Friday, July 13, 2012

Heating Up Again (100F. by Monday?)

91 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

84 F. average for July 13.

77 F. high temperature on July 13, 2011.

.96" rain fell at KMSP International Airport as of 7 pm Friday.

19: today will probably be the 19th day this year at or above 90 F. in the Twin Cities.

Another Heat Spike Imminent. I still suspect we'll wind up with 30-35 days at or above 90 this summer.

Today: 92 F. (dew point: 66 F.) Winds: west/northwest 5-10 mph.
Sunday: 96 F. (dew point: 62 F.) Winds: south/southeast 8-13 mph.
Monday: 100 F. (dew point: 64 F.) Winds: south/southwest 15-25 mph.

1,016 counties in 26 states declared disaster areas, due to severe drought conditions.

40% of America's corn crop described as in "good" condition, according to the USDA.

78% of America's corn-producing counties are in drought. USDA.

Now is when corn farmers most need rain, during the 10-12 day tassling phase.

$2 billion in insurance claims from June fires, floods and severe thunderstorms. Details from below.

Heating Up. The GFS model is all but worthless, consistently under-predicting high temperatures by 5-15 degrees. The NAM seems to be closer to the mark, and the latest runs are fairly consistent, showing 90-92 F. today, mid-90s Sunday, with a good shot at 100 F. on Monday afternoon. Ugh.

Midweek Relief. After at least 3-4 days above 90 the ECMWF is showing some relief by the middle of next week, 3 days of 80s (when did mid 80s become a "cool front"?), followed by more 90-degree heat next weekend. Yep, summer is about half over, by my calculations.

Shelf Cloud. Thanks to Jeremy Valerius for sharing this terrific shot of last night's squall line; the leading edge of rain and hail-cooled air whipping up a shelf cloud. When you see a cloud formation like this you know you're probably dealing with strong, potentially severe, straight-line winds.

Tree Damage. Details from KARE-11 and Facebook: "KARE 11's John Croman captured this photo of a tree that fell on a parked car at 54th Street and 3rd Avenue South in Minneapolis." More damage reports below.

Ice Falling From The Sky - On July 13? Thanks to Greg Weidner from Maple Grove for sending in this photo of marble to nickel-size hail from yesterday's squall line.

X-Class Solar Flare scheduled to arrive early this morning. Hopefully we'll avoid disruptions to communications and the power grid; this "CME" could mean a greater chance of viewing the Northern Lights tonight. Details below.

"It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut; they couldn't hear the barbarians coming." - Garrison Keillor. Photo:

Warmest First 10 Days Of July. Here's an excerpt from the latest installment of Dr. Mark Seeley's excellent WeatherTalk blog, with some jaw-dropping statistics: "For the Twin Cities, and perhaps a few other climate stations, the first ten days of July 2012 have been the warmest in history based on mean temperature values. Seven of the first ten days brought daytime temperatures of 90 F or greater (two days were over 100 F), and on five nights the temperature remained above the 70 degrees F mark. These values produced a mean temperature of 82.7 degrees F, or 9 degrees F warmer than normal. The following is a list of the top ten warmest first ten days of July in the Twin Cities area going back to 1871:"

1. 82.7 F in 2012
2. 82.4 F in 1948
3. 82.2 F in 1936
4. 81.2 F in 1989
5. 81.2 F in 1949
6. 80.8 F in 1937
7. 80.0 F in 1974
8. 79.2 F in 2002
9. 79.1 F in 2011
10. 79.0 F in 1988

* click here for latest U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota, courtesy of NOAA and USDA.

Drought: Natural Disaster Declarations In 26 U.S. States. Details from The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "America declared a natural disaster in more than 1,000 drought-stricken counties in 26 states on Thursday. It was the largest declaration of a national disaster and was intended to speed relief to about a third of the country's farmers and ranchers who are suffering in drought conditions. The declaration from the US department of agriculture includes most of the south-west, which has been scorched by wildfires, parts of the midwestern corn belt, and the south-east.It was intended to free up funds for farmers whose crops have withered in extreme heatwave conditions linked by scientists to climate change."

Photo credit above: "A tractor ploughs a corn field near Hondo, Texas. Natural disaster has been declared in many areas across the southern United States." Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

5-Day Rainfall Forecast. The corn belt will miss out on the heaviest rains, predicted from Mississippi into western Pennsylvania, more heavy T-storms from a monsoon effect over the Intermountain West, some 2-3" amounts for central and southern Florida. Map: NOAA HPC.

Damage Reports From Last Night's Storms. For the complete run-down from NOAA click here.

I think it’s huge that we got a judge to acknowledge that the atmosphere is a public trust asset and the air is a public trust asset,” Abrams said. “It’s the first time we’ve had verbiage like this come out of one of these cases.” - excerpt of an article from The Climate Post and National Geographic below.

Solar Storm Incoming: Federal Agencies Provide Inconsistent, Confusing Data. When it comes to solar flares and a threshold for when we should all be concerned about threats to communications and the power grid, we are (as a nation) nowhere close to where we are with severe weather, warnings, etc. Meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang points out the confusing and conflicting data: "A wave of plasma stoked by an X-class solar flare, the most intense type, is headed towards Earth. This blast of charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), is forecast to ignite a geomagnetic storm on Earth over the weekend. NOAA predicts it will be minor, maybe moderate. NASA says it will be moderate to severe. I ask: which intensity will it be and why aren’t these two science agencies on the same page? The intensity of the inbound CME matters."

Graphic credit above: "Visualization of a solar flare and wave of charged particles known as a coronal mass ejection." (NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory)

Bizbeat: Climate Change Brings Insurance Worries. Being a farmer just got tougher - it seems we careen from one extreme to the next, flood to drought, back to flooding. I have enormous respect for farmers, and the risks they take to put food on our table. Here's in interesting article from on the liability challenges surrounding farming in a new (more extreme) climate: "If this summer is any indication, climate change will cost us all. From drought-ravaged farmers filing crop insurance claims to homeowners dealing with storm damage, the fickle weather is proving expensive. Insurers nationwide are already facing claims of almost $2 billion from fires, hail and thunderstorms that hit parts of the U.S. last month Moreover, the extreme conditions are calling into question many of the assumptions about risk and forcing insurers to adjust going forward. “Mother Nature has always been unpredictable but when you start factoring in climate change, it throws the actuarial numbers out the window,’’ says Martha Lester-Mittenzwei, insurance and risk management instructor at Madison College."

Photo credit above: "Corn leaves curl under a withering sun in a field along Highway 14 near Arena on Thursday. Farmers have struggled to maintain crops amid record heat and droughts this summer."

Florida Funnel. Here are more details, via Facebook, from the Tampa NWS office: "Funnel cloud in Cape Coral at 2:45 pm edt today. Please let us know if it touched ground and caused any damage."
Wales Weather: Met Office Raises Alert On Rain And Floods. The forecast for the London Olympics looks wet, at least for the first week of the games; hopefully things will improve over time. An update on the flood risk from the BBC: "There is now a "be prepared" warning for the eastern part of mid Wales, and people are advised to take extra care. Rain is also expected to affect the rest of Wales, with persistent rain in the north and local heavy thundery downpours in the south. The advice comes after weeks of wet weather which saw severe flood damage in villages around Ceredigion in June. Earlier this week, the Prince of Wales met victims of the flooding and emergency services involved in the rescue operation."
* satellite image above courtesy of
Hurricane Hunters Fly Into The Eye Of The Storm For Science - And TV. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at "To gather information on violent storms, the National Hurricane Center relies on tools like sensors and satellites. And some badass Air Force Reserve pilots. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flies directly into the world’s worst storms to collect meteorological data. And like any dangerous job involving weather and vehicles, they now have a reality show: Hurricane Hunters recently premiered on the Weather Channel. “What I do is sort of crazy to the rest of the aviation world. Pilots are trained to avoid weather—we’re actually flying into the most extreme storms,” says Sean Cross, a pilot featured on the show who has flown for more than 11 years with the 53rd."

Minnesota: 5th Best State To Live In The USA? Thank you CNBC, for sharing our dirty little secret: clean air, abundant lakes, smart locals with an amazing work ethic and a kind word. Yes, I'm waving the flag, but there's nowhere else on Earth I'd rather live (and I've been around the block, trust me). Here's an excerpt:

2012 Quality of Life Points: 250 out of 350
2011 Quality of Life Rank: 8

"Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and all that natural beauty contributes to the quality of life. But there is more to the state than that. The home of the Mayo Clinic is one of America’s healthiest states. The crime rate is among the lowest in the country. Air quality is among the best, too. From the cosmopolitan Twin Cities to the remote beauty of the North Woods, Minnesota has it all."

Another Look At "Cold Fusion." Remember the cold fusion scandal back in the 80s? Turns out there may be something to this new and revolutionary way of generating electricity anyway. Details from; here's an excerpt and link to a 60 Minutes video clip: "There’s an announcement on the CNBC web site of an upcoming program that will feature cold fusion. There will be a program on Scientific Breakthroughs on Tuesday, July 17th at 9:00 p.m. ET. Here is the description:
Cold Fusion Is Hot Again

A report on cold fusion – nuclear energy like that which powers the sun, but made at room temperatures on a tabletop, which in 1989, was presented as a revolutionary new source of energy that promised to be cheap, limitless and clean but was quickly dismissed as junk science. Today, scientists believe that cold fusion, now most often called low temperature fusion or a nuclear effect, could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production.

"Now CNBC is a cable financial network, and 60 Minutes is a CBS show, so there must be some kind of partnership between the two companies. The explanation of ’60 Minutes on CNBC’ is, “CNBC brings you the latest on these classic stories with updates and never before seen footage of these award winning business news stories

MIT Develops New Glasses-Free 3-D TV Technology. Wait, I won't have to wear those dorky glasses in the future when I'm watching Fox News in 3-D? Something to look forward to. Details from "Though 3D movies have been around for a while, the experience of visiting a cinema to catch the latest blockbuster is dampened by unwieldy glasses and the limitation of only one fixed perspective being offered to all. The illusion of depth is present, but this is far removed from the hologram-like, multiple-perspective experience which would truly wow movie-goers. MIT's Media Lab’s Camera Culture group proposes a new approach to 3D images that promises glasses-free multiple-perspective 3D. Perhaps best of all though, MIT's technique uses inexpensive existing LCD technology, clearing the way for the tech to be implemented into TV's."

Your Phone May Soon Knew Where You're Going Before You Do. As my smartphone quickly becomes smarter than I am, I'm hoping it will automatically answer my calls, texts and e-mails. I'll just kick back and read a "book" while it's doing everything for me, including mapping out the rest of my day. has another intriguing story; here's an excerpt: "Phones obviously already know where we are and where we have been, thanks to GPS and other clever positioning technologies. Now, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, your smartphone may soon be able to make accurate educated guesses as to where you’re going to be in 24 hours time. And here’s the dirty trick responsible for the algorithm’s future-telling powers: it spies on your friends and connects the dots where necessary."

The Forecast Calls For Hiccups. I sympathize - and there's not much you can do when your body goes temporarily haywire. Details from  "Kalee Dionne, the morning meteorologist at Birmingham CBS-affiliate WIAT, was struck with a case of the hiccups during her weather report this morning. “Sorry, I have the hiccups,” Dionne cautioned viewers at the beginning of her forecast. Dionne got through to the end of the report before asking, “Does anyone know a cure for hiccups?” Video inside… "

Old Fashioned Air Conditioning. It's called "winter". How on earth...? Photo courtesy of
Thong Warning. I got a Speedo for my 40th birthday (thank you Amelia!). Leopard-skin green. Every warm weather vacation I pack it in my suitcase, just to get a reaction from my dear wife (who is not amused). Sorry for that mental image, btw.

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

TODAY: Storms linger over Wisconsin. Partly sunny; slight dip in humidity. Dew point: 65. Winds: N/NW 10. High: 91

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear - "Northern Lights" may be visible. Low: 69

SUNDAY: Hot sun. Dew point: 65 Winds: SE 10+ High: 95

MONDAY: Sizzling sun. Hottest day; shot at 100. Dew point: 66. Low: 72. High: 99 (I expect a few towns nearby to hit 100 Monday).

TUESDAY: Some sun, still muggy. Slight chance of thunder. Dew point: 68. Low: 73. High: 93

WEDNESDAY: Slight relief, isolated T-shower? Low: 69. High: 88

THURSDAY: Muggy, mix of clouds and sun. Low: 71. High: 92

FRIDAY: Sticky, intervals of hot, murky sun. Low: 73. High: 94

Sweaty Summer of '12

“It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut; they couldn't hear the barbarians coming” mused Garrison Keillor.
My A/C is still broken. A bad omen.

Today should be the 18th day at or above 90 this year. I'm still predicting 30-35 days above 90F by Labor Day. Average is 13.

Dr. Mark Seeley confirms the first 10 days of July were the warmest in Minnesota history. Moderate drought has spread into southern Minnesota; no significant rain for the critical tassling phase for corn farmers. 78% of America's corn growing counties are in drought. 1016 counties in 26 states have been declared Federal Disaster Areas. I stand by my (reckless) prediction: this will be the hottest, driest summer for the USA since 1988.

A north breeze brings the dew point into the mid-60s today. Expect 90-92F today, mid-90s Sunday, a 1 in 3 shot of 100F Monday. Lovely.

The ECWMF model brings another heat spike into Minnesota by next weekend: more mid-90s? By my calculations our summer heat (aggravations) are about half-over, give or take.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy reports 1 TRILLION tons of greenhouse gases have been released during the last 50 years, worldwide. Are we seeing the symptoms of more CO2?


* photo above courtesy of

Climate Stories...

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” - Ben Franklin
Global Carbon Emissions. Graph above courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. The U.S. DOE estimates approximately 1 trillion tons of CO2 and methane have been released into the atmosphere, worldwide, in the last 50 years.
"The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center estimates that about 76 percent comes from the combustion of coal and oil, and another 20 percent from natural gas. The remaining amounts to round up to 100 percent come from cement production and gas flaring." - source here.

Poll: Most Believe In Climate Change. Details from; here's a snippet of the article: "A majority of Americans say they think climate change is real, according to a new poll on Friday. Six in 10 believe weather patterns around the world have been more unstable in the past three years, The Washington Post/Stanford University poll found. Almost as many people said it has been hotter on average in that time than ever during the same period. And as for what the two presidential candidates want to do about climate change, almost half of respondents say President Barack Obama wants to take a lot of government action on global warming, while just 11 percent say they believe that is one of Mitt Romney’s goals."

Photo credit above: "About two-thirds of those surveyed said the U.S. should be a leader on the issue." AP Photo

Temperature Climbing, Weather More Unstable, A Majority Says In Poll. Details from The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...Americans polled by The Post and Stanford do see climate change as occurring: Six in 10 say weather patterns around the world have been more unstable in the past three years than previously, a perception that’s changed little since 2006. Nearly as many also say average temperatures were higher during the past three years than before that. In terms of what can be done about it, about 55 percent say a “great deal” or “good amount” can be done to reduce future global warming. At the same time, 60 percent of those polled say it will be extremely or very difficult for people to stop it."

5-Mile-Long Landslide In Alaska National Park; Warming Eyed As Possible Culprit. has the story; here's an excerpt: "A massive landslide sent tons of rock and debris tumbling more than five miles down a glacier in Alaska, the National Park Service reported in an event that could be yet another sign of a warming world. Located in a remote area of Glacier Bay National Park, the slide was so big it registered on earthquake monitors as a magnitude 3.4 event. Officials noticed the monitor blip on June 11 but it wasn't until July 2 that a pilot passing over the site took photos that showed just how large it was, Glacier Bay National Park announced on its Facebook page."

Photo credit above: via Glacier Bay National Park. "Rock and debris from a landslide lie along five miles of what had been an ice-white glacier inside Glacier Bay National Park."

As Country Breaks Heat Record, Studies Analyze Climate Connection. The story from National Geographic, here's an excerpt: "The same week the continental United States broke its record for the hottest six months in a calendar year, the United Nations announced 2011 was among the 15 warmest so far. Climate change may have increased the chances of the types of extreme weather seen in 2011, and may have been heavily influenced by a weather pattern called La NiƱa. The odds of such record U.S. heat being a random coincidence—while not 1 in 1,594,323, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center said in a new report—are perhaps on the order of 1 in 100,000. One NOAA scientist claims there is an 80 percent chance the record heat can be attributed to climate change. Meanwhile, Meteorologist David Epstein called the extremes “simply a reality of nature.”

Environmental Threats: Antarctica In Danger Of Climate Change, Ocean Acidification And More. Huffington Post has the story; here's an excerpt: "Antarctica and its surrounding waters are under pressure from a variety of forces that are already transforming the area, scientists warn. The most immediate threats are regional warming, ocean acidification and loss of sea ice, all linked to global levels of carbon dioxide. Sea ice cover, crucial to the survival of virtually every animal that lives on and near the continent, already has been reduced by warming, according to a new study published in the July 13 issue of the journal Science. Visits by tourists, researchers and other people also threaten to change Antarctica, as does the harvesting of animals like krill that are key to the Antarctic food chain."

War And Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a thought-provoking piece in The Huffington Post: "...Social change of real value is slow-going indeed. How do we manifest responsibility to the planet? A serious consensus is building across the globe that doing so is crucial, that the weather extremes of recent years are no less than global warming in action, the result of centuries of unbridled, industrial-age irresponsibility toward the planet, and something fundamental has to change in how we live our lives and sustain ourselves, but our leadership, certainly in this country, seems incapable of addressing an issue of such complexity. President Obama, who campaigned as a new kind of leader, perpetuates, in the name of national security, assassination by drone. Meanwhile, every real issue of national security, including climate change, is ignored. Every problem we face either has an us-vs.-them solution or no solution at all -- indeed, no existence as a problem. A year ago, when wildfires ravaged the state of Arizona, the best John McCain could do was blame it on illegal immigrants. We're stuck in a paradigm of domination, but we can't fight our way out of the ecological disaster we've brought on ourselves. Perhaps, having brought the hell of war to the Middle East over the last two decades, we're symbolically reaping what we've sown."

Climate Change Will Make The World Endear Geoengineering. I'm not sure endear is the right word. Tinkering with the atmosphere to try to "fix" our climate problem? What can possibly go wrong? The story from; here's an excerpt: "The appropriate time for large scale deployment of geoengineering will be something like now, that the world experiences extreme weather events.  ‘Geoengineer the climate, engineer it to save us’ will be the prevalent spout from people because of hard to bear recurrent extremes of devastating magnitude. The losses and impact from weather extremes, of the past few weeks around the world, has prompted serious concerns. Rich and powerful nations are being hurt likewise small and developing nations. Similar weather occurrences have rocked some of the affected places previously, and made news but was seen as a snippet of future climate change."

U.S. Wastes More Energy than China, Europe. Some interesting statistics from The Los Angeles Times; here's the introduction to the story: "In the U.S. – land of the gas-guzzler SUV and 24/7 air conditioning – energy efficiency isn’t known as a strong suit. The country’s power management efforts are so poor that a new report ranks it near the bottom of the pack of major economies. On a list of a dozen countries, which together account for 63% of global energy consumption, the U.S.' efficiency efforts are ranked in lowly ninth place. With a score of 47 out of 100, the U.S. outpaces only Brazil, Canada and Russia, according to the report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, known as ACEEE."

Photo credit above: "Traffic piles up in Los Angeles. The U.S. ranks last in energy efficiency in the transportation sector, according to a new report from ACEEE." (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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