Monday, May 2, 2016

Intense Case of Spring Fever This Week - Will Middle East & Africa be Unlivable by Mid-Century?

67 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday under a flawless sky.
65 F. average high on May 2.
80 F. high temperature on May 2, 2015.

May 3, 1905: A 'mixed bag of weather' occurs in Minnesota. Western Minnesota is pelted with hail, while snow falls over the Arrowhead.


Enjoying a Supernaturally Quiet Spring - 80 Degrees by Friday

The older I get the less I take for granted. Like a supernaturally quiet spring in Minnesota. Cue the lightning and EF-5 tornado.

Think about it: we could be tracking tornadoes, swollen rivers or even blizzards in early May. On this date just 3 years ago shell-shocked residents of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota were digging out from 18 inches of snow. Meanwhile today's record high at MSP is 93F, set in 1949. It's still amazing (to me) that the same geography can have such wild swings from year to year.

El Nino has faded but its symptoms limp on; the wettest storms tracking south of Minnesota, sparking flooding rains along the Gulf coast.

A couple of tornadoes and funnels were spotted over southern Minnesota on April 24, but there have been no reports of wind damage or large hail. I'm not complaining.

Wisconsin stands the best chance of a late-day shower Tuesday; low 70s before a brief cool-down Wednesday. We warm into the low 80s on Friday before a gradual weekend cooling trend. Heavier, widespread rains are possible early next week.

Until then I'll be twiddling my thumbs, the Doppler unplugged. Which could be interpreted as very good news.

Breaking News: PM Shower Risk/Opportunity. If it rains it may be just enough to settle the dust. NAM's 4 KM (WRF) run shows a line of showers sprouting close to the metro later today, but the heaviest, most widespread rains fall across Wisconsin. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: AerisWeather.

Precious Little Will Get Done on Friday. Temperatures approach or just top 70F today, again Thursday, but Friday looks like the best day to take the shorts and T-shirts for a test-drive. Winds are forecast to swing around to the north Saturday as temperatures fall through the 60s - Sunday looks like the nicer day of the weekend right now. Meteogram: WeatherSpark.

Safe To Plant Annuals? The old adage is "wait until Mother's Day to plant tender vegetables and flowers", which seems like a pretty good rule of thumb to me. GFS guidance hints at mid-30s Thursday morning of next week in the suburbs. I think another light frost is unlikely for the immediate metro, but greater Minnesota? 1 in 3 shot - I wouldn't rule it out entirely. Source: Aeris Enterprise.


June Forecast to Trend (Slightly) Warmer Than Average. The map above is the latest CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) outlook for June temperature anomalies, courtesy of NOAA CPC. Minnesota temperatures are forecast to run 1-3F warmer than long-term averages, the most extreme temperature anomalies forecast for far northern Canada, continuing a trend we've been tracking for many months. Map: WeatherBell.


IRI ENSO Forecast. Models show a rapid transition from El Nino warm phase to a (weak) La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific in the months to come. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society: "...The first plot (above) shows the ensemble mean predictions of each of the individual models, and also the average of the individual model predictions (the NMME). Here, the NMME average is not weighted by the number of ensemble members in the individual models. This plot is intended to provide some idea of the disagreement among the individual models. Corrections for systematic biases are not done. Predictions of ENSO are probabilistic. The ensemble mean prediction it is only a best single guess. On either side of that prediction, there is a substantial uncertainty distribution, or error tolerance..."


The Awe-Inspiring Growth of the U.S. Solar Industry. A few very interesting and encouraging statistical nuggets in a Huffington Post story; here's an excerpt: "...Solar’s costs have come down to the point that we regularly see contracts for utility-scale solar power under 5 cents per kilowatt-hour – making solar, in many cases, a cost-competitive option for utilities. Last year our country added more solar than new natural gas capacity for the first time ever – and you can bet it won’t be the last. In fact, there have been times this year when California, one of the world’s largest economies, has gotten third of its power from the sun. It hasn’t always been sunny on the road to a million solar installations. Although there is sustained double-digit market and job growth, there have also been naysayers, big-moneyed opposition, nasty electoral politics, and stumbles from an industry in its early stages..." (Image credit: Solar City).

Selling Bottled Water That's Better for the Planet. Here's an excerpt of an interesting read at The New York Times: "...As Ms. Jeon sees it, she is making the best of a bad situation. The paper used for her bottles is sourced from trees that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The bottles, which are fully recyclable, are made of 53 percent paper; the rest of the bottle is made of plastic and a small amount of aluminum. Last month, Just Water released a new bottle with the top portion made of plant-based plastic derived from sugar cane. All told, she said, her product is less harmful to the environment and creates fewer carbon emissions than energy-intensive plastic..."

Photo credit above: "Just Water’s bottle is made of 53 percent paper, sourced from trees that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The rest is plant-based plastic, along with a small amount of aluminum." Credit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times.

A Visual Guide to 11 of the World's Most Baffling Theme Parks. Like Wunderland Kalkar, in Kalkar, Germany, where you can climb to the top of an old nuclear power plant cooling tower for fun, as described at Atlas Obscura: "...Theme: A repurposed nuclear power plant. The giant tower in the middle of this German theme park doesn't just look like a nuclear cooling tower, it used to be one. The park was built on the site of an old nuclear plant in the 1990s. The cooling tower has a swing ride inside of it and a climbing wall built onto the outside..."

Photo credit: "Maybe the only place where climbing to the top of a nuclear silo is recommended." (Photo: Koetjuh/Public Domain).

It's Official: We've Run Out of News. I don't mean to pick on Lester Holt, who I watch nightly on KARE-11. He does a terrific job, in my humble opinion. Then again I'm biased, having worked with Lester in Chicago, where I found him to be a gifted reporter, a tenacious communicator, and a good guy. The kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with. Or maybe a skinny, decaf iced-latte. But really? Zika virus, ISIS, Syrian refugees, Ted Cruz and...too much ice? Yes, the public has a right to know. But Lester, you have our permission to head to the nearest Starbucks and waterboard the executive producer of your nightly newscast with a Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato.



TODAY: Sunny start, PM shower or T-shower possible. Winds: W 15-25. High: 71

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cooler. Low: 44

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and cooler, fresh breeze. Winds: N 10-20. High: 63

THURSDAY: Plenty of sun, turning milder. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: near 70

FRIDAY: Weekend starts early. Warm sunshine. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 52. High: 82

SATURDAY: Passing shower, cooler breeze. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 69

SUNDAY: More sun, the drier, nicer day of the weekend. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 51. High: near 70

MONDAY: Showers return, chance of thunder.  Wake-up: 53. High: 67


Climate Stories...

Scientists Find More Reasons that Greenland Will Melt Faster. Tipping points and "unknown unknowns". Here's a clip from a Chris Mooney story at The Washington Post: "...The more we learn about this crucial yet inscrutable place, the more worrying it seems. The latest exhibit: New research out of Greenland conducted by Dartmouth earth sciences Ph.D. student Kristin Schild and two university colleagues — work that has just been published in the Annals of Glaciology. The study examined the 5.5-kilometer-wide Rink Glacier of West Greenland, with particular focus on how meltwater on the ice sheet’s surface actually finds its way underneath Rink, pours out in the key undersea area described above and speeds up the glacier’s melt..."

Photo credit above: "Photograph of Torsukatat Avannarleq, a tidewater glacier in West Greenland, with 2 visible sediment plumes at its terminus. These plumes are made up of glacier meltwater that has traveled under the glacier, gathering eroded material, and buoyantly floated to the surface after entering the ocean." This photograph was taken in July 2014 by Adam LeWinter, US Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.


Arctic Sea Ice Monitoring Satellites Are Dying: Here's Why You Should Care. Here's an excerpt of an explanation from Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "...Sea ice affects the large scale global ocean circulation patterns as well as weather patterns. Professor Tom Mote is a hydroclimatologist and head of the Geography Department at the University of Georgia. He studies Greenland and other cryospheric processes. He says,
The long-term record of sea ice, in particular, is important to our understanding of the Arctic. Reductions in sea ice amplify warming in the Arctic by increasing the absorption of sunlight (i.e., the ice-albedo feedback). Some scientists believe that a warmer Arctic may change the path of the jet stream, altering weather over further south, including the U.S. (See this paper for a summary of the literature).
Climate models have been conservative with sea ice decline. They have underestimated the amount of change in many cases..."

Graphic credit above: "Actual decline vs model projections." Source: NCA2014.globalchange.gov

Interior Chief: "We Will Have Climate Refugees". People have already been forced off their land by rising seas in coastal Louisiana and Alaska - this may just be the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg. Here's the intro to a story at TheHill: "Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is warning that, regardless of governments’ work to combat climate change, the United States and other countries will have to deal with populations displaced by its effects. “We can stem the increase in temperature. We can stem some of the effects, perhaps, if we act on climate as we are committed to do through the Paris accords,” Jewell said in Ottawa on Thursday, the Canadian Press reports. “But the changes are underway and they are very rapid. We will have climate refugees...” (File photo: Andrew Demp, Yale).

Researchers Aim To Put Carbon Dioxide Back to Work. Will someone figure out cost-effective, scalable carbon sequestration? I wouldn't bet against it. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it? At laboratories around the world, researchers are working on ways to do just that. The X Prize Foundation has created an incentive, a $20 million prize for teams that by 2020 come up with technologies to turn CO2 captured from smokestacks of coal- or gas-fired power plants into useful products..."


Impact of Warming on Middle East and Northern Africa Could be Devastating. The Daily Mail has an article highlighting new research and projections that made me do a double-take. Yes, I hope the scientists are wrong. Here's an excerpt: "...Lelieveld and his team concluded that if Earth's temperature were to increase on average only be two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industraial times the temperature in summer in these regions will increase more than twofold. By mid-century,  during the warmest periods, temperatures will not fall below 30 degrees at night, and during daytime they could rise to 46 degrees Celsius  (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit). By the end of the century, midday temperatures on hot days could even climb to 50 degrees Celsius (approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit)..."

What 90,000 Indigenous People Said About Climate Change. Here's a clip from a story at Fusion: "...Overall, about 70% of the participating communities reported observing changes in the timing and nature of seasons, rainfall, and temperature in a manner that affects critical elements of their livelihood such as fishing, hunting, food gathering, and crop growing. The study’s authors note the significance of the “secondary impacts” of climate change, such as the challenge of producing food in a changing environment, calling these impacts “extensive” and threatening to both wild and domesticated plants and animals..."

Why We Fear Spiders More Than Climate Change. Processing future risks is not something we're terribly good at as a species - not yet. Here's an excerpt at Bloomberg View: "...Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior can be understood only by studying our ancient ancestors. Through 99 percent of human history, they lived in small groups of hunter-gatherers, with brains evolved to handle specific tasks, such as recognizing quickly a poisonous reptile or the emotions and intentions betrayed by facial expressions. The kind of rational thinking needed to weigh payoffs far in the future developed only recently, in the last 1 percent of our existence...."

Global Warming and Heat Concerns Rise, Report Suggests. Here's a snippet from Tampa Bay Review: "...The report states that, “Republicans are not a monolithic block of global warming policy opponents, rather, liberal (and) moderate Republicans are often part of the mainstream of public opinion on climate change, while conservative Republicans’ views are often distinctly different than the rest of the American public.” The survey also brought out some dreadful facts. According to one stat, only 16% of the voters are actually aware of Global warming and the increasing heat. On the other hand, 26% of the republicans believe that the climate is changing, but they are not certain of the fact that it is human actions that are contributing to it. The gaps present in the society are quite frightening..." (File photo: Rick Rycroft, AP).

The Secret To Making Conservatives Care About Climate Change. How we frame the challenge is critical: this is not about polar bears; it's about our kids, and their kids. Here's the intro to a story at TakePart: "Environmentalists are, by and large, idiots when it comes to talking with the people who disagree with us. We go on (and on) about fairness, about injustice, about caring. We are outraged. We are gloomy. Everything is going extinct, and it’s because of that company you work for or that hamburger you’re eating. And, sure, everything does seem to be going extinct, and there is plenty of blame to go around. But people just tune us out. Is there a better way? A way that might persuade ranchers to think differently about wolves, for instance? Or that might persuade conservatives to acknowledge the reality of climate change? Is there a way that might intrigue our political counterparts instead of just antagonizing them?..."


This Is The Only Way to Fight Global Climate Change. Fortune has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...Fourth, start rapidly ramping up investments in the energy infrastructure of the future. It’s poor planning to build more oil and gas pipelines when we clearly can’t be relying on them in 10, 20, or 30 years. Renewable energy infrastructure should be the sole focus for U.S., China, and India going forward and nations should support each other’s efforts, rather than undermining them within the WTO. The price point is behind us on this. There’s no good argument anymore for weak investments or laissez-faire strategies. This is where the economic growth opportunity is and it comes with an immediate health and climate co-benefit..."

Photo credit above: Carlos Barria — Reuters.

Climate Change Litigation: The Children Win in Court. Here is the introduction to an update at Forbes: "Against all odds, the 21 children, ages 8 to 19, who are suing the government to protect the environment against the harm of global warming in their future, have won in court. Again. In a surprise ruling on Friday from the bench in the ongoing climate case brought by these youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate a carbon emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session..."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Maps Look Like Spring Again - Shot at 80F on Friday

63 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Sunday.
65 F. average high on May 1.
66 F. high on May 1, 2015.

May 2, 2013: A historic snowstorm dumps up to 18 inches of snow in southeast Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. Blooming Prairie receives 18 inches from this storm, and Eau Claire gets 9.3 inches.



The Weather Maps Are Looking Springy Again

"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours" said Mark Twain.

That number may be low. The transition from winter to summer is an tawdry affair. Warm air can't push the last vestiges of Canadian chill out of the way; cold air has to retreat on its own - which just takes time.

Inevitable heat and humidity comes in waves, like increasingly towering breakers at the beach. One such prod of lukewarm air arrives later this week, with highs above 70F Thursday into Saturday as humidity levels rise; a chance of 80 degrees Friday afternoon. I don't see any imminent outbreaks of severe weather, but a few heavier showers & T-storms may flare up Saturday, again next week as we slide back into a wetter pattern.

A brief hiccup of cool air may spark a shower late Tuesday but this week looks dry for spring planting and cleaning up the yard. Next week may be a bit sloppy. My gut: May will be wetter - and a couple degrees warmer than average.

Yesterday I overheard people chatting up the weather. "Still cool, but at least the sun is out" said one. "Makes a huge difference with one's outlook on life."

Yep.

Warmest Day: Friday. Another good excuse to take a comp day on Friday as temperatures surge well into the 70s to near 80F, probably the warmest day of the week. The mercury may brush 70F tomorrow before cooling off slightly on Wednesday. Model ensemble: NOAA and Aeris Enterprise.

Looks Like May. Temperatures run fairly close to average for early May into the weekend; a few instability showers and T-showers late tomorrow, then dry Wednesday into Friday. European guidance pulls in showers and storms Saturday, with Sunday the drier day of the weekend. As warm air surges north again early next week another surge of rain and storms are possible next Monday and Tuesday as we slide into a wetter pattern again. Source: WeatherSpark.
Gusty Winds Tomorrow. The approach of a cold pool aloft coupled with temperatures near 70F at the surface spark 15-30 mph winds tomorrow afternoon; the atmosphere marginally unstable enough for a clap or two of thunder.

Better Chance of Tuesday Showers East of the St. Croix. 4 KM NAM model guidance shows the best chance of showers and embedded T-showers over Iowa and Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon and evening. Animation: AerisWeather.

Omega Block. NOAA's GFS model prints out closed lows (nearly stationary) over Quebex and the west coast within 2 weeks; a bubble of relatively warm, dry air over the Plains and central Canada, keeping Minnesota a few degrees warmer than average. Nothing I'd qualify as hot brewing, but it's coming.

Meteorological Spring Precipitation Departures from Average. No sign of emerging drought patterns, at least not yet. Our soaking earlier in the week came at a good time. Since March 1 rainfall is a little above average in the MSP metro, significantly wetter closer to Duluth.

Warm Signal Continues. El Nino is weakening rapidly, but a warm signal remains. Since March 1 temperatures are about 4F warmer than average in the Twin Cities, factoring in an abnormally mild March. April is about 1F warmer than average for KMSP,  to date.

Supersized Growing Season for Minnesota Farmers. Here are a couple of timely, relevant nuggets in this week's installment of Mark Seeley's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...A brief tornado touchdown occurred in Faribault County on April 24th near Bricelyn with no reported damage. As a result of no snow cover, absence of soil frost, and warm temperatures during mid-month Minnesota farmers accomplished earliest-ever planting of sugar beets, and a very early planting of corn, with over half of the 7 million acre crop planted by the last week of April..." (Graphic: USDA and AerisWeather).


7 Things You Should Never Forget When Tornadoes Strike. Some useful advice and reminders at weather.com; here's an excerpt: "...Regardless of where you're hunkering down, it should be as far away from windows as possible. Even if a tornado doesn't hit, wind or hail could shatter windows, and if you're nearby, you could get hurt. You should make every attempt to get underground during a severe storm, either in a basement or storm shelter. If neither is possible, head to the innermost room or hallway on the lowest floor of your home. The goal is to put as many walls between yourself and the outside world. The image below, taken following the 2011 EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, shows why this method could save your life. In many of those homes, the outer walls have been destroyed, but a few inner rooms are somewhat intact..." (Image credit: Office of Homeland Security).

Is Houston America's Flood Capital? The Weather Channel has the analysis.


IRI ENSO Forecast. Models show a rapid transition from El Nino warm phase to a (weak) La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific in the months to come. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society: "...The first plot (above) shows the ensemble mean predictions of each of the individual models, and also the average of the individual model predictions (the NMME). Here, the NMME average is not weighted by the number of ensemble members in the individual models. This plot is intended to provide some idea of the disagreement among the individual models. Corrections for systematic biases are not done. Predictions of ENSO are probabilistic. The ensemble mean prediction it is only a best single guess. On either side of that prediction, there is a substantial uncertainty distribution, or error tolerance..."


Why You Should Take Elon Musk's 2018 Mars Shot Seriously. A lot of people have lost a lot of money underestimating Elon Musk. Here's a clip from a story at TIME:  "....That’s the problem when a government agency is in charge of your space program. You can go only as far as the people in Congress and the person in the Oval Office let you go—which hasn’t been very far since the last Apollo astronaut left the moon. For that reason and more, you should pay attention to the April 27 announcement from Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, that he intends to launch his first unmanned Mars mission in just two years and will beat NASA’s goal of putting astronauts on the surface in the 2030s by up to a decade..."

Photo credit: Space X.




TODAY: Perfectly sunny - light winds. Winds: N 3-8. High: 66

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear skies. Low:  46

TUESDAY: Sunny start, late PM T-shower possible. Winds: W 10-20. High: 71

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 61

THURSDAY: Winds ease, a milder day with a stray shower up north? Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 70

FRIDAY: Best day in sight, feels like June. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 53. High: 77

SATURDAY: Sticky. Few showers & T-storms. Winds: SW/NW 10-15.Wake-up: 58. High: 75

SUNDAY: Sunnier, drier day of the weekend. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 68


Climate Stories...

The Secret To Making Conservatives Care About Climate Change. How we frame the challenge is critical: this is not about polar bears; it's about our kids, and their kids. Here's the intro to a story at TakePart: "Environmentalists are, by and large, idiots when it comes to talking with the people who disagree with us. We go on (and on) about fairness, about injustice, about caring. We are outraged. We are gloomy. Everything is going extinct, and it’s because of that company you work for or that hamburger you’re eating. And, sure, everything does seem to be going extinct, and there is plenty of blame to go around. But people just tune us out. Is there a better way? A way that might persuade ranchers to think differently about wolves, for instance? Or that might persuade conservatives to acknowledge the reality of climate change? Is there a way that might intrigue our political counterparts instead of just antagonizing them?..."


This Is The Only Way to Fight Global Climate Change. Fortune has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...Fourth, start rapidly ramping up investments in the energy infrastructure of the future. It’s poor planning to build more oil and gas pipelines when we clearly can’t be relying on them in 10, 20, or 30 years. Renewable energy infrastructure should be the sole focus for U.S., China, and India going forward and nations should support each other’s efforts, rather than undermining them within the WTO. The price point is behind us on this. There’s no good argument anymore for weak investments or laissez-faire strategies. This is where the economic growth opportunity is and it comes with an immediate health and climate co-benefit..."

Photo credit above: Carlos Barria — Reuters.

Climate Change Litigation: The Children Win in Court. Here is the introduction to an update at Forbes: "Against all odds, the 21 children, ages 8 to 19, who are suing the government to protect the environment against the harm of global warming in their future, have won in court. Again. In a surprise ruling on Friday from the bench in the ongoing climate case brought by these youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate a carbon emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session..."

Republican Attitudes on Climate Change Thaw. Here's the intro to a story at MIT Technology Review: "Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent. These Republican voters disagree with the party's likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change...."
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.

The Top 10 Reasons to be Hopeful on Climate Change. Thanks to Jeff Masters at WunderBlog for an uplifting post; here's an excerpt: "...My favorite talk today: “Barrier Busting: Leapfrogging Zombie Science Arguments to Get to Solutions," by my favorite communications expert, Susan Hassol of climatecommunication.org. She argued that emphasizing the solutions to climate change rather than talking about the science, is a better way to communicate to the public. Talking about the science of climate change often leads to confusion, due to long-discredited arguments by climate change deniers that rise from the dead like zombies. But people are very supportive of actions to take action on climate change, regardless of their views on the science. For example, 72% of Republicans and 68% of conservative Republicans support efforts to develop clean energy, even though far fewer than half of them believe that the climate is warming and humans are responsible. Susan presented her top list of reasons to be hopeful about climate change:

10) President Obama has put climate change at the top of his agenda.

9) The Pope has framed climate change as a moral issue.

8) China has become highly motivated and engaged, and naysayers can no longer claim that we shouldn’t do anything because China is not.
.."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy May - Touch of June by Next Weekend

58 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
65 F. average high on April 30.
68 F. high on April 30, 2015.

May 1, 1966: Winter makes a last stab at Minnesota with a low of 5 at Cook. A widespread freeze hits the rest of the state.
May 1, 1935: An unusually late snow and ice storm hits east central Minnesota. The heaviest ice accumulations are between St. Paul and Forest Lake and westward to Buffalo in Wright County, with accumulations of 1 to 1.5 inches on wires. The downtown Minneapolis weather bureau records 3 inches of snow.



Getting Better This Week - 80F Next Weekend?

"There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people" wrote Bill Bowerman. Over my 40 year career I can't help but notice that bad weather is more easily tolerated on a weekday. Weekends? Even when the forecast is right (and the weather is foul) we get blamed.

Does Frank Santaniello at 'CCO get dirty looks when he reports bad news? Does KARE's Eric Perkins get the stink-eye when the Twins lose? We don't make the weather. We're just dumb enough to try and predict it.

The last week has been cool and gray with a runny sky, but meteorological spring is 4F warmer than average, to date. Rainfall has been close to average. No mega-storms, slushy ordeals, river flooding or tornado watches (yet). It can always be worse.

After Saturday's rainy near-miss skies brighten today with a high near 60F. A clipper-like swipe of cool air sparks a shower Tuesday night but dry weather prevails into the weekend as temperatures mellow. Plan on a streak of 60s, but ECMWF guidance hints at 80F next weekend.

The first warm, muggy kiss of summer may leave you wanting to go jump in a lake within 6-7 days.

Go for it.

A Better Week. A few friends freaked out on me over last week's clouds, rain and cool breezes. I gently reminded them it's "spring" in Minnesota, and such relapses aren't all that unusual. The sun breaks out today with 60s most of the week; 70s by Friday with a shot at 80F next weekend. An instability shower may sprout late Tuesday; a better chance of more widespread T-storms early next week. Graphic: WeatherSpark.

Warm Ridge Building over Central USA. 2-meter forecast temperatures (GFS model) show a bubble of warm air pushing across the Plains into central Canada; the core of the warmest temperatures arriving next weekend as afternoon temperatures approach 80F. Map: AerisWeather.

Meteorological Spring Precipitation Departures from Average. No sign of emerging drought patterns, at least not yet. Our soaking earlier in the week came at a good time. Since March 1 rainfall is a little above average in the MSP metro, significantly wetter closer to Duluth.

Warm Signal Continues. El Nino is weakening rapidly, but a warm signal remains. Since March 1 temperatures are about 4F warmer than average in the Twin Cities, factoring in an abnormally mild March. April is about 1F warmer than average for KMSP,  to date.

Supersized Growing Season for Minnesota Farmers. Here are a couple of timely, relevant nuggets in this week's installment of Mark Seeley's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...A brief tornado touchdown occurred in Faribault County on April 24th near Bricelyn with no reported damage. As a result of no snow cover, absence of soil frost, and warm temperatures during mid-month Minnesota farmers accomplished earliest-ever planting of sugar beets, and a very early planting of corn, with over half of the 7 million acre crop planted by the last week of April..." (Graphic: USDA and AerisWeather).


7 Things You Should Never Forget When Tornadoes Strike. Some useful advice and reminders at weather.com; here's an excerpt: "...Regardless of where you're hunkering down, it should be as far away from windows as possible. Even if a tornado doesn't hit, wind or hail could shatter windows, and if you're nearby, you could get hurt. You should make every attempt to get underground during a severe storm, either in a basement or storm shelter. If neither is possible, head to the innermost room or hallway on the lowest floor of your home. The goal is to put as many walls between yourself and the outside world. The image below, taken following the 2011 EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, shows why this method could save your life. In many of those homes, the outer walls have been destroyed, but a few inner rooms are somewhat intact..." (Image credit: Office of Homeland Security).

Is Houston America's Flood Capital? The Weather Channel has the analysis.


IRI ENSO Forecast. Models show a rapid transition from El Nino warm phase to a (weak) La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific in the months to come. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society: "...The first plot (above) shows the ensemble mean predictions of each of the individual models, and also the average of the individual model predictions (the NMME). Here, the NMME average is not weighted by the number of ensemble members in the individual models. This plot is intended to provide some idea of the disagreement among the individual models. Corrections for systematic biases are not done. Predictions of ENSO are probabilistic. The ensemble mean prediction it is only a best single guess. On either side of that prediction, there is a substantial uncertainty distribution, or error tolerance..."

2016 Blizzard Was NYC's Biggest Snowstorm On Record, NOAA Report Finds. Summer rainfall intensity rates are increasing - so are winter snowfall amounts, especially along the East Coast. Here's more perspective on the new record from NBC in New York: "...Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable, a problem compounded by strong winds and compaction during a long duration event," National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini, said in a statement. "Still, it's important that we scrutinize questionable measurements and reject those that scientists deem invalid to ensure the public's continued confidence in the U.S. climate record." NOAA said the discrepancy in New York City stemmed from a miscommunication between the weather service's New York forecast office and the Central Park Conservancy, which correctly measured the snowfall..."

Image credit of road conditions from January 28, 2016: Aeris Enterprise.


Nothing to Sneeze At: More CO2 = More Pollen. Here's an excerpt of a story at Climate Central: "...In a previous report, we illustrated how ragweed pollen production increases with CO2 levels. New research continues to shed light on the relationship between pollen and climate change. While ragweed studies give one example of how pollen is impacted by higher levels of CO2, other plants have also been subsequently examined. In this report, we highlight a new study that looks at Timothy Grass pollen, a major cause of allergies during the early summer. Researchers investigated the amount of pollen produced at CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm, which is near current levels, and 800 ppm, which we would pass before the end of the century if current emissions trends continue. Not surprisingly, the grass produced about twice as much pollen at 800 ppm..."


Why You Should Take Elon Musk's 2018 Mars Shot Seriously. A lot of people have lost a lot of money underestimating Elon Musk. Here's a clip from a story at TIME:  "....That’s the problem when a government agency is in charge of your space program. You can go only as far as the people in Congress and the person in the Oval Office let you go—which hasn’t been very far since the last Apollo astronaut left the moon. For that reason and more, you should pay attention to the April 27 announcement from Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, that he intends to launch his first unmanned Mars mission in just two years and will beat NASA’s goal of putting astronauts on the surface in the 2030s by up to a decade..."

Photo credit: Space X.

Lutsen Still Open for Skiing! If you need one more snowy fix you're in luck. Here's an excerpt from Bring Me The News: "A brief surge of warm weather in March pretty much ended the ski and snowboard season in Minnesota. Of the 17 hills on the Minnesota Ski Areas Association report, almost all reported closing dates that month. But one is still chugging along, and will actually be open this weekend. Lutsen Mountains will have one chairlift operating, with eight to ten runs available for use, it announced in a news release Thursday..." (Photo credit: Lutsen).




TODAY: More sun, stiff breeze. Winds: NE 10-20. High: near 60

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 44

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, less wind. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 67

TUESDAY: Lukewarm sun, late PM shower? Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 50. High: near 70

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, cooler breeze. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

THURSDAY: Blue sky, just about perfect. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 66

FRIDAY: Sunny skies, trending milder. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 44. High: 72

SATURDAY: Warm sun, a taste of June. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 52. High: near 80


Climate Stories...

Republican Attitudes on Climate Change Thaw. Here's the intro to a story at MIT Technology Review: "Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent. These Republican voters disagree with the party's likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change...."
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.
Subtly but steadily, Republican attitudes on climate change have been changing. That evolution was confirmed this week by a Yale University/George Mason University poll that found that 56 percent of Republicans nationwide believe that the climate is warming (although many still dispute the idea that human activity is the cause). Five years ago that figure was less than 40 percent.
These Republican voters disagree with the party’s likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has dismissed the threat of climate change.

The Top 10 Reasons to be Hopeful on Climate Change. Thanks to Jeff Masters at WunderBlog for an uplifting post; here's an excerpt: "...My favorite talk today: “Barrier Busting: Leapfrogging Zombie Science Arguments to Get to Solutions," by my favorite communications expert, Susan Hassol of climatecommunication.org. She argued that emphasizing the solutions to climate change rather than talking about the science, is a better way to communicate to the public. Talking about the science of climate change often leads to confusion, due to long-discredited arguments by climate change deniers that rise from the dead like zombies. But people are very supportive of actions to take action on climate change, regardless of their views on the science. For example, 72% of Republicans and 68% of conservative Republicans support efforts to develop clean energy, even though far fewer than half of them believe that the climate is warming and humans are responsible. Susan presented her top list of reasons to be hopeful about climate change:

10) President Obama has put climate change at the top of his agenda.

9) The Pope has framed climate change as a moral issue.

8) China has become highly motivated and engaged, and naysayers can no longer claim that we shouldn’t do anything because China is not.
.."

Syria and Climate Change: Did The Media Get It Right? Can you connect the dots with a high degree of confidence? Did the worst drought in 800 years have a clear climate-related signal, and how did this fan the flames of civil war? Here's an overview of an in-depth report from The Climate and Migration Coalition: "During 2015 the media started connecting climate change with the conflict in Syria and subsequent refugee movements across Europe. Many reports were in direct response to new research making this connection. Other reports mentioned this research while examining other major events such as the drownings in the Mediterranean, the refugee camp in Calais and the terrorist attacks in November 2015. But did those media reports accurately represent the research they referenced?.."

Climate Change to Widen Range of Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes. Here's the intro of a summary at Carbon Brief: "Infectious diseases, such as dengue and the Zika virus, could spread to new parts of the world as mosquitoes expand their habitats in a warmer, wetter world, a new study suggests. By 2061-80, an additional half a billion people could be at risk from diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the study says – and could even rise to more than five billion under a scenario of high population growth. There are roughly 3,500 species of mosquito buzzing about on the Earth. One of the most common is the Aedes aegypti..."

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Has Started Early. Here's a snippet of a report at The Sydney Morning Herald: "...Greenland is really the big show when it comes to ice melt," said Matt King, Professor of Polar Geodesy and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Tasmania. "It's probably losing as much ice as all the small glaciers around the world combined, and probably more than Antarctica. "Greenland is being eaten away from away from above and from the edges." Arctic air temperatures have risen about two degrees since the 1960s. Ocean temperatures are also warming, thawing Greenland glaciers in contact with surrounding seas. Since satellite records date only from the 1970s, some natural fluctuations may be in play, he said. Still, Greenland's early April warmth was consistent with other signals of a warming planet..."

I'm Ready to Evangelize...About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a powerful Op-Ed from Jayce Hafner at Sojourners: "I'm a Christian, but I'm not a natural evangelizer. Talking about my faith has never come easily to me, and I prefer to quietly live my beliefs rather than speak about them. Even as a legislative advocate for the Episcopal Church, I am more at ease discussing policy ramifications than quoting scripture. Still, one urgent policy issue in particular has forced me to reconsider my distate for religious language and challenged me to voice my faith. Galvanized by the urgency of this challenge, I'm ready to evangelize about climate change...."

We're Over Being Bummed About Climate Change and Ready for Solutions. Amen to that. Here's an excerpt of an encouraging blog post at NASA: "...Look, I know it’s really hard to be optimistic when you’re down. So the best antidote to fight off the climate blues, according to Hassol, is to take action. “I do more work, give more talks, work with more scientists, get out there, and give people real hope. I also balance my reading,” she continued. “For every couple of articles I read in science journals about the melting poles, the hottest year on record, the worst fire season on record, the flooding, I try to look at what’s happening on the solutions side: the growth in solar and wind, the improvements in the economics of renewable energy, the ambitious action taking place in cities, states and countries around the world...”