Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Rerun This Weekend (and how to talk to a climate denier)

The Fair! It's here - many of us wait (patiently) all summer for the sweet icing on the cake of a fleeting Minnesota summer. The 12 best days of summer kick off today, arguably today and tomorrow 2 of the best days (weatherwise) with low humidity, comfortable temperatures and gentle breezes. Today will be the coolest day until the middle or end of next week, temperatures in the 70s, more like mid September. If you're after COMFORT today is your day at the fair. Click here for more information on the Minnesota State Fair; Wikipedia has a great recap of the fair, along with some historical nuggets you may find interesting. Or not.

110 Years Ago. Thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society for this photo of the Minnesota State Fair, circa 1900. A little state fair weather trivia: last year was dry and comfortable, only .08" rain fell during the 12-day run. The wettest fair? 1977, when 9.45" of rain drenched the fairgrounds, over 4" falling in one day, sparking flash flooding in the area. On average it rains roughly 3-4 of the 12 days. The hottest temperature? 97 back on September 1, 1913. The coolest? 36 F. on September 1, 1974. Click here for some great weather trivia, courtesy of the MN State Climatology Office.

"Fire Tornado." It has been a summer of wild visuals, crazy videos, stuff that makes you do a triple-take. Now comes amazing footage of a "fire tornado" in the state of Sao Paolo, suffering through a lengthy drought, the flames fanned by unusually strong winds. The heat was so intense, the subsequent updraft so violent, that a swirling vortex of flames swept across the landscape in Aracatuba, Brazil - one of the strangest things I've ever seen.

Summer Heat. Click here to see a slideshow of America's hottest cities this summer. Louisville has endured above-average temperatures nearly all of June & July, and so far every day in August. No short-term relief is in sight.

"Hot-lanta" Atlanta is accustomed to prolonged bouts of heat (they have skyways downtown so locals don't have to go outside and sweat as they go from building to building). The city registered hotter-than-average highs 29 days in June, 24 in July and 16 so far in August. The entire summer has been a free sauna (without the towels).

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Today: Brilliant sun, low humidity - just about perfect. Winds: S 8-13. high: 77

Thursday night: Clear & comfortably cool. Low: 61

Friday: Sunny, breezy and warmer. South winds gust past 20 mph. High: 84

Saturday: Hazy sun, windy, sticky & almost hot. Winds: S 15-25+ High: 86

Sunday: Partly sunny, still muggy - dry. Gusty winds continue. Winds: S 15-25. High: 88

Monday: Hot, steamy sunshine. PM T-storms likely, some strong to severe. High: near 90

Tuesday: Partly sunny, breezy and more comfortable. High: 82

Wednesday: Showers and T-storms move back in again, cooler. High: 78

THIS is our reward for a wild summer, a record number of tornadoes (123 and holding), historic flooding across Iowa, a warmer, stickier than average spell of weather since mid June. It was a bizarre spring: we went from no tornadoes up to June 16 to 45 tornadoes on June 17. Like turning on a light switch.

So we can be forgiven celebrating the driest, most comfortable week of summer. And today marks the kick-off one of our proudest, longest traditions: the Minnesota State Fair. It's here (and just thinking about the state fairgrounds makes my stomach grumble with anticipation). All that heart-healthy food waiting for me....tempting....beckoning. I've been fasting for a couple of weeks now, anxious to dive into deep-fried goodness.

Today and tomorrow may be the BEST 2 DAYS OF THE FAIR - at least in terms of ideal weather. Today will be the more comfortable day, highs peaking in the upper 70s to near 80, humidity levels still low, September-like. Winds swing around to the south tomorrow, pushing the mercury into the 80s. If you're anxious to wiggle into shorts & t-shirts and enjoy a summer day, maybe hold off until Friday.

As advertised this weekend will feel like mid July: highs in the upper 80s, dew points creeping up into the 60s (again), winds gusting from the south at 15-25 with a few higher gusts. Expect a little chop on the lake up north. T-storms should hold off until Monday, when a few could be strong, even severe (what a shocker). We dry out and cool off a few degrees next Tuesday, before the next frontal boundary shoves more (heavy) showers and storms back into Minnesota next Wednesday, followed by more cool, comfortable, Canadian exhaust.

Rumor has it a big holiday weekend is on tap the following weekend. It's early (is it ever!) but right now Saturday (Sept. 4) gets my vote for the best day of the bunch, any sun giving way to increasing clouds. The chance of showers and embedded T-storms will increase Sunday (the 5th) and Labor Day (Sept. 6). No, it won't be as wonderful as the upcoming weekend - but then again you could have predicted that months ago. Stay tuned - maybe the forecast will improve over time, like a fine (box) wine. We'll see...

Dry Streak. This is turning into one of the longest stretches of dry weather of the entire summer. We will have gone roughly 6 days without a drop of rain in the area; models hinting at T-storms Monday afternoon, another round of showers and possible storms next Wednesday.

A Record Summer For 15 Nations. Pakistan set an all-time record for the hottest temperature ever recorded: a blistering 128.3 F. on May 26, 2010 - not only a record for Pakistan, but all of Asia. More details here. What follows are recaps for 9 nations that set all-time weather records so far in 2010:

Russian Heat. On July 11 Russia recorded its hottest temperature on record: 111.2 F. The country endured the worst heatwave & drought in 130 years of record-keeping.

Columbia Scorcher. On January 24 Columbia registered a new record high: 108 F, sparking a rash of malaria and dengue fever.

Finland Heat. On July 29, 2010 Finland registered an all-time record high of 99, blasting away the old record of 95 F, set almost a century ago.

Iraq Sizzles. On July 24 Iraq recorded an eye-watering high of 125.6 F, breaking a record which has been on the books since 1937.

Myanmar Heat Wave. On May 12 the nation of Myanmar (formerly Burma) registered a record high of 116.6 F.

Cyprus Steam Bath. On August 1, 2010 the mercury on the island of Cyprus hit an oppressive 115.9 F, breaking the 1956 old record by 4 degrees. The relative humidity peaked close to 100%, prompting government officials to order employers to offer their workers (who came in contact with sunlight) a 4-hour midday break.

Soloman Islands. On Feb. 1 this island nation in Oceana reached an all-time record high of 97 F.

Sudan Scorcher. On June 21 Sudan hit a record 121.3 F. It wasn't the only African country to set new records: nearby Chad and Niger also saw afternoon temperatures as hot as 117 F.

Receding Waters. According to Kory Hartman from Severe Studios the James River in South Dakota is back within its banks for the first time since May. Yes, it's been a summer season of wild flooding from South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. The most serious flooding has set up just south of Minnesota (but we've gotten the tornadoes, wind storms and hail storms).

Storm Wreaks Havoc on Poland. On Sunday a wild storm swept across northern Poland, downing large trees, sparking large hail which dented cars and covered the ground in some areas. YouTube video of the outbreak is here.

One Of Many Ways Climate Disinformers Mislead. The facts: humans are pumping 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Could all this carbon have zero effect? Sure. Glenn Beck assured me of this - I'm inclined to take him at his word. Climate deniers are fond of cherry-picking data, taking one factoid and twisting it to make their case. Climate scientists have many independent lines of evidence to support their case, from rising sea levels worldwide to thinning arctic ice, melting ice sheets over Greenland, retreating glaciers worldwide, shifting seasons, warmer nights, a cooling upper atmosphere and biological changes in thousands of species. There is a consensus of evidence around the world, the case is not dependent on a single fact or observation, as this useful post (first found in "Skeptical Science") points out.

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