Friday, October 15, 2010

First 9 Months of 2010: Ties Global Record For Warmest Land/Ocean Temps.

NOAA: Year To Date Global Temperature Ties For the Warmest On Record. Globally, the first 9 months tied 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean water temperature ever recorded, according to NOAA. An accurate global data set goes back to 1880. NOAA reports that Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum on Sept. 19, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The average extent of 1.89 million square miles (4.90 million square kilometers) was the third lowest September sea ice extent on record (30.4 percent below average). The annual record was set in 2007 (38.9 percent below average). This year also marked the 14th consecutive September with below-average Arctic sea ice extent. All the details are here.

The World's Strangest Signs. O.K. It's a slow-weather period - not much to point to on the weather map, so I thought I'd post a few strange/funny/bizarre links I stumbled upon Friday. Click here to see a few signs that definitely got lost in translation.

Your Cell Phone Has 18 Times More Bacteria Than A Toilet Handle. Thanks for cheering me up on a Saturday - and remind me not to borrow anyone's phone, no matter how cool the app or game is! The Sacremento Bee did the original reporting - apparently bacteria and viruses buried deep into cell phone cracks and buttons can get onto your fingers - wipe your eyes or pop something into your mouth (without washing first) and you can ingest these various, nasty bugs. Lovely. Talk about "going viral!"
Wretched Excess Award. Have an extra $8 million burning a hole in your pocket? Apparently an Australian with more money than sense commissioned a special iPhone with 500 individual diamonds, a total of 100 carats. Now I've seen everything.

OMG: The Average Teenager Sends 3,339 Texts Per Month! That works out to 6 texts for every waking hour. I know it's the only way to reach my 20-year old son. Don't even think about a phone call. E-mail is for "old people." Got it. More mildly terrifying statistics here.

Raising Awareness. Earlier this week the White House was lit in pink to highlight the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, emphasizing the need for early detection. More information here.

How Warm Was This Summer? According to NASA, the June through August period (worldwide) was the 4th warmest in the last 131 years. The same period in 2009 was the second warmest globally. A mild La Nina (cooling of Pacific Ocean water) may have taken some of the edge off the heat - but across much of Asia summer temperatures were as much as 10-20 degrees F. warmer than long term averages. More from NASA here.

"Paula" From Space. NASA's low-orbiting "Terra" satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm Paula Thursday. Wind shear and cooling ocean water caused the (tiny) storm to weaken rapidly from category 2 hurricane status to a tropical storm - the tropical remains of Paula (now downgraded to a tropical depression) are racing east, out to sea. More from NASA's Earth Observatory here.

Paula's Aftermath. Torrential rains hit Havana, Cuba Thursday, resulting in severe flooding. More images from Cuba here.

Super Typhoon "Megi" Threatens Philippines. The army is on alert, officials are opening up evacuation centers, forecasters keeping a nervous eye on what is expected to strengthen into a "super-typhoon" with winds approaching 100 mph by the time "Megi" hits the island of Luzon by Sunday morning. More details from USA Today here. Click this link for a high-res, colorized image of the Pacific to see the progress of this typhoon (same thing as a hurricane).

8 Facts You Didn't Know About Water. Mark my words - the most coveted natural resource of the 21st century won't be oil (or coal). It will be water. We've been blessed here in Minnesota with an abundance of clean water - but most of the planet does not take clean, accessible water for granted. A fascinating story about water here.

* So far October, 2010 is running 7.5 F. warmer than average in the Twin Cities.

* Last time we've had measurable rain at MSP (more than a "trace"?)  September 25 (.02")

* Light jackets return the first half of next week (but the potential for a midweek metro frost has diminished). I still don't see any sub-32 F. readings for the metro looking out through the last week of October. On average MSP experiences its first 32 degree low October 7 - that's the "median date" for the first 32 F. reading, according to the MN State Climate Office.

* GFS model hinting at low to mid 60s the end of next week, from next Thursday through next Saturday.

* Nothing scary brewing for Halloween, at least not yet. Long-range guidance for Oct. 31: Partly sunny, high of 64 in the Twin Cities! That forecast will almost certainly change in the coming days, but right now it appears that our unseasonably mild, September-like weather may hang on through most of October.

A Few Highlights from This Week's Mark Seeley WeatherTalk blog:

* First 2 weeks of October probably the warmest such period since 1963. Only 1920, 1947 and 1963 were warmer.

* 3 dry weeks/row is quite rare, happening (on average) once every 3-4 years. Longest dry stretch at MSP was 51 days, from November 15, 1943 to January 4, 1944.

Thank You Sir - May I Have Another? Nope - still not getting tired of this monotonous spell of magnificent weather, a veritable treadmill of sunshine, the 20th day in a row with no measurable precipitation. If we don't see any showers Sunday night we could conceivably go 4 weeks without rain - which happens once every 5-8 years. Very odd, but I'm not complaining. Friday highs ranged from a brisk 52 at Grand Marais to 61 in St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, 65 at Redwood Falls.

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

Today: Generous sunshine, no complaints about the weather. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 66

Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low: 38

Sunday: Early sun gives way to increasing clouds. Slight chance of a shower or sprinkle Sunday night. Winds: N 3-8. High: 58

Monday: Fleeting shower or sprinkle around the breakfast hour, then clearing, seasonably cool. High: 59

Tuesday: Lot's of sun, another quiet, dry day. High: 56

Wednesday: Bright sun, warmer than average. High: near 60

Thursday: Indian Summer hangs on - blue sky, milder. High: 64

Friday: Plenty of sunshine, running out of superlatives. High: 62

Remarkable October

October: month of long shadows & littering trees. Staring out at the water it's incomprehensible to me that within 90 days daring Minnesotans will be driving their SUVs on an 8" sheet of solid ice. La Nina (cooling of the Pacific) is strengthening, water as cool as it was in 2008. At first blush that would seem to favor a colder, snowier winter from the Upper Midwest to New England. But we're discovering (the hard way) that every La Nina and El Nino is different, unique; it's naive to assume that a harsh upcoming winter is a given. I don't see any frost for the immediate metro area thru next week, we may not see our first official 32 F. reading until late October, 3 1/2 weeks later than usual for MSP.
According to Mark Seeley at the U. of MN, the 1st half of October was the warmest such period since 1963. And a 3+ week dry spell is very unusual, coming once every 3-4 years. A relatively balmy Saturday gives way to more clouds Sunday, a fleeting shower Sunday night as more seasonable air drains out of Canada, but jackets early in the week give way to more 60s by next Thursday & Friday. This will make the winter seem (a little) shorter alright. But winter's still coming. Count on it.

Preventing Future Flood Damage. Illinois has been hit very hard by flooding this year. As is the case nationwide, only a small percentage of homeowners owned flood insurance. Some of the hardest hit communities may have to contemplate elevating homes on their current sites, or abandoning homes and relocating families away from the danger zones. WIFR-TV has a good story here.

What Exactly Is A 1 In 100 Year Flood? Supercomputer simulations show that rainfall amounts may increase by as much as 25% across Iowa and much of the Upper Midwest by 2050, but more importantly the potential for severe flooding events may increase significantly, the result of a warmer atmosphere evaporating more water - more potential fuel for severe thunderstorms and flash flood events. But there is lingering confusion over the definition of a 1 in 100 year flood, as outlined in this article from the Des Moines Register.

Swiss Complete World's Longest Tunnel. It took 14 years, but the 34 mile-long tunnel linking Zurich with Milan is almost complete (at least the drilling part). A 30 meter-diameter drill head did the heavy work - in about 7 years trains will be able to pass under the Alps at speeds as high as 155 mph. More from the BBC here.

Carbon Dioxide Controls Earth's Atmosphere. "Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide." NASA has more details here.

Americans Have Some Strange Ideas About What Causes Global Warming. "Large majorities of Americans incorrectly believe that completely irrelevant behavior would reduce global warming. For example, an astounding 67% believe that reducing toxic waste, or banning aerosol spray cans (69%) would be effective. When asked which one action would do the most to reduce global warming, switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources was the action most selected – but by only 36% of those polled. Not so much because the remaining 65% agree on something that might do it better, but more that a great variety of wacky notions compete for the job." The complete article from is here

Global Warming Confuses Americans. "Though the majority of Americans believe that global warming is actually occurring, many do not understand the reasons behind it, suggests new research released Thursday. According to a study by Yale University researchers, 63 per cent of U.S. citizens believe that global warming exists. However, only 57 per cent know what the greenhouse effect is and only 45 per cent recognize the impact of carbon dioxide in trapping the earth's heat. The greenhouse effect involves the trapping of the sun's heat by gases in the earth's atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. And 50 per cent of Americans understand that global warming is the result of human activities." The CBC has the complete story here.

"It Happens." I hesitated including this story - but it changes the way I watch professional sports, including football. I won't go into too many details right now, suffice to say that extreme athletes enduring extreme stress, both physical and emotional, can't always control their bodily functions. Yes, we're all human. Time to diaper-up and watch a little football! The story at ESPN is here. If you're eating - put the sandwich down before diving into this one....

No comments:

Post a Comment