Saturday, September 20, 2014

Canadian Breeze - 80F by Late Week. "Climate Change Denial May Cost U.S. Billions"

77 F. high Saturday afternoon in the Twin Cities.
70 F. average high on September 20.
66 F. high on September 20, 2013.
.24" rain fell yesterday at MSP International as of 7 PM.

September 20, 1994: 1/2 inch hail in Blue Earth County resulted in $6 million in crop damages.
September 20, 1924: Windstorm with a peak gust of 64 mph in Duluth.


September Bliss

"We know that in September we will wander through the warm winds of summer's wreckage. We will welcome summer's ghost" wrote Henry Rollins. I prefer to think of September as a summer encore, one last chance to get it right.

What's not to like? A crisp snap to the air, drooping dew points, fewer grumbles of thunder (yesterday's storms notwithstanding) and not nearly as many minivan-size mosquitoes showing up on Doppler.

This month can bring 100-degree heat and snow but most days are reasonable, the frenetic pace of summer replaced with fog & football.

Sorry for sounding like an infatuated teenager but this is my favorite time of the year. I don't have to sleep with one eye open.

I still see a warm bias into the first week of October. The ridge of high pressure that's been parked over California pushes east, bottling up any chilly air over Canada. After cooling into the 60s today 70s will be the rule much of this week; model guidance still showing highs near 80F by late week. Next weekend may be ideal for escaping up north to check out ripening leaves. Peak leaf-peeping time in the MSP metro is still about weeks away.

Summer was slightly milder than average. That trend should now spill over into early autumn.


An Oddly Average Summer. After the monsoons of June, officially the wettest month on record in Minnesota, temperatures were all over the map. Only 2 days above 90F (average is 14; last year we saw 19 days at or above 90F), with a series of chilly fronts in mid-July, the midpoint of summer heat. The perception: a chilly summer, and daytime highs were slightly cooler than average. But nighttime lows were 1.2F milder than average at MSP, meaning meteorological summer was .2F warmer than average. Yes, it was one of the strangest "average" summers I can recall.

2014: Fewer Tornadoes Than Average. At last count SPC reports 25 tornadoes in Minnesota so far in 2014, none of the touchdowns near the Twin Cities. The 20-year average is closer to 35. There were reports of hail and damaging winds this summer, but no widespread blow-downs or extensive areas of crop-destroying hail. Map: meteorologist D.J. Kayser at Media Logic Group.

When Good Weather = Bad Business. No drought, no extensive crop-damaging hail or wind events. The result: another potentially record corn harvest from the Dakotas to Ohio. Record supply is depressing prices, corn futures still well below profitability for many farmers. A commodity trader in Wayzata told me that back in 2012 (warmest year on record with pockets of drought and record heat spikes) corn farmers were looking at a profit of $300/acre. This year: a net loss of $250/acre. Yes, the weather really can be "too good".

Saturday's Severe Storm Outbreak. NOAA SPC reports 56 high wind reports (blue icons above), many of them in Minnesota as a rare squall line bubbled up in response to moderate instability and a strong jet stream feature. Winds gusted over 60 mph, bringing down trees, sparking sporadic power outages. A complete chronological rundown of severe weather reports is here.

September Squall Line. I saved this NWS Doppler reflectivity image, taken at 5:04 PM, showing the most severe storms near Glencoe and Fairfax, where some of the most extensive straight-line wind damage was reported. NOAA SPC did issue a Severe Storm Watch around midday, and the models (especially HRRR) did a good job with the timing of these storms.

Cool Surge. Look carefully at the beginning of this 2-meter temperature animation: you can clearly see the surge of cool air in the wake of yesterday's strong to severe storms. You'll feel the cool front today with more clouds than sun and a stiff northwest wind, a few instability showers can't be ruled out, especially east of the St. Croix River. Any cool-down will be brief with a rapid warming trend later this week. 4 KM NAM model data: NOAA and HAMweather.

Lukewarm. We cool off today and Monday; but any light jackets at the bus stop tomorrow morning may be replaced by shorts and T-shirts by the end of the week as highs climb well into the 70s to near 80F. An isolated shower or sprinkle can't be ruled today, especially over Wisconsin, with a better chance of scattered showers Wednesday. Right now next weekend looks dry and warm, more typical of late August than late September. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.

2014 Was a Summer Sizzler: Earth's Hottest on Record. Here's more information on a record-setting summer, worldwide, from USA TODAY: "The planet just had its hottest summer on record, according to data released Thursday by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It's also well on its way to having its hottest year ever, beating 2010, said climate scientist Jake Crouch of the data center. The global temperature for summer was 1.28 degrees above the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees. Records go back to 1880. Climatologists define summer in the Northern Hemisphere as the months of June, July and August..."

Map credit above: "The parts of the world that were warmer-than-average this past summer are seen in red and pink on this map, while places that were cooler-than-average (such as the eastern U.S.) are seen in blue." (Photo: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center)

Hurricane Odile: From Paradise to Armageddon in 12 Hours. Here's a blog account of what really happened in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on the southern tip of Baja, when Category 3 Hurricane Odile arrived. The impact was even worse than I thought it would be. Here's an excerpt from a must-read account at wHaT iT iS: "I'm writing from the safety of my family's home in Mexico City after fleeing Cabo on a rescue plane yesterday morning. Words will never be enough to portray what I saw and experienced in Cabo during and after Hurricane Odile, but I want to write the most detailed account so people can get a sense of what the situation was really like as of Wednesday, Sept 17- as most media outlets are filtering things likely to protect tourism in the long run, as well as not to worry friends and relatives of those in Cabo during the storm. The easiest way to do this is as a "timeline"...

Family Describes "Nightmare Experience" in Cabo. Q13fox.com has the harrowing details.

Americans Trapped in Cabo Describe Desperation, Danger. NBC News has the story.

The Chemistry Behind The Different Colors of Autumn Leaves. Gizmodo and Compound Interest have a good explainer of what makes leaves change colors this time of year; here's an excerpt: "...Over at Compound Interest, Andy Brunning has made yet another infographic that gets into the geeky and fascinating details. Yes, the green of chlorophyll gives way to the yellow, orange, and red of carotenoids and flavonoids. But that deep purple and magenta you sometimes see? That's an entirely different class of compounds, called anthocyanins that plants only start making in the fall..."

El Nino is Kinda Sorta Maybe Here. Climate Central takes a look at this year's slow-motion warming phase in the Pacific; here's a clip: "El Niño watchers, rejoice (maybe). A weak El Niño has formed (sorta).  On Tuesday, researchers at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society said a borderline El Niño is upon us, with the odds for further development increasing throughout the fall and winter. This El Niño has played a game of hide and seek since an El Niño Watch was declared way back in March. After picking up steam in the spring and early summer, El Niño conditions essentially disappeared in July and much of August..."

Image credit above: "Chart showing ocean temperatures in different regions of the Pacific used to gauge El Niño, including the recent rise in temperatures." Credit: IRI.

Looking Back to 1821, Insurers Foresee a $100 Billion Hurricane. No, Sandy was not a worst-case scenario for the northeastern USA. Here's an excerpt from an Andrew Revkin Dot Earth story at The New York Times: "...The result is, needless to say, deeply sobering, showing that the losses from Hurricane Sandy were, as many experts have warned, nowhere near a worst case. The study’s bottom line? If the 1821 Hurricane were to happen today, it would cause 50% more damage than Sandy and potentially cause more than $100 billion in property losses stemming from storm surge and wind damage..."

Image credit above: "Analysts at Swiss Re, the giant reinsurance company, have projected that a repeat of the great 1821 hurricane that struck New York City would flood a far greater area than Hurricane Sandy and could cause more than $100 billion in damage." Credit Swiss Re.

Report Warns That Superstorm Sandy Was Not "The Big One". Following up on the Swiss Re report Huffington Post has more perspective; here's an excerpt: "...When the 1821 storm passed through hubs like Washington, D.C. and New York City, those cities had much smaller populations -- only 136,000 people combined. Today, Washington alone has more than four times as many residents, and New York is home to more than 8 million people. Using meteorological models, geographic and infrastructure data and Swiss Re's underwriting tools, the report considers the impact an analogous storm would have today. It predicts a storm surge of up to 12 feet at the southern tip of Manhattan, and a surge of up to 25 feet in Atlantic City, New Jersey -- in part because the water is about a foot and a half higher now than it was in 1821, due to sea level rise..."

College Football: The Multi-Billion Dollar Business Where The Labor Is Free. Quartz has another interesting article, this time looking at why so many of us are rabid college football fans, and how the economics of football, the huge dollars involved, are changing not only the game, but how colleges operate. Here's an excerpt: "...And today, as economists debate rising inequality and low minimum wages, college football debates whether student athletes—who aren’t paid, but get scholarships—should be compensated more. Michael Weinreb, the author of the new book Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games, explains that the fervent support for college football stems from one of the most powerful marketing tools there is: nostalgia. “It appeals to people’s nostalgia, because they either went to school there or they grew up there, and they think they can get back to that place,” he tells Quartz..."

Photo credit: "Kind-of a big deal in Alabama." Reuters/ RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

What Happens When We All Live To 100? Kiss social security goodbye, right? Here's a snippet of a fascinating article from The Atlantic: "...Since 1840, life expectancy at birth has risen about three months with each passing year. In 1840, life expectancy at birth in Sweden, a much-studied nation owing to its record-keeping, was 45 years for women; today it’s 83 years. The United States displays roughly the same trend. When the 20th century began, life expectancy at birth in America was 47 years; now newborns are expected to live 79 years. If about three months continue to be added with each passing year, by the middle of this century, American life expectancy at birth will be 88 years. By the end of the century, it will be 100 years..."


TODAY: More clouds than sun, still windy. Risk of a shower, especially Wisconsin. Winds: NW 15+ High: 65
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 49
MONDAY: Bright sun with less wind, beautiful. Dew point: 45. High: 71
TUESDAY: Fading sun, seasonably mild. Wake-up: 50. High: 73
WEDNESDAY: Unsettled, few showers in the area. Wake-up: 56. High: 69
THURSDAY: Early fog, PM sun, milder. Wake-up: 57. High: 74
FRIDAY: Bottle it. Warm sunshine. Wake-up: 60. High: 78
SATURDAY: August memories. Hazy sun. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80


Climate Stories...

My Climate Change. We all start from a point of skepticism. But if you do more than mouth cable TV talking points and really take time to drill down into the data, you're left with the knowledge that something really is happening, and odds are it isn't natural or benign. Here's an excerpt of Weather Channel Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro's story, how he came to acknowledge the science, at Weather Underground: "..Did I suddenly switch from conservative to liberal? No, in fact I consider myself politically independent. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. (I've either now assuaged everyone's concerns or irritated everyone, or both!) Did The Weather Channel pressure me to change my point of view on global warming or what I communicate about it? Nobody at The Weather Channel, its owners or its advertisers has ever done that. I come to my own objective conclusions, and that will never change. Skepticism is a fundamental part of the scientific process, and healthy when in that vein. I continue to look at data with a skeptical eye. However, skepticism is not constructive when it becomes overwhelming and results in being closed-minded and only seeing what you want to see. So, what convinced me?..."

Obama Budget Chief: "Climate Denial" Will Cost the U.S. Billions. Here's an excerpt from The Hill: "...President Obama's budget director on Friday said "denial" of climate change will eventually cost the United States "billions of dollars." Shaun Donovan, delivering his first speech as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), put the focus on an issue not normally associated with the dollars and cents of the federal budget. "Climate action is tremendously important to me," Donovan said..."

Climate Change is a Global Emergency. Stop Waiting for Politicians to Sound The Alarm. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at The Guardian from Naomi Klein: "...What is most terrifying about the threat of climate disruption is not the unending procession of scientific reports about rapidly melting ice sheets, crop failures and rising seas. It’s the combination of trying to absorb that information while watching our so-called leaders behave as if the global emergency is no immediate concern. As if every alarm in our collective house were not going off simultaneously. Only when we urgently acknowledge that we are facing a genuine crisis will it become possible to enact the kinds of bold policies and mobilize the economic resources we need. Only then will the world have a chance to avert catastrophic warming..."

Image credit above: "The most terrifying part of climate change may be watching politicians behave as if the emergency is no immediate concern." Illustration: Cesar Maxi.

The Imminent Threat To The U.S. That Gets Ignored. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at CNN: "There is an imminent threat facing the people, economy and territory of the United States of America. A report by the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board calls it a threat to national security and a broader "catalyst for conflict," domestically and worldwide. The admiral in charge of U.S. forces in the Pacific says it poses the biggest long-term security threat to the region. A comprehensive study, with 16 terabytes of data, documents how this threat will affect every single county in the United States — costing coastal cities billions and decimating crops all across the Midwest..."

Photo credit above: Mary Altaffer, AP. "Protections have already been added to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, but will they be enough in an era of climate change. Listing 30 at-risk sites, a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists contends rising seas are endangering many of America's landmarks. Here's a look at some of them."

New Map of 15 Years of CO2 Emissions. EarthSky has an interesting story on carbon dioxide emission rates, worldwide. Here's the introduction: "Researchers have developed a new system – which they call the Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS) – to estimate CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. This new system has now been used to quantify 15 years of CO2 emissions, every hour, for the entire planet – down to the city scale. Researchers unveiled the new system in an article published September 10 in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The FFDAS uses information from satellite feeds, national fuel accounts and a new global database on power plants to create high-resolution planetary maps..

Map credit: Gurney Labs.

What A Biblical-Style Flood Could Mean for Washington D.C. When congressmen have to boat to the U.S. Capitol maybe they'll realize that something has changed. Here's a clip from a story at Citylab: "It's amazing that with a 97 percent scientific consensus on human-caused climate change we still have politicians talking smack about its importance. Will their tune change at all, one wonders, once the flood waters are lapping at the base of the federal government? This mapping tool can't answer that question, but it does give an indication of what a climate-enraged flood could mean for Washington, D.C. And to believe the folks at Climate Central, the independent group that created it with government data, such an epic dousing is nigh. They say the city will "likely see a record flood before mid-century," meaning one that would measure 8 feet above the high-tide level in the Tidal Basin..."

Global Investors Urge Leaders To Act On Carbon Pricing Ahead of UN Meeting. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "More than 340 institutional investors representing $24 trillion in assets on Thursday called on government leaders attending next week's United Nations climate summit to set carbon pricing policies that encourage the private sector to invest in cleaner technologies. Firms signing a joint letter include BlackRock, Calvert Investments, BNP Paribas Investment Partners and Standard Bank..."

Our Disappearing Snows: Climate Change and Water Resources. We're talking primarily about snow trends over the western USA and Rockies. Peter Gleick has the story at Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "...We're not ready. We still manage our water systems for the 20th century climate we use to have, not the 21st century climate we will have. We still act as though our water problems can be solved with traditional solutions despite the growing evidence of peak water limits in places like the western US. And we still assume that we can indefinitely overdraft our groundwater, suck our rivers dry, and expand our populations in arid regions. We cannot. The sooner we accept the new reality of climate change, the sooner we can have a real conversation about the most effective strategies for truly sustainable water management and use."

Map credit: National Geographic 2014. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west-snow-fail/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ripe for Late-Day Thunder. Mild Bias into Early October

81 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
70 F. average high on September 19.
78 F. high on September 19, 2013.

September 19, 2001: 3/4 to 1 3/4 inch hail fell in Freeborn and Faribault counties.
September 19, 1972: Downpour in Duluth, with 5 1/2 inches in ten hours.


Pulled Punch?

I just sold my snowmobiles. Part of the reason: My kids are out of the house and I'm getting old - I don't want to injure myself in a freak ditch-riding melee. But I'm also starting to wonder if we'll see less snow than average next winter. Please, let me rationalize my decision.

Confidence levels are (very) low looking that far out, but Media Logic Group forensic meteorologist D.J. Kayser made a very interesting discovery: during mild El Nino winters, with a temperature anomaly of .5C warmer than average, MSP snowfall is nearly half of normal. That means 25 inches versus 55 inches. We still seem to be limping into a mild to moderate El Nino. We'll see.

Take it with a king-size grain of salt, but every one of NOAA's long-range climate models, with acronyms like NMME, IMME and CFS (Climate Forecast System), show Minnesota and most of North America trending slightly milder than average from December into February. So the odds of another winter tracking a stalled polar vortex are small. But not zero.

Morning sun gives way to instability showers this afternoon. Sunday looks like the sunnier, drier day with highs in the 60s.

More showers arrive next Wednesday, otherwise next week looks seasonably mild and mostly-dry. Models hint at highs near 80F late next week with a mild bias into early October.

Boating optional.

Ripe for Late PM Instability T-Showers. A few severe storms flared up over far northwestern Minnesota late Friday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some strong T-storms later today as cooler air pushes south, a pocket of cold air aloft setting the stage for enough instability to support thunder, lightning, even small hail. Much of the day will be dry with a stiff northwest wind - watch for showers and possible thunder after 5 PM; earlier up north. 4 KM NAM solution above: NOAA and HAMweather.

Mild Bias Next 7-10 Days. Long-range guidance shows a cool-down today into Monday, but temperatures rebound into the 70s much of next week; another crack at 80F the end of next week. The best chance of showers: Wednesday, again a week from tomorrow. I see relatively mild weather spilling over into the first few days of October.

2014 Was a Summer Sizzler: Earth's Hottest on Record. Here's more information on a record-setting summer, worldwide, from USA TODAY: "The planet just had its hottest summer on record, according to data released Thursday by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It's also well on its way to having its hottest year ever, beating 2010, said climate scientist Jake Crouch of the data center. The global temperature for summer was 1.28 degrees above the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees. Records go back to 1880. Climatologists define summer in the Northern Hemisphere as the months of June, July and August..."

Map credit above: "The parts of the world that were warmer-than-average this past summer are seen in red and pink on this map, while places that were cooler-than-average (such as the eastern U.S.) are seen in blue." (Photo: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center)

Hurricane Odile: From Paradise to Armageddon in 12 Hours. Here's a blog account of what really happened in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on the southern tip of Baja, when Category 3 Hurricane Odile arrived. The impact was even worse than I thought it would be. Here's an excerpt from a must-read account at wHaT iT iS: "I'm writing from the safety of my family's home in Mexico City after fleeing Cabo on a rescue plane yesterday morning. Words will never be enough to portray what I saw and experienced in Cabo during and after Hurricane Odile, but I want to write the most detailed account so people can get a sense of what the situation was really like as of Wednesday, Sept 17- as most media outlets are filtering things likely to protect tourism in the long run, as well as not to worry friends and relatives of those in Cabo during the storm. The easiest way to do this is as a "timeline"...

Family Describes "Nightmare Experience" in Cabo. Q13fox.com has the harrowing details.

Americans Trapped in Cabo Describe Desperation, Danger. NBC News has the story.

The Chemistry Behind The Different Colors of Autumn Leaves. Gizmodo and Compound Interest have a good explainer of what makes leaves change colors this time of year; here's an excerpt: "...Over at Compound Interest, Andy Brunning has made yet another infographic that gets into the geeky and fascinating details. Yes, the green of chlorophyll gives way to the yellow, orange, and red of carotenoids and flavonoids. But that deep purple and magenta you sometimes see? That's an entirely different class of compounds, called anthocyanins that plants only start making in the fall..."

San Diego Nearing 1,000 Days of Drought. KPBS has the grim update. Severe El Ninos often bring heavy winter rains to southern California, but it now appears the developing warm phase of the Pacific may only be mild to moderate. Here's an excerpt: "...The last significant rain accumulation in San Diego County occurred in December 2010 when a rare atmospheric river system brought wave after wave of storms, dumping five inches in downtown, Tardy said. Record warm temperatures continue to fuel the drought. Tardy said 2014 has been the hottest year in San Diego County since temperatures began being recorded 120 years ago. “All things that could aggravate the drought and make it worse pretty much came into align this year,” Tardy said..."

* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.

El Nino is Kinda Sorta Maybe Here. Climate Central takes a look at this year's slow-motion warming phase in the Pacific; here's a clip: "El Niño watchers, rejoice (maybe). A weak El Niño has formed (sorta).  On Tuesday, researchers at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society said a borderline El Niño is upon us, with the odds for further development increasing throughout the fall and winter. This El Niño has played a game of hide and seek since an El Niño Watch was declared way back in March. After picking up steam in the spring and early summer, El Niño conditions essentially disappeared in July and much of August..."

Image credit above: "Chart showing ocean temperatures in different regions of the Pacific used to gauge El Niño, including the recent rise in temperatures." Credit: IRI.

Looking Back to 1821, Insurers Foresee a $100 Billion Hurricane. No, Sandy was not a worst-case scenario for the northeastern USA. Here's an excerpt from an Andrew Revkin Dot Earth story at The New York Times: "...The result is, needless to say, deeply sobering, showing that the losses from Hurricane Sandy were, as many experts have warned, nowhere near a worst case. The study’s bottom line? If the 1821 Hurricane were to happen today, it would cause 50% more damage than Sandy and potentially cause more than $100 billion in property losses stemming from storm surge and wind damage..."

Image credit above: "Analysts at Swiss Re, the giant reinsurance company, have projected that a repeat of the great 1821 hurricane that struck New York City would flood a far greater area than Hurricane Sandy and could cause more than $100 billion in damage." Credit Swiss Re.

Report Warns That Superstorm Sandy Was Not "The Big One". Following up on the Swiss Re report Huffington Post has more perspective; here's an excerpt: "...When the 1821 storm passed through hubs like Washington, D.C. and New York City, those cities had much smaller populations -- only 136,000 people combined. Today, Washington alone has more than four times as many residents, and New York is home to more than 8 million people. Using meteorological models, geographic and infrastructure data and Swiss Re's underwriting tools, the report considers the impact an analogous storm would have today. It predicts a storm surge of up to 12 feet at the southern tip of Manhattan, and a surge of up to 25 feet in Atlantic City, New Jersey -- in part because the water is about a foot and a half higher now than it was in 1821, due to sea level rise..."

What Happens When We All Live To 100? Kiss social security goodbye, right? Here's a snippet of a fascinating article from The Atlantic: "...Since 1840, life expectancy at birth has risen about three months with each passing year. In 1840, life expectancy at birth in Sweden, a much-studied nation owing to its record-keeping, was 45 years for women; today it’s 83 years. The United States displays roughly the same trend. When the 20th century began, life expectancy at birth in America was 47 years; now newborns are expected to live 79 years. If about three months continue to be added with each passing year, by the middle of this century, American life expectancy at birth will be 88 years. By the end of the century, it will be 100 years..."

Pushing The Envelope: An Electric Wakeboard? It's in prototype form, but you can bet that someone will be trying this out on Minnetonka, Calhoun or Gull Lake in the not-too-distant future. Gizmag has details: "Wakeboarding sure looks like a lot of fun, but it does have at least one limiting factor – you need to find someone else to go out on the water with you, to pilot the boat. Swedish entrepreneurs Alexander Lind and Philip Werner decided to do something about that, and created the Radinn electric wakeboard. While it doesn't provide you with a wake on which to do tricks, it does let you go out when and wherever you want. Currently in working prototype form, the Radinn has a carbon fiber body, a salt water-resistant jet propulsion system, and is powered by a lithium battery pack..."

Dogs Can Be Pessimists Too. I had no idea - but it makes me appreciate my upbeat, perpetually happy spaniel even more; here's an excerpt from eurekalert.org: "Dogs generally seem to be cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters, so you might expect that most would have an optimistic outlook on life. In fact some dogs are distinctly more pessimistic than others, research from the University of Sydney shows. "This research is exciting because it measures positive and negative emotional states in dogs objectively and non-invasively. It offers researchers and dog owners an insight into the outlook of dogs and how that changes," said Dr Melissa Starling, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Her PhD research findings are published in PLOS today..."

More Cities Using Text-Based Alert System To Warn Americans If They Are In Range of NFL Players. Only The Onion could pull this off; here's the introduction: "In an effort to provide the general public with critical safety information in a timely manner, sources confirmed Wednesday that an increasing number of U.S. cities are now using a text-based alert system to warn Americans who are in the vicinity of an NFL player. “With this new protocol, residents will be advised via text message to take shelter, stay off roads, and exercise extreme caution if they are within close range of any professional football player,” said Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who praised the new SMS service for delivering prompt alerts to all cellular devices in a 10-mile radius of any linebacker, running back, wide receiver, or offensive lineman..."


TODAY: Sunny start, PM showers pop up,  possibly a T-storm. Gusty. Winds: NW 15+ High: 74
SATURDAY NIGHT: Evening showers, then slow clearing. Low: 52
SUNDAY: More sun, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15. High: 68
MONDAY: Lot's of sunshine, less wind. Wake-up: 46. High: 69
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, still pleasant. Wake-up: 48. High: 72
WEDNESDAY: Showers likely. Cool & damp. Wake-up: 58. High: 65
THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, turning milder. Wake-up: 59. High: 74
FRIDAY: August rerun. Warm breeze. Wake-up: 62. HIgh: 81


Climate Stories...

New Map of 15 Years of CO2 Emissions. EarthSky has an interesting story on carbon dioxide emission rates, worldwide. Here's the introduction: "Researchers have developed a new system – which they call the Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS) – to estimate CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. This new system has now been used to quantify 15 years of CO2 emissions, every hour, for the entire planet – down to the city scale. Researchers unveiled the new system in an article published September 10 in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The FFDAS uses information from satellite feeds, national fuel accounts and a new global database on power plants to create high-resolution planetary maps..

Map credit: Gurney Labs.

What A Biblical-Style Flood Could Mean for Washington D.C. When congressmen have to boat to the U.S. Capitol maybe they'll realize that something has changed. Here's a clip from a story at Citylab: "It's amazing that with a 97 percent scientific consensus on human-caused climate change we still have politicians talking smack about its importance. Will their tune change at all, one wonders, once the flood waters are lapping at the base of the federal government? This mapping tool can't answer that question, but it does give an indication of what a climate-enraged flood could mean for Washington, D.C. And to believe the folks at Climate Central, the independent group that created it with government data, such an epic dousing is nigh. They say the city will "likely see a record flood before mid-century," meaning one that would measure 8 feet above the high-tide level in the Tidal Basin..."

Global Investors Urge Leaders To Act On Carbon Pricing Ahead of UN Meeting. Here's the intro to a story at Reuters: "More than 340 institutional investors representing $24 trillion in assets on Thursday called on government leaders attending next week's United Nations climate summit to set carbon pricing policies that encourage the private sector to invest in cleaner technologies. Firms signing a joint letter include BlackRock, Calvert Investments, BNP Paribas Investment Partners and Standard Bank..."

Our Disappearing Snows: Climate Change and Water Resources. We're talking primarily about snow trends over the western USA and Rockies. Peter Gleick has the story at Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "...We're not ready. We still manage our water systems for the 20th century climate we use to have, not the 21st century climate we will have. We still act as though our water problems can be solved with traditional solutions despite the growing evidence of peak water limits in places like the western US. And we still assume that we can indefinitely overdraft our groundwater, suck our rivers dry, and expand our populations in arid regions. We cannot. The sooner we accept the new reality of climate change, the sooner we can have a real conversation about the most effective strategies for truly sustainable water management and use."

Map credit: National Geographic 2014. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west-snow-fail/

The Power of Religion and Prayer To Head Off Climate Disaster. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Guardian: "...Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and a Nobel peace laureate wrote: “Through greed, we have established an economy that destroys the web of life. We have changed our climate and drown in despair. Let oceans of justice flow. May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth. We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth, as they gather in New York City at the climate talks. May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness. May they act with compassion and courage, and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children...”

Photo credit above: "Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written a prayer asking that leaders act with compassion and courage on climate change." Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA .

Congressman: "Don't Trust Climate Scientists, They're In It For The Money". If they were in it for the money they'd be in the private sector, representing fossil fuel interests, where the big money resides. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "A very interesting exchange kicked off today’s House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on the Obama administration’s plan to fight climate change, between Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and White House Science Adviser John Holdren. In it, the Congressman not only sealed himself in the books as a climate denier, but also admitted that he doesn’t accept the scientific literature on climate change because the scientists who write it need global warming to exist in order to get paid..."

Photo credit: "House Speaker John Boehner, left, performs a mock swearing in for Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington." CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

Dems Tie Climate Skeptics to Tobacco, Lead Backers. Here's an excerpt from TheHill: "What the denial apparatus would like is for the public simply to focus on their stable of well-trained scientists who can come out an offer counterpoint to the scientists who are honest and trained and know what they’re talking about and are sincere in what they do,” Whitehouse said at the Thursday event on Capitol Hill. “When you peel back the curtain and look at the machinery that produces that, and get a sense that it has produced it over and over again on different issues, from climate change to lead paint to tobacco, probably leading all the way back to putting seatbelts in cars,” he said..."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unsettled Friday Ahead


(Photo Courtesy: Susan Olin via MN DNR)


In Search of Average
By Paul Douglas

Open your mouth and there's a 90 percent probability you'll say something someone disagrees with. Such is the nature of public discourse. John Giudicessi questioned my use of cooling degree days to say summer temperatures were average.

So I asked Pete Boulay at the MN Climate Office for a reality check. "Believe it or not, the summer of 2014 (June-August) finished just slightly above normal in the Twin Cities (mean temperature 71.5 degrees or .2F degrees above normal) Boulay wrote. Daytime highs were slightly cooler, but nighttime lows were significantly milder, a trend we've seen in recent years. Summers are becoming more humid and moist air doesn't cool nearly as fast at night.

A freak early frost across much of Minnesota last Saturday has dredged up paranoia about the winter to come, but I see a mild bias into early October. Expect mid-70s today with a growing chance of thunder; highs brush 80F Saturday before cooling back down Sunday.

The average MSP high now is close to 70F. A building ridge of high pressure warms us well into the 70s next week; another shot at 80F in 1 week. Proving once again that nature never moves in a straight line. There is no such thing as average.

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THURSDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, not as cool. Slight chance of an isolated shower/storm Low: 57.

FRIDAY: Unsettled, few T-showers expected. Dew point: 64 High: 75. Wind: S 15-25

FRIDAY NIGHT: Spotty showers and storms. Low: 63.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and mild. PM clouds, a few showers north of MSP. High: 79, falling during the PM hours

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler. Wake-up: 55. High: 69

MONDAY: Blue sky, hints of October. Wake-up: 46. High: 71

TUESDAY: Warming up to September. Wake-up: 50. High: near 75

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, a few showers late. Wake-up: 53. High: 74.

THURSDAY: Humid, showers arrive. Wake-up: 59. High: 69.

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Today in Weather History
September 19th


1998: 1 to 1 3/4 inch hail fell in Meeker, Wright, Todd, and Wilkin Counties winds were also estimated over 50kts.

1980: Golfball to baseball sized hail hit St. Paul. One company had 75 to 95 percent of the glass in their greenhouses smashed.

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Average High/Low for MSP
September 19th


Average High: 70F (Record 94F set in 1895)
Average Low: 51F (Record 33F set in 1991)

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for MSP
Septmeber 19th


Sunrise: 6:56am
Sunset: 7:16pm

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Moon Phase for Friday, September 19th at Midnight
4.2 Days After Last Quarter




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Minneapolis Temperature Trend
A steady decline... probably not what you want to see in the temperature department if you're a fan of summer. Keep in mind that Monday is the Autumnal Equinox (first day of Fall) and September tends to be a month where we see a large drop in our average highs/lows. From the beginning to the end of the month, our average high at MSP goes from 77F to 65F and our average low goes from 65F to 46F. Despite the steady drop in temperatures over the next 15 days, weather conditions as of late have been quite impressive for September, let's hope we can keep that going!



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Weather Outlook for Friday
Warmer, but unsettled. An approaching impulse of energy will keep weather conditions a little bit on the unsettled side Friday and Saturday, but we won't have any all day rains. Best chance of heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday appears to be across the northern part of the state. Daytime highs on Friday will range from the 50s & 60s across the northeastern part of the state, while 80F+ will be possible in the western part of the state.



Unsettled Weather Returns
Yes, it appears weather conditions will be a bit on the unsettled side heading into late week/early weekend, but it doesn't look like a washout. The best chance of scattered rain/thunder will be across the northern part of the state PM Friday/AM Saturday. There could be a few lingering showers/storms in central/southern MN AM Saturday, but it looks like we'll start clearing out through the rest of the weekend.



Rainfall Potential
Here's a look at the precipitation potential through Saturday. Again, note that the heaviest and most widespread moisture looks to be positioned across the northern part of the state.



Fall Colors Quickly Turning...
Thanks to my good friend and collegue, Susie Martin for the picture below out of Excelsior, MN where signs of fall are certainly underway. The maples and sumac are sensing a lack of sunlight and cooler weather ahead and have already started turning red.



MN DNR Fall Color Update
According to the MN DNR, parts of the state are already at 25%-50% color in western and northwestern MN. One thing that I've noticed over the years is that the fall color happens quick so don't blink! Unfortunately, we're not too far away from seeing trees without leaves until sometime in the Spring - UGH! The lack of green, to me, is one of the hardest things about living this far north...

See more from the MN DNR HERE:



Average Fall Color Peak
Like it or not, we're well underway with fall color across the state. The image below (from MN DNR) suggests the average peak color to help plan your trip to your favorite fall color spot.



My Favorite Fall Color Spots
I shouldn't be giving away my favorite fall color spots, but it's hard not share... Minnesota has so many wonderful spots to view fall colors, however if you're planning a trip to the North Shore anytime soon, here are a few of my favorite stops.

1.) Oberg Mountain Loop: On Hwy 61 between Tofte and Lutsen, there is a dirt road called Onion River Rd (FR 336) that takes you to this growing popular spot called Oberg Mountain Loop. It's about 2.25 miles round trip that takes a loop around the top of a mountain, which gives you views of not only Lake Superior, but also the incredible 'inland' colors. The views are breathtaking already, but add peak fall color and you'll be hooked!

2.) Lutsen Mountain: Another one of my favorite spots is at the Lutsen Mountain Ski Area. Not only can you enjoy the Alpine Slide, but take the Mountain Tram to the Summit Chalet ($12.50/rider)  and you'll fly through a sea of brilliant colors. At the Summit Chalet, you can have lunch and/or wander around the summit. There's actually a trail and a beautiful overlook on the other side of the summit (short walk), which overlooks more incredible views of the 'inland' maples!

3.) Honeymoon Trail: If you're up for a little drive, take the Honeymoon Trail! The best way I can describe it is imagine a hole cut through the woods with yellow, orange and red colors surrounding you. It's an amazing drive when the colors are peaking...

The picture below was taken a few years ago of my beautiful wife and me at one of the overlooks on the Oberg Mountain Loop during peak color! I WANT TO GO BACK!!!!



Global Highlights for August 2014
A recent report compiled and released by NOAA shows several global highlights for August.
Read more from NOAA HERE:

** The combined average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was record high for the month, at 0.75°C (1.35°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F), topping the previous record set in 1998.

** The global land surface temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the second highest on record for August, behind 1998.

** For the ocean, the August global sea surface temperature was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20thcentury average of 16.4°C (61.4°F). This record high departure from average not only beats the previous August record set in 2005 by 0.08°C (0.14°F), but also beats the previous all-time record set just two months ago in June 2014 by 0.03°C (0.05°F).

** The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for the June–August period was also record high for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), beating the previous record set in 1998.

** The June–August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20thcentury average, the fifth highest on record for this period. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average, the highest on record for June–August. This beats the previous record set in 2009 by 0.04°C (0.07°F).

** The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–August (year-to-date) was 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.3°F), the third highest for this eight-month period on record.



3rd Warmest January - August on Record for Globe
Interestingly, within that report. NOAA suggests that the January - August period was the 3rd warmest on record for the globe with sea surface temperatures tied for the 2nd warmest on record during that same period! 



California Drought Continues
According to the recent U.S. Drought Monitor, Exceptional Drought continues for nearly 82% of California! 3 Months ago, nearly 77% of the state was considered to be in an Exceptional Drought, but only 1 year ago only 11% was in Exceptional Drought. With that said, drought conditions have been worsening extensively


Stunning Before and After Images of California Drought
SFGate.com has compiled several before and after photos of the drought, which are pretty amazing.
 


New California Law to Limit Groundwater Pumping for First Time
Here's an interesting story from NationalGeographic.com about a new law that was signed on Tuesday to limit groundwater pumping.

"Despite California's reputation as an environmental policy leader, its regulation of groundwater extraction has long been among the weakest in the nation. That changed Tuesday, when California Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of three bills designed to regulate the pumping of water from underground aquifers.

While many observers say the rules are too little and too late to protect the state's rapidly depleting aquifers, the new laws are still a major shift in a long-deadlocked political battle.
"They don't solve all our problems, but they're a critical step in the right direction," says Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine."

Read more HERE:



Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week/weekend ahead!