80 F. average high for August 19.
84 F. high on August 19, 2011.
9.75" rain since June 1.
11.06" average rainfall between June 1 and August 18. We are running a 1.31" rainfall deficit since the start of meteorological summer in the Twin Cities.
Thursday night: next chance of heavy showers and T-storms.
575 average number of cooling degree days from June 1 - August 18.
44% energy consumption to cool our homes and businesses is running nearly 44% above average since June 1. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Drought Exposes Sandbars Along Rivers, But Experts Warn Of Quicksand-Like Problems. Quicksand, along the banks of the Mississippi River? Good grief. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "A lack of rain in the United States’ midsection in recent months has reduced water levels in some of the nation’s biggest rivers, exposing sandbars that experts warn could be deadly quicksand. Rivers such as the Mississippi and Missouri are typically low in August, but this year’s drought has them at their lowest point in decades. The sandbars that are revealed look like beaches, inviting boaters, fishermen and hikers to venture out. Experts agree that can be a very bad idea."
Photo credit above: "A plume of water at the end of the discharge pipe aboard the Dredge Potter on the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Aug. 17, 2012. The river is affected by the ruinous drought across much of the Midwest, with some stretches nearing the record low-water levels experienced in 1988." (John Schwartz/The New York Times).
The Cost Of Cool. I'm feeling better about my busted A/C unit. It's a fact of life: human productivity seems to suffer when air temperatures exceed 78-80 F. People tend to become easily distracted. As the planet warms more people (worldwide) are turning on air conditioners, which requires more electricitiy, more burning of fossil fuels to keep people comfortable, which releases more emissions which warm up the atmosphere even more. Another unpleasant "feedback effect" which has scientists concerned. Here's an excerpt of an article at The New York Times (subscription may be required): "Fact 3: Scientific studies increasingly show that health and productivity rise significantly if indoor temperature is cooled in hot weather. So cooling is not just about comfort. Sum up these facts and it’s hard to escape: Today’s humans probably need air-conditioning if they want to thrive and prosper. Yet if all those new city dwellers use air-conditioning the way Americans do, life could be one stuttering series of massive blackouts, accompanied by disastrous planet-warming emissions. We can’t live with air-conditioning, but we can’t live without it."
Long road to recovery
The city has slowly made its way through a long list of repair and rehabilitation projects. Many costs were covered by FEMA or state grants or donations, but the city paid its share, too. The city spent $4.2 million, split between a loan and bonds, on a 2009 street, water, sanitary and sewer repair project."
"The bear researchers in Ely told us last week that the bears were scouting their dens for winter earlier than usual. Thought this might make an interesting feature."
Thanks Richard. I stand by my winter outlook: "colder with some snow." Beyond that it's anyone's guess. And I do mean guess. Scientists believe we're heading into a mild to moderate El Nino warming of Pacific Ocean water, which correlates with milder winters for Minnesota and northern tier states. Then again, winters have been trending milder in recent years, especially since 1998. I like snow. I hope we see a lot of snow. I can live without the -20 F. readings, but 20s and heavy snow? Bring it on.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
TODAY: Sunny, comfortable. Dew point: 45. Winds: N 8. High: 76
TONIGHT: Clear and cool - open up the windows wide. Low: 54
New Arctic Sea Ice Minimum? We're getting very, very close. Data courtesy of Cryosphere.
Troubling Trends. Here's another perspective on the loss of arctic sea ice; data courtesy of NSIDC: NASA SMMR and SSMI.
Tell me about four and five degree changes. What would we see?
"Before climate change, the drought we had this year would have been a one in 300-year occurrence. And it’s now a one in 10 to 20-year occurrence. So, it’s making these things much more common. And as we go further, this drought will become the standard.
How will society react to that? It will be tough.
There are two studies that just came out in the last month that have shown very conclusively that the number of extreme weather events has increased and gotten more severe. One came out of NASA and the other came out of NCAR — the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They didn’t even include this year’s data. It’s not just that this is what climate change is like. This will be a good year in the future."
So, if the climate changes slowly, we could be lucky and still fix things. What if it shifts rapidly?
"If we pass a ‘tipping point’ — like the full release of methane in Siberia — we may not be able to regain control. We can still do something about it right now."
Photo credit above: "A washed out section Finch Ave. W., west of Keele St., is seen from a helicopter in August, 2005." Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-massachusetts-butterflies-north-climate-video.html#jCp