Hassle Factor Today - Friday: 3. (bitter wind chills coupled with a coating of flurries, potential for "black ice")
Today: Wind Chill Advisory.....potentially dangerous wind chills (dipping to -25 at times).
Coldest air temperature: Friday morning (-15 to -20 F. in the metro area). Some -30s over central Minnesota.
Snow Outlook: coating - 1/2" powder possible Friday, 1-2" next Monday - no big storms in sight.
Thaw? Chance of highs near 32 F. next Wednesday, again the last weekend of January.
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Lost and Found, 1992, courtesy of quotationspage.com.
Average Number of Snowfalls at KMSP:
1"+ 15.7 days
2"+ 8.3 days
4"+ 3 days
6"+ 1.3 days
8"+ .5 days
Skating Rink. O.K. My senior memory can't recall if I included this link from KING-TV in Seattle, but it shows the sheer impossibility of maintaining any semblance of control on glaze ice. This is from the Portland area, the You Tube clip has picked up more than 641,000 views - once you see the video you'll know why (and have a new respect for glaze ice). Good grief.
The Perils Of Black Ice. When it's this cold water from vehicle exhaust (which normally evaporates) can acclimate, freezing directly onto highway surfaces. You can wind up with a thin glaze of sheer ice, even when skies are crystal clear overhead. The phenomenon is most common near intersections and ramps, where cars and trucks idle for long periods of time (yes, hydrocarbons in that blue exhaust smoke are conspiring to make your commute even trickier). Not much you can do - chemicals put down by MnDOT don't work nearly as well at or below zero. The only thing you can do is a). leave more room between you and the vehicle in front of you, and b). slow down. Stuff your Dad taught you when you were 16 and just learning to drive. From Wikipedia: "Black ice, sometimes called glare ice or clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways to be seen through it, hence the term "black ice". The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers and thereby do not serve as a good indicator that they should reduce their speeds. Similar thin invisible layers of ice that form along ships can cause them to become unbalanced. In the mountains, black ice is referred to as verglas and is a great hazard for climbers."
From The National Weather Service:
Consequently, policies are all over the map:
"M.I.C Gadget has a great set of photos of what they believe to be a form fitting clear case for the as yet unannounced iPad 2. You can see one of the photos reproduced to the left here.M.I.C. Gadget’s Chris Chang speculates that the case holes could indicate the addition of a video output (HDMI or mini-HDMI) and an SD slot. Both would reduce the number of iPad peripherals I need to carry around and would be welcome additions."
Fresh Air. 24 below zero at International Falls Wednesday morning, highs in single digits and teens statewide, a good 10 degrees cooler than average. Officially 2/10ths of an inch of snow coated the ground at the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Rochester.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and bitter, possibly the coldest night of winter. Low: -15
A Bad Climate For Global Warming. A recent story from the Boston Globe: "Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies announced that 2010 had registered as the hottest year on record. Nothing new here: nine of the last 10 years have been among the warmest ever. The news highlighted one of Washington’s biggest failures over the last two years: its inability to advance climate legislation. It was also a grim reminder that things could get worse. Some crucial policy areas have always been neglected and some initiatives stalled. But rarely has a first-order concern like the nation’s climate and energy policy actually regressed — and so dramatically as we’ve seen since the last presidential election."
Too Little Ice Could Be Adding To Global Warming? Counterintuitive (as we shiver our butts off)? Absolutely. But changes in atmospheric and ocean currents over far northern latitudes may be at least partially responsible for some of the crazy (cold/snowy) weather we're "enjoying" at this latitude. From a recent story in the Washington Post: "Scientists are reporting that the shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is adding to the problem of global warming in a way that they had not anticipated. Arctic sea ice, glaciers and snow are reflecting less energy back to space than they were 30 years ago, according to a University of Michigan study. Scientists say that what was once covered in ice and snow is now land and water, which are darker and absorb more heat than the white ice. As a result, the amount of solar energy being reflected to the Earth's upper atmosphere has decreased since the late 1970s. Scientists add that other factors could be causing the decrease but that the decline is more than they had expected."
A Brief Lesson In The Integrity Of Science: Climate Scientists Challenge Bad Science, No Matter The Source. This story from water and climate scientist Peter Gleick on Huffington Post caught my eye yesterday: "All scientists are, by definition, skeptics. Hence the motto of the Royal Society of London, one of the world's oldest scientific academies (founded in 1660), Nullius in verba: "Take nobody's word." Skeptics and good scientists question and change their minds when presented with competing and convincing evidence. Indeed, scientific reputations are made by identifying flaws in current thinking, developing and testing new hypotheses, and by being right, not wrong. And while all scientists (and all people) make mistakes, good ones acknowledge their mistakes, correct them, and refine our knowledge. Bad ones dig in their heels, defending a faulty paradigm to the bitter end. While a huge amount of effort is put into debunking the bad science promoted by climate deniers, scientists work to correct errors in understanding about climate on all sides. Here is a good example of honest climate science at work, in this case to correct a technical error in a report from an Argentinean food security NGO overstating some climate risks."
"Nobody expects the incoming Congress to take dramatic action on climate change, just as nobody was surprised that the international leaders meeting in Cancun couldn’t reach strong, binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s no wonder – reinventing our whole relationship to energy and the environment is a major challenge, with profound moral and economic implications. But despite the glacial pace of leadership at the top, there are many reasons why real global action on climate change is inevitable.
Here’s 10 trends to watch in 2011 that are driving action on climate change :
Dramatic Weather Events Make an Impression: Heatwaves, fires, storms, and floods are on the rise across the planet. While no single event can be linked directly to climate change, their overall increase is a result of a warmer, wetter climate that is destabilizing the environment worldwide. Every time another “natural” disaster strikes, it makes people painfully aware of the connection between our impact on the environment, and its impact on us.
Food Crises Threaten Global Security: Over a billion people go hungry every day, and as the climate changes, food security is being threatened worldwide. The US Academy of Sciences reports that for every 1 degree temperature rises, crop yields fall 10 percent, so we can’t increase food productivity without addressing climate change. And as Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute has long argued – food shortages lead to political collapse, and ultimately failed states which threaten global security."