy use and reduced water consumption) is also a good gauge of a city’s ecological consciousness. Cities with high proportions of green space also get two (green) thumbs up. Based on these and other criteria, below are the 10 greenest cities in the U.S., in no particular order:

1. San Francisco. The city’s curbside compost pickup program is just one of its many eco-friendly features. It was also the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags.
2. Chicago. Chicago has more green roofs (i.e., roofs partially or completely covered in vegetation) than does any other city in the U.S. Green roofs help cut the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool a building, while also improving air quality..."

The Natural Gas Boom Could Accelerate Climate Change. That is, if methane leakage around wells isn't adequately addressed in a rush for profits. Here's a snippet that made me do a double-take from FiveThirtyEightScience: "...Policymakers have hailed this revolution as beneficial in the fight against climate change, but natural gas does have a dark side: It is composed primarily of methane, which has a much stronger climate-warming effect than carbon dioxide. Unburned methane that leaks into the air from anywhere in our natural gas infrastructure has a potent climate-warming effect, and global methane levels have been steadily increasing since 2007. The only way to know whether switching to natural gas will worsen climate warming, rather than lessen it, is to accurately assess the scale of methane leakage..."

10 Fact Checks About Climate Change. PolitiFact has the analysis - here's an excerpt: "...U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse delivers regular Senate speeches about the dangers of climate change and authors commentary on the topic. In May, he argued that addressing climate change makes economic sense, adding, "There are already more American jobs in the solar industry than in coal mining." PolitiFact Rhode Island found that the most recent data from three objective sources support his claim. We rated his statement True."

Opinion: A $65 Trillion Global Warming Gamble in a $75 Trillion GDP World. Marketwatch has the Op-Ed; here's a clip: "...One final observation on the world’s new love of free-market capitalism and its blind obsession with economic growth at all costs: BusinessWeek quoted David Owen from his “The Conundrum”: “As long as the West places high and unquestioning value on economic growth and consumer gratification — with China and the rest of the developing world right behind — we will continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions trap heat in the atmosphere.” Unable to stop. And eventually the addiction to ‘growth at all costs’ will itself destroy the planet’s collective conscience ... because history keeps repeating... until there is nothing left to repeat."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

August Daydream Today - October Reality Check Later This Week

83 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
88 F. record high on September 27 (1987).
67 F. average high on September 27.
86 F. high on September 27, 2013.

1983: Late summer with 91 degrees at Montevideo and 90 degrees at Elbow Lake.
1895: "Furious wind" at Pleasant Mound in Blue Earth County blew down grain stacks and corn shocks.


Window Seat

Grown-ups have an innate ability to make a hot mess of the world. What transforms you into a wide-eyed, wonder-filled kid again? Fishing with dad? Wandering the State Fair? Christmas morning?

For me one antidote to stress is staring out the window at 39,000 feet, munching on peanuts, problems and stresses shrinking into a storybook landscape below. I'm most at peace when I'm IN the weather, not tracking it from below. Being a pilot might have been a smart career choice - funny how my youngest son inherited that itch.

FAA data confirms that summer T-storms are more disruptive than fog or winter snow & ice, especially at small airports in the south. If you're a pilot (or farmer/gardener) a healthy respect for the weather isn't optional. Your job depends on it.

Today: the last day of atmospheric magic - highs near 80F as showers spread into far northern Minnesota. Canadian air dribbles into town Monday; the best chance of rain comes late Wednesday into Thursday. It'll feel like October by late week - a slight risk of frost next weekend; close to average for the immediate MSP metro area.

In an increasingly weather-on-steroids world I'd love to track some "average weather".

Sunday Weather Map. A bloated (August-like) bubble of high pressure centered over the Plains hangs on one more day with enough subsidence aloft for highs near 80F once again; the last day of our summerlike fling. Cooler air pushes south tonight; Monday should be 15-20F cooler with highs stuck in the 60s. The chance of rain increases by midweek. 18z Sunday weather map prediction: NCAR.

Summerlike Kink in the Jet Stream. Here are the winds at 500mb, about 18,000 feet aloft, valid yesterday morning, showing a deep low pressure system pushing into California, pushing a ridge with unnatural warmth into the Upper Midwest, responsible for temperatures 15-20F above average. A pattern that favors troughs and rain for the west coast would tend to favor a milder pattern for Minnesota into autumn and winter. We'll see. If the ridge becomes stalled over the Pacific Coast the potential for deep intrusions of bitter air east of the Rockies increases. Map: GrADS: COLA/IGES.


Rocky Mountain Soaking. A deep trough of low pressure, a cold wrinkle of air aloft, sparks soaking rains from central Arizona north to Montana over the next 60 hours. Heavy T-storms sprout from the Gulf Coast to Florida; dry and pleasantly warm weather lingers from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. 4 KM NAM accumulated precipitation loop: NOAA and HAMweather.

Minor Reality Check. One more day of summer bliss, followed by a cooling trend this week; a midweek ripple of low pressure capable of more significant rain late Tuesday into Thursday; then clearing next weekend. European model runs keep flip-flopping between 50s and 60s next weekend - the latest run trending a bit milder for next weekend, especially Sunday. The potential for a metro-wide frost Sunday morning has diminished slightly. Source: Weatherspark.

Super-Sized Autumn? I wouldn't bet the farm on (any) long range forecast, but GFS guidance shows consistent 60s, even a few 70s into the second week of October. An omen of a milder winter to come? I wouldn't read too much into a 1-2 week trend, but I still believe the odds of two (30-year) winters, back to back, are small. We'll see snow and cold but everything I'm looking at suggests a slightly more tolerable winter to come.


Ask Paul. Weather-related questions, comments and rants:

"Love your column. Any early predictions for weather for Twin Cities Marathon Oct 5th? ? ? Possible stocking caps and gloves the whole 26.2 miles? Wind on our back? (that would be great)."
- Sharon Hanson

Thanks Sharon - I appreciate your loyalty very much. Right now the early word for next Sunday morning, October 5 is bright sun, a light breeze and temperatures rising from the upper 30s at 7 AM to 50s by late morning, so not nearly as warm and sticky as recent days. Not sure about the wind at your back but I'll kick the Doppler and try to make it happen. Good luck.

September: Big Moisture Variations. It's been a strange month for rainfall, trending drier than average for much of Minnesota, but much wetter over parts of northern and western Minnesota. Here's an excerpt from this week's edition of WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "Just like the August rainfall pattern, September has been mostly drier than normal across the state, but intense thunderstorms have brought well above normal rainfall to some areas of the state. In the northern counties Hawley (3.08"), Lake Winnibigoshish (3.28"), Thorhult (3.42"), and Tofte (4.23") have all reported well above normal rainfall for the month. In western counties a number of observers have reported over 4 inches for the month including Pelican Rapids, New York Mills, and Slayton. Lamberton has reported their 2nd wettest month of the year with 5.70 inches..."

A Fried Chicken iPhone Case? Why not, although I fear I'd be nibbling away at my protective case as the munchies set in. Thank KFC for this advancement in technology; details from cnet.com: "Some of the most unusual and amusing digital accessories in the world are coming from the Japanese arm of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The fast-food chain already unveiled a fried-chicken keyboard, computer mouse and USB drive as part of a Twitter promotion and giveaway. KFC Japan looked upon its mighty works and said, "Yes, this is good, but we can do better." And then it introduced a fried-chicken iPhone case...."



TODAY: Early patches of fog, then warm sunshine, August-like. Winds: S 10. High: 81
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, showers possible, mainly north of MSP. Low: 59
MONDAY: More clouds, cooling down. High: 65
TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, breezy. Wake-up: 51. High: 68
WEDNESDAY: Rain develops late, thunder rumbles. Wake-up: 54. High: near 70
THURSDAY: Soggy. Showers linger. Wake-up: 57. High: 69
FRIDAY: Cold wind, showers linger. Wake-up: 51. High: 58
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like October. Wake-up: 43. High: 57


Climate Stories...

The Natural Gas Boom Could Accelerate Climate Change. That is, if methane leakage around wells isn't adequately addressed in a rush for profits. Here's a snippet that made me do a double-take from FiveThirtyEightScience: "...Policymakers have hailed this revolution as beneficial in the fight against climate change, but natural gas does have a dark side: It is composed primarily of methane, which has a much stronger climate-warming effect than carbon dioxide. Unburned methane that leaks into the air from anywhere in our natural gas infrastructure has a potent climate-warming effect, and global methane levels have been steadily increasing since 2007. The only way to know whether switching to natural gas will worsen climate warming, rather than lessen it, is to accurately assess the scale of methane leakage..."

10 Fact Checks About Climate Change. PolitiFact has the analysis - here's an excerpt: "...U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse delivers regular Senate speeches about the dangers of climate change and authors commentary on the topic. In May, he argued that addressing climate change makes economic sense, adding, "There are already more American jobs in the solar industry than in coal mining." PolitiFact Rhode Island found that the most recent data from three objective sources support his claim. We rated his statement True."

Opinion: A $65 Trillion Global Warming Gamble in a $75 Trillion GDP World. Marketwatch has the Op-Ed; here's a clip: "...One final observation on the world’s new love of free-market capitalism and its blind obsession with economic growth at all costs: BusinessWeek quoted David Owen from his “The Conundrum”: “As long as the West places high and unquestioning value on economic growth and consumer gratification — with China and the rest of the developing world right behind — we will continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions trap heat in the atmosphere.” Unable to stop. And eventually the addiction to ‘growth at all costs’ will itself destroy the planet’s collective conscience ... because history keeps repeating... until there is nothing left to repeat."

Why The Political Winds are Shifting on Climate Change. The Globe and Mail has the article - here's a clip: "...First, climate change is imposing real costs on economies now. While the competitiveness neurosis of imposing carbon costs on industry remains, there is a stark realization that climate induced damages are impeding economic growth and risking human health. This is as true for small island states facing sea-level rise, for African countries experiencing drought and in North America, where more frequent and intense storms are wreaking havoc. Second, GHG mitigation costs are not what we thought, while innovation is creating market opportunities..."

Inside the Koch Brother's Toxic Empire. Rolling Stone has an eye-opening story; here's an excerpt: "...The volume of Koch Industries' toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America's air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation's waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined..."

Illustration credit: Victor Juhasz.

Graphic: A Farmer's Guide to Global Warming - Go North. Bloomberg has the infographic and story; here's an excerpt: "Land in Canada, China, and Russia that cannot be farmed now may become suitable for agriculture as warmer climes creep north over the next 90 years, according to a new study from Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University. The developing world is projected to lose the most, as 2.6 million square miles of usable land become too dry or hot to farm."

Map credit above: Bloomberg Businessweek.

Study Finds Global Sea Levels Rose Up To Five Meters Per Century At The End of The Last Five Ice Age Cycle. Yes, the climate has changed before, but never at the rate we're now witnessing. Here's an excerpt of a story at phys.org: "Land-ice decay at the end of the last five ice ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 meters per century, according to a new study. An international team of researchers developed a 500,000-year record of sea-level variability, to provide the first account of how quickly sea-level changed during the last five ice age cycles...."

Photo credit above: Tiago Fioreze/Wikipedia.