49 F. average high for March 31 in the metro area.
48 F. high temperature a year ago, on March 31, 2011.
77 F. Saturday high in Madison (western Minnesota).
1.3" final March snowfall in the Twin Cities.
10.2" average March snow at MSP.
8.2" March snowfall last year.
84.7" snow had fallen as of March 31, 2011. So far this winter season: 22.3"
19 Twin Cities record for warmth between March 10-24. Source: Minnesota Climatology Working Group.
18,009 daily records set across the USA so far in March. Details from Ham Weather below.
Forecast-Busting Inversion. Yep, I was the one out there yesterday, with the jacket and binoculars, searching in vain for hints of the sun. A stubborn east wind kept surface temperatures stuck in the 50s, while 2,000 feet above the ground the temperature was close to 70F. Ugh. Warm air can't just shove chilly air out of the way; it was forced to rise up and over this cold wedge. Warm air rises, cold air is content to linger - it has to retreat on its own before we can enjoy 70s and sunshine. The one thing that worries me today: winds at ground level are forecast to blow from the east/southeast. To maximize warmth (and spying the sun) I'd like to see a south/southwest wind. I think it'll be brighter and milder than yesterday, but if stratus and fog lingers into the afternoon we may be stuck in the 60s, with 80s likely south/west of the Minnesota River. That's a long-winded way of saying "don't count on the sun coming out today."
Foggy Possibilities. On average MSP sees an average of 10-15 days/year with dense fog. That compares with 25-30 days from Duluth to the North Shore of Lake Superior, as many as 40-75 days for the Appalachians, northern New England and the coast of Oregon. Source: Wichita office of The National Weather Service.
High Bust Potential. IF the sun comes out today (and we break through a stubborn inversion) the mercury should climb into the 70s - but again - I'm worried about a nagging east/southeast breeze keeping clouds and stratus overhead much of the day, in which case we'd have to be content with low to mid 60s, if that. A tough forecast. We cool off (slightly) this week, but nighttime lows shouldn't dip much below 40 F.
45. The average number of tornadoes in Minnesota has risen to 45. When did that happen? 10 years ago the average annual tally was closer to 25. This may be a function of Doppler radar picking up more (small/weak) EF-0 tornadoes, that, 20 years ago, didn't even show up on the maps and went largely undetected. Map courtesy of NOAA NCDC.
Electrifying. Thanks to Bryce Link for sharing a pic from strong T-storms that bubbled up along an active warm front near Ames, Iowa Saturday evening.
“I used to say things like, ‘It’s really difficult to attribute any one single event to climate change, but some of these are certainly consistent with what our broad body of science says is occurring,’” Dr. Shepherd said. “More recently, I’ve been saying: ‘We may already be seeing examples of a new normal.’” - J. Marshall Shepherd, head of atmospheric sciences at the U. of Georgia, in a New York Times article below.
April Weather Calendar. The average high for today is 50 F. in the Twin Cities - by the end of the month the normal high is 65 F. Click here to see the April Calendar, courtesy of The Minnesota Climatology Working Group. Oh yeah - at the risk of trying to be too thorough, an average April brings 3.1" snow, according to NOAA (1971-2000 data set). That number may have come down in the latest 30 year rolling average.
|Total Selected Records:||18009|
|Low Max Temp:||634|
|High Min Temp:||6841|
What's Worse Than An Early Spring? Early Spring Followed By A Freeze. Here's an excerpt from The Huffington Post: "Why is that a problem? Freezing temperatures following warmer weather could mean millions of dollars in crop losses--and higher prices for lower quality produce at the market. Given the cold overnight temperatures over the last few nights in some parts of the country--and the possibility of more frost over the next few weeks--that could be what's in store for this year. This scenario played out back in 2007. The eastern half of the United States experienced unusually warm temperatures in March--the second warmest in U.S. records to date--prompting trees and other plants to develop earlier than usual. This premature leaf and bloom made them vulnerable to a mass of cold Arctic air that swept through the central Plains, the Midwest, and much of the Southeast. Between April 4 and 10 there were more than 1,200 record lows in the lower 48, with temperatures in the South over the Easter weekend dipping below 25 degrees F, which can wipe out 90 percent or more of most crops."
Photo credit above: "A worker at Goold Orchards in Schodack, N.Y., was pruning apple trees two weeks ago. This week, orchards from the Midwest to the East Coast were threatened by overnight frosts. (Mike Groll/AP)."
Monday Frontal Passage. An eastbound cool front may spark a few showers and T-storms from tonight into Monday, anywhere from .1 to .3". Then again we're in a drought - so expect rainfall at the low end of that range. Sorry to be a cynic.
84 Hour Weather Trends. The NAM model shows a few T-showers bubbling up over northern Minnesota Monday as cooler air pushes east; a never-ending parade of storms buffeting the Pacific Northwest with more rain and snow.
"...Speaking at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, FL this week, Klotbach presented research that suggested key meteorological parameters just weren't ling up for a big season. "With the onset of El Nino, coupled with cooler water now in the tropical Atlantic and higher atmospheric pressure in the formation zone as well, the signals are suggesting a normal to perhaps even below normal 2012 hurricane season," said Klotzbach." Image above courtesy of NASA.
Photo credit above: "Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for changes to the way New York plans for future floods (NCPR File photo)."
Photo credit above: "Timmy Fisher, 12, of Kewaskum, Wis. finishes up his ice cream cone with his parents Jane and Steve, as the group sits outside of the Candy Tree in downtown Kewaskum on Wednesday afternoon, March 14, 2012. The temperatures are expected to stay in the high 60s and low 70s the remainder of the week. (AP Photo/West Bend Daily News, John Ehlke)."
* I actually don’t consider myself in that group because it’s also my job to watch cable news and, by definition, none of that qualifies as “cool stuff.”
"Bearack Obearma". Hey, who writes this crap?
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Foggy, gray start. Then mild sun, breezy. Winds: E/SE 10-15. High: 75
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mild with a slight chance of a shower or T-shower. Low: 61
"Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, after they've exhausted all other possibilities..." - Winston Churchill
- Amalia Palaganas Spagnolo, Hibbing.
Making Sense Of The Wacky Weather. Here's a interesting story in The New York Times: “My answer on that has evolved,” replied one, J. Marshall Shepherd. He’s the head of atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia and the president-elect of the American Meteorological Society, the leading group for scientists seeking to understand and predict weather and climate. “I used to say things like, ‘It’s really difficult to attribute any one single event to climate change, but some of these are certainly consistent with what our broad body of science says is occurring,’” Dr. Shepherd said. “More recently, I’ve been saying: ‘We may already be seeing examples of a new normal.’” In other words, scientists are getting bolder about linking the crazy weather patterns, and even specific events, to global warming caused by human activity. Still, even the boldest acknowledge that it’s a difficult exercise."
Photo credit above: "A roller blader takes advantage of a warm weather in a park Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007, in Columbus, Ohio. Much of the Midwest and the East Coast has experienced unusually warm temperatures during the first weeks of winter - making for some odd sights in a season that usually brings to mind residents bundled up in down coats and stocking caps. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)."
Linking Weird Weather To Rapid Warming Of The Arctic. Here's a fascinating article at Yale's Environment 360, from Jennifer Francis, who links rapidly melting Arctic ice with some of the eyeball-popping weather extremes in recent years: "Extra heat entering the vast expanses of open water that were once covered in ice is released back to the atmosphere in the fall. This has led to an increase in near-surface, autumn air temperatures of 2 to 5 degrees C (3.6 to 9 degrees F) over much of the Arctic Ocean during the past decade. All that extra heat being deposited into the atmosphere cannot help but affect the weather, both locally and on a large scale. And there are growing indications that some weather phenomena in recent years — such as prolonged cold spells in Europe, heavy snows in the northeastern U.S. and Alaska, and heat waves in Russia — may be related to Arctic amplification."
* CEI Index above shows extreme one-day precipitation events in the USA since 1910, courtesy of NOAA's NCDC.
Photo credit above: "Saugers and walleyes were falling to Dick "Griz" Grzywinski's jig-and-minnow combinations, March 14, 2012, in Red Wing, Minnesota. (Dennis Anderson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)."
Photo credit above: "In this undated image taken in Bridgton, Maine, an array of spring daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinth are shown in a garden in early summer. (AP Photo/Rosanne Dombek)."
The Reason For Climate Denialism: Is It Reasonable? Here's a thoughtful post from Neil Wagner at Huffington Post: "The scientific method asks that ideas be challenged and tested. But the challenges should meet a minimum level of common sense. As Bebbo expresses in today's cartoon, price tags are irrelevant to the authenticity of global warming. Let's look at some other popular rationales for climate change denial and see how they hold up when applied to scenarios we can all relate to more easily...
"There is no scientific consensus on climate change."
If 98 out of 100 orthodontists said you needed braces, would you ignore them because your allergist felt braces weren't needed? Study after study shows that a near unanimity of climate scientists (who are actively studying climate change) believe in anthropogenic global warming.
"We had a cold, snowy winter. That means the climate isn't warming."
I visited Florida one time and experienced chilly rain all week. Does that mean Florida is not a warm, sunny state?
"God would not give mankind the power to change the environment."
Evangelical environmentalists would disagree, saying God wants us to be proper stewards of His creation. Plus He gave us free will, right?"
I have no idea what it's going to take to move things along and start a rational, national dialogue (without shouting at each other and the name-calling...I swear we're still in 7th grade, with slightly better clothing)...but we're not doing ourselves any favors by ignoring the obvious. If this keeps up we'll be buying all our wind farms, solar panels and hybrids from China, South Korea, Japan and other countries that aren't still "debating the science." Are we really going to drill and mine our way to prosperity - indefinitely? I have nothing against drilling and tapping the resources we already have, so long as it's not the only way forward. Keep track of who the (professional/persistent) deniers and Internet Trolls are out there today. Let's come back in a few years and see what they have to say - what excuses they have for ignoring the science and putting our kids and future generations at risk. That should be interesting.
Here is a link to Andy Revkin's Dot Earth Blog in the New York Times. Shawn Otto posted the full Op-Ed at his Neorenaissance Blog, and it can also be found at The Huffington Post. And to those of you who have e-mailed, tweeted, texted and called in your support and encouragement. Thank you. I'm no meteorological martyr or Paul Revere - but I've seen enough evidence to make a call on this one. It's either the greatest scientific hoax ever perpetrated on the people of Earth - or the climate scientists are correct. No middle ground on this one. Call me crazy but I think it's possible to lean to the right, and still care about the environment and sound science. If that makes me a "RHINO" (Republican In Name Only) then I'll wear the badge proudly. Come to think of it...I think the forecast calls for more rhinos.
Photo credit above: "This undated image made available by Chevrolet shows the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. (AP Photo/General Motors.)"
Photo credit above: "An Indian health official culls a duck to curb the spread of bird flu, as poultry fell ill and died in new areas in the region, in Badha village, Margram, about 270 kilometers (167 miles) north of Calcutta, India, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. Fears of bird flu and a pandemic that once dominated headlines have largely vanished in the West, but the virus has quietly continued killing people and poultry in Asia as health experts warn that the threat remains unchanged.(AP Photo/Bikas Das)."
Photo credit above: "In this July 27, 2011 file photo, Range Resources workers stand near the rig that drills into the shale at a well site in Washington, Pa. The company is one of many drilling and "fracking" in the area to release natural gas. The federal government needs to track safety hazards tied to thousands of unregulated pipelines gathering new oil and gas supplies released through the fracking process, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)."
Photo credit above: "Fred Donath, of Dubuque, Iowa, tries his luck fishing at Heritage Pond in Dubuque after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources stocked the pond with about 1800 rainbow trout Thursday, March 8, 2012. More than 130 million fish are stocked annually into Iowa waters, according to the D.N.R. (AP Photo/Telegraph Herald, Jeremy Portje)."
Photo credit above: "In this March 30, 2004 file photo, Tarawa atoll, Kiribati, is seen in an aerial view. Fearing that climate change could wipe out their entire Pacific archipelago, the leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the populace to Fiji. Kiribati President Anote Tong told The Associated Press on Friday, March 9, 2012 that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could provide an insurance policy for Kiribati's entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)."
"Climate change is increasingly polarized within American politics. Yet, political orientation and climate change views are not synonymous, and research identifying the characteristics of counter-normative groups — such as Republicans concerned about climate change — is key to communication strategies to encourage wider acceptance of science-based views about climate change across the political spectrum. The evidence presented here demonstrates that there are distinct and reliable predictors of which Republicans are more likely to believe that climate change is occurring and express support for mitigation policies. While some of these variables (such as religiosity) are relatively inaccessible to climate change communication campaigns, others (such as correctly understanding the scientific consensus that climate change is happening) should likely form the cornerstone of communication efforts. The current study provides strong guidance on where to begin, and where more research is needed to better understand these phenomena."