Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010: Tied For Earth's Warmest Year On Record (late-month thaw?)

* Latest models throttling back on snow amounts from today's clipper, maybe a coating to 1" (best chance of an inch north metro by this evening). Another inch of powder is possible Friday night from a second clipper.

* No big storms in sight through next week.

* Models hinting at a brief period of subzero weather by the middle of next week, maybe 2-3 subzero nights and one subzero day - not nearly as bad as we though a week ago. Each computer run weakens the Arctic cold wave, it now looks like it may just be a glancing blow of Siberian air.

* Long-range models hinting at a thaw (again) the last week of January. Confidence level is low, but this is the second time in 3 days that the long-range (GFS) model has pulled milder, Pacific air into Minnesota after January 22 or so.

* 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center. Records began in 1880. The global land surface temperatures for 2010 were the warmest on record at 1.8 F above the 20th-century average. Nine of the Earth's 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, and all 12 of the warmest years have occurred since 1997. (source: NOAA, USA Today).

Increasing Daylight. Do you realize we've picked up nearly 20 minutes of additional daylight since December 21? If anyone asks (doubtful) today will be 1 minute, 49 seconds longer than yesterday. You may have already noticed the sun rising a little earlier and setting later, still a glimmer of twilight as we sit down for dinner. The problem: nights are still long enough to brew up bitterly cold air across central and northern Canada. That rising sun angle will finally compensate for those numbing airmasses hatched over the snow-covered Yukon by late January. Historically temperatures begin to tick upward again the last few days of January. We're bottoming out right now, second and third week of January. Hang in there - the next 1-2 weeks should be the worst of it, followed by a rapid recovery by Feb. 1, give or take. For more sunrise/sunset/daylight information click here.

Couple of Clippers. This model may be overdoing the snow. At least two relatively quick bursts of snow are on the way, one shot of light snow later today (coating?), another chance late Friday and Friday night - models hinting at an inch, maybe 2" for much of the metro by Saturday morning.

Timing The Clippers. Models are all consistent in bringing in a coating-1" of snow later today and this evening, maybe 1+" late Friday and Friday night, another burst of snow (maybe 1") late Sunday or Monday as much colder air approaches, each snow event marginally "plowable". Based on the latest NAM I think amounts will be less than what this graph is showing, just enough to ice up a few roads tonight, again Friday night.

Huge Temperature Swing? Our on-again, of-again thaw may be on again. I know - it's frustrating, but that's what happens when you look out beyond a week or so. When the jet stream, the high-speed river of air circulating around the Northern Hemisphere, reaches 100-150 mph, it becomes highly unstable, capable of buckling. Sometimes the long-range models pick up on these changes, other times the models are unreliable until closer to the event. Latest (GFS) model data is hinting at subzero weather the middle of next week, right around the 19th, followed by a significant thaw after the 22nd. Not sure I believe it yet - want to see a few more runs before I get too excited. But this is the second time in 72 hours the long-range model has hinted at a significant late-month thaw. We'll see.

Snowiest Cities In America? From a very informative article at "Pity poor Clevelanders, especially during the winter. No hockey, no more LeBron James and, to top it all off, more snow than almost every major metro area in the U.S. The winds of Lake Erie pushing storms over the city drop an average of 59.3 inches of snow onto Cleveland each winter, according to historical data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It's enough to make Cleveland the second snowiest major city in the U.S., just a couple of flakes behind Denver, which just tops 60 inches annually. But at least Denver boasts a claim as a gateway to a winter wonderland, with picturesque mountains and first-class skiing just a few miles away."

Here's The Top 5 (Major) Cities On The List:

Denver, Colo.
Average annual inches: 60.3

Cleveland, Ohio
Average annual inches: 59.3

Salt Lake City, Utah
Average annual inches: 58.5

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Average annual inches: 49.9

Milwaukee, Wisc.
Average annual inches: 47.3

Superstorm. Here is what Wednesday's coastal storm looked like from the GOES weather satellite 22,300 miles above the equator, a swirling tangle of moisture centered off the coast of Cape Cod, where winds gusted as high as 69 mph, just 5 mph shy of hurricane force.

Buried In Snow. This was the scene in Danbury, Connecticut after Wednesday's intense burst of snow - nearly 18" fell, with 3-4 foot drifts. Photo courtesy of Jacob Wycoff from WeatherBug (now called EarthNetworks). See story below for the latest on what EarthNetworks is doing to track greenhouse gas levels (as well as traditional weather conditions) across the USA.

Snowfall Reports From NOAA:


   NEWTOWN               27.0   840 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   RIDGEFIELD            22.0   645 AM  1/12  PUBLIC
   BROOKFIELD            21.5   730 AM  1/12  COCORAHS
   WILTON                18.7   830 AM  1/12  PUBLIC
   DANBURY               17.9   555 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   WESTPORT              17.4   815 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   NEW CANAAN            17.0   630 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   NORWALK               16.0   725 AM  1/12  PUBLIC
   BRIDGEPORT            15.5   850 AM  1/12  NWS COOP
   GREENWICH             14.5   800 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   STAMFORD              14.0   800 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER
   STRATFORD             13.0   700 AM  1/12  PUBLIC
   DARIEN                12.6   745 AM  1/12  SKYWARN SPOTTER

300 PM EST WED JAN 12 2011



Brisbane, Australia Braces For Worst Flooding in 118 Years. The Brisbane Times has more information (and some incredible photos and videos) of the historic flooding gripping Queensland's largest city. Over a dozen people have been killed by the flooding, an estimated 20,000 people chased from their homes by rising water.

Australia Flooding From Space. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image of extensive flooding in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, on Jan. 7, 2011. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. The historic flooding gripping much of Queensland (northeastern Australia) is probably tied to a strong La Nina pattern, a 3-4 F. cooling of equatorial Pacific Ocean water. More from NASA: "The current La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, one of the strongest in the past 50 years, continues to exert a powerful influence on weather around the world, affecting rainfall and temperatures in varying ways in different locations. For Australia, La Niña typically means above-average rains, and the current La Niña is no exception. Heavy rains that began in late December led to the continent's worst flooding in nearly a half century, at its peak inundating an area the size of Germany and France combined. The Associated Press reports about 1,200 homes in 40 communities are underwater and about 11,000 others are damaged, resulting in thousands of evacuations and 10 deaths to date."

"Jacket-Gate". A mini-controversy over how poor Amelia Santaniello was dressed the other night reading the news? Cut me a break. Don't we all have enough to worry about? Have we officially run out of "news"? Amelia is one of the classiest, friendliest and kindest people I know - she deserves better than this. She also has the best fashion sense of any female anchor/reporter in the Twin Cities, possibly the nation. I give her props for pushing the envelope, trying new things (thumbing her nose at the consultants and news doctors). Everyone on the tube is under a microscope to begin with. Say something (or wear something) that pushes the boundaries and you had better watch your back. An anchorman could go on the air with his tie on fire, missing his pants, a tattoo on his forehead, and there might be a couple of calls and e-mails. But if a woman goes on the air with something slightly out of place, something different and a little out of the ordinary, woe is she. And from my experience on the TV airwaves - it tends to be other women calling in to complain. Why? No idea. Be strong Amelia. Laugh it off - it's just noise. I predict you'll get the last laugh.

Lithuania Launches National Perfume. I saved the most important "news you can use" for last. It's official. The nation of Lithuania has introduced a new perfume to the world. Quoting its inventors: "We wanted to create something special, representing Lithuania and the Lithuanian character, " Mindaugas Stongvilas, an expert in emotional communication behind the project told the Lithuanian daily Vilniaus diena. The perfume "Lithuania" is a blend of sandalwood, cedar and musk intended to connote the Indo-European origins of the Lithuanian language as well as Lithuanian strength of character, its designer says."

Perfectly Average. The sun was out, the temperature peaked at 21 in the Twin Cities, which is the average high for January 12. 10" on the ground at MSP (48" so far this winter). Rochester reporting 18" on the ground, 12" on the ground at St. Cloud.

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

TODAY: Light PM snow, coating - 1/2" More possible north metro (1-2" late). Winds: S 10-15. High: near 20

THURSDAY NIGHT: Light snow tapers to flurries late. Low: 3

FRIDAY: Snow at night, another 1+" possible. High: 18

SATURDAY: Clouds increase, PM flurries. High: 15

SUNDAY: Sunny start, clouds increase with nighttime flakes. Low: -5. High: 7

MONDAY: Another clipper. Quick burst of powder, 1-2" ? High: 24

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, chilly. High: 10

WEDNESDAY: Numbing start, clouds increase. Low: -8. High: 5

Snowbird Fever

Enjoying January? A neighbor e-mailed me yesterday. "Paul, do you ever get TIRED of winter? I know you have lived in the north most of your life, so have I. I'm just running out of gas to deal with it. I'm not planning on ending up in Minnesota, although for 6 months of the year it's the best place on the planet!"

What is it about our winters that is cumulative, each one gets a little harder to handle? A snowmobile, skis and an upbeat attitude all help, but between long nights (and not being able to find the mercury in your backyard thermometer) January is challenging; the Ultimate Test.

Good news: we've picked up nearly 20 minutes of daylight since Dec. 21 (today will offer 1 minute, 49 seconds of additional daylight than yesterday). Yes, it'll get colder, but the maps don't look as forbidding as they did a few days ago. A few subzero days are possible the weekend of January 22-23, but no prolonged, Nanook ordeals. Snow will come in dribs and drabs, 1" later today, maybe a couple inches Friday night, again Monday. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Check my blog for news of 2010 tying the global temperature record.

Do I get tired? Yes, but summer is worth the pain.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. From a recent story in the Wall Street Journal: "A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

Weather Monitoring Company Turns To Greenhouse Gases. One of our favorite clients (and partners), WeatherBug, has rebranded itself as Earth Networks, expanding their mission to track greenhouse gases as well as other forms of weather data. A smart move. From an article in the New York Times: "The company behind one of the largest networks of weather monitoring stations on the planet — and the purveyor of the ubiquitous WeatherBug application and Web site — is betting that providing greenhouse gas data will also prove to be a lucrative market. AWS Convergence Technologies of Maryland plans to announce on Wednesday that it is rebranding itself Earth Networks, and that it will be making a capital investment of $25 million over the next five years to deploy a network of 100 greenhouse gas sensors at various sites around the planet — 100 in the United States, 25 in Europe and 25 more at locales yet to be determined."

NOAA: 2010 Tied For Earth's Warmest Year On Record. The latest from an article at USA Today: "2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center. Records began in 1880. The Earth's temperature was 1.12 degrees F above the 20th-century average, which was the same as 2005. It was the 34th-consecutive year that the global temperature were above average, according to the data center. The last below-average year was 1976. The global land surface temperatures for 2010 were the warmest on record at 1.8 F above the 20th-century average. Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred for most of the world's surface. The warmest temperatures occurred throughout the high-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Canada, Alaska, the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Nine of the Earth's 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, and all 12 of the warmest years have occurred since 1997."

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