Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Month's Worth of Rain Last Night (90s for Memorial Day Weekend?)

88 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

70 F. average high for May 19.
71 F. high last year, on May 19, 2011.
3/4" hail reported at MSP International Airport Saturday evening.

+5.7 F. Temperatures through the first 18 days of May are running nearly 6 F. warmer than average in the Twin Cities.

Showers linger much of today as temperatures fall through the 60s into the 50s, nearly 30 degrees cooler than Saturday. The good news: big savings on sunscreen - and no worries about severe T-storms (too cool and stable).

90s may return for the Memorial Day Weekend; the ECMWF is hinting at one of the hottest kick-offs to summer we've seen in recent years. Details below.

A Wild Saturday Evening. The reports above are a small subset of the damage reports that came in; numerous reports of 1" diameter hail (quarter-size, considered severe, large enough to cause minor damage). As many as 10,000 residents of the Twin Cities lost power - winds gusted over 60 mph with reports of tree limbs and powerlines downed. No tornado reports, just straight-line winds from severe thunderstorm downdrafts reaching the ground. Click here to see the full list of damage reports, courtesy of NOAA.

A Month's Worth Of Rain. The cool front sputtered and stalled as it passed over the Twin Cities metro late yesterday, a wave of low pressure rippling up the front causing this tug-of-war to play out for an extended period of time, increasing rainfall amounts as several waves of strong/severe storms swept across the metro. National Weather Service Doppler estimates show a band of 1-2" rain from Prior Lake into Minneapolis and St. Paul (where 1.75" diameter hail fell). The heaviest amounts fell from Buffalo to Elk River, Anoka County on up to Cambridge and Center City, where Doppler estimates suggest some 2-4" amounts, nearly a month's worth of rain overnight. Rainfall estimates as of 12:21 am, when I decided to hit the sack.

Saturday Storm Reports. Click here for an interactive map from Ham Weather, data from NOAA.

"Wally Covington runs the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University. Covington calls fires that grow to be more than 100,000 acres "mega fires." And he says it may not be this year, but we are bound to see more of them. He says the Wallow Fire was an example of what happens when global climate change meets forests choked with trees. "These factors then conspire to set up a very explosive situation, so it’s really a crisis," Covington said." - from an Arizona Public Media story; details below. Photo: NOAA.

Today's Annular Solar Eclipse. Here is a good overview of today's solar eclipse (not visible in Minnesota) from NASA: "The first solar eclipse of 2012 occurs at the Moon's descending node in central Taurus. An annular eclipse will be visible from a 240 to 300 kilometre-wide track that traverses eastern Asia, the northern Pacific Ocean and the western United States. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, that includes much of Asia, the Pacific and the western 2/3 of North America (Figure 1). The annular path begins in southern China at 22:06 UT. Because the Moon passed through apogee one day earlier (May 19 at 16:14 UT), its large distance from Earth produces a wide path of annularity. Traveling eastward, the shadow quickly sweeps along the southern coast of Japan as the central line duration of annularity grows from 4.4 to 5.0 minutes."

Timing The Eclipse. Times above are Universal Time, data courtesy of NASA.

More Eclipse Facts. From dark strip in the center indicates the best locations for viewing the eclipse. Here, the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun. The eclipse is also visible in the areas that are shaded red, but less of the Sun’s disk is obscured. The fainter the red shading the less of the Sun’s disk is covered during the eclipse.”

We Have A Shot: Maximum Solar Eclipse at MSP is 7:19 pm. Skies may be partly cloudy this evening - a gentle reminder not to even think of looking at the sun directly (and risk going blind). Credit here.

* Google has some good tips and tools for viewing the solar eclipse here.

"Stinking Hot" Memorial Day Weekend? Yes, Sunday will be cool and soggy with showers gradually tapering, dry weather the rule from Monday through Wednesday, a few late-week T-showers as we begin to warm up again. What really popped out at me on the ECMWF (European) model above is the predicted highs for next weekend: low to mid 90s (!) with a slight chance of thunder by Monday. If this verifies - it would be one of the hottest Memorial Day weekends in recent memory.

Tropical Storm Alberto Forms The 1 pm Saturday (WeatherTap) visible satellite loop showed rapid intensification of Tropical Storm Alberto off the South Carolina coast -  packing 50 mph. sustained winds. A Tropical Storm Watch is posted for the South Carolina coast - Alberto is forecast to do a u-turn, meandering northeast, brushing the Outer Banks of North Carolina before pushing out into the Atlantic.

Alberto's Projected Path. The first tropical storm of 2012 is forecast to do a few loops off the South Carolina coast, before turning northeast, brushing Wilmington, the aptly named North Carolina town of Cape Fear and Cape Hateras by 8 pm Tuesday, then veering out to sea. Source: NHC.

* According to @senorpepr only 76 storms since 1851 have formed earlier than Alberto and is the earliest storm to form since Andrea in 2007.

Hurricane Frequency By Month. May tropical storms and hurricanes are quite rare; here's a summary of tropical systems, by month, courtesy of Chris Landsea and NOAA: "This table shows the total and average number of tropical storms, and those which became hurricanes, by month, for the period 1851-2010. It also shows the monthly total and average number of hurricanes to strike the U. S. since 1851."

Is Your Name On The List? Here are the hurricane names for 2012 to 2017, courtesy of NOAA's NHC. There will never be another Hurricane Andrew, Hugo, Katrina or Irene - those names have been retired, out of respect for the victims.

Quiet Spell Broken. While a marginal and unnamed disturbance formed over Indonesia’s Banda Sea during the previous week, Aletta’s formation broke a 41-day streak in which there were no named tropical cyclones anywhere on Earth. The U.K. Met Office said that was the longest stretch without such a storm for the planet in at least 70 years. The last time there were as many as 38 consecutive storm-less days was in 1944, when global weather monitoring was still in its infancy.

More Tropical Storm/Hurricane Factoids:

During the month of May, there has been 18 TS, 4 Hurr, and 0 landfalling Hurr (thru 2010):

Previous formation charts including the month of May (trying to investigate the previous May 21-31 storm off of SC):

A Wild Temperature Ride In Duluth. Check out this story from The Duluth News Tribune; here's an excerpt: "....According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature at the Duluth International Airport was 87 degrees, setting a record for the date. The previous record was 85, set in 1970, 1978 and 1998. While areas over the hill were baking under the sun, Park Point was staying cool with temperatures in the 50s. At 5 p.m. it was 87 at the airport and 54 on Park Point, a difference of 33 degrees over a distance of about 10 miles."

Free severe storm/emergency text messages coming for your smart phone. Details from NOAA and CTIA below.

Shifting Gears (Noisily). The transition from spring to a more summerlike pattern sparked another rash of severe storms; 1,039 separate reports of severe weather (tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail and flooding) since May 12. Data from NOAA, an interactive map from Ham Weather (one of my companies) is here.

A Week's Worth of Records. Over 1,100 daily records were set in the last week; extreme heat out west, record 24 hour rainfall amounts (green dots) for much of the east. Click here to see an interactive map from Ham Weather and NOAA.

Total Records:1134
High Temp:335
Low Temp:51
Low Max Temp:64
High Min Temp:325

Major Severe Storm Events (And Tornado Tracks): 1980-2006. I thought this was interesting. Major tornadoes (EF-2 or stronger) are plotted in red, wind gusts over 70 mph (blue dots) and large hail, 2" in diameter or bigger in green, courtesy of NOAA's SPC.

Are You "Tornado-Wise"? I wrote down these questions for TPT "Almanac" Friday evening, trying to stump Cathy Wurzer and Erik Eskola. A few of the questions have multiple correct answers. See how well you do (answers below question #8) 2010 Albert Lea tornadoes courtesy of WeatherNation TV meteorologist Aaron Shaffer.

1). The “urban heat island” protects the Twin Cities metro from the most violent tornadoes?
A). True.
B). False

2). Riding out a tornado in your basement? The safest place statistically is:
A). Southwest corner
B). Under the stairs.
C). Huddled next to a window.

3). No basement? Which would be the best room to seek protection from a tornado?
A). Kitchen.
B). Attic.
C). Bathroom.
D). Interior closet.

4). Which of the following will wake you up at 3 am if a tornado is moving into your county?
A). Sirens.
B). TV
C). NOAA Weather Radio.
D). Mother In Law.

5). There is a local “Tornado Alley” in the Twin Cities that runs from Lake Minnetonka across the north metro, true or false?

6). Which of the following are “tornado tip-offs”?
A). Large hail.
B). Wall cloud.
C). Green/yellow sky.
D). Flooding rains.

7). Out of 100 thunderstorms, how many will, on average, go on to spawn a tornado?
A). 50.
B). 10
C). 1

8). There is solid evidence that climate change is producing larger, violent tornadoes? True or false?

"Tornado-Wise" Answer Key:

1). Answer: (B). False. Large tornadoes are not deterred by slightly warmer, drier conditions over the metro area.
2). Answer: (B). Debris sometimes falls into the southwest corner. The safest spot is under the stairs, under a heavy table or workbench, if available.
3). Answer: (C) (D). The smaller the room, the better. The more walls between you and the tornado, the better.
4). Answer: (C). NOAA Weather Radio is the only device that will set off an alarm, 24/7, when your county is threatened.
5). Answer: False. In the last 40-50 years more tornadoes have been observed across north/west suburbs, but a longer look back at tornado data shows no preference as to where tornadoes touch down.
6). Answer: (A)(B)(C). A green/yellow sky may be the result of large hail suspended overhead. The larger the hail the stronger the T-storm updraft, the greater the potential to spin up a tornado.
7). Answer: (C). On average 10% of T-storms are severe, less than 1% will ever spin up a twister.
8). Answer: False. We’re seeing more small tornadoes, but there is no solid link between a warmer, wetter atmosphere and large EF-3+ tornadoes.

"Tornado-Wise" Quiz on TPT Almanac. Friday evening I checked in for my monthly appearance on Channel 2's "Almanac" program. Rather than sit there and pontificate about tornadoes, I had an idea: turn tornado facts & figures into a contest, of sorts, between anchors Cathy Wurzer and Erik Eskola. They both did very well (it was a tie at the end), and they genuinely impressed me with their knowledge of tornado safety. Click here to see the segment.

6 or more right? Congratulations, you are tornado-wise.

3-5 correct? Tornado-savvy, on the right track.

Fewer than 2 right? Are you visiting from Manhattan...or Fiji? Welcome to Minnesota - not exactly Tornado Alley, but definitely "Tornado Cul-desac". In 2010 Minnesota experienced 145 tornadoes, most in the USA that year.

Ground Zero Of A Tornado Strike. Click here to see some amazing footage from St. John's Hospital, taken at the height of the EF-5 tornado that leveled much of Joplin on May 22, 2011: "Security camera footage of the emergency waiting room inside of St. John's Mercy Hospital on May 22, 2011. Footage courtesy of Mercy Hospital Joplin."

Top 10 Deadliest Texas Tornadoes. Data courtesy of the Amarillo, Texas office of The National Weather Service.

20 Years Later, Lessons From Hurricane Andrew. Here's an excerpt of a terrific audio story from Marketplace: "...Now to Florida where emergency officials and weather forecasters have been meeting this week for the Governor's annual Hurricane Conference. This year's meeting comes exactly 20 years after Hurricane Andrew caused $26 billion in damage in South Florida. 

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer reports.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Hurricane Andrew morphed into a monster overnight, buzz-sawing through south Florida. Frantic meteorologists waited impatiently for slow-as-molasses printers to spit out smudged hurricane maps.
But things have changed."

* Satellite image above courtesy of NASA.

Wireless Emergency Alerts On Your Wireless Device. Shortly, you'll be able to sign up for (free) alerts on your cell phone, courtesy of NOAA. More details: "The wireless industry, the FCC, and FEMA will roll out the WEA's (Weather Emergency Alerts) system nationwide this year. The NWS will start utilizing this by pushing extreme weather warnings over the system in June 2012. Tornado warnings, flash flood warnings and several other high-end warnings will go directly to wireless users in an affected county automatically if their device is compatible."

* More information from CTIA:

"Mobile users will not be charged for receiving these text-like alerts and are automatically enrolled to receive them.  

There are three different kinds of alerts:
  1. Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designee;
  2. Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists; and
  3. AMBER Alerts – Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice’s criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.
While these alerts will appear on a person’s mobile device similar to a text message, Wireless Emergency Alerts are not text messages. Instead, Wireless Emergency Alerts use a different kind of technology to ensure they are delivered immediately and are not subjected to potential congestion (or delays) on wireless networks."

Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
WEA Main Page
Sprint Nextel Corporation:
Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
T-Mobile USA:
Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
U.S. Cellular:
Wireless Emergency Alerts | U.S. Cellular
Verizon Wireless:
Wireless Emergency Alerts Information

Western Wildfires: Colorado Declares Emergency In Hewlett Blaze. Fire season is starting early this year, an unusual number of large blazes for May. At this rate it's going to be a long, hot, fiery summer for much of the western half of the USA. The L.A. Times has a harrowing story; here's an excerpt: "The Hewlett fire in Colorado has grown to 7,673 acres, prompting officials Friday to declare an emergency. In an executive order, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper declared the emergency because of the fire in Larimer County. The move makes $3 million in state emergency funds available for firefighting. “The Hewlett Fire’s proximity to numerous homes and property poses an imminent danger to life and property and, therefore, constitutes a disaster for the purposes of the act,” according to the executive order."

Photo credit: "The Hewlett fire burns to the edge of Seaman Reservoir in Poudre Canyon near Ft. Collins, Colo., on Thursday. Hundreds of firefighters worked to combat the growing blaze. (R.J. Sangosti / The Denver Post / May 18, 2012)."

"Gladiator Blaze" Update. This is one of the larger, more stubborn wildfires being reported in Arizona. Details from "The Gladiator Fire was reported on Sunday, May 13, at 11:00 am near community of Crown King. The human caused fire which originated from a structure fire on private property has now moved onto the Prescott National Forest. Joe Reinarz's Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed management of the Gladiator Fire on the evening of Monday, May 14, 2012."

Memorial Weekend Preview. If you believe the European ECMWF model, much of the Upper Midwest (including Minnesota) may be experiencing 90s next weekend - a taste of mid-summer. I wouldn't bet the farm on that extended outlook just yet, but maybe we'll make up for this weekend's puddles (and Sunday jackets). Maps above for the Memorial Weekend Temperatures and Precpitation courtesy of Planalytics.

Very Extended Outlook. It looks like a very long, hot summer for the southern half of the USA, a strong bias toward (much) warmer than normal temperatures from June through August for much of the Southwest. Map courtesy of NOAA's CPC (Climate Prediction Center) and Ham Weather.

Pennsylvania Passes Flooding Law. I found this interesting: "Pennsylvania passed a law that if someone drives around a flood barricade, the fine is $250. If the driver’s car stalls and emergency responders are needed, the fine is no more than $500 and the driver’s license will be suspended for no more than 90 days. The law passed with an unanimous vote of 197- 0. The bill can be seen in the link below."

Ford C-MAX Hybrid Undercuts The Toyota Prius. Here's an interesting development for anyone in the market for a hybrid, courtesy of "Ford has announced the pricing for its 2013 C-MAX hybrid, a crossover that has the look of a small minivan without the sliding doors. The American automaker says the base price of US$25,995 will undercut the Toyota Prius v wagon by $500...."C-Max Hybrid offers better fuel economy, performance, technology and functionality than Prius v – and C-MAX Hybrid customers will pay less at the dealership and at the pump," said Ken Czubay, Ford's VP of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service in a statement."
Renewable Power For Apple. Here's a snippet of a story from The San Francisco Chronicle: "Apple, criticized by Greenpeace International over its energy consumption, said its 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, N.C., will be powered entirely by renewable sources by the end of the year. The move, announced Thursday on Apple's website, follows a week of protests at the company's headquarters in Cupertino. Greenpeace demonstrators criticized the world's largest technology company for using too much coal to power the data center. Apple reiterated its plan to generate 60 percent of the Maiden plant's power itself, through a large deployment of fuel cells and a 100-acre solar farm located next to the data center."

"Wavegarden" Takes Surfing Inland. I may break my neck, but I need one of these. has the story; here's an excerpt: "Imagine you're hundreds of miles from the sea - you climb over a grassy hill and come upon a lake with perfect surf just waiting for you and your board. Spanish engineering firm Instant Sport is setting about making this scenario a reality with its custom-built Wavegarden. While artificial waves are far from new, engineer Josema Odriozola and sports economist Karin Frisch claim that their brainchild can bring an ocean-like break to land-locked surfers, body boarders and kayakers alike using less energy than any other existing wave generator to date."

Twitter Is Tracking You Online To Suggest Who To Follow. It gets back to my theory: if the product or service is "free" YOU are the product. That said, I still love Twitter - one of the best tools I've found for breaking news and drilling down into stories that interest you. Details from Huffington Post: "In the interest of helping you figure out who to follow, Twitter is following you. Twitter announced Thursday that it will use information it collects about users' browsing habits across all sites with Twitter "share" buttons to recommend accounts to follow. By tracking individuals during their visits to websites in what the social media site calls the "Twitter ecosystem" (which includes any page with an embedded Twitter widget), Twitter can monitor what stories or topics each user visits most, and use that data to suggest accounts that match their interests." Graphic above:

The Secret Mad Men Behind Facebook's Ads. Here's an excerpt from an interesting article at "Who bought those $3.2 billion worth of ads on Facebook in 2011? One of Facebook’s advertising agencies identified hundreds of companies."

The Man from Mad Men
"Simon Mansell of TGB Advertising  gave an up-close view of who spends what on Facebook. TGB is one of the social media company’s advertising agencies. TGB has over 100 “big” Facebook customers, each of whom spend over a $1 million a year on Facebook ads. TGB handles the advertising campaign, which includes developing the campaign and buying space on Facebook’s website."

Finnish Micro-House Is Small Enough To Build Without A Permit. Because I've always wanted to live in a treehouse. has more information: "Designer Robin Falck has created his very own micro home that is small enough to be built without a permit in Finland. According to Finnish regulations, you can bypass the permit process if the structure is smaller than 96 or 128 square feet (depending on where you build). With the help of a couple of local architects, Falck was able to make his original designs a reality and the result is this simple and stylish rural retreat."

A Timely Weather-Cartoon. Thanks to IrishWeather for passing this one along, via Twitter.

The "Canine Hawaiian Shirt". I was thumbing through my latest Hammacher Schlemmer catalog yesterday and came across this item. Is it just me, or is this another sign of the pending Apocalypse? Do people really buy this crap? Amazing. But if you're interested, read on: "Made in the Hawaiian islands, this is the genuine aloha shirt that reflects a canine's carefree, waggish spirit. Long synonymous with summer time leisure, the modern Hawaiian shirt was created in the early 1930s by a Waikiki cloth merchant from leftover kimono fabric. This shirt's lightweight 100% cotton fabric displays classic Polynesian motifs favored by locals, in contrast to the loud prints found on common aloha wear."

* I'd like 12 of these please, in various sizes. Just to annoy my dog.

The Classic Manual Typewriter. In the very same catalog, for the tidy sum of only $119.95 you can order a typewriter, which will absolutely make you the most popular (luddite) in the office. It would be fun to order one of these - establish a "no computer" edict. "Everyone is going back to typewriters, slide rules and bell bottoms, effective immediately!" My favorite part of's an EXCLUSIVE. Right. It gets even better: "This is the classic manual typewriter that recalls the thoughtful, well-written correspondence of yesteryear. Devoid of technological crutches such as spell-check and deletion, each of its 44 keys require a firm, purposeful touch for a steady click-clacking cadence that encourages the patient, considered sentiment of a wordsmith who thinks before writing. Not refurbished, it is a newly manufactured machine."

* Sorry - I think I got a little too much sun yesterday...

A Not-As-Hot-Front. It didn't get quite as hot as I thought - those midday clouds kept us a couple degrees cooler than we would have been otherwise. Even so, the sun was out enough for a high of 88 in the Twin Cities, 91 at Eau Claire, 86 at St. Cloud, and 76 Alexandria (on the cool side of the front).

Towering Thunderheads. This is what the line of storms that came roaring through the metro late Saturday looked like from Cologne, over the far southwest suburbs. Thanks to WeatherNation TV meteorological Bryan Karrick for passing this along.

Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAYCooler with clouds and showers. Damp and foul. Winds: N 10-20. High: 63 (falling into the 50s)

SUNDAY NIGHTClearing, cool breeze. Low: 51

MONDAY: Bright sun, too nice to work (much). High: 76

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, T-storms north. Low: 55. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, nighttime T-storms possible. Low: 59. High: 83

THURSDAY: More clouds, isolated T-shower. Low: 62. High: 78

FRIDAY: Heating up. T-storms up north. Low: 61. High: 88

SATURDAY: Hot sun, flee to the lake. Winds: SE 10-15. Low: 64. High: near 90

* If the ECMWF (European) model is on the right track, daytime highs may be well into the 90s by Sunday and Monday, Memorial Day - possibly one of the hottest in recent memory.

Hacker Nation

Did you hear about the Facebook IPO? Thought so. Detractors refer to it as "Faceplant", but a billion users can't be wrong. Or is it the next AOL? Who knows.

Developers love to "hack", throwing new code against the wall to see what sticks. Their motto: if you're not failing - it means you're not really trying. Failure is a right of passage in Silicon Valley. Venture capitalists know less than 1 in 10 of their investments will pay off, more than making up for the duds.

Did Mr. Zuckerberg do it for the money? Doubtful. He had a big dream for transforming the world. "If you set out to truly serve others the profits will come."

When I speak to corporations about my entrepreneurial ups and downs I remind them to stay flexible - and keep a hacking mindset. If you don't cannibalize your own products a competitor will do it for you.

The first tropical storm of 2012, Alberto, thrashes the Carolina coast today, while we enjoy a 60-degree cool front. Showers linger much of the day as temperatures fall through the 60s into the 50s - some clearing is possible in time for this evening's partial (annular) solar eclipse, but no guarantees. Come to think of it there are never any guarantees (except sunrise and sunset). A flawless Monday leads to midweek warming, the best chance of T-storms Wednesday night & Friday.

The ECMWF model is hinting at 90s for Memorial Day weekend, the hottest in years?

Climate Stories...

Climate: Study Says Climate Change Makes Thunderstorms Bigger and Stronger - And They're Trapping More Atmospheric Heat. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Summit County Citizens Voice: "Taking a close-up look at thunderclouds enabled researchers to identify a new factor in the global warming equation — high altitude air pollution that spreads out the top of anvil-headed thunder clouds and traps more heat, especially at night. How much the warming effect of these clouds offsets the cooling that other clouds provide is not yet clear. To find out, researchers need to incorporate this new-found warming into global climate models. “Global climate models don’t see this effect because thunderstorm clouds simulated in those models do not include enough detail,” said  Jiwn Fan, a climate researcher with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory."

Photo credit above: ISS, International Space Station.

Experts: Climate Change Makes Big Wildfires Inevitable. Fire season is getting off to an early start, a possible omen of what's to come (historically fire season peaks in late summer and early fall). Here's a snippet of an important story from Arizona Public Media: "Several large wildfires continue to burn in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Severe drought led to an aggressive start to this year’s fire season. It’s Chuck Maxwell’s job to predict how intense this year’s fire season might be. He’s a meteorologist working for the Southwest Coordination Center in Albuquerque that tracks all kinds of fire information for federal government and state agencies. He looks at several factors including the abundance of dry grass, the amount of snowpack and how severe the drought is. "Drought really makes the changes in weather much more of a hair trigger kind of situation," Maxwell said. In other words, an early snowmelt, a very dry landscape, and one lightning strike can set off a massive fire."

Impact Of Climate Change On Forest Diseases Assessed in New U.S. Forest Service Report. An update from the USDA: "A report being released by the U.S. Forest Service examines the impact of climate change on eight forest diseases and how these pathogens will ultimately affect Western forests. The report analyzed a range of future conditions from warmer and dryer to warmer and wetter.  The first scenario, which is considered more likely for most regions in the West, includes dryer and hotter summers.  These conditions will increase the risk of wildfires and warmer winters allowing insect outbreaks, like the bark beetle, which has destroyed millions of pine trees in Colorado, to continue."

Photo credit above: "An oak succumbs to Sudden Oak Death/US Forest Service photo."

NFU: Climate Change Adaptation Key To Ag Success. A certain amount of warming is already in the pipeline, at least another 1-2 F, even if we could magically stop all greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow. Adaptation is going to be a huge industry in the 21st century; an opportunity to make crops more weather-resistant, able to withstand greater swings in moisture and temperatures. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article from "National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week regarding the agency’s Draft National Water 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change.  The agricultural organization emphasized the need for agriculture to adapt to changing environmental conditions, particularly as it relates to water. “Climate change adaption is critical for the continued productivity of the agriculture sector, specifically as it relates to water quality and quantity,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Given the proper incentives, family farmers and ranchers will be valuable partners in addressing the challenges that result from a changing climate. Family farmers and ranchers have historically been our best soil and water conservationists when given the economic incentives and flexibility to do so.”

Plenty Less Fish In The Sea: Dramatic Pictures Show How Ocean Life Is Dying. Have you read about "dead zones" in the world's oceans? A combination of increasing acidity and run-off pollution creating zones where nothing but jellyfish roam - scary stuff. Here's a snippet of an article at The Mirror: "Imagine a sea full of slime, where only jellyfish flourish – and fish have been slaughtered in their millions by stinging tentacles. Imagine oceans full of “dead zones” where nothing lives, the water poisoned by fertilisers and human sewage. Imagine seas so acidic the water damages seashells – and oceans so over-fished that many of the species we take for granted no longer exist. This apocalyptic vision is only 40 to 50 years away, according to The Ocean of Life, a new book by marine biologist Professor Callum Roberts. And in some of our seas it is already a reality."

Photo credit above: Newsweek.

Don't Dismiss Geo-Engineering: We May Need It Some Day. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article from The Guardian: "Opponents of geoengineering will no doubt seize upon this week's cancellation of the fieldwork element of the Spice project as a significant victory in their campaign to outlaw research in this area. There are important lessons to draw from the problems encountered by the project, which planned to investigate the feasibility of spraying particles into the stratosphere to mitigate global warming. But a hastily imposed moratorium on geoengineering research is not one of them. As the Royal Society argued in its influential 2009 report, more research is needed if we are to assess the feasibility, risks and uncertainties of different geoengineering options. This research needs to be carried out in a safe, transparent and socially responsible way. But without more knowledge of what might be involved, the dilemmas of geoengineering will remain impossible to debate and resolve."

Photo credit above: "The Spice project planned to spray particles into the stratosphere, creating clouds to mitigate global warming. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian."

Battle Of The Climate Change Billboards Rages On. An update from MNN, Mother Nature Network: "Only in America. Two weeks after the Heartland Institute erected billboards equating belief in global warming with extremists like the Unabomber, two climate activism groups have returned fire. Al Gore's Climate Reality Project will soon erect a set of billboards in Chicago that ask "Who to believe on climate — Heartland?... or EVERY National Scientific Academy in the world?" Another group called Forecast the Facts was also planning a set of billboards that would have attacked specific corporate donors to the Heartland Institute. A mockup shown by the New York Times displays the Pfizer logo and the headline "We still support Climate Deniers. Do you?" Pfizer donated $130,000 to the anti-climate think tank in 2010."

Climate Research Has A Ring Of Truth. The story from Australia's The Age; here's a small clip: "VISITING the giant kauri trees of Northland, on New Zealand's north-west coast, is like stepping back in time. Ancient conifer pines that over centuries have escaped damage from fire and forestry, the surviving kauris are up to 50 metres tall and five metres across - as wide as a 12-seater mini-bus is long. Scientists estimate some have survived for two millennia and consider them the southern hemisphere's answer to California's redwoods, the world's biggest trees. Like the redwoods, age has transformed the kauris into a time capsule. Their tree rings - inner markings that reveal growth patterns through centuries - carry precise insights into changes in the world's climate conditions stretching back long before the advent of modern scientific measurement."

The Effects Of Global Warming Being Felt In The U.S. I was a little surprised (pleasantly so) to see this post at "Turning a blind eye to the realities of global warming is a dangerous game. Scientists predict that sea levels will rise anywhere from 7 inches to 78 inches in the next 100 years (depending, in part, on how much we do to curb global warming pollution), which means that in a few generations, nearly five million people who currently live within 4 feet of high tide could be in the same boat as the residents of Norfolk. New research shows that global warming will double the chance of a hundred-year flood occurring in many locations within the next 18 years. In some areas, the chance is tripled."

Tahoe Nugget: Climate Change And Snowpack Depletion. Here's a clip from a story at "Warnings about regional climate change were kicked up a notch earlier this month with the recently released report by Robert Shibatani, a Sacramento-based hydrologist who is also CEO of The Shibatani Group Inc. This new analysis offers dire predictions for the Sierra snowpack based on projected warming temperatures in California. The report, “Accelerated Climate Change: How a Shifting Flow Regime is Redefining Water Governance in California” focuses on the challenge of managing the Golden State’s water resources as snowmelt and river flow patterns are altered in forced global warming conditions."

Vermont Fracking Ban: Green Mountain State Is First In U.S. To Restrict Gas Drilling Technique. Details from The Huffington Post: "MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday signed into law the nation's first ban on a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground. The Democrat, surrounded at a Statehouse ceremony by environmentalists and Twinfield Union School students who pushed for the ban, said the law may help Vermont set an example for other states. The ban may be largely symbolic, though, because there is believed to be little to no natural gas or oil beneath the surface in Vermont."
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U.N. Talks Take First Steps On 2015 Climate Deal. Here's an excerpt from an article at "Meeting in Bonn, the 195 parties to the (UNFCCC) began wrangling over how to work towards the target enshrined at their landmark conference in Durban, South Africa, last December. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa, who presided over the maiden session, urged countries as they embarked on the long road to set aside "old and unhelpful negotiating practices," a reference to the bickering that typically dogs . "Time is limited and we need to take very seriously the desperate calls of some of our brethren, especially the small ," she said, referring to low-lying nations threatened by rising seas."

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