Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1 Day Ration of Sunshine (head-shaking weather - some signs of a slightly warmer/drier pattern ahead?)

76 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
78 F. average high on June 12.
69 F. high on June 12, 2012.

.59" rain fell yesterday in the Twin Cities.

Dry today with plenty of sun; highs close to average for June 13.

Spotty T-showers possible late Friday into Saturday; Sunday probably the nicer day of the weekend.


Head-Shaking Weather

"Paul, Minnesota Nice just got tossed out the nearest window this summer". Locals are fuming. I don't miss the heat, but a little sun would be nice as I cut back the vines in my backyard jungle.

I gave a talk to the Minnesota Emergency Managers Association yesterday. A women came up afterwards, a bit dazed. "We had brush fires up north, but couldn't get at water because the lakes were frozen. We had to pull snowplows off MSP's runways in early May because of lightning! You don't have to tell me the weather is getting weirder over time".

Two things on my mind today: if your county is ever under a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) Tornado Watch pay extra-close attention: the risk of large tornadoes is greater. If a confirmed (large) tornado is moving into an urban area the NWS may issue a "Tornado Emergency". One notch more urgent than a regular Tornado Warning.

Expect a volatile, partly-severe summer for Minnesota as the jet stream howls overhead.

The sun comes out today; a few spotty T-storms late Friday into midday Saturday. Sunday looks like the sunnier day of the weekend; highs topping 80. A kink in the jet stream forces hot air north next week; I wouldn't be surprised to see a few sizzling 90s late next week.


Less Rain - More Warmth. Everything is taking longer this year. Early May felt more like late March, we may not sample typical June weather until July. I'm seeing a 3-6 week lag across the board. But the jet is showing signs of (slowly) migrating north over time. That should be good for low 80s Sunday, a stretch of mid 80s next week, maybe a few 90s late next week. ECMWF (European) forecast highs above in Celsius.

Weekend Preview. ECMWF guidance (courtesy of WSI) shows nocturnal T-storms Friday night, spilling over into a portion of Saturday morning, with patchy clouds and (isolated) late PM thunder, best chance near the Iowa border. Sunday looks better, drier, with a few late PM instability showers and T-showers over northern Minnesota, but dry weather across most of Minnesota most of the day. Fingers crossed for a better weekend.
Shifting Seasons. Canadian air is draining unusually far south, considering we're a little more than a WEEK from the Summer Solstice. The resulting atmospheric tug-of-war is playing out over the Great Lakes and New England, where some 2-4" rainfall amounts are predicted by next Tuesday, according to NOAA.

More Like Mid-May. The main branch of the jet stream is still pushing unusually far south - one major reason why we're seeing a big uptick in severe storms and tornadoes; the combination of June-like heat and humidity over the southern states, coupled with an energetic, early-May-like jet stream pattern dipping south, creating the instability and wind shear necessary for severe storm outbreaks. Today we watch the Mid Atlantic region for damaging winds and a few tornadoes. The next system kicks up a few showers Friday into early Saturday over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, but much of the weekend should be dry from the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin, a better chance of T-storms Omaha to Des Moines and Chicago.

Thursday Severe Threat. Tomorrow atmospheric dynamics shift east, with a potential for damaging straight-line winds, even a few large tornadoes, from near Richmond to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis, the Delaware Valley and south Jersey. A slight risk of severe storms (and isolated tornadoes) extends from Birmingham and Atlanta to New York.

Black Forest Blaze. The wildfire burning just north/east of Colorado Springs continues to grow in size and intensity, record heat and gusty winds fanning flames and complicating rescue operations on the scene. Over 6,000 people have been evacuated from the zone - 80 to 100 homes lost, with over 8,000 acres burned. The evacuation order covers roughly 24,000 acres or 48 square miles. With 100-degree heat and winds gusting to 40 mph conditions are very similar to last June's Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed 300 homes in the Colorado Springs area. Click here for more information.
Pattern Shift? It's a little early to break out the bubbly and party hats, but there's growing evidence that the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) may be going into a positive phase, meaning stronger west to east (zonal) winds and warmer temperatures over much of the USA. Graph above showing NAO history since mid-February, and forecast for the latter half of June.

TODAY: Plenty of sun, quite pleasant. Winds: NE 10. High: 76

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear. Low: 58

FRIDAY: AM sun, late-day T-storm. High: 77

SATURDAY: Some sun, stray T-shower possible. Wake-up: 63. High: 79

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, better lake day. Wake-up: 65. High: 82

MONDAY: More clouds than sun, cooler. Wake-up: 63. High: 78

TUESDAY: Warm sunshine, feels like June. Wake-up: 61. High: 82

WEDNESDAY: Sticky sun, dew points: 65-70. Wake-up: 62. High: 84

Climate Stories...

Disease Outbreak Threatens The Future Of Good Coffee. Please God, not the coffee. Now we have to worry about "coffee rust", a fungus that is more prevalent in a warmer, wetter climate? Here's an excerpt from "...Nobody knows precisely why the outbreak reached such extraordinary levels this year, though several factors are implicated. The most prominent is climate: In the past, environmental conditions at high Central American altitudes were not especially conducive to the fungus, which requires warm, humid air to thrive, said coffee rust specialist Cathy Aime of Purdue University. Since the mid-20th century, though, weather patterns in Central America and northern South America have shifted. Average temperatures are warmer across the region, with extremes of both heat and cold becoming more pronounced; so are extreme rainfall events..."

Photo credit above: "A rust-blighted leaf on a farm in Colombia." Image: International Center for Tropical Agriculture/Flickr.

Why Greenland's Darkening Ice Has Become A Hot Topic In Climate Science. The Guardian has the story - here's a clip: "Last July, a record melting occurred on the Greenland ice sheet. Even in some of the highest and coldest areas, field parties observed rainfall with air temperatures several degrees above the freezing point. A month before, it was as though Greenland expert Jason Box had a crystal ball; he predicted this complete surface melting in a scientific publication. Box's research then got broader public visibility after climate activist and writer Bill McKibben covered it in Rolling Stone magazine. The basic premise of Box's study was that observations reveal a progressive darkening of Greenland ice. Darkening causes the white snow surface to absorb more sunlight which in turn increases melting. Given that this process is likely to continue, the impact on Greenland melt, and subsequent sea level rise, will be profound..."

Photo credit above: "Climate scientist Jason Box during an expedition in Greenland in July 2008." Photograph: Byrd Polar Research Center

NASA Warns Arctic Thaw Could Have Huge Impact On Global Warming. Think we're in uncharted waters now, with increasingly erratic, head-shaking weather patterns? Wait until most of the ice is gone in the Arctic and permafrost melts at high latitudes worldwide. Then things will really start to get interesting. Here's an excerpt from The Verge: "The Arctic's permafrost soils have NASA worried. Scientists monitoring carbon levels in the top layers of Arctic soils have identified huge deposits that, if thawed sufficiently, could upset its carbon balance and magnify the impacts of global warming. The agency estimates that the Arctic's permafrost soils store as much as 1,850 petagrams (one petagram equals 1 billion metric tons), comprising around half of all the carbon stored in Earth's soils — most of it lying within 3 meters of the surface.

TV Weathermen And Climate Scientists Kiss And Make Up. Well, not quite, but manic weather is accomplishing what climate science couldn't - convince a critical mass of TV meteorologists that something is going on - something has changed. Here's an excerpt from Mother Jones: "...Ostro believes that clmate change is increasing the atmosphere's overall thickness and thereby forcing weather patterns to stay in place for longer - with sometimes devastating results. Francis, meanwhile, argues that the dramatic warming of the Arctic is, in turn, slowing down the hemisphere-sized loopings of the jet stream - with very similar consequences. And there are other signs that relations between climate scientists and weather forecasters are improving - signs that go considerably beyond the scientific mutual admiration society that is Francis and Ostro..."

Bloomberg's Race To Protect NYC From Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: "...By mid-century, up to a quarter of all New York City’s land area, where 800,000 residents live today, will be in the flood plain,” he said, and “40 miles of our waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis just during normal high tides.” We no longer have the luxury of ideological debate, he said. “The bottom line is we can’t run the risk.” Andrew Light, a global-warming specialist at the liberal Center for American Progress, explained to me the recent shift toward efforts to adapt to climate change rather than merely seeking to prevent it. “We’re starting to see very strong evidence of climate-related extreme events happening sooner than we thought with only a 1-degree [Celsius] rise in temperature,” he said, “and a more refined science saying now that we will more than likely edge up to or cross the 2-degree threshold...” (photo: AP).

Greenhouse Gases Nearing Highly Dangerous Levels, Study Finds. Here's a clip from a story at The Chicago Tribune: "...The IEA report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, says carbon dioxide emissions grew at a rate of 1.4% in 2012, releasing a record 31.6 gigatons into the atmosphere. On this current path, the world’s average temperatures are on track to increase between 3.6 degrees Celsius to 5.3 degrees Celsius, or 6.48 degrees Fahrenheit to 9.54 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century, said the IEA, an independent research group established by the world’s most industrialized nations. “Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” said Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “But the problem is not going away — quite the opposite...”

Waiting On A New Climate Deal "Will Set World On A Path to 5C Warming". Here's an excerpt from an Op-Ed at the International Energy Agency's Chief Economist in The Guardian: "...The world cannot afford to wait for a new global climate change agreement to come into force in 2020, because doing so will mean an end to hopes of limiting global warming to moderate levels, one of the world's foremost authorities on energy has warned. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy rose by 1.4% in 2012 to a record high of more than 31bn tonnes, according to a report from the International Energy Agency on Monday, driven in part by a striking 6% rise in emissions from Japan following its phase-out of nuclear power and continuing growth in emissions from China. Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, and one of the world's most respected energy experts, told the Guardian that greenhouse gas emissions were continuing to rise so fast that pinning hopes on a replacement for the Kyoto protocol would set the world on a path to 5C of warming, which would be catastrophic..."

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