Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free A/C (July: hottest month for USA since 1895)

80 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

82 F. average high for August 8.

82 F. high on August 8, 2011.

.01" rain fell on KMSP yesterday (strong to severe storms bubbled up over southeastern Minnesota around the dinner hour).

July 2012: Hottest Month In U.S. History. Accurate weather records go back to the late 1800s. Since then there has never been a month as hot as July, 2012. Details from NOAA: "According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6 F, 3.3 F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 F. The warmest July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first 7 months of the year, and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since record-keeping began in 1895. Just looking at the map I was struck with the thought that this gives new meaning to "red states".

Wake-Up Call. More like a smack upside the head. You can't look at this graph and not, on some level, be a little troubled. According to NOAA NCDC 2012 is running 4-6 F. above average, nationwide, blowing away the previous hot weather records: 1998, 2006, 1934, 1999 and 1921.

U.S. Has Hottest Month On Record. More perspective on an historic July from meteorologist Jason Samenow, at The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: "In 118 years of U.S. records, July 2012 stands as king, hotter than any month previously observed. NOAA reports today that the average temperature across the continental U.S. was 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average, 0.2 degrees hotter than the previous record set in July, 1936. Not only was the month of July unrivaled for its hot temperatures across the nation, but so too were the first seven months of the calendar year and the last 12 months. In fact, the last four 12-month periods have each successively established new records for the warmest period of that length."

Map credit above: "Temperatures compared to normal in July across the Lower 48 states (Regional Climate Centers)."

State Of The Climate. NOAA NCDC has more details on our record-shattering summer:
  • According to the July 31, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of July. This is an increase of about 6.9 percent compared to the end of June. The maximum value of 63.9 percent reached on July 24 is a record in the 13-year history of the USDM.
  • The area of the country in the worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) doubled from 10 percent last month to 22 percent this month. The extreme dryness and excessive heat devastated crops and livestock from the Great Plains to Midwest.

Ouch! July In U.S. Was Hottest Ever In History Books. Here's more information from a story at Bloomberg Businessweek: "...Three of the nation's five hottest months on record have been recent Julys: This year, 2011 and 2006. Julys in 1936 and 1934 round out the top five. Last month also was 3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for July. Thirty-two states had months that were among their 10 warmest Julys, but only one, Virginia, had the hottest July on record. Crouch said that's a bit unusual, but that it shows the breadth of the heat and associated drought."

Photo credit above: "Heat waves rise while a Kansas Department of Transportation road crew works on a section of US 59 near Nortonville, Kan., Monday, Aug. 6, 2012." (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

3rd Hottest July On Record In Minnesota. Virginia has the warmest July on record, across the Upper Midwest ever state was in the top 5 warmest Julys on record. Map: NOAA NCDC.

Thursday Severe Risk. SPC shows an elevated risk of hail and damaging straight-line winds from Chicago and St. Louis east to Detroit, Louisville and Pittsburgh, as an upper level low irritates a stalled frontal boundary over the Ohio River Valley.

Today's Weather Map. The WRF model (valid 4 pm today) shows light to moderate showers over the Upper Midwest, strong to severe T-storms over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, more spotty T-storms over the Mid South and Lower Mississippi Valley. West of the Mississippi: precious little rain

Weekend Preview. The ECMWF model shows a ripe environment for a few widely scattered showers and T-showers Saturday night into Sunday morning. At this point Saturday looks like the nicer day with more sun, upper 70s to near 80. Sunday should be more humid, the best chance of a little sun afternoon hours.

More Hints Of Autumn. Today and Friday look very comfortable, highs in the mid 70s today, upper 70s tomorrow with low humidity. We heat up next week - 90+ possible by Wednesday, but any discomfort will be brief. A vigorous cold front arrives the middle of next week; by next Friday highs may hold in the 60s over most of Minnesota!

Weather? Climate Change? Why The Drought Is Persistent And Growing. Yes, a dying La Nina may have contributed to the drought, one of many factors, according to this story at The Christian Science Monitor; here's an excerpt: "Several factors have contributed to the expanded drought, meteorologists say. The lingering aftereffects of two years' worth of colder-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific – a condition known as La Niña – set the stage. La Niña events drive average storm tracks farther north than usual as they snake across North America. And La Niña tends to stifle hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Both contributed to a drier southern tier. But for some parts of the United States, some researchers add, the dryness encouraged by this natural climate cycle appears to be reinforcing a longer-term drying that is consistent with climate models gauging the effects of global warming. For the West in particular, conditions may be setting up for what researchers call a “megadrought” by the end of the century."

Photo credit above: "A damaged corn crop in Rice County, in central Kansas, August 7." Jeff Tuttle/Reuters

The Silver Lining In The Drought. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed in The New York Times: "FROM where I sit on the north end of America’s grain belt, I can almost hear the corn popping to the south of me. The drought threatens to drive up global corn prices beyond their level in 2007-8, when food demonstrations broke out around the world. But such crises often lead to change — and transformation is what is needed to make our food system less vulnerable. We have become dangerously focused on corn in the Midwest (and soybeans, with which it is cultivated in rotation). This limited diversity of crops restricts our diets, degrades our soils and increases our vulnerability to droughts."

Photo credit above: "Dark clouds from a passing thunder storm hang over a dry cornfield in Blair, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. The area received some rain from the storm. Farmers in the nation's Corn Belt are confronting a drought that stretches from Ohio west to California and from Texas north to the Dakotas. Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more of the U.S., according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C." (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Hurricanes, Typhoons And Cyclones: Storms Of Many Names. Yes,  they are different names for the same warm-core storms that form over warm ocean water, worldwide. Live Science has a good explanation; here's an excerpt: "There has to be a perfect storm, so to speak, of conditions for a hurricane to form, including:
  • Water that is at least 80 degrees F (26.6 C)
  • Relatively moist air
  • Very warm surface temperatures
  • A continuous evaporation and condensation cycle
  • Wind patterns of varying directions that collide (converging winds)
  • A difference in air pressure between the surface and high altitude
Tropical cyclones form all around the world, generally about 300 miles (480 kilometers) north or south of the equator. When they form in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, the storms are called hurricanes. They are called typhoons in the western North Pacific and cyclones in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. [Infographic: How, When & Where Hurricanes Form]"

Shelf Cloud. A tip-off to potentially severe winds, beware of T-storms with a protruding "lip". Thanks to A.J. Lane, who snapped this photo near Ames, Iowa Wednesday.

Tornadoes In Unusual Places. Thanks to John Andrew Bordash for sharing this photo; details: "This tornado was near Hallowing Point, MD yesterday around 6:00PM. It started as a waterspout over the Patuxent River then moved on land in Calvert County. The NWS in Sterling, VA issued a Tornado Warning. The storm was slow mover but quickly dissipated."

From Drought To Tornado. Thanks to Virginia Semerad and the Omaha, Nebraska office of the National Weather Service for sharing this. It looks strange to see a tornado hovering over fried fields.

Not A Honda In Sight. I'm glad the weather is cooperating with bikers gathered at Sturgis, South Dakota. Thanks to Willy Bondling for passing this one along.

One Fine Sunset. From WeatherNation TV's Facebook Site: "This photo by @JonRHansen knocked the socks right off my feet. Sunset Wednesday night in Rhome, TX."

Martian Sunrise. Thanks to NASA, Patrick Cusworth, and Twitter for this one-of-a-kind shot.

You Too Can Own A $8700 Corn Cob House. Now I've officially seen everything - details from "French architectural firm St. André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls. The 20 square meter (215 square foot) pavilion style home is located in the protected parklands of Muttersholtz, France and recently won the Archi<20 and="and" andr="andr" ang="ang" architect="architect" architecture.="architecture." around="around" bastien="bastien" be="be" carpenter="carpenter" co-creator="co-creator" competition="competition" cost="cost" em="em" environmentally-friendly="environmentally-friendly" for="for" gizmag.="gizmag." had="had" he="he" low-cost="low-cost" of="of" partners="partners" project="project" real="real" saint-andr="saint-andr" some="some" st.="st." the="the" told="told" total="total" ut="ut" was="was" we="we" woodworker="woodworker" would="would">.”

Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are "Suspicious". Confirming one of my darker fears, yes, now you need FB just to be "credible" with a future boss. The eStress is building. Details from; here's an excerpt: "The term “Crackberry” seems silly today — and not just because consumers OD’ed on Blackberry and moved on to iDealers. The term arose in an earlier “aughts” time when Blackberry dominated the smartphone market and lawyers and execs were nearly the only ones who had them, due to their need to be able to respond to email immediately. Things have changed. Now we all need to be able to respond to email immediately. And to tweet. And to instantly share our photos on Facebook. We’re all addicted to technology now, and not just to the Blackberry. We’re “addicted” to our iPhones, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Android, and Pinterest, and iPads, and Word with Friends, and fill-in-the-blank-with-your-digital-dope-of-choice."

Unsettled. It felt pretty good out there - temperatures in the 70s most of the day, across most of the state. Afternoon highs ranged from 69 at Duluth (sweatshirt weather already?) to 72 St. Cloud, 80 Twin Cities and Rochester, and 85 at Redwood Falls.

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

TODAY: Unsettled, still comfortably cool. Clouds linger, shower late? Winds: N 10+ High: 75

THURSDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then slow clearing, cool breeze. Low: 56

FRIDAY: More sun, beautiful. Dew point: 52. Winds: E 7-12. High: 76

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, probably the nicer day for outdoor plans. Dew point: 50. Winds: NW 8-13. Low: 57. High: 79

SATURDAY NIGHT: More clouds, chance of a T-storm late. Low: 61

SUNDAY: Some sun, risk of thunder, slightly more humid. Dew point: 61. Winds: East 8-13. Low: 61. High: 80

MONDAY: Sunny, heating up. Dew point: 66. Low: 64. High: 84

TUESDAY: Sticky and stormy. Dew point: 69. Low: 67. High: near 90

WEDNESDAY: Hot, severe outbreak? Dew point: 71. Low: 69. High: 92

A Whole New Level of Hot

NOAA confirms last month was not only the warmest July ever recorded, but the hottest month since 1895. The first 7 months: warmest ever, running 4 to 6 F warmer than the long-term, 20th century historical average.

Yes, we've always had heat waves and drought, but there's a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that we may be turbocharging the heat. If this year doesn't make open-minded skeptics rethink their position I'm not sure what will.

Maybe someday we'll get past denial and work together on solutions that don't a). expand government, or b). wreck the economy. Technology & innovation will power this transformation, but like any good (carbon) addict, we need to first recognize that we have a problem.

Don't believe our weather patterns are changing? Talk to a farmer.

A late-day instability shower today gives way to a comfortable blue sky Friday. The approach of warmer air may set off a T-storm Saturday night & Sunday.

The craziness continues next week: 90-94 F. Tuesday & Wednesday, severe storms midweek, then MUCH cooler. By Friday highs may sink into the 60s!

What an odd summer.

Climate Stories...

Blame Climate Change For Increasingly Extreme Summers, Says Leading Climatologist. Here's a snippet from Discover Magazine: "...Researchers averaged the summer and winter temperatures for multiple locations across the globe during the years from 1951 to 1980, establishing a baseline for each season. Then they measured how much the temperature varied from this average over the years. They found an increasing number of anomalies in the past 30 years. We no longer have equal odds of the summer temperatures being unusually hot, or unusually cool. Instead, as the researchers phrase it, we are dealing with loaded dice: we are now much more likely to have a hot summer than an average or cool one. And hot temperatures have become both more frequent and more intense. In the time period from which the researchers drew their average, less than one percent of land on Earth suffered from extreme hotter-than-usual temperatures (more than three standard deviations above the average) at any one time. Now, these temperature hotspots cover 10 percent of the land."

Senator Reid: "Stop Acting Like Climate Change Deniers Have A Valid Point Of View - They Don't". Details and a video clip from The Daily Kos. Here's an excerpt of Sen. Harry Reid's recent comments on climate change: "The seriousness of this problem is not lost on your average American. A large majority of people finally believe climate change is real, and that it is the cause of extreme weather. Yet despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fueled and funded by dirty energy profits. These people aren't just on the other side of this debate. They're on the other side of reality. It's time for us all – whether we're leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don't."

Another View: Global Warming Alarm Too Costly To Let Continue. How do we stop shouting at each other and reach a pragmatic way forward? Here's a snippet of an intriguing Op-Ed at The Des Moines Register that caught my eye: "..But, the polarization in today’s global warming debate — alarmist versus skeptic, conservative versus liberal, capitalist versus socialist — has become so severe that the struggle will drag on for many years more unless a radically different approach is taken. New findings from the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University Law School point the way. They found that, when faced with having to support one side or the other in science debates, most people are influenced far more by their cultural and social worldviews than by the actual data. Citizens will usually agree with the side that comes closest to the values of the “tribe” they most identify with. In many cases, the facts don’t matter at all."

Climate Change: What Will It Take To Wake Up The World? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Rep. Carolyn Maloney at The Hill's Congress Blog: "....Short of world or national action, there are small signs of hope. More than 500 American cities and towns have already pledged to meet the Kyoto Protocol’s targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The hope, though, remains that the voices of young people will make a difference. In many ways, there is a limit to what we can do to help today’s children. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. Experts say that the climate we are used to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future. We hear a lot about the debt we are creating for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Yes, financial worries are important. But all the money in the world won’t mean a thing if future generations can’t be productive on the Earth we leave them."

U.S. Criticized On Global Warming Stance. Details from UPI: "BRUSSELS, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The United States has come under criticism for suggesting the target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius should be removed from climate talks. At a 2010 U.N. climate convention governments had agreed to take "urgent action" to meet the target but chief U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern recently said insisting on the target would lead to "deadlock." Now the European Union and the Alliance of Small Island States have responded by saying the Unites States should stick to promises made. "Suddenly abandoning our agreement to keep global warming below 2C is to give up the fight against climate change before it even begins," said Tony de Brum, minister in Assistance for the Marshall Islands."

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