Monday, June 27, 2016

Touch of September into Saturday - Promising Holiday Weekend Weather Outlook

76 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Monday (KMSP).

82 F. average high on June 27.

83 F. high on June 27, 2015.

June 28, 1876: The latest ice breakup in history for Duluth occurs on Lake Superior.


Game of Fronts - 4th of July Holiday Edition

The holiday weather outlook is dark and full of terrors. HBO's Game of Thrones is addictive, and they talk about the weather! "Winter is coming" could be Minnesota's official state motto.
Amnesia has set in; we simply can't remember that 4 months ago people were driving on area lakes. Now we're using them to search for walleye and solace from buzzing smartphones. Summer has arrived.

So why does it feel like mid-September out there? The same persistent high pressure bubble sparking record heat and wildfires out west has turned our jet stream winds aloft to the northwest. A family of cool fronts will treat us to a touch of autumn into Saturday, dew points more typical of early October than late June.

Today will be postcard-worthy with cobalt-blue skies & less wind. Showers sprout on Thursday as a reinforcing push of cool air arrives. Comfortable sunshine Saturday gives way to 80F Sunday; 80-85F on the 4th of July with sticky humidity levels and a few T-storms on the 4th of July. Monday looks like a typical summer day.

Hopefully no White Walkers or Winnebego-size dragons showing up on Doppler radar.


Comfortable Week - Minor Summer Sweat Returns Early Next Week. ECMWF (European) temperature guidance predicts 70s for highs at KMSP into Saturday with lows in the 50s. Surface winds swing around to the southeast by Sunday, then southerly on Monday, pulling warmer air back into town. Graphic: WeatherBell.

July Sweatshirts. Temperatures may start out in the 40s Friday morning for the Brainerd Lakes area into the Arrowhead. If you're out early you will want to bring along a sweatshirt or light jacket. You'll swear it's September out there. Temperature model ensemble: NOAA and Aeris Enterprise.


Wind Forecast. Winds are forecast to ease up a  bit today, but increase over the holiday weekend as the pressure gradient tightens up overhead with warmer air approaching from Iowa and the Dakotas. Sustained winds on Lake Calhoun, White Bear and Minnetonka are forecast to be in the 10-20 mph range on the 4th of July, with higher gusts.


"Historic"  Flood Engulfs Greenbrier Golf Course, Home to PGA Event in 2 Weeks. Here's an update at The Capital Weather Gang: "A relentless torrent of rain swept over West Virginia Thursday, flooding many areas in the state. Greenbrier County, home of the famed Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, was among the hardest hit. Floodwaters inundated the Greenbrier’s signature golf course, where the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour’s Greenbrier Classic is scheduled in two weeks. It’s unclear whether the course will recover in time. “It’s like nothing I’ve seen,” said Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier in a statement..."

Photo credit: "A view of the flooded Greenbrier golf courses on June 24." (Richard Puckett via Terry Deremer, Greenbrier Resort).

Heat Waves Make for Less Friendly Skies. More heat = less lift, which has implications for your next flight. Here's an excerpt of an interview at Science Friday: "Last week, a United Airlines flight to Phoenix was forced to turn back to Houston just before landing. The culprit? Extreme heat, which affects an airplane’s lift during takeoff and landing due to reduced air pressure. Other factors, such as the amount of oxygen available to engines, the altitude of the airport, and runway length also play a role, says Marilyn Smith, an aviation expert at Georgia Tech. And as global temperatures rise, some experts say climate change could hit the aviation industry, flooding runways, increasing turbulence, and changing trans-Atlantic flight times..."

Study Links 6.5 Million Deaths Each Year to Air Pollution. The New York Times reports: "A sobering report released on Monday by the International Energy Agency says air pollution has become a major public health crisis leading to around 6.5 million deaths each year, with “many of its root causes and cures” found in the energy industry. The air pollution study is the first for the agency, an energy security group based in Paris, which is expanding its mission under its executive director, Fatih Birol..."

What It Might Take to Protect the World's Biggest Naval Base From Rising Seas. PRI, Public Radio International, takes a look at the vulnerability of the Tidewater region to the 1-2 punch of rising seas and land subsidence, with impacts already observed by the U.S. Navy: "...Norfolk is the home port for the cruisers, destroyers and battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. Rising sea levels and increasing storm surges there are already having an impact on military readiness. “It’s not the boats that are the issue, they’re designed to be in water,” said Captain Pat Rios, who until May was the head engineer for the Navy’s mid-Atlantic region. “The issue with sea-level rise is less about the ship, it’s more about the system that supports the ship.” That system sits on more than 6,000 acres in Norfolk, on a point of land in southern Virginia near where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean..."

Photo credit: "Naval Station Norfolk may experience as much as six feet of relative sea-level rise by the end of the century. Defense officials are beginning to work with nearby city governments to ensure vital infrastructure is protected." Credit: Navy handout obtained by Reuters in 2013.

Fading Fishermen: A Historic Industry Faces a Warming World. Here's a clip from a Washington Post story: "...Though no waters are immune to the ravages of climate change, the Gulf of Maine, a dent in the coastline from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, best illustrates the problem. The gulf, where fishermen have for centuries sought lobster, cod and other species that thrived in its cold waters, is now warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, scientists have said. The warming waters, in the gulf and elsewhere, have caused other valuable species, such as clams, to migrate to deeper or more northern waters. Others, such as lobsters, have largely abandoned the once-lucrative waters off the southern New England states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, having become more susceptible to disease or predators..."

Photo credit: "In this April 23, 2016 photo David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country’s most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England’s most recognized fish for more than 30 years." (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press).


We Are At Risk of Loving Our National Parks To Death. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Seattle Times Editorial Board: "...The parks have inspired a century of poetry and prose — including writer Wallace Stegner’s succinct comment that national parks are “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Amid record attendance, the parks system is, conversely, also at peril for being taken for granted. The challenge of underfunding threatens the parks’ present while climate change threatens the parks’ future. Both demand attention and collaborative action at the local and federal level to ensure the wilderness gifts are multigenerational..."

Photo credit: "Lenticular or cap clouds form around Mount Rainier in February 2015." (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Sweden Opens World's First Electric Highway. EcoWatch has the details: "A 22 kilometer (or roughly 13 miles) stretch of the E16 road—which connects Oslo, Norway, to Gävle, Sweden—is fitted with power lines overhead, developed by Siemens, providing electricity to hybrid trucks. The system works like a tram system. A current collector on the trucks will transfer energy from the power lines to the trucks’ hybrid electric motors, Sputnik News reported. The electric lines help trucks operate longer between recharges. “Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions,” Lena Erixon, director general of transport authority Trafikverket, said..."

Photo credit: "Electric-powered trucks are expected to cut 80 to 90 percent of fossil fuel emissions in Sweden."

Solar Power to Grow Sixfold as Sun Becoming Cheapest Resource. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg Technology: "The amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Solar plants using photovoltaic technology could account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said in a report Wednesday. The average cost of electricity from a photovoltaic system is forecast to plunge as much as 59 percent by 2025, making solar the cheapest form of power generation “in an increasing number of cases,” it said.."

Here's Where Solar Energy Shines in the U.S. Climate Central has the story - here's a clip: "...The price paid for electricity varies across the country, depending on how it is generated and other factors. But according to the Department of Energy, the average national price of electricity to residential customers is about 12 cents per kWh. If a home gets 400 kWh a month from solar, it would cut the annual energy bill for the average home by around $600. Since 2008, the cost of generating electricity from solar panels has been cut in half. The number of U.S. solar installations have increased by a factor of 17 over that period, and they now have the capacity topower the equivalent of 4 million average American homes. With solar panel costs expected to continue falling, solar energy may become an increasingly attractive proposition to homeowners..."

The World's Losers are Revolting, and Brexit Is Only The Beginning. Here's a clip from a Washington Post story: "...A British exit, or Brexit, will make the country poorer in the short run, perhaps in the long run too, and might drag the rest of Europe down with it. That's because Britain is essentially ripping up its free trade deal with the rest of Europe. But of far greater concern than just dollars and cents is that this is the most significant setback in Europe's 60-year quest for "ever closer union," and the most shocking success for the new nationalism sweeping the Western world. Brexit, in other words, is the end of the end of history..."

Did NASA Fake the Moon Landing? Yes, you have the right to believe whatever nonsense you want to believe, but that doesn't make it right. Here's an excerpt of a gentle debunking at Quora: "...The MLDs (Moon Landing Deniers) are not taking into account one very important human tendency: the tendency to blab. The “moon landings” happened nearly 50 years ago. Yet no one has come foward to collect a million dollars from Oprah or whoever to blab the inside story of Apollo. And show covert photos of Neil and Buzz sharing a laugh with their helmets off on the “lunar surface” set. Is this conceivable? In 50 years!.."

File photo: NASA.

An Incomplete if Exhaustive Tally of Recent Highway Truck Spills. I had no idea, but Atlas Obscura set me straight: "...If 2015 is any indication, though, 2016 probably has some catching up to do, because last year was a strong one for truck spills. Very strong. Among the things that spilled: ramen noodles under a bridge in North Carolina; ammonium nitrate, which can be used for bombsin Missouri; 80,000 pounds of human excrement in California (it was headed for a treatment plant); around 1,200 gallons of gas in California; a lot of printer ink on a highway in Virginia; exactly 6,500 gallons of yellow paint in Maryland; in Minnesota, a mysterious "liquid" spilled, reported to be slippery; concrete spilled over a quarter-mile stretch of highway in North Carolina; Budweiser beer all over a roadway in Florida, shutting it for three hours (the truck driver said he was distracted by a small dog he kept in the cab..."



TODAY: Sunny and perfect with light winds and low humidity. Winds: NW 3-8. High: 77

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 60

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, T-showers late up north. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 81

THURSDAY: Wettest day. Widespread showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 64. High: 76

FRIDAY: Sunny with low humidity. Wow. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 57. High: 74

SATURDAY: Plenty of mild sun, breezy. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 56. High: 78

SUNDAY: Sunny & warmer. Lake-friendly. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 82

4th of JULY: Sticky & warm. Few T-storms possible. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 62. High: 83


Climate Stories...

It's Official: Humans Are Making The Earth Much Greener. Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post: "Earlier this month, NASA scientists provided a visualization of a startling climate change trend — the Earth is getting greener, as viewed from space, especially in its rapidly warming northern regions. And this is presumably occurring as more carbon dioxide in the air, along with warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons, makes plants very, very happy. Now, new research in Nature Climate Change not only reinforces the reality of this trend — which is already provoking debate about the overall climate consequences of a warming Arctic — but statistically attributes it to human causes, which largely means greenhouse gas emissions (albeit with a mix of other elements as well)..."

Image credit: "Using 29 years of data from Landsat satellites, researchers at NASA have found extensive greening in the vegetation across Alaska and Canada. Rapidly increasing temperatures in the Arctic have led to longer growing seasons and changing soil for plants." (Cindy Starr/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center).

Climate Change Forcing Builders to Rethink How They Design Structures, Expert Says. Resilience isn't a passing fad, it's a trend. Here's an excerpt from a story at CBC News: "...It's becoming more accelerated with the extreme weather events we're experiencing, whether it's a snow event or a fire event in Fort McMurray or even the flooding that occurred a few years ago in Toronto," Schroeder says. "People are now asking questions like, 'How do I design my building to be more resilient?' It's becoming more difficult to put these things out of your mind when they're happening with more frequency. It's much more forefront in people's minds..."

Photo credit: "After a wildfire destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, one expert says cities should begin rejecting proposed developments located near fire-prone forests or on flood plains in order to mitigate the damage from future natural disasters." (Terry Reith/CBC).

U.S. States, Rockefellers Clash with U.S House Panel on Exxon Climate Probes. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "With a number of U.S. states proceeding with investigations of Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) record on climate change, the attorney general of Massachusetts and investment funds of the Rockefeller family on Friday told a Congressional committee it lacked powers to oversee those probes. The pushback is the latest chapter in a high-stakes fight between the world's largest publicly traded oil company and a coalition of state attorneys general who have said they would go after Exxon to try and force action to tackle climate change..."

Photo credit: "Storage tanks are seen inside the Exxonmobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 6, 2015." Reuters/Lee Celano.

Attorneys General Are Right to Pursue Exxon Mobil. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands at The Wall Street Journal: "...The Virgin Islands, along with other attorneys general, is seeking information to determine whether Exxon Mobil misrepresented what the company privately knew and publicly said about climate change. If it did, that could constitute fraud and violate our laws and the laws of other jurisdictions. Exxon Mobil and CEI are attempting to argue that the First Amendment protects them from producing the information that can shed light on whether they broke the law—a proposition the courts have routinely rejected..."

Exxon Mobil Is Abusing the First Ammendment. Here's an excerpt of a Washington Post Op-Ed from the Dean of the Yale Law School: "...If ExxonMobil has committed fraud, its speech would not merit First Amendment protection. But the company nevertheless invokes the First Amendment to suppress a subpoena designed to produce the information necessary to determine whether ExxonMobil has committed fraud. It thus seeks to foreclose the very process by which our legal system acquires the evidence necessary to determine whether fraud has been committed. In effect, the company seeks to use the First Amendment to prevent any informed lawsuit for fraud...."

Photo credit: "Activist Danna Miller Pyke protests near the Dallas site where the ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting is taking place in May." (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press).

Not Just West Virginia. It's a Hard Rain Fallin'. No, it's not your imagination - warm season rains are falling harder, worldwide. Here's an excerpt from Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "...So not only does a loading up of the hydrological cycle with moisture result in heavier rainfall events generally, it also results in a greater fraction of overall rainfall coming in the form of heavy rain. In other words climate change causes heavier rain on top of heavier rain. The worst events, as a result do not just get worse, they get much, much worse. And this is due to the added convection — or updrafts — that keep moisture in the air longer. In other words, the rain in a hotter world needs to be heavier to fall out of clouds that are pushed higher and with greater force by heat rising up off the Earth’s surface..." (Graphic: Lehmann et all, 2015).

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cool and Comfortable Week - Heating Up for 4th of July

88 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
82 F. average high on June 26.
81 F. high on June 26, 2015.

June 27, 1908: A tornado hits Clinton in Big Stone County.


A Comfortable Week - Pondering What Can Go Wrong on the 4th of July

"Life is a long preparation for something that never happens" said Yeats. After a time one learns to embrace dashed expectations.

Every year I imagine the 4th of July in Norman Rockwell pastels: kids waving flags, laughter on the lake, a quick family photo in front of the setting sun before the oohs and aahs of fireworks. The reality many years? Running and screaming; chased by vile bugs - or swarms of atmospheric mushroom clouds; lines of flickering storms piled up on the horizon - like some imminent invasion of alien fireflies.

Enjoy comfortable air this week as Canada donates low dew points & fresh breezes with a string of days in the 70s and nights in the 50s. A reinforcing cool front may spark showers Thursday, otherwise its a mainly dry forecast into the 4th of July.

The most comfortable weather of the holiday weekend comes Friday & Saturday (you may need a sweatshirt after dark up north). 80s return Sunday and the 4th of July; ECMWF guidance hinting that storms may hold off until next Tuesday as 90s return.

In fact long-range models hint a streak of 90s by mid-July.

Touch of mid-September in late-June. Highs hold in the 70s this week, about 5-8F cooler than average. Nights will be in the 50s, even some (rare) 40s up north later this week. ECMWF guidance shows warming next weekend; low to mid 80s by the 4th of July in the Twin Cities. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Growing Chance of (Real) Heat by mid-July. We got a taste on Saturday with 96F in the Twin Cities and a heat index in the low 100s - odds are it got your attention. If long-range GFS forecasts verify the heat-pump high over the western USA may finally expand north and east within 10-14 days. A string of 90s across much of Minnesota by mid-July? We'll see.

Trickle-Down Technology. A race to space following launch of The Soviet Union's Sputnik satellite in 1957 had a Cold War weather dividend: "Tiros-1" began sending back grainy weather imagery from low Earth orbit in 1960. Radar operators tracking enemy planes during WW II noticed smudges of interference on their screens. They thought it was a bug - turns out they were seeing precipitation, not German aircraft; a happy discovery that has evolved into today's high resolution Doppler radar.

Trooper: Flood-Damaged West Virginia "Looks Like a War Zone". Here's an excerpt from CBS News: "...It looks like a war zone when you go inside these houses," State Trooper C.S. Hartman told CBS News. He worried that among the destruction will be more bodies. "That's the last thing I want to do, but we're prepared for it," Hartman said. The once-a-century flood left the small town of Clendenin mostly underwater. Forty-four of West Virginia's 55 counties were inundated. The National Guard and FEMA have been called in to help. Thousands are without power. At least 100 homes suffered significant damage or were destroyed..."

Photo credit: "West Virginia State Trooper C.S. Hartman uses a boat to navigate the flooded streets of Rainelle, W. Va., on Saturday, June 25, 2016." CBS News.

Atmospheric Scientists Boldly Go Into The Heart of a Tornado. The National Science Foundation has the story; here's an excerpt: "...TWIRL’s field season ran from May 1 through June 15. That's the time of year when two ingredients required for tornadoes -- very unstable air and strong vertical wind shear -- are most common. The TWIRL scientists are developing 3-D maps of the strongest tornado winds near the ground, and studying how these winds cause damage to buildings, power lines, trees -- and anything else in their way. "TWIRL researchers are focusing on low-level winds flowing into the cores of tornadoes," said Ed Bensman, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funds TWIRL..."

Photo credit: "TWIRL researchers get a tornado pod set-to-go; a tornado is about to pass by." Credit: Center for Severe Weather Research/Robin Lorenson.

What It Might Take to Protect the World's Biggest Naval Base From Rising Seas. PRI, Public Radio International, takes a look at the vulnerability of the Tidewater region to the 1-2 punch of rising seas and land subsidence, with impacts already observed by the U.S. Navy: "...Norfolk is the home port for the cruisers, destroyers and battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. Rising sea levels and increasing storm surges there are already having an impact on military readiness. “It’s not the boats that are the issue, they’re designed to be in water,” said Captain Pat Rios, who until May was the head engineer for the Navy’s mid-Atlantic region. “The issue with sea-level rise is less about the ship, it’s more about the system that supports the ship.” That system sits on more than 6,000 acres in Norfolk, on a point of land in southern Virginia near where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean..."

Photo credit: "Naval Station Norfolk may experience as much as six feet of relative sea-level rise by the end of the century. Defense officials are beginning to work with nearby city governments to ensure vital infrastructure is protected." Credit: Navy handout obtained by Reuters in 2013.

Here's Where Solar Energy Shines in the U.S. Climate Central has the story - here's a clip: "...The price paid for electricity varies across the country, depending on how it is generated and other factors. But according to the Department of Energy, the average national price of electricity to residential customers is about 12 cents per kWh. If a home gets 400 kWh a month from solar, it would cut the annual energy bill for the average home by around $600. Since 2008, the cost of generating electricity from solar panels has been cut in half. The number of U.S. solar installations have increased by a factor of 17 over that period, and they now have the capacity topower the equivalent of 4 million average American homes. With solar panel costs expected to continue falling, solar energy may become an increasingly attractive proposition to homeowners..."


TODAY: Some sun, cool wind. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 73

MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cool for late June. Low: 56

TUESDAY: Hints of September. Bright sunshine, less wind. Winds: NW 3-8. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 61. High: 80

THURSDAY: Showers likely, possible thunder. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 78

FRIDAY: Sunny, comfortably cool. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 57. High: 75

SATURDAY: Blue sky, low dew points (50s). Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 79

SUNDAY: Sunny, warmer for lake stuff. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 58. High: 82


Climate Stories...

Exxon Mobil Is Abusing the First Ammendment. Here's an excerpt of a Washington Post Op-Ed from the Dean of the Yale Law School: "...If ExxonMobil has committed fraud, its speech would not merit First Amendment protection. But the company nevertheless invokes the First Amendment to suppress a subpoena designed to produce the information necessary to determine whether ExxonMobil has committed fraud. It thus seeks to foreclose the very process by which our legal system acquires the evidence necessary to determine whether fraud has been committed. In effect, the company seeks to use the First Amendment to prevent any informed lawsuit for fraud...."

Photo credit: "Activist Danna Miller Pyke protests near the Dallas site where the ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting is taking place in May." (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press).

Not Just West Virginia. It's a Hard Rain Fallin'. No, it's not your imagination - warm season rains are falling harder, worldwide. Here's an excerpt from Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "...So not only does a loading up of the hydrological cycle with moisture result in heavier rainfall events generally, it also results in a greater fraction of overall rainfall coming in the form of heavy rain. In other words climate change causes heavier rain on top of heavier rain. The worst events, as a result do not just get worse, they get much, much worse. And this is due to the added convection — or updrafts — that keep moisture in the air longer. In other words, the rain in a hotter world needs to be heavier to fall out of clouds that are pushed higher and with greater force by heat rising up off the Earth’s surface..." (Graphic: Lehmann et all, 2015).

After Thousands of Years, Earth's Frozen Life Forms Are Waking Up. Gizmodo reports: "...Cryofreezing is best known for its appearances in science fiction, but self-styled "resurrection ecologists" are now showing the world just how real it is. In 2012, scientists germinated flowers from a handful of 32,000 year old seeds excavated from the Siberian tundra. Last year, researchers hatched 700-year old eggs from the bottom of a Minnesota lake, while another team resuscitated an Antarctic moss that had been frozen since the time of King Arthur. Bacteria, however, are the uncontested masters of cryogenics—one bug, at least, was alive and kicking after 8 million years of suspended animation..."


Climate Change is the National Parks' Biggest Challenge. Climate Central takes a look at new challenges within "America's Best Ideas", our parks: "...Rising temperatures, an increase in extreme dry years and disappearing snowpack are altering the conditions that have allowed these trees to thrive for eons in a thin band along the Sierras’ western flank. The ongoing California drought has hit the southern Sierras hard and increased the risk of more destructive wildfires, and less water availability in the summer. Researchers have already documented a dieback in older trees during the drought, one of the many “a-ha moments” that point toward future challenges for the Giant Forest. The average annual temperatures in the park are projected to rise around 7°F by 2100 if carbon pollution isn’t slowed, further disrupting a delicate balance..."

Cool, Comfortable Week Ahead - How Climate Change Threatens our National Parks

96 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday, 2F away from tying the old record.
82 F. average high on June 25.
82 F. high on June 25, 2015.

June 26, 1982: Cold air moves into northern Minnesota. Kulger Township dips to 31 degrees. Duluth registers 36.


Trickle-Down Technology & Accidental Discoveries

Future grandkids will grow up believing we always had weather apps and radar on our phones. We've come a long way since Amish Doppler (staring out the window).
A race to space following launch of The Soviet Union's Sputnik satellite in 1957 had a Cold War weather dividend: "Tiros-1" began sending back grainy weather imagery from low Earth orbit in 1960.

Radar operators tracking enemy planes during WW II noticed smudges of interference on their screens. They thought it was a bug - turns out they were seeing precipitation, not German aircraft; a happy discovery that has evolved into today's high resolution Doppler radar.
The older I get, the less I take for granted.

Yesterday's 100-degree heat index and severe storms are history; a fresh west wind treats us to blue sky today, with a crisp dew point in the 50s (and no blobs on Doppler).

While the western USA fries a series of Canadian cool fronts flirt with Minnesota into next weekend with highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s. Free A/C.

Amazingly, models hint at a few T-showers on the 4th of July, highs near 80F. What can go wrong?

Cool for Late June and Early July. I'm not complaining, but there may be some in our midst (you know who you are) who will gripe about "chilly conditions" next weekend with highs in the 70s - a few degrees cooler  than average. I hope that predicted high of 65F next Tuesday (July 5) is an ECMWF typo. Source: WeatherBell.

ECMWF Outlook for 4th of July. I'm amazed when it doesn't rain on the 4th of July. It's a tradition, being chased from boats, parades and fireworks displays, by angry mobs of swollen clouds flashing lightning bolts and ragged chunks of ice (hail). Saturday night's 00z run shows a few T-showers pushing in from the south at midday on the 4th of July. Again, what can possibly go wrong? Map: WSI.

From Cool & Comfortable to Hot & Sweaty Second Week of July? Our on-again, off-again heat wave appears  to be on-again, at least if you buy the 2-week 500 mb forecast, courtesy of NOAA's GFS model, predicting the heat bubble gripping much of the west and southwest will expand across the Plains into the Midwest. If this verifies we'll see an extended period of highs in the 90s.

Trooper: Flood-Damaged West Virginia "Looks Like a War Zone". Here's an excerpt from CBS News: "...It looks like a war zone when you go inside these houses," State Trooper C.S. Hartman told CBS News. He worried that among the destruction will be more bodies. "That's the last thing I want to do, but we're prepared for it," Hartman said. The once-a-century flood left the small town of Clendenin mostly underwater. Forty-four of West Virginia's 55 counties were inundated. The National Guard and FEMA have been called in to help. Thousands are without power. At least 100 homes suffered significant damage or were destroyed..."

Photo credit: "West Virginia State Trooper C.S. Hartman uses a boat to navigate the flooded streets of Rainelle, W. Va., on Saturday, June 25, 2016." CBS News.

PGA Cancels Greenbrier Classic Amid West Virginia Flood. U.S. News has more details: "The PGA Tour announced Saturday that the Greenbrier Classic scheduled for next month has been canceled because of the devastating flooding in West Virginia. The tournament had been scheduled for July 7-10 at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, which was inundated with floodwaters after heavy storms rolled into the state Thursday. Tour officials say the Old White TPC, the host course, suffered extensive damage and "is beyond reasonable repair to conduct the tournament..."

Photo credit: "This Thursday June 23, 2016 image provided by the Greenbrier shows flooding on the 18th green of the Old White Course at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. Severe flooding hit the area that is scheduled to host a PGA tour event in two weeks." (Cam Huffman/The Greenbrier via AP) The Associated Press

NASA Analysis of West Virginia Flood Event. Another 1-in-1,000 year rainfall event? Once again weather systems essentially stalled, with training storms dropping repeated bouts of heavy rain over the same (waterlogged) counties. Here's an excerpt from NASA's Precipitation Measurement Missions: "...GPM captured this image of the East-West oriented line of storms at 9:41 pm EDT on Thursday June 23rd (01:41 UTC 24 June 2016). The image shows rain rates derived from the GPM GMI (outer swath) and DPR (inner swath) overlaid on enhanced IR data from the GOES-East satellite. By this time, most of the heavy rain was located over southern Virginia along the border with North Carolina where rates are shown to exceed 50 mm/hr (~2 inches/hr, shown in dark red). Meanwhile a broad area of light to moderate rain (blue and green areas) stretches from the Atlantic Coast all the way through southern West Virginia and back into central Kentucky...."

Atmospheric Scientists Boldly Go Into The Heart of a Tornado. The National Science Foundation has the story; here's an excerpt: "...TWIRL’s field season ran from May 1 through June 15. That's the time of year when two ingredients required for tornadoes -- very unstable air and strong vertical wind shear -- are most common. The TWIRL scientists are developing 3-D maps of the strongest tornado winds near the ground, and studying how these winds cause damage to buildings, power lines, trees -- and anything else in their way. "TWIRL researchers are focusing on low-level winds flowing into the cores of tornadoes," said Ed Bensman, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funds TWIRL..."

Photo credit: "TWIRL researchers get a tornado pod set-to-go; a tornado is about to pass by." Credit: Center for Severe Weather Research/Robin Lorenson.

Could a United Kingdom Exit From The EU Affect Weather Forecasts? What, if any, effect on ECMWF, the world's leading weather model? Here's an excerpt of a post from Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "...I have no insight on how this vote affects the weather community but a “common sense” twitch in me suggests there could be some effects. While that ultimately remains to be seen, there are aspects worth noting about the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union as they pertain to the global weather enterprise. It is well-known in weather circles that the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) or “Euro” model is the leading weather forecasting model in terms of numerous metrics for skill. I am often amused at the passionate discussion about this..."

* Here's a link to a statement from ECMWF about England's decision to leave the EU.

Hottest Days Come in Mid-July. It may seem counterintuitive, but the hottest weather doesn't come on the Summer Solstice, when the sun angle is highest in the sky. There is a built-in "lag" in the atmosphere, as water takes longer than land to heat up, and historically the hottest days of summer come 2-3 weeks after the solstice, in mid-July. Graphic credit: Climate Central.

Here's Where Solar Energy Shines in the U.S. Climate Central has the story - here's a clip: "...The price paid for electricity varies across the country, depending on how it is generated and other factors. But according to the Department of Energy, the average national price of electricity to residential customers is about 12 cents per kWh. If a home gets 400 kWh a month from solar, it would cut the annual energy bill for the average home by around $600. Since 2008, the cost of generating electricity from solar panels has been cut in half. The number of U.S. solar installations have increased by a factor of 17 over that period, and they now have the capacity topower the equivalent of 4 million average American homes. With solar panel costs expected to continue falling, solar energy may become an increasingly attractive proposition to homeowners..."

American Drivers Regain Appetite for Gas Guzzlers. Here's the intro to a New York Times story: "The single most effective action that most Americans can take to help reduce the dangerous emissions that cause climate change? Buy a more fuel-efficient car. But consumers are heading in the opposite direction. They have rekindled their love of bigger cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, favoring them over small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, which are considered crucial to helping slow global warming..."

After Thousands of Years, Earth's Frozen Life Forms Are Waking Up. Gizmodo reports: "...Cryofreezing is best known for its appearances in science fiction, but self-styled "resurrection ecologists" are now showing the world just how real it is. In 2012, scientists germinated flowers from a handful of 32,000 year old seeds excavated from the Siberian tundra. Last year, researchers hatched 700-year old eggs from the bottom of a Minnesota lake, while another team resuscitated an Antarctic moss that had been frozen since the time of King Arthur. Bacteria, however, are the uncontested masters of cryogenics—one bug, at least, was alive and kicking after 8 million years of suspended animation..."


TODAY: Sunny, less humid. Winds: W 10-20. High: 85

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and comfortable. Low: 62

MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cool wind. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 73

TUESDAY: Bright sunshine, less wind. Winds: NW 3-8. Wake-up: 55. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, still pleasant. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 78

THURSDAY: Chance of showers, possible thunder. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 63. High: 82

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, comfortable. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 78

SATURDAY: Touch of September. Cool and crisp. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 75


Climate Stories...


Climate Change is the National Parks' Biggest Challenge. Climate Central takes a look at new challenges within "America's Best Ideas", our parks: "...Rising temperatures, an increase in extreme dry years and disappearing snowpack are altering the conditions that have allowed these trees to thrive for eons in a thin band along the Sierras’ western flank. The ongoing California drought has hit the southern Sierras hard and increased the risk of more destructive wildfires, and less water availability in the summer. Researchers have already documented a dieback in older trees during the drought, one of the many “a-ha moments” that point toward future challenges for the Giant Forest. The average annual temperatures in the park are projected to rise around 7°F by 2100 if carbon pollution isn’t slowed, further disrupting a delicate balance..."

Why the GOP is Trying to Stop the Pentagon's Climate Plan. Politico attempts to explain the inexplicable; here's an excerpt: "...This is what we ask our military and national security people to do, to think long-term, look at emerging threats, figure out ways to protect against these threats,” he said. DOD officials have been warning for years that climate change could have dire consequences on U.S. national security. Increased refugee flows, which are already straining Europe, are likely to accelerate as the climate heats up and have the potential to destabilize large swaths of the world, including the Middle East and South Pacific. The “oil wars” of the 20th century could give way to “water wars,” with countries competing for scarce natural resources. Higher energy costs may further strain the military’s budget and rising water levels could force the DOD to adjust locations of critical infrastructure facilities like ports..."

Forest Fires Can Heat Up The Whole Planet. A story at National Geographic explains how NASA is tracking the accelerating changes: "...Climate change is playing out twice as fast in the boreal forest than it is on the rest of the planet. Permafrost is thawing, and vegetation is changing as climatic zones migrate north faster than trees can adapt. Already, dramatic change can be glimpsed from space: The tundra is turning green, while the boreal forest is turning brown. Some scientists predict the boreal forest may reach a disastrous—and irreversible—tipping point this century and shift from carbon storehouse into a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Others contend that the tipping point has already been reached..."