Today's Hassle Factor: 3 (combination of a coating of snow and bitter cold - watch for black ice).
Lowest Wind Chill: Thursday (-20 to -30 range)
Coldest Air Temperature: Friday morning (-15 to -20 metro, -30s possible central Minnesota).
Thaw possible by Thursday of next week.
Minneapolis Boat Show starts tomorrow - goes through Sunday. Take a mental health break and go.
"The summer of 2010 was the foggiest on record in the Pacific Northwest, according to a researcher dubbed "Dr. Fog" by his colleagues. Record levels of fog were reported in Seattle; Portland; Olympia; and from North Bend, Ore., to Quillayute, Clallam County, along the coast, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans who's focused on West Coast fog. Though the increase is consistent with climate-change computer models for the West Coast, Johnstone said there were other factors in play, with California actually becoming less foggy as the Northwest grew foggier. "If there was an obvious connection to global warming, I would tell you," Johnstone said. "But we don't see any real strong evidence."
13.7 Million Birds Are Dying In The USA Every Day. Remember all the reports of dead birds around the world - it freaked a lot of people out (including me). Here's another article that caught my eye, this time from treehugger.com: "In the last few weeks, a lot has been made of the mysterious mass-animal deaths that have struck in the United States and throughout the world -- and for good reason. The ominous events become the centerpiece of a discussion about what harmful human activity could be behind nature's apparent poor health: ranging from government testing and fireworks, to the usually cold weather and coincidence. But for as puzzling and disconcerting as those widely reported animal deaths are -- the truth is that they're hardly a drop in the bucket compared with what happens every dayAn interesting report froym the New York Times sought find out more about all those less publicized bird deaths that occur every day but are not thought of as cause for alarm -- even when human activity usually has something to do with it. Considering the figures, it's almost more curious as to why we don't see more dead birds cluttering our roadways. Biologist Melanie Driscoll, from the National Audubon Society, estimates that a whopping 5 billion birds die every year in the United States -- equating to roughly 13.7 million birds dying every day.
* A reminder: I know that January is a tough month (for all of us). Between the cold and the darkness (and all those after-holiday credit card bills coming due) it can be an emotionally wrenching month. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, let them know about an amazing local resource based in Bloomington, called "SAVE". It's short for Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education. They have an incredible staff, led by Dr. Dan Reidenberg, who is a leader in the field; he's testified before Congress on matters of depression and suicide prevention. No matter what the situation there are steps you can take to feel better. Between medication and therapy everyone can be helped. Check it out, a valuable resource to keep in mind.
Mass Midwinter Therapy Session. The Minneapolis Boat Show kicks off Thursday at the Convention Center, goes through Sunday. Do yourself and the people you care about and drag them into the city. Even if you have no intention of buying a boat, walk the floor, check out the exhibits. It will rekindle some sense of hope and optimism. Within 60-70 days ice will come off the lakes, you'll be brushing the cobwebs off the grill, dusting off the pontoon, dreaming about an (amazing) summer to come. Details about the Boat Show can be found here.
Just A Chilled "Appetizer". This is just an omen of what's to come. 12 degrees? No problem. The main course arrives (on gusty winds and cruel wind chills) Thursday, temperatures bottoming out Friday morning. Tuesday highs ranged from 2 at International Falls to 7 at St. Cloud, 16 at Rochester.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and cold. Low: 1
THURSDAY NIGHT: Coldest of the winter. Flurries taper, dangerous wind chills. Low: -17 (a few -20s possible in the far outlying suburbs).
Best known for his legendary polar explorations, Steger will present, Eyewitness to Global Warming. He has witnessed the on-going catastrophic consequences of climate change, and has become a formidable voice calling for understanding and the preservation of the Arctic, and the earth. For more than 45 years, Steger crossed the Arctic, leading teams over tens of thousands of miles by kayak and dogsled, resulting in the Lifetime Achievement award from National Geographic Adventure Magazine in 2007. Steger led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986, a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland (the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history) in 1988, and the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica (the historic seven month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition) in 1989–90."
Are Scientists Confusing The Public About Global Warming? Not sure climate scientists are confusing anyone. The science is fairly clear, and 95-98% of all peer-reviewed climate scientists are pretty much saying the same thing. The atmosphere is warming up, and we're witnessing more frequent and extreme weather events, and there's a pretty good chance we can see man's thumbprint in at least part of this shift in climate. It's just that a significant percentage of the public is in denial about the science. Someone took me aside and told me, "Paul, a large percentage of people will refuse to believe the science until a valid solution to the problem comes along." Huh? Maybe it's human nature to turn away from news that seems insurmountable or unsolvable. I get that. But the deniers have done a very good job spinning their arguments, turning away from the science and turning this into an ideological struggle. "It's an excuse for bigger government. This will only lead to more taxes. It will cripple our economy." Here's an excerpt of an interesting story from climatecentral.org: "The relevance of the communications issue was made all too apparent on the second day of the meeting when news reports emerged of a leaked FOX News memo ordering all station journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." The release of the memo hints at the disconnect: among the thousands of scientists who study climate change, there is little criticism of the evidence of warming and its human fingerprint, yet among the public, the science is viewed as contentious, confusing, and up for grabs. In daily interactions with members of the general public, when I tell people I work on climate change, they almost inevitably ask me: “So, is it really happening? My understanding is the science is too uncertain.” Newspaper and TV station reports, recent polling, and these casual conversations all point toward a profound disconnect between public discourse and mainstream science."
Impact Of Receding Snow And Ice Surprises Scientists. From a recent article at the Christian Science Monitor: "A long-term retreat in snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere is weakening the ability of these seasonal cloaks of white to reflect sunlight back into space and cool global climate, according to a study published this week. Indeed, over the past 30 years, the cooling effect from this so-called cryosphere – essentially areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year – appears to have weakened at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models, the research team conducting the work estimates. The study, which appeared online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, represents a first cut at trying to calculate from direct measurements the impact of climate change on the Northern Hemisphere's cryosphere. The study was conducted by a team of federal and university scientists who examined data gathered between 1979 and 2008."