SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and comfortably cool. Low: 60
515 tornado deaths so far in 2011.
47% died in mobile homes
26% of these victims died in the Joplin tornado
2008: last strong La Nina (cooling of Pacific water). We had 1,692 tornadoes in the USA.
2010: El Nino year, with 400 fewer tornadoes nationwide.
* Of the 15 largest tornado outbreaks from 1880-1990, 14 were in La Nina or ENSO-neutral years.
Preliminary 2011 Tornado Count:
North Carolina: 89
Sunday: sunny start, a few (cumulus) clouds build in the afternoon. A few pop-up showers/T-showers possible up north. Highs: 77-82. Winds: E/SE 7-12 (odds favor a dry day in the Twin Cities).
* Saturday: nicer, sunnier, drier day of the weekend statewide.
- 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
- 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
- 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)
Climate factors considered for this outlook are:
- The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.
- Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
- La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season."
—The default setting of the American people is inertia. We tend not to favor things that require a change in our habits, let alone gluttonous creature comforts.
—There was a 10 minute lecture by Dr Gilbert of Harvard that explains this pretty well. He states that humans have evolved to react quickly to events that are Intentional, Immoral, Imminent, and Instantaneous. Global warming has none of these properties, whereas Terrorism has all of them. Hence we fear Terrorism but not Global Warming.
—It's something called "inferred justification"....Essentially people approach things with pre-determined beliefs and then seek out facts to validate their own views and ignore facts that don't support their views....This is why the respondents respond with tons of links. They don't care what the facts are, they just want their belief system validated.
—There's no one motivator, I don't think. For some it's politics — "If the liberals/hippies/Democrats are saying it's true, I must assert that it's false!" — and for others, in America at least, I suspect it's related to our deep (and deeply annoying) cultural bias against the very idea of expertise."
Science Deniers: Hand Over Your Cell Phones. A follow-up post from NPR: "I have a few friends who are more than a little fond of New Age philosophies. From alien visitations to the healing power of eskimo rituals, there isn't a far-out idea they haven't met and loved. We can get into pretty heated arguments sometimes about these beliefs. What is most frustrating for me is that, ultimately, it costs them nothing to hold fast to these crazy (in my opinion) ideas. There is no price for them to pay for believing that extraterrestrials built Stonehenge or that the spirit of prehistoric warriors can speak through living "channelers." They still enjoy the fruits of science, from iPads to modern medicine, even as they profess belief in ideas without any sound basis. This failure to walk-the-walk is also something seen in people who deny the weight of scientific evidence on a variety of topics. From creationists who deny the veracity of evolution to climate deniers who hold global warming is a hoax, there is vocal minority out there who see scientific activity as buffet of ideas. They believe they are free to choose which parts of scientific endeavor to believe and which parts to reject. But, in truth, their actions belie their words. Living in a culture saturated with science, they routinely accept its authority on matters of life and death. Only when the consequences of science appear remote are they willing to take their politically charged stands against mountains of evidence and decades of effort."
The C-Word. Heidi Cullen, formerly of the Weather Channel, now a climate scientist at Climate Central, has a story in the Huffington Post: "The bottom line is that two of the key ingredients that go into making a tornado are expected to change as a result of global warming -- water vapor (moisture in the atmosphere) and wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height). Thanks in part to warmer oceans, water vapor has already increased about 4% and it will continue to increase as the planet warms -- providing more fuel for storms. But wind shear may decrease and that could mean fewer tornadoes. So which influence wins out -- increasing water vapor or decreasing wind shear? We don't know yet. But even though we don't have all the answers -- and maybe never will -- we do know enough to act. And that is really the bigger point, the one I try to bring home when the phone rings. The recent National Research Council's "America's Climate Choices" report advised Congress that we know enough to get started on preparing for climate change and preventing the most severe consequences, and we need to get started right away. Almost anything we do to protect ourselves in the future from this hotter world we're creating, will also protect us right now from many of the extremes Mother Nature throws at us. We can't afford to wait. Yet, despite this recent report, and despite all we do know about climate change, the topic has become the C-word in Washington, D.C. Just as the term "global warming" fell out of favor, the term "climate change" is now one that few in our nation's capital dare bring up in conversation, much less in legislation. Budgets for climate research have been threatened and now a nominee for Commerce Secretary is garnering opposition in large part because of his stance on environmental issues, including global climate change."