Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Less Ice On Top (streak of 60s through the weekend)

Less Ice Up Top. According to National Snow and Ice Data Center September coverage of Arctic ice reached 1.89 million square miles, 830,000 square miles less than the 1979-2000 average - 230,000 square miles more than the all-time record: 2007. It was the third lowest extent of Arctic ice since satellites began measuring changes in the Arctic. More details here.

Man Uses Laptop For Cover During Tornado - Dell Rewards Him With New Computer. "Dude - you just won a Dell...the hard way." Just when you think you've seen everything, along comes the story of 83 year old Jack Woolley of Machipongo, Virginia - who used a Dell laptop computer to shield himself from flying debris as a tornado smashed through his house earlier this summer. It's true - I heard it on Oprah! Actually, WFMY-TV has the mind-boggling story here.

2-4" of Hail? The best part of Monday night's Vikes game? Those last half touchdown passes were a step in the right direction - but the WEATHER for the Jet's game was the craziest thing I've witnessed in years - nearly continuous lightning, the first NFL weather-delay in 4 years - and several inches of HAIL across the metro area. Roads became icy (from hail!) - 32 degree (ice-strewn) water chilling the air from below - creating waves of thick fog, resulting in an eerie sight. What a summer: Minnesota sees 145 tornado reports, and even New York City gets in on the action with tornado touch downs and an unusually number of (wild) hailstorms. The story is here - some pretty amazing YouTube here.

Close Encounter. It didn't make headlines (thank God) but yesterday Asteroid 2010 TF54 (roughly 20 feet wide) passed within 28,000 miles of Earth. There was never any danger of this particular space-rock scoring a direct hit (odds are it would have burned up in a fiery arc through the atmosphere). NASA and hundreds of amateur astronomers are tracking all these errant asteroids and (at last report) we're ok for the time being. Comforting. More from U.K's Telegraph newspaper here.

Hurricane Paula. The 8th hurricane of the seasn is intensifying rapidly off the coast of Cozumel and Cancun - sustained winds of 100 mph. Paula will produce extensive flooding across Cuba, possibly brushing the Florida Keys with tropical storm force wind by Thursday or Friday - all the models keep the brunt of Paula south of Florida. Data courtesy of NHC - graphics from Ham Weather.

"The Choosing"
This summer a friend of mine, John Overby, walked from Eden Prairie Minnesota to Washington DC, approximately 1200 miles.  The event was called "John's Walk for Recovery."  John did the walk for several reasons. The first was to raise awareness of the escalating problem of addiction in the United States.  The second was to raise money for a documentary film called "The Choosing". More on John's ambitous project below. If you know someone struggling with addiction you should check out John's inspirational story and  YouTube overview - and consider getting involved at any level.

Another Day In Paradise. 8 days in a row above 70, 9 days above 70 since October 1 - 4 days/row above 80 this month. In spite of a cool frontal passage the mercury reached 63 at Alexandria, 67 at St. Cloud, 72 in the Twin Cities and 79 in Rochester. A far cry from last year, when the high was 36 with 2.5" of snow. How is that even possible?

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

Today: Bright sun, breezy and cool. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 64

Wednesday night: Clear and seasonably cool. Low: 43

Thursday: Blue sky, a bit milder - another beautiful day. High: 66

Friday: Sunny - still dry, still amazing quiet (for October). High: 64

Saturday: Spectacular sunshine, a bit milder. High: 65 (70 not out of the question over southern MN).

Sunday: Sun fades behind increasing high clouds. High: 62

Monday: Cloudy with a chance of light rain. High: 55

Tuesday: Becoming partly sunny and windy - feeling more like mid October. High: 57

A Dickens Tale

October, 2010 has been the best of times - and the worst of times. For Gophers, Twins & Vikings fans this is degenerating into "Choke-tober." It's been painful for loyal sports fans. So close, and yet so far. At least we'll always have October. Or is it still early September out there? I have to check the calendar these days to be sure. 8 days/row above 70, 4 days/row > 80. Wow.

Last year we were scraping snow off our driveways & sidewalks on October 13; this year we've enjoyed a jumbo, 6 week (and counting) September, record highs falling left & right. It's taken some of the pain out of reading the daily sports section of the Star Tribune. I don't see a drop of rain until Monday of next week (19 days since we've seen measurable rain at MSP). A slightly-cooler-front arrives today, but 60s should be the rule through the weekend. Monday will be a minor reality check with periods of rain, highs in the 50s next week, more like the October we know & cherish. Nothing wintry is on tap through the 28th of October.

Meanwhile Hurricane Paula may brush south Florida within 48 hours - a major rain & wind storm is on tap for New England by the end of this week. While we bask in the sun.

Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Praise - And Backing. The New York Times reports on an ambitious investment from Google and a few New York financial firms betting on the long-term prospects for wind power. Specifically, the joint venture is funding a 350 mile long transmission "backbone" that will connect to hundreds of offshore wind turbines - possibly reinventing the power grid for many east coast states.

China's Glaciers May Shrink By 27% By The Year 2050: Report. The average area of glaciers over western China may shrink by as much as 27% in the next 40 years, based on current temperature and moisture trends over Asia. A recent study predicts that ocean glaciers, affected by wet airflow from the oceans - may decline by over 52% by 2050. More from the Times of India here.

Climate Change: A Summary Of The Science. The Royal Academy of the UK has a comprehensive overview of climate change. If you're interested in learning more about the state of the science click here to download the pdf.

U.N.: "Credible" Climate Report Needed. There is a credibility problem, or at least a perceived problem - based on last winter's e-mail hack and the resulting "ClimateGate" uproar. 97% of peer-reviewed climate scientists believe that the atmosphere is warming, and much of that warming can be traced to antropogenic (man-made) sources, specifically the burning of fossil fuels. The 2007 IPCC report was comprehensive, but there were errors in the final draft - and there is mounting pressure to address those problems head-on with a new report, one that is fair, impartial, and reflects the true state of the science. More from the UPI here.

Walking To Raise Addiction Awareness.
I have a lot of friends and family members who have been touched by addiction - several people close to me took their lives because they saw no hope, no future. That's why I'm including the story of John Overby, who walked 1,200 miles from Eden Prairie to Washington D.C. to raise awareness for addiction issues facing this nation. He's trying to raise money to complete a film about his journey - his goal is to make the end result available to everyone: individuals grappling with addiction, treatment centers - anyone and everyone touched by this insidious disease.

Here is the note John sent me on Tuesday - I hope you'll consider getting involved...
"The inspiration for "The Choosing" was borne from the desire to help those seeking a lasting release from their addiction and to lead a happy and a more fulfilling life.

"The Choosing" is a film that will explore the Spiritual experience that most of us find so necessary to break free from addiction and live in recovery.  I intend to interview a large number of people in recovery who have had this experience and use their stories to inspire hope in those who are seeking their own escape from addiction.

 In March of this year I was inspired  to begin planning the walk to Washington.  I felt at that time that I had enough resources at hand to complete the walk and that funds raised from the walk would be sufficient to move the project forward.  This unfortunately was not the case.  The walk was successful at raising awareness but not very successful at raising money.  

 While on the walk I shot several hours of video that have started to take shape into a documentary that I am calling "An American Walkabout… Addiction."  This film will be used to raise awareness and a  fundraising tool for the larger project, 
The Choosing."  It has always been my intention to make both of these films available to anyone who can make use of them, free of charge.  So there is not much incentive for traditional inverters in this project.

 This is why I need your help.  At this time I am trying to raise enough money to allow me to complete the film "An American Walkabout… Addiction."  It is not easy to ask people for money in these tough economic times, but I feel this is an investment in the future of recovery.  For me there were many elements needed to complete the picture that became recovery.  Some were in the form of books, some were in the form of films and some were in the form of kind words form loving people.  This project may be one element in the recovery of someone you don't know or someone you love.
Please look at the link and help if you can!  Thank you! 

John Overby


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