Monday, May 7, 2012

Showery Tuesday (looks good for Fishing Opener and Mother's Day)

66 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

67 F. average high for May 7.

72 F. high temperature on May 7, 2011.

.07" showery rains predicted this afternoon/evening (NAM model).

First dry Saturday in a month? The early word is encouraging - details below.

4.23" rain the first 6 days of May, 2012
.77" average rain for the first 6 days of May in the Twin Cities.
.15" rainfall from May 1-6, 2011.

Minnesota Fishing Opener. This is how I'll be spending my Saturday. Not sure why, but I seem to have better luck fishing potholes. Odd. I'm cautiously optimistic for the weekend weather, although I expect complaints about:

a). too much sunshine, and

b). a rising barometer.

* Expect sunrise temperatures in the mid to upper 40s Saturday and Sunday morning. Saturday morning may start out cloudy and damp, but skies should be mostly clear Sunday morning.
Saturday: Damp, gray start giving way to partly sunny conditions. Winds: West 10-15. High: 64 (Gull Lake) to 68 (Lake Minnetonka and White Bear).

Sunday: More sun, fewer clouds - beautiful. Winds: Southwest 5-15. Highs: 69 (Pelican and Round Lake) to 71 (Mille Lacs) to 75 (Lake Pepin)

Fishing Opener + Mother's Day: What Can Possibly Go Wrong? The European ECMWF model is fairly encouraging for next weekend, hinting at clouds and a little drizzle early Saturday, giving way to a mix of clouds and sun, a northwest breeze. Sunday looks sunnier and a few degrees milder by afternoon, highs reaching the low 70s for Mother's Day. BTW, the high temperatures above (in red) are in Celsius. Don't want to trigger any heart-palpitations.

Weekend Details. The ECMWF prints out .3 mm early Saturday, between 1 am and 7 am. We may wake up to clouds and drizzle, but a west to northwest wind should provide partial clearing. Miraculously, Mother's Day looks dry, sunny and lukewarm with a light west to northwest breeze. Apparently Mother Nature will be celebrating as well.

Cartoon courtesy of Brian Zalkowski.

A (Temporary) Break In The Action? Long-range guidance is hinting at a return to drier, slightly cooler weather for much of America east of the Mississippi. Details from CPC and Ham Weather below. No major storms or frontal passages are expected through the middle of next week.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Albert Einstein.

" A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt." - excerpt from an L.A. Times story; details below. Have a nice day.

A Month's Worth Of Rain Last Weekend. These are Doppler radar estimates from NOAA's AHPS (Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service). Much of central and southern Minnesota picked up 2-5" of rain from Friday into Sunday morning - pretty impressive. Over 6" soaked the Wisconsin Dells from the same stalled frontal boundary. We dry out this week - no more excessive rainfall amounts in sight.

A Drier Week. A few instability showers are likely this afternoon and evening, dry weather returns Wednesday and Thursday with a few fleeting T-showers on Friday. Right now the weekend looks dry. I know - I'll believe it when I see it.

Sunrise Temperatures Saturday. Getting up early for Saturday's Fishing Opener? Expect temperatures in the low 40s (north) to mid and upper 40s (metro lakes). Details from NOAA.

Spring (For Real). No more cold fronts until further notice. The GFS is predicting 70s, even a couple of low 80s, between May 15-23. The next chance of significant rain may not come until May 21, give or take.

High Winds Cause Damage In Las Vegas Area. Details and video from KTNV-TV in Las Vegas: "High winds sweeping through the Valley caused damage to businesses and power outages at homes on Monday afternoon. The first report of damage came from a building on Flamingo near Eastern at about 3:30 p.m. A spokesperson for Clark County said the structure lost tiles from the roof and the building appeared to be unoccupied. A dollar store near Flamingo and Owens also suffered wind damage."

Record Highs on May 6

Springfield, IL                     90
Galveston, TX                    85 (tie)
Greenville, MS                 92 (tie)
Jacksonville, FL                 96
Alma, FL                               95
New Iberia, LA                  92 (tie)
North Little Rock, AR      90 (tie)
Batesville, AR                     91
Monticello, AR                  91
Little Rock AFB, AR          91
Jonesboro, AR                   94 (tie)
Paducah, KY                       91
Evansville, IN                     91 (tie)
St Louis, MO                       92
Fort Smith, AR                   91 (tie)

* thanks to Earth Networks for passing these reports along.

Welcome to "La Nada". What happens when there's no La Nina (cooling) or obvious El Nino (warming) of the Pacific? La Nada, which is a nickname for who-the-heck-knows what will happen next? At least with El Nino or La Nina changes in Pacific Ocean currents can nudge the weather downwind, over North America, in one direction or another. The L.A. Times has more: "La Niña, the demon diva of drought, has ended, but what comes next could be even more foreboding: La Nada. La Nada, or "nothing" in Spanish, is climatologist Bill Patzert's nickname for when surface sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are about normal. That means ocean temperatures are not too warm, which would trigger an El Niño and would typically mean a rainy winter in Southern California. The sea also is not too cold, which produces a La Niña and usually means a dry season."

May 4 Kiester, Minnesota Tornado. An update from Twin Cities National Weather Service: "A tornado touched down two miles west of Kiester on Friday, May 4th. It travelled east-northeast, and dissipated two miles northeast of Kiester in eastern Faribault County. The tornado was on the ground four miles and had a maximum width of 50 yards. The tornado was rated an EF-0, with winds of around 75 mph. It damaged trees, took down three barns, and destroyed a number of sheds and other outbuildings. A few windows were blown out. Power poles were also knocked down. This tornado occurred between about 5:50 PM and 6:00 PM. The precise time of the touchdown is yet determined."

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Crock & KAAL

Kansas City Funnel. Here is YouTube footage of the funnel that threatened Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City, courtesy of UneGosseFolle.

Palm Beach County Funnel. From the Miami National Weather Service via FB: "No tornado Warning was issued as the funnel cloud did not reach the ground. However, a significant weather advisory was issued for northern Broward and southern Palm Beach counties for possible funnel cloud development."

Tornado Near Tokyo Kills One, Injures Dozens. Amazing. The USA experiences more tornadoes than any other nation on earth (average of 1200 to 1500/year). It's rare to get such a big, long-lasting tornado in Japan. Details from U-T San Diego: "A tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses. Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Tokyo. The city is a science center, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to mostly hit residential areas."

Photo credit above: "This photo was taken by an anonymous Tsukuba resident,showing a tornado in Tsukuba City, northeast of Tokyo, on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The tornado tore through the area, injuring at least 30 people, destroying dozens of homes and leaving thousands more without electricity (AP Photo/Kyodo News). AP Photo.

Japan Tornado - Another Perspective. Folks living northeast of Tokyo must have been flabbergasted: an EF-2 or EF-3 strength tornado in Japan? The raw YouTube footage is here.

This Will Put A Dimple In Your Prius. Good grief: that's 3-4" diameter hail, hitting the ground at over 100 mph. Details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service Facebook site: "The same supercell thunderstorm over Iroquois County when it was near Watseka produced extremely large, baseball-sized hail! This photo was sent by Steve Peters to Tammie Souza, who shared it with us."

Photo Of The Day: "Wall Cloud". Here is a terrific photo of a rotating "supercell" thunderstorm that went on to spawn large hail; details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service. They've been busy down there in recent days. More info: "Here's an impressive photo of a wall cloud southwest of Ashkum in Iroquois County on Sunday afternoon."

You've Been Warned: Wireless Providers Enroll In Emergency Alerts For Severe Weather. Here's an interesting article from The Carroll County Times: "They are short and to the point. They warn of potentially life-threatening weather, Amber Alerts and messages from the president in case of emergency. They are sent to mobile phones via text message immediately. Wireless emergency alerts, sent immediately after warnings are issued, are being implemented in a joint effort by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This month, the National Weather Service will start utilizing wireless emergency alerts for tornado, flash flood and blizzard warnings, among others. They will go directly to wireless users in an affected county automatically."
Illustration above: Carroll County Times.

Storm Warnings For Ships. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article (at least I thought so) from Tampa Bay Online: "The trip from McKay Bay to the Sunshine Skyway in a chugging freighter can take as long as five hours, so the weather along the way can change a couple of times. It could be sunny and balmy in Tampa while thunderous storms rage near Egmont Key, said Capt. Mike Buffington, a harbor pilot for the Port of Tampa. Ships heading in and out of the port travel some 42 miles to get to the Gulf of Mexico. So the new initiative by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service to provide real-time, pinpoint weather analysis to harbor pilots guiding ships on marine routes through the Bay is being warmly received."

"Think It'll Snow?" The short answer is yes. Here's more from the Crater Lake National Park Facebook site: "About 2 miles of West Rim Dr is plowed but still closed to motor vehicles. Good place to walk with Fido or go for a bike ride. Improvised bike racks provided."

Snow Drought That Hammered Skiers Now Threatens Farmers. The story from USA Today, KUSA-TV and AP: "The dearth of snow that set back Colorado's ski areas this winter is now taking its toll on farmers, KUSA-TV reports. It could cost farmers millions of dollars and translate to higher prices for consumers. Snow runoff traditionally fills up the ditches and ponds that farmers tap to irrigate crops. Not this year. The "terrible year" for ski resorts is translating to a lack of surface water for farmers who say their options for water are limited. "It's a huge issue. I consider water more valuable than gold," Weld County farmer Glen Fritzler tells KUSA. "We can't survive without it."

Cooler, Drier Bias Next 2 Weeks. The good news: weather will be largely siren-free east of the Mississippi through the third week of May. CPC, the Climate Prediction Center (division of NOAA) is predicting cooler weather through May 18 for much of the east, a warm bias out west. Details from Ham Weather.

Space Weather Expert Has Ominous Forecast. Great, as if we didn't all have enough on our plates. Now the sun may be interfering with our lives? Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt. This isn't the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before — and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Much of the planet's electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms. But the world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm, Hapgood argues in a recent commentary published in the journal Nature."

Photo credit above: "A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005, hurling charged particles at Earth. (NASA / May 4, 2012)."

"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:

"Is there a good website that you can direct me to that will show the amount of precipitation in area on a specific date?

Steve - the "Puddles Page" at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group is the best resource I've found for tracking down map-based and text-based rainfall amounts. Check it out.
Hi Paul,

"Thanks for being a great meteorologist and congratulations on your own weather company.  I realize this is not the most earth shaking question you've gotten, but I'm interested in your thoughts.  
I've noticed that most local TV meteorologists do not give rain or snow amounts and high and low temperatures from the day before.  I'm always asking the TV what the weather was like yesterday and never get an answer. ( Of course, today when I bring it up I see that channel 4 is covering it because of the deluge we got last night.) 

A lot has changed in weather forecasting over the last 50 years, most of it for the better.  While growing up on our dairy farm at New Market, my father was always watching the weather.  We talked about weather a lot.  I do miss the good old days when we got the weather stats from the day before from folks like Bud Krieling.  It seems they could add it to the charts they display.  Does it take too much time?  Or do they think people are not interested?   
I look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you."
Na zdravi!

Barbara Mahowald
Savage, MN

Thanks Barbara - appreciate the kind words. Did my mom set you up to write this letter? Either way, thank you. To be honest, when I was working in local TV the consultants ("news doctors") shared research that showed most viewers don't care so much about climate/almanac information - most viewers tend to care most about what will happen, not what already happened. Here on the blog I have the luxury of time (and space) and start out every blog with a recap of what happened yesterday in the Twin Cities. Here are a few sources you can tap to get the latest climate data for the Twin Cities:

1). Local National Weather Service Climate Data. Click on "CLIMSP" to get Twin Cities data.

2). Daily/Monthly Data For The Twin Cities. This is a good source to get a recap, day by day, month by month, going back to 2000. Both sites are great places to start if  you're looking for specifics on what just happened, weatherwise. Thanks for reading - feel free to send your weather observations, comments and anecdotes.

3). Storm Reports. The local NWS in Chanhassen does a great job updating this site. Check this to see reports on hail, tornadoes, high winds, record high or low temperatures, etc.

1 Week's Worth Of Storm Reports. Speaking of storms, it's OK to exhale - we get a break in the severe storm area through Friday. According to NOAA there have been near 3,000 individual severe storm reports in just the last week. Click here to navigate an interactive map, courtesy of Ham Weather.

Total Storm Reports: 2984
Wind: 695
Rain: 513
Snow/Blizzard: 17
Tornado: 103
Hail: 1637
Fire: 4
Lightning: 9
14: 1
Tides: 5

KVOA Puts More Eyes Around Tucson. A visual surveillance system called "SkyNet"? Wasn't there a movie about that, with a certain famous California governor? Yes, life is immitating art, and described in this article at The Arizona Daily Star which caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Seeking an edge over the competition, KVOA-Channel 4 put together a network of remote-controlled HD cameras throughout the city to capture live footage of news as it occurs. News 4 Tucson Skynet lets the station instantly pull up footage of traffic problems, weather and other news as it breaks. Jeff Clemons, KVOA's marketing director, said the system, which went online April 25, gives the station access to footage others might need a helicopter to get. "We're able to scan the streets for pretty much whatever's out there." Clemons said he's not aware of any negative legal ramifications of having the system in place."

Air Force Pilots Blow The Whistle On F-22 Raptor's Mysterious, And Dangerous Flaw. Did you see the 60 Minutes story on Sunday? Amazing - these pilots were very brave to step up and talk on camera. Here's a good summary of the nagging issues related to F-22's, courtesy of Huffington Post: "Two elite Air Force pilots are seeking protection under the federal whistleblower law for revealing safety problems on the F-22 Raptor, and refusing to fly until those issues are resolved. On Sunday night, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson risked their careers by appearing on the CBS news program "60 Minutes," in uniform and without permission to discuss the stealth fighter's flaw. Both pilots, who flew combat missions in the Iraq War, said they love flying the $400 million jets. But a faulty oxygen system that is suffocating the pilots and causing blackouts is making them fear for their lives and for the lives of people on the ground."

Photo credit above: "This June 22, 2009 photo released by the U.S. Navy shows an Air Force F-22 Raptor executing a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Gulf of Alaska. (AP Photo/US Navy - Ronald Dejarnett, File)."

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things. I thought this was a thought-provoking article; here's an excerpt from NPR: "Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis. Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior. In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate."

Illustration credit above: Adam Cole/NPR .

Bill Keller: Fox News "Murdoch's Most Toxic Legacy". Here' an excerpt of an article at "Former New York Times editor Bill Kellerhas written an op-ed column focused on Fox News Channel. Keller notes that it is a financial juggernaut for News Corp. and discusses a pair of Roger Ailes and Fox News biographies, one written without FNC’s consent by journalist Gabriel Sherman, and another by Ailes himself (along with a co-author). The issue Keller takes is not financial, but rather with how the network represents itself, and facts. That, he says, is Rupert Murdoch‘s “most toxic legacy”:
"I doubt that people at Fox News really believe their programming is “fair and balanced” — that’s just a slogan for the suckers — but they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias. They believe that they are doing exactly what other serious news organizations do; they just do it for an audience that had been left out before Fox came along."
* Keller's full Op-ed in the New York Times is here.
Teal Camper Assembles And Breaks Down Like A Puzzle. Just what I want when I go camping - a puzzle. But, for those with more technical determination and tenacity than me - here's a clip from an article at "The Teal Camper gives campers an interesting way of combining the sturdy, hard-sided living quarters of a camping trailer with the easy storage of a smaller pop-up or tent. The camper is shipped to your door as a series of panels, and assembles into a two-person dwelling within about 90 minutes. When your camping season is over, you break it back down and store it neatly."

Put Away The Bell Curve: Move Of Us Aren't "Average". Here's a clip from NPR's Morning Edition: "For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average. The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers."
Photo credit above: "Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off." Photo: AP.

Dubai Water Discus Hotel Will Allow Guests To Sleep Underwater. Truth: all I really need is clean sheets, a TV and free Wi-Fi. But Dubai tends to do everything over the top, as described in this article: "It seems the construction boom in bustling Dubai is far from over – already home to several world record-holding projects, including the tallest building (for just a little while longer), the largest shopping mall and biggest man-made island, plans are now afoot to construct what will likely be the world's largest underwater luxury hotel, the Water Discus. Several years ago, we reported on another such ambitious project, Hydropolis, which sadly never got past the blueprint stage. If Polish company Deep Ocean Technology's (DOT) plans come to fruition, however, guests could one day find themselves asleep beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf."

Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

TODAY: Sunny start. PM clouds, light showers. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 58

TUESDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then partial clearing late - chilly. Low: 45

WEDNESDAY: More sun, less wind - much nicer. High: 67

THURSDAY: Sunny, best day of the week? Low: 49. High: 74

FRIDAY: More clouds, stray T-shower possible. Low: 54. High: 69

SATURDAY (MINNESOTA FISHING OPENER): Damp start, then partly sunny and nice. Winds: W 10. High: 68

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and comfortably cool. Low: 50

SUNDAY (MOTHER'S DAY): Bright sun, sunburnt moms. Winds: SW 10. High: 73

MONDAY: Mix of clouds and lukewarm sun. Low: 56. High: 75

Cautiously optimistic

Here's how I started my Monday, stumbling into the office. "Paul, why are Mondays amazing, while weekends suck?" Did I mention we need the rain? Fact: there's no scientific evidence that rain is more likely to fall on a Saturday than a Monday.

Man-made pollutants seeding clouds have been linked to more showers and T-storms downwind of some urban centers during the work week. Perception becomes reality right? More of us are outside on weekends - more weather-sensitive; at the mercy of the elements.

4.2 inches of rain fell on the metro during the first 6 days of May. That's a June's worth of rain! Some towns picked up closer to 6 inches, and lake water levels are beginning to respond. We're not entirely out of the woods with drought, but I'm feeling better about the weather maps.

A minor Canadian Relapse arrives today as a whirlpool of chilly, unstable air sloshes overhead - a few PM clouds and showers. Wednesday and Thursday look stunning, only a fleeting T-shower Friday.

A damp start Saturday gives way to intervals of sun; highs: 65-70 F. Not bad for a Minnesota Fishing Opener. Mom may need extra sunscreen on her big day: low 70s on Sunday. Good timing...for once.

"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Climate Stories..

Why Don't TV Meteorologists Believe In Climate Change. First of all, the headlines is misleading. Many TV meteorologists do "believe" in science. The data is the data. I'm one of them, in case you've just emerged from a cave - that hardly comes as breaking news, right? Some of my colleagues on the TV side have been burned (repeatedly) by weather models, and they apply that same logic to climate simulations. Others have replaced science with ideology and politics. I suspect others enjoy being the "local science experts" in their markets, and don't like climate scientists hogging the limelight. Just a gut. I want to give some of these men and women, experts in short-term weather prediction, the benefit of a doubt: some may not have taken the time to dig into the climate science and rely on denier blogs and talk radio (God help us). Here's an excerpt of a story from InsideClimate News: "In recent years, the world's scientists have begun to show that climate change is altering the magnitude and frequency of severe weather, and polls say a majority of Americans now link droughts, floods and other extremes to global warming. And yet, this country's TV weather forecasters have increasingly taken to denying evidence that warming is affecting weather—or is even happening at all. Only 19 percent accept the established science that human activity is driving climate change, says a 2011 report by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, making TV meteorologists far more skeptical than the public at large."

Photo credit above: "Mark Johnson, meteorologist for WEWS ABC in Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson is one of several climate skeptic forecasts who says there is no convincing evidence of global warming."

The Climate Fixers. Is there a technological fix (or Bandaid) to climate change? The subject of geoengineering has been getting considerable traction in recent years - injecting chemicals into the atmosphere to counter observed warming. What can possibly go wrong? Here's an excerpt of a long, but excellent article at The New Yorker: "The heavy industrial activity of the previous hundred years had caused the earth’s climate to warm by roughly three-quarters of a degree Celsius, helping to make the twentieth century the hottest in at least a thousand years. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, however, reduced global temperatures by nearly that much in a single year. It also disrupted patterns of precipitation throughout the planet. It is believed to have influenced events as varied as floods along the Mississippi River in 1993 and, later that year, the drought that devastated the African Sahel. Most people considered the eruption a calamity. For geophysical scientists, though, Mt. Pinatubo provided the best model in at least a century to help us understand what might happen if humans attempted to ameliorate global warming by deliberately altering the climate of the earth. For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale—geoengineering, as the practice is known—has been denounced as hubris."

Photo credit above: "Geoengineering holds out the promise of artificially reversing recent climate trends, but it entails enormous risks." Illustration: The New Yorker.
To Repair The Shore, Or Retreat? Rising sea levels are already impacting the New York City area - here's an excerpt of a New York Times story focused on coastal Connecticut: "EIGHT months after Tropical Storm Irene slammed into Cosey Beach Avenue in East Haven, ripping off parts of some houses and washing others away, many property owners are still adrift.  “Some have been able to rebuild, but others don’t have the resources,” said State Senator Len Fasano, a Republican whose district includes East Haven. “A lot of these homes have been passed down from generation to generation. A few people have cleaned up their lot, removed the debris and put their property up for sale.”

Opinion. World's Faith Groups Agree That Climate Change Is A Growing Concern. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at "Late last year, my mother asked me to make a collection of statements by various faith groups on the subject of climate change. She volunteers for the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an international, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is urging Congress to pass legislation to curb U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. CCL foresaw that the world’s religious communities might be a valuable ally. I agreed to take on this task and began by looking up a number of Christian and Jewish groups on the internet."

Photo credit above: . "An iceberg is seen in Disko Bay, Greenland above the arctic circle in this 2005 file photo."

An Open Letter To State Farm About Climate Denial. Here's a post from Shawn Lawrence Otto at Neorenaissance: "Climate science professor Scott Mandia has been insured by State Farm Insurance for 21 years, but when he read that State Farm has apparent given hundreds of thousands of dollars (PDF) to climate denial propaganda outfit The Heartland Institute, he began to question his loyalty to the insurer.  Last week, Heartland rolled out a hate-oriented billboard campaign that compared scientists, science organizations, and federal agencies who acknowledge that science suggests human behavior is warming the planet to "murderers and madmen" like Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden."

State Farm Ends Support Of Heartland Institute. Kudos to State Farm! More on their Facebook Page.

Heartland's Unabomber Fiasco Is Par For The Course. Here's a snippet from "So, the Heartland Institute has battle fatigue, and that’s what drove it to erect a billboard along a suburban Chicago expressway with the Unabomber’s mugshot and the caption, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” That’s what serial Heartland apologist Anthony Watts says: the make-believe “think tank” is shell-shocked, and that’s why they’re behaving strangely. Hmmm…  I’d have thought that if anyone should be suffering battle fatigue, it’s the scientists and reporters who receive the hate-mail and death threats fueled by Heartland’s campaign of distortion and innuendo."

Climate Ship Plots Course Through The Battering Waves. Here's an excerpt of a BBC story: "Last December's UN climate summit, in the South African port of Durban, saw heated discussions on a proposal that governments should commit to agreeing a new comprehensive global emissions-limiting deal with some kind of legal force before 2015. Reluctant nations found themselves up against a burgeoning coalition of principally small countries from the developed and developing worlds alike, which found common interest in tackling climate change as quickly as possible. The rainbow coalition included the EU, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), small islands vulnerable to impacts such as rising sea levels, and progressive Latin American countries such as Costa Rica."
Photo credit: AFP.

Sales of Hybrid, Electric Cars Take Off. An update from "When a new hybrid Prius is delivered to the Rockingham Toyota Scion dealership in Salem, N.H., it sells almost immediately. "Every time we get one on the lot, it lasts about five hours," said Marc Smith, the general sales manager. "Most times, it's gone before it even reaches the dealership." High gas prices and consumers' desire for greener vehicles are driving sales of efficient gas, hybrid and electric cars, dealers and customers said."

Are We In The Midst Of A Sixth Mass Extinction? Tuesdays are tough enough - now I have to worry about another mass extinction - thanks Paul. Here's a blurb from a New York Times article: "NEARLY 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild. That’s according to the most authoritative compilation of living things at risk — the so-called Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This should keep us awake at night. By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries."

Petroleum Companies Urged To Increase Adoption Of American-Made Renewable Energy. Here's an excerpt of a story from "Washington, DC - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack called on petroleum companies to help increase the percentage of ethanol in America's gas tanks in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost job creation and promote development of renewable energy from farm-produced feedstocks. Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action approved the use of E15, a fuel blend that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, up from the current 10 percent blend level."

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