Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Report That Won't Make Climate Skeptics Happy

Doubting The Climate Skeptics. Global banking giant Deutsche Bank just released a report that won't make many lingering climate skeptics happy. They summarize by saying, "the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long-term threat. " Mark Fulton, Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research for Deutsche Bank concluded by saying "trusting the skeptics doesn't seem like a risk worth taking." So what? The world's largest insurers have a vested interest in identifying all legitimate, material risks to their investments around the world - it seems like D.B. has invested considerable time and effort looking at the skeptic's arguments over a span of years, evaluating them on their merits (or lack thereof). "Simply put, the science shows us that climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases is a serious threat. Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading toward a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failure to insure against this high probability does not seem like a risk worth taking," the study concluded.

They go on to talk about the necessity to get serious about adaptation, but note that previous severe swings in climate never took place with such a high global population, and such food/water/energy stresses on complex, intertwined planetary system. Deutsche Bank has $700 billion in investments worldwide - they are already shifting many of their investments out of the USA, which they believe is doing too little, too late. One of the few exceptions? D.B. is investing in Minnesota wind farms. "Coal is basically out of the game." Their assessment of U.S. efforts to take the threat seriously? "They're asleep at the wheel on climate change, asleep at the wheel on this industrial revolution in the energy industry," the authors of the paper write. Of $7 billion in climate change investments, only $45 million is earmarked for the USA. More on the study here.

* For a good summary of the Deutsche Bank paper, and the exhaustively detailed pdf itself, click here. If you have any interest in this subject - or want to see the skeptic's arguments debunked, point by point, it's worth your time.

Tracking Igor. Hurricane Igor may strengthen to category 2 or 3 status as it pushes westward across the Atlantic - probably sparing islands in the Caribbean.

NOGAPS Solution. The Navy weather model solution (NOGAPS) for Saturday evening at 6 pm shows a powerful hurricane Igor near Bermuda, a massive "blocking high" to the north of the storm preventing Igor from rapidly re-curving to the north/northeast. Although odds still favor a turn out to sea Igor may come very close to the eastern seaboard - another round of coastal flooding and beach erosion can't be ruled out. Graphics courtesy of Ham Weather.

Spectacular Saturday. After a gray start (mainly north/east) the sun came out, luring the mercury up to 71 in St. Cloud, 73 in the Twin Cities and 74 in Redwood Falls, very close to average for the 11th day of September. 24-hour rainfall ranged from .05" at Alexandria to .07" in the Twin Cities, .24" at St. Cloud, nearly half an inch at Rochester and 1.26" at Grand Marais.


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

Today: Plenty of sun, a warm breeze. Winds: W/SW 10-10. High: 77 (80 possible south/west of the Twin Cities)

Sunday night: Partly cloudy, turning cooler. Low: 53

Monday: Lot's of sun, a few degrees cooler - low humidity. High: 71

Tuesday: Feels like September. Blue sky, comfortable. High: 65

Wednesday: Clouds increase with a growing chance of showers. High: 68

Thursday: Damp start, then gradual clearing - drying out. High: 67

Friday: Sunny and pleasant much of the day. High: 68

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with showers possible. High: 71

Sunday: Risk of heavier steadier rain statewide. High: 67

A quick, streamlined (sparse) weather update today (hey, I have my reasons!) "Today will be spectacular, a few degrees warmer than yesterday, a cooler front drops us into the 60s by Tuesday, a dry sky hangs on through Wednesday morning, with a growing chance of getting wet by next weekend."

There, spoken like a wide-eyed, blow-dried, overly-caffeinated TV weather "announcer" in L.A. who has 20 seconds to squeeze in a little weather between celebrity news and the latest car chase.

One thing I am noticing on the maps: the jet stream is howling 200-300 miles farther south than usual for mid September - which will mean frequent intrusions of cool, Canadian air into much of next week, which (in turn) will mean wetter conditions than usual: every time fronts sweep back and forth under the core of the jet we'll have a chance of some rain. Actually, one week from today we may see significant rain, potentially heavy/steady rain capable of really fouling up Sunday plans next weekend. At some point this pattern will probably shift - still think we'll see an extended spell of 70s, and (probably) a few more 80s. Remember, we can't call it Indian Summer until we've experienced the first frost of the season. For what it's worth.

Have a great Sunday - with a high level of confidence I can predict that next weekend will NOT be nearly as nice as this weekend has been. Soak it up.

Next Weekend: Not Looking So Good. It's way out on the horizon, but at some point the law of averages will catch up with us. We've had an unusual number of fairly nice, dry, sun-splattered weekends in recent weeks - but the GFS is hinting at an atmospheric tug-of-war playing out directly overhead next weekend, meaning a chance of showers by Saturday, heavier/steadier rains possible a week from today.

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