Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Glut of Perfect Weather (77% of Minnesota in moderate drought or worse)

69 F. high Thursday in the Twin Cities.

67 F. average high for September 27.

67 F. high on September 27, 2001

+1.4 F. September temperatures are 1.4 F. warmer than average, to date. Source: NOAA.

.30" rain so far this month; driest September since 1882. Photo credit: Paul Sundberg Photography.

2.80" normal rain as of September 27.

77.45% of Minnesota in moderate drought - up from 13.67% just 3 months ago. Details below.

331 months/row where the global temperature exceeded the 20th century average. Source: NASA GISS.

Gasp-Worthy Weather Trivia:

1.7" snow fell on the Twin Cities on September 26, 1942, the earliest 1"+ snowfall in modern-day history.

101.5" snow fell on the Twin Cities during calendar year 1983. Source: Minnesota Climate Office.

More Sinkhole Than Waterfall. That's a photo of Minnehaha "Falls" taken by WeatherNation TV meteorologist Addison Green on Thursday. Not even a trickle of water. Not good.

Minnesota's Drought Deepens. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 98.08% of the Gopher State is now "abnormally dry", 77.45% of Minnesota in moderate drought - severe drought now pushing across central Minnesota into the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Extreme drought is expanding across far southern Minnesota and much of the Red River Valley. We started the year in serious drought - we will end 2012 in serious drought.

16 months in a row of warmer than average temperatures in the Twin Cities metro. Temperatures have been consistently warmer than average since June, 2011.

"...The fact that outdoorsmen — 50 percent of whom identify as conservative — are firmly aware of the changes on our natural resources from global warming makes sense.  As Theodore Roosevelt IV put it:
"The nation’s fishermen and hunters are in the frontline of our field naturalists. Doing what they love best they see firsthand the impact of climate change on natural systems and our wildlife.  Their conclusions are based on observations made over years spent in the out of doors." - from a post at Think Progress below.

"...For conservatives," he says, "it's seen as an attack on our lifestyle. You can't live in the suburbs. You gotta give up that big car." He knows people don't like to be told what to do. But Inglis remembers his dad teaching him to save gas by letting up on the pedal and coasting. He says a party that once valued thrift now touts a philosophy of "burn it up." "It's not conservative to waste stuff," Inglis says, "and to cause somebody else's kids to go on the sands of the Middle East to fight for that stuff that we're wasting." At stake, he says, is the most basic of conservative principles: whether we leave our children a place that's pleasant and livable." - from a post describing a conservative approach to climate science at North Country Public Radio; details and links below.

An Expansive Dry Rut. Last night's infrared satellite snapshot showed scattered showers and T-storms from Texas to Pennsylvania, unusually dry weather from the Upper Midwest to the Pacific. Image: Naval Research Lab.

6 More Days of Indian Summer. Yes, it's officially "Indian Summer" just outside the metro, where most towns have already seen the first frost or freeze of the fall season. Highs approach 80 today and Saturday, a very slight cooling trend Sunday & Monday before warming up again by the middle of next week. Graph: Iowa State.

Bored Meteorologists. Not much to point to on the weather maps thru the weekend. A stalled frontal boundary sparks showers and T-storms from the Southeast into the Virginias, an upper level storm (cold swirl aloft) whipping up showers for Detroit, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, more showers and T-storms over the southern Plains. From the Midwest to the west coast: precious little, if any rain thru Monday.

"No Weather" Thru Midweek. A weak clipper may spark a light shower Tuesday, not even enough rain to settle the dust. Unseasonable warmth lingers thru the middle of next week, the ECMWF guidance hinting at 80 by Wednesday of next week. And then we enjoy a cool smack, highs may hold in the 50s by next Friday and Saturday, the bulk of any rain next weekend passing to our south over Iowa. We just can't score a real storm.

The Big Chill. If you like warm weather make the most of the next week or so, because colder days are brewing, an "adjustment scheduled for the second week of October, with a string of 50s giving way to 40s after October 11 or so. The Twin Cities metro will probably see the first widespread frost/freeze by October 7 or 8, based on GFS model data above.

Week's Worth of Records. Did you know that residents of Owatonna woke up to a record low of 12 F. last Sunday morning? 733 records in the last week, according to NOAA, with record heat shiting into the south and west. Map: Ham Weather.

Photo Of The Day: Rainbow And Waterspout. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this - courtesy of the Key West office of The National Weather Service via FB: "This photo was just sent to us from the Naval Air Station on Boca Chica Key. Thanks for this beautiful picture! Several waterspouts formed just south of Boca Chica after 5:47 p.m. this evening. These waterspouts formed near the rain shields of two separate thunderstorms over Hawk Channel."

Oregon Sunset. Mike Swaja snapped this photo of a sun pillar illuminating a deck of altocumulus. Very nice.

Towering Trouble. The Miami National Weather Service posted this photo of a thunderhead (cumulonimbus) above Naples Thursday.

A Wild Sky. Details on an amazing pic from Greg Janik via Twitter: "Happy to be in today after our brush with this hail storm in last night."
Kansas "Cu". Here's a terrific example of fair weather popcorn-cumulus clouds drifting over Kansas courtesy of @dmartinez4576

U.S. Navy Looking At Obtaining Fuel From Seawater. has the details: "Tell someone that you’ve invented a car that runs on water and they're liable to report you for fraud. That hasn’t stopped scientists and engineers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NSL) who want to run warships on seawater – or at least, to turn seawater into jet fuel. This may sound like they’ve been standing too close to the ether again, but the idea is to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and then convert these into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process. If this proves practical, American naval vessels could refuel themselves at sea."

California Gives The Go-Ahead For Driverless Cars On Public Roads. I still can't quite wrap my brain around this one. True, commutes can be monotonous, but I enjoy driving (most of the time). Why would I want to automate this? Maybe our kids or grandkids won't have an issue with this, but short-term you'll have to pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel. Here's an except from "California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will allow Google (and other companies) to test autonomous vehicles on state-owned roads. The bill – which is similar to those already enacted in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Oklahoma – allows the state to oversee safety and performance standards. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 30,000 to 37,000 fatal car accidents every year. The technology being implemented in autonomous vehicles could reduce that number dramatically, particularly in the case of human error." Photo above: Yahoo News.

The Real Carpet King. Thanks to Crystal Kuehn for snapping this remarkable pic of a station wagon completely covered in....carpeting? But why? Never mind...

Palm Springs - With Lakes. Another perfect, Chamber-of-Commerce-Worthy day statewide. Blue sky, light winds, an atmospheric daydream. A cool breeze off Lake Superior kept Grand Marais cool with a high of 59. Elsewhere highs ranged from 65 at Duluth to 69 St. Cloud and Twin Cities, 71 Redwood Falls and 73 Rochester. Not a drop of rain - anywhere.

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

TODAY: Warm sun - feels like late August or early September. Winds: SW 10. High: 77

FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 53

SATURDAY: Still perfect. Blue sky. Winds: NW 5-10. High: near 80

SUNDAY: Soak it up! Sunny, a bit cooler. Low: 51. High: 72

MONDAY: Sunny, still above average. Low: 49. High: 71

TUESDAY: Bright sun, a warmer wind returns. Low: 52. High: 76

WEDNESDAY: Warm sun, still bone-dry. Low: 53. High: near 80

THURSDAY: Cooler breeze, more like autumn with more clouds than sun. Low: 50. High: 63

* long range model guidance is hinting at 50s, with a chance of a little rain the first weekend of October. Right now it appears the heaviest/steadiest rains will pass south of Minnesota late next week, but it's still early.

Changes in the Wind

Welcome to the 16th month in a row of warmer than average temperatures across Minnesota; a consistent warm streak since June, 2011.

The odds of a coin landing on "heads" 20 times in a row is 1 in a million, so yes, this is unusual.

You don't have to troll the web for peer-reviewed science papers. Just look out the window. Monitor lake water temperatures (and ice-out dates). Track migration patterns of birds and other wildlife. What's growing in my garden that wasn't there 30 years ago?

The National Wildlife Federation released a poll, showing 69 percent of hunters & anglers believe we should "reduce carbon emissions contributing to a warmer, drier world".

I don't pretend to have the answer key, but we passed "normal weather" a long time ago.
And no, winter is not imminent. Last year our first flurries came on November 9. Ten days later we saw 3 inches of snow.

This may be the weekend to soak up peaking fall colors up north: sunny 70s spill over into the middle of next week.

Cooler air pushes south the latter half of next week, setting up an atmospheric tug-of-war that may spark a little rain the first weekend of October, but not the 4-8" soaking we need right now.

We can only hope.

Climate Stories...

Poll: 69% of Hunters and Anglers Say We Should Reduce Carbon Emissions That Contribute To Global Warming. I run into many fishing and hunting enthusiasts who tell me that they've seen significant changes in Minnesota's lakes and fields. Here's an excerpt of a post at Think Progress: "The National Wildlife Federation has issued a new poll outlining the priorities and opinions of America’s sportsmen (and women).  Conducted by a Republican polling firm, the poll asked hunters and anglers who vote questions about conservation, public lands, energy, and climate change. One of the most important findings is that 59% of sportsmen agree that “global warming is occurring,” while 69 percent say that we should reduce carbon emissions that are contributing to the problem. The fact that outdoorsmen — 50 percent of whom identify as conservative — are firmly aware of the changes on our natural resources from global warming makes sense."

Climate Change Kills 400,000 A Year, New Report Reveals. The Daily Beast has the story; here's an excerpt: "Nearly 1,000 children a day are now dying because of climate change, according to a path-breaking study published Wednesday (PDF), and the annual death toll stands at 400,000 people worldwide. Climate change also is costing the world economy $1.2 trillion a year, the equivalent of 1.6 percent of economic output, reports the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, a study commissioned by 20 of the world’s governments whose nations are most threatened by climate change and released on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York." Photo above: NASA.

New Groups Make  A Conservative Argument On Climate Change. I think Bob Inglis, former Congressional Representative from South Carolina, is onto something. An interview he gave to NPR's All Things Considered resonated; here's an excerpt from North Country Public Radio: "...These days, Inglis heads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University, making a free market case for tackling global warming. "We think free enterprise has the answer to energy and climate," Inglis said at a recent meeting of students with the Wharton Energy Club at the University of Pennsylvania. "There's an incredible opportunity in energy, if we just get the economics right." Inglis proposes eliminating government incentives: no more tax breaks for solar panels or electric cars; no more subsidies for oil companies. Then, he says he would impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels. We already pay more, he says, just in hidden ways, like detrimental health impacts from coal-fired power plants or higher insurance costs from extreme weather linked to greenhouse gases. This "market distortion," he says, leaves fossil fuel companies unaccountable."

Photo credit above: "Former South Carolina Republican Rep. Bob Inglis now runs the Energy and Enterprise Initiative." (Energy and Enterprise Initiative)

Young Conservatives for Energy Reform. I almost fell off my chair when I clicked on this site. It would appear there are a growing number of conservatives who see climate change as a threat, and an opportunity to reinvent America.

Environmentalists Get Vocal On Obama, Romney Silence On Climate Change. The Hill has the story; here's a clip: "A handful of environmental groups are amplifying calls Thursday for President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to speak up on climate change after a summer of devastating drought, fires, storms and heat. Friends of the Earth and Forecast the Facts debuted a website Thursday called that asks visitors to sign a petition asking Obama and Romney how they would address climate change if elected. The website, which features photos of Obama and Romney with their mouths duct taped, tracks the candidates’ climate change mentions on a timeline."

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