Friday, August 23, 2013

Excessive Heat Watch Posted (dangerous heat on the way; 100F high possible Sunday & Monday)

88 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
80 F. average high on August 23.
86 F. high on August 23, 2012.

Excessive Heat Watch posted Sunday afternoon into Wednesday evening.

4-5 days at or above 90 next week.

100F highs possible Sunday and Monday; heat index may exceed 105F.

"...Some of the human-induced changes are occurring 100 times faster than they occur in nature," Trenberth says. "And this is one of the things that worries me more than climate change itself. It's actually the rate of change that's most worrying..." - NCAR climate scientist Kevin Trenberth in a recent NPR article; details below.


Two weeks ago I found myself on an (annoyed) horse near Pine River, clad in a sweatshirt on a cool 50-degree morning - marveling at frost reports near Embarrass.

"Can't you warm it up Paul?!!" my friends whined. Yep.

Here comes a record-setting late-season heat wave; afternoon highs may reach 95-100F. According to the local National Weather Service this may well be the hottest Minnesota State Fair since 1948, when we endured 4 days hotter than 94F at the State Fair.

An Excessive Heat Watch is posted from Sunday afternoon into Wednesday evening, when 90s coupled with a dew point topping 70F will make it feel like 95-105F in the shade. Yes, the lake will look extra-inviting in the days to come.

ECMWF guidance hints at two distinct pulses of coma-inducing heat, one "wave" the first half of this week, a second surge of mid to upper 90s next weekend. I wouldn't be a bit shocked to see a 100-degree high within 72 hours.

Question: is it bad form to SLEEP in the lake? I'm about to find out.

A stray T-storm is possible this morning, but don't expect much rain into Labor Day. It'll be too hot & stable overhead.

Heading to the Fair? My advice: go early and avoid alcohol. Stay hydrated.

Have fun!

Record Highs at MSP:
Sunday: 94 (1948)
Monday: 94 (1948)
Tuesday: 99 (1926:
Wednesday: 94 (1955)

Excessive Heat Watch. Not today, but from Sunday afternoon into Wednesday evening, when the combination of mid to upper 90s + dew points near 70F will create a heat index as high as 105F. Details from the Twin Cities NWS:







Sunday Highs: Grilled or Extra Crispy? Here is the model spread for Sunday afternoon, courtesy of Smart Energy. Predicted highs range from nearly 92F (GFSMOS) to 95F (GFS) to a whopping 102F (NAM model). I suspect upper 90s, but a few spots west and northwest of MSP may hit 100F (air temperature) Sunday afternoon.

Best Chance Of 100 Degrees: Sunday & Monday. Models are fairly consistent in pulling the mercury to 100F Sunday and Monday. If the sun is out and a gusty south/southwest wind is blowing we'll at least see upper 90s. Very slight relief is likely by Wednesday and Thursday, highs only near 90F. A new definition for a "cool front". Graph: Iowa State.

Hottest Of Summer. Models are hinting at a heat index (factoring air temperature and dew point) as high as 105F. Sunday and Monday, before "cooling" into the low to mid 90s by Wednesday and Thursday. This will be dangerous for anyone without access to A/C or a cooling center (or lake). Check in on older friends, family and neighbors to make sure they're doing OK early in the week. The risk of heat exhaustion and sometimes fatal heat stroke will be high.

Sunday Heat Bubble. 102 in the Twin Cities tomorrow? I'm not convinced (yet) it's going to get THAT hot, but even if this is off by 5F we may still see upper 90s close to home Sunday afternoon. Will a few towns in central and west central Minnesota hit 100F Sunday? Probably. 2-meter forecast highs for Sunday courtesy of WeatherBELL.

Hottest Minnesota State Fair Since 1948? My advice: go in the morning, get there as early as you can, and don't wait around for the hyper-dog-days of late summer. Here's an excerpt from a post at the local Twin Cities National Weather Service: "Although it is not rare to have temperatures sneak into the mid 90s for a day during late August, it is extremely rare to have mid 90s for a stretch of several days. This potentially record-setting heat will likely persist from Sunday through Thursday of next week, when heat indices of 95 to 100 are also anticipated."

Too Hot For (Much) Rain. There's a slight chance of a shower or T-storm today as hot air surges into Minnesota, a better chance over central and northern Minnesota. After that I don't see a significant chance (opportunity) for widespread rain into much of next week. The reason? The upper atmosphere will be too hot, dry and stable for convection. A second surge of heat expands northward late in the week, just in time for potentially record-setting heat into Labor Day.

Remembering A Remarkable Super-Typhoon - And a "Category 6" Hurricane Isn't As Laughable As It Sounds. Looking at some of the most extreme typhoons (hurricanes) to impact the western Pacific in 40 years you could make an argument that we've already experienced a handful of "Cat 6" storms by merely extrapolating the current Saffir Simpson scale. 190 mph sustained winds? That's one extra-hefty Category 5. Does it matter? When calculating ultimate storm surge and sea level rise, yes, it probably does matter. I don't see any Category 6 hurricanes in the Atlantic anytime soon, but if oceans continue to warm our grandkids may someday be wondering why we had any doubts. Here's today's edition of Climate Matters: "Meteorologist Paul Douglas talks hurricane strength. Category 5 remains the largest, but is a Category 6 not far off? Dive in and explore the Pacific Super Typhoon of 1979. Also, extreme heat will take over a majority of the U.S. next week. See how hot it will get in today's WeatherNationTV Climate show."
Atlantic Hurricanes Intensifying Over Time? There is no data to support the claim that we're seeing more hurricanes in the Atlantic, but the storm that do spin up have a better chance of spinning up and becoming more intense, possibly the result of warmer ocean water. Here's an excerpt of a scientific paper at "Here we added the least-squares regression line about the annual mean lifetime highest wind speed (black line) and the least-squares regression line about the annual lifetime highest wind speed (red). While there is no upward or downward trend in the average cyclone intensity, there is an upward trend to the set of strongest cyclones. The theory of maximum potential intensity, which relates intensity to ocean heat, refers to a theoretical limit given the thermodynamic conditions (Emanuel 1988). So the upward trend in the observed lifetime maximum intensity is physically consistent with what you expect given the increasing ocean temperature..."

A Category 6 Hurricane? Recently Al Gore (who was apparently misquoted) caused a minor stir by implying that NHC might have to someday increase the Saffir Simpson scale to imagine a "Category 6" hurricane. The denial-sphere went crazy. "How could he say that? Impossible! Ridiculous!" Well, meteorologically-speaking, the notion of a “Category 6” hurricane doesn’t fit my definition of science fiction. In fact you could make a strong case that the western Pacific has already seen a handful of storms that blow right past the current Category 5 designation.

The western Pacific is home to the largest, most intense hurricanes on Earth, the result of a larger ocean and more runway available to strengthen a developing storm. Its more semantics than science and the notion of a Cat 6 requires a few assumptions, but if you merely extrapolate out the current Saffir Simpson scale (15-25 mph of sustained wind speed difference between a 3, 4 and 5) “Tip” – a super-typhoon in 1979 - would qualify, with sustained winds at it's peak of 190 mph. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:

“Typhoon Tip (international designation: 7920, JTWC designation: 23W, PAGASA name: Warling) was the largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded. The nineteenth storm and twelfth typhoon of the 1979 Pacific typhoon season, Tip developed out of a disturbance in the monsoon trough on October 4 near Pohnpei. Initially, a tropical storm to the northwest hindered the development and motion of Tip, though after it tracked further north Tip was able to intensify. After passing Guam, Tip rapidly intensified and reached peak winds of 305 km/h (190 mph)[nb 1] and a worldwide record-low sea-level pressure of 870 mbar (870.0 hPa; 25.69 inHg) on October 12. At its peak strength, it was also the largest tropical cyclone on record with a wind diameter of 2,220 km (1,380 mi).”

Perspective. Tip made Sandy and even Katrina look like toy hurricanes.

“The typhoon was also the most intense tropical cyclone on record with a pressure of 870 mbar (870.0 hPa; 25.69 inHg), 6 mbar (6.0 hPa; 0.18 inHg) lower than the previous record set by Super Typhoon June in 1975.The records set by Tip still stand, though with the end of routine reconnaissance aircraft in the western Pacific Ocean in August 1987, modern researchers questioned if Tip is the strongest on record. After a detailed study, three researchers determined that two typhoons, Angela in 1995 and Gay in 1992, maintained higher Dvorak numbers than Tip, and believed that one or both of the two may have been more intense than Tip.[19] Also, Cyclone Monica of 2006 was rated at 869 mbar (869.0 hPa; 25.66 inHg) by Dvorak classifications, although this was dismissed since the source was unofficial.”

I hate to lean on Wikipedia, but it does a pretty good job of summarizing Tip and other extreme typhoons/hurricanes: Who knows, maybe our kids or grandkids will someday look back upon a time when their aging relatives laughed at the idea of a "Cat 6".

Feds Running Out Of Money To Fight Wildfires. Fox News has the story (and video); here's a clip: "Running out of money to fight wildfires at the peak of the season, the U.S. Forest Service is diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap. The nation's top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million so far this year, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said Wednesday in an email. Chambers says the $50 million the Forest Service has left is typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday. There are 51 large uncontained fires burning across the nation, making it tough to meet demands for fire crews and equipment..."

California Wildfire Nearly Doubles In Size, Burns Into Yosemite Park. Here's a clip from a story at NPR and "A California wildfire burst into Yosemite National Park Friday after growing to more than 105,620 acres, the U.S. Forestry Service says. More than 2,000 firefighting personnel are working on the blaze known as the Rim wildfire, which is only 2 percent contained. From Thursday to Friday, the fire nearly doubled in size, growing from 99 square miles to about 165 square miles, the AP reports. A large portion of Highway 120, a main road in and out of Yosemite, remains shut down after being closed earlier this week, the Forestry Service reported in its latest update this morning..."
Why The U.S. Power Grid's Days Are Numbered. Bloomberg Businessweek has the story - here's a clip: "There are 3,200 utilities that make up the U.S. electrical grid, the largest machine in the world. These power companies sell $400 billion worth of electricity a year, mostly derived from burning fossil fuels in centralized stations and distributed over 2.7 million miles of power lines. Regulators set rates; utilities get guaranteed returns; investors get sure-thing dividends. It’s a model that hasn’t changed much since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. And it’s doomed to obsolescence.That’s the opinion of David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy, a wholesale power company based in Princeton, N.J. What’s afoot is a confluence of green energy and computer technology, deregulation, cheap natural gas, and political pressure that, as Crane starkly frames it, poses “a mortal threat to the existing utility system...”
File photo above: AP.

Can A Big Earthquake Trigger Another One? Do they come in swarms, or families? Something many seismologists have suspected for a long time. Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story from KERA News in north Texas: "There's a joke among scientists: prediction is difficult, especially about the future. For Ross Stein, it wasn't a joke after the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004. It killed some 275,000 people. "I just felt almost a sense of shame," Stein says, "that this tragedy could have been so immense in a world where we have so much intense research effort." Stein's a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey. He says quake experts have learned a couple of important things over the last few years. They've learned from big quakes in China, Chile, Japan and New Zealand, as well as the Indian Ocean quake. The first new idea is about aftershocks that follow a big earthquake. They're not just a sort of quake death spasm; they can actually make more quakes more likely..."

Photo credit above: "Kesennuma, in the Tohoku region of Japan, was devastated in a March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. A researcher studying recent megaquakes says this one, centered some 300 miles from Tokyo, could actually mean an increased risk of a quake hitting Japan's capital, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world." Suzanne Mooney / Barcroft Media /Landov

Give TV Viewers What They Want - Full Control. Here's a clip from a fairly convincing argument from Kevin Spacey, star of "House of Cards" on Netflix, which is excellent, by the way. He believes television may still be able to avoid making the same mistakes the music industry made, by not giving their customers what they really wanted at the time. Here's an excerpt of his Op-Ed at The Guardian: "...The success of the Netflix model – releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once and online – has proved one thing: the audience wants the control. They want freedom. If they want to binge then we should let them binge. And through this new form of distribution, I think we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson the music industry didn't learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in – at a reasonable price – and they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I believe this new model can take a bite out of piracy..."

When Will Google Glass Finally Go On Sale? Yes, I expect this technological innovation to change my life - I'm hoping I can be even MORE connected, maybe answer e-mails in my sleep, check my FB posts while I'm driving in city traffic. My question: do they have a cheater (bifocal) edition so I can actually read fine text? Yes, the potential is enormous - and thank God they don't look dorky. Remind me to get an eyepatch instead. Here's a clip from "When will regular consumers be able to purchase Google Glass? Ever since the augmented reality headgear was unveiled in 2012, we've been hearing Glass will be available to the general public in 2014 ... or maybe in late 2013 ... but probably not until 2014. So which is it? Time to set the record straight..."

Sinister Minds: Are Left-Handed People Smarter? I'm happily married to a (left-handed) woman, so I have mixed feelings about including this story from The New Yorker, but I found it interesting nonetheless. Here's a clip: "...Left-handers may, in fact, even derive certain cognitive benefits from their preference. This spring, a group of psychiatrists from the University of Athens invited a hundred university students and graduates—half left-handed and half right—to complete two tests of cognitive ability. In the Trail Making Test, participants had to find a path through a batch of circles as quickly as possible. In the hard version of the test, the circles contain numbers and letters, and participants must move in ascending order while alternating between the two as fast as possible. In the second test, Letter-Number Sequencing, participants hear a group of numbers and letters and must then repeat the whole group, but with numbers in ascending order and letters organized alphabetically. Lefties performed better on both the complex version of the T.M.T.—demonstrating faster and more accurate spatial skills, along with strong executive control and mental flexibility—and on the L.N.S., demonstrating enhanced working memory. And the more intensely they preferred their left hand for tasks, the stronger the effect..."

A "10" On The Cute-Meter: Abandoned House In The Woods. OK, my sister sent me this link, and I share it for any and all animal-lovers out there. Anything to take our minds off the upcoming heat wave right? Here's an excerpt from "Finnish photographer Kai Fagerström presents unique photo series, where he captures wild animals making themselves comfortable in abandoned houses in the woods of Finland. Titled The House in the Woods, the photo series is set in cottages near Kai’s summer house, which were abandoned by their tenants after the owner of the place died in a fire. Award-winning photographer noticed how the place was slowly being reclaimed by the nature, and what started as a few snapshots, ended up being a book, published in Finnish, German, and English..."

Live "FishCam" From The Minnesota State Fair. A sudden urge for sushi (or a shore lunch) is brought to you by the Minnesota DNR: "Each year, the pond is stocked with about 45 different species of fish that call Minnesota home. During the State Fair, we provide a live webcam, showcasing the fish underwater."

TODAY: Early thunder, then sticky sun. DP: 68. Winds: South 15-25. High: 87

SATURDAY NIGHT: Warm and muggy. Low: 75

SUNDAY: Excessive Heat Watch. Sunny, feels like 100+ by afternoon. Winds: S 10-20+ High: 97

MONDAY: Cool off in Phoenix? Sizzling. Wake-up: 76. High: 98

TUESDAY: Stinking hot under bright sun. Dew point: 70. Feels like 103. Wake-up: 78. High: 97

WEDNESDAY: Very slight relief. Not as boiling. Partly sunny skies. Wake-up: 75. High: 91

THURSDAY: Still steamy but not quite as hot. Stray T-storm up north. Wake-up: 74. High: 92

FRIDAY: Another surge of heat. DP: 71. Wake-up: 73. High: 97

Climate Stories....

Climate Change Deniers Live In Ignorant Bliss As Seas Keep Rising. The Los Angeles Times has the story - here's an excerpt: "A new climate-change report from the United Nations that was leaked to the media this week says sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet by the end of the 21st century and that there is a 95% likelihood that the global warming that is causing this rise is largely a result of human activity. You may now cue the deniers who say somebody is just making this stuff up. In this case, that somebody is the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), an international scientific team that issues periodic assessments of our planet’s shifting climate. Its report, which is still under review, is scheduled for release in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014. Just like a slew of other scientific studies, it warns that major coastal cities, including New York, Miami, New Orleans, London, Shanghai and Sydney, are in peril of being inundated by the rising seas..."

Cartoon credit above: David Horsey / Los Angeles Times (August 21, 2013).

The "Consensus" View: Kevin Trenberth's Take On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an NPR interview with climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "...You can think of it like a staircase. Temperature is flat when a natural cool spell cancels out the gradual temperature increase caused by human activity. But when there's a natural warm spell on top of the long-term warming trend, the story is dramatically different. "When the natural variability or when the weather is going in the same direction as global warming, suddenly we're breaking records, we're going outside of the bounds of previous experience, and that is when the real damage occurs," Trenberth says. Consider Hurricane Sandy. Trenberth figures the storm was maybe 5 or 10 percent more powerful as a result of global warming. And sea level is 8 inches higher than it was a century ago. That doesn't seem that dramatic, but he argues that made a huge and costly difference. "I reckon that without climate change, we would not have exceeded thresholds that caused the flooding of the subways in Manhattan and the tunnels from Manhattan to New Jersey and to Brooklyn..."

Photo credit above: "Kevin Trenberth is a distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research." Rich Crowder/Corbis.

Can Cities Adjust To A Retreating Coastline? Here's food for thought from Andrew Revkin at The New York Times: "Last June, in rolling out an ambitious$20-billion plan to gird New York City against the impacts of rising seas and storm surges in a warming climate, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave a classic “no retreat” speech, including this line: [A]s New Yorkers, we cannot and will not abandon our waterfront. It’s one of our greatest assets. We must protect it, not retreat from it. Of course, who could ever imagine a politician standing on a coastline proclaiming, “We will retreat!” But somehow, that’s what has to be done. Finding a way to have a realistic discussion of where to hold firm and where to pull back, where to gird and where to let nature dominate, has to happen to limit costs and other regrets in thousands of coastal cities and smaller communities around the world..."

Graphic credit above: Architecture Research Office and dlandstudio "A rendering of a plan for Lower Manhattan with tidal marshes and wetlands that could absorb storm surges, created by the Architecture Research Office and dlandstudio."

Climate Change Our Most Serious Security Threat. Here's a clip from an eye-opening story at The San Francisco Chronicle: "Ask Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. military's sprawling Pacific Command, what his most serious threat is, and you might be surprised. There's a long list of possibilities, after all: North Korean nukes, rising Chinese military power and aggressive cyberespionage, multiple territorial disputes between major powers and persistent insurgencies from the Philippines to Thailand, not to mention protecting some of the world's most vulnerable shipping choke points. Add all of that up, though, and there's something even more dangerous to keep even the most seasoned military officer up at night: the looming disaster of climate change. Locklear is not alone in his assessment. He is one among a rising chorus of voices from the national security community, from senior military and intelligence officials to front-line combat veterans, united by what is fast becoming a consensus view..."

Photo credit above: "Maj. Sean M. Sadlier (left) of the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office explains the solar power element of the Expeditionary Forward Operating Base concept to Col. Anthony Fernandez during the testing phase of this sustainable energy initiative here, May 19. The ExFOB is designed primarily for use by small Marine Corps units at forward operating bases in Afghanistan. Fernandez, a Marine Corps Reservist with a combined 28 years in the Corps, is the African Lion 2010 task force commander here." DATE: May 21, 2010 BY: U.S. Marine Forces Africa LOCATION: The African Lion operation, where this comes from, was based in Morocco Photo: Insight25_breen_PHa, Maj. Paul Greenberg.

Water Is Something About Which We Should Not Be Dumb. Amen. We will quickly discover that the most precious natural resources aren't oil or gas, but water. Esquire has the story - here's a clip: "There's a water shortage in Texas. This is because of a number of factors, including urban sprawl, simple wastage, the ongoing drought, and the Great Climate Change Hoax, which is affecting us all and might be a concern, if it actually existed, which half of our political system believes it does not. There is also another reason. The energy companies are using the water for fracking, which seems uniquely stupid in a time of urban sprawl, wastage, drought, and the Great Climate Change Hoax. Most of the places being affected are small communities, like Barnhart, which the energy companies simply look at as vassal states to be used up and discarded.
The people of Barnhart, a tiny West Texas community near San Angelo, are certainly paying attention. Thanks to fracking's outsized water demands, the town well has gone dry. The town's water crisis brings to mind another old saw: "The prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully." In Barnhart, where a severe and lingering drought already had put a strain on the water supply, minds are focused these days, though not so wonderfully..."
File photo above: ThinkStock.

Are Americans Ready To Rebel Over Climate? I'm not so sure, not yet. It may require a few more climate calamities before the protests begin. But in the meantime I suspect many people will be happy to vote anti-science legislators out of office and register their displeasure with polluting companies with their check books, supporting cleaner, greener products and services. We'll see. Here's an excerpt from Discovery News: "Henry David Thoreau would be so proud. It appears that one in four Americans would now support peaceful civil disobedience against organizations that are making global warming worse, according to the latest survey report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. But that’s not all. One in eight would even be willing to take part personally in civil disobedience. The survey also found that people are most likely to discuss global warming face-to-face, rather than via social media, for instance, and are most likely to be spurred into action by friends or family..."

"Climate Change" Gone From State Emergency Plan. Texas Public Radio has the article - here's the intro: "Several groups in Texas and Washington D.C. have taken issue with the Federal Emergency Management Agency allowing the State of Texas to delete "climate change" from their state emergency plan. Texas is up for renewal of its hazard mitigation plan, which is a prerequisite  for the state to receive money from the FEMA to reduce losses from natural disaster. Aliya Haq is with Washington D.C.-based Natural Resource Defense Council, who said the state refuses to add the term "climate change" to the listed disaster risks. "Climate change changes the risk," Haq said. "Climate change is a huge factor in things like extreme heat, in hurricanes, in drought, wildfires, flooding-issues. A lot of the hazards that Texas is dealing with are affected by climate change and we’re starting to see those impacts now..."


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  4. [QUOTE/]
    "Climate is flavoring all weather now,"

    Ok, it's-
    Currently; 9°F below zero ...feels like -28°F
    Longing for the good ol' days before climate flavored "all weather".