Sunday, June 25, 2017

Enjoy the Free A/C - Holiday T-storms Likely - July Heat Wave Brewing

69 F. Twin Cities maximum temperature on Sunday.
82 F. average high on June 25.
96 F. high on June 25, 2016.

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


Enjoy the Free A/C - July Heat Wave Brewing

Definition of an optimist? Minnesotan with a pool or a convertible. Summers at this latitude remind me of my high school girlfriend. Short and cruel. 12 summer weekends to get it right, and people take it personally when the weather doesn't work out as advertised - or live up to their lofty expectations.

And with a June like this who needs October? We got off to a warm start, but Canada has retaliated with a silent invasion, and the natives are restless. Today looks like a step in the right direction: blue sky and 70 degrees. Tuesday should be summer-ish but heavy showers and T-storms return Wednesday.

Models bring another clipper-like disturbance into Minnesota late week, sparking random lines of T-storms Friday and Saturday, but probably no all-day washouts. ECMWF guidance now hints at a nicer Sunday, with more marauding bands of storms Monday as a hot front approaches.

I see a significant pattern shift ahead. The European model hints at 90F on the 4th, with a string of 90s the second week of July, as a heat-pump high stalls over the Plains.

I'd bet my best Tater-Tot Hotdish we'll soon look back fondly on these cool days. Careful what you wish for.

6 PM Sunday Visible Image. Visible imagery from NOAA's GOES weather satellite shows a mostly sunny sky across the USA with a few notable exceptions: severe storms across New Mexico and a sloppy front sparking thundery weather over the southeastern USA. A clipper dragging unusually chilly air south of the border sparked some heavy rains across Wisconsin. Image: Aeris AMP.

6 PM Sunday Enhanced Infrared Image. IR satellite images can be analyzed 24 hours a day (even when the sun goes down, unlike visible imagery) and what we're seeing is not visible light being reflected, but the derived temperatures of clouds. The tops of T-storms poking some 45,000 feet into the atmosphere show up as orange smudges on the enhanced satellite. Image: Aeris AMP.


The Good 'Ol Days. Yes, I know. It's too cool for the lake. I feel your pain - there were whitecaps on my lake too on Saturday; only the brave and foolish were in the water. This cool spell isn't sustainable. The sun is too high in the sky - there's too much overheated air over the southern USA just waiting to surge north. At some point it will warm up. Probably overnight. Like turning on a light switch. Might I recommend that you embrace the comfortable readings, because within 1-2 weeks young and old alike will be muttering about the heat and humidity. Wait for it.

* Perceptive blog readers (and most of you are) will notice that this photo wasn't taken in Minnesota or Wisconsin yesterday. I snapped this in Clearwater Beach, Florida Sunday. The high was a sauna-like 93F and the water temperature was 88F. Bath water. You step outside your car or hotel and you instantly begin to sweat. This kind of heat may be coming to Minnesota by the second week of July.

Atmospheric Breather. Much of America gets a slight (brief) break from the worst of the summer heat and raging thunderstorms. No widespread severe outbreaks are likely today; just generic, garden-variety thunderstorms from Kansas City to San Antonio, more instability (PM) showers over New England and a few orographic storms over the mountainous areas of the weather USA. 84-hour 12 km NAM: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.

7-Day Rainfall Potential. NOAA model ensembles show some 4-7" rainfall amounts from near Omaha and Des Moines to Chicago over the next week, as a series of storms ripple eastward along the boundary separating cool air to the north from blast-furnace heat to t he south. Northern New England and Florida may pick up some 2-4"+ amounts.

Another Slow-Motion Warming Trend. Within a week or two we may be looking back fondly at this spell of cool, comfortable weather. 70s return this week; maybe 90F in time for the 4th of July. Holiday weekend temperatures range mostly in the 70s, a few degrees cooler than average, but not as chilly as last weekend. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

Long Range Outlook Calls for Significant Heat. GFS guidance has been hinting at this for a few days now; every subsequent model run builds the ridge over the central USA a little stronger as cool air (finally) lifts into Canada. We may be looking at an extended streak of 90s for much of the USA within 1-2 weeks, even a few 100s for the Plains. The only cool exception to the rule: Pacific Northwest and New England.


Summary of the Great Southwest U.S. Heat Wave of 2017. I'm feeling better about our cold fronts. Dr. Jeff Masters provides perspective at Weather Underground: "The great Southwest U.S. heat wave of 2017 is gradually diminishing, but it has left behind hundreds of smashed heat records, including at least four all-time hottest temperature marks for major stations. According to wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt, this week’s event has been the most intense heat wave yet recorded to affect the Southwest so early in the summer, coming about a week earlier than the previous great June heat waves that have affected the Southwest, like those of 2013, 1990 and 1994.

All-time hottest temperatures tied or broken during the heat wave:

Las Vegas, NV: 117° on June 20, tied the all-time record for the airport, which has a Period of Record (POR) back to 1937. However, there was a 118° reading measured by the official USWB COOP site on July 26, 1931.

Needles, CA: 125° on June 20, tied the all-time record. 126° was attained for a minute or two at one point, but not the 5-minute period needed to be deemed official. Previously, 125° was measured on June 20, 2016, and on July 17, 2005. POR: back to 1940..."

Rare Tornado Strikes New Jersey. Philly.com has details, and a link to video: "Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in South Jersey anymore. The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes did touch down down near Howell in Monmouth County, New Jersey on Saturday morning, part of swift-moving thunderstorms that slammed the region. The first tornado ripped through the parking lot of a Home Depot on Route 9 around 7:20 a.m., with wind speeds reaching 75 mph. It was caught on video and widely shared on social media..."

Photo credit: Brett Dzadik. "A tornado rips through the parking lot of a Home Depot on Route 9 in Howell, NJ on Saturday morning."

Sunday Severe Storm Reports. There were numerous reports of heavy rain yesterday over Wisconsin, a few severe thunderstorm wind damage reports over New England, large hail fell in New Mexico. For details click here, courtesy of NOAA and AerisWeather.

Flood-Prone Town Protects Itself Against Waters While Letting a River Roam. The town in question is near Sacramento, according to a story at Emergency Management: "Sometimes better flood protection comes from giving a river some space to roam. Hamilton City, 85 miles north of Sacramento, learned that lesson from a new levee project that both protects against flooding and restores wildlife habitat. The levee will be set back from the Sacramento River for most of its 7 miles, allowing the river to spill over its banks and creating 1,400 acres of riparian forest and grassland. A model for flood-threatened areas nationwide, this project was the first designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to benefit both people and the environment..." (File photo: Shutterstock).

Average Dates of Hottest Summer Weather. A fascinating map, courtesy of climate guru Brian Brettschneider shows the warmest weather off the year usually occurs before the 4th of July from southern Arizona and New Mexico into southwest Minnesota. East Texas? Hottest weather usually comes after August 8.

Hottest Temperatures. Historical records show the hottest temperatures of the year exceed 100F from the Carolinas and Plains to eastern Washington State. Temperatures in northern New England peak in the upper 80s.


Prince Was a Secret Patron of Solar Power. Bloomberg explains how Prince focused his money and passion on renewable energy: "Before his abrupt death a year ago, the pop musician Prince made an investment in green energy that’s now helping solar start-ups weather an assault from President Donald Trump. It started with a conversation in 2011 between Prince and his friend Van Jones, a CNN commentator and California human rights agitator and onetime green-jobs adviser to President Barack Obama. “He asked, ‘If I have a quarter-million dollars, what can I do with it?’” Jones recalled in an interview. “My wife said he should put solar panels all over Oakland.” That led to the creation of Powerhouse, a rare for-profit incubator dedicated to putting clean-tech entrepreneurs together with investors..."




Why Offshore Wind Farms Can't Handle the Toughest Hurricanes. A risk, and an opportunity. Here's an excerpt from PBS NewsHour: "Offshore wind developments are rapidly expanding. But most wind turbines are not built to withstand a direct hit from the strongest hurricanes, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters that models the worst-scenarios caused by category-5 storms. Researchers predict new offshore turbines would face hurricane wind gusts of more than 223 miles per hour — but the turbines can only manage gusts of 156 miles per hour based on current engineering standards. Part of the problem: Offshore turbine designs often draw from onshore wind turbines in Europe, where hurricane conditions are essentially nonexistent..."

Photo credit: "Heavy seas engulf Rhode Island’s Block Island wind farm, the first U.S. offshore wind warm." Photo by Energy.gov/Flickr.


Why the World Needs to Get Smarter About Water Consumption. The author of a story at Eco-Business explains that in a world where 6 billion people will live in cities by 2045 we need to get a lot smarter about how we manage our most precious natural resource: "In 1900, just 15 per cent of the world’s population lived in cities. Now that proportion is over 50 per cent, which is a lot of people. In fact, it means around 4 billion human beings rely on urban infrastructure to keep them warm, mobile and clean. Technology helps with this of course. Digital sensors, smart phones and smart home appliances allow for a new kind of understanding between citizens and city officials. In this so-called “smart city”, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of things (IoT) are used to enhance city living. Smart cities are a major part of achieving the goal set by the United Nations of making urban environments “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”...

File image: The Guardian.

Power Causes Brain Damage. You don't say? The Atlantic explains: "...The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view. Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy..."

Illustration credit: Justin Renteria.

The Botanists' Last Stand. It's hard watching species go extinct for a living, according to a story at Quartz: "...I’ve already witnessed about 20 species go extinct in the wild,” Perlman says. “It can be like you’re dealing with your friends or your family, and then they die.” Perlman tells me this as we drive up a winding road on the northwestern edge of Kauai, the geologically oldest Hawaiian island. Perlman is 69 with a sturdy build and white hair. That’s been enough to last him 45 years and counting on the knife’s edge of extreme botany. The stakes are always high: As the top botanist at Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), Perlman deals exclusively in plants with 50 or fewer individuals left—in many cases, much fewer, maybe two or three. Of the 238 species currently on that list, 82 are on Kauai; Perlman literally hangs off cliffs and jumps from helicopters to reach them..."

Photo credit: "Steve Perlman on the Kalalau cliffs on the Hawaiian island of Kauai." (Ken Wood).

The Death of Expertise. With the Internet now everyone is an expert - on everything - right? I read it on the Internet - it must be true. Dan Satterfield reviews a book at AGU Blogosphere: "Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College, says America has become a country “obsessed with the worship of its own ignorance.” Americans have always been skeptical of intellectuals and experts. Today, says Nichols, that attitude has mutated into outright hostility. In general, Americans have never been so willing to reject the knowledge of those who actually know something. This embrace of self-righteous ignorance bodes ill for the nation’s future. Nichol’s puts some blame on US universities, which fail to instill critical-thinking skills in students, and on the proliferation of news sources that compete by affirming their audiences’ biases...”

A Rare Journey Into the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a Super-Bunker That Can Survive Anything. WIRED.com has an eye-opening story: "...Shielded by 2,500 feet of granite, these people gather and analyze data from a global surveillance system, in an attempt to (among other, undisclosed things) warn the government’s highest officials of launches and missile threats to North America.Their military mole-city, completed in the mid-1960s amid Cold War worries, is—when fully buttoned-up—highly resistant to nuclear bombs, electromagnetic bombs, electromagnetically destructive behavior from the sun, and biological weapons. It’s designed to do its job, and let those inside do theirs, in the worst of worst-case scenarios. And with escalating fears about North Korean aggression and nuclear capabilities, Cheyenne Mountain’s ability to predict and survive a nuclear attack resonates more than it did just a few months ago..."

Photo credit: Sarah Scoles/WIRED.

Slow Time is God's Time. We can learn a lot from the Amish. Vestoj has a thoughtful story: "‘PATIENCE’ IS THE GIGANTIC message scrawled on every Amish buggy plodding on modern highways. ‘The horse is our pacer,’ as one Amish man puts it, ‘We can’t speed up like you can in a car.’ The slow-paced hymns in Amish church services linger for twenty minutes. The most traditional Amish do not set their clocks ahead an hour in the summer season as other Americans do. These traditionalists favour slow time, God’s time, established by the rising and setting of the sun. In the midst of a hyper-speed culture that wants more and more, faster and faster, from instant downloads, immediate tweets, express mail, and extreme sports to rushed everything, the Amish stubbornly resist the velocity of hypermodernity..."

Photo credit: William Albert Allard/National Geographic Creative. Originally published in 1965.

All Aboard Air Koryo, North Korea's Fleet of Ancient Soviet Planes. WIRED.com has a fascinating piece: "North Korea possesses the technological wherewithal to develop a nuclear bomb, launch devastating cyberattacks, and even hurl rockets toward its enemies. Yet it can't manage to put together an airline that isn't heavily stocked with Cold War-era Russian airliners. That said, the Air Koryo fleet is pretty cool in a retro kind of way, and a passionate band of aviation buffs happily spend their days taking joyrides. “They’re beautiful,” says Arthur Mebius. “These planes still have the original interiors they were delivered with...”

Photo credit: "A pilot removes the engine covers of a Tupolev Tu-154." Arthur Mebius.



TODAY: Partly sunny, nice. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 71

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 53

TUESDAY: Lukewarm sun with a stiff breeze. Winds: S 10-20+ High: 77

WEDNESDAY: Heavy showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 61. High: 73

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, a drier day statewide. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 76

FRIDAY: Unsettled, showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 70

SATURDAY: Sunny start, few PM T-storms. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 58. High: 75

SUNDAY: More sun, a better lake day? Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 55. High: 78


Climate Stories....

Christians Dedicated to Saving the Planet. I don't worship Creation, but I do serve God when I protect what he created. Clean air, clean water and a stable climate should be non-negotiable, something all of us can agree on. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Lancaster Online: "As Christians — one a lifelong Republican and president of the Evangelical Environmental Network — we’re part of a growing number of faith-based, bipartisan and conservative groups dedicated to caring for our children’s health by being good stewards of the earth. Since 1892, scientists have told us that burning fossil fuels adds CO2 to the air, resulting in a warming earth. More than 50 years ago, scientists warned then-President Lyndon Johnson of climate impacts and the “fever” we’re giving the earth, and today every major scientific body in the world acknowledges the reality of human-induced climate disruption..."




"Call Me Crazy, but Conservatives Should Probably Conserve". Clean air, clean water and a stable climate shouldn't be a partisan issue. My thanks to everyone who stopped by Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, Minnesota Friday afternoon. Here's an excerpt from The Brainerd Dispatch: "...His realization that climate change was happening came not from Al Gore, but simply observing the new extremes of weather, Douglas said. It made sense to him both from the capitalist and Christian perspectives to work to combat climate change. Teddy Roosevelt launched the National Park Service, and Richard Nixon, the Environmental Protection Agency. Ronald Reagan once said the government had a duty to protect against the environmental damages of industrial development, Douglas pointed out. Douglas said it was inherent that Republican ideals align with environmental protection. "Call me crazy, but I think conservatives should probably conserve," he said. "Otherwise, change your name..."

Photo credit: "Longtime TV meteorologist Paul Douglas speaks on climate change science Friday inside the sanctuary at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, as part of the Lakes Area Unlimited Learning lecture series." Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch.




From Heatwaves to Hurricanes, Floods to Famine: Seven Climate Change Hotspots. The Guardian takes a look at where the symptoms of a rapidly changing climate may have the most immediate implications: "...The evidence for the onset of climate change is compelling. But who and where is it hitting the hardest? How fast will it come to Africa, or the US? What will be its impact on tropical cities, forests or farming? On the poor, or the old? When it comes to details, much is uncertain. Mapping the world’s climate hotspots and identifying where the impacts will be the greatest is increasingly important for governments, advocacy groups and others who need to prioritise resources, set goals and adapt to a warming world. But lack of data and different priorities make it hard. Should scientists pinpoint the places most likely to see faster than average warming or wetter winters, or should they combine expected physical changes with countries’ vulnerability? Some hot-spot models use population data. Others seek to portray the impacts of a warming world on water resources or megacities..."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Canadian Breeze - Keep Weather Expectations Low for 4th of July Weekend

66 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
82 F. average high on June 24.
82 F. high on June 24, 2016.

June 25, 2003: Heavy rain falls across central Minnesota. Elk River picks up 8.19 inches. 4.36 inches fall in 4 hours in Maplewood, and there are reports of street flooding in St. Paul. Strong winds topple trees in Richfield.
June 25, 1950: Flooding hits Warroad. Strong winds accompany waters that rose 4 feet in 10 minutes.


More September Than June - Plan B Holiday Weather?

"There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends" wrote Arnot Sheppard. Amen.

For half the year we daydream about summer weekends. We make plans, cross our fingers, say silent prayers, hoping for the best. It's like playing a hopeless version of Weather Lotto.

Yesterday's weather was especially manic, alternating between blue sky and raging thunderstorms - the result of an unusually cold swirl of low pressure aloft. It's odd tracking clippers in late June.

A cool, September-like breeze lingers today; instability showers most prevalent from the Arrowhead into Wisconsin. The mercury mellows a bit this week; a swarm of storms likely Wednesday. We may salvage lukewarm sun Friday and Saturday, but ECMWF guidance hints at showers and T-storms Sunday and Monday. Of course. Highs reach the 70s next weekend, but 80s return the latter half of next week.

Yes, it's a "sub-optimal forecast" - but maybe the holiday weather outlook will age well over time, like a fine (box) wine.



Note: It Can Only Get Warmer. A few days away from the Summer Solstice? 60s for highs is highly unusual and unseasonable - and unsustainable. We warm into the 70s later this week with highs mostly in the 70s for the 4th of July holiday weekend. ECMWF guidance warms us back into the 80s the latter half of next week. Twin Cities meteogram: WeatherBell.

Saturday Storm Reports. There were numerous reports of flash flooding yesterday from Kentucky into Ohio, thunderstorm wind damage reported from Texas into Mid Atlantic. For details click here, courtesy of NOAA and AerisWeather.

Ditto. Not much change on the weather map - systems in a perpetual holding pattern. Heavy T-storms track from Texas into the Deep South; potentially heavy rain for Savannah and Charleston. More instability showers pop up from the Minnesota Arrowhead into Wisconsin with unsually cool weather. Suffocating heat continues from the west coast and southwestern USA into the southern Plains. 84-hour NAM guidance: Tropicaltidbits.com.

Free Sauna. The heat index is expected to exceed 100-105F across a wide swath of the southern USA, reaching Richmond, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia by the end of the week. The map above shows the predicted heat index next Saturday.

Heat Shifts North. A family of cool fronts have taken the edge off the heat across the northern tier states of the USA, but the pattern is forecast to shift by the second week of July with significant heat spreading into the Midwest and Great Lakes.


Spotty Rains Continue in Minnesota. Here's an excerpt of this week's Minnesota WeatherTalk from Mark Seeley: "This week brought some significant thunderstorms to portions of Minnesota, notably the northwest and the southern tier of counties near the Iowa border. Some northwestern observers reported a half inch or over an inch of rain, much needed given the heat and rapid growth of crops earlier in the month. Across southern counties rainfall of 1 inch to 1.50 inches was prevalent. Most other observers are reporting total monthly rainfall that falls short of normal. Only about 20 percent of the climate stations are reporting normal or greater than normal rainfall this month. Portions of Kittson, Marshall, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, and Koochiching Counties remain in moderate drought...."


Cool Bias Into Early June. The chilliest readings come this weekend, but I don't see us climbing out of this cool rut until the second week of July.





COLD Slaw Gives Way to HOT Dogs Across the East For The Holiday. Great headline! Here's an excerpt of a briefing I received from Planalytics: "...As consumers prepare for the holiday weekend, the run-up week will feature cooler than LY and normal temperatures across eastern North America. Don’t let that fool you though, as warmer temperatures will return to most eastern locations just in time for the weekend. Conversely, the West will start the week warmer than LY and normal but trend cooler as the week progresses. Wetter than normal conditions are anticipated in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest regions. Moving into Independence Day weekend (July 1-4), warmer temperatures will return to the Plains, Midwest, and East Coast, boosting demand for summer apparel, suncare, and cold beverages. The West will begin seasonally cool but warm by the 4th. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible in the Midwest and Northeast throughout the holiday weekend, threatening barbecues and other outdoor activities..."





Flood-Prone Town Protects Itself Against Waters While Letting a River Roam. The town in question is near Sacramento, according to a story at Emergency Management: "Sometimes better flood protection comes from giving a river some space to roam. Hamilton City, 85 miles north of Sacramento, learned that lesson from a new levee project that both protects against flooding and restores wildlife habitat. The levee will be set back from the Sacramento River for most of its 7 miles, allowing the river to spill over its banks and creating 1,400 acres of riparian forest and grassland. A model for flood-threatened areas nationwide, this project was the first designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to benefit both people and the environment..." (File photo: Shutterstock).

Average Dates of Hottest Summer Weather. A fascinating map, courtesy of climate guru Brian Brettschneider shows the warmest weather off the year ususally occurs before the 4th of July from southern Arizona and New Mexico into southwest Minnesota. East Texas? Hottest weather usually comes after August 8.

Hottest Temperatures. Historical records show the hottest temperatures of the year exceed 100F from the Carolinas and Plains to eastern Washington State. Temperatures in northern New England peak in the upper 80s.


Why Offshore Wind Farms Can't Handle the Toughest Hurricanes. A risk, and an opportunity. Here's an excerpt from PBS NewsHour: "Offshore wind developments are rapidly expanding. But most wind turbines are not built to withstand a direct hit from the strongest hurricanes, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters that models the worst-scenarios caused by category-5 storms. Researchers predict new offshore turbines would face hurricane wind gusts of more than 223 miles per hour — but the turbines can only manage gusts of 156 miles per hour based on current engineering standards. Part of the problem: Offshore turbine designs often draw from onshore wind turbines in Europe, where hurricane conditions are essentially nonexistent..."

Photo credit: "Heavy seas engulf Rhode Island’s Block Island wind farm, the first U.S. offshore wind warm." Photo by Energy.gov/Flickr.

Trump's Putdown of Wind Energy Whips Up a Backlash in Iowa. Because wind turbines are the state's #1 cash crop; Iowa is way out ahead of the curve. Here's an excerpt from Associated Press: "President Trump’s putdown of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced Thursday across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday night when he said: “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” He paused before adding, “as the birds fall to the ground,” a reference to birds killed by turbines. The remark drew some cheers and laughs inside the arena but didn’t go over well across Iowa, where the rapid growth of the state’s wind energy industry has been a bipartisan success story. Environmentalists and politicians said the president’s suggestion that wind is unreliable was outdated and off-base, and noted that bird deaths have been minimized and aren’t a source of controversy in Iowa..."

Photo credit: "In this June 2, 2014 file photo, cattle graze in a pasture near a wind turbine in Adair, Iowa. President Trump’s putdown of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced Thursday, June 22, 2017, across the state, which has been a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday when he said: “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” He added “as the birds fall to the ground,” a reference to birds killed by turbines." (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

The Botanists' Last Stand. It's hard watching species go extinct for a living, according to a story at Quartz: "...I’ve already witnessed about 20 species go extinct in the wild,” Perlman says. “It can be like you’re dealing with your friends or your family, and then they die.” Perlman tells me this as we drive up a winding road on the northwestern edge of Kauai, the geologically oldest Hawaiian island. Perlman is 69 with a sturdy build and white hair. That’s been enough to last him 45 years and counting on the knife’s edge of extreme botany. The stakes are always high: As the top botanist at Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), Perlman deals exclusively in plants with 50 or fewer individuals left—in many cases, much fewer, maybe two or three. Of the 238 species currently on that list, 82 are on Kauai; Perlman literally hangs off cliffs and jumps from helicopters to reach them..."

Photo credit: "Steve Perlman on the Kalalau cliffs on the Hawaiian island of Kauai." (Ken Wood)

Google's Elite Hacker SWAT Team vs. Everyone. If you're interested in security and privacy (who isn't?) you'll want to check out details on Google's Project Zero in an article at Fortune: "...You don’t have to be a member of Google’s Project Zero to know that security crises are on the rise around the globe. Every company has become a tech company—and so hacks are increasingly becoming commonplace, draining corporate bank accounts, spying on individuals, and interfering in elections. The headlines are sobering: More than 1 billion Yahoo accounts compromised. Tens of millions of dollars stolen through the SWIFT financial network. Countless private emails from the Democratic National Committee exposed ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (For more on how business is responding, read “Hacked: How Business Is Fighting Back Against the Explosion of Cybercrime.”)U.S. companies and government agencies reported 40% more breaches in 2016 than in 2015, and that’s a conservative estimate, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center..."

Illustration credit: Francesco Francavilla for Fortune.

A Rare Journey Into the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a Super-Bunker That Can Survive Anything. WIRED.com has an eye-opening story: "...Shielded by 2,500 feet of granite, these people gather and analyze data from a global surveillance system, in an attempt to (among other, undisclosed things) warn the government’s highest officials of launches and missile threats to North America.Their military mole-city, completed in the mid-1960s amid Cold War worries, is—when fully buttoned-up—highly resistant to nuclear bombs, electromagnetic bombs, electromagnetically destructive behavior from the sun, and biological weapons. It’s designed to do its job, and let those inside do theirs, in the worst of worst-case scenarios. And with escalating fears about North Korean aggression and nuclear capabilities, Cheyenne Mountain’s ability to predict and survive a nuclear attack resonates more than it did just a few months ago..."

Photo credit: Sarah Scoles/WIRED.

Opioids, a Mass Killer We're Meeting With a Shrug. Here's the intro of a Nicholas Kristof Op-Ed at The New York Times: "About as many Americans are expected to die this year of drug overdoses as died in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. For more than 100 years, death rates have been dropping for Americans - but now, because of opioids, death rates are rising again. We as a nation are going backward, and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50..."

Senate Health Bill is a Disaster for Opioid Crisis. Wired.com reports.

The Cheapest Generation. No, millennials don't necessarily want the same things their parents did. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...All of these strategies share a few key assumptions: that demand for cars within the Millennial generation is just waiting to be unlocked; that as the economy slowly recovers, today’s young people will eventually want to buy cars as much as their parents and grandparents did; that a finer-tuned appeal to Millennial values can coax them into dealerships. Perhaps. But what if these assumptions are simply wrong? What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery..."

Slow Time is God's Time. We can learn a lot from the Amish. Vestoj has a thoughtful story: "‘PATIENCE’ IS THE GIGANTIC message scrawled on every Amish buggy plodding on modern highways. ‘The horse is our pacer,’ as one Amish man puts it, ‘We can’t speed up like you can in a car.’ The slow-paced hymns in Amish church services linger for twenty minutes. The most traditional Amish do not set their clocks ahead an hour in the summer season as other Americans do. These traditionalists favour slow time, God’s time, established by the rising and setting of the sun. In the midst of a hyper-speed culture that wants more and more, faster and faster, from instant downloads, immediate tweets, express mail, and extreme sports to rushed everything, the Amish stubbornly resist the velocity of hypermodernity..."

Photo credit: William Albert Allard/National Geographic Creative. Originally published in 1965.

Why Your Brain Hates Other People. Food for thought at Nautilus: "Humans universally make Us/Them dichotomies along lines of race, ethnicity, gender, language group, religion, age, socioeconomic status, and so on. And it’s not a pretty picture. We do so with remarkable speed and neurobiological efficiency; have complex taxonomies and classifications of ways in which we denigrate Thems; do so with a versatility that ranges from the minutest of microaggression to bloodbaths of savagery; and regularly decide what is inferior about Them based on pure emotion, followed by primitive rationalizations that we mistake for rationality. Pretty depressing. But crucially, there is room for optimism. Much of that is grounded in something definedly human, which is that we all carry multiple Us/Them divisions in our heads. A Them in one case can be an Us in another, and it can only take an instant for that identity to flip..."

Illustration credit: Ignacio Serrano.

All Aboard Air Koryo, North Korea's Fleet of Ancient Soviet Planes. WIRED.com has a fascinating piece: "North Korea possesses the technological wherewithal to develop a nuclear bomb, launch devastating cyberattacks, and even hurl rockets toward its enemies. Yet it can't manage to put together an airline that isn't heavily stocked with Cold War-era Russian airliners. That said, the Air Koryo fleet is pretty cool in a retro kind of way, and a passionate band of aviation buffs happily spend their days taking joyrides. “They’re beautiful,” says Arthur Mebius. “These planes still have the original interiors they were delivered with...”

Photo credit: "A pilot removes the engine covers of a Tupolev Tu-154." Arthur Mebius.

Behold, The World's First Self-Driving Potato. This one is strange - yet promising in some weird way, courtesy of tech.co: "The future is here and it will be filled with self-driving potatoes. This week redditor Marek Baczynski unveiled how he invented the very first self-driving potato. The self-driving potato uses the energy it produces by collecting it with an energy-harvesting chip, which is then stored in a super capacitor, and once it has built up enough energy it causes the potato to move..."



TODAY: Cool breeze with intervals of sun, PM shower. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 67

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 51

MONDAY: More sun, feels like early September. Winds: N 7-12. High: 70

TUESDAY: Plenty of sun, warmer wind. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 54. High: 77

WEDNESDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 61. High: 76

THURSDAY: Sunny start, few T-storms late? Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 64. High: 81

FRIDAY: Some sun, few T-showers possible. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: near 80

SATURDAY: Some sun, cooler. Shower up north. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 59. High: 71


Climate Stories....


"Call Me Crazy, but Conservatives Should Probably Conserve". Clean air, clean water and a stable climate shouldn't be a partisan issue. My thanks to everyone who stopped by Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, Minnesota Friday afternoon. Here's an excerpt from The Brainerd Dispatch: "...His realization that climate change was happening came not from Al Gore, but simply observing the new extremes of weather, Douglas said. It made sense to him both from the capitalist and Christian perspectives to work to combat climate change. Teddy Roosevelt launched the National Park Service, and Richard Nixon, the Environmental Protection Agency. Ronald Reagan once said the government had a duty to protect against the environmental damages of industrial development, Douglas pointed out. Douglas said it was inherent that Republican ideals align with environmental protection. "Call me crazy, but I think conservatives should probably conserve," he said. "Otherwise, change your name..."

Photo credit: "Longtime tv meteorologist Paul Douglas speaks on climate change science Friday inside the sanctuary at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, as part of the Lakes Area Unlimited Learning lecture series." Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch.




From Heatwaves to Hurricanes, Floods to Famine: Seven Climate Change Hotspots. The Guardian takes a look at where the symptoms of a rapidly changing climate may have the most immediate implications: "...The evidence for the onset of climate change is compelling. But who and where is it hitting the hardest? How fast will it come to Africa, or the US? What will be its impact on tropical cities, forests or farming? On the poor, or the old? When it comes to details, much is uncertain. Mapping the world’s climate hotspots and identifying where the impacts will be the greatest is increasingly important for governments, advocacy groups and others who need to prioritise resources, set goals and adapt to a warming world. But lack of data and different priorities make it hard. Should scientists pinpoint the places most likely to see faster than average warming or wetter winters, or should they combine expected physical changes with countries’ vulnerability? Some hot-spot models use population data. Others seek to portray the impacts of a warming world on water resources or megacities..."




The Uncertain Future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. How might the West Antarctic Ice Sheet be impacted by a warming climate? Eos reports: "...One hypothesis is the following sequence of events: (1) global warming melts virtually all sea ice surrounding Antarctica, thereby removing this component of the O-Ring that encloses the continent and stabilizes discharge from ice streams and calving from ice shelves; (2) freed from pileup of sea ice against their calving fronts, ice shelves would disintegrate faster from increased iceberg calving that discerps ice shelves, facilitated by enhanced top and bottom melting; (3) retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf calving front, successively freeing East Antarctic outlet glaciers that now “nail” the Ross Ice Shelf to the Transantarctic Mountains, thereby allowing these outlet glaciers to increase discharge of East Antarctic ice; (4) increased ice discharge by West Antarctic ice streams, perhaps with a tenfold increase in ice velocity as now seen for Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers entering ice-free Pine Island Bay in the Amundsen Sea..."

Image credit: "Satellites have been continuously measuring sea ice in the polar regions since 1979. This image from March 3, 2017, shows the sea ice around the Antarctic continent at its lowest yearly minimum extent in the satellite record." Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio


Why a Scientific Cruise to Antarctica Should Be On Your Bucket List. Here's a clip from a story at Travel + Leisure: "...Once, the white continent was the exclusive preserve of scientists, explorers, and whalers, but starting in the 1960s the entrepreneur Lars-Eric Lindblad began pioneering trips for lay travelers. From the outset, Lindblad saw science and tourism as integral partners, and he recognized that having travelers actively engage with Antarctica, side-by-side with experts, could play a valuable role in bolstering conservation of this great wilderness. That ethos has continued to guide and distinguish Lindblad Expeditions under the leadership of his son, Sven-Olof. Today the company operates two Antarctic ships — in collaboration with National Geographic — offering three itineraries between October and March, ranging from 14 to 24 days..."

Photo credit: Dan Westergren.