Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Warming Trend (warmest 12 months on record for USA)

60 F. high temperature Tuesday in the Twin Cities.

67 F. average high for May 8.

65 F. high temperature one year ago, on May 8, 2011.

.06" rain fell yesterday at Twin Cities International Airport. (.24" St. Paul, .28" reported at Crystal).

10.8" rain has fallen since January 1.
7.1" average rainfall as of May 8.
7.31" fell last year from January 1 - May 8, 2011.

5:51 am sunrise at KMSP.
8:29 pm sunset this evening.
14 hours, 36 minutes of daylight today
5 hours, 50 minutes of additional daylight since December 21

"Landicane". OK. We all know it wasn't a hurricane, but there's no mistaking the counterclockwise swirl of spiral bands swirling around an "upper level low", a whirlpool of unusually cold air high above the Upper Midwest. The atmosphere cools about 4-5 degrees F. for every thousand feet of altitude. Yesterday this "lapse rate" was steeper, meaning it was getting colder (faster) than usual. A high sun angle heated the ground and the air above the ground, warm thermals accelerating into this chilly air aloft, sparking swarms of showers and thundershowers. Midday visible image courtesy of NASA's MODIS satellite and the University of Wisconsin.

Minnesota Walleye Fishing Opener Facts & Figures. Here's some useful (essential) information for anglers hoping to get out first thing on Saturday, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR
Tacklebox of angler "must haves"...

Boatload of angler "must reads" ...

Best Fishing Days 2012. I have my bootleg copy of the 2012 Farmer's Almanac - the online version has some helpful tips for anglers heading out this weekend; here's an excerpt:
Best Times For Fishing:
  • One hour before and one hour after high tides, and one hour before and one hour after low tides. Inland, the times for high tides correspond with the times when the Moon is due south. Low tides are halfway between high tides.
  • During the "morning rise" (after sunup for a spell) and the "evening rise" (just before sundown and the hour or so after).
  • When the barometer is steady or on the rise. (But even during stormy periods, the fish aren't going to give up feeding. The smart fisherman will find just the right bait.)
  • When there is a hatch of flies—caddis flies or mayflies, commonly. (The fisherman will have to match his fly with the hatching flies or go fishless.)
  • When the breeze is from a westerly quarter rather than from the north or east.
  • When the water is still or rippled, rather than during a wind.

A Promising Outlook. Minnesota's Walleye Fishing Opener and Mother's Day - what can possibly go wrong? The only chance of showers/thunder over the next 8 days comes Friday, otherwise dry weather prevails, the ECMWF not predicting any rain for the weekend (miraculously). Temperatures mellow well into the 70s next week, possibly reaching 80 the by Thursday and Friday of next week.

Searching For A Pot Of Gold. Thanks to Lori Ryan (and Instagram) for reminding us about the proverbial end of the rainbow, following a heavy shower in the St. Louis Park area. Well done!

"The 12-month period of May 2011 to April 2012 had a nationally averaged temperature of 2.8°F above the 1901-2000 average, NOAA said, making it the warmest such period on record." - from a Climate Central story below.

26 states across America experienced the warmest January - April period on record; temperatures running an average of 5 degrees F. warmer than normal.

10 warmest years on record for the USA observed since 1999. Details from NOAA NCDC below.

Flood Warnings In Effect. Here's the latest flood update from the local Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service:









Photo Of The Day. A chance of turbulence? Yes, I'd say so. Details on this amazing photo, courtesy of the Reno office of The National Weather Service: "This photo was taken by pilot Gordon Boettger while soaring in the vicinity of Wells, NV. The camera is looking south across the Ruby Mountains. Gordon reported that at the time a rotor cloud to his left was "turning like a washing machine". Rotor clouds, when present, indicate turbulence that is very dangerous to aviation. Thanks for sharing this photo Gordon!"

Suddenly Hungry For Ice Cream. Check out the photo from the Brownsville, Texas office of The National Weather Service, via Facebook: "Taken outside the office a few minutes ago...look at the striations!"

"During just the next eight years, U.S. Earth observation capabilities are likely to decline to roughly 25 percent of current levels, Hartmann said. “We need those observations from space more than we ever have before, and just when we’re going to need them the most they’re not going to be there,” he said." - from a Climate Central story; details below. Photo credit: NASA.

"We are emitting twice as much greenhouse gases every year as are absorbed by the world's forests and oceans. This overshoot will worsen and will peak in 2030." - from a Reuters/Huffington Post article; details below.

"One of the main conclusions of the report was that governments would be unsuccessful in their attempts to mitigate or prevent global warming. “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view,” Randers said “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind.” - from an RT.com article, details below.

"Nearly one of every three kids in East Harlem suffers from asthma. In the more affluent Upper East Side, the rate is less than 10 percent. Yet both neighborhoods have been found to have poor air quality due in large part to diesel truck and bus traffic and old buildings that still burn dirty heating oil. How could kids living within walking distance of one another face such disparate risks?"- from a Huffington Post article focused on asthma disproportionately impacting low income kids across the USA; details below. Photo above: "Restless Skies".

Weather, Climate Forecasts Imperiled As Programs Cut. The story from meteorologist Andrew Freedman at Climate Central: "A “near-perfect storm” of factors has contributed to a rapid decline in America’s Earth observation capabilities, as long-running satellite missions end and new ones struggle to get off the ground, according to a new report from the National Research Council (NRC). If recent trends continue, there could be major ramifications in the form of less accurate weather and climate forecasts, as well as blind spots in monitoring a wide range of natural hazards. All of this comes at a time when humans are having large, and in many cases, poorly understood effects on the natural environment, said Dennis L. Hartmann, the chair of the NRC committee that wrote the report and a professor at the University of Washington at Seattle."

Photo credit above: "This NASA "Blue Marble" image of Earth was generated from data produced by the Suomi NPP Satellite. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: NASA."

April Checks In Number 3 On All-Time Warmest List For U.S. Details from Climate Central: "Following the warmest March on record, the contiguous U.S. had its third-warmest April, and the year-to-date is running warmer than any other since record keeping began in 1895, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.  The 12-month period of May 2011 to April 2012 had a nationally averaged temperature of 2.8°F above the 1901-2000 average, NOAA said, making it the warmest such period on record. That timeframe has also encompassed the second-hottest summer, fourth-warmest winter, and warmest March. The top ten warmest 12-month periods in the Lower 48 states have all occurred since 1999."

Map credit above: "Locations where monthly record high temperatures were set during April 2012. The colors indicate the magnitude by which the previous record was exceeded. Credit: NOAA."

10 Warmest Years For USA Since 1999. Here's the URL from NOAA's NCDC, National Climatic Data Center.

Slow-Motion Warming Trend. We should reach mid-60s today, then mid-70s Thursday afternoon with a stiff south breeze. A cool frontal passage knocks highs into the mid-60s Saturday, a shot at 70 on Mother's Day. Temperatures continue to mellow into the 70s next week, reaching 80 by the end of next week.

Trending Warmer. Both the 6-10 day and the 8-14 day temperature trends (CPC) show warmer than average temperatures returning to Minnesota. Heat building out west will spread eastward over the next 2 weeks. Maps: Ham Weather.

Storm Chasers Help Warn During Severe Weather. Here's an excerpt of a story from CBS 11 in Dallas: "When Clint Perkins isn’t working as an EMT in Hood County, he’s preparing for the next big storm. Instead of hiding from tornadoes, he seeks them out. Although he’s been a storm chaser for almost 20 years, the tornado he saw on April 3 scared him. “Watching this large tornado moving up towards south Arlington,” recalls Perkins, “that’s one of the first times in my chasing that I thought, ‘this is really bad.’ I think my whole demeanor changed.”

Photo credit above: "CBS 11 viewer Leigh Taylor took this photo from the Crescent Court in Dallas on September 8, 2010."

8 States Where You Really Need Natural Disaster Insurance. Thanks to insurancequotes.org for passing this one along; very happy that Minnesota isn't on this list: "Can you feel it in your bum knee? There's gonna be weather. Tornado season and hurricane season are upon us, and if you're paranoid that an act of God is going to wipe you out, you should probably consider getting natural disaster insurance. Hurricanes could plow over your city. A tornado could ravage a nearby trailer park, and within minutes there could be debris all over the roads and rednecks on the television. One of the best ways to clear your mind during life's storms is to have a plan (which probably includes insurance) in place. And it's got to be location specific. So, check out these eight states where you really need natural disaster insurance. And break out that dusty Twister VHS, because it's going to be a long night."

#1). Hawaii. This chain of islands was literally formed by tectonic shifts that produced giant mountains that shoot red-hot molten material from Earth's core into the sky with alarming ferocity. And there's always a chance of a catastrophic tsunami or flood. While the island boasts some of the most beautiful vistas in the entire world, the Aloha spirit may not be enough to shield you from the awesome power of nature.

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

Hi Paul,

"I keep hearing you talk about a drought this year, yet on the same page, I see that we're 3.82 inches above average precipitation for the year.
So how are these drought conditions? Can you explain?"
Thank you,

John - I understand  your confusion. I'm equally confused. Yes, we are running a significant rainfall surplus for 2012, but it started drying out rapidly during autumn of 2011 - we're experiencing a long-term rainfall deficit, but recent rains have made a (huge) dent in the drought. The next U.S. Drought Monitor comes out Thursday of this week, and I expect very significant improvement statewide, especially southern Minnesota, which has been hit the hardest by dry weather. Greg Spoden at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group shared the following, which you can see here:  "An updated U.S. Drought Monitor depiction will not be released until Thursday, May 10. However recent rains assure that categorical improvements are in order in many Minnesota counties, especially those where last week's rainfall exceeded the weekly average by two or more inches. Because transpiration (plant water use) is not yet underway on our agricultural landscapes, last week's rainfall was nearly completely net gain; improving soil moisture supplies, stream flows, and lake and wetland levels. The only sustaining drought impact in southern Minnesota are somewhat low water levels on our larger lakes, especially land-locked basins that are strongly tied to ground water. "

Percentage of Normal Precipitation Since October 1. This maps does a slightly better job explaining how portions of Minnesota can still be in drought, in spite of recent heavy rains. Even factoring the 2-5" rain that fell the first week of May, since October 1 precipitation is 25-50% of normal across much of western, northern and central Minnesota. Only the Twin Cities metro and portions of southern Minnesota have seen "normal" precipitation since October 1, 2011. Map courtesy of NOAA.

Tesla Electric Car Gets A Once-Over. Here's an excerpt from the Herald-Tribune: "Waves of people visited Sarasota Yacht Club last weekend to view the new Tesla Model S sedan, an all-electric vehicle ready for production next month. With people standing in line to place orders, they joined others eager to purchase one of the 5,000 sedans available this year. Next year, the company plans to manufacture 20,000 vehicles. Test drives start this summer. Noting the good turnout, Maria Bobek of Tesla explained interest is particularly high in this area." Photo above: Tesla Motor Company.

Electric Car Range Anxiety. The first company that can deploy a 500 mile battery: instant $500 billion valuation. I think we're getting close, but in the short term people with electric cars have understandable concerns about running out of juice along the side of the road.  Hawaiibusiness.com has the story: "Margaret Larson has felt “range anxiety.” If you buy an electric vehicle in the near future, you will feel it, too. Larson is the electric vehicle specialist for the state Energy Office and was driving the state’s Nissan Leaf electric car back from an event on the North Shore along H-1. Just as she passed the Likelike Highway exit, an automated voice chimed, “Low battery charge. You have six miles left on your battery.” The state’s EV specialist was close to suffering the electric equivalent of running out of gas on the way to her downtown office, without a filling station in sight. “I was white knuckling the wheel just praying we didn’t run out,” Larson says." Nissan Leaf photo credit here.

Journalism: Dying By A Thousand Cuts Or Being Reinvented? A thought-provoking story from gigaom.com; here's an excerpt: "There are plenty of warning signs about the ongoing disruption in the media industry, and everyone is looking for someone to blame. But when it comes to their journalistic competition, many traditional outlets still seem to look primarily at other media players such as the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed or Politico. As information architect and web developer Stijn Debrouwere notes in a smart post about the evolution of media, however, the reality is that much of what we find competing with journalism in the digital world are things we barely even recognize as journalism. How the industry adapts to that change will be the real challenge."

It's The Year 1472 In Journalism, A Fact Some People Like And Others Don't. Here's an eye-opening story from Capital New York: You ask what the future of news is? I have no friggin’ idea. No one does.” So said Jeff Jarvis at Tuesday night’s roundtable discussion titled, naturally, "The Future of Journalism," and held at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. Jarvis, the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate Center, was one of five panelists invited to examine this tricky subject before a room of mostly undergraduate students, many of whom appeared to be questioning their decision to major in journalism."

"I'll be there for you until the last dog dies.." - Bill Clinton, campaigning in 1992

Touch of October. Was it me, or did it look and feel more like mid-October out there yesterday? A stormy swirl of cold air aloft kept the atmosphere overhead unstable and irritable, allowing showers and a few isolated thundershowers to sprout. As much as .28" rain fell at Crystal, .17" at St. Cloud. Highs ranged from 58 at St. Paul to 60 at MSP International Airport, 62 at St. Cloud and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The Forecast Calls For Quadruplets. Thanks to WeatherNation TV meteorologist Todd Nelson for passing this along.

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

TODAY: Mix of clouds and sun, a much nicer spring day. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 65

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and pleasant. Low: 48

THURSDAY: Bright sun, a beautiful day. Winds: SW 15. High: 75

FRIDAY: More clouds, stray T-shower possible. Low: 57. High: 71

FRIDAY NIGHTEvening thunder, then partial clearing and cooler late. Low: 49

SATURDAY (MN FISHING OPENER): Partly sunny and dry. Slowly rising barometer. Winds: NW 10. High: 67

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 48

SUNDAY (MOTHER'S DAY): Plenty of sun, lukewarm. Winds: West 5-10. High: 71

MONDAY: Mostly sunny - beautiful. Low: 51. High: 73

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, isolated shower? Low: 52. High: 74

"An Accumulation of Coincidences"

I've been accused of being a "weather terrorist" for warning of tornadoes, and a "warmist" and "alarmist" - for pointing out jaw-dropping trends in the data. I can live with that. I've been called far worse (by loved ones).

Funny how we've gone from conversations & debates to screaming at each other, typing snarky e-mails and FB posts. Progress.

In an attempt to further endear myself to the usual climate-change-deniers let me point out some headlines from those left-leaning, tree-hugging alarmists down at NOAA: April was the 3rd warmest on record, following the warmest March on record. The last 12 months were the warmest ever recorded across the USA. NCDC reports America's 10 warmest years have taken place since 1999.
No worries. I'm sure it's all one great big cosmic coincidence.

No big storms or sloppy fronts are in sight through the end of next week; we all get a break. A stray T-shower is possible Friday, but skies clear for Saturday's Walleye Fishing Opener, highs in the 60s. Mother's Day looks sunny, highs near 70.

Keep in mind sunburn has nothing to do with air temperature; it's a function of sun angle. Sunscreen makes a lovely Mother's Day present! Maybe not.

* chart above courtesy of NOAA, NCDC and planetsave.com.

"There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet." - Brooke Medicine Eagle

Climate Stories....

Image Of The Day: Methane Leaking Through The Cracks. Here's an excerpt of a May 9 press release from NASA's Earth Observatory: "The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth’s climate warms, that methane is vulnerable to possible release into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming. Researchers have known for years that large amounts of methane are frozen in Arctic tundra soils and in marine sediments (including gas hydrates). But now a multi-institutional study led by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of methane: the Arctic Ocean itself. The photograph above was taken by Kort, and it shows leads and cracks in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. During five research flights in 2009–10, Kort and colleagues measured increased methane levels while flying at low altitudes north of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in a National Science Foundation/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V aircraft as part of the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) airborne campaign."

Sweltering Earth: Dangerous Global Warming Awaits The Planet In The Next 40 Years - Report. Alarmist? Warmist? We'll see. Here's an excerpt from Germany's RT.com: "Rising carbon dioxide levels will most likely cause the global average temperature to rise two degrees by 2052, the Club of Rome think tank has said in a report. Failure to come up with a coordinated solution to address the issue of global warming will lead to a dangerous warming of the Earth’s climate, the report published by Norwegian academic Jorgen Randers says. The paper, titled “2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” even raises the possibility that humankind might not survive if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism. With the world population predicted to reach a peak level of 8.1 billion by 2042, global consumption and demand will only be growing, causing even more greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation."

Air Pollution, Asthma Burden Unevenly Shared Among U.S. Children. Why are asthma levels spiking upward? Call me crazy (my wife does every day) but I don't remember asthma being so pervasive back in the "olden days", the 1960s and 1970s. What has changed? Here's an excerpt from an important story at The Huffington Post: ...."This is just one of a number of assaults on children's well-being that makes it harder to lead healthy, successful lives." Paul is a researcher on a study published last year that describes disparities in air quality around the U.S. By pairing census data with air pollution levels from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's monitoring network, his team found that low-income and minority groups -- in particular, poor children of color -- tend to be most exposed to air pollution. Disadvantaged kids not only breathe disproportionate amounts bad air, but they also can be more vulnerable to the ill effects of that bad air. As The Huffington Post reported in March, asthma is likely the most notorious of these ailments."

Dinosaurs' Digestive Gases Linked To Global Warming. I don't think I've ever used "dinosaur farts" in a sentence, and I'm not about to start now - yes, let's talk about "digestive gases". Far more PC. Here's an excerpt from The L.A. Times: "Dinosaurs' gassy guts may have contributed to global warming tens of millions of years ago, according to a new study that finds a group of plant-eating dinosaurs could have produced about as much methane as all of today's natural and man-made sources of the greenhouse gas. British researchers reported in Tuesday's edition of the journal Current Biology that the methane emissions from sauropods far outstripped those of today's cattle, goats and other cud-chewing mammals."

Photo credit above: "Visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York inspect a model of a 60-foot sauropod, a plant-eating dinosaur. A study links sauropods' methane gas to late Jurassic climate change. (Mary Altaffer, Associated Press / April 13, 2011)."

* Never Stand Behind A Dinosaur, New Research Shows. The same story, from a different angle, courtesy of Climate Central.

Conservative Think Tanks Step Up Attacks Against Obama's Clean Energy Strategy. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "A network of ultra-conservative groups is ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama's energy agenda. A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy. Now a confidential strategy memo seen by the Guardian advises using "subversion" to build a national movement of wind farm protesters."

World's Largest Carbon Capture Lab Opens In Norway To Fight Global Warming. Here's an excerpt from news.com.au: "Located at an oil refinery on Norway's west coast, the Technology Centre Mongstad aims to test French and Norwegian methods of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and burying them underground to prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere. "We need to find a way to reconcile the need for energy and the need for emission reductions," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said as he inaugurated the site. "Carbon-capture technology is a key," he said. "This technology may deliver up to 20 percent of the emission reductions needed by 2050."

Club Of Rome Climate Change Report Predicts 2 Degree Celsius Temperature Rise By 2052. An excerpt from Reuters and Huffington Post: "LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Rising carbon dioxide emissions will cause a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2052 and a 2.8 degree rise by 2080, as governments and markets are unlikely to do enough against climate change, the Club of Rome think tank said. Failing to tackle climate change in the first half of this century will put the world on a dangerous track to warming in the second half, even though global population should peak in 2042 at 8.1 billion and economic growth will be much slower than expected in mature economies, the Switzerland-based body said in a report on Tuesday."

Ben Stein Loses Bulk Of Lawsuit Claiming Global Warming Beliefs Cost Him Acting Job (Exclusive). The Hollywood Reporter has the story: "California Superior Court judge Elizabeth Allen White has dismissed most of Ben Stein's lawsuit that claimed the Japanese company Kyocera Mita backed out of a $300,000 deal to hire him to act in commercials for a line of computer printers when it found out about his controversial beliefs on global warming. Although Stein claimed that his freedom to speak publicly was at stake, the judge has ruled that much of his lawsuit itself was a legal maneuver intended to impinge free speech and has dismissed eight of Stein's nine claims. The lawsuit survives, but only barely.

Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter.

Climate Change Accelerating, Complicating Idaho's Spring Runoff. Here's an excerpt from McClatchy: "The effects of global warming are making it more difficult for reservoir managers to control floods and manage flows for irrigation, recreation and fisheries. Two days of record high temperatures and two days of record rainfall the same week in late April sent 26,000 cubic feet per second surging into the Boise River dam system, forcing federal river managers to increase flows to more than 8,100 cfs — the highest flow out of Lucky Peak Dam since 1998 and just the second time it has hit 8,100 in 30 years. “If the reservoir had been full, we would have had a big problem,” said Patrick McGrane, manager of river operations for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region, which operates the Boise River reservoirs in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/08/148119/climate-change-accelerating-complicating.html#storylink=cpy
A Moral Challenge: Moving From F To A+ On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story at Huffington Post: "Why were so many religions weighing in on this issue? How can religion help to address an issue like climate change? In my experience as a Bahá'í representative, I've had several discussions with scientists on this matter. It is well known that for most of us, facts and numbers, even combined with dire warnings about the future, fail to motivate. The scientists I know are good at presenting the facts, but even they admit that they aren't so adept at moving people to take effective action. Religion has the power to motivate people for all the right reasons. It is able to mine the depths of human motivation, discern truth and speak directly to conscience. Through religion, matters of justice, equity, and fair-mindedness are elevated in priority."

Conservation Hawks Condemn Heartland Institute. Here's an excerpt of a post at Fly Rod and Reels: "This kind of warped, twisted rhetoric is an insult to every American who hopes to pass on a healthy natural world to future generations. When the Heartland Institute ran this ad, it not only took direct aim at our hunting and fishing, it also put our children and grandchildren squarely in the cross-hairs. This dishonest attack must not go unchallenged. Conservation Hawks is working with America's hunters and anglers to address the single gravest threat on the horizon - climate change. We condemn the intellectually bankrupt and morally bereft Heartland Institute.

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