27 F. average high for February 9.
8 F. high temperature a year ago, February 9, 2011.
7:21 am. Sunrise this morning.
5:33 pm. Sunset time this evening.
10:09. Today we'll see 10 hours and 9 minutes of daylight. That compares to 8 hours, 46 minutes December 21.
3. We are picking up nearly 3 minutes of additional daylight every day now.
83 minutes of addiitonal daylight in the metro area since the Winter Solstice on December 21.
54". The 1981-2010 annual snowfall normal for the Twin Cities is 54.0 inches, which is 7.4 inches more than the 120-year long-term average of 46.6 inches. Source: MN State Climate Office. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
7.5. Number of daily 2"+ snowfalls the Twin Cities experiences every winter, on average. Source: MN State Climate Office. Details below.
1. Number of daily 2"+ snowfalls so far this winter (4.2" fell back on December 3, our biggest "storm" of the winter, so far).
8 separate vehicles have fallen through thin ice in recent weeks around the metro area. Vehicles are now banned from area lakes, streams and ponds - it's still OK for walking, snowmobiles, etc - but exercise extreme caution.
18" the amount of snow that should fall between now and late April, if this were an "average winter."
6-12" my prediction for how much additional snow may fall this winter season, based on a lingering drought, weakening La Nina, and a mostly-positive phase of the AO and NAO.
25-30" my brash, delusional, semi-educated gut feel for snowfall totals this winter. A far cry from 86.6" last winter.
90% of the world's glaciers are in retreat. Source: 60 Minutes.
"The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps between 2003 to 2010 was 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie. “The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study. " - from a story below on global ice loss
Twin Cities Snowfall, Month By Month. January is now our snowiest month of the year (in theory), with 13.5". Less falls in February, primarily because there are fewer days in the month. Average snowfall for March is 10.4", but a March snowfall is much different than a January snow - usually wet and slushy (and gone within 2 days, give or take). In theory, we should pick up another 18" of snow. Then again, this is proving to be anything but an "average winter." Source: MSP Normals, a pdf provided by the MN State Climate Office.
First Robin Sighting. Thanks to the Missoula, Montana office of the National Weather Service for reminding us that spring is right around the corner! Truth: it's a big corner.
A Premature Spring. Lawns are greeing up, many plants and flowers sprouting from Washington D.C. across much of the south. "A Tulip tree on Drakes Ave. is in bloom Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 in Huntsville, Ala.,, due to recent unseasonably warm weather in the Tennessee Valley. (AP Photo/The Huntsville Times,Robin Conn)."
A Mango-Colored Sunset. Meteoroogist Rob Koch filed this photo from Arizona.
Dry Landscape Is Raising Fears Of A Fiery Spring. This is a legitimate concern, considering the lack of snowcover, and what will almost certainly be one of the 3 driest Februaries on record. If we don't pick up a few significant storms in March (rain or snow) the risk of spring brushfires will be very high. Bill McAuliffe at the Star Tribune reports: "Dry foliage, dry soil, a dry atmosphere and a dry long-term weather outlook have fire officials in Minnesota bracing for what could be a dangerous fire season in the coming weeks. "It all adds up to the possibility of increased activity this spring," said Doug Miedtke, fire management specialist for the Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, Minn. Without significant snow cover across much of the state, the Department of Natural Resources this week began requiring permits for open burning in all but about the northern fourth of Minnesota -- a "very unusual" situation for early February, Miedtke said. Permits generally aren't required where there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground." File photo: AP.
Burning Restrictions. It's a bit strange to have burning restrictions on the 10th day of February, but unusually dry (sunny), snow-free weather, combined with gusty winds and low humidity levels have all increased the risk of brushfires. More from the Minnesota DNR here.
Update: Severe Drought For Roughly A Quarter Of Minnesota. The latest Drought Monitor shows that 99.21% of the state is "abnormally dry", 24.08% of the Gopher State is in a severe drought, continuing a dry trend since last autumn.
A Whole 'Lotta Brown. The latest MN State Climate Office snowcover map looks like something out of late October, or maybe the first week of November. But February 9th? Amazing how little snow is lurking out there right now.
Subzero Saturday? Probably Not. We've picked up one hour and 23 minutes of additional daylight since December 21. The sun angle is higher, coupled with no snow on the ground and a light breeze...AND...the dreaded urban heat island (downtowns are usually 5-15 degrees warmer than outlying suburbs) I'm predicting a low of +2 at KMSP Saturday morning. Close, and the suburbs will slip below zero, for only the 4th time all winter.
Expected Snowfall Through Tuesday. We're beyond pathetic now in the snowfall department. 14.9" at MSP so far this winter? 5" less than Midland, Texas? That's just....wrong. Lake effect snow bands will set up behind today's cold front, sparking a few inches south/east of Chicago into much of Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Tough Times For Snow Lovers. At the rate we're going we may wind up with a 25" winter, unless we get socked in March, which is still possible, but would I wager $$ on that happening? Probably not. True, La Nina is finally breaking down, so (perhaps) the blocking pattern that has kept our winds aloft howling from the west, a mild, dry pattern for Minnesota (and much of the USA for that matter) may mutate into a more variable pattern, one that can blow from the southwest from time to time. That's what we need to get significant snow (or rain): winds aloft blowing from Texas or New Mexico, allowing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to stream northward. It has happened yet, but at some point the law of averages will catch up to us. In the short-term the next chance of a nuisance snowfall may come next Monday night or Wednesday, when it may be mild enough for a very light rain-snow mix.
Eurasia Snowcover. Check out the difference in snowcover from year to year. This year snow is on the ground as far south as Africa. Map courtesy of climate4you.com.
Arctic Oscillation: Trending Positive (Again). A strong positive AO (Arctic Oscillation) is thought to be at least partially responsible for our balmy winter. The more positive the AO, the stronger the westerly component to the jet stream, the harder it is for bitter air to penetrate into the lower 48 states. It's these intrusions of bitter air which often spin up significant snowstorms. No bitter cold? It becomes virtually impossible to create the conditions necessary for heavy snow. The AO is forecast to tick upward the third week of February, hinting at more unseasonably mild weather. Graph courtesy of policlimate.com.
What February? The GFS 500 mb (18,000 foot) wind forecast above is valid February 25, and it looks like something out of mid or late March, winds (once again) blowing from west to east, implying milder than normal weather for Minnesota and most of the USA. The only saving grace (and it's a stretch). The pattern has considerable energy; the jet forecast to blow at 80-120 mph. The faster the winds, the more unstable the pattern - the greater the odds of the jet stream "buckling", allowing cold air to surge south, carving out troughs of low pressure which are storm incubators. I don't see any major storm potential through late February. But don't write off March just yet. I think I said the same thing 2 months ago, come to think of it.
Last Half Of February: No Surprises. Yes, we're due for a change in the weather, but I just don't see it. Highs reach the 30s, consistentl, from February 19 through the 25th - we may see one or two days of 40s. The only chance of precipitation comes around Feb. 21, but by then it may be warm enough for a rain-snow mix. Good grief.
Great Lakes Ice: More Like Early November. Click here to see average Great Lakes icecover on February 9; actual (2012) icecover is here. Data courtesy of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, a division of NOAA.
Photo credit above: "The stormy sea near Bulgaria's Black Sea capital Varna. Photo by BGNES."
Photo Of The Day: German Igloos. Now I've seen everything - evidence of the recent arctic front that has crippled much of Europe. "This Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 photo shows a guest arrives at an igloo lodge sit on a bench near the Nebelhorn mountain in Oberstdorf, southern Germany. A village of ten igloos hosts up to 30 guests in the winter months and supplies them with warm blankets and sleeping bags, so that they can spend the night there. (AP Photo/dapd, Lukas Barth."
"to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms."
- Computers: central processing units (CPUs), monitors, laptops
- Computer keyboards, speakers, printers, and other peripherals
- VCRs and DVD players
- Fax machines
- Game consoles
- Media players
- Other audio, video and telecommunication equipment (such as stereos, VCRs and cell phones)
Downplaying EV Sales
Misleading About EV Distance Range
Another Above-Average Day. May all your days be above-average. Statewide, temperatures were 10 degrees above average yesterday, the (mild) calm before the front. Highs ranged from 22 at International Falls to 37 St. Cloud, 38 in the Twin Cities, and 44 at Redwood Falls. For the record, INL has only 6" snow on the ground, a trace (!) at Duluth, snowcover at St. Cloud down to 1".
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, still plenty cold. Low: 6
Global Warming: CU-Led Study Pinpoints Earth's Ice Loss. The story from the Summit County Citizens Voice: "Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding about 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps between 2003 to 2010 was 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie. “The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study."
Image caption above: "Arctic sea ice extent is below average in early February, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center."
Photo caption above: "Good Buoy: MBARI engineer Andrew Hamilton invented this buoy with small-scale power potential. It converts wave energy to electricity stored in a battery, which can be used to power oceanographic equipment. Francois Cazenave, MBARI."