59 F. old record high, set in 1878.
May 5. 66 is the average high for May 5 at KMSP. Source: Minnesota Climatology Working Group.
38 F. average high for March 10 in the Twin Cities metro.
7:14 pm: sunset this evening in the Twin Cities, now that we're on Daylight Saving Time. Did you remember?
33 F. high temperature a year ago, on March 10, 2011.
9" snow on the ground in the Twin Cities on this date last year. Source: NOAA.
32 F. lows? I don't see any more sub-freezing temperatures for the Twin Cities looking out 2-3 weeks.
Check Your Clocks. Did you remember to spring forward one hour? There's always one clock in the house that will get you into trouble. Yes, we lost a precious hour of sleep, but look at the bright side, literally: sunset this evening is 7:14 pm.
"The average amount of ice covering the Great Lakes declined 71 percent over the past 40 winters, with Lake Superior ice down 79 percent, according to a report published by the American Meteorological Society." - from a story at The Duluth News Tribune, details below. NASA "Modis" satellite image above courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The number of images out there means advertisers have a much more difficult time breaking through the clutter, causing the content to be much more violent and sexualized to get consumers' attention," said Occidental University associate professor Caroline Heldman, who specializes in media, gender and race."
Photo credit above: "A satellite photo of Lake Superior and the region taken Friday afternoon shows little ice on the lake. (Photo by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association / Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison)."
An Early Ice-Out? According to the Minnesota DNR the average date for ice-out on Lake Minnetonka is April 13. Why do I think it'll be earlier this year? My gut (nausea?) is the last week of March, at the rate we're going, with highs (consistently) in the 60s looking out the next 1-2 weeks, and some light rain early tomorrow. For the record, the average ice-out on White Bear Lake is April 12, on Lake Mille Lacs it's April 24.
Tornado facts--They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
--They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
--The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
--The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
--Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
--Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
--Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
--Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May.
--Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
* Source: FEMA, blueridgenow.com. Photo above of NSSL "Doppler on Wheels."
Do You Want To Be A Storm Spotter? SKYWARN is always looking for weather enthusiasts who want to help track and communicate severe weather. Doppler radar is great, "dual-polarization" Doppler is another big step forward, but there's still no substitute for "ground truth", for having eyes on the ground, confirming a supercell is producing large hail, wall clouds, funnels or an actual tornado. This is especially critical at distances of more than 50-75 miles away from a NWS Doppler installation, where it's impossible for meteorologists to see what's happening at or near ground level, due to curvature of the Earth. Newschannel9.com in Chattanooga has more details: "We hear a lot about "storm spotters," but many of our viewers don't know who they are or how they relay vital reports of severe weather. It's a growing Skywarn network of people trained to identify severe weather and help the National Weather Service know when warnings should be issued. "Spotters become more or less the eyes and ears of the weather service," according to Bob Gault, the public information officer for Bradley County Auxiliary Communications Service. Gault is a certified weather spotter who you may also recognize as the spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. Spotters like Gault are volunteers and when severe weather threatens they keep their eyes on the skies looking for trouble. They are trained by National Weather Service meteorologists and have to take a course at least once every two years."
Funnel Clouds Over Hawaii? Now I've officially seen everything. Details from the Honolulu NWS Office:
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HONOLULU HI 356 PM HST FRI MAR 09 2012 ..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON... ..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.... ..REMARKS.. 0710 AM TORNADO 1 ESE KAILUA 21.40N 157.72W 03/09/2012 OAHU IN HONOLULU HI PUBLIC A NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HONOLULU DAMAGE SURVEY TEAM HAS CONFIRMED A WATERSPOUT MOVED ASHORE AS AN EF-0 TORNADO IN LANIKAI AND TRACKED TO THE SOUTHWEST IMPACTING PORTIONS OF THE ENCHANTED LAKES SUBDIVISION IN KAILUA. SEVERAL ROOFS WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED...TREES WERE SNAPPED...ROAD SIGNS DESTROYED...AND POWERLINES KNOCKED DOWN.
Paul's Links. Favorite weather links:
Photo credit above: The Beauty Myth.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
"Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth." Henry David Thoreau
Fears Of Tornado Catastrophes Due To Global Warming Unfounded. There is still considerable debate in meteorological circles about a possible link between a warmer, wetter climate and tornadogenesis. Although warming at northern latitudes may decrease baroclinicity (and subsequent wind shear aloft responsible for spinning up the most violent tornadoes) an increase in instability and higher dew points may provide additional buoyancy, major factors in the formation of tornadoes. In the spirit of debate, underscoring the remaining uncertainty, here's an article from Universe Today: "The 2012 tornado season got off to a rousing start. Between February 28th and March 3rd, two deadly storm systems developed in the southern United States. The storms spawned numerous tornadoes that together killed at least 52 people. This kind of extreme tornado activity, so early in the year, has fueled fears that global warming will increase the severity and duration of the tornado season. But, scientific studies show that this is not necessarily to be expected. Early tornadoes are not unheard of. For example, on February 29 in 1952, two tornadoes caused severe damage in the south-eastern US. But this year, the number of early tornadoes has been much higher. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that in January of 2012, the tornado total was 95, much higher than the 1991–2010 average of 35."
Photo credit above: "Tornadoes swept the Midwest US on March 2, 2012. In this image, clouds are rendered using thermal infrared (heat) and visible imagery from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-East (GOES-East). Background land information is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).
Image credit: NOAA-NASA GOES Project/NASA Earth Observatory."
A Changing Climate"First, I will try to pre-empt some criticism from the anti-science crowd by saying that we simply cannot know the future. The climate is notoriously difficult to predict, and models are imperfect. But – climate change is not a matter of ‘belief’ – it is a matter of fact. The fact is that the earth is warming, and has been for at least a century. And, that warming is accelerating: the warmest decade on record was the 2000s, with each of the three decades previous to that warmer than the decade before. Further – it is unequivocal that this warming is being driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. I am not a scientist, so I will leave the rest of the explanation to NASA scientist Jim Hansen, who discussed the science of climate change in a recent TED speech."
Global Warming May Drive You Nuts. Great. That's not my headline, it comes from the U.K. Daily Mail: "The University of Sydney Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Discipline of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Health studied 50 patients and found 14 of them (28%) suffer an obsessive compulsive disorder related to their concerns about global warming. From the study: "Results: The most frequent concerns involved electricity, water and gas wastage. Less frequent concerns included pets dying of thirst and one participant was concerned about house damage due to floors cracking, pipes leaking; roof problems and white ant activity. Compulsions included checking and rechecking pet water bowls, light switches, taps, stoves, skirting boards, pipes, roofs and wooden structures. While these behaviors are not particularly unusual for people with this condition, it was the rationale they provided for carrying them out that was surprising. Instead of checking and rechecking so as to prevent fire or flood, the rituals were specifically performed so as to reduce their global footprint, or respond to climate change-induced negative events."
Changing The Chemistry Of Earth's Oceans. The New York Times has more in this Op-Ed: "The oceans have always served as a sink for carbon dioxide, but the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution, especially over the last 40 years, has given them more than they can safely absorb. The result is acidification — a change in the chemical balance that threatens the oceans’ web of life. In earth’s history, there have been many episodes of acidification, mainly from prolonged volcanic eruptions. According to a new research review by paleoceanographers at Columbia University, published in Science, the oceans may be turning acid far faster than at any time in the past 300 million years."